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Looking to add matches or safeties to my son's list

millie210millie210 522 replies24 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 546 Member
My DS19 mostly has his college list set, but could use more matches and maybe another safety. Between CC, Fiske and other research, I'm pretty sure we've been very thorough, but I thought I'd see if anyone had any suggestions of schools we've overlooked.

We can afford for him to be full pay. Any merit aid would be lovely, but the search is for the right school.

Current GPA UW 3.94, W4.03. We expect him to end the year with a similar UW, but a higher W.
SAT, assume 1500+, with higher math than verbal
Subject tests: Chem 790. Planning on taking Math II this year.
AP's: CS 5. Will take APUSH, Stats and Physics I this year. Will take Chemistry, English Lit, Italian, Calc BC. Assume he'll get all 4's and 5's.

Our current list obviously makes certain assumptions about grades and scores he'll achieve. Our assumptions are reasonable, but we realize there are not guarantees. If things don't go as well as expected, we'll make appropriate revisions.

Things my son wants that I either agree with or have no quarrel with:

- Staying in the northeast. The farther a school is from home (just north of NYC) the more enthused he has to be about it.

-Computer science major. Good job prospects for a CS career.

-As open a curriculum as possible. The more gen ed requirements and the more specific they are about which classes he has to take, the less interested he is. He will grudgingly look at a school with a foreign language requirement, but only if he can place out of it with his Italian AP.

-His first choice would be to be in a big city, but he realizes that's very limiting. If he can't have that, he at least wants to be able to walk off campus to run errand, get a slice of pizza or whatever.

-Focus on undergraduate education.

-A decent number of tech oriented clubs.

- Little to no Greek life. It's not his thing on many fronts.

- Generally cooperative rather than competitive.

Things on which we have agreed to disagree. His list reflects both his preferences and mine, depending on the school.

-I am a big believer in a liberal arts education. He is torn between what he sees as some advantages to a liberal arts school and some advantages to an engineering school.

- He thinks he will be happier on all fronts at a big school. I think he'll do better at a small school.

Here's the list so far. It's got both LACS and research universities with engineering schools because both offer some advantages.

REACHES
Cornell
UPenn (Visited. He loved the preprofessional vibe and being in Philly. I hated the preprofessional vibe, Greek influence on social life and Penn Face.)
Carnegie Mellon
Wesleyan (visited, legacy, strongly considering for EDII)
Amherst

MATCHES
University of Rochester (Visited. Planning on EDI. This is a nice compromise between big and small and between liberal arts and engineering.)

SAFETIES
McGill
RPI (Just saw it. Good academics. Nice size. Probably filled with his people. I wasn't impressed with what passes for social life there and walking off campus for errands etc doesn't really seem to be available.)
Lafayette

Of this list, my favorite for him and his favorite is Rochester. It’s a nice compromise between the advantages of a larger research university with engineering school and the advantages of a LAC. We visited and it seems like he could find his people.

My next choice for him is Wesleyan. It’s on the large size for a LAC, but still has that LAC experience. Speaking from experience, I think that despite its reputation for being full of artsy SJW’s (his politics are liberal,but he is neither artsy nor a SJW), there’s actually a wide variety of people there with no one type dominating the social scene or setting the tone. I think he’ll find his people and that they will be an interesting group. He’s impressed with the quality of the CS department for a LAC and with the ability of CS majors to get good jobs.

His tied-at-the-moment second choices are Wesleyan and McGill. He likes McGill for the quality of the CS department, the city of Montreal, the lack of gen ed and the size. I don’t like it for the bureaucracy, the funding issues and how easy I think it will be to get lost socially or academically in a school that big.

Here are some potential matches and safeties we've looked at on paper and decided against for one reason or another. He seems to have enough reaches.

The 3 Maine LACS - too outdoorsy, too remote
Brandeis - too much gen ed
BU – too big, just not a good feel academically or socially from Fiske
Colgate - too much gen ed, too outdoorsy
Conn College – too much gen ed, too small, too many women (He wants a more balanced student body.)
Dickinson - too much gen ed
Franklin & Marshall - too fratty
Gettysburg – too much gen ed
GW- concerns about quality of teaching, too competitive
Lehigh - too fratty
Muhlenberg – not strong enough CS
Northeastern- too much gen ed
Skidmore – too much gen ed
Trinity - too fratty and obnoxious
UMass - too much gen ed
Vassar - Only school we've visited and rejected. So far as he can tell, NO tech related clubs, despite a good LAC CS department.
Washington & Lee - too much gen ed
WPI – too much gen ed

So, any thoughts on a match or maybe a safety we might have overlooked?

