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College Confidential’s “Dean,” Sally Rubenstone, put together 25 of her best tips. So far, the "25 Tips from the Dean" eBook has helped more than 10K students choose a college, get in, and pay for it. Get your free copy: http://goo.gl/9zDJTM

This is how you and your child select the right college

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Replies to: This is how you and your child select the right college

  • MomofKZMomofKZ Registered User Posts: 10 New Member
    Any thoughts on the non-academic side of college for a student with ADHD who can be challenged by daily life? My son is currently a HS junior. As the person he is now (recognizing/hoping he continues to mature significantly and learn to manage his ADHD by college), I can imagine him having difficulty navigating college housing registration/meal plans, course selection/registration, etc. at a large university. (Academically, he prefers a school where there is a lot of interaction in the class and where his professor will not just be accessible but also know who he is, similar to his high school learning environment.) That said, I have been leaning towards smaller colleges but have looked a few large universities with honors colleges, but I do wonder about how my forgetful, disorganized son w/ADHD would fare in the bureaucracy/anonymity of a large university system.
  • mnparentof3mnparentof3 Registered User Posts: 109 Junior Member
    @MomofKZ He may look into a school with a block plan where you take one course at a time for 3 1/2 weeks, then have 4 or 5 days off, then dive into another class. The workload for that one class is intense, but there's only one course to keep track of at a time. It's great for the right kind of kid. YMMV

    There aren't many of these, but a few that I know of are all small LACs:

    Colorado College (Colorado Springs): very selective, academically intense, expensive but might meet demonstrated need (?), about 2200 students, cool city and in the shadow of Pike's Peak

    Cornell College (in Iowa): less selective and probably much less academically intense, much less expensive than CC and lots of very good merit aid for high stats kids, about 1100 students, teeny tiny rural town

    Quest University (Squamish, BC, Canada): tiny school (700 students), gorgeous looking surroundings, hard to gauge exactly the academic deal since it's really new (founded 2002) but it seems intriguing for the right kid

    Tusculum College (Tennessee): I don't know anything about this one, but they do 2 8-week blocks per semester & appear to be less selective and have fewer fields of study than many LACs; 1500 students
  • PurpleTitanPurpleTitan Registered User Posts: 9,378 Senior Member
    Some people have pointed this out, but I see a lot of generalizing on this thread.
    The truth is that not all big flagship publics (or their departments) are the same nor are all elite mid-sized privates the same when it comes to emphasis on undergraduate education. The culture of a department/uni matters when it comes to caring about undergraduate teaching, weeding out, etc. For whatever reason, two departments/schools that on paper are alike in reputation/etc. may differ a lot with one caring only about research and the other about undergraduate teaching as well. And honors colleges aren't the same everywhere either.
  • MSMeadMSMead Registered User Posts: 192 Junior Member
    My son has a vague interest in college selection. His criteria is "does it have a good engineering program, good food and no further than 4 hours from home. He also prefers snow. That is how I compiled the list. I have gathered more information than I ever thought I would on each of the 7 schools. In about 3 weeks, we are going to compare and contrast all of the information I gathered, visit any that we haven't seen that he doesn't eliminate first and then he'll decide. He did tell me he keeps a list in his head for the tours: He's looking for the following things:

    Engineering program (status, prestige)
    Food
    Activities(personal and engineering related)
    Dorm room

    He also gets a feel from the campus. I thought he wouldn't like a large campus but he has. He eliminated one after visiting and he said he just wasn't feeling it.
  • londondadlondondad Registered User Posts: 1,932 Senior Member
    @msmead - What are the seven schools that you chose?
  • PostmodernPostmodern Registered User Posts: 918 Member
    ^^^^ Wait this sounds like fun to guess!:

    1. Lehigh
    2. RPI
    3. Cornell
    4. U Mich
    5. Penn State
    6. Northeastern
    7. U Mass

    How'd I do?
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 59,305 Senior Member
    MSMead wrote:
    My son has a vague interest in college selection. His criteria is "does it have a good engineering program, good food and no further than 4 hours from home. He also prefers snow. That is how I compiled the list. I have gathered more information than I ever thought I would on each of the 7 schools.

    Have you and he checked the colleges' net price calculators to estimate affordability?
  • MSMeadMSMead Registered User Posts: 192 Junior Member
    Postmodern: only got one right!
    ucbalumnus: I know exactly how much each will cost without merit scholarship. Some are offering and others I don't know yet.

    Case Western
    RIT
    Penn State
    WVU (huge merit scholarship, honors)
    Grove City College
    Virginia Tech
    Geneva (good scholarship)
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 59,305 Senior Member
    Pay attention to whether there is a secondary admission process to get into the desired engineering major after enrolling. Examples:

    http://www.engr.psu.edu/AdvisingCenter/ETM/
    http://www.enge.vt.edu/undergraduate-changing-majors.html
  • MSMeadMSMead Registered User Posts: 192 Junior Member
    Yes. Both Penn State and VT require a specific GPA to specify a major. Honestly though, if my son isn't getting at least a 3.0 as a pre-engineer then he may have chosen the wrong field. He's also a lover of Physics.
  • MSMeadMSMead Registered User Posts: 192 Junior Member
    I will mention, as for Engineering as a major, I've heard from a few sources that as long as its ABET accredited he'll get a good education. If that's true then I'm thinking he should go for the one he likes that will have the least amount of debt when he is done. I'm not telling him that, yet.
  • PurpleTitanPurpleTitan Registered User Posts: 9,378 Senior Member
    @MSMead, ABET sets minimum standards but there are still variations in rigor among engineering programs. They don't just look to meet minimum ABET standards at MIT and other elites/elite engineering schools, for instance. That said, all the schools you listed are fine for engineering (other than Grove City and Geneva, which I know nothing about so can't comment on).
  • MSMeadMSMead Registered User Posts: 192 Junior Member
    Thank you. Grove City College engineering is ranked with Hofstra, Messiah. Both Grove City and Geneva are more locally known colleges. I don't think Geneva is high on his list because our research showed that a lot of students go home every weekend and the town isn't great.
    There are so many factors that go into selecting a college. Is it more important to have a great "college experience" or a challenging program? My husband is a CMU graduate (not in engineering) but my son did not apply there. Looking at student reviews and comments for CMU the one we liked the best in terms of rigor was: Choose three, Work, Sleep, Friends, Eat. No matter how you put the three together its missing something important.
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