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Feeling lost and breaking down


Replies to: Feeling lost and breaking down

  • aquaptaquapt Registered User Posts: 249 Junior Member
    Hi, @Kelvin82 - I'm still in the pre-move-in stage of Scripps parenthood, so I don't have much firsthand experience to offer yet, but I can tell you that chem falls within Keck Science, which is a joint venture of Scripps, CMC and Pitzer, and is very highly regarded. CMC Econ is the one department at the 5C's that makes it very difficult for non-CMC consortium students to get classes; so your assessment of the merits of majoring in econ at Scripps shouldn't hinge on the possibility of taking CMC classes. As far as I know the econ department at Scripps is solid in its own right, but I'm definitely not the person to ask about that.

    I do know that the older Scripps students I know of through friends have been very successful at getting grant money from the college for all sorts of things. I have no specific disability-related examples, but there's so much precedent for students getting financial backing for various things the school is *not* required by law to pay for, that I can't imagine them being stingy on disability accommodations that they ARE required to provide! It's not just public institutions that are required to provide accommodations.

    I do think that if you are drawn to the whole "sisterhood" aspect of women's colleges, Scripps offers a very best-of-both-worlds option, as a women's college within a co-ed consortium. Of course, I'm still speaking from an outside-looking-in perspective.

    There is no reason at all to feel guilty for writing about your vision issues! I'm sure you are clear on the difference between being candid about how a challenge has shaped your life, and capitalizing on disability tropes or pathos. There are all sorts of things that make people's experiences unique - race, culture, ability, family circumstances - most of which the individual doesn't get to choose. That doesn't mean that all these things should be off-limits - quite the contrary. Let those things help you to stand out as someone with a unique perspective to bring to their community.

    I'm sure you could be referred to get your follow-up in other places, but it does make sense to check out what resources are available nearby the schools you're considering. Someplace like Rice, for example, with the massive Med Center district within walking distance, would obviously have all the resources you'd need. Dartmouth-Hitchcock Med Center has a wide range of specialists too. From someplace like Williams, you'd be looking at a significant trek into Boston. (No problem at all from Wellesley, though.) Carleton is close enough to MSP that I'm sure you could make it work. It's not like you need to have appointments that often. Overall it doesn't sound like this should be a deal-killer, but it's a consideration.
  • LoveTheBardLoveTheBard Registered User Posts: 1,490 Senior Member
    Okay, so now I have a better sense as to where you started out and where you are now than I did through our pm. How great that you are able to do Questbridge -- it's a wonderful program! But, of course, you have to be sure about wanting to go to your "matched" school (unless, of course, you're matched to MIT, Princeton, Stanford, or Yale whose matches aren't binding).

    I have a quick question -- did you ever take the ACT and, if so, how did you do on it? The reason I ask is that many schools will not require you to submit subject tests if you have taken the ACT with writing (your SAT subject test scores, while not perfect, are okay -- I wouldn't bother retaking them or spending too much time worrying about them, as most schools let you pick and choose which scores to send anyway).

    As for your disability, it's certainly something that you and/or your counselor can talk about in terms of showing your resilience and your positive attitude. The same goes for talking about having to work to support your family and how that might have affected your grades. Probably the latter is best addressed by the counselor and former by you in your CA essay. There is also a section on the CA that allows you to provide any "additional information." You might want to briefly explain any issues that might have negatively affected your grades.

    It's great that you are doing some of those fly-in programs. My D didn't do enough of them (she only did Rice's SOAR; many of the other dates didn't work for her). It's a great way to visit schools, and I do think that it gives you a bit of a boost in Admissions. Even if you are waitlisted, your idea about contacting the schools is an excellent one. Being on their radar and showing "demonstrated interest" is going to be quite helpful. You probably want to apply to the programs at Scripps and Pomona that can fly you down in you're far enough away or that you can travel by bus, train, or car if you are close. I believe that the deadline for Wash U.'s program has passed. That's another great school that you might want in your radar. Also U. Chicago.

    How often do you have to visit your doctors? You can certainly can make plans to do so during breaks. That said, being someplace with good medical facilities nearby would be a definite plus.

