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Early/Middle College and College List

isla701isla701 113 replies12 threads Junior Member
edited February 18 in College Search & Selection
Hi everyone!

Thank you so much for helping me with my thoughts on college for the past year and a half or so. I am a junior at an early college high school at a community college right now, and a few months ago, CC members gave input on my potential college list. This is a more general summary of my thoughts and not so much an inquiry about any specific school.

I take five community college courses a semester at school, and since I've balanced my courses between the core subjects, I am in a good position to have an Associate's when I graduate. At the beginning of my time at the program, I discounted the value of the transferrable college credits, focusing more on the college experience.

Recently, however, I'm finding myself in a bit of a confusing place. As those of you who live or have lived in North Carolina know, we are lucky to have incredibly low in-state tuition rates for public institutions. In freshman year, I was an idealist thinking quite a bit about top and CTCL LACs, but now that I'm a junior, I'm thinking more practically about how much money my transferrable credits + the in-state tuition could save me, compared to a private institution that hardly accepts any of my credits.

Part of me has always been a LAC enthusiast simply because I enjoy classes with lots of discussions and participation where professors know all the students. But as many of you know, the fact that I am taking classes like intro biology right now means I might place out of some 500-person lecture hall classes at a state public and reap those same benefits in upper-major courses (not to mention honors colleges, which I plan to apply to).

The bottom line is that I have always envisioned applying to 12 colleges (or a reasonable maximum). But with many, many advantages pointing the way of a few in-state schools, I question whether it is worth my time and effort applying to that many LACs (alongside the state schools and a few reaches that would be worth the cost). As much as I love schools like Beloit or Clark, realistically I doubt the finaid packages would match the tuition price of UNC-CH or NCSU, not to mention that my credits won't transfer. Plus, unlike some top schools, the difference in prestige and opportunities is probably not worth the difference in cost.

Thoughts? I know only I can decide, but is it worth applying to all these schools just out of a LAC passion I'm now beginning to doubt? If there are any early college parents or students here, did you/your child mostly stick to public schools or did you apply to privates? If so, what kind of private schools did you apply to/attend: ultra-reach schools, CTCL/mid-tier LACs, or larger privates (NYU, Drexel, etc)?

Thank you so much for your time and guidance!
edited February 18
12 replies
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Replies to: Early/Middle College and College List

  • isla701isla701 113 replies12 threads Junior Member
    A side note: I'm sorry if this sounds like I'm "resigning" myself to a state school. That's not my intention. I really, really enjoy the opportunities and atmospheres of our state schools! In fact, that's part of the reason I'm starting to question whether to apply to some other schools. The only regret I intend to convey in this post is the potential regret I might harbor if I don't give myself lots of options.
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  • merc81merc81 11284 replies187 threads Senior Member
    edited February 19
    As an opinion based on the totality of your post, you should concentrate your private-school applications on colleges that are more selective than UNC–CH (e.g., colleges that place higher in this analysis: https://www.businessinsider.com/the-610-smartest-colleges-in-america-2015-9). This resource will help you estimate costs for a variety of appealing options: https://myintuition.org/.
    edited February 19
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  • isla701isla701 113 replies12 threads Junior Member
    Thank you! @merc81 Very helpful!
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  • LindagafLindagaf 10175 replies565 threads Senior Member
    "I doubt the finaid packages would match the tuition price of UNC-CH or NCSU, not to mention that my credits won't transfer. Plus, unlike some top schools, the difference in prestige and opportunities is probably not worth the difference in cost."

    Your statement shows a lot of maturity and insight. If money is an issue, you are right, you can't beat your instate options. Few universities give transfer students much money, and those that do aren't likely to accept all of your credits.

    As a junior with instate credits, which surely your instate universities would mostly accept, you aren't terribly likely to find yourself in too many huge lectures. You will probably have a declared major and will find your classes to be smaller. Maybe not 15 people small, though some will, but small enough that you will get the interaction and discussion you want.

    UNCCH is a top school. If your grades are good, I see no reason why you shouldn't try to transfer there over an undoubtedly much more expensive LAC. Good luck.

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  • Erin's DadErin's Dad 33633 replies4286 threads Super Moderator
    Just a note that the OP is a HSer taking classes at the local CC, so would not be a transfer student.
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  • mamaedefamiliamamaedefamilia 3626 replies24 threads Senior Member
    @isla701 If you end up in an honors program at one of your in-state universities, you will likely experience the best of both worlds. You'll have a smaller built-in community but with the breadth of course offerings of a large school. And you'll have all of this at a bargain price.

    NC also has a great network of public universities of different sizes, locations, and degrees of selectivity so you might want to check out some of the other campuses if you want a smaller environment.

    Finally, if you find some LACs that might be equally affordable, it wouldn't hurt to apply to a few but I agree, it doesn't make sense to apply to 10-12 schools.

    You are showing a lot of maturity in the college selection process!
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  • isla701isla701 113 replies12 threads Junior Member
    edited February 23
    @Lindagaf Erin's Dad is right- even though I'm taking a full slate of CC courses, I will be applying as a freshman with advanced credits. Thank you for reassuring me, though! I'm still going to enjoy my trip to some potentially affordable LACs next week, but I will be keeping this in mind.

