UIUC vs Bryn Mawr: Which College is Right for You?

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Pretty student walking in the hallway of a building.

UIUC vs Bryn Mawr: Which College is Right for You?

When it comes to college options, narrowing down your choices can be overwhelming. Two schools that are often compared in terms of academic reputation and student life are the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) and Bryn Mawr College. In this article, we will explore the many facets of UIUC vs Bryn Mawr in order to help you make a more informed decision about which college is right for you.

Location and Campus Comparison: UIUC vs Bryn Mawr College

One of the first factors to consider when comparing these two schools is their location and campus layout. UIUC is a large university located in the city of Urbana-Champaign, Illinois. Its campus is spread out over 6,000 acres with a range of modern and historic buildings.

In contrast, Bryn Mawr College is a small private liberal arts institution located in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, on a scenic 135-acre suburban campus. While both locations offer unique opportunities for students, UIUC offers a more urban experience with access to a variety of city amenities, while Bryn Mawr offers a more intimate and personalized college environment.

University of Illinois at Urbana

Another important aspect to consider when comparing these two schools is the climate. UIUC experiences all four seasons, with hot summers and cold winters. In contrast, Bryn Mawr College has a more moderate climate, with mild summers and winters. This may be a factor to consider for students who have a preference for certain weather conditions.

Additionally, the student population at UIUC is much larger than at Bryn Mawr College. UIUC has over 50,000 students, while Bryn Mawr College has just over 1,300 students. This difference in size may impact the social atmosphere and opportunities available on campus. UIUC offers a wider range of extracurricular activities and events, while Bryn Mawr College may offer a more tight-knit community and personalized attention from faculty and staff.

Academic Programs: Choosing Between UIUC vs Bryn Mawr College

Another important aspect to consider when comparing these schools is their academic programs. UIUC offers a broad range of academic options including engineering, business, social sciences, and many more. Bryn Mawr, on the other hand, is known for its excellence in the humanities, social sciences, and sciences, particularly in the fields of gender, ethnicity, and comparative literature. While both schools offer strong academic programs, it is important to consider your academic interests and goals when choosing between them.

UIUC has a strong reputation for its engineering program, which is consistently ranked among the top in the country. The College of Business at UIUC is also highly regarded, with a focus on innovation and entrepreneurship. Additionally, UIUC offers a variety of interdisciplinary programs, such as the Technology Entrepreneur Center and the Illinois Global Institute, which allow students to explore their interests across multiple fields.

Bryn Mawr College, on the other hand, is known for its commitment to social justice and diversity. The college offers a variety of programs and initiatives focused on promoting equity and inclusion, such as the Pensby Center for Community Development and Inclusion and the Gender and Sexuality Studies Program. Bryn Mawr also has a strong tradition of undergraduate research, with opportunities for students to work closely with faculty members on research projects in a variety of fields.

Faculty and Staff: How the Professors at UIUC Compare to Bryn Mawr College

The quality of faculty and staff is another critical factor to consider when evaluating a college. Both UIUC and Bryn Mawr boast distinguished faculties who are experts in their respective fields.

However, Bryn Mawr’s small class sizes allow for more personalized attention and mentorship opportunities from professors. UIUC’s larger class sizes might not provide as much personalized attention, but the vast array of professors and programs can be a strong draw for those seeking a broader academic experience.

Another factor to consider when evaluating the quality of faculty and staff is the diversity of perspectives and backgrounds represented among the professors. At Bryn Mawr, the faculty is known for its commitment to diversity and inclusion, with a high percentage of women and people of color represented among the professors. UIUC also has a diverse faculty, but the larger size of the institution means that there may be less opportunity for students to interact with professors from different backgrounds.

In addition to the quality of the faculty, it’s important to consider the support and resources available to students outside of the classroom. Both UIUC and Bryn Mawr offer a range of academic and career services, such as tutoring, advising, and internship opportunities.

However, Bryn Mawr’s smaller size allows for more individualized attention and support, with dedicated staff members available to help students navigate their academic and professional goals. UIUC’s larger size means that there may be more resources available overall, but students may need to be more proactive in seeking out these opportunities.

Admissions Process: Applying to UIUC vs Bryn Mawr

Another important consideration is the admissions process for each school. UIUC has a more competitive admissions process with an acceptance rate of around 60%, while Bryn Mawr has a 39% acceptance rate. It is important to research each school’s admissions requirements and deadlines and plan accordingly.

Unknown person using a laptop.

Additionally, UIUC places a strong emphasis on standardized test scores, with the average ACT score for admitted students being 30. Bryn Mawr, on the other hand, takes a more holistic approach to admissions and considers factors such as extracurricular activities, essays, and letters of recommendation in addition to test scores.

It is also worth noting that Bryn Mawr has a test-optional policy, meaning that applicants can choose not to submit standardized test scores if they feel that they do not accurately reflect their academic abilities. This can be a great option for students who may not have had access to test preparation resources or who struggle with test anxiety.

Student Life: What to Expect at UIUC vs Bryn Mawr College

The social and cultural scenes at both schools also differ widely. UIUC offers a large and diverse student body with a range of cultural and social opportunities from Greek life organizations to sporting events. Bryn Mawr, on the other hand, offers a more intimate and close-knit social community with a range of student-led initiatives and traditions.

Another major difference between the two schools is the location. UIUC is located in a bustling college town with vibrant nightlife and plenty of off-campus entertainment options. Bryn Mawr, on the other hand, is located in a quiet suburban area with limited off-campus options. However, the school is located near Philadelphia, which offers a range of cultural and entertainment options for students.