    As far as accommodations and disability services go, the Claremont Colleges have a centralized Disabled Student Services that seemed to have its act together and be quite supportive. People I know that have needed support and services have gotten them. Likewise, I believe that USC is also quite good with their disability services. I know that with respect to making the school seem smaller, they have several honors programs that create a sort of "school within a school;" specifically, Thematic Option, which is a humanities-based Great Books-type program, and Freshman Science Honors.

    Women's colleges are a great option. Bryn Mawr might be a great choice, and being part of a consortium with Haverford, Swarthmore, and Penn is great.

    As far as LACs go, in addition to Williams and Amherst, Swarthmore, Vassar, Wesleyan, Carleton, Grinnell, Macalester and Davidson are excellent LACs to think about. Frankly, there aren't any Questbridge schools that I would advise against -- it'll be a matter of finding the best fit for you.

    Please feel free to continue the conversation here or via pm.
  • Kelvin82Kelvin82 Registered User Posts: 316 Member
    @LoveTheBard thank you! No, I did not take the ACT, because accommodations were not requested for them. Did your daughter apply to Rice? How did she like Rice after visiting? Did she find the student body tolerant and accepting? I have heard that it is one of the happiest places for students and that everyone is friendly. Thank you for your thoughts and perspective.

    @aquapt Does your daughter like Rice? Would you mind answering the questions that I posed above? Thank you for giving me more insight about Scripps! It is officially on my list of ranked colleges for QB.

    I am so happy to say that I was accepted for Discover Swarthmore! I read on past threads that Swarthmore students are extremely quirky and driven, and not as preppy as Williams or Amherst. One thing that concerns me is the grade deflation. I really like its arboretum setting and that its chemistry and Econ departments look amazing. It is also close to Philadephia, but has that close knit community that cares about its students.

    Asking on this thread, but would anyone be willing to read over my essays? I would genuinely appreciate it.
  • theloniusmonktheloniusmonk Registered User Posts: 980 Member
    "To be honest, I feel guilty about writing about my visual impairment, because I was born with it; I haven't earned it. It has played a major part in my life, however. I will do my best to make sure resilience and positivity shine through."

    Most people are born with disabilities and it's not your fault at all, so I would mention it and see if you can apply with other LD applicants. Do you get any accommodations now through a 504 or IEP? If so, I would definitely mention that in your applications as those would be available to you in college per ADA (which I think someone mentioned). And you can't be discriminated on that basis. Anyway it looks like you're doing really well so far in the process, good luck!
  • aquaptaquapt Registered User Posts: 249 Junior Member
    edited August 2017
    Hi, @Kelvin82 - Sure, I'd be happy to read your essays!

    As for Rice - my D had a very good experience there. The social experience, with the Residential College system, is very well engineered, and that makes for - as you note - a generally happy and healthy student population. That counts for a LOT. And of course it's an excellent school academically.

    That said, I don't necessarily think that for you, I would rank Rice *above* other QB schools that you're interested in, such as Wellesley, Carleton, and the Claremonts. Certainly all of the sciences are strong at Rice, and I'm sure the econ department is fine (although it's not something Rice is particularly known for)... but it's not a place with a strong interdisciplinary bent. My prediction is that you would probably end up with a major in one and a minor in the other, as doing a double-major across academic-college lines (Sciences + Social Sciences) would be pretty grueling, and there would be little overlap between those spheres. And the social atmosphere, while the egalitarian inclusiveness of the residential college system is wonderful, can feel a bit contrived (i.e. a little summer camp like at times) and can start to feel a little inbred and wearying after a few years. (Sometimes, what is best to give entering first-years a smooth transition is not best for upperclassmen - it's all about trade-offs!) I guess my feeling is, it's hard to go wrong with Rice - it is solid in just about every way - but it also isn't the ultimate place for everyone. Part of the reason that it's ideal for many full-pay students is that it's "sticker price" is around $15K/year less than many top private colleges and universities. But, if you're on a full ride, this won't matter to you... so you might want to rank some schools where you'd get small classes and individual attention from Day 1 above Rice, where you'd be in a lot of large lecture classes at first. My D didn't really start having relationships with professors until her third year.

    For your econ+chem combo, it seems to me that Claremont McKenna would be at or near the top of the heap. All the virtues of the 5C's, with the highly-coveted CMC Econ department and the shared Keck Science department (CMC+Pitzer+Scripps) for Chem - you could hardly find a better combination of highly-regarded academic departments in a terrific consortium. Scripps wouldn't give you much access to CMC Econ, but the Chem major and the overall consortium context would be the same, and Scripps has its own virtues to weigh. I also still think Carleton sounds like a great fit for you, and perhaps Macalester as well.

