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Best way to find school for undecided student

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Replies to: Best way to find school for undecided student

  • MeddyMeddy 471 replies35 threadsRegistered User Member
    One of my girls after getting perfect score after perfect score in Calc, the teacher said to my husband and I, "I just want to know what she is passionate about." I can still remember turning to my husband and we both had no answer and honestly, no idea. We also wanted to know. When it came time to look at colleges, the possibilities were endless but we knew she wasn't interested in STEM so much. So, I pointed her to Open Curriculum colleges and by God's grace she wound up at Amherst College. Today in that forum I posted an article about the 50 strongest alumni networks and Amherst comes in at #4.
    https://talk.collegeconfidential.com/amherst-college/2150828-50-most-supportive-alumni-networks-for-2019-amherst-college-4.html#latest

    She found her passion and you and I have crossed paths in some of the Parent forums, so you've heard me say that she found her people and she finally found her passion there. I wish you the best.
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  • homerdoghomerdog 4928 replies89 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Thanks @Meddy . What a nice story. I'm glad your D has been so happy with her choice. I agree that alumni relations and career services are very, very important. We went to a Welcome to Bowdoin party this summer and heard over and over about kids getting jobs and internships via Bowdoin alums. Sometimes it's hard to justify being full pay but, for us, these types of connections are one of the reasons we are ok with the price. Of course, we'd like D21 to also be at a school where the alumni network and advising is strong.
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  • pishicacapishicaca 283 replies8 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    edited July 20
    Wake, Denison, Richmond and Davidson all tend to skew a bit conservative if that is a major consideration.
    edited July 20
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  • homerdoghomerdog 4928 replies89 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    @pishicaca Understood. I visited Denison and Davidson with S19 (and D21 was along for the Davidson trip) and I think the balance of politics is a fit for D21 at these schools. She doesn't want to live in an echo chamber nor do we want her in one. And, when I say she's liberal, one needs to picture a traditional suburban young woman. She's not extreme in anything. We live in a suburb with many conservatives and 90 percent of colleges will have more Democratic representation than our town!
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  • twogirlstwogirls 7190 replies7 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited July 20
    My daughter’s friend from college was a sociology/psychology type major. She has a two-year position with a well known organization doing HS college/career counseling.

    She has another close friend who graduated with a political science/journalism double major and moved to a major city to work for a political organization.

    Her other friend from college was a psychology major who moved to another part of the country to teach HS students on the campus of a top university (also through an organization).

    Another close friend from college is spending the year doing research with her liberal arts degree and will apply to grad school.

    My coworker’s daughter graduated from a top non-Ivy school (Duke, Vandy etc) as a liberal arts major. She moved to another state and works for a small nonprofit environmental organization.

    My coworker’s son graduated from a top LAC ( your son applied to this school) as a liberal arts major and now works in a major city...he will head to grad school eventually.

    My D graduated with what is considered a liberal arts degree. She also has a two-year position which will allow her to be self supporting...before heading back to school.

    My point is that these majors/degrees can lead directly to the workforce following graduation. Many of these new grads head to grad school, while others use these first jobs as a stepping stone. I should add that these young adults took advantage of career services, professors, they all had strong internships etc.

    edited July 20
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  • rickle1rickle1 1870 replies16 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    @homerdog I've discussed the political scene at Wake with S several times over the past two yrs. He would say the professors lean to the left (some of them far to the left - so like any other university) while the students tend to come from a more conservative background. That said, the students aren't necessarily conservative. He would describe them as neutral. There are plenty of groups on campus that you would normally associate with the left and of course there's the young Republican type groups. They stress tolerance on campus. S has friends ranging the socioeconomic spectrum, the political spectrum, etc and they all just get along. Most just do their own thing without a hassle factor.

