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How to balance numbers of schools vs casting a larger net for best outcome (admission/aid)?

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Replies to: How to balance numbers of schools vs casting a larger net for best outcome (admission/aid)?

  • happymomof1happymomof1 Registered User Posts: 24,808 Senior Member
    Do any of these flat-out guarantee admission for his stats? If not, he might want to identify one. Sometimes everything does go wrong, and the kid has no options but an unplanned gap year.
  • MomtoAndrew2018MomtoAndrew2018 Registered User Posts: 136 Junior Member
    @happymomof1 This is the reason we have 3 safeties.

  • MomtoAndrew2018MomtoAndrew2018 Registered User Posts: 136 Junior Member
    edited July 13
    @LoveTheBard Thank you!

    Now I don't feel too weird with 19 schools on the list. :) I feel the same way, it is hard to see how things would shake out. College admissions can be so unpredictable.

    Sadly, I don't think we can count on UMass being a safety. S's stats are a bit below average overall. He has a decent shot for non-CS, but not strong enough to be safety.

    I know what you mean. I have the NPCs for all the schools listed in a spreadsheet so I can definitely see which ones come at the higher sticker prices. Frankly speaking I doubt S can get much merit aid at all. It is a nice to have, but not a deal breaker.

    Visited so far:
    UMass Amherst
    BU
    Northeastern
    UConn
    UVM
    Rutgers

    Road trips/flights booked:
    Syracuse (with an on-campus interview)
    Binghamton
    VT
    Purdue

    Yet to plan:
    RIT

    Visit AFTER admission (if S gets lucky)
    U Rochester (still unsure about this school)
    Pitts
    Michigan State

    Visit AFTER admission (if S gets lucky). These do not track "Level of Demonstrated Interest" so we will rely mainly on virtual tours, online research etc..
    U Maryland
    U Illinois - Urbana Champaign
    North Carolina State
    Ohio State
    Penn State

    I've been pushing him to take a practice ACT to see how he likes it. He has already signed up for August's SAT, I will have to find out when he can take the ACT if this works for him.
  • LoveTheBardLoveTheBard Registered User Posts: 1,225 Senior Member
    Why unsure about Rochester? I've heard great things about it -- smaller than some on your list, but it's a great school and they do offer merit. Why Syracuse? I'd eliminate that over Rochester any day.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 60,362 Senior Member
    S is interested in CS and Engineering but this is not set in stone. He is pondering applying as undecided, especially to more selective schools.

    Be careful. Some schools want CS or engineering applicants to apply directly to the major or to the engineering division. Students admitted as general undeclared may face an extremely selective secondary admission process later to change into the CS or engineering major.

    https://talk.collegeconfidential.com/college-admissions/1947599-faq-does-intended-major-make-it-easier-or-more-difficult-to-get-into-a-college.html
    https://talk.collegeconfidential.com/discussion/comment/19854939/#Comment_19854939 (for CS)
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 60,362 Senior Member
    Very true...and a great reminder. S shows interests in CS and Engineering, but part of him also wants to 'keep the door' open and explore what he wants in life. If he wants to go undecided then that would be his choice. We just need to make sure to carefully choose the offerings to ensure the 'doors' are open should he decide to pursue STEM in the end.

    What are his other interests? If the majors of his other interests are not oversubscribed at the college, entering as a CS or engineering major leaves open the possibility of switching to one of the other majors later. But if CS or engineering majors are oversubscribed, then entering in the other major or undeclared could mean that the door is closed or very difficult to get into for CS or engineering majors.
  • MomtoAndrew2018MomtoAndrew2018 Registered User Posts: 136 Junior Member
    @LoveTheBard

    Two main reasons:
    1. U Rochester is a very high reach for S, more so it seems than other reaches on his list, based on Naviance and CDS data.
    2. The long, extremely cold and snowy winter up there can be very brutal (average -20F) and depressing.

