From a virtual distance Agnes Scott College reminds me of Bryn Mawr, another women’s college closer to home. It’s small (less than 1,000 undergrads) and close to a large city (Atlanta) that has many other colleges. Both campuses are quite attractive. Agnes Scott’s signature buildings are similar in design, as you will see on my Pinterest page and the page that I made for Bryn Mawr a while back. I have no doubt that women chose Agnes Scott for similar reasons, including small classes, diversity and encouragement. Not to mention that Agnes Scott and Bryn Mawr try to make the experience affordable.
The leadership of Agnes Scott College recently had more to say about affordability. The recently announced Agnes Assurance Plan guarantees a renewable merit-based scholarship of at least $20,000 to students who apply, get in, and enroll this fall. Interested in math or science? The college now offers Summit STEM, a living-learning and scholarship program that starts in the summer before freshman year. The college has just selected it’s first ten Summit STEM Scholars. This school does as much to encourage women in science as I saw in person at Bryn Mawr, a better endowed college.
I’ve had a tough time convincing bright young women in high school to consider women’s colleges, though I have friends from high school who went to Bryn Mawr and Smith. But when I visited Barnard, Bryn Mawr, Smith and Meredith, I saw that women could take advantage of programs that I would like to see at more liberal arts schools. These schools do a great deal to help women discover their strengths, and guide them to do whatever they want to do.
As part of researching Agnes Scott College, I watched a YouTube about their 1966 GE College Bowl team. They beat an all-male Princeton team–no women could go to Princeton back then–that was a defending champion. Men are far less likely to discourage women in 2021 than they did in 1966. But encouragement through the right programs only helps.
The curriculum gives every student:
Like Bryn Mawr, Agnes Scott offers bachelor’s-masters options within the college and a ‘Post-Bacc’ program to help recent college grads gain admission to medical school. Agnes Scott has a 3+2 program in engineering with Georgia Tech.. But unlike other small schools that have the 3+2, Agnes Scott students can major in any subject, as long as they do well in the courses required to pursue their engineering specialty. Computer Science majors can also move on to Emory to earn a masters. The college also partners with Emory for a path to a BA and a BSN in Nursing. Women who are interested in Physics should check out this school. Agnes Scott offers majors in Astrophysics, Mathematics-Physics and Physics. It might also be the smallest college in America that has its own observatory. But unlike Bryn Mawr, Agnes Scott offers a Business Management major and minor.
Agnes Scott College accepted two-thirds of the women who applied to be in the class that arrived this fall. Their average GPA was a 3.7. This school has been test optional for some time. Low scores might not rule someone out for admission and merit-based aid. But it really helps to interview well or submit a graded writing sample that can leave a strong impression. A small liberal arts college will expect everyone, including first-year students, to write more than they ever would at a large school.
Agnes Scott appears to look harder for reasons to admit than the more selective women’s colleges like Barnard, Bryn Mawr, Mount Holyoke, Smith or Wellesley. However, around half of the Agnes Scott student body comes from Georgia. By comparison, 85 percent of Bryn Mawr students come from out of state. One reason: Georgia’s merit based state scholarships can be used to attend private colleges as well as public colleges and universities.
The college itself has a tight-knit residence life. But you won’t feel stuck in a campus based social life for four years. Agnes Scott is located in Decatur, a suburb of Atlanta. While Decatur has a nice downtown, the big city is the greater attraction. While I have not had the opportunity to be on the Agnes Scott campus, I have been to Atlanta. It’s easy to get into the big city via the MARTA mass transit line. The city has nice neighborhoods, especially around Emory and Georgia State University. The students will talk up the college social life and clubs much better than I ever could, and I’m sure they would talk up the networking opportunities. Nearly half of the 6,800 Agnes Scott alumni registered in LinkedIn.com are based in the Atlanta Metro Area.
But traveling around Atlanta is not getting around Boston, New York or Washington DC. For one thing, the trains stop running between 1 and 2 AM. College students should be prepared to spring for an Uber after a long night of partying that goes into morning, or prepare to share a car among friends with a designated driver. I have been to only one city, Los Angeles, that has worse traffic outside of downtown than it does in the central city.
This school met close to 90 percent of need, with generous scholarships, even before announcing the Agnes Assurance award. The total cost of attendance before scholarships is just over $60,000. Agnes Scott might not be able to undercut Home State U in your state. But odds are good that this small private school will beat the non-resident cost of attendance at Neighboring State U. Agnes Scott graduates around two-thirds of a freshman class on time because it can help with the costs. Sophomores get onyx rings in a college ceremony–their first welcome into a network called the ‘Black Ring Mafia.‘
But I also tell prospective students to do their research and take visits, in person or virtual. This is especially true for considering a women’s college, among other types of schools. You have to be willing to put aside rumors and stereotypes. Get to know the people who are there, and learn how the school will help you to earn a degree, find a direction and build your network. Agnes Scott College appears to do a good job at all three for the woman who believes that it will be the right fit .
Want to know more about me? Check out these podcasts!
Listen to my talk, College Is A Learning AND Living Community, hosted by Dr. Cynthia Colon from Destination YOUniversity on Voice of America Radio!
Listen to my talk, What Exactly Is a Good College? hosted by test-prep experts Amy Seeley and Mike Bergin on Tests And The Rest!
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