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Jr interested in History/Govt/PolySci Schools

123Mom123123Mom123 52 replies1 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
Son is in process of creating list of prospective schools and would benefit from others' experiences and observations, especially keeping the following in mind:

Son is a junior, 3.89 UW/4.7W, ACT 32 (with 11 on essay), Subject Test World History 790, AP European History 5, World History 4. Will probably take two more Subject tests in AmH and English Lit.

(So, strong Verbal (35-E, 36-R) but Science 30 and Math 27. Plans to retake ACT in Spring or Summer 2020.)

Currently, 4 years of Spanish, and plans to take a 5th year at local university or CC.

EC's medium? - JROTC leader throughout 3 years, NHS (officer this year) and likely higher positions in both next year.
Volunteer hours to date - 200+ (mainly through NJROTC community events)

Loves history. Ideally would love to work in an embassy, or govt type role.

Some interest in the SA's but...they are obviously math/physics heavy so likely not (even though everything else about them is appealing to him: Serving his country, leading, learning and helping others, traveling abroad, team work, being mentally and physically challenged.

Is also reflecting on what role, if any, ROTC might have in his future.

LA schools (for their small, intimate, interactive environments) seem to be a good match for his interests:

He relishes preparing and delivering class presentations (used to debate, but NJROTC replaced that time investment) and learning in general, if it's in the social sciences. He reads magazines such as "Foreign Affairs", Time's the History edition, and the Smithsonian, as well as any book he hears about and wonders why others reference it - e.g., currently "Atlas Shrugged" b/c he wanted to see what all the fuss about it was. A further glimpse of his persona is that when visiting NYC, spending time at The Strand bookstore was a big deal to him, and he excitedly and thoughtfully selected a stack of history and philosophy books to bring back home.

He is an active, involved student, but not attention-seeking. Hates that in others, too.

English teachers have given him (and me) feedback about his skilled speaking and presentations including "best presentation I've seen on his subject in several years".

A school would get brownie points if he didn't have to take a "bunch of required math" classes.

Wants to travel abroad. Loves learning about other cultures, eating new foods, etc.
Very independent and flexible kid. Doesn't get overly anxious as everything comes relatively easy to him with the exception of math. (Currently, in pre-calc.) Doesn't fret about daily demands nor does he care much what others do, think, say, etc. He is his own person for sure. (I'm a psychologist so yes, he's been encouraged to be true to himself, lol, even though sometimes I wonder if he's too much an independent thinker. But he is a wise kid and always does the right thing and works hard at what he enjoys.)

He's visited some schools over the past few years (including 3 week stays in the dorms at Rice, Davidson, and Duke thanks to Duke Tip summers).
He also liked UNC campus (all ROTC branches plus strong history), Wake Forest (liked a LOT even though he typically eschews preppy look/feel of people with privilege, he liked the feel of the campus, the tour person was enthusiastic and had traveled abroad, and WF's DC internship program was appealing).

We are in FL so UF and FSU are in the mix (and yes, would be pretty much paid for with FL Prepaid and Bright Future's award) but he'd MUCH prefer out of state and we support that and have prepared financially over the years to do so. (We're not thrilled to dump a ton of $$$ but definitely willing IF he can find a school that he truly likes and is a good fit for him and is at least a strong caliber as UF b/c it'd pain us to pay $300K for a small school if it wasn't strongly regarded with lots of opportunities for career placement, or grad/law paths and personal growth.

So what are your thoughts? Are we on track in our thinking? Or, what are we missing and need to be considering?

Many thanks in advance (and for reading this long post).
81 replies
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Replies to: Jr interested in History/Govt/PolySci Schools

