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Which of these schools is not like the others?

allyphoeallyphoe 2394 replies57 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
DD is just starting to think about college, and wants to be sure she has some higher-odds schools to love before she starts thinking about reachier ones. She gave me her criteria, and asked me to use some Excel wizardry to come up with a preliminary list. All of the schools below meet all of her criteria on paper, and are likely to be affordable. My personal guess is that she will end up at a women's college, but she doesn't want to rule out co-ed options yet. High stats kid, so the reachier end is really reachy.

The goal is to make the list shorter, not longer - I'm well aware that there are many fine schools that have been semi-arbitrarily omitted! Assuming she'll pick 2-5 higher-odds schools to apply to, which schools would you cut from the list first, and why?

University of Puget Sound (accepts 84% of female applicants)
Willamette University (accepts 81% of female applicants)
University of Denver (accepts 75% of female applicants)
Lawrence University (accepts 73% of female applicants)
Mills College (accepts 72% of female applicants)
Knox College (accepts 67% of female applicants)
Hofstra University (accepts 64% of female applicants)
Agnes Scott College (accepts 62% of female applicants)
The College of Wooster (accepts 57% of female applicants)
Mount Holyoke College (accepts 50% of female applicants)
Occidental College (accepts 46% of female applicants)
Whitman College (accepts 42% of female applicants)
Macalester College (accepts 41% of female applicants)
University of Tulsa (accepts 41% of female applicants)
Bryn Mawr College (accepts 39% of female applicants)
Smith College (accepts 38% of female applicants)
American University (accepts 37% of female applicants)
Case Western Reserve University (accepts 37% of female applicants)
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Replies to: Which of these schools is not like the others?

  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 78238 replies690 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Run the net price calculator on each.

    If not affordable, and no large enough automatic for stats merit, then reclassify as a reach if there is competitive merit available. Or drop from the list.
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  • BooajoBooajo 1157 replies14 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I would cut American and Tulsa, because they seem the most divergent from the others on your list. But I'm sure you have good reasons for all these being included.
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  • allyphoeallyphoe 2394 replies57 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    This is the reasons not to include them thread. ;) Divergent in what way? Pre-professional bent?
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  • labegglabegg 2521 replies48 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited March 2018
    Case Western is not like any of the others on the list. It is entirely different, socially, environmentally and academically.
    edited March 2018
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  • cellomom2cellomom2 676 replies8 threadsRegistered User Member
    Some things that might help differentiate some of the schools on the list are questions such as: what does she think she wants to study? does she have a preference as to area of the country? a lot of the schools on that list are smaller lacs- would she prefer a larger or smaller town? is access to outdoor activities or more urban area preferable? Does she have any specific ECs she wants to consider? Answers to those types of questions may help her pick favorites on the list.
    I think Case Western and Macalester are the most reachy on the list. Case is not an lac
    There's probably a way to group them by similar characteristics such as midwestern lacs, larger schools in more urban areas and then pick favorites out of groups and not apply to all the ones that are the most similar.
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  • allyphoeallyphoe 2394 replies57 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    1) Something in the social sciences, maybe. I have a list of all the majors offered by any of the schools, for her to strike through every one where she thinks she'd never be interested in taking a class in that area. My guess is that at least some schools will have few enough remaining majors that they'll be too restrictive for someone who's still undecided.
    2) Not a huge geographic preference. At one point, she was leaning towards California, but she doesn't want to give up seasons.
    3) She wants at least some town that's walkable from campus. As long as she doesn't need a car to be able to do some minimal amount of eating and (window) shopping off campus, she's happy.
    4) No preference
    5) No ECs requiring other people or specific facilities

