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What are some realistic reach, match, and safety schools for a kid with crazy parents

yushkiyushki Registered User Posts: 36 Junior Member
My college search process has just entered its most stressful portion. My junior year is wrapping up, and my parents are putting on the pressure to visit more schools. I have already visited a fair amount of schools, and so far my top 3 are UCSB, Alabama (which I truly loved), and the University of Washington.

My parents, however, think that I should be touring more prestigious schools, and my father is especially preoccupied on rankings and prestige. He thinks I should be touring schools like Boston College, Vassar, Dartmouth, and Vanderbilt. I feel like these expectations are overly optimistic and spending time/money visiting these schools would be a waste.

What type of schools do you ladies and gents think would be some more realistic match/reach schools for me to tour this summer before I send out my apps this fall?

My stats/info:

UW GPA: 3.75 (3.77 after this semester)
W GPA: 3.99 (4.04 after this semester)
UC GPA: 4.11 (4.17 after this semester)

Senior Year Course Load
AP Government
AP Econ
AP Enviro. Science.
AP Literature
Speech and debate

AP's - Euro, Stats, US history, 1 semester of English language (dropped after 1st semester due to issues with teacher)
Honors: Chem, Spanish IV

Test Scores
ACT Composite: 33
Math: 32 Eng: 36 Reading: 36 Science: 28 Essay: 7/12
Testing again in June

Work experience, some minor volunteering, lacrosse, lots of clubs eg. Spanish, Underrated Extra Man, Ping Pong, Young Democrats

Student Government
VP of Senior Class

Honor roll every year
Second place in regional science fair
Scholar Athlete Award every year
Speech and Debate Positive Record

Varsity Lacrosse

Major: I'm juggling environmental science, econ/management, poli sci, and 100% film production as a minor.

Financial: No FA needed, but it would of course be a bonus

Location: Does not really matter, but I do like the South quite a bit. Sweet tea, warm weather, and Southern hospitality definitely stood out as selling points at Alabama and U of SC when I visited.

Thanks in advance CC!

Replies to: What are some realistic reach, match, and safety schools for a kid with crazy parents

  • Sportsman88Sportsman88 Registered User Posts: 1,579 Senior Member
    It is better to not be enamored with prestige but you have a shot at admission to some good schools if you truly don't need FA - in other words your parents understand that private schools cost $60-70,000 per year full pay.

    Your GPA is a little low but you are competitive for Boston College and similar schools. Dartmouth isn't out of the question. Now, these are still more reaches than matches but not zero percent. Have you considered Tulane? I'm sure Vandy is a reach but it's worth a visit. Maybe Emery as well. You would be a strong match at SMU. Dallas is a great city.

    Tell your Dad you are not interested in the North East but make a list of private's in the South with strong reputations. USC fits the bill for your majors but definitely not guaranteed admission and you are upwards of $70k per year.
  • WISdad23WISdad23 Registered User Posts: 815 Member
    edited May 16
    My 2 cents is to listen to your parents. Go visit those schools. They are beautiful campuses and I assume that your parents are paying for the vacation. In then end, maybe you like them, maybe you don't. But visiting them gives you a much better perspective.

    We visited a bunch of small liberal arts colleges which we thought were great. However, they were all very expensive and our daughter did not really like any of them in the end. She preferred larger universities. So we spent a lot of time and money touring them and it was a great experience. In the end, from a parent's perspective, it was a good learning experience that saved us a ton of money given that our daughter decided to go to our state flagship university. Had she refused to visit other places we might have questioned her judgement. But going through he decision making process with her and listening to her preferences we are pleased with her choice. So don't let your parents bully you into a bad choice - but throw them a bone and at least look at some of their suggestions.

    As an aside - Alabama is a great option for you from scholarship standpoint. We visited and really liked the campus.
  • MrSamford2014MrSamford2014 Registered User Posts: 278 Junior Member
    You might want to consider Furman. It's a well known liberal arts college with a beautiful campus in the up-and-coming small city of Greenville, SC. I have a niece who just graduated with a degree in environmental science. She enjoyed her time there, and she was able to do environmental research at some very interesting places overseas. Furman's reputation nationally isn't as strong as it was a generation or two ago, but it is still a widely respected school.
  • TTGTTG Registered User Posts: 712 Member
    Congratulations on your hard work and success! I hope you can enjoy the process and don't feel too much stress. You will be going to a terrific school in the fall of 2018. It's really primarily a matter of finding one that's a good match for you and is affordable.

