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Narrowing Down/Next Visits

isla701isla701 66 replies7 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
edited September 17 in College Search & Selection
Hello all! I hope it's okay I'm posting again, but I'm really grateful for your help.

I have posted a thread in this forum before, but it focused mostly on LACs in New England. Some things have changed since then: I have a clearer idea of potential majors, I am much happier in my current school environment (which has been instructive in terms of thinking about what fits me) and I don't need to spend nearly as much time discussing finances. I've become much more familiar with those than I was last year.

For those of you who saw my thread last year: I apologize for my sophomore immaturity. As one poster wisely pointed out, I was focusing on college because I wasn't happy in my current environment. I've worked a lot on improving myself, and am proud of where I am now.

I'm so content and eager, in fact, that the college search has taken a backseat! However, seeing as I'm a junior now, my parents are urging me to think more about it- one even asked for a list and I felt a little overwhelmed. So without further ado, I'm going to post a list and explain my situation. I'm looking for outside the box ideas, fit schools I may have foolishly missed, etc.

GPA: 4.0 UW
SAT/ACT: taking soon, PACT with no studying was a 32
ECs: fine, not amazing, definitely taking on new commitments at my new school this year without resume padding.
State of Residence: NC
Prospective Majors in order:

1) IR. Now from reading the forums here, I know this is not a very common major and it might be a better idea to go down a more general path like Poli Sci. Still worth mentioning. A lot of schools have strong, popular Poli sci departments- same can't be said of foreign language. I'd like suggestions on schools with decent offerings there (that's become a real passion).

2) Psychology/Sociology/putting Linguistics in this category- these would translate into health fields and I'm fine with needing a grad degree.

3) Env. Sci- it would be nice to have a strong department in this in case this interest takes the front of the pack.

4) Education- I realize this is not common at LACs. That's why I'm preaching outside the box a bit, to get myself away from limited thinking.

So far my list is in kinda two categories: LACs and state schools. I have always been a fan of LACs. I'm not into sitting in large lecture halls for the sake of greater prestige. Loren Pope in CTCL trashed Ivies a bit too much, but I definitely agree with some of his points regarding LACs.
Being in early college at a CC has made me realize though that I don't want a complete bubble of homogeneity at a LAC or elsewhere for that matter. Diversity and differences in viewpoint matter. Thus I'm thinking a little less just about LACs than a year ago. (I know the top LACs don't struggle with this, others do.)

So here's the list so far that I gave to my parent-

Reach:
Tufts
Davidson
Hamilton
Grinnell or Carleton

Match (some high some low):
UNC-CH
NCSU
Macalester
Lawrence (WI)
Wooster
Mount Holyoke

Safety:
Appalachian State
UNCG

Some ? schools I've thought about- you can vouch or not!:
Richmond, Agnes Scott, Elon, DC schools, Clark

I need more safeties. Any suggestions for OOS ones? IS, I've thought about adding UNCW to the list. Great school but given all the hurricanes destroying buildings I don't feel as excited to go there as the two I have now.

Oh also! In terms of location! Nothing west of the Rockies please :)

Thank you!!
edited September 17
41 replies
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Replies to: Narrowing Down/Next Visits

  • isla701isla701 66 replies7 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Okay, I just realized the post below mine on the forum is about someone interested in IR lol. I apologize for not looking at that earlier! I'm still looking for suggestions though seeing as my situation has some differences and I'm not 100% set on IR.

    To that end, I would say I'm a bit more interested in languages than history. But I appreciate the indirect suggestions!
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  • helpingmom40helpingmom40 66 replies2 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    I think you should look at Hobart & William Smith Colleges (one school) in Geneva, NY. It has a similar look and feel to the LACs with the added benefit of being right on the lake. They have IR, Environmental Studies, Psych & Soc and foreign languages. You can also stay a 5th year and get a masters in teaching, if you decide you want to do that. They have one of the best study abroad programs in the country and they have an amazing amount of research and internships with an impressive list of graduates. The school has an amazing amount of resources for a smaller school! I think they tick a lot of your boxes and would make an excellent safety because for some strange reason, they don’t get a lot of applicants and are test optional. It has been securely on my D’s list since our first visit!
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  • PublisherPublisher 8078 replies82 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Middlebury College in Vermont should be considered.
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  • LindagafLindagaf 9243 replies497 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I think two safeties are fine. By definition, you should be certain you can get in. You don’t need more than two schools you know you can get into, unless you aren’t sure that you’d actually like to attend them. If that’s the case, find another safety and axe one you already have.

    Your list is interesting. I’m thinking Davidson is an outlier. Hard to imagine a kid who would be happy there also being happy at Grinnell or Carleton.

    Clark is very good for psychology. Again though, I can’t see a kid who likes Davidson being happy at Clark. Clark is quite socially aware and a little activist, but not in your face. You’d probably get merit at Clark, and I’d say it’s almost a safety, but not if you don’t show interest. We liked it a lot.