    Grouping is a good plan. She's said she wants to visit all(!!!!) the schools she applies to, and grouping would be a good way to get that down to something manageable.
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  • Buster21Buster21 81 replies4 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    I can't knock any off your list but I can encourage you to keep Agnes Scott. The school is walkable to Decatur, which has shops and restaurants. It is located amongst a nice residential area with a beautiful campus. The Marta will conveniently get you back and forth to the airport and other Atlanta areas. The people we met there were nice, they gave a lot of personal attention, and there was a feeling of sisterhood. It was my D's 2nd choice but was definitely my first choice for her.
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  • allyphoeallyphoe 2394 replies57 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited March 2018
    I did think of something that might be helpful in narrowing it down. She really dislikes the "you are a nameless, faceless, number and no one cares about you" aspect of her very large high school's bureaucratic administration. Her inclination is to pick smaller schools, to avoid that. I set the first-pass size cutoff much higher than she wanted, because in my experience there are bigger schools that do a good job of feeling personal, due to things like Smith's house system. She'd also have more academic peers at a bigger school than at a smaller one of similar selectivity, and she's not good at being a big fish, regardless of the pond size. Less of an issue if she were a prospective engineer, but she's not - she's looking at majors that are traditionally considered "easy."

    The biggest schools on the list are:
    American (7,000 undergrads / 13,000 total)
    U Denver (6,000 undergrads / 12,000 total)
    CWRU (5,000 undergrads / 12,000 total)

    On the reachier end are:
    Carnegie Mellon (6,000 undergrads / 14,000 total)
    University of Rochester (6,000 undergrads / 11,000 total)
    Tufts (5,000 undergrads / 11,000 total)
    Emory (7,000 undergrads / 15,000 total)

    Any of those particularly impersonally bureaucratic, or particularly flexible and accomodating?
    edited March 2018
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  • TTGTTG 1663 replies14 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I like your list.

    I'm very familiar with Case Western and am a fan, but, as noted, it is much more of a science and engineering school than the others on your list and very much has that vibe. Cleveland, though, is an underrated city, and the school is in a nice area with a fair number of places to go on Euclid Ave., which splits the campus, and Little Italy a few blocks away.

    Are you familiar with the Five College Consortium? Smith and Mount Holyoke (both on your list) are members with Amherst, U Mass Amherst (state flagship campus), and Hampshire College. Students can take some classes at the other schools, and there are some other collaborations. Smith is immediately adjacent to downtown Northampton, a nice Western Mass college/tourist town. Skiing and other nice spots in the Berkshires are drivable (Stratton Mountain Resort 1.5 hours; Lenox and Stockbridge 1 hour). Smith probably has more of an activist political culture than MH, if that is a positive or negative.

    https://www.fivecolleges.edu

    Macalester is strong in the social sciences and has a notable international focus. It is one of the top urban LACs. Whitman on the other hand is pretty small town (we loved the campus and academics are outstanding).

    AU is in an inner suburban area of DC with some pretty big commuter roads right around the campus (we drive by fairly regularly). I think you can walk to a few things but must Metro or Uber to most things to do in DC, which can add to cost (Metro is an expensive subway system). I'd think daily transportation costs would be much less at Smith, for example. It does provide good DC opportunities for a government, economics, etc. major.
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  • allyphoeallyphoe 2394 replies57 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited March 2018
    Amherst is on the reachier end of the list; Hampshire didn't make the "not significantly less ethnically diverse than my high school" cut; parents are unwilling to pay for OOS publics. But yes, the Giant Spreadsheet of Doom has an "is it part of a consortium, and how easy is it to participate" column! Four of the five Claremont Colleges are also on the reachier end of the list, although I suspect Scripps and maybe Pomona will be the only keepers.

    I have a soft place in my heart for Macalester, because when I was looking at colleges a billion years ago, the Macalester rep at the college fair was awesome (and also literally the first professional, adult, African-American person I had ever met).
    edited March 2018
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  • TTGTTG 1663 replies14 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I didn't mean to suggest the other consortium schools, just to note that consortium opportunities were a potential bonus if she's looking at Smith and Mount Holyoke. I gritted my teeth and honored your request not to add schools. :) Sounds like you have it covered anyway.

