What are some things that you think Bryn Mawr does better and worse than the other 7 sister colleges?
DISCLAIMER: I have not attended any of the other Seven Sisters so this answer is entirely based on what I have heard from students of the other insitutions or other affilated members. As such I don’t feel comfortable giving statements about the other Sisters so I’m going to be as vague as possible if I have to concretely mention one.
Also, everything I’m saying here has to do with personal experience. What I say might not hold true for a different major or someone might have a totally different opinon of the college than me so please no one eat me for this :( also again, apologies if I inadvertantly say anything that upsets anyone. Please let me know as soon as possible so I can amend the issue.
Bryn Mawr, from what I can tell, is basically the introverted nerdy older sister of the 7 Sisters. She’s really intelligent, a little weird sometimes, super into upholding the family legacy and really into supporting everyone. We’re frequently referred to as the most academically intense of the sisters— this isn’t to say that we’re the smartest because that’s impossible to call, but we do have a heavy workload and the expectations placed upon us are remarkably high. We take our education very seriously… because we absolutely fucking love what we do (for the most part).
The majority of Bryn Mawr students are obessively in love with what they’re studying and are very invested in their academic lives. At the same time, however, it’s not a competetive, uncomfortable environment. Some people go insanely overboard and other people do what they need to in order to participate in class. Bryn Mawr’s super about taking the reins of your own education and deciding how much you want to put into or take out of your classwork and it’s reflected all around.
We’re also incredibly supportive of one another. We do not discuss grades with one another— it’s considered part of our honor code even though it isn’t written it. We respect one another’s study havits and educational interests and do our best to function collaboratively instead of competetively— most of my english classes feel like a book club. I don’t mean that belittlingly, I mean that in I sit in a remodelled living room with six other students and the professor walks in, sits down and goes: “Well… so what the HELL was that reading last night?” and we all freak out. A lot of the professors make an effort to ensure that the class really does feel like a gathering of peers instead of a lecture (at least in the english and spanish departments).
Some of the other sisters are fairly agressive when it comes to working with one another and there’s a lot more external pressure to do well. Bryn Mawr strives to define a student’s sucess for themselves instead of judging themselves against their peers (which I love).
Bryn Mawr is also really great at establishing as sense of family. Whether this happens through traditions or just through regular campus life, everyone feels like they’re part of something ‘special’. Traditions DEFINITELY do this in a beautiful, meaningful way. I’m a huge traditions buff so I won’t say more about this; I don’t want to give you the impression that the only way to fit in at BMC is to be a Traditions junkie, but it’s a unique part of the college that really bonds you to your ‘sisters’. Customs groups provide a really wonderful backbone of support your freshman year that’s incredibly valueable in helping the transition process from home to college be less agonizing. Clubs and teams on campus do this as well, giving Bryn Mawr a really weird family reunion feeling in the dining halls.
(Hell families do this too).
All in all, I feel like Brryn Mawr is best at giving you a HELL of an education that prepares you to be an independent thinker, writer and speaker but also manages to create a really solidly supportive community that has been essential to me over the past three years.
(Shout out of much love to Shakespeare Performance Troupe, past and present Traditions Mistresses, Customspeople and my kickass Hell Family).
Bryn Mawr can, however, at times be a little stifling— it’s a smaller college, so if you need a huge amount of variety in your social or academic life, it might wear on your nerves. I like being in a place where everyone knows who I am and I can really forge relationships with my professors, but I know that’s not everyone’s cup of tea. I don’t feel that it’s much of an issue being at a small college because it’s one of four I have the option to take classes at and it’s 30 minutes from Philly so I can get to and from home (Wisconsin, via the airport) easily.
All of the Sisters are known for producing remarkable graduates. Bryn Mawr’s students are usually pretty academia inclined— at least in my experience. There’s defenitely less of a ‘degree to get a job’ feel and more of a ‘degree because this shit is awesome as fuck to study’ feel on campus. But I digress.
All of the Sisters will give you a top-notch education that’s wholly unique. You won’t get a Sisters experience anywhere else in the world. The Sisters are also known for being supportive of students with non-traditional gender and sexuality identifcations which to me seems to be true— I can’t speak to personal experience on this one and don’t feel qualified to weigh in too much. In my experience students at Bryn Mawr are usually quite open and accepting of everyone else’s identification. This seems to be true at the other Sisters as well— at least what I’ve heard.
Either way, I love Bryn Mawr and think it’s a phenomenal college. It has it’s benefits and drawbacks. For me, it’s a cozy college that’s given me an intellectual family of fellow students as well as professors and has really solidified my academic passion. I’m a big fan.
If any of my Bryn Mawr followers have anything to add, let me know and I’ll edit it in for you.
<3 Please let me know if you have any more questions! I hope I don’t sound too biased here. There have been times where I have wanted to strangle my college, of course, but for the vast majority of my academic career Bryn Mawr has been fannnnnnntastic.