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Not sure how to go about a college search for son


Replies to: Not sure how to go about a college search for son

  • luloobeeluloobee Registered User Posts: 85 Junior Member
    If your son is determined to go out-of-state, please also keep in mind that other state schools, such as The Ohio State will give enough merit that the costs become competitive with your in-state options. It sounds like he would be a candidate for excellent merit from University of Pittsburgh and their Swanson School of Engineering--and Pitt is very aggressive with merit for top candidates with excellent credentials such as your son. Both schools are located in growing dynamic cities that would probably appeal to his desire to experience something different while getting a great education.

    Good luck!
  • luloobeeluloobee Registered User Posts: 85 Junior Member
    Also, become very familiar with Naviance. If your son is in a large high school there will be a lot of great data and you will get a good picture of where previous graduates with similar stats have gone. Your HS counselor will help with that.
  • carachel2carachel2 Registered User Posts: 2,974 Senior Member
    @3bound --so are you feeling obligated to pay for the other son's vet school? That's a huge commitment. Why not throw it back on the kids? "Here is your budget per year. Choose wisely. You can defer your allotted money, stay home and go to local U and save all the $$ for vet school OR work hard and attempt to get automatic merit at the schools that are super generous to high stats. Then all of your allotted money is there and waiting for you as you hit vet school."

  • CreeklandCreekland Registered User Posts: 5,577 Senior Member
    The very first thing I suggest doing is getting on a Fafsa forecaster and see what it says your EFC is. These should be free - don't pay any website for it! Then get on a couple of school's net price calculators and seeing what they say you would be paying. The two numbers might be similar - or not. If not, you need to be aware of that and could try more toward "meets needs" schools if necessary.

    If the numbers look agreeable, then you/he will likely have several options. If you pick yourself up off the floor looking like a ghost, then you want to go for merit aid. Fortunately, it looks like he will have the stats for decent merit aid, but to get a better idea, pick up an SAT or ACT prep book that has older versions of real tests and have him take one at home to get an idea of his score range. His guidance office may have these for him to borrow. It depends upon his school. If not, many libraries have them - just don't write in the book, of course. Bookstores sell them too if you prefer your own copy.

    If his scores match his GPA, then merit aid is a definite possibility (though not always guaranteed). At that point, his being able to go out of state is also a decent possibility as many schools pay for diversity (give nice aid to kids coming from afar in order to say they have one from every state or as close to it as possible).

    Visit schools close to you so he can get a feel for what type of school he likes (urban, suburban, rural, etc). I'd normally also say large/small, but quite honestly, most (not all) of the best engineering schools are on the large side and often public. That way they can afford nice "toys."

    It seems like he has Texas as his safety for admissions/cost. That's a huge plus. He's free to see if anywhere else ends up decently affordable that he likes better. It may, or may not. Be honest when discussing this with him.
  • lvvcsflvvcsf Registered User Posts: 2,323 Senior Member
    At the moment your son's information incomplete. He should definitely get the standardized test done ASAP. In the mean time you can begin narrowing down the types of schools your son might be interested in. Private vs. Public, urban/suburban/rural/college town etc. Is he interested in working in industry or graduate school?

    Figure out what you are willing to contribute to his education. This can be from savings, regular earnings or money you are willing to borrow. That will give him some financial parameters. The balance of the cost will need to be covered by him through scholarships, financial aid, work, or federal loans he can get (limited to $5500 freshman year).

    As you look at schools they will be put into categories of safeties (VERY important), matches and reaches. A safety will be a school that he will definitely get in to, is definitely affordable and he would be happy to attend. Matches are schools that he is well qualified for but admission is not guaranteed and you may or may not require scholarships to attend. You should be willing to walk away from a match that is not affordable. Reaches can be reaches either because they are extremely selective and nearly all the applicants will be academically qualified or they are at the lower quartile of students that are accepted. Once you begin to get ideas about some schools, present them here and people can give you their impressions as to which category the school might fall.