    We looked pretty closely at Emory, William and Mary, Rochester, and Tufts. I think they do a good job combining the advantages of an LAC and those of a national university. (Carnegie Mellon seems more STEM to me, though the school is strong in many areas.) The latter three really struck me as VA, NY, and MA versions of the same school. Emory just shouted GA less at me. All these schools provide the same close access as an LAC. Rochester as a nice riverfront campus. Tufts is in a sort of working class, close-in Boston suburb. Davis Square is the Boston T stop for the school. It's a few blocks from campus and is not too many stops to downtown Boston. Davis Square has a lot of restaurants, etc. itself.
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  • allyphoeallyphoe 2394 replies57 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    @ucbalumnus NPCs are run for all of this end of the list. All of them are affordable, and pretty close to our NPC results for the no merit, meet full need schools, assuming the NPCs are reliable. We have simple financials - wages and cash in the bank - but I'm wary of relying on the NPCs that estimate preferential pricing "merit" awards.
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  • merc81merc81 10349 replies157 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited March 2018
    She wants at least some town that's walkable from campus. As long as she doesn't need a car to be able to do some minimal amount of eating and (window) shopping off campus, she's happy.
    In your research, you may want to consider which colleges offer regular shuttle services to a range of nearby amenities. The variety available through a shuttle can often be greater than that available through a single adjacent town. Mt. Holyoke, for example, offers great transportation within its local area.
    edited March 2018
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  • happy1happy1 22863 replies2249 threadsVerified Member Senior Member
    I'd say one difference with Hofstra is that has a relatively large commuter population as compared to other schools on your list.
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  • allyphoeallyphoe 2394 replies57 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    From student comments, it seems like shuttle scheduling and convenience is a concern. My kid really loves to walk, though, and a shuttle (or even Zipcar) just isn't the same. We have family in Menlo Park, and she adores having the ability to walk to the Stanford Mall or the Cal Ave restaurants, for instance.
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  • merc81merc81 10349 replies157 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Perhaps consider both aspects, then? A reasonably walkable town and the availability of a shuttle service.
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  • techmom99techmom99 3455 replies6 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Based on your criterion of wanting a walkable town, I would cross off Hofstra. Hempstead is not my idea of someplace you would want your D just wandering around. I think there might be shuttles to the mall. All of the kids I know who attend currently are commuters.
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  • allyphoeallyphoe 2394 replies57 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    She looked at the Common App supplemental essays for some of the schools tonight, and that was actually really helpful. Three schools came off the long list, on the grounds that the kid she is, is not the kid they're looking for. (Law of unintended consequences: "list every book you've read in the last 12 months" was a dealbreaker, because "How could I possibly list *every* book I've read? I don't want to go to school with people who could list all the books they read in a year!") About half the schools' topics caused her to joyfully overflow with opinions. She is not yet comfortable with talking about how she can contribute to a school's community, even though those contributions spill over when she's asked to talk about how she'd take advantage of the school community.
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  • IBviolamomIBviolamom 378 replies37 threadsRegistered User Member
    If your daughter likes to walk and doesn’t like to be isolated, definitely keep Macalester! My daughter is a first year student there and the location can’t be beat as long as you can handle the winter. Almost everything you could possibly want is in walking distance including movie theater, places to eat, shopping, groceries, drugstores, etc. And the public transit is excellent and super cheap.

    I agree with @techmom99 about Hofstra. Most of Long Island requires a car. Hofstra is on a very busy multi-lane road and has enclosed bridges to cross it safely. The surrounding area is not very good. Hempstead has an extremely high rate of crime, drugs, gangs, etc.

    Best of luck!
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  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 12878 replies242 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    FWIW Smith and Mount Holyoke and Amherst have not a shuttle per se (though they do run them at breaks to the airports and cities, at least Amherst does), but rather a public bus system that students use for free. So service is very good in the Pioneer Valley, and is used to get to classes from one school to the other, and just to go shopping, exploring, etc.

    That said, Amherst and Smith have a lot in close walking distance. MoHo has less, but still a pleasant little town with restaurants, movies, shops.
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