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Schools for my Quirky, Nerdy Kid?

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Replies to: Schools for my Quirky, Nerdy Kid?

  • MidwestmomofboysMidwestmomofboys Registered User Posts: 2,788 Senior Member
    Grinnell sounds like a good one to add to the list, albeit a reach for everyone. It has a more flexible curriculum, with excellent sciences, plus lots of funded summer research, internships opportunities. Anecdotally, we got the sense that admissions really looks at the whole student, given the experience of my older kid who is very bright and very disorganized, but who ultimately chose big flagship over LAC. My younger one was a recruit at Grinnell and spent a lot of time on campus and found the athletes down to earth, interesting guys. Neither kid attended, but it remains a school very close to my heart.

    Match/safeties could include Beloit, Lawrence, Kalamazoo (open curriculum, trimester), Earlham, Wooster (capstone research project is a defining common student experience). All would likely give merit for a 35, and all have non-binding EA, with decisions in the month of December. Being in Colorado, no one would hold it against you that you didn't physically visit -- hop on the website, sign up for mailing list, follow them on social media, see if they are visiting any college fairs in your vicinity and attend those. While some of them have greek life, it is "non-traditional" at those with it (Lawrence, Wooster) and really not what you think of as ra-ra, conformist greek life.

    Dickinson in central PA has big focus on sustainability, and is a warm, though somewhat conventional student body.

    In the alternative, there is another view that a bigger school, with more "pods" of kids, can be easier for quiet, shy, or introverted kids, to find their people. You don't see the same people in the dining hall every day, if you made a social faux pas, it doesn't stare back at you daily through the faces of the same kids. So the big publics can be really good options as well.

    My ADHD kid toyed with block plan format, but then thought that studying one thing, exclusively, for 3 weeks, was too much.
  • mom2autonutmom2autonut Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
    Consider Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. Extremely supportive, excellent STEMS school with 2000 students and a reputation for personalized teaching and a nerdy/quirky student body.
  • doschicosdoschicos Registered User Posts: 13,201 Senior Member
    "Does she want to pursue a BA or is she interested in a more tech oriented BS degree?"
    Lots of colleges don't differentiate and only offer a BA, like many LACs. That said, they still provide a strong STEM or CS education.
  • MusakParentMusakParent Registered User Posts: 43 Junior Member
    edited August 31
    @doschicos I am not cutting down any of the LAC BA comp sci/math programs by any stretch. But I worked and hired in a software company for 10 years, my husband still is,. There were definitely different skill sets that came out of those 2 different degrees and varying programs. There were jobs we'd primarily hire BA's for and other jobs we'd only hire BS/MS's for. Choosing a BS in a competitive program is more like choosing an engineering degree. You do a lot less general ed classes and many more tech/math/science classes.


  • cobratcobrat Registered User Posts: 12,277 Senior Member
    edited September 1
    While it's a reach, I'd recommend Wellesley as its cross-registration program with MIT means she could potentially leverage MIT's CS/engineering departments while also having the benefits of an LAC environment.

    One HS classmate who was rejected by MIT ended up taking most of her CS major classes at MIT through cross-registration at Wellesley.
  • ChristiGabiChristiGabi Registered User Posts: 29 New Member
    Thanks for all the great replies! Here were a few of my thoughts as I've been reading your responses:

    1. Good to see Bryn Mawr recommended. She really likes the idea of a women's college, but I think Wellesley might be too preppy for her tastes.

    2. She is adamantly opposed to any schools with a religious affiliation. Personally, I think she's crossing off a huge number of schools with that restriction, especially since many seem loosely affiliated and open to all beliefs. I think St. Olaf's sounds great, but I'm not sure she'll bend on this requirement.

    3. She is not interested in engineering. She would prefer to do pure math, or theoretical physics, but sees the financial and practical value in pursuing applied math, data science, etc. But definitely not engineering.

    4. She thought she wanted a school in a big city, but then we visited some in Boston and she changed her mind. Suburban areas somewhat near a medium-sized or large city now seems to be her preference. That is actually a big reason why Wellesley stands out. It's near Boston, but not right in the midst of the city.

    5. Financial constraints? That's a hard one to answer. Most NPCs we've done show that she'll get a small amount of need based aid, but not much. The amount they estimate we can pay seems shocking to me. She has a 529, and our financial planner has sat down with her to show how far it will go at various schools. For example, she knows that she can attend our local university (Colorado State) and pretty much have it all covered, but if she chooses Bates, she'll end up with some loans.

    6. After our initial reading of your replies, we're definitely going to look into Bryn Mawr, Beloit, Carleton, Whitman (maybe too rural?), Kalamazoo, and Lawrence.

    7. FYI - I mentioned that I'm making her apply to at least two in-state schools. As of right now, she has chosen Colorado State (because it's 10 minutes from home), and University of Denver (which I think could be a very good option).
  • cobratcobrat Registered User Posts: 12,277 Senior Member
    Swathmore might be another consideration considering they also have great CS/STEM.

    If she wants to study pure math or physics, I'd also give a nod to my LAC(Oberlin).
  • taverngirltaverngirl Registered User Posts: 69 Junior Member
    WPI might be a good match.
  • LindagafLindagaf Registered User Posts: 6,612 Senior Member
    Denver is private, but is a good choice nonetheless.
  • fendrockfendrock Registered User Posts: 3,044 Senior Member
    My daughter is a Wellesley grad, and had a minor in Astronomy, so she knew many of those majoring in Physics.

    I think your daughter could find the school a good fit, especially given her interest in science and math -- why did she think it might be "too preppy"?

    (My husband and I are vacationing at a farmhouse with little light pollution - the Wellesley Astronomy Club comes here in the fall to star gaze...)

  • shawbridgeshawbridge Registered User Posts: 5,216 Senior Member
    A few thoughts. Amherst College and U of Rochester. If your D were to run out of math/stats/CS courses of interest at Amherst, she could take graduate courses at UMass Amherst.

    If you look at the statistics for alumni giving, the schools that have the highest percentage of alumni who give every year are almost all not in cities but are relatively self-contained. I see the percentages of giving as something of a proxy for satisfaction with the school. See https://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/the-short-list-college/articles/2016-10-18/10-universities-where-the-most-alumni-donate and https://www.forbes.com/sites/schifrin/2016/07/06/2016-grateful-grad-colleges-the-top-200-show-me-the-money-schools/#71071d174f0e.

    My hypothesis is that when you are out in the middle of no place together, you are forced to make enduring friendships. Happened to me at one of the schools on the list and to my son at another. Not to my daughter at an urban school.
  • compmomcompmom Registered User Posts: 7,964 Senior Member
    Oberlin, Carleton, Macalaster, Bard, Tufts, Clark U., Smith, Brown, Lewis and Clark. Pitzer
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