    Syracuse is more of a target/match for S. Is there something about Syracuse we should be aware of?
  • gclsportsgclsports Registered User Posts: 100 Junior Member
    Op, we are in the same boat as you - seeking merit with our first college bound child and wanting S to have as many choices as possible. We also have 19 on the list. About 2/3 have an early action plan (and some have no app fee and/or no writing supp). S is going to see if he can eliminate any of the RD schools after he hears back from the EA schools. Might be able to narrow the list that way.
  • SybyllaSybylla Registered User Posts: 865 Member
    edited July 13
    EFC: 50 to 55k (depending on calculators used)
    We can help S pay any of the schools in the list for 4 years.<<<<<<

    What does that mean? You are right to realise that merit won't follow his stats in CS/eng especially, but will you full pay at some of those schools even if he is not a direct admit? What do you mean by help him pay?
    I think there are too many reaches. It isn't like some of those are JUST reaches, they are a challenge for kids with much higher test scores.
  • MidwestmomofboysMidwestmomofboys Registered User Posts: 2,653 Senior Member
    You can check the Common Data Set to see where your son falls on the stats for admitted students. If he is the lower 25% and OOS, it is almost certain he will not be admitted at the publics, as the admitted student stats on Common Data are for both instate -- where the bar is lower -- and out of state students. That could be a lot of disheartening rejections, which kids are surprised to realize come spring really do take their toll. I'd spare him, and you, the agony, and cull that list of OOS publics. Illinois Urbana Champaign admits into the College and, as best I recall, into the major, and it would be a high reach for an OOS student with a 3.5 and 1300.

    If your son is okay with smaller school, you might consider Rose Hulman, a smaller IN private STEM school. Alternatively, you might also consider University of Iowa -- (apologies if this is out of date info) -- it uses an online admissions algorithm and as long as you have gpa, test scores, class rank, you can plug it in and see if your student will be admitted and with any merit. University of Iowa is a lovely campus, on two sides of the Iowa River. Iowa State is another possibility, and uses the same online admissions calculator.

    Good luck, its a long process, and it really helps to have some early acceptances in the fall to ease the worry as the year progresses, so schools with rolling admissions are great ones to hit quickly.
  • happymomof1happymomof1 Registered User Posts: 24,808 Senior Member
    @MomtoAndrew2018 - Are those regular safeties, or auto-admit safeties? It is a good idea to have at least one likeable auto-admit on the list. Even regular safeties spring occasional surprises.
  • LoveTheBardLoveTheBard Registered User Posts: 1,225 Senior Member
    Syracuse has a reputation for being a bit of a party/drinking school. Winters at Syracuse aren't going to be any better than at Rochester.
  • MomtoAndrew2018MomtoAndrew2018 Registered User Posts: 136 Junior Member
    @ucbalumnus Thank you!

    Yes, I've come to realize this. UMass Amherst is a good example. CS/Engineering/Business majors at UMass Amherst are restricted, i.e. students must apply to those majors first before being put on exploratory tracks. A general 'undecided' student would not be able to apply after enrollment.

    Not all schools are like this though. E.g. Undecided can declare CS or Engineering as long as they can achieve minimum GPA requirements in the required core courses.
  • SybyllaSybylla Registered User Posts: 865 Member
    as long as they can achieve minimum GPA requirements in the required core courses.<<<<<<<<<<<

    But for any wavering kid, those courses are going to bite. Drop out for committed eng students is high enough. Make sure to try and find the entry stats for the college of eng/sci/whatever the CS comes under, as these may well be higher than the stats at entry of less competitive majors. Does he have any APs?
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 60,362 Senior Member
    Not all schools are like this though. E.g. Undecided can declare CS or Engineering as long as they can achieve minimum GPA requirements in the required core courses.

    However, if the minimum GPA is something like 3.5, be aware that 3.5 in college is generally harder than 3.5 in high school. The same goes for minimum GPA to renew a merit scholarship.
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