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Help - college visits? Twins

havenoideahavenoidea 255 replies13 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
Juniors, prep school, flyover country. One likely will be among top 5 GPA in class/high test scores/average excellent ECs (w/ yr round sport,now thinking no recruitment, taking huge amt of time). Other, not quite as high grades (though prob top 5-10%) or scores (is a much slower test taker, hoping for upper 1400s/33-34, but great ECs (including selection to a prestigious international program). Both taking most rigorous school schedule. Neither knows what their major will be, though 1st one is a math kid (800 on math 2 SAT “was very easy”) and the other more balanced but maybe humanities (is politically active and a writer). Legacy at Penn and Duke, so we’ll visit them, but feel stuck figuring out how to go about planning lists and visits with 2 such different kids. Can be full pay. No extremely Greek, southern prep, Christian, or conservative schools. Want a diverse population for both, for 2d politically active. For reference, did a quick LA visit - both thought UCLA was too crowded, the first liked USC and 2d hated it (too perfect looking and seemingly privileged with emphasis on jobs), and at Claremont consortium, 1st thought Mudd too ugly and 2d liked Scripps much to her surprise and though Pitzer was too hippyish, even for her.

Any ideas much appreciated!!
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Replies to: Help - college visits? Twins

  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 29255 replies57 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Penn is in Philly. Lots of schools there. Haverford, Brynn Mawr, Swarthmore high reaches. Drexel, Delaware, Villanova more accessible.

    I think a trip to Dickinson and Gettysburg and Penn state gives a good view of some options.

    When going to Duke, we looked at Wake Forest, Richmond, UNC. UVA and W&M also got lookovers. Check out the DC area schools , American , GW, Georgetown, maybe UMD, Hopkins if you can get to Baltimore
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  • washugradwashugrad 1121 replies13 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    My middle kid, current senior, somewhat resembles your math twin. Grades not quite as high, and EC is music rather than sports. We are CA residents. "The list" now includes Reed, Vassar, Carleton, Macalester, St Olaf, Tufts, NYU, UCSC (and maybe another UC or two), U of Oregon (safety), U of MN (safety), U of Rochester. We did a Boston-ish round of visits over the summer between 10th and 11th grade when we were in the area anyway and also toured Bowdoin and Brown. Liked Brown and it would stay on the list if it were easier to get into (we felt that since it's not in my kid's top 3 and also the least likely to get into, it's not worth the effort, but it was in the top 8 or so). We did an Oregon round in February of junior year over a long weekend. Then spring break of junior year we were already going to be in NYC at the beginning of the week for a choir event so we extended that trip and toured NYU, Wesleyan, Vassar, U of Rochester, and Case Western that week (you guys should look at Wesleyan... our main complaint was that it seemed a little too sporty). Finally we did a trip to Minnesota after school got out and visited St Olaf, Carleton, and Macalester. (By that point, it was clear that LACs were becoming the favorites so I wanted to add a couple more to the mix).
    Oh - one thing I did near the beginning of junior year was to put together a list of about 30 schools - I had some help here from CC - and had my kid read through their description in the Fiske guide and the Princeton guide and tell me which ones sounded more promising. That helped me prioritize the visit schedule.
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 22703 replies15 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    No extremely Greek, southern prep, Christian, or conservative schools.

    And Duke is on your list?
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  • havenoideahavenoidea 255 replies13 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    @twoinanddone So, H is Duke grad, from east coast, didn’t join a frat and loved Duke. He said, at least back then, he didn’t feel it had a major southern prep kid vibe, and everyone wasn’t dressed like that. A friend’s daughter just graduated, no sorority, not a preppy kid, also loved it. I guess we’ll see. Maybe I described what we don’t want wrong. We dont want the deep south (Eg Alabama) or a school that draws primarily from very southern states. Older S is at Richmond, which he loves, but it’s geographically diverse (at least coming from where we live).
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  • circuitridercircuitrider 3367 replies168 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Ditto, Wesleyan. Sounds like it is within OP's wheelhouse (not as "sporty" as Amherst or Williams.)
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  • Eeyore123Eeyore123 1385 replies19 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I am in the camp of trying to cover the different types across two dimensions size (big, medium, small) and location (urban, suburban, rural). Spending a few hours on a campus can be very variable and can give you a false read. The weather, tour guide, etc. have outsized effects on your experience.
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  • merc81merc81 10261 replies156 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited August 18
    As a source for ideas for the student inclined toward writing and humanities, these articles could be helpful:

    https://www.flavorwire.com/409437/the-25-most-literary-colleges-in-america

    https://contently.net/2014/11/06/resources/tools/training/10-best-colleges-creative-writers/