    Somewhat related, I know some think of Wake as a rich, southern school. It's physically in the south but there are tons of kids from up north. Many of S' friends are from New England, NY, NJ, Chicago, DC (and of course the Carolinas). Regarding wealth, there are certainly some very wealthy kids but others receive need based aid. Two of his close friends are a good example. One is from a lower income, ethnic family in Chicago (receives quite a bit of aid). The other's dad is a partner of a Private Equity firm in Boston, lives on an ocean estate, etc. They get along great. They're kids!
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  • PublisherPublisher 7740 replies80 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited July 20
    Your daughter's current college list is made up of conservative leaning schools even though you note that she is a liberal who is not a sjw, but can get worked up about issues. (Based on her current list of schools--Davidson, Colgate, WFU, Richmond & Denison--she should visit Dartmouth College.)

    Consider Middlebury College and the University of Vermont's Honors College.
    Also, although larger than her current size limit, the University of Virginia may be of interest to her. The College of William & Mary is another to consider.

    As your daughter is a rising junior, her interests may change. Also, she may be influenced by her brother's experience at Bowdoin College.

    P.S. To directly answer your question of "best way to find school for undecided student", visiting a variety of colleges & universities in different areas of the country may help.
    edited July 20
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 77702 replies678 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited July 20
    Re: Wake Forest
    rickle1 wrote: »
    Regarding wealth, there are certainly some very wealthy kids but others receive need based aid.

    https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?q=wake+forest&s=all&id=199847#finaid says 51% paying list price (probably top few percent income/wealth) and 10% Pell grant (probably bottom half income/wealth).
    edited July 20
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  • homerdoghomerdog 4928 replies89 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    @twogirls thanks for all of that info. Helpful! @rickle1 I think we know what it’s like at Wake when it comes to politics. Honestly, I hear it’s just not a very political campus compared to some others. We know three students there and will visit with them when we see the school. I’m not worried about it being too conservative. @Publisher S19 was denied at Dartmouth so no way D21 would get in. For the last four years now, they’ve only taken ED athletes (either one or two) and that’s it. I do think she will be affected by how S19’s Bowdoin experience goes. That’s true. Remember, though, that the last two schools standing for him were Bowdoin and Davidson and he didn’t think Davidson was conservative or Bowdoin liberal. Neither campus seemed super political overall. I don’t know if she would apply to Bowdoin but, if he has a good freshman year, it might make her lean towards a LAC for sure and maybe she would open her mind to some more rural LACs that she’s currently not interested in.
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  • writingpumpkin03writingpumpkin03 156 replies6 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    I think most rural LACs in the northeast will provide the kind of environment you're looking for--very left-leaning socially but without a culture of intense activism.
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  • TheodenTheoden 171 replies5 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    @homerdog

    If Colby is too remote, maybe Bates might be a fit.

    Regarding non political campuses, that’s actually better. It means all views get heard across the spectrum. Most faculty lean heavily left these days, however, they generally want viewpoint diversity and free speech.

    If the student body leans a little conservative that means generally you won’t see things like deplatfoming, safe spaces and trigger warnings (which most professors don’t really want anyway). SJW are only 5-10% of students at most campuses (even left leaning ones) but they can have an outsized influence on campus culture, because administrators tend to cave-in too quickly (eg Yale, Evergreen, Middlebury).

    Non political campuses tend to be majority Democratic anyway, but you don’t have a walking on eggshells culture where people are afraid to speak out
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  • writingpumpkin03writingpumpkin03 156 replies6 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    @Theoden There are certainly colleges that lean very far to the left, but IMHO the "walking on eggshells culture" at institutions has oftentimes been overblown by the media. At the end of the day, a student's experience at any college depends on which other students they interact with as well as a college's alleged culture.
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 33483 replies363 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Totally agree with @writingpumpkin03 . Friendships, experiences, and growth come way ahead of political line-drawing, at most of the campuses named.

