Comparing Middlebury vs. Washington University in St. Louis

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

View of students talking to each other.

Comparing Middlebury vs. Washington University in St. Louis

When it comes to selecting a college or university, numerous factors come into play. Location, academic programs, tuition, and overall student satisfaction are just a few of the many aspects to consider. This article will be comparing two prestigious institutions, Middlebury vs. Washington University in St. Louis, to help prospective students make informed decisions about their educational future.

Location and Campus between Middlebury vs. Washington University in St. Louis

Both Middlebury and Washington University in St. Louis possess unique geographic locations that contribute to their individual cultures. Middlebury College is situated in rural Vermont, nestled in the heart of the Green Mountains. Its location provides an idyllic atmosphere where students can enjoy the beauty of nature while experiencing a close-knit community. In contrast, Washington University in St. Louis is positioned in a bustling metropolitan city, offering students numerous opportunities to explore cultural events and pursue internship opportunities.

Students walking towards the Washington University

In terms of campus culture, Middlebury holds an esteemed reputation for their environmentally-conscious efforts, including their LEED-certification for several buildings on campus. On the other hand, Washington University places emphasis on their commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion as reflected in their numerous organizations and initiatives on campus.

Additionally, Middlebury College’s location in Vermont allows for unique outdoor recreational opportunities, such as skiing and hiking. The college also has a strong focus on sustainability, with a student-run organic farm and a commitment to reducing their carbon footprint. In contrast, Washington University’s urban location provides students with access to a diverse range of cultural experiences, including museums, theaters, and music venues. The university also has a strong emphasis on community service, with numerous volunteer opportunities available to students.

Student Life and Culture

When it comes to student life, both Middlebury and Washington University provide ample opportunities for extracurricular activities, clubs, and athletics. Middlebury has a strong outdoor recreation community, with activities such as rock climbing, hiking, and skiing being readily available. On the other hand, Washington University offers excellent resources for community service and social justice work through their Gephardt Institute for Civic and Community Engagement.

Furthermore, both institutions strive to create welcoming and inclusive campus environments that suit the diverse backgrounds and perspectives of their students. It is worth noting, however, that the student body at Middlebury College tends to be smaller and more close-knit, while Washington University boasts a larger student population and a broader range of affiliations.

In addition to the extracurricular activities and clubs offered at Middlebury and Washington University, both institutions also provide students with opportunities to engage in research and academic pursuits outside of the classroom. Middlebury’s Undergraduate Research Office offers funding and support for students to conduct research in a variety of fields, while Washington University’s Office of Undergraduate Research provides similar resources and opportunities for students to engage in research and creative projects.

Moreover, both Middlebury and Washington University have active and vibrant arts communities, with opportunities for students to participate in theater productions, music ensembles, and visual arts exhibitions. Middlebury’s Mahaney Arts Center and Washington University’s Edison Theatre are just a few examples of the institutions’ commitment to fostering creativity and artistic expression among their students.

Academic Programs and Majors between Middlebury vs. Washington University in St. Louis

One of the most significant factors to consider when choosing a college or university is the strength of its academic programs and majors. Middlebury College is renowned for its rigorous liberal arts curriculum, with top-notch faculty and resources dedicated to promoting academic excellence. Its Language Schools, in particular, have a reputation for offering unparalleled language immersion programs. In comparison, Washington University in St. Louis provides its students with access to a wide range of academic programs, including top-ranked engineering and business schools.

Both institutions pride themselves on their dedication to research, with opportunities for undergraduate students to engage in hands-on research and collaborate with distinguished faculty members.

Additionally, Middlebury College offers a unique program called the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, which focuses on international policy and language studies. This program allows students to gain practical experience in their field of study through internships and research opportunities. On the other hand, Washington University in St. Louis has a strong emphasis on interdisciplinary studies, with programs such as the Beyond Boundaries program that encourages students to explore multiple fields of study and create their own academic path.

Faculty and Teaching Style

Perhaps one of the most important aspects of higher education is the quality of teaching and dedication of faculty members. Middlebury and Washington University both boast accomplished faculty members committed to promoting academic growth and intellectual curiosity in their students.

At Middlebury, professors are known for their rigorous teaching style that encourages students to engage in critical thinking and have meaningful discussions in and outside of the classroom. Washington University, meanwhile, places emphasis on innovative teaching techniques, such as using technology and experiential learning, to engage students and enhance their academic experience.

Two office working talking next to a computer.

In addition to their teaching styles, both Middlebury and Washington University have faculty members who are actively involved in research and scholarship. Middlebury professors are known for their contributions to fields such as environmental studies, international relations, and literature. Similarly, Washington University faculty members are recognized for their research in areas such as medicine, engineering, and social sciences.

