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GUEST STUDENT OF THE WEEK: ski_racer, a high-achiever in high school, was rejected by some of the elite schools she applied to. This rejection was the best thing that happened to her as she got to choose her own path. Learn how she fell in love with her safety school, ASK HER ANYTHING!
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Time to get a list and strategy figured out

dadof4kidsdadof4kids 1097 replies89 threads Senior Member
Despite the fact that the world seems to be falling apart, time keeps moving forward and it is getting time for D21 to get serious about making a list. Apologies that this first post is crazy long, but here's the background.

Finances:

I'm not full pay, but I can afford almost any school that purports to meet full need. Trust me, I have ran NPC's for a ton of schools using various scenarios of my income rising, falling, and with various combinations of my kids in school at the same time. The definition of "full need" varies considerably, and very roughly the amount of aid corresponds with the ranking of the school. But generally even the more expensive "full need" schools are workable.

Because of the "full need" requirement, the list is top heavy. It could use some help with that, but will honestly probably stay somewhat top heavy.

Size:

2-4,000 is probably her sweet spot. Schools with a workable consortium, like Amherst or Haverford I am considering in that range even though technically they are not. She is open to midsized U's. The main reason she cares about size is for class size, specifically in the intro sciences. Her brothers are at campuses with 15,000 and 20,000 undergrads respectively. She thinks that is insane.

Rural/Urban:

Very slight preference for urban or suburban, although she's pretty agnostic on this point. In a perfect world there are a few coffee shops, etc. near campus. The Delmar Loop by WashU or Thayer Street by Brown (to name 2 examples I know of the many possibilities) would be great. But isn't a pressing need for her. She is ok with Hamilton, for example.

Curriculum:

Really strong preference for open curriculum or flexible distribution requirements. A Columbia-like core is definitely out. This is probably her #1 consideration.

Competitiveness:

This is a close #2 consideration. She wants a more collaberative environment for two reasons. First, if med school is in the cards, she needs to have good grades. Second, even though she is fairly competitive I don't think she would thrive at a place where she is surrounded by hyper competitive people.

Interests:

Probably applying as a History major with plans on being pre-med. I wouldn't be surprised if she shifts to Sociology or Anthropology or something else like that, but she hasn't been exposed to that stuff really. I think her favorite class in HS was AP Human Geography. Her current plan is ultimately med school, and to study otherwise interesting things in college. That's part of why the open curriculum is appealing, she can some intellectual grazing, trying a bit of this and a bit of that.

Location and geographical distribution of students:

She has slight preference for Northeast, but it isn't a major factor. What she does want to avoid is a school that gets most of their kids locally. She doesn't want to be in the minority of kids who don't show up on campus with a friend group already established from HS.

Stats:

She has gotten a couple B's her junior year, but still held on to her 1/350 or so class rank and 3.93 UW, 4.4 W GPA. Will end up with 10 AP classes. She got 2 4's last year, and didn't take the tests this year, so that will probably be a datapoint we don't include in the app. Took ACT with very minimal prep and got a 32, basically treated it as a "real world conditions" practice test that she figured no admissions committee would ever see. Since then the 2 dates she planned on giving her a good score were canceled. I'm hoping she can add a couple points in July.

35 E, 27 M, 31 S, 33 R. Math is dragging her down because she never really refreshed on it. I'm guessing ultimately she ends up 33-34, bur for now I'm working with 2 scenarios, either keep the 32 or she improves. With the 32 she may end up applying TO some places, although I hate to bury that 35E score.

EC's:

Not great, not awful. Non-recruitable soccer player who plays most of the year, so that's a huge time commitment. 4 years varsity soccer, 3 years JV golf, hopefully varsity this year but could get cut if she doesn't make it. 3 years student council, current secretary. 4 years FFA, current vice president. Quite a few agriculture related activities with the FFA, which I'm hoping adds a bit of something different than what they normally see. Works a bit in the summer. On a pretty selective local leadership team for our town. A few other misc activities that don't amount to much. FFA and soccer are definitely the big 2. She might be walk on caliber at a D3 school for soccer, but she isn't pursuing it because I don't think she is good enough to get coach assistance with admission.

Our location:

We are from a very underrepresented midwest flyover state. I don't think any school we are looking at that publishes a list of where there students hail from have 10 from our state, several have only a couple or a gaping hole on their map. Because of info I have posted elsewhere about a different kid, I would prefer to not list the state. If you feel it is important to your analysis, pm me.