    And congrats on the Swarthmore fly-in!! Another terrific school. (And you're not pre-med, so grade deflation isn't as much of a worry as if you were.) Do you know whether you'll be able to get a look at the other Quaker Consortium schools while you're there? (UPenn and Haverford being QB schools also) I know there's a shuttle connecting the schools - it's just a matter of whether you'd have time to do the rounds.
  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 Registered User Posts: 32,498 Senior Member
    I don't think a student who's a good fit for McKenna would be a good fit for Carleton or Swarthmore and vice versa - they have very very different vibes and ethos.
  • Kelvin82Kelvin82 Registered User Posts: 316 Member
    @MYOS1634 is it because Claremont McKenna has an intensely pre-professional vibe and is oriented towards leadership, whereas Carleton and Swarthmore are more intellectual and quirky?

    In regards to college vibes, I'm looking for a quirky and intellectual student body with people of diverse interests and school spirit. I would like the college to have a traditional college campus and a beautiful setting that preferably has a body of water. I am also not opposed to the presence of Greek life. I also plan on doing grad school and applying to Rhodes, Fulbright, and Marshall scholarships (this is why I am concerned about grade deflation at Swarthmore)

    But these are not hard limits, and may change over time.

  • aquaptaquapt Registered User Posts: 249 Junior Member
    edited August 2017
    @MYOS1634 , I agree that Claremont McKenna has quite a different vibe from the "quirky intellectual" LAC's... and my sense of Kelvin (admittedly based on a limited view) is that the latter would be a better fit personality-wise. But then again, she's casting a wide net, and if schools like Dartmouth are still on the table, then I don't know why CMC couldn't be too. All I'm saying is that you'd be hard pressed to find another school with better-regarded programs in both econ and chem. Also, even if one weren't dead-center of the "vibe" demographics at CMC, there would still be plenty of like-minded students around the consortium, from the other colleges. (And a majority of the other Keck Science chem majors would be from Scripps and Pitzer anyway.) So my thought would be, keep it on the list and weigh the draw of the highly sought-after econ department vs. other aspects of "fit." But others who have more direct experience with the aspects of student life that are particular to CMC might rebut that.

    As for grade deflation, I have generally heard that grad schools and fellowship programs tend to be more inclined to look at grades in the context of the particular undergrad institution, as opposed to med schools which tend to look at GPA more as an absolute number. But certainly, grade inflation/deflation is still a factor to consider.
  • aquaptaquapt Registered User Posts: 249 Junior Member
    edited September 2017
    FWIW... http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/blind-student-sues-dartmouth-over-accessibility/ar-AAraM8J?li=BBnbcA1&ocid=wispr ( @Kelvin82 , this student is easy to find on Facebook and Twitter, if you wanted to make contact and get her perspective firsthand)
  • Kelvin82Kelvin82 Registered User Posts: 316 Member

    It's been two weeks since my trip to Swarthmore College and I wanted to jot down my impressions.

    The campus is one of the most beautiful campuses ever. All lush trees and flowers. The amphitheater is incredibly beautiful, blanketed by moss. The only downside was the amount of bugs that bit me.

    I was able to sit in on three classes, an economics class, an advanced Chinese class, and a yoga class. The econ class was great; I loved that the prof was accessible to all his students and knew them all by name. I wished that there was more student interaction and that the class sizes could be smaller.

    The faculty luncheon was amazing. There were faculty from every department and we were able to sit down with them and talk to them. I loved the Chemistry professor and the French professor; their research was fascinating.

    I honestly wished that the campus could be a bit larger, plus the food wasn't that amazing. Also was surprised by the prevalence of Thursday night parties. My hostess was very nice; she is majoring in econ and chinese in the Honors Program. The Oxford style seminars seemed really interesting. The academics are top notch.

    I talked with the Disability services directors and they were very accommodating and lovely. They emphasized that they would do their best to accommodate my needs.

    I wished that Swarthmore could be larger; the admissions office emphasized that Philadelphia was readily available, but current Swatties said that they rarely go off campus. Admissions also advertised the pass fail system heavily, but I found out that there aren't really any shadow grades; there are still records that graduate schools can access.

