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Congrats! My niece graduated from UAlbany 2 years ago and we attended graduation. It was a really cool campus, with a nice up and coming vibe. They have underground tunnels so you can get to class in the winter out of the weather. Albany is an interesting town, and I know they have an active bus service so you can get around without a car.
Context for my comments:
Our family currently has two children in college.
One of them, my FS(foster son), won the Gates Millennium and the Horatio Alger scholarships. Both of these are highly competitive (57,000 applied for Gates, 1,000 won) and time consuming. He started working on his Gates application in late summer, as it had 8 long essays to write. The application was due in January, but that is very late for most of the big outside scholarships, which are typically due from Oct - Jan of your senior year. (Alger was due in mid October as I recall).
My D (daughter) is a year behind my FS, and she started working on scholarships (research) her freshman year of high school. She won her first (Carson) in her sophomore year. There were very few she was eligible for, but what was valuable about her early research (other than the project management skills it taught her) was that it helped her see just what these scholarships were looking for in their applicants, at a time she could then make herself a more competitive candidate. For example - leadership, volunteerism etc. Seeing what was desired, she made a game plan to demonstrate that she was their girl :) She became more involved in school, volunteered more etc. Yes, she thought about it, picked stuff she enjoyed already, and dove in. It makes a much better impression to have 3 or 4 years of a track record, not just two months, not to mention you actually give back and learn from the experience! :) Who do you think is a more impressive candidate, the kid that talks about a one day Relay for Life walking around the track experience, or the kid who describes how they took their therapy dog to the nursing home every Thursday and formed a bond with the residents over the course of two years?
Now you'd think with all the extra work she put in, my daughter would have made out better (i.e. won more money) than my foster son, but this was not the case. The big scholarships like CocaCola etc. her test scores were not high enough, and some of the other large ones,she was ineligible because of race or socioeconomics. He was eligible for things she was not, and he was ranked higher from a rubric point of view on some of the ones (i.e. Elks) that reveal how they judge. Still, the experience overall was extremely valuable for her. Her ability to organize, stay on deadline and persuade people to write recommendations for her is now well developed - all of these things useful in life :)
@MACmiracle - I'm not sure what "strong kids" is defined as. I would agree that certain majors are more competitive (i.e. Engineering). Personally when I talk about safety I'm speaking about financial affordability as much as getting accepted.
@misturcliff College is really what YOU make of it. As a TCNJ alum, I can tell you those were some really great years.
We used to hop the West Trenton train to Philly, we'd drive in to Princeton, go to the Market Fair, take advantage of school sponsored cheap bus trips to NYC etc. I was not of the Greek / drinking crowd, I was more of a Reading Terminal Market(Philly), Thomas Sweets chocolates(Princeton) and Movies at the MarketFair, sledding down on cafeteria trays kind of person. I'm sure there were parties and drinking. I doubt it will be at the level of a Rutgers.