Politics:

She is liberal, but of the "live and let live" flavor, not SJW. For this reason I think schools like Oberlin, Smith and Wesleyan, which otherwise might be good for her, are probably out. I could have others like that still on my list, please let me know.

edited June 25
133 replies
Post edited by CCEdit_Suraj on
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Replies to: Time to get a list and strategy figured out

  • dadof4kidsdadof4kids 1097 replies89 threads Senior Member
    So here is the actual list. It is top heavy and too long. I do think she may end up applying to close to 20 schools, because I think the admissions are going to be super wonky this year. Also to be honest I think she gets lost in the shuffle if she is compared to girls from Long Island or Westchester. But I think if a school is looking closer at keeping someone from her state that helps her and may put her in a different bucket. The problem of course is that I don't know which schools are going to be concerned about getting at least 1-2 students from her state, and I don't know where the other kids from our state are applying. I do know that most of these schools only have a few from our state though.

    Amherst - ED
    Hamilton - ED II
    Vassar

    I really don't want to ED, but I think I will let her because again I'm pretty worried about this year.

    Probably applying to these 6 because no extra essay and all would check many (although not all) of her boxes:

    Colby
    Bates
    Connecticut College
    Middlebury
    Grinnell
    Case Western

    I think this part of the list is pretty set, and even though it's 9 schools it's only 3 sets of extra questions.

    Others pretty high on the list in my guess of their very rough order:

    Tulane (kind of an outlier, but has some aspects she really likes)
    Brown
    Rochester
    Carleton
    Bowdoin
    Dartmouth
    Pomona
    Williams
    Haverford
    Rice
    Davidson
    Colgate
    Wake Forest

    I think she takes a seat at all of the above schools over any of these below (except maybe Connecticut or Grinnell, mostly those are on the list because applying to them adds 5 minutes to the application process). A few that aren't really safeties but that I expect she will get in:

    Macalaster
    Mount Holyoke
    Bryn Mawr
    St Olaf

    This part of the list could use some work, maybe additions. And none necessarily have to stay on either.

    The true safety is our in state U, where she is guaranteed admission and will most likely be in the honors program. Really hoping it doesn't come to that though.

    This is still pretty fluid. There are too many schools on the list. Having said that, feel free to throw out ones that you think may fit her. Having 30-40 at this point is ok, because she needs to do the final narrowing down, not me. Having said that, if you see something that doesn't seem to fit please mention that as well.

    Thanks for any input you have.
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  • PublisherPublisher 11560 replies155 threads Senior Member
    edited June 22
    If your daughter has spent her whole life in the Midwest, then I encourage her to focus on East Coast or West Coast locations.

    Although smaller than her preferred size, Davidson College in North Carolina might interest her. Great location. Access to a large, beautiful lake & a charming small college town. Strong academics.

    Dartmouth College is the right size & should be a fit academically.

    Vanderbilt University ?

    As safeties, The University of Vermont Honors College & the College of Charleston Honors College should offer merit scholarship money. Burlington, Vermont & Charleston, South Carolina are great cities for college students.
    edited June 22
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  • belmombelmom 101 replies0 threads Junior Member
    Maybe Occidental for an LA option?
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  • boudersbouders 2722 replies188 threads Senior Member
    She should look at the other Claremont Colleges, like Scripps and Pitzer. Wellesley would be good too. Santa Clara U doesn't meet full need, but I like it for its laid back, non-competitive vibe. Reed College does meet full need and seems to be laid back as well, although I'm not as familiar with it.

    Amherst, Williams and Pomona have always seemed to be non-laid back schools to me.

    I would not craft a list based on whether or not the schools require additional essays. If she can't write a one pager on why a certain school is a good fit for her, then it's probably not a good fit for her.
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  • dadof4kidsdadof4kids 1097 replies89 threads Senior Member
    Thanks for comments so far. I don't know much about Occidental. I thought Wellesley was a super type A high stress place.

    As far as Claremont Colleges, I don't know if she is crunchy enough for Pitzer, and Scripps has quite a few required classes, which she isn't looking for. Correct me if I'm wrong though, I was kind of bummed when I checked them out and decided they probably wouldn't work well for her.

    She isn't really crafting the list based on whether additional essays are required. Having said that, the reality is that I think very few people can craft 20 good supplemental essays before burnout hits and they either quit or do a lazy job. Those schools are a way to add some other good fits without adding a lot of extra work. They all fit quite a few of her criteria and would take minimal additional effort to apply to. There are plenty of no essays schools that won't make the list ahead of ones that require additional essays.