    Of course, I'm a big believer in the thought that it's HOW you go to school not WHERE you go to school. People often weight "prestige" very highly. There's some reason for it. But there are truly amazing people--students, faculty, and staff--at many, many U.S. schools. Learning from them. Working hard. Taking advantage of opportunities. Creating opportunities. Treating others with respect and dignity. These are the things will make life successful and rewarding.

    Not sure if you are the first in your family to go to college, or how much research you guys have done, but these top, top schools are very much more competitive than even a few years ago. Vanderbilt's class had a 28-32 ACT range just a little over a decade ago and this year claimed an accepted class range of 34-36. It's a little bit of an apples-to-orange comparison (class v. accepted), I believe, but gives a pretty good idea of what happens when many, many high-stats students can and do throw their hats into the ring at a small number of schools.

    Not to say, at all, that you wouldn't get in to a Vanderbilt or a Dartmouth. No one knows how your final application will look. It's possible you would get in. But here's an example: about 6-7 years ago, we visited a top-ranked LAC with one of my kids. At the time, rep in info session said they accept 14% of applicants (much lower now). About 70% of all applicants were fully qualified to attend, and the school was confident they would succeed academically and otherwise. So only 1 in 5 fully qualified applicants were accepted. You could attend and do well at any of the schools your father suggests. The issue is the large number also applying. It's the same reason that "Hamilton" tickets cost so much on Broadway. Applying early, if you've decided and choice is affordable, is helpful in most cases.

    Your family can visit and you can just take it as a fun opportunity to spend time with your family and to see different parts of the country, if that works for you. And I think the college process is ultimately about where the student will live and learn and start to make their adult lives. Having the student take ownership of the process is one of the key things that will make it most successful.

    Besides Tulane and Furman, you might also think about Wake Forest. Check out the Wake the Vote program. I think it did really cool things in last year's presidential election. It's about 5000 undergrads and is in the ACC. Beautiful weather and sweet tea too. Your dad sounds like a terrific one who loves his kid. Good luck!
  • gardenstategalgardenstategal Registered User Posts: 3,209 Senior Member
    Agree with Wake recommendation. Maybe you should look at Davidson to be able to consider a LAC in geography you like. It sounds like the bigger schools are more appealing to you. You might like Clemson. Your parents, probably not...
  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 Registered User Posts: 31,958 Senior Member
    Look into Davidson too.
    Ensure your safeties, find affordable matches (any college that admits 30+%), then add as many reaches as your parents want.
    Ger a Fiske guide and go visit different schools.
  • ShrimpBurritoShrimpBurrito Registered User Posts: 1,085 Senior Member
    I agree that Tulane sounds like a great match. You could be in line for a nice merit scholarship, but they do heavily consider interest, so a visit would definitely be a good idea.
  • yushkiyushki Registered User Posts: 36 Junior Member
    @Sportsman88 Thanks for the advice! My parents fully understand the cost commitment, I am extremely fortunate to have their support in this process
  • yushkiyushki Registered User Posts: 36 Junior Member
    @WISdad23 Thanks for those 2 cents, I am going to throw my parents a few bones this summer as we've planned to visit Vassar, Boston College, Swarthmore, and a couple of others up North.
  • yushkiyushki Registered User Posts: 36 Junior Member
    @MrSamford2014 I will have to add Furman to my list, I hadn't heard about it before now!
  • yushkiyushki Registered User Posts: 36 Junior Member
    @TTG Thanks, my dad is a pretty awesome guy and I'm super fortunate to have him around! I did check out Wake Forest a few months ago, but it just wasn't for me. I will definitely check out Tulane, I really like NOLA, so I'll have to check out the school!
  • yushkiyushki Registered User Posts: 36 Junior Member
    @ShrimpBurrito That's what I've heard, I'll have to work in a stop to Tulane this summer!
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 63,552 Senior Member
    Alabama looks like a safety with an automatic full tuition scholarship if they keep it the same next fall. Should make it much less stressful knowing that you have a safety that you really like.
  • carolinamom2boyscarolinamom2boys Registered User Posts: 5,797 Senior Member
    edited May 16
    If you're going to tour Furman ,you may also want to look at Wofford in Spartanburg SC. (About 40 mins from Furman) In several publications , it is ranked higher than Furman. While Clemson is probably not prestigious enough for your family, it has recently been identified as the hardest school to be accepted to in SC. If you are going to tour Furman or Wofford , ask your GC to nominate you for their "scholars " programs which guarantee scholarship money, but you have to be nominated in your Jr year . Applications can be found on each school's website.
  • happy1happy1 Registered User Posts: 18,539 Senior Member
    If you like the south you certainly can visit schools like Vandy, Tulane, William & Mary, URichmond and others along those lines. It is perfectly fine to have some reach schools as long as you are realistic and have good safety schools that you would be happy to attend.
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