    Part of the reason I wasn't too into UNC as a freshman is because it lacked the "move away from home to go to college" appeal- I have a parent employed there and I do homework there almost every weekend. But now that I'm older/wiser, I'm appreciating how unique and special it is. I love the diversity, breadth and depth of options, and rigor. And I know that it will feel like I'm many more than 5 miles from my house as I adjust to the significant differences of college life!

    @mamaedefamilia Honors programs are amazing! The great part is that I plan on completing the Honors Program at my CC, which has direct lines to the programs at App State and UNCG, my two beloved safeties.

    And thank you!! So far I have toured UNC, NCSU, and App. UNCG visits were a bit more informal but I've gone to camp there for years. Any other schools you'd recommend looking at for a likely double major in poly sci/IR and a to be decided STEM discipline?
    I'm still thinking about going to look at UNCA but I have two anecdotes of people disliking it there and transferring to CH, so that gives me a little doubt. Of course, I've learned anecdotes aren't always that reliable.

    (Sorry if you're not that familiar with NC beyond what you posted before, just thought I'd ask.)
    edited February 23
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  • MistySteel27MistySteel27 71 replies0 threads Junior Member
    You sound very mature and wise! I don’t know anything about NC cc credits but I do know that many NJ cc credits directly transfer to many colleges in PA due to agreements with the colleges and their accreditation status. You might want to check with your current cc guidance counselor and see where the students transfer to outside of the instate publics and had success with getting junior placement. I know someone who’s D got into U of Sciences in Philadelphia as a junior and after 3.5 years graduated with her master’s of occupational therapy (usually a 5.5 year direct admit program). It’s not as inexpensive as your instate school but she was making great money at a very young age compared to her coworkers. However, that would depend on your ultimate career goal. It’s almost always best to pay as little for under grad and save your money for grad school. You’re going to be successful no matter what you decide!
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  • Mwfan1921Mwfan1921 3975 replies71 threads Senior Member
    edited February 24
    So far I have toured UNC, NCSU, and App. UNCG visits were a bit more informal but I've gone to camp there for years. Any other schools you'd recommend looking at for a likely double major in poly sci/IR and a to be decided STEM discipline?

    Have you considered UNC Asheville.....a public LAC?
    edited February 24
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  • bgbg4usbgbg4us 1539 replies45 threads Senior Member
    there's no way my S20 would be online searching these things. I'm impressed. You're off to a good start.

    sounds like you want your AA degree and credits to count for something. Colleges all handle transfer credits differently. NC public colleges should take those credits; but once you get out of your state to top LACs or to public OOS schools, transferring those community college credits could wildly differ. SO - it's a good, big question to research.

    to get an idea of what you are looking at, you can google the name of the potential college and the words "credit transfer equivalencies" or google the site College Transfer dot net.

    my D transferred colleges during college years; she had to show syllabi and course descriptions to get credit for some of those classes. So - that's another idea; make sure you save those syllabi this semester and next year just in case.

    there's also the other school of thought - that if you do go to a school that doesn't take those credits, you'll need to take the classes over, but you will certainly learn something new, and probably learn the subject thoroughly. That's not a bad thing either.

    you'll probably save money and time going to college that takes those credits; it's up to you if that's worth it or not!
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 81261 replies729 threads Senior Member
    isla701 wrote: »
    Part of me has always been a LAC enthusiast simply because I enjoy classes with lots of discussions and participation where professors know all the students. But as many of you know, the fact that I am taking classes like intro biology right now means I might place out of some 500-person lecture hall classes at a state public and reap those same benefits in upper-major courses (not to mention honors colleges, which I plan to apply to).

    If you will enter college with most of the frosh/soph level college courses in your areas of interest completed, then the above indicates that you will get less advantage from a LAC. You may also be more likely to run out of upper level courses in some subjects at some LACs. So you may want to check course listings, schedules, and faculty rosters of LACs you are interested in.
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  • isla701isla701 113 replies12 threads Junior Member
    @ucbalumnus @MistySteel27 Thank you both for your thoughts!! Very helpful. I will keep them in mind, and check out LAC schedules as well as OOS public options.

    It was kind of a wake-up call when I saw how few courses are offered at some LACs. Part of me felt like my CC has more options! Of course, that gives one a lot of freedom to do independent study, etc. But I will have time to do that in grad school if I go that route!

    @bgbg4us really really thoughtful response, thank you so much for replying. I have looked up credit transfer info but most schools don't have a policy for HS college credits listed (only for AP and transfer courses). That might be something to email about.

    Money & time vs. more learning really is the battle here. (For most people that's not a choice, but I am a true nerd!) I also feel like it might be helpful to wait another 2 years to solidify a major choice. But I can always switch if it's needed, or I can complete the major(s) and do something else after undergrad.

    Major choice is probably what makes me most anxious about transferring my credits, to be honest. I feel like I will go into something that I chose as a 12th grader and really regret it.

    I hope your D and S are doing well!

    @Mwfan1921 I have, although anecdotally I've heard more negative thoughts than positive. Might be worth touring though, and another safety never hurts. (App is my primary safety, UNCG secondary safety.)
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