    Maybe Wesleyan or Vassar?
    edited August 18
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  • mamaedefamiliamamaedefamilia 3430 replies23 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited August 18
    @havenoidea I'm a big fan of Ohio and PA schools. While you say you can be full pay, with twins to cover plus an older child (will there be overlap?), that's a lot so I'm including some merit picks as well. I could see a road trip that might involve for both: Case Western (strong in STEM and Liberal Arts, merit), Penn (no merit but strong in everything for either kid and has great writing programs), Carnegie Mellon (for math kid, no merit) and LACs like Oberlin and Kenyon in OH (both great for writing, merit). You could check out Wooster and Denison (both with merit) on paper to see if they appeal - all of these OH schools are relatively close together. To round out the list, maybe consider Dickinson (middle PA, merit, lots of majors but not engineering), Lafayette or Lehigh for STEM (although Lehigh is pretty Greek) and some Philly LACs as mentioned above - Haverford, Bryn Mawr, Swarthmore. If your range were to extend into NY state or lower New England, then maybe Vassar (no merit) Rochester (merit), Wesleyan (no merit).

    Cleveland or Columbus to Philadelphia is about 7-8 hour driving straight. Broken up to visit a variety of campuses, it could be very doable. Sounds like you have great kids, I hope you all enjoy your visits.
    edited August 18
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 22703 replies15 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I got lost just outside Duke looking for a gas station, and it was immediately 'deep south' to me. I lived in Baltimore for a while and some people considered themselves quite southern. And I've lived in Jacksonville FL which IS the deep south, but yet farther south Miami is not. A school can have a bubble over the campus, but student do wander off, and other things like TV news and newspapers, politics, churches are all going to be influencing things inside the bubble, especially for someone interested in politics.

    It sounds like you and your kids will consider schools with those things (Greek, preppy, religious) if the school is what you want. If you take all those things out, you get pretty limited no matter where you are. No Georgetown, no Richmond, no BC, Fordham, Gettysburg.
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  • PublisherPublisher 7773 replies80 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited August 18
    Which year round sport ? Any interest in continuing this sport in college ?

    Maybe Swarthmore College for the math student & Haverford College for the humanities oriented student ?

    Any interest in CS (computer science) ?

    Amherst College ?
    edited August 18
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  • inthegardeninthegarden 1094 replies22 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited August 18
    Yes, Duke/Durham is southern (my mom lived there for her last 20 years and my sister in nearby Carrboro)but the general Research Triangle Park/Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill area has attracted a huge concentration of highly educated people from around the country and world. Chapel Hill/Carrboro on the whole is very progressive, and Durham itself is a hodgepodge of southern/international/national cultures though on the surface might read purely "Southern".
    edited August 18
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  • CheddarcheeseMNCheddarcheeseMN 3345 replies11 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    So if UCLA was too crowded, are you taking all large publics off your list? I know some strong students from the Midwest who went to McGill or U British Columbia- both are somewhat diverse.
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  • merc81merc81 10261 replies156 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    For this case of siblings with different interests, you should visit Hamilton. Its history of having been two colleges of different characteristics and emphases (curricular, architectural, social) contributed to a balance that's evident with a walk across campus (e.g., the science hall is the largest academic building on campus, while the arts neighborhood resides at the center of campus).
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 77784 replies678 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited August 19
    Regarding not wanting Christian religious schools, does this include those which are affiliated with a religion but where the religious influence on students is light (e.g. Jesuit Catholic schools like Georgetown), or only those where religious influence is heavy (e.g. Pepperdine or BYU)?

    If one of them thought that USC was too privileged and pre professional, would Penn be even more so to him/her?
    edited August 19
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 22703 replies15 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    does this include those which are affiliated with a religion but where the religious influence on students is light (e.g. Jesuit Catholic schools like Georgetown)