This was a long one. Thanks for reading all the way through.
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Replies to: Looking to add matches or safeties to my son's list

  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 12391 replies228 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 12,619 Senior Member
    Amherst certainly seems to tick almost all the boxes.

    Clark U in Worcester? Only 8 classes for gen-ed reqs. Medium size.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 76129 replies663 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 76,792 Senior Member
    Any SUNY schools suitable in the match or safety range?

    No general education would also suggest Brown, but that is a reach.
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  • nehikernehiker 86 replies8 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 94 Junior Member
    Since the limited gen Ed seems to be a big issue, how about Hamilton?
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  • millie210millie210 522 replies24 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 546 Member
    I have a note that says Clark is too much gen ed, but I’ll revisit. Thanks.

    Brown would be fantastic, but it’s such a reach. According to Naviance, no one has been admitted to Brown from his high school for however long Naviance is showing. My son is your basic average excellent kid. Grades and scores that put him in the running academically for any school, but not the kinds of really special EC's that help get a kid into the most competitive schools. UMC Jewish boy from the NYC suburbs who wants to stay in the northeast. Not exactly a rare commodity.

    I’ve been assuming all the SUNY schools are too big and that he can do better academically, even for a match or a safety. When I think about the kids from his high school who go to SUNY's, these aren’t the kids he wants to be taking classes with. Have I been too hasty?

    Hamilton is too rural. He wants to be able to walk off campus and find some stores and restaurants. Vassar barely cut it, with a small handful of restaurants and 1or 2 useful stores in a little shopping area right off campus. I’m not persuaded that RPI works for that, based on what students told us about leaving campus. Wesleyan works, with the sizable Middletown downtown a few minutes walk.

    I appreciate all the ideas.
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  • retiredfarmerretiredfarmer 1002 replies2 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,004 Senior Member
    edited February 2018
    @millie210

    I'm curious. How did you arrive at "too much gen ed at WPI?" The program is interdisciplinary by design and the construction of majors is very flexible.

    If a student wants an ABET accredited program for employment purposes, the course selection is constrained anywhere as it is constrained by the national panel. If a student is not worried about that they can design their own program.

    You might want to look at https://www.wpi.edu/project-based-learning/wpi-plan.

    You might also find this story of interest: https://www.wpi.edu/news/driven-explore

    We are looking for the eclectic student, not robots.

    About 1/3 of the students are in fraternities. For better or worse, this is not a party school.

    Please don't place all STEM schools in the same basket They have equal rights too!


    :bz
    edited February 2018
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  • citymama9citymama9 2496 replies141 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 2,637 Senior Member
    Nothing wrong with kids who go to SUNY. You will find super smart kids at Binghampton, for example. Choosing a SUNY has less to do with abilty and more to do with wanting or needing to spend less than you would on a private school
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  • circuitridercircuitrider 3157 replies157 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 3,314 Senior Member
    I know what you mean about Wesleyan; LACs with any sort of "downtown" vibe to them are kind of rare and IMO, native New Yorkers take to Middletown like ducks to water. The socio-economic contrasts and Borgia-like politics are well within their wheelhouse. Assuming Tufts and Amherst are too reach-y at this point, I'd take a look at U Vermont. It's not your typical state u; has the look and feel of a LAC and Burlington - on paper, at least - reminds me a lot of Middletown:
    http://catalogue.uvm.edu/undergraduate/academicinfo/degreerequirements/
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  • PengsPhilsPengsPhils 3970 replies28 discussionsForum Champion Northeastern, Forum Champion Math/Computer Science Posts: 3,998 Forum Champion
    edited February 2018
    Northeastern- too much gen ed

    Speaking as someone who chose Northeastern in part for their lack of gen ed specific requirements / flexible core, I would revisit this. The core curriculum is very easy to complete given that your major will cover half of it, and a single class can count towards multiple requirements. The core can also be fulfilled through AP credit.

    https://www.northeastern.edu/core/requirements/

    All you have to do is make sure you take at least one class that hits each learning goal. A CS major you can imagine covers many of those. That also means no specific requirements, and for a BS, no foreign language either.

