Bryn Mawr has a small and outdated gym. If I could only change one thing it would be to update and enlarge the gym.
We are a close community, which is great. We take care of each other and support each other. it's really nice
The best thing about Bryn Mawr is the traditions on campus that really make the college feel like a community environment. It connects all the classes and makes the atmosphere on campus a friendly one perfect for studying and hanging out with friends. One thing I would change would be the stringent policies regarding residential life that proliferate the stereotypes that Bryn Mawr is an isolated school full of women that are incapable of maintaining and substantiating friendships with males. The school for me is the perfect size - small enough to have engaging class discussions - and yet big enough to study a variety of things that allows every mawter to find their niche. They are shocked because I have always been so liberal minded and have grown up with close male friendships. There perception is that Mawrters go to Bryn Mawr to avoid male interaction. I spend most of my time on campus in the library - I am a senior after all. But I also do enjoy visiting friends rooms, the dining halls and the gym. There is a college town - but you really need to be 21 to partake in it. Also Philly is close which is a huge perk - 20 minute train ride and there is virtually every type of entertainment at your fingertips. Bryn Mawr's Administration while helpful at times can also play negatively because of how small the school is - everyone knows everyone's business. There are biases, there is a lot of work and students dumped on a very small select group of people. While it is possible to get to know the administration you have to work to make yourself known - it is very easy to meet with your Dean once a year for four years and never really take advantage of their services. The biggest controversy on campus has to be issues of race and class clashing. From groups like Posse, Sisterhood, White Students Awareness Group and the Student Government Association a lot of individual issues are put front and center into our mainstream community. Given that we are a small college - I feel that personal issues are more likely to be brought forward and have the whole campus react to or against them instead of having other forums. Sometimes it gets extremely tiring to hear about racial biases when most of the people griping are given practically free rides to come to this institution while we have other girls not of color who are also of similar socio-economic standing are are having to foot the entire bill or tuition with little or no assistance, coupled with the pressures of having elite wealthy students interacting on campus who are unable to relate to issues of poverty or financial hardships. Lets just say it creates A LOT OF TENSION. There is school pride - but there are few outlets to truly display it. We don't have many sports teams and the ones we do aren't really supported by the student body. Also to have a lot of school spirit can be seen as a negative as you are automatically perceived as a woman who also has all the stereotypical qualities of a "Bryn Mawr Girl" The unusual thing about Bryn Mawr is the ambiguous nature of our honor code and social honor code - what one may find offensive another may not and this leads to a sort of disconnect as students are forever fearful of infringing upon its edicts. Also for a school run by its students - it sure as heck does things that would not be agreed upon by a large majority of its student body. The experience I will always remember was Hell Week. But I can't go to far into that. Another was realizing that four years flew by quite literally before my eyes. The most frequent student complains - poor quality of our gym, the graduation requirements, and the hours of gym/dining hall operation.