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  • dadof4kidsdadof4kids 1097 replies89 threads Senior Member
    edited June 22
    Off of the thread I got a pm questioning whether BMC was a good fit based on my description of D. If BMC iis like Smith and Oberlin, then probably it is a bad fit. I kind of got that vibe when we did a tour, but it seemed like it was mostly coming from the tour guide not necessarily the other students. But maybe our first impression was correct and BMC is too much of a SJW echo chamber to be a good fit. Comments?

    Also, would Haverford fall into that same category?
    edited June 22
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  • dadof4kidsdadof4kids 1097 replies89 threads Senior Member
    I missed it before but will check out Santa Clara and see how that works financially.

    Reed I have heard isn't great for pre-med, as far as being able to maintain a GPA that is competitive.

    I'll also do some looking into the the colleges @publisher mentioned.

    Thanks for the comments so far, very helpful.
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  • NovaMom93NovaMom93 139 replies10 threads Junior Member
    How about the University of Richmond? It’s smallish, beautiful campus just outside downtown Richmond and her scores would be competitive for admissions. They have medical school entrance stats online - of course these should be taken with a grain of salt. But it seems there are no minimums to be eligible for a committee letter for med school.

    https://prehealth.richmond.edu/pre-health/FAQ.html

    https://prehealth.richmond.edu/pre-health/acceptance.html
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  • happymomof1happymomof1 30840 replies198 threads Senior Member
    edited June 22
    BMC alum here. I was going to recommend that your daughter look at it before I saw it already on the list. It's an easy women's college for her to keep on the list because of the relationship with HC. Lots of applicants apply to both, so she shouldn't be afraid to do that if she likes each of them. I don't know enough recent alums to evaluate the SJW thing, but she has time to investigate that a bit more. Also, I expect that in the current political climate what would have been too much SJW a year ago might not seem to be too much right now.

    To beef up her safer range, she could check out Luther in Decorah, IA and Guilford in Greensboro, NC. Both have solid academics and are easier admits than St. Olaf/Grinnell and Haverford, respectively. My straight-A Iowa farm-daughter niece was very happy in the honor's program at Guilford. If your daughter is feeling the women's college vibe, she can take a look here: https://www.womenscolleges.org/ Agnes Scott in Decatur, GA might work. It has cross registration with more than a dozen other colleges/universities in the Atlanta area, and would be an easier admit than BMC/Mt. Holyoke.
    edited June 22
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  • powercropperpowercropper 1799 replies77 threads Senior Member
    Agnes Scott has more of a SJW vibe. Never visited, basing on living in the Atlanta area, friends who have kids attend, and reading/listening to local news.
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  • MidwestmomofboysMidwestmomofboys 4210 replies27 threads Senior Member
    Non-SJW, collaborative-y schools that are matches (some will be closer to safety-ish): Rhodes, Denison, Centre, Skidmore, Dickinson, St Lawrence (though travel from more remote midwest may be an obstacle to St L). Already mentioned -- Conn Coll, Trinity.
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  • LindagafLindagaf 10990 replies592 threads Super Moderator
    edited June 23
    Your list is very good. Glad to see Bates there because I think it checks most boxes. It has very flexible distribution requirements. There are so many ways to complete them that my daughter felt she pretty much just took classes she was interested in. Not competitive. No Greek life, and a collaborative atmosphere. Students are generally liberal, but it’s not a SJW type place.

    Of the top three in the list, I feel a bit that Hamilton is the outlier, especially when looking at the rest of the schools you’ve listed. Is CWRU on the list as a safety or potential for merit money? That’s also going to be quite different from the others, but nothing wrong with having a few anomalies on the list.

    Re “safeties,” I think Conn College will be almost safe, as long as she shows interest. Reed is not laid back. It’s very intellectual, and very rigorous.

    I think the list could be narrowed down by letting her read something like the Fiske Guide. The schools you list here include most of the schools my D had on her long list six years ago. I let her read up on all of them, and she started by eliminating the ones she definitely didn’t like the sound of. We also had the luxury of visiting, which you may not have. Both of my kids found the website Niche to be very useful too. It’s based on student feedback, which helped them further eliminate.


    Your colleges seems to fall mostly into two groups, which for sake of ease, I’ll call Nonpreppy and Preppy. There will be both kinds of kids at most of these colleges though. In no order:

    NONPREPPY:
    Vassar
    Amherst
    Bates
    CWRU
    Macalester
    Grinnell
    Conn College
    Brown
    Pomona
    Rice
    U Rochester
    MHC
    Carleton

    PREPPY:
    Colby
    Hamilton
    Colgate
    Bowdoin
    Haverford
    Williams
    Davidson
    Wake Forest
    Dartmouth

    Probably more Preppy than Not?:
    Tulane
    St. Olaf
    Middlebury
    BMC


    I didn’t count State U. Would she be happy to attend? If not, it’s not a safety.

