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Narrow College List Help

justinthomasjustinthomas Registered User Posts: 25 Junior Member
I'm a junior in high school in Georgia and African American male. I have an 86 numeric average (my school doesn't do GPA, but it would convert to around a 3.2-ish) and I got a 1350 on my practice SAT and have taken 4 AP's (taking at least 1 more next year) and have taken all but 3 honors classes for my core classes. The AP classes I have taken are Government, World History, Computer Science, and Environmental Science (for sure taking AP Latin next year). I am in a middle class family too. The majors I have in mind for college are: Marketing, Architecture, Civil Engineering or Construction Management, or like Fashion Design (want to be a clothing designer). I want to be in either a big city (school with a defined campus) or in a college town and I would preferably want to stay in the South because I don't know much else. Also, I want a school with good vibes and stuff going on in and around campus. But, I have like 20 something schools mixed between big state schools, some design schools, and a nice liberal arts school I like, and I don't know how I'm gonna narrow it down. Please help narrow down.

My schools are...
-Georgia Tech (I'm a legacy)
-Wake Forest
-University of Georgia
-University of Miami
-Tulane University
-University of Texas
-University of Pittsburgh (I'm a legacy)
-Virginia Tech
-Occidental College
-Savannah College of Arts and Design (SCAD)
-University of Alabama
-Auburn University
-University of Florida
-Florida State University
-University of South Carolina
-University of Tennessee
-LSU
-Georgia State University
-University of San Diego (cuz why not)
-Fordham University
-Boston College
-San Diego State
-UCLA or USC (cuz why not)
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Replies to: Narrow College List Help

  • GoingtocollegeokGoingtocollegeok Registered User Posts: 3 New Member
    edited March 12
    Personally I would organize them first by where I want to go most the Dream School(s) then go form there in order to where you would like to go last if hypothetically accepted to all of the schools. Make sure to keep in mind which schools have the programs you want as well and under stand that some schools will be more of a reach to get into than others (so prepare accordingly with some safe schools in mind). Lastly and importantly I’d say to keep in mind practicality of all of your options taking into account the varying prices to attend certain colleges and how you plan to live in the different environments whether it be in dorms on or off campus. I know you’re stuck between large state schools and small private schools too and I would recommend taking some college visits to some of your choices to help you understand how different the lifestyles are between campuses. Anyway, good luck with your search I hope I’ve helped.
  • aquaptaquapt Registered User Posts: 1,711 Senior Member
    You have a complicated decision tree here, because you have not only a long list of schools, but a list of four potential areas of study that are very distinct. No one admissions offer you receive is likely to keep all of these major options open (even if the school offers them all, you'll close some doors by choosing what program to enter), and some schools you have named don't have degree programs in any of them. (Occidental, for example.)

    I think you need to break this down in terms of possible majors. Which schools are desirable for each, and which allow a path that will at least initially leave more than one option open? I would sort your schools by what program you would apply to at each, and then narrow down to your top reach, match, and safety for each type of program.

    I know that Syracuse, NY is not in your preferred geographic zone, but it does strike me that Syracuse U. is strong in all of your areas of interest. It's known for fashion design and for its business school (which has an undergrad marketing major); and it also has a well-regarded school of architecture, and a civil and environmental engineering program. Even at the rare school like SU that has strength in all of your areas of interest, it would be virtually impossible to explore across all of those interests, as most require you to commit quite early (for example, the Fashion Design BFA webpage states "Please note that students interested in fashion design must declare their major before they begin their first year."), but nonetheless it might be a school to look at as you consider your options.

    The School of Environmental Design at CU Boulder might be worth a look. ENVD has a common first year program, which then branches into your choice of specialization - pre-professional architecture being one option, but a more general environmental & product design track being another. (Also landscape arch and sustainable planning. https://www.colorado.edu/envd/about/specializations ) It's a small school within the larger university; I've heard very good things about the program. And there are minors in other areas you're interested in, that could be combinable with ENVD - either the business minor, or the minor in architectural engineering https://www.colorado.edu/ceae/prospective-students/undergraduate-studies/architectural-engineering/architectural-engineering-minor or civil engineering https://www.colorado.edu/ceae/prospective-students/undergraduate-studies/civil-engineering/civil-engineering-minor

    What are your summer plans? If it's at all possible, I would suggest you attend a summer intensive - perhaps in architecture, because that's a field in which a studio intensive can be very effective at sorting students into those who love it and those who don't. There are quite a few summer arch intensives available to HS students.
  • scandalpkscandalpk Registered User Posts: 8 New Member
    Thanks for the List I found it very helpful.
  • justinthomasjustinthomas Registered User Posts: 25 Junior Member
    @aquapt Thank you for the input. Fashion Design would be more of a hobby so I wouldn't mind not taking any formal classes, but maybe some electives on it. But, if I did decide that if some sort of design was something I want to get serious with I have SCAD as an in-state backup.