Furthermore, both institutions prioritize diversity and inclusivity in their faculty hiring and retention practices. Middlebury has made a commitment to increasing the diversity of its faculty and staff, with a goal of having 25% of its faculty come from underrepresented groups by 2025. Washington University has also taken steps to increase diversity among its faculty, including creating a Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committee and offering unconscious bias training for faculty and staff.

Research Opportunities between Middlebury vs. Washington University in St. Louis

Both institutions offer students extensive opportunities to conduct research and engage in undergraduate research projects. Middlebury College emphasizes its commitment to faculty-led research projects, where students work closely with experienced academics to expand their knowledge and skills. At Washington University, students have access to cutting-edge research facilities and collaborations with renowned research institutions such as the Danforth Plant Science Center and the St. Louis Zoo.

Additionally, both Middlebury College and Washington University offer funding opportunities for students to pursue their research interests. Middlebury College provides grants for students to conduct research during the summer, while Washington University offers research stipends for students to work on projects with faculty members during the academic year. These funding opportunities allow students to fully immerse themselves in their research and gain valuable experience in their field of study.

Student-Faculty Ratio and Class Sizes

Class sizes and student-faculty ratios are also crucial factors to consider when selecting a college or university. Middlebury boasts a lower student-faculty ratio than Washington University, which allows for more personalized attention and smaller class sizes. In comparison, Washington University has larger class sizes but still maintains a relatively low student-faculty ratio, ensuring students still receive individual attention from their professors.

However, it is important to note that class sizes and student-faculty ratios can vary depending on the specific program or department within a university. For example, the student-faculty ratio in the engineering department at Middlebury may be higher than the overall university ratio, while the class sizes in the English department at Washington University may be smaller than the university average.

Additionally, some universities may offer unique programs or initiatives that aim to further enhance the student-faculty relationship and class sizes. For instance, some universities have honors programs that offer smaller, more intimate classes with distinguished professors, while others may have undergraduate research opportunities that allow students to work closely with faculty members on research projects.

Tuition and Financial Aid Options

Tuition costs and financial aid options are an essential consideration for many students when deciding on a college or university. Middlebury College’s tuition costs are relatively high, but they offer comprehensive financial aid packages to ensure that students from diverse backgrounds can attend. Washington University in St. Louis also provides financial aid options to students, and its tuition rates are typically more affordable than those at Middlebury.

It is important to note that tuition costs and financial aid options can vary greatly between different programs and majors within a college or university. For example, some programs may have higher tuition costs due to the need for specialized equipment or materials. However, these programs may also offer more scholarship opportunities or financial aid options specific to that field of study.

Additionally, it is important to research and consider other expenses beyond tuition, such as room and board, textbooks, and transportation. Some colleges and universities may offer additional financial assistance or resources for these expenses, such as work-study programs or discounted transportation options.

Career Services and Job Placement Rates between Middlebury vs. Washington University in St. Louis

Both institutions provide excellent career services to help students prepare for the job market. Middlebury College has a high job placement rate, with around 90% of graduates securing employment or attending graduate school within six months of graduation. Washington University, meanwhile, offers extensive career counseling, job fairs, and internship opportunities through its Career Center.

Additionally, Middlebury College has a strong alumni network that provides valuable connections and networking opportunities for current students. The college also offers a variety of career-related workshops and events throughout the year, including resume building and interview preparation sessions. On the other hand, Washington University’s Career Center has partnerships with numerous companies and organizations, providing students with access to exclusive job and internship opportunities. The center also offers career assessments and personalized career coaching to help students identify their strengths and interests and align them with potential career paths.

Extracurricular Activities and Clubs

Both Middlebury and Washington University offer extensive extracurricular opportunities and clubs for students to pursue their interests outside of academics. At Middlebury College, students can participate in everything from student government to a capella groups. Likewise, Washington University has over 300 student organizations dedicated to various interests and fields of study. Both institutions ensure that students have a robust campus life outside of academics and have the opportunity to engage with their peers in meaningful ways.

students smiling and posing for the camera while inside an office

Moreover, Middlebury College and Washington University also offer various sports teams for students to join. Middlebury College has a strong athletic program, with 31 varsity teams and numerous club and intramural sports. Similarly, Washington University has a competitive NCAA Division III athletic program, with 19 varsity sports teams. Students can participate in sports such as basketball, soccer, tennis, and swimming, among others.

