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Another "help me make a list!" thread

limitededitionlimitededition Posts: 21Registered User New Member
edited November 2012 in College Search & Selection
Hi, CC people.

Yes, it's another "help me make a list" thread. But. There are thousands of good colleges (I don't care much about "name") so it's hard for me to narrow down choices.

My stats:

3.8 UW GPA
2140 SAT (800 W, 740 CR, 600 M)
So far, ranked somewhere in the top 15/~500 - 600 (not sure how large my class is, gotta check)

Things I'm looking for in a college.

1.) Community. I'll be honest, I don't have many friends in HS. Not for a lack of trying either. I want to go to a college where it's easy to make friends, everyone feels part of a community, people are friendly, and most people are involved with the campus and activities.

2.) Great financial aid. I know everyone wants this, but my parents aren't really even sure if they want to help me pay for college at all, so.

3.) Fun school but not a party school. I barely drink, never do drugs (not even MJ), don't like to be around people who are often drunk or stoned. But I want the school to be fun, not study study study 24/7. Hopefully a campus where student groups, having silly fun, zany traditions, just chilling in people's rooms, and stuff are the source of fun more than parties.

4.) Intellectual but not so rigorous that I don't have time to live. I want a campus where people care about school, talk about classes, intelligent conversations, etc. But I also want to have time to get involved with activities, try out stuff I've never done, make friends, and not feel overwhelmed by my studies.

5.) Location can be anywhere. I'm from California so I'd kinda like to experience something new, four seasons (as long as they're not too harsh) and stuff. I'd like the campus to be in a small, charming town that has decent access to a city but probably not one directly in a city (if it takes away from campus life). Small cities with a cool, college town vibe are great too (like Asheville).

So far, Carleton is probably my first choice.

Thanks a lot for any suggestions. Oh, and I'm also open to women's colleges.
Post edited by limitededition on
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Replies to: Another "help me make a list!" thread

  • Erin's DadErin's Dad Posts: 19,936Super Moderator Senior Member
    Carleton will be a reach, and Minnesota winters can be harsh.
    Great financial aid. I know everyone wants this, but my parents aren't really even sure if they want to help me pay for college at all, so.
    You make it seem like it is a choice for your parents to pay for school. If they do have that kind of income then you would only get aid at the top schools which would also be reaches (HYPS, etc). If so you really should be looking at merit aid. Try here: http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/financial-aid-scholarships/1348012-automatic-full-tuition-full-ride-scholarships.html
  • rmldadrmldad Posts: 1,301Registered User Senior Member
    You don't indicate what you would like to study, but based on Carleton I assume you want a LAC. Also, I'm not sure if Minnesota actually gets four full seasons - winter seems awfully long.

    Your stats are good enough that you will likely be competitive nearly anywhere, so your first decision is whether you want to apply to High Match schools where you would be just another admitted student in line for FA or if you would rather apply to schools where you will be in the top 10-25% of admitted students and eligible for merit aid. If your parents won't pay anything, they are making this decision for you since any need-based aid calculation will include their income.

    Denison, Furman and Centre jump to my mind as meeting your criteria. Tulane and SMU also have good reputations for FA, although both are located in major metropolitan areas. Perhaps consider Ithaca or Grove City as well.
  • YouKnowWho13YouKnowWho13 Posts: 253Registered User Junior Member
    It is important to pick a college based on your interests. Perhaps if you share, then we will be able to help you.
  • limitededitionlimitededition Posts: 21Registered User New Member
    I've categorized as Carleton as a slight reach/possible match...does that seem right? Because my GPA (the 3.8) is UW...I have a 4.5 W...and my math score is lower than most, but my writing score is higher and my CR score is right at the top of the 50% percentile? Or am I being too optimistic?

    Okay, so I'm 18 already though...does that mean that I could file for the FAFSA myself or will my parents' income ALWAYS be included? :-/

    And um. As for what I want to study. I'm not 100% sure and I don't want my college choice on a major. But it's probably going to be English. If it wasn't, it would be something like Media Studies/Communication...

