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Schools for a "quirky" kid who plans on majoring in biology?

orderdisorderorderdisorder 4 replies2 threads New Member
Hi! I am a rising senior (not planning on applying ED anywhere) and despite wanting to be a STEM major, I really want to go to a liberal arts school/well rounded school. I'm a firm believer in schools having different "personalities" so to speak, and environment/community is crucial for me, so I'd really like to hear others' experiences/opinions on what schools a "quirky" gal like myself should look at

Stats n' stuff:
SAT: 1460
ACT: haven't taken
GPA (W): 4.0 out of 4.3
APs : 6 (including this year, not many offered at my school)
ECs: Tennis, Choir, Harmony, Mindfulness Club, School Newspaper photographer/columnist, National Honors Society, etc (I'm more of a hobbies gal (drums, art, hiking, photography) and I go to a small school so limited clubs - tried to start a Photography/Film club but lack of people :-(
Awards: gold medalist in National Spanish Exam (3 yrs), National History Day regional + state finalist, a few photography awards
Work Experience: Hostess at a restaurant for 2 years
Volunteering: Translator/Researcher for Nuestros Pequenos Hermanos (check it out it's a fantastic organization!!!) + local events

ALSO!! I am very much considering taking a gap year, half of which I'd like to spend (attempting) the Appalachian Trail, so I plan on applying then deferring from whatever school I choose.

I'm from a low income family in Massachusetts, and I am planning on getting my masters + phd in the future so I'm definitely keeping cost at the forefront of my decision. I'm keen on UMass Amherst, but I would really like to explore other options as well :-)
Thanks!!
edited June 19
21 replies
Post edited by CCAdmin_Vic on
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Replies to: Schools for a "quirky" kid who plans on majoring in biology?

  • CU123CU123 3718 replies77 threads Senior Member
    Reconsider biology as a major there are way too many biology grads due to it being a popular pre med major. Questbridge might also be something for you to look at to get matched to a school.
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  • merc81merc81 11810 replies201 threads Senior Member
    edited August 2019
    For a sampling of schools that could suit you, look into Mt. Holyoke, Haverford, Reed, Carleton. The NESCACs, though sportier overall, offer tight communities, and should be researched individually as well.
    edited August 2019
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  • orderdisorderorderdisorder 4 replies2 threads New Member
    Thank you!! Yeah biology is just the general direction I'm heading towards, still figuring out the specific major though. Also thanks for the tip about questbridge, I'll definitely look into applying!! :-)
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  • rickle1rickle1 2602 replies21 threads Senior Member
    I would add W&M. Tough admit for OOS but your numbers are reasonable. Great place, with lot of people doing their own thing.
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  • Eeyore123Eeyore123 1971 replies25 threads Senior Member
    edited August 2019
    For some schools lower on the selectivity index from the schools above, you could look to the Midwest. Some examples would be Beloit College and Lawrence University. Although the don't guarantee to meet 100% of need, their average is 95%.
    edited August 2019
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  • merc81merc81 11810 replies201 threads Senior Member
    You can estimate costs through Net Price Calculators or through this resource: https://myintuition.org/.
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  • tk21769tk21769 10710 replies27 threads Senior Member
    Check out Earlham for a low match
    (almost a safety but for the important cost factor.)
    Colorado College is more selective, but *may* offer better need-based aid if you get in (and like their quirky Block Plan). In addition to NESCACs, UMass-A, and others mentioned above. Get to know the online net price calculators. Cost should not be an afterthought!
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  • OttermaOtterma 1505 replies30 threads Senior Member
    edited August 2019
    Adding Grinnell to the list for both quirky-friendliness and fabulous science program. Definitely check out Questbridge.
    edited August 2019
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  • circuitridercircuitrider 3899 replies182 threads Senior Member
    edited August 2019
    edited August 2019
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  • ChillDadChillDad 269 replies20 threads Junior Member
    Mount Holyoke has solid STEM and you have the bonus of taking classes in the 5 college consortium, including nearby UMASS.
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  • TheGreyKingTheGreyKing Forum Champion Williams College 2262 replies104 threads Forum Champion
    edited August 2019
    Consider these possible matches- quirky schools:
    —Skidmore (special merit scholarship available for top-performing science majors only)
    —Brandeis (great in biology)

    Consider this possible safety with generous merit aid; biology is one of their better-regarded majors:
    —Muhlenberg

    Most liberal arts colleges have decent biology majors, so you also can look into a college that is a good “overall” fit.

    And with your grades and scores, you may be able to get into one of the nation’s 44 colleges that are both need-blind and guarantee to meet 100% of admitted students’ demonstrated need. So feel free to aim high, as long as you also include some safer options.

    But most of all, I have to disagree with the advice to reconsider your major. You should major in whatever interests you most! Find your passion and go with it!