  • warblersrulewarblersrule 10025 replies171 threadsSuper Moderator Super Moderator
    U Richmond is worth a look if he liked Wake. It's on the larger side for a liberal arts college (~3200 undergrads) and is especially strong in business and the social sciences.
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  • 123Mom123123Mom123 52 replies1 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Thank you, GreyKing. I’m eager to show those schools to him. (And, I’ll start looking at them tonight. Finding schools that my DS might like is like the ultimate Nancy Drew hunt!)
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  • 123Mom123123Mom123 52 replies1 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Warblersrule, many thanks for the heads up on Univ of Richmond. It too, will be one for us to research more and see if a visit would be the next step. I’ve heard it’s not only a school with much to offer but a beautiful campus, too. Thank you again for taking the time to reply!
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  • CollegefortwinsCollegefortwins 225 replies27 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    We are also in FL and DS is now a college freshman, but had almost identical stats, with test scores a smidge higher (33) and had 5 APs (all 4s and 5s) at the time of application. He is passionate about history and politics, and he wanted to do something government related - State Dept, Foreign Service, etc., but non political, so he was looking at International Relations type of majors. He had Boys State, President of a political club at the high school, Eagle Scout and HOBY on his resume. He was ALSO quite determined to go out of state and absolutely hated tours of both FSU and UF - he much preferred a smaller student body environment. Merit money was very important for us.
    In case it interests you, here's a thread I started about it, along with where he applied and his admissions results.

    We insisted on an in-state "safety" for affordability - after many in-state college visits, we finally found Eckerd, in St Petersburg. He was determined to hate it, but ended up LOVING it. He is in his 6th week (freshman do a three week "Autumn Term" in August) there and seems to be absolutely thriving. He loves his classes so much that we spend our phone conversations discussing his classes, rather than the social part that I'm interested in! Lol. He has a class with the campus Diplomat in Residence that he literally can't wait to attend each week. He has already been in the professor's office asking how he can get to have the kind of career that this guy has had. It was the Diplomat in Residence program and the opportunities to study at the Hague and the UN that really sold him on Eckerd. Bonus is that with BF and FL resident discount, it's affordable too!
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  • Twoin18Twoin18 1596 replies17 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Out of the box perhaps, but assuming he will have more APs this year, applying for History and Politics at Oxford might be worth considering.
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  • brantlybrantly 3942 replies69 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Georgetown? Tufts? Middlebury?
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  • 123Mom123123Mom123 52 replies1 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Collegefortwins, your info is much appreciated. (Our sons would have much in common!) I need to spend some time on Eckerd’s website. Anything that would facilitate overseas study in history/govt type areas would be pleasing to him. Thank you for the heads up on E.
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  • 123Mom123123Mom123 52 replies1 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Twoin18, I assumed his stats were too low for Oxford? (Even assumed too low for Georgetown?) But have you heard of some kids with similar stats that made it across the pond?
    (Don’t get me too excited about the “excuse” of having to visit the UK a handful of times in the years ahead. I would be sooooooo distressed to have to do that, lol!)
    But seriously, a possibility? Or only if ACT can get up? (Sorry for all the questions.)
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  • 123Mom123123Mom123 52 replies1 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Brantly, thank you for replying.

    I will check out MB and Tufts.....and Do you think GT is a possibility to pursue? (He’d love that but I didn’t want to get his hopes up so I figured it’d be off the table.)

    (And, I know you didn’t ask nor did I bring it up in original post, but we’d definitely support him pursuing ED wherever he feels is the best place for him.)
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  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 6727 replies57 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited September 16
    LOL @Twoin18 he sounded UK/Ireland to me as well!

    HisPol at Oxford is a pretty long shot (it's a really small course- ~45 places total across the university, v. History @ 220), esp w/ the 4 in World Hx (is he doing AP USHx this year?), but he could look at the HAT and see what he thinks. The 32 is not a deal breaker, but the APs could be.

    But: St Andrews, Durham, Edinburgh, and Trinity College Dublin would all have really good options and he would have a pretty high likelihood of success. They all have the option of a year abroad, so he could do a year in (say) Spain and really nail down the fluency, which is absolutely critical if he is thinking State Dept type roles.
    edited September 16
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  • houndmomhoundmom 319 replies11 threadsRegistered User Member
    I'll second @TheGreyKing recommendation of Dickinson. It is very strong in Political Science, languages and History. They encourage Study Abroad.