    I have 2 more questions to pose for you...

    How important should I make financials when making my list?
    AND
    What would be some other majors and schools that I should consider if I'm a person who wants to travel and collaborate ideas with other people?
  • justinthomasjustinthomas Registered User Posts: 25 Junior Member
    And do you guys think that location is all that important for college? I personally think it is so that I could have a great experience when not grinding school work, but I would like to hear what you guys think and maybe even suggest some underrated cities (especially in the South or West Coast).
  • bopperbopper Forum Champion CWRU Posts: 12,767 Forum Champion
    1) Which colleges are affordable? Can your parents pay? Can you get financial aid?
    2) Which have the lowest net costs? Try the Net Price Calculators?
    3) Which of your potential majors are you most interested in?
    4) Which colleges have restrictions on majors? So say you wanted to do engineering, do you have to apply to the engineering school? Can you take business classes if you are not in the business school?
    5) Is being in/near a city important to you?
    6) How do you feel about snow?
    7) How far away from home do you want to be? How can you get home?

  • happymomof1happymomof1 Registered User Posts: 28,870 Senior Member
    "How important should I make financials when making my list?"

    That is the most important thing to look at. If you can't afford the college/university, even if you are admitted you won't be able to attend.

    Sit down with your parents, their preferred adult beverages, and a box of soft tissues. Help your parents run the Net Price Calculators at the websites of several of the places on your current list. This will give all of you a general notion of what your family might be expected to pay. Depending on what your parents consider to be affordable without loans other than the federal student loans, your list might suddenly become much shorter. Ours sure did.

    Just remember that if your family has a divorce, remarriage, owns property other than the family home, owns a business, etc. the Net Price Calculator might not be accurate. In those situations, the NPC is likely to greatly underestimate what your final costs would be.

    If your parents freak out about the money, help them create a login here, and send them to the Financial Aid Forum for a chat with our resident experts.

    Wishing you all the best!
  • justinthomasjustinthomas Registered User Posts: 25 Junior Member
    @happymomof1 Thank you for your input! Could any of you guys make a list of 10 or so schools that have good Construction Management programs in the South or West Coast?
  • justinthomasjustinthomas Registered User Posts: 25 Junior Member
    @bopper
    1) Any of the public colleges on my list in the Southeast are affordable and my parents say they are willing to pay maximum 25k/year in cost. I'm in a upper-middle class family so I probably won't get any financial aid to be completely honest.

    2)IDK

    3) Most interested in Construction Mangement, or something where I can travel alot and in a collaborative work environment.

    4) No Restricitions

    5) Being near/in a city is important to me and preferable, but not the end of the world (would just be disappointed)

    6) I don't mind snow, but I like the sun much better :D

    7) No preference
  • happymomof1happymomof1 Registered User Posts: 28,870 Senior Member
    25k each year from your parents, plus what you can make in a summer job, plus a student loan of 5,500 freshman year and a bit more each following year, gives you an overall budget of around 30k to 35k. Recheck the out-of-state Cost of Attendance that is posted on the websites of each place you have listed. Check to see what is included in that COA so that you can compare apples to apples.
  • aquaptaquapt Registered User Posts: 1,711 Senior Member
    edited March 14
    Okay, so, money-wise it sounds like you need to run the NPC's for *all* of these schools. Google Sheets is your friend! Make a spreadsheet showing the projected out-of-pocket for each school, and the best-case merit award that could possibly reduce that out-of-pocket. If even the best case scenario isn't affordable, that school is off the list. You need financial safeties that are guaranteed to be affordable, and then you can apply to as many schools as you wish where the bottom line might or might not be favorable in the end, but you need to weigh how interested you are in those schools relative to the effort to apply and how big of a long shot a workable merit offer is. With your parameters, you'll definitely have affordable options, but this process will almost certainly pare down your list. (And never mind what I said about CU Boulder - even their maximum merit award isn't going to drop the $55K OOS sticker price into your price range.)