I went to a huge (3400 students) public high school in a suburb of Atlanta. While I'm not "one of the boys," I have always had guy friends (and boyfriends), so when my mom started suggesting women's colleges, I was a little skeptical. I know, though, that I need a sense of community (something I found within my close friends in high school, as well as my fellow theatre kids), and Bryn Mawr definitely seemed like it had a strong and close-knit community, so I applied, partly because I was interested, partly to appease my mom. Anyway, once I was accepted, I went on a tour of all the northeastern colleges I was considering, and got to see Bryn Mawr in person for the first time. I grew to like it a little more after that experience. Even after all that, though, Bryn Mawr was still not my first choice. To be honest, the defining factor in my decision to come here was the fact that their financial aid package was the largest, and I needed all the help I could get. So, needless to say, I was still wary of a lot of things when I came. People from more urban areas (or even simply suburban ones) tend to worry about the social life a lot, and I was definitely not an exception. I've found, though, that your social life at Bryn Mawr is what you make it, and most everyone is happy with what they've made of theirs. If I have a lot of homework during the week, any free time I have is spent relaxing. If my workload is light that week, though, I have done things like going shopping or dinner in Philly during the week. Even if I do have a lot of work, though, I can still do social things. A lot of people go to the coffee shops or other places with friends to do work during the week. Weekends vary as well, depending on how I'm feeling. Sometimes I go out to parties, sometimes I stay home, order food and watch movies with the girls. Most of the parties I've been to have been at Haverford or Swarthmore, but I've been to a couple at Penn, and I know people who have gone to Villanova. There are, too, parties on Bryn Mawr's campus occasionally. Haverford parties are kind of lame, but not terrible, Swat parties are a bit less lame and still fun, Penn parties are fun, especially if you know someone there, and I really have no idea about Nova. Bryn Mawr parties have been the most fun, in my opinion. They're all open to any Tri-Co student, and anyone else if a Tri-Co student signs them in, so there are ALWAYS boys. If parties aren't so much your scene, there are always a number of other social events around the various campuses on weekends, which are very fun as well. My only real issue with being at Bryn Mawr is the difficulty in meeting dateable boys. I have to admit, though, I haven't really tried very hard to find one. A lot of girls here have boyfriends, and there are certainly endless meaningless hookups to be found. I have made boy [space] friends, but no boyfriends. Like I said, though, I haven't really tried all that hard, and my lack of boyfriends is more than a fair trade for the rest of my BMC experience. A huge part of Bryn Mawr culture are the traditions. There are, of course, the four big ones (Parade Night, Lantern Night, Hell Week, and May Day) and a million other small ones (Step Sings, Athena, Skinny-Dipping in the Cloisters). These things are what really make you a Bryn Mawr woman (aside from the rigorous academics you both love and hate). They make you realize just how incredible and unique this place is.
Bryn Mawr really care about its students and the campus is georgous! When things pop into my mind that I would like to change about Bryn Mawr, it is not so much the important things but the nitty gritty details just to complain about. For example, I wish we had a better gym. It is quite outdated but still there and used by all means. Sometimes I feel like the school is just a little too small but that is what I was looking for and it is easy to not get trapped at Bryn Mawr as there is the Tri-Co and UPenn so there is always opportunities to meet new people if you wish to do so. I spend most of my time on campus really in my dorm. The dorms are such a friendly and cozy environment. It is such a tight knit community that I really would rather spend it no place else. The location is wonderful. I love Bryn Mawr's location. It is in nice suberbs of Philadelphia. The houses are georgous and the neighborhood is great. All stores are in walking distance that you would need as well as a movie theatre. Sometimes I wish it had a litlte more diversity of a big city closer by but that is just because I am from a city myself. There is a grocery store, pharmacy, gas station, Starbucks, movie theatre, restaurants, etc all in walking distance so a car is not necessary. The location truly is ideal! When I say I go to Bryn Mawr I get a variety of reactions. From the older generations they all have such wonderful reactions and are so proud of me for going to such an elite institution. All the older ladies seem to knwo soemone that went there. Sometimes I get the "where is Bryn Mawr" question or then the question of " is everyone there a lesbian?" since it is an all women's college however those are all misconceptions and we Bryn Mawr women know the truth of Bryn Mawr and I say I am from Bryn Mawr loud and proud. Bryn Mawr's administration is one of the best aspects of the school. They are so caring and really make themselves avaiable for the students. My dean gave me his cell phone and home number in case I ever needed to reach him in a more urgent matter and always gets back to my emails asap. I suppose another thing I would change about the college is that sometimes I find it a little too politically correct and that some students do in fact take themselves too seriously btu that only encourages me to lighten up a little bit more and a reminder can never hurt! There is a lot of school pride in terms of academics but not in terms of sports. Sports are not very big on campus but it is a great place to go to play sports if you want to do both school and sports. I played volleyball freshmen year and it was the best experience I ever had on a team before. The wonderful thing about Bryn Mawr is almost everything is unique to the college! It is definately not a typical college experience. A big part of Bryn Mawr is all of our wonderful traditions that really help welcome the freshmen to the college. Hell Week is fantastic and one of the best weeks I have ever had in my life. I will ALWAYS rememeber Hell Week and the Duck Pond Run.