    Posts move all over the page, depending on who last commented on them.
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  • isla701isla701 66 replies7 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    edited September 17
    helpingmom40- Thanks! That sounds like an awesome school- I'll definitely check it out!

    Publisher- Ahh yes I don't know why that one didn't make it on. Best language program around when it comes to LACs haha, thanks!

    @Lindagaf - Thank you! I was just wondering if my list was too reach heavy, and I like my two safeties a lot. UNCG seems like almost a guaranteed admit due to their test score range compared to my PACT (and I have room to fall there too). App State is also pretty likely if a bit higher on scores. I'm trying for honors at both.

    Interesting! We mostly toured Davidson due to it being close, definitely liked the intimate, friendly but serious culture. Can you explain your reasoning a little more about Davidson vs. Carleton/Grinnell? Is it based on the activist vibe vs. jock-y one?

    I would say I was very neutral about the sports culture at Davidson, seeing as I've never been all that sporty. I have a few friends who are serious student-athlete types but that's about it. Since touring Davidson I've also become more of an activist type- as you said about Clark, nothing too crazy, but maybe something to consider?

    My cousin goes to Clark and I sat in on one of his classes. Definitely enjoyed- biggest negative I can think of is the campus size (one side to the other in 5 mins) and location lol. Thanks for confirming it might be a bit of a safety.
    edited September 17
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  • LindagafLindagaf 9243 replies497 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Davidson is more conservative than the others in your reach category. It’s got a dominant Greek culture. It’s not totally dissimilar to Hamilton, but even Hamilton will have some quirky creative types. Definitely a lot of quirky types at Grinnell and Carleton, though Grinnell is probably more creative quirky and Carleton is more nerdy quirky. No doubt someone here will say you can find all those types at Davidson too, but that isn’t what it’s known for. Probably also the most monied of all your reach schools.

    Are you in state for UNCCH? If not, it’s a reach. Along with Davidson and Hamilton, probably more conservative. If you think of yourself as a socially aware and a little activist, Grinnell, Carleton and Clark are perhaps going to be more your cup of tea.

    I like that you have Macalester. It is the best of all worlds, in many ways. Cares about interest. Great location, smart, aware, engaged students who want to be there.

    I personally feel very neutral about Elon, for no good reason. I guess I never hear much about it and it’s not on my radar. Middlebury is great, but it’s yet another reach. It’s too easy to keep adding reaches. My.Holyoke is all women and is suddenly getting tough to get in. Show interest.
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  • Techno13Techno13 192 replies8 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    If you are seen as a good fit (due to ECs, essays) MHC may be a likley if not safety depending on your SAT scores. The acceptance rate around 50%. I'm a huge fan of MAC especially for IR and am trying to convince my D to apply there as well. Another school I really like is Brandeis-- known for internationalism. Probably a match school for you. Best luck in your decision.
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  • LindagafLindagaf 9243 replies497 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Yes to Brandeis! I also thought of that, then forgot to post. Excellent school.
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  • AlmostThere2018AlmostThere2018 1344 replies49 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited September 17
    PS -- I have anecdotally heard of UNCW rejecting some high stats kids b/c they are trying to lower their acceptance rates/increase yield and they figure high stats kids likely won't accept admissions offer. So they might not be best safety.

    I've not heard same for App so I think it's a better safety.
    edited September 17
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  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 12883 replies242 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Agnes Scott came up over and over on the latest USNWR lists, I noticed.

    #58 in National Liberal Arts Colleges (tie)
    #4 in Best Undergraduate Teaching
    #25 in Best Value Schools
    #1 in Most Innovative Schools
    #2 in Top Performers on Social Mobility
    #1 in First-Year Experiences
    #3 in Learning Communities (tie)
    #7 in Senior Capstone (tie)
    #23 in Service Learning (tie)
    #14 in Co-ops/Internships (tie)
    #15 in Writing in the Disciplines (tie)
    #10 in Study Abroad
    #27 in Undergraduate Research/Creative Projects (tie)

    https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges/agnes-scott-college-1542/overall-rankings
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  • isla701isla701 66 replies7 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Thank you so much @Lindagaf!! Your input is so appreciated! I definitely agree that it's too easy to keep adding reaches- don't want to overwhelm myself. Hamilton was mostly on the list by virtue of its emphasis on writing, which was a huge factor at the beginning of my search. One thing that concerns me about it, though, is its notoriety for heavy drinking due to the location. Physically, I can't even handle the wrong type of food, so I doubt my body would respond well to alcohol- and I'm not eager to drink anyway. Nothing one can't get around, of course, but it would be nice to have something else to do besides watch movies or study while people are drinking.