    Of course, one of the advantages of attending a liberal arts college may be that you discover a new passion along the way. I entered college planning to major in biology, but ended up majoring in English, which was purely for the joy of the learning experiences at the time and had no influence on the career I eventually pursued.
    edited August 2019
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  • happymomof1happymomof1 30766 replies197 threads Senior Member
    Bryn Mawr could work. In fact, I'd recommend that you look through the whole list of women's colleges at womenscolleges.org. Many are very good for STEM, and almost all of them would be considered LAC-type institutions.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 83455 replies741 threads Senior Member
    CU123 wrote: »
    Reconsider biology as a major there are way too many biology grads due to it being a popular pre med major.
    But most of all, I have to disagree with the advice to reconsider your major. You should major in whatever interests you most! Find your passion and go with it!

    It is not always a clear cut issue here. For most students, job and career prospects associated with the choice of major should be investigated and considered, but should not be the only reason to choose a major.

    Other aspects of the student can matter -- if the student is frugal and his/her family financial situation will allow attending a desired college with no or low debt, s/he is more free to choose a major with lower income career prospects than a spendy student whose desired colleges will result in high debt.
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  • Genevieve18Genevieve18 195 replies2 threads Junior Member
    edited August 2019
    Consider Juniata for a low match / likely that sounds like a good fit for you. It's a LAC in Pennsylvania, good for quirky kids, known for being especially strong in sciences, and with a great chorus that tours internationally. Their biology page says "Nearly one-third of Juniata’s student body has a Program of Emphasis (POE) that relates to biology—from cell and molecular biology to health professions and environmental science. " It's located in the Allegheny Mountains near lots of hiking trails and there have been freshman hiking retreats and camping retreats. They have studio art classes and clubs for photography, art, and ceramics, and an outdoors club called "Laughing Bush" (as well as clubs for other interests).
    You are in a good position with your stats for merit money - there are competitive scholarships you'd be considered for just with your school application, and you're eligible to apply for their other scholarhips: "If you have achieved both a 3.75 or better GPA and SAT scores of 1380 or better/ACT scores of 30 or better, notify your Juniata College enrollment counselor that you would like to be considered for additional competitive scholarship opportunities. Apply by January."
    edited August 2019
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  • Erin's DadErin's Dad 34118 replies4844 threads Super Moderator
    I would also recommend Louis and Clark. You'd be in the running for a scholarship and they have some that go up to full tuition.
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  • allhailcorporateallhailcorporate 49 replies1 threads Junior Member
    Recommending New College of Florida as well. OOS tuition is effectively $15k, which is a lot cheaper than many other LACs. It's also an honors college.
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  • BBBB 131 replies2 threads Junior Member
    edited August 2019
    The list I am linking below addresses your science interests. It is a few years old, but still applicable -- these things become traditions and don't change much. This is the top 1% of schools in the nation whose students go on to produce PhDs.
    And, you may not want to pursue a PhD, but hear me out: a list with this premise is also list of the most successful undergraduate programs, in general. They are graduating students who get into and can successfully complete grad school.
    I like these lists way better, and find them far more significant than the "rankings" which only measure college input (including how many students are rejected by admissions), and not student output -- is the program doing a good job with educating students.

    A lot of colleges on this list are a good bet, and they are producing well-educated and successful science majors, and the LACs tend to be "quirky." Some are quirkier than others, though

    http://www.thecollegesolution.com/50-schools-that-produce-the-most-science-and-engineering-phds-2/

    My own son who is a quirky-bio-major-with-no-interest-in-med-school applied to and was accepted at Bowdoin, Conn College, Bates, and Earlham. (He was waitlisted at Colorado College, and just crossed them off, so we never visited.) He felt Conn and Bowdoin were a little "preppy" for his preference. He liked Bates ok, but loved Earlham.

    He chose Earlham after visiting them all. He is a quirky bio-major with no interest in med-school and he has really had a great experience there.

    But, it is not a school for everybody. Earlham students are quite quirky. So... You definitely should research it well, (and -hopefully visit) to see if you will be happy there before you decide to attend

    edited August 2019
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  • BBBB 131 replies2 threads Junior Member
    edited August 2019
    @orderdisorder - In other random useless trivia, my son actually has worked along with NPH in Haiti, and he has taken nearly all of the photography classes that Earlham offers (They have a very integrated curriculum, so students are able to and encouraged to pursue multiple interests... I have never met a single-faceted kid, in all of my visits to Earlham!)
    Anyway, maybe you and he have some common interests, and you might have a similar response to schools, if you want to take a close look at some of the schools he looked at.
    edited August 2019
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  • Nocreativity1Nocreativity1 1112 replies55 threads Senior Member
    edited August 2019
    OP while @BB son has had a wonderful first hand experience with Earlham, below is an article (I just found) written by Chuck Fager a prominent member of the society of Friends (Quakers) expressing concerns about the schools finances (I have never posted this previously). I don't know Mr Fager but he clearly supports Earlham but expresses deep concerns that anyone considering Earlham should contemplate...

    https://afriendlyletter.com/ho-ho-ho-how-the-grinch-is-stealing-christmas-at-earlham-college/#comments

    Since this open letter was authored last year a new President has been named but no financial plan produced. The author clearly outlines some likely future impacts. Take note of the comments as they offer further insight.

    Here is the authors likely scenario for Earlham...

    https://afriendlyletter.com/earlham-the-grinch-sections-m-n/#comments

    Good luck with your decision.
    edited August 2019
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