    At Bates, D1 was among the more politically active, but channeled this into the local community (including the Bonner comunity service program. And the school promotes "community partnerships" of various sorts.) Among her friends were a few so rampantly conservatiove that every time I visited, she warned me to stay off politics. That simple. The kids with decent social skills know how to foster friendships, not paint everything in the extreme or go with value judgments.
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  • homerdoghomerdog 4928 replies89 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    @lookingforward I didn't know you had a D who went to Bates. Out this way, NO one has heard of Bates. Two kids from our high school have applied in the last four years. I am warming to the idea of D21 looking at it. It will be near big brother and it checks some of her boxes for sure. How close is the campus to the town? Can one walk?
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 33483 replies363 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Both went and both were in the Bonner program (the leader program/comm service, not the Bonner Scholars..) Lots of folks *have* heard of Bates and plenty apply from across the country.

    You can walk to town, maybe a few blocks. There isn't all that much to do in town. Some great dining and the usual sorts of restaurants kids may want. Or movies. But plenty enough on campus. When they were there, it was very "work hard/party hard." A great new president has tempered some of the crazy partying. Tremendous study abroad opps, D1 did two. And a vast array of empowered kids who do go on to great future work. Great support for post grad fellowships and the like. D1 benefitted from career services for building her resume.
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  • MidwestmomofboysMidwestmomofboys 4008 replies27 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Denison parent -- I wouldn't describe it as leaning conservative at all but rather as pretty balanced politically with a culture of non-antagonism/non-shaming etc. My go-to example is when Reince Preibus and Jim Oberfell visited campus on back-to-back days, there were not wprotests trying to shut down either speaker but rather both Dem and Rep clubs encouraged members to attend (and they actually did attend) both events to engage with each other.
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  • havenoideahavenoidea 255 replies13 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    @ homerdog As a Richmond parent, I disagree that it’s conservative. Our S is liberal, but not a sjw type (that would be our daughter), and never took much interest in politics. This year at Richmond, he actually watched the Kavanaugh hearings with friends (mostly all liberal leaning), something he never would have done before. My belief is that Richmond used to be conservative but they’ve become much more diverse, in many ways (especially given their need-blind financial aid and free tuition to Virginians making under a certain amount). When we were looking at colleges, we utilized colllege factual’s diversity ratings. It was through this tool that we ended up throwing out Trinity (Texas) and Rhodes. For us, geographic diversity matters a lot because of where our kids are growing up. I believe geographic diversity corresponds to issues we care about, such as openness or experience with other beliefs, races, religion, and politics. It doesn’t sound like you have this issue, but when you live somewhere where your child is the “other” or “only,” the ability to look at the school’s makeup is especially helpful. This would be true even if you just want them to have exposure to many different worldviews.
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  • homerdoghomerdog 4928 replies89 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    @havenoidea thanks for chiming in. And, yes, we all think a diverse student body is important - both socioeconomic and geographic. That is one worry about W&M with such a large percent from Virginia.
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 29243 replies57 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I think your DD has a great list to start and you are handing this as well as possible. I won’t go into the usual likely school, affordable school rant I do, because I’m sure you get it.

    I also think you’ve already seen it, but there is a thread in the Forum listing top alumni network schools Some good choices there.

    I like UDenver, Dickinson, Colorado College. Santa Clara gets a lot of good feedback. DePaul, Marquette also. Lafayette, Bucknell, Lehigh also some excellent choices. A lot of Western Penn and Ohio schools that are good picks.
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  • TheodenTheoden 171 replies5 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    @homerdog @lookingforward @writingpumpkin03

    I'm a Bates grad (from a long time ago), but it's pretty well known (I'd say less well-known than Amhert, Williams, Swarthmore or Bowdoin). Great alumni network, in the city of Lewiston, but the more residential area, close to nature if you want to get to it. Bright students. I don't know much about career services, internships or research opportunities, but I imagine they are pretty up to date and market-driven like lots of other Liberal Arts schools these days. Talk to @Lindagaf - her daughter goes there now. As @lookingforward has said, they are very supportive of their students and grads.
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