    I'm thinking maybe remove Hamilton and add Midd in its place. Also, I am in state for UNC-CH, and it's not guaranteed by any means, but as my school is an early college HS, a large number of the top ranked students transfer credit (not my priority but would if I could) to UNC. Doesn't fit my small school leanings, but you can make a big school smaller ;)

    Thanks for confirming Macalester! I don't have a dedicated dream school but I would say that's close to it at the moment. If I had to name the progression of "dream schools" from beginning of HS to now it'd be Ivies --> Hamilton --> Davidson --> Mount Holyoke --> Lawrence --> Macalester. Of course it's good not to have ONE dream school haha.

    I feel neutral about Elon too, but my parents are thinking I should maybe take a look since it's close. Not sure.
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  • isla701isla701 66 replies7 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    @Techno13 Thank you! My dad's college roommate's son is going to Brandeis and I really hope he likes it! It's a shame we didn't visit- I'd heard something about it being mediocre for non-STEM kids. Just shows why I need to stop assuming things. For example, with the comments about the drinking culture at Hamilton- I'm trying not to let that kill my interest.
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  • isla701isla701 66 replies7 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    edited September 17
    @AlmostThere2018 I cannot thank you enough for the anecdote and I hope your D is doing well at Davidson!! She sounds like an amazing and accomplished person who understands the appeal of LACs!

    Grinnell IS remote. We did a NE group of tours and obviously an in-state group of tours. I'm looking at either Midwest or DC next, but it's hard to group Midwest schools together. Maybe do Mac, Carleton, and St. O in one. Lawrence and Grinnell are rough to get to lol.

    Good to hear about the political scene. Yes, I have some of the same aspirations as your D with avoiding a bubble. It's not at the very top of my list, but it would be nice to have diverse political viewpoints. In my home and school lives now, people get called stupid for being conservative, and while I can understand the frustration, that won't get society anywhere.

    Also thanks! Takes consideration of UNCW off the table. Have you heard anything along those lines with UNCG? They have an internationally-themed honors college, so I'm thinking that if I show my international passion, that'll make them less likely to dismiss me. (And this past summer was my fourth attending their summer music camp- love that program!)
    edited September 17
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  • isla701isla701 66 replies7 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    edited September 17
    @OHMomof2 That's so interesting! I worry about the size of Agnes, but I like the idea of a small environment with other colleges and a city at my fingertips. Plus it's drivable from home and there are so many flights to my home airport. Hopefully there are enough academic options.

    Does anyone have any more input for me when it comes to CTCL (type) schools? I love Lawrence for the integration of music into the academic culture (I'm a cellist and wouldn't rule out picking up another arts interest), Wooster for the senior thesis and intense but collaborative culture, Clark for the strong psychology and down to earth feel on campus, and Agnes Scott for the reasons mentioned above. Any dissuasion or persuasion that you can think of, I'd love to hear it. XD
    edited September 17
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  • apple23apple23 496 replies14 threadsRegistered User Member
    Don't go too much by hearsay if you can help it. Hamilton does not appear on either of the two Princeton Review lists related to alcohol use.

    Hamilton also graduates more foreign language majors than any other liberal arts college that I've seen, including Middlebury.
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  • isla701isla701 66 replies7 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Thank you @apple23! I didn't know that! Alright, I'll figure Hamilton and Midd out as I go along. Fortunate to only be a junior haha.
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  • AlmostThere2018AlmostThere2018 1344 replies49 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I have not heard same about UNCG. A safety is also a college you are willing to attend if it were you only option. I don't think that will happen, but keep that in mind.
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  • homerdoghomerdog 5066 replies93 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    @isla701 Our S19 had Grinnell, Carleton, and Davidson on his list. Got into all three and would have been happy at all three. Did long visits at each including class visits and overnights. Davidson is not conservative. Just because it's in the south does not make it that. The students he met were liberal and the school talks about how the student body used to lean conservative but that is no longer the case. And the Greek system is super low key. Not at all what one thinks of when they think of a Greek system. S19 found kids he really liked at all three (bright, sporty, intellectual, happy, and kind). Having these three on the same list makes sense.
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  • homerdoghomerdog 5066 replies93 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited September 18
    @isla701 Just read a little more of your thread and noticed you are considering Hamilton. S19 applied and got in there as well but we never ended up visiting. It's hard to get there from Chicago and I also have heard about the hard partying. ALL colleges have drinking and parties and we did try to find out more details about each school on that front. We know two kids at Hamilton and, compared to the other schools on your list, I would have to agree that the partying seems a bit more intense there.

    S19 also applied to Midd and was waitlisted. I don't know what the history for Midd is at your high school but they seem to only take kids from our school ED as athletes. I do think he would have gotten in if he had applied ED. Our (athlete) friends who are students there would say that it's beautiful and the academics are amazing. They would also say that half of the kids are athletes and stick with their teams socially as well. We were trying to find schools where cliques aren't as set, where the athletes had friends outside of their sport and kids are friends with all types of kids. That worried us just a little bit as did the reputation that the boys were very frat boy like even though there aren't any fraternities.
    edited September 18
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