    Swarthmore emphasized that the majority of graduates went onto grad school and PhDs. I liked that, but I'm unsure if I want to go to grad school.

    I wish I saw more quirkiness, and the students didn't really hang out with others of different races/ethnicities. I also wished that the admissions officers were more available to DiscoSwat attendees.

    I liked Swarthmore. If anyone has any other thoughts, please add on.

    Thanks for reading
  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 Registered User Posts: 32,498 Senior Member
    Thanks for the update!
    It seems that you already seem to have preferences and you're doing everything right for the visits, looking at everything from different angles.
    Hope you're not too exhausted and still going strong. :)
  • Kelvin82Kelvin82 Registered User Posts: 316 Member
    I am retaking the SAT next Monday, which means unfortunately, I will not be able to go to Barnard Bound. Hoping to break 1500........

    I submitted my Questbridge application on September 27th, and am anxiously waiting for finalist results.

    Does anyone have any experience with the CSS Profile, especially the Non Custodial Parent Waiver? Questbridge schools all require the waiver by November 1st, so mentally keeping that in the back of mind.

    Also need to submit test score reports, transcripts, supplemental essays to three QB schools, and FAFSA and CSS Profile. I can already see the fees adding up.....

    Filled out applications to Cal State LA and Cal Poly SLO and am crossing fingers to be accepted to the Cal State LA's honors program.

    The one thing I am extremely glad about is that I'm not very stressed about the college process. Although the Questbridge application process was stressful, it helped me gain an early start, which made writing the UC personal insight questions relatively painless. Thank you everyone for your help!

    At this point, my rough game plan is to go through QB college match. If not matched, then hoping to gain acceptance through Early Decision or Regular Decision. (Some QB schools allow you to switch your app into the ED pool).

  • momcincomomcinco Registered User Posts: 993 Member
    Kelvin82, sounds like you have a workable plan, with Match and ED / ED2. Keep us posted! The Swarthore and Barnard fly-in acceptances were good signs that you are a strong candidate. Too bad you can't attend Barnard, but you are right that bumping up your SATs even a little may help a lot during the admissions cycle.

    It will be exciting to hear more as your search develops. Glad you have the CA schools as backup, tho, just in case.
  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 Registered User Posts: 10,576 Senior Member
    Also need to submit test score reports, transcripts, supplemental essays to three QB schools, and FAFSA and CSS Profile. I can already see the fees adding up.....

    @Kelvin82 You should see your guidance counselor to find out if you qualify for test and score report fee waivers. For the SAT that also gets you a certain # of CSS Profile school submissions for free, plus the SAT test fee and some score reports (4ish i think).

    FAFSA is free.
  • aquaptaquapt Registered User Posts: 249 Junior Member
    Hope the SAT went well, @Kelvin82 . I second the advice to ask about fee waivers. Too bad Barnard Bound had to go, but you can't do everything.

    Re: the SLO application - make 100% sure you enter all the MIDDLE SCHOOL math and foreign language classes that you took for high school credit. There was much weeping and gnashing of teeth on the SLO threads this year, from people who didn't make the cut because they lost points by forgetting to enter those classes/grades. Which major are you applying to there? (Not sure whether the MCA threshold is higher for chem or for econ. The patterns by major can be counterintuitive - i.e. who would guess that psychology would have a much higher cutoff than sociology, and in fact higher than many engineering majors? There was a link to historical data by major on CC somewhere last year, and now I can't find it.)

    Great report on Swarthmore. Did you get to any of the other consortium campuses? Those might help to balance out the Swat campus feeling small... but the access isn't as easy as at the 5C's consortium where all the campuses are truly adjacent. The Claremonts are great that way - you get the benefits of a small campus but complete ease of branching out whenever your own campus starts to feel confining. Not sure about the relative Quirk Index... my sense is that Swarthmore is quirkier than Pomona or Scripps (and definitely quirkier than CMC which is not known for quirk), but one can always swing by Mudd when feeling quirk-deprived :-D You might like the quirk factor at Carleton better than either the Quaker or 5Cs consortia, but there's even less mitigation of the smallness there, so... pros and cons.

    So, final rankings for Match are due tomorrow - what have you decided?
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