They're no better or worse than those at any of UVa's peer schools, seekingknowledge. Plenty of people study in them and go on to great jobs and graduate programs. Your daughters should be more concerned with "fit" and cost than academics, imo (within general peer groups, if you know what I mean).
I think I understand what you are saying. Since we are oos and trying to narrow the field for visits, we thought we might be able to obtain some valuable information via this forum. Would you like to share? For example...we recently visited a school that looked good on paper and it ended up being a few administrators in an office with all professors being "borrowed" from other departments.
I wouldn't let that visit negatively color your opinion of the school, seekingknowledge. Every school ranked in the top 25-30 or so is very good and at the undergraduate level, you shouldn't try to differentiate much between them when looking at specific departments. Look primarily at overall academic reputation and non-academic factors.
If you have any specific questions about UVa, I'd be happy to answer them.
Thanks for the offer. Focusing on fit and cost, both girls are very involved at school. Good work history. Top 5-10% of class at very competitive school. Top 10% graduate with over a 4.0 gpa. ACT 33 & 34. Cross country and track & field. Highly motivated to succeed. They want to have the opportunity to become immersed in their college experience. No desire to just attend classes. Fit?
Cost...obviously it is two at once and a little brother following behind. So, yes cost is of great concern. Neither plan on stopping after undergrad. Chances for oos admission? Merit scholarship? Though we will seek need based financial aid, I don't know how much we can count on...at least the first year or two.
UVa focuses on financial aid based on demonstrated need. Two merit scholarship options I know of are Jefferson Scholars (nominated, competitive selection process) and Alumni Fund scholarships (very specific criteria).
I think that your daughters would have a good fit here, but a visit would help them decide.
Have you looked at the department websites for government and foreign affairs? The websites usually have a list of course offerings, recent news, research, faculty bios, etc. I think that looking at the website would help verify how active the faculty are. Good luck and hope this helps!
I was going to comment on how it was not particularly wise to spend a lot of money on UVA for a program in Politics/etc when it will hold no kind of advantage in grad school admissions/internships/etc compared to having a 4.0 at a school in-state, but UVA costs the same as most private LACs OOS, or maybe even a little less, so for those willing to spend that kind of money to each his own.
However, I think it is absolutely ridiculous for you to consider UVA if it is a financial reach.
UVA won't give you a lot of financial aid. It is a state school for VA so taxpayers like for their money to go towards their kids. If you have a lot of OOS need based aid then it might work, but they will hold you accountable for every penny you make to go towards tuition and that kind of burden is not worth what UVA would give your daughters which I'm sure they could get from attending a good state school that's in-state and not as expensive.
Don't get me wrong, I love UVA, but I don't think it's the smartest choice especially considering they want to go to grad school. Go somewhere cheap undergrad or somewhere where they will give you a nice merit scholarship, and then you can have your pick for grad school. Tuition (not including any extras like room/board/stuff) for your two daughters is going to be $30k/yr * 4 yrs * 2 daughters = $240,000.
hazelorb-I appreciate your point of view. Our points of view seem to be very similar. We have selected two in-state schools for application. Our wonderful state, however, gives only a fraction of the amount of money for merit aid as the majority of the rest of the US. One of the schools the girls have selected does give good merit aid.
Given the girl's stats, we were encouraged to "cast our net" outside of our state schools. UVA is one of the public oos schools that interest them. Believe me, as financially responsible people, we understand the financial impact ($240,000 without aid). My younger son always teases that I am a realistic-optimist. I believe the only true failure stems from not trying. We are exploring all options with a solid grounding. If the oos/private schools prove to be too expensive given their plans to continue their educations beyond ungrad, then so be it.
We believe that it is not all about the name of the school, but reaching for the best mix of academics, financials and potential experiences. Once the choice is made, I am confident that the girls will immerse themselves and excell no matter where they land.
Once the choice is made, I am confident that the girls will immerse themselves and excell no matter where they land.
Exactly my point; don't go crazy over UVA if it doesn't end up working out financially, they'll be fine wherever they are. Very true that you never know what the aid package will be if you don't apply, but being realistic is good.
seekingknowledge, UVa actually does sound like it would be a great fit for your daughters. You said:
They want to have the opportunity to become immersed in their college experience. No desire to just attend classes. Fit?
This describes the overall UVa experience for most people. From what I've seen, UVa is among the most balanced top schools. We've got great academics and career/grad school placement, but we've also got very involved students who like to have fun. The same can't be said for most schools in the top 25-30 or so.
About financial aid: Have you completed the FAFSA? Do you have an idea of what your EFC is? UVa has excellent financial aid for a public school and already has a sticker price far below schools like Georgetown and Duke.
We won't complete the FAFSA until January. From what we have researched, need based aid at a public institution is not to be counted on. (However, we are not rolling in the money) So, that is why we are looking for the right fit (both academically, financially and socially). Don't get me wrong, we understand how competitive the merit aid can be. We just have to try. Not rich enough to afford the $40-50,000 per year for each of the girls, but not qualifying for needs based aid. We just have to try.
Sounds like UVA would be a good fit for them (see Cav's post..my thoughts are exactly what he pointed out), especially if they want to have engaging academics, both in and out of the classroom.
As for money, maybe they could start searching for outside scholarships? Jefferson is very competitive, but they should definitely be thinking about that as well. Another route is to go for undergrad, land a good job, then let the company fund grad school. It might delay grad school for a year or two, but it's not at all a bad thing, just leaves room for more growth and more time to think about what they want to study in grad school.
I'm not sure if the FA office could help give you an exact number for what will be expected of you, but they might be able to give you a ballpark. I would give them a call.
In the end, hazelorb is right. Undergrad is not worth going into complete debt over. If your state schools are reasonable, they might be your best bet. Save the money, they can excel on their own terms, and go to grad school if they want. If you do make the leap for UVA, don't be burdened by the thought of grad school. It may or may not happen, but a great undergrad education at UVA will, if you chose that route. Good Luck to you and them