The best thing about Bryn Mawr is that it's all women. If there was one thing I would change it would be the size - 1200 people is just too small. When I tell people I go to Bryn Mawr the response is either, "Where's that?" or "Wow, that's a tough school." Surprisingly, I spend most of my on-campus time in the gymnasium. Between crew practice, working out, meetings with Coach, or work I feel like I make two or three trips a day to that place. The town of Bryn Mawr is almost inaccessible to Bryn Mawr students - the boutiques are too pricy for us to even browse. Philly's a great city, though. There are so many schools here that a train ride or a 20 minute drive can bring you just about anywhere you want to go. Bryn Mawr's administration is a bit of a mystery. What do they even do? I've never been able to talk to them in person. They are really good at pampering the parents and visitors. The biggest recent controvery on campus had to do with leadership roles and appropriate behavior for school leaders. As an athlete, it often seems as though there's no school pride. However, when I think hard about it I realize that there is tons of school pride here. It's just not expressed through the athletics department. Everything about Bryn Mawr is unusual. It's not a "normal" place. The women are strong and independent. They know what they want and they're not afraid to go after it. We have traditions that make other college students scratch their heads in puzzlement - things that only we would understand. One experience I'll always remember happened when I was a sophomore. It was May and I had a huge final paper due by midnight on a Friday night (though our professor had told us that any time before Saturday morning was fine). I was having a hard time focusing and getting my work done, so my friends came up with a plan that would get me to work. Around 11pm they invited me outside for a study break, where my roommate was waiting with a garbage can full of water to pour all over me. I was soaked! But my spirits were lifted and, once I got dried off, I was ready to pump out the last few pages of the paper and say hello to summer vacation. The most frequent student complaints are that there's way too much work. As an athlete, we often complain about the lack of support for the athletics teams on campus and the lack of resources to make the program stronger.
Some of the best things include being in interesting classes that allow you to get to know your professors and being with friendly, non-apathetic and hardworking people. Other important things to mention: the food is also really good, and you would be very happy at least in comparison to being at most college campuses if you like eating healthy and/or are vegetarian or vegan. It is also very easy to get a job on campus. They hire the freshmen to work in the dining halls (there are three of them) and they hire students to work practically everywhere else: the libraries, the computer lab, as tutors or PLI's (peer led instructors), as lab instructors/notebook graders, as writing instructors, and in the civic engagement office. BMC's location is ideal. The town of Bryn Mawr has everything you would ever need within walking distance: Staples, pharmacy, grocery store, small movie theatre, Borders, eyeglass place, a bunch of small stores, etc. It only takes a few minutes to walk to the train station that goes into Philly; it's practically right there. The Blue Bus to Haverford stops in front of Pem Arch about once every half an hour, or you can walk there in about half an hour. We have three libraries. Unfortunately, they close at midnight Sunday to Thursday and 10 pm Friday and Saturday. I spend most of my time in the Park Science Building, often in the Collier Science Library. Once the library closes I find somewhere else in the building to study, but if I declared my major I would have my own key to the physics lounge (there's also a math lounge and I'm sure other science lounges too). Bryn Mawr is unusual in our self government. Once a semester there is Plenary, on a Sunday, where the students gather in the Goodhart auditorium and vote on resolutions. On that day, the only place you can get food is at Plenary, until Plenary is over. It can only proceed if a certain number of people are there. It takes about four or five hours, but it would go faster if more people came right away and stayed. There are also a number of traditions, which some people like. Finally, Bryn Mawr is unique in its honor code.