    I will always disagree the Jesuit schools are 'light'. The influence is at the very heart of the school. It is not that those schools are trying to convert anyone, it's that the mission statement, part of the foundation of the school, includes service to others and reflection on yourself. Never go in thinking it is Catholic Lite. Or that your desire to change the world means you can change anything about the schools to be less religious, more the way you want them.
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  • StPaulDadStPaulDad 419 replies1 threadsRegistered User Member
    edited August 19
    Are you conducting one search or two? It may just be habitual phrasing from raising them together all these years, but it kind of reads like you're making one list for two pretty different people. Have them decide if they are parting company after next year, and then work from there. It'll simplify matters immensely (even if it doubles the effort.)
    edited August 19
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  • havenoideahavenoidea 255 replies13 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    I’m conducting 2 searches, but trying to figure out where to go where maybe some schools will appeal to one or the other. @washugrad I like the idea of putting together a list and having them give their input to help prioritize. @cptofthehouse thanks for the near Phily suggestions. @ucbalumnus Yes, no Jesuit institutions, at least at this point. Child #2 is the one who we’d look at DC schools for, and she said no. The issue is growing up as “the Jewish girl,” compounded with the state of our country lately. I think if she’d grown up somewhere else, GT could be a possible, and maybe we’ll look at it, but GW and American could fit the bill. She’s the one who didn’t like USC, and we’re not thinking Duke/Penn for her bc she needs a more collaborative environment. Anyway, what she didn’t like were the beautiful matching buildings with fake grass and the tour guide’s talk about who’s who, etc. - not her thing. Penn isn’t anything like USC in those respects. We’ll look at Hopkins for S. @CheddarcheeseMN I was surprised by their reaction to UCLA, which I thought was beautiful. There was a sudden huge rush of people on the sidewalk and there went UCLA! That’s why I think @Eeyore123 has a good point. From the few very visits we made, it’s hard to know which size each wants. But, one problem with large publics is the requirement to pick a major going in and the difficulty of switching to say CS or engineering. @Publisher He plays soccer, but Swarthmore’s style isn’t his style so doubt he’d be recruitable there (and I hear there’s a huge divide at the small LACs between athletes and non-athletes if he doesn’t play). Plus, since this sport took over his life (yes, we let that happen), we’re hoping he’ll decide on club instead so he will grow socially and just in general. If he liked and got into Penn, Penn - Haverford or Bryn Mawr would certainly make it easy for us. As of now, he’s only taken 1 CS class and liked it, and sister is taking 1 now, but neither can say what they want as a major.
    @mamaedefamilia great suggestions. I didn’t realize how close those cities are.
    Another factor I forgot to mention is that 2nd child/daughter loves outdoor sports (backpacking, hiking, snowboarding), so in an ideal world, her school would be near all that -which I suppose would take the Philly/Ohio area schools out of the mix for her (which would also eliminate DC schools, so I don’t know how feasible taking her recreactional interests into account will be). @merc81 After making the drive to Colgate from the airport (no direct flight), I’m hoping for a school closer to the airport. It was one of the reasons older S ended up at Richmond over Colgate. I’ll look at those links, thank you!
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  • Twoin18Twoin18 1526 replies17 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    “2nd child/daughter loves outdoor sports (backpacking, hiking, snowboarding), so in an ideal world, her school would be near all that”

    University of Utah might be a nice safety with those attributes in mind. I don’t think anywhere in the country can match it for backpacking, hiking and skiing and the location on the edge of Salt Lake City is great (the airport is very convenient). Excellent merit aid for high test scores, a good Honors College and much more flexibility in terms of majors than most public universities. A surprising amount of political engagement too (the Hinkley Institute arranges lots of internships all over the country). My D18 has loved it (especially the access to the outdoors) and has had no problem being a liberal atheist there. Her twin brother is at UCLA and she thinks she got the better deal.
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  • mamaedefamiliamamaedefamilia 3430 replies23 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    @havenoidea Well there is hiking and backpacking in OH and PA if one is open to a variety of landscapes; snowboarding, not so much! Most schools have outdoor recreation clubs that sponsor hiking, camping, skiing, climbing, etc. and have use of a campus van or two to get the students to trailheads within an hour or two drive from campus. Some sponsor trips farther afield during fall and spring breaks.

    However, if she wants ready access to the outdoors, places like Vassar, Bard and the New England LACs like Middlebury or Mount Holyoke (if women's colleges are appealing) might be more up her alley. If it would be easier logistically to have them both in the same part of the country, you could do worse than look at Amherst/Moho/Smith or Penn/Haverford/Swarthmore/Bryn Mawr or Ithaca College/Cornell/Rochester (2 hours distant from Ithaca) as clusters? Ithaca College could be a solid match with likely merit for your daughter with good writing programs ( I think they skew towards journalism, not sure if that's her focus).
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  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 12750 replies236 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Well there is hiking and backpacking in OH and PA if one is open to a variety of landscapes; snowboarding, not so much!

    While no one will confuse them with Utah, Ohio and PA both have snowboarding/skiing. PA more and better than Ohio, but OH has 3 I am aware of.
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