For all the prospective students reading this, I am sure you have been wading through a sea of information during your college application process. I remember the choices, the forms, the interviews, but where to start and how to choose? Here are my reasons for choosing Bryn Mawr, and what I would have told my high-school senior-self!
Bryn Mawr is a small college with about 1,700 students. Because of our size, our classes are frequently small. One of my classes this year has six participants! However, even in my first year, class sizes ranged from ten to thirteen students. With smaller classes, we have more opportunities to delve deeper into the material. We ask questions, we debate, we share our opinions, and we get to know each other. Class discussions are essential at Bryn Mawr — I cannot remember a single Bryn Mawr class that did not involve discussion. Instead of silently taking notes while our professors lecture, we students are participating actively, by putting forth our ideas — what excites us about a subject, what puzzles us. Furthermore, our professors know us outside of class, they ask us how our hockey game went, or what we spent our Saturday doing, or how our other classes are going this semester. The small class sizes helps us build a greater camaraderie with our classmates and professors.
One of my favorite aspects of Bryn Mawr is its relationship to other colleges around the area. There is the Bryn Mawr & Haverford Bi-Co (Bi-College Consortium), the Bryn Mawr, Haverford, and Swarthmore Tri-Co, and the Bryn Mawr, Haverford, Swarthmore, and University of Pennsylvania Quaker Consortium. These ties between colleges allow Mawrters to take courses at other colleges, (and students from other colleges may come to Bryn Mawr for some courses). We have access to the plethora of courses at these nearby colleges in addition to our own course catalogue. I took two semesters of Chinese and a French course at Haverford. Before coming to Bryn Mawr, I was skeptical about how often students would take courses at different colleges. How realistic was it to actually take a course at Haverford? Very! The Bi-Co Blue Bus runs several times an hour and the trip to Haverford, just over ten minutes, makes it surprisingly easy. The dozens of students from both colleges who board the bus can attest to that fact. Therefore, we have the opportunity to choose from not one colleges’ course offerings, but two or three. Although I have yet to take classes at UPenn or Swarthmore, several of my friends who have done so and have loved it!
The traditions at Bryn Mawr were one of the primary reasons I chose Bryn Mawr. From Parade Night to Hell Week, to May Day, traditions are precious to us Mawrters because they are unique to our community. They unite us to decades of Mawrters who have participated in the same traditions. Lantern Night, when the incoming class receives their lanterns of knowledge in their class color is November 12th. Check back then for a new blog post documenting this year’s experience!
Going to a women’s college you feel camaraderie and unity with other women who have shared your experience. Just as there is a bond between Mawrters regardless of when we graduated or whether we are graduate students or undergraduates. (Quite similar is the companionship we share with other Seven Sisters Colleges; some of my closest friends are from Mount Holyoke and Wellesley.) You are among strong women who love to learn and are not afraid to voice their opinions. There is an energy, a curiosity for knowledge and a confidence that Bryn Mawr has instilled in us that will remain with us long after graduation.
Still deciding? Send me your questions and I will do my best to answer them!