Bryn Mawr honestly does have great academics. I love that I can have relationships with my professors. I recently missed a week and a half of classes, and most if not all of my professors were just as concerned for my health as they were for my work. The professors are all excellent at what they do--I have yet to come across a poor professor. The administration is fabulous, as well. It's easy to form a relationship with your dean, who can help guide you through registration, personal issues, extracurriculars, and time management. The campus has a very close feeling of community, which can have its perks, but also its drawbacks. Sometimes, it can feel claustrophobic. With a campus as small as this, one can feel cramped. I'm sometimes starving to just be anonymous, but everywhere I go, I see someone that I know. What's more, the surrounding town is pretty dismal. Other than the independent movie theater, there's not much that's catered toward a younger crowd. The R5 train can take you into Philly pretty easily, but even then, unless you have a lot of money, it's hard to find cheap things to do. You can always go over to Haverford, Swat, or Villanova for parties, but the fact that you have to search them out gets old, and the judgment on being a Bryn Mawr woman gets old even faster. Another problem is that there is a bit of racial tension on campus. I wasn't here for this, but last year there was a huge scandal that involved a student in SGA sending out a racist Facebook invitation. It wasn't meant to be racist, but it came off that way, and suddenly there was a huge split in the campus between those who were offended and those who defended this girl. You can still feel a lot of the tension--racial groups tend to draw towards each other.
I transferred to Bryn Mawr this year, so I think I have a bit of a unique perspective on the college. I'd say the location of Bryn Mawr is the best thing about it. I may be a bit biased, as I spent my freshman year of college at an isolated upstate New York school, but I find Bryn Mawr's location to be absolutely perfect. Located on the Main Line, Bryn Mawr is a great suburb (if a bit ostentatious and snotty) with restaurants, grocery stores and drug stores al with in incredibly easy walking distance. Getting off campus and going into the real world is incredibly easy to do, and that's something I really appreciate. BMC is also only a twenty minute train ride away from Philly, which is great. I'm the kind of person who needs to be close to a city, and BMC certainly allows me close proximity. Some times I love BMC's small size, and sometimes I find it stifling. It's great to be known by your professors and your deans. I love that I always run into someone I know anytime I am walking around on campus. But, if you don't find your niche, Bryn Mawr can be way too small a community. There isn't a huge pool to pick friends from, so hopefully you met people you click with, or it's going to be a long four years. Also, everyone knows everything about everybody else. The best part about Bryn Mawr is the traditions. Give in to the traditions! I found them hokey and cultish at first, but if you embrace them, they really are beautiful and help you to become a part of this great community of unique and woderful women. The traditions create a kind of bond between classes that I can't even begin to explain here. All I can say is, embrace the traditions, because you may not realize how important they are until you have missed them.
The best thing about Bryn Mawr is that, as at a lot of liberal arts college, the professors are very accessible. Also, like at liberal arts college (and any other institutions that have honor codes (Bryn Mawr does)), they trust you, and many exams are take home, timed, closed-book/notes. You pick it up in an envelope at the beginning of the week, turn it in at the end of the week, and sign a statement that said you only spent, say, 2 hours on it and didn't use any materials not provided in the envelope. It shows what a great academic community this is that this is so common place. I have also found, in the courses I take here, that the professors are very straightforward in their teaching style as well as their expectations. If you do your work, study at least a day or two before each exam, and think before you open your mouth or put your pen to paper, you will probably get an A. No surprises, no subjective grading (so far as I can tell). Very fair. If you put in a decent amount of work, you will get an A here. Unfortunately, though extremely beautiful, it is probably one of the more boring campuses around. There are rarely any parties, almost never any loud ones, and even on Friday nights the campus is, most of the time, dead-silent. To follow that up, though, a second GOOD thing about Bryn Mawr is that it is positioned really close to Philly. If you don't like driving, or don't have a car, or don't want to pay for gas and insurance, or whatever, the train stop is less than a 10 minute walk from campus, and you can get to Philly for about $4 (in about 20 minutes or less). So, from campus to Philly (depending on your timing) would be about half an hour. Not bad.