    Given how many other boxes it checks, I think it's a school to keep on.
    edited February 2018
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  • EllieMomEllieMom 1870 replies11 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,881 Senior Member
    @millie210 Rochester and your son definitely sound like a match! Have you toured the new Wegman's Hall/Goergen Institute for Data Science? There definitely seems to be a renewed emphasis on CS that's pretty exciting there.
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  • millie210millie210 522 replies24 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 546 Member
    WPI's humanities and arts requirement is more than he wants to have to do. Northeastern requires courses that cover creative expression, culture, ethical reasoning etc, etc. and he’s not interested. This is a kid who would be happy to take 4 years worth of STEM courses with maybe an Econ class and a possibly a linguistics class. What look like moderate and fairly flexible gen ed classes to most people look unpleasant to him.

    While I’m a big liberal arts person and think there’s a lot to be said for real breadth, I’m also sympathetic. I only fulfilled my Natural Science and Mathematics distribution expectation (gotta love Wesleyan) because my advisor basically told me I had to. Two classes: calculus and philosophy of science. So I’m not going to argue with him about this.

    There’s no question that there are plenty of smart kids at Binghamton or any other state flagship. But the spread of ability and seriousness about academics is just wider at Binghamton than, say, at Wesleyan. Early in the process, I asked my son if he preferred a college filled with his academic peers, somewhere where everyone was as smart as the smartest kids in his high school class or a college more like his high school, where he would almost always be in the top 10-20% of kids in the room. He wants the school filled with his academic peers. And if I was going to suggest a state flagship with maybe an eye towards an honors college, I’d suggest UMass, which has a very well respected CS department. Actually, I did suggest it, but he doesn’t like the gen ed requirements. (If only he could get into Brown. Oh, well.)

    Some CS majors are ABET accredited, but most of the ones he’s looking at don’t seem to be. This fits with what I’ve read on CC, that the accreditation isn’t important in CS the way it is in engineering programs.

    We did a tour at Rochester and I remember walking by Wegman's Hall, but don’t know if we went in. He'll be back in the fall for an overnight and interview and I’ll suggest he see it then. (Slightly funny story - I was looking at a campus map before I took him up to visit last fall and saw there was a building marked Wegman's. So I said to my son, "Oh, look, there’s a Wegman’s supermarket right on campus. That’s unusual, but very convenient." I didn’t realize my mistake until we were on the tour.)
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  • happy1happy1 22408 replies2184 discussionsForum Champion Parents, Forum Champion Admissions Posts: 24,592 Forum Champion
    Honestly URochester sounds like a great fit and I think he has an excellent chance of admissions, particularly ED.

    Have you looked at Union? I'm not sure if it would be too frat oriented (but they do have this Minerva program as well) and I don't know the general ed requirements but it may be worth looking into. I remember that my STEM oriented D who went to Lafayette (loved it) liked Union as well.
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  • labegglabegg 2519 replies48 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 2,567 Senior Member
    Pitt - match
    Drexel - safety
    I am surprised you are not considering Case.
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  • BooajoBooajo 1157 replies14 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,171 Senior Member
    I know he wants Northeast, but Pitt and Northwestern seem like places to check out. Bigger but city places, good academics.
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  • rrrrbbb2015rrrrbbb2015 10 replies1 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 11 New Member
    Have you guys considered Tufts?
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  • kalonskalons 622 replies21 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 643 Member
    edited March 2018
    lol at trinity. "too fratty and obnoxious" is a perfect description of why i chose not to consider it.

    have you checked out davidson? it does have fraternities and DI sports, but i don't think either is overbearing. it's a fantastic school, though it is in north carolina, so he may not like it for that reason. in my humble opinion, amherst seems just a little bit more perfect for him than uofroch. it's strictly undergraduate, it's part of a consortium, and it has no greek life. uofroch's greek life isn't suffocating by any means though. take a visit and see if you like it. (unless you've already visited, in which case try to do a little more research on it! his list seems very good.)
    edited March 2018
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