    If all goes well he will have schools to choose from and hopefully more than one affordable option.
  • momocarlymomocarly Registered User Posts: 803 Member
    We are from TX and my son wanted to go OOS despite great programs in TX. Look at some of the OOS large universities. Mine got great merit brining the costs below instate tuition for every one he applied to. If your son does well on the SAT or ACT he should get good merit. Many of those colleges have great engineering programs. We have been hiring a lot from Iowa State, Auburn, Alabama, Mississippi State, Florida colleges, Purdue, and Ohio State recently. (I'm in engineering).

    My son is pre-vet so just a tip for your younger child. Go the cheapest route you can undergrad where you can get good grades. Prestige of the school doesn't matter. Go to a college with a vet school if possible. Look at the few colleges with early admission programs ( knocks a year off my son's program and he has a place held for him in vet school if he keeps his grades up). It is EXPENSIVE no matter what. Get all the hours with animals he can. In junior or sr year shadow veterinarians. That will tell if he really wants to be a vet or not. VERY important. Hours with animals is a big thing.
  • 3bound3bound Registered User Posts: 34 Junior Member
    @carachel2 - those are all excellent talking points and very realistic considerations...we were mainly concerned with launching the first kid but realizing that the second kid isn't far behind!

    He is looking toward working after graduation so a school that has good connections in the industry is important. He is open to private/public and is leaning toward a campus that's defined but has access to the city. He will be taking the SAT in May, subject tests and the ACT in June.

    I have an e-mail into the counselor to find out about the unweighted GPA and her recommendations.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 76,664 Senior Member
    3bound wrote:
    I have an e-mail into the counselor to find out about the unweighted GPA and her recommendations.

    You can calculate unweighted GPA yourself from the report cards and transcript.
  • happymomof1happymomof1 Registered User Posts: 29,442 Senior Member
    Type EFC formula 2019 into your browser's search bar, and you will get link to the PDF of this years FAFSA formula. Print that out and work your numbers on paper to see which factors affect your family's FAFSA EFC. https://ifap.ed.gov/efcformulaguide/attachments/071017EFCFormulaGuide1819.pdf

    From your estimate above of how much you think you can pay each year, my guess is that the only federal money your kid will qualify for are unsubsidized student loans.
  • 3bound3bound Registered User Posts: 34 Junior Member
    @ucbalumnus - Busy week for the counselors as we just selected courses for next year. In the mean time, how do I calculate the unweighted GPA? I have all of the exact number grades that he received for each quartile, semester and final grade. Thank you!
  • Erin's DadErin's Dad Super Moderator Posts: 36,438 Super Moderator
    For Unweighted GPA - Use Final Grades - A=4, B=3, C=2, D=1. Multiply Grade Value x number of credits or weight. Add. Divide by total number of credits or weight.

    If you use a %age grade then the A cut off could be 90% or 93% (those are the most common).
  • MA2012MA2012 Registered User Posts: 1,231 Senior Member
    edited February 2018
    How did he do on PSAT? If he did well that is an indication that he'll do well on SAT. If not, he can prep. With good SAT/ACT scores and grade there are some schools that have automatic merit scholarships. University of Alabama, Oklahoma and Kentucky come to mind, but there are others. Then there are other schools that have competitive merit $.

    Ask the counselor about access to Naviance. January of junior year is a typical time to start working with counselor on the college process.
  • mikemacmikemac Registered User Posts: 10,369 Senior Member
    I'm new to this board and not sure how to help my son search for a college.
    A book about college admissions will present a comprehensive and structured approach to college admissions. The forum is great for answers to specific questions but it is going to be hit or miss as to whether topics that matter get covered; if you don't know to ask about something then you're at the mercy of luck whether someone else brings it up or not.

    One book I recommend is "Admission Matters"; there are many other good ones out there.
  • 3bound3bound Registered User Posts: 34 Junior Member
    @MA2012 - I don't recall the exact score but somewhere in the mid to high 1300's. For some reason, he didn't see the value of that particular test and ended up not answering a bunch of questions. He's preparing as much as he can now for the May test. Keeping my fingers crossed! Will also sit down and take a long hard look and figure out our EFC this weekend as it seems like that is how it all starts.

    I figured out his unweighted GPA and it's a 4.0. Perhaps it should be lower since some of the A's are not high A's.

    Really appreciate everyone taking the time to post your helpful comments!!
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 76,664 Senior Member
    If every grade on his record is an A, then unweighted GPA is 4.0.
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