    Thanks, guys.

    EDT: Oh, and I'm open to applying to reaches, matches, and safeties. I really don't care...I just want to find the right school for me...if it happens to be a school where I am in the top 10% of applicants and can get great merit aid, well...all the better, as long as the students are still high-achieving and intellectual types. I don't want to go somewhere where I'll be bored with conversations and where I feel like one of the few that cares about academics.
  • BeanTownGirlBeanTownGirl Posts: 2,726Registered User Senior Member
    If you are willing to consider women's colleges, then I think you would really like Smith, Mt. Holyoke, Wellesley or Vassar (no longer all-female).
  • limitededitionlimitededition Posts: 21Registered User New Member
    ^Thanks for the suggestions. I've been looking into those! So far, Smith is my favorite from your list. Vassar! I forgot to research Vassar.....thanks!
  • muckdogs07muckdogs07 Posts: 1,166Registered User Senior Member
    Carleton is a reach but not out of the realm of possibility. Also, consider Grinnell, which has a big endowment and is known for giving scholarships.
  • limitededitionlimitededition Posts: 21Registered User New Member
    ^I like a lot of things about Grinnell, but the thing that scares me off a little is its reputation for having a LOT of stoners and stuff...
  • Erin's DadErin's Dad Posts: 19,936Super Moderator Senior Member
    You are not considered independent for FAFSA until you are 24, married, or in the military.
  • limitededitionlimitededition Posts: 21Registered User New Member
    Oh, okay. :-/ Thanks!
  • informativeinformative Posts: 1,737Registered User Senior Member
    Pomona would be a good reach for you.
  • M's MomM's Mom Posts: 4,562Registered User Senior Member
    "I like a lot of things about Grinnell, but the thing that scares me off a little is its reputation for having a LOT of stoners and stuff..."

    If you like Carleton, then Grinnell is no more 'stoner' than they are and Grinnell offers generous merit aid if you qualify. Lots of cross-applicants between the two schools, along with Macalester and Oberlin.

    If the party scene at any school concerns you, sub-free dorms are very popular - S lived in one at Grinnell for 3 1/2 years. Sub-free is great because it self-selects for kids who aren't interested in the party scene as their primary source of entertainment - but if you happen to want to party, you can - with the confidence that when you've had enough, you can return to your sub-free dorm and (probably) sub-free room-mate.

    I'd also suggest you take a look at Swarthmore and Haverford in the mid-atlantic region. Swarthmore is a bit more intellectual in vibe (lots of cross-applicants with U of Chicago). Haverford is small, but you can take classes at Swarthmore and Bryn Mawr. Better weather than the mid-west, certainly - but no merit aid at either school.
  • limitededitionlimitededition Posts: 21Registered User New Member
    Thanks for the suggestions.

    Out of curiosity, why do you suggest Swarthmore and Haverford but not Bryn Mawr for me?
  • M's MomM's Mom Posts: 4,562Registered User Senior Member
    I don't know enough about Bryn Mawr to recommend or not recommend it. The silence wasn't meant to imply anything negative. It has a good reputation, but I haven't actually visited or researched it, whereas I know more about the other schools I mentioned.
  • intparentintparent Posts: 13,797Registered User Senior Member
    I second the Mount Holyoke suggestion above. And Grinnell, due to the excellent financial aid. However... I think finances are going to be a big deal in your decision. As stated above, your parents income WILL be taken into account, and colleges WILL assume they are going to pay (whether they will or not). You need to get them to at least help you fill out a FAFSA calculator and some Net Price Calculators at colleges you are interested in. That will tell you what your family's EFC (expected contribution) is. The school expectations will vary quite a bit, but will also give you a breakdown of loans, workstudy, etc. They are not set in stone, but give you some idea. Then see if you can get your parents to make a commitment to how much they are willing to provide.

    I would suggest that you do that ASAP, as application dates are fast approaching, and you need to finalize your list.

    I think Swarthmore is too much of a reach given the OP's math score... this may also be true for Carleton.
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