    Travel-wise, look into the study abroad and domestic exchange opportunities at the schools that interest you. (What foreign language have you been studying in HS?) Many programs are more in the general liberal-arts vein but there are also programs for specific fields and majors. (My d is taking studio-based classes at an architecture school in France this semester, for example; but she had to have some background in the field to qualify for that sub-program.) Several of the schools you mentioned participate in the National Student Exchange, too. https://www.nse.org/exchange/find-campus/

    Re: construction management in SoCal, this thread comparing Cal Poly Pomona to CSU Long Beach might be of interest. https://talk.collegeconfidential.com/college-search-selection/2082137-cal-poly-pomona-or-csulb-for-construction-management.html The differences in philosophy/approach between the two departments are interesting and may help to inform what you're looking for in a program. But the OOS cost of either school is going to run close to $40K/year so a bit over budget for you.

    You might want to look at U of Cincinnati's Construction Management program: https://ceas.uc.edu/academics/departments/civil-architectural-engineering-construction-management/degrees-programs/construction-management-bachelor-of-science.html It's a five-year co-op program, so you'd get meaningful work experience as part of the package (and you could pursue co-ops in other parts of the country to get the variety you desire). And there are some excellent URM-specific merit opportunities there (the Darwin T. Turner Scholars Program in particular), in addition to the National Outreach award that you'd qualify for automatically as a GA student with your stats. It has the urban environment you prefer, and there are minors available in several of your areas of interest (arch studies, fashion design studies, marketing, and probably others).
  • RayMantaRayManta Registered User Posts: 82 Junior Member
    I agree that the cost factor is the number one determinant. Why agonize over a school if you ultimately won't be able to afford to go there.

    Past that, to me location is super-important. This is four years of your life. How would you feel if your family moved to a different city or state without knowing anything about it first? My view is that if you are happy, you're more likely to do better and get the most out of college. I went to a college that was very cold, windy, and snowy, and I was unhappy there, and from that experience I learned that location and environment shouldn't be ignored.

    I have absolutely no idea what schools have good construction management programs, so I can't help you there. But if you want a large school in a vibrant college town, especially in the south, it's hard to beat UGa, which I think you might be a good match for.

    I agree that your first step should be to figure out which of these schools have the program you want, and check how many graduates from that program they have each year, which can also serve as a decent proxy for the number of course offerings. Then go through the price exercise, see what's left, and learn about the location and environment for each. I find this process loads of fun, actually. Good luck!
  • carachel2carachel2 Registered User Posts: 2,955 Senior Member
    If you are even thinking Engineering you need to make sure you are taking AP Calc BC and AP Chem this next year at the very least.

    You have some diverse interests which is good! You need to start by honing in how engineering decisions actually work at the different schools. Each school potentially treats it differently. At University of Texas, you must apply to one specific engineering major and then if accepted you are pretty much locked into that route.

    Focus on schools that allow you a bit of exploration within engineering before you decide. But be aware first year engineering is going to be a solid load of Physics 1 and 2, Calc 1 and 2, Chem 1 and 2 and coding and engineering writing. Is your current high school course load preparing you for that?
  • ColoradomamaColoradomama Registered User Posts: 2,213 Senior Member
    Because the student is from Georgia, he may be eligible for Zell Miller and Hope Scholarships. Have you assessed your eligibility for these fantastic merit awards for your in state colleges?
    https://www.gafutures.org/hope-state-aid-programs/hope-zell-miller-scholarships/zell-miller-scholarship/eligibility/

    Georgia truly takes care of high scoring and high GPA students. I don't know if your GPA is high enough but its
    something to aim for, since you have another semester of school or two before you get your final GPA.

    At GaTech, Zell Miller covers 100% of the in state tuition. How is your math skills and what math class
    are you taking in 11th and 12th grade?
    Gatech offers distance math to Atlanta students, so if GaTech is a match, I would sign
    up for distance math at GaTech to try that out. It seems your GPA might be a little low for GaTech though, so investigate that and look at U of Georgia as well, as the Zell Miller and Hope will work there.

    For U of Texas Austin, they accept only less than 5% out of state students, in engineering. Look at U of Texas Dallas,
    but its more of a commuter school, with housing for freshman and out of state students, but it is easier to get admitted and strong in engineering.
  • txstellatxstella Registered User Posts: 942 Member
    My son is interested in some of these same majors, too. Looking at the COA is extremely important. You are wise to consider how much your family can afford from the beginning of your search.

    Look at the actual courses that are required for these majors.

    My advice is to visit all of the instate schools on your list. Georgia has excellent options. The University of Georgia has an excellent program in Landscape Architecture (one of the best). Check that out as you might enjoy the coursework and the career. As far as the public schools on your list; UT Austin and the California schools will most likely be very expensive.

    As far as the private schools, have you considered any of the HBCUs? Howard in DC might appeal to you. Check it out. Fordham is super pricey and doesn’t have engineering. I’d take that off your list.
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