    Also, for a safety, Ole Miss. My son had similar academic interests (history, political science, read the Economist for leisure), but less impressive stats! When he toured 5 years ago, he was attracted to the Croft Institute for International Studies as well as the Lott Leadership Institute.
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  • Twoin18Twoin18 1596 replies17 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited September 16
    “I assumed his stats were too low for Oxford”

    How many more APs will he do in junior year (Spanish, English Lang, US History?)? Another 3 or 4 (assuming all with a score of 5) would position him well to get an interview, assuming a good HAT score. The lack of math won’t matter and current ACT meets the minimum requirement (the World History score might be forgivable if it’s from freshman year). And I could imagine a very widely read TIP kid impressing at interview. Still not a very high chance, but much better than at equivalent US schools, and as @collegemom3717 notes, other UK schools would be likely admits.
    edited September 16
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  • tk21769tk21769 10658 replies27 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Many possibilities.
    I'd focus on at least two:
    Florida public schools (for the cost);
    DC-area schools (for the government-related internships.) American U, GW, maybe UMCP. Georgetown SFS would be a big reach.

    But chances are, almost any place he really likes, and that you're willing to pay for, could work. Within reason. Try to develop a solid foundation in a foreign language. One in depth may be better than a smattering in 2 or 3, especially if it's hard and in high demand (like Chinese or Arabic).

    Ultimately it's less about which school out of 20 or 30 you choose, than about making the school and programs you do choose work for you.

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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 34200 replies378 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited September 16
    How about volunteering for a local rep? Or an organization of the sort he'd like to work for.

    Nor enough poli sci kids extend this way.

    And make sure his targets don't prefer one stem Sat2 and one humanities.

    DC is such a great place for kids with his interests.
    edited September 16
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  • Techno13Techno13 192 replies8 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    My D has similar interests, somewhat similar stats. She liked Georgetown at first sight, but on reflection decided it was too competitive (culture, not admissions, though admission is too!) She will apply to GWU. She didn't care for America U. She felt although the internship opps were excellent, the academic culture didn't seem challenging and intellectual. But that was just her. She's really looking for a LAC, as your son may be also. I'll mention Macalester (though several others have already). How about Occidental-- a good pretty likely admit for your son (maybe even merit aid) It worked out pretty well for Obama!. Some others to read up on: Brandeis, Tufts (difficult admissions), and maybe Boston College. All universities, but smallish in overall size and smaller more personal classes. We're visiting all these in Spring so I don' t have firsthand experience yet. Best of luck
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  • 123Mom123123Mom123 52 replies1 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    edited September 16
    @collegemom3717 and @Twoin18 sorry, but I don't know what HAT is? I searched but unsuccessfully.
    Yes, the AP World History - 4 was freshman year.
    And, along the lines of looking at other UK schools, my son is actually an AICE student (will earn a Cambridge AICE Diploma following High School graduation). So the only AP classes he takes are the ones he has had: World History and European Hist
    His current American Hist class is an AICE class.
    So, maybe Cambridge would be the better place to research/consider as he might be more competitive applicant there than Oxford?

    Oh, didn't know that Hist/Pol has only 45 places compared to History having 220. He would definitely be happy to apply to the History one given he likes history quite a bit.

    I will look at St. Andrews, Durham, Edinburgh and Trinity College Dublin like you suggested, too.
    edited September 16
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  • 123Mom123123Mom123 52 replies1 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    @houndmom Thank you for replying and echoing that Dickinson should be looked at for History, PolySci, languages and history.
    I value finding more schools to examine and then share with my son to further consider.
    And, I appreciate the heads up on Ole Miss's Croft Institute and Lott Leadership Institute. Will add them to the list b/c I would not have known to look at these programs of Ole Miss.
    Thank you.
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  • 123Mom123123Mom123 52 replies1 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    @tk21769 That was my thought about GT being a big reach.

    Maybe it's best to focus on American and GW only for DC area.

    (Any thoughts of pros/cons of each?I know that I'm getting ahead of myself a bit, but just trying to gather info way in advance before next summer application process begins in earnest.)

    UMCP - (Maryland at College Park?) or??? (I'm still learning all these school name abbreviations.)

    Your last paragraph is meaningful. Thank you!
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  • 123Mom123123Mom123 52 replies1 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    @lookingforward Thank you for replying.

    He considered volunteering for local rep but ultimately felt that having different viewpoints than the rep would lead to too great of sense of incongruence. (I was pleased that he had the self-awareness not to pursue it even if it meant no resume experience in that area. Some things aren't worth it. :))

    But he continues to keep his eyes open for other opportunities.
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