Additionally, both Middlebury and Washington University have community service and volunteer opportunities for students who want to give back to their local communities. Middlebury College has a Center for Community Engagement that connects students with local organizations and non-profits. Similarly, Washington University has a Gephardt Institute for Civic and Community Engagement that offers various programs and initiatives for students to get involved in community service and social justice work.

Athletics Programs and Facilities between Middlebury vs. Washington University in St. Louis

Both institutions offer ample opportunities for athletic engagement and competition. Middlebury is well-known for its athletic programs, particularly its ski and ice hockey teams, which have garnered international recognition. In contrast, Washington University has well-equipped facilities, including an Olympic-sized pool and a state-of-the-art fitness center, to support its NCAA Division III programs. Both institutions support their student-athletes and provide resources to ensure they excel both academically and athletically.

Additionally, Middlebury offers a variety of outdoor recreational activities, such as hiking, rock climbing, and kayaking, through its Outdoor Programs department. These activities allow students to explore the beautiful natural surroundings of the campus and surrounding areas. Washington University also has a strong intramural sports program, which allows students of all skill levels to participate in a variety of sports and activities, promoting a healthy and active lifestyle.

Diversity and Inclusion Efforts on Campus

Both Middlebury and Washington University pride themselves on their commitment to diversity and inclusion, with various student organizations and initiatives dedicated to promoting equity and inclusion on campus. Middlebury College offers a range of resources to support students of color, including the Anderson Freeman Resource Center. Washington University, on the other hand, places a particular emphasis on promoting dialogue around multicultural issues, offering diversity training for students and faculty members alike.

In addition to these resources, Middlebury College also has a strong commitment to recruiting and retaining a diverse faculty. The college has implemented a faculty diversity initiative, which aims to increase the representation of historically underrepresented groups among faculty members. This initiative includes targeted recruitment efforts, mentoring programs, and professional development opportunities for faculty of color.

Similarly, Washington University has made efforts to ensure that its campus is accessible and inclusive for students with disabilities. The university has an Office for Students with Disabilities, which provides accommodations and support services for students with disabilities. Additionally, the university has implemented a Disability Studies minor, which explores the social, cultural, and political dimensions of disability and aims to promote disability awareness and inclusion on campus.

Alumni Networks and Connections between Middlebury vs. Washington University in St. Louis

Both institutions have strong alumni networks that provide extensive opportunities for alumni to connect and support one another. Middlebury College, in particular, boasts a robust alumni community with numerous regional chapters and networking opportunities. Similarly, Washington University has an active alumni association and provides access to job postings, mentorship, and professional development opportunities.

Furthermore, both Middlebury College and Washington University offer alumni events and reunions, allowing graduates to reconnect with old classmates and network with fellow alumni in their respective fields. These events range from casual gatherings to formal receptions and often feature guest speakers and panel discussions on relevant topics. Additionally, both institutions have online alumni directories, making it easy for graduates to stay in touch and collaborate on projects or job opportunities.

Admission Requirements and Selectivity Rates

Admissions requirements and selectivity rates may have considerable weight when it comes to choosing a college or university. The acceptance rate at Middlebury College is around 16%, while Washington University’s acceptance rate is slightly higher at around 17%. Both institutions require strong academic credentials and dedication to extracurricular activities and leadership roles.

It is important to note that admission requirements and selectivity rates can vary greatly depending on the program or major you are applying to. For example, the acceptance rate for the engineering program at the University of California, Berkeley is much lower than the overall acceptance rate for the university. It is crucial to research and understand the specific requirements and selectivity rates for your intended program before applying to ensure the best chance of acceptance.

Housing Options for Students

Both institutions offer a range of housing options to accommodate students’ preferences, including apartment-style living arrangements and traditional dormitories. At Middlebury, students have the option to live in residence halls with faculty fellows to enhance their intellectual discussions. Washington University provides students with off-campus housing options and supports local community engagement through its Gephardt Institute.

a student studying

Additionally, Middlebury offers a unique housing option for students interested in sustainability and environmentalism. The Weybridge House is a student-led cooperative living space that focuses on sustainable living practices, such as composting and using renewable energy sources. Students who live in the Weybridge House also participate in community outreach and education initiatives to promote environmental awareness on campus and in the surrounding community.

Prospective Career Paths for Graduates of Each University’s Programs

Finally, it is essential to consider prospective career paths for graduates of each university’s programs. Middlebury graduates have gone on to careers in various fields, including politics, business, and environmental science, while Washington University alumni are often recruited for positions in law, medicine, business, and engineering.

Overall, both Middlebury College and Washington University in St. Louis provide excellent educational opportunities for their students and have unique characteristics that make them stand out. The decision in selecting an institution should be based on the individual’s academic and personal goals, preferences, and needs.


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