OK, we need to get this thread going! I've just started researching in earnest, with moderate input from D. She's open to any kind of school - urban, rural, mild or extreme weather, small, big ... she sees positives in all of them. She's interested in Film/Video Production, perhaps double majoring in Public Relations. We prefer a LAC, since she's eligible for Tuition Exchange (see details at tuitionexchange.org), which has the potential to make private schools from "the list" a whole lot cheaper than public u's of Virginia.
At the end of her sophomore year, she has a 3.12 uw, ranks right at the 50% mark in her competitive class, and absolutely bombed the PSATs. On the upside, she takes a specialized dual enrollment program in mass communications, and her GPA from that (through the community college) is 4.0. Her rank is low because it's based on weighted GPA, and she's only taken one weighted class so far - but 5 of her 8 classes next year are weighted. Currently her school uses a 6 point grading scale, so all of her C's are actually 85s and 86s, and many of her Bs would become As (though they don't go back and change grades from previous years, and don't note the letter grade on the transcripts). Next year they're moving to a 10 point scale, which should help her tremendously. She also showed dramatic improvement the last quarter of her sophomore year. She has taken a SAT prep class, and it seems to have been beneficial - at least she's studying! She plays steel drum, does some volunteering, works on the school TV station, is joining Latin club this year, and is hoping to get a job this fall. She spent 6 weeks in Bolivia as an exchange student (8th grade), and we've hosted two exchange students in our home.
We've got a wild variety of schools in our list so far - I'd love feedback!
High Point (have visited, love it, low % on Tuition Exchange awards)
Goucher - awards Tuition Exchange to all qualified students & SAT optional
Flagler - the cheapest by far if she gets Tuition Exchange
DePaul - SAT optional starting 2012, and she loves Chicago (at least in the summer!)
Columbia College of Chicago (not a high % on Tuition Exchange)
Loyola University of Maryland
Chapman (it looks like they judge the portfolio heavily, but she's really low on the stats)