Additionally, the academic culture at both schools differs. UIUC is known for its strong engineering and computer science programs, while Bryn Mawr is known for its rigorous liberal arts curriculum. Both schools offer a range of academic opportunities, but the focus and approach to education differ greatly.

Extracurricular Activities: Which College Offers More Opportunities?

Extracurricular activities are an important aspect of college life, providing opportunities for students to develop leadership skills, make new friends, and explore their interests. Both schools offer a range of extracurricular options including clubs, sports, and organizations. UIUC, however, has an edge in terms of options, with over 1000 extracurricular groups. Bryn Mawr offers fewer options but has a strong tradition of student-led initiatives and activism.

It’s important to note that the quality of extracurricular activities is just as important as the quantity. Both UIUC and Bryn Mawr have a reputation for offering high-quality extracurricular programs. UIUC’s extracurricular groups are known for their innovation and impact on campus, while Bryn Mawr’s student-led initiatives have led to real change in the surrounding community. Ultimately, the best choice for a student will depend on their individual interests and goals.

Sports and Athletics: How Do UIUC vs Bryn Mawr Compare?

Sports and athletics are another important factor to consider when evaluating a college. UIUC is known for its Division I athletics teams and varsity sports programs, while Bryn Mawr offers a range of intercollegiate and intramural sports teams. It is important to consider your interest in athletics and the opportunities available at each school when making your decision.

UIUC has a strong tradition of excellence in sports, with its football and basketball teams being particularly popular among students and alumni. The university also offers a wide range of club sports, including ultimate frisbee, rugby, and soccer, which provide opportunities for students to participate in competitive sports at a less intense level.

On the other hand, Bryn Mawr has a smaller athletics program, but it still offers a variety of sports teams for students to join. The college has a strong focus on fitness and wellness, with a state-of-the-art fitness center and a range of fitness classes available to students. Additionally, Bryn Mawr has a unique tradition of May Day, where students participate in a day-long celebration of sports and physical activity.

Cost of Attendance: Evaluating the Financial Aspect of Attending Either School

Cost is, of course, a critical factor in determining which college to attend. Both UIUC and Bryn Mawr offer financial aid packages to students. However, UIUC’s tuition costs tend to be lower than Bryn Mawr’s, making it a more affordable option overall for many students.

It’s important to note that the cost of attendance goes beyond just tuition. Students also need to consider the cost of room and board, textbooks, and other expenses. Bryn Mawr’s location in a suburban area may result in higher living expenses compared to UIUC’s location in a college town.

Additionally, students should research and compare the types of financial aid offered by each school. While both schools offer aid, the amount and type of aid may differ. For example, Bryn Mawr may offer more need-based aid, while UIUC may offer more merit-based scholarships. It’s important to evaluate the financial aid packages offered by each school to determine which one will provide the most support for your individual financial situation.

Alumni Networks: Which School Offers Better Connections?

The alumni network at each school is another aspect to consider. Both schools have strong alumni networks with connections in a range of industries. UIUC’s extensive network is due to its status as a large state university, while Bryn Mawr’s network is more personalized and intimate.

UIUC’s alumni network boasts a large number of successful graduates who have gone on to make significant contributions in their respective fields. The network is particularly strong in the fields of engineering, computer science, and business. Bryn Mawr’s alumni network, on the other hand, is known for its close-knit community and personalized approach to networking. Graduates of Bryn Mawr often maintain close relationships with their fellow alumnae, which can lead to valuable connections and opportunities.

When it comes to networking, both schools offer unique advantages. UIUC’s extensive network provides access to a wide range of industries and opportunities, while Bryn Mawr’s personalized approach can lead to more meaningful and long-lasting connections. Ultimately, the choice between the two schools will depend on your individual networking goals and preferences.

Diversity and Inclusion on Campus: A Look at Both Schools

Diversity and inclusion are increasingly important factors when evaluating colleges. Both UIUC and Bryn Mawr have made strides to create inclusive and diverse campus environments. UIUC is known for its diverse student body, while Bryn Mawr’s strong commitment to social justice and equity creates a welcoming atmosphere for students of all backgrounds.

Three happy students smiling

At UIUC, the Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Relations offers a variety of programs and resources to support underrepresented students, including the Diversity and Social Justice Education program and the Diversity and Equity Certificate program. Additionally, UIUC has a number of student organizations dedicated to promoting diversity and inclusion, such as the Black Student Union and the Asian American Association.

Similarly, Bryn Mawr has a number of initiatives aimed at promoting diversity and inclusion on campus. The school’s Pensby Center provides resources and support for students of color, LGBTQ+ students, and first-generation college students. Bryn Mawr also has a number of student-led organizations focused on promoting diversity and inclusion, such as the Latinx Student Association and the Queer and Trans Student Alliance.

Choosing Your Path Forward: Factors to Consider When Deciding Between UIUC vs Bryn Mawr College

Choosing between UIUC vs Bryn Mawr College ultimately depends on a variety of factors including location, academic programs, faculty, student life, cost, and future job prospects. It is important to consider each of these factors thoughtfully and weigh their relative importance to your unique needs and goals.

Ultimately, both UIUC and Bryn Mawr are excellent schools with their own unique strengths. By taking an informed and thorough approach to your research and evaluation process, you can make a decision that is right for you and your future.

Want to learn more about comparing UIUC with other top and well-known Universities and Colleges in the country? You’ve come to the right place. At AdmissionSight, we have over 10 years of experience guiding students through the competitive admissions process.

AdmissionSight can help you put your best foot forward when applying to college this fall. Contact us today for more information on our services.


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