    Did I miss some? I count 26. Feel free to argue against this or whatever. Anyway, it is worth considering that there is, generally speaking, more Greek Life presence at the “preppy” schools. Does she care about that? Some students care a lot, others don’t mind. Using Niche will give her a good idea of how dominant it is.
    edited June 23
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 83829 replies743 threads Senior Member
    dadof4kids wrote: »
    The true safety is our in state U, where she is guaranteed admission and will most likely be in the honors program. Really hoping it doesn't come to that though.

    It is not really a safety if she does not want to attend (or does not have her desired major, etc.).

    Since it seems that she likes LACs and similar colleges, does your state have a public LAC, or are there lower cost public LACs that are affordable and suitable? E.g. Truman State, University of Minnesota - Morris, New College of Florida, etc..
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  • merc81merc81 11887 replies203 threads Senior Member
    I wouldn't be surprised if she shifts to sociology or anthropology or something else like that . . . .

    Though this seems primarily to have been set forth as a hypothetical, it might nonetheless be worth noting that colleges that offer distinct departments in these social science fields tend to be stronger in them than colleges at which these fields appear in a single department.
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  • RockySoilRockySoil 235 replies2 threads Junior Member
    The top of the list seems to rely heavily on the open curriculum factor, which you pointed out is important to your DD because she wants to explore a lot of different academic areas. I think the trimester system is very advantageous for students like her - you get to take 36 (slightly shorter) courses over 4 years instead of 32, which is awesome for those kids who want to take everything there is to take.

    Other than the Midwest location, Carleton checks all of her boxes and is on trimesters. The kids are from all over the globe, so it is not a typical Midwest centered experience. The distribution requirements are very to meet.
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  • dadof4kidsdadof4kids 1097 replies89 threads Senior Member
    Thanks for all the comments. I'll try to address a few of the questions as I have time today. The first couple:

    Safety:

    Would D be happy to attend State U? Not really. Would she be miserable? Probably also not really. She would be super dissapointed, but I think after a semester or so she would settle in and be fine. She is a "grow where planted" type of girl. However, having said that, she would very much prefer a smaller LAC.

    There are a few smaller schools around here that are definite safeties. But they are safeties to the point that generally the kids she is in honors and AP classes with don't go there unless it is to play a sport. She would be well over the 75% percentile, even with her ACT that I don't think fairly represents her potential. I've talked to her about them, and I think at least right now she feels like she would rather go to State U. She gets annoyed being surrounded by people who don't care in her classes. Based on the kids I know at the safety LAC's around here, lots of those kids will be in her classes. She wants to avoid that.

    Another wrinkle is that the brother not at State U is at an Ivy. The 2 of them have always been fiercely competitive with each other. He is bright, but I think by any objective measure and even his own admission when she is out of earshot, she is smarter than he is. So if she ends up at State U (or one of the local LAC's where his less intelligent buddies are currently students) that is going to be a bitter pill. If she is at really anything on the list I did above they are different enough from what he has and prestigious enough I think she won't feel like she is settling. She isn't even applying to his school, we visited and she didn't like it. She won't really admit that this is a factor, but I know her well enough to know that it is a factor. If she was 6 inches taller she probably has the competitive drive that would land her in D1 athletics. But she wasn't graced with the body for it, so she has channelled that competitiveness into her academics (which in the long run pays off a lot better anyway).

    I'll check out the ones everyone mentioned. Because of a couple things in her past she is going to feel like rural Missouri is taking a step backwards as far as progressiveness of the people she is surrounded by. I don't think she would trust Smith or Oberlin not being redneck Trump supporting hotbeds if you located them in rural Missiouri. So even though Truman would probably be good to add as a safer option it will be a non-starter for her.

    Why is CWRU on the list:

    D really liked Rochester when we visited, although she has cooled on it a bit. CWRU is the first school people toss out there as being similar to Rochester, which is how it got on the list originally. I think it probably stays on the list because it has EA. While she probably would choose several other schools over CWRU, she would definitely choose it over State U. So if she is sitting on that admit in her back pocket in December, that will make waiting until late March to find out her fate much less agonizing. On a related note, I think the list gets cut dramatically if she gets the early admit to Tulane, which is tough. She has probably done 10 hours of online stuff with them to try to show interest.

    I'll try to address the other points later today, have to actually get some work done now.

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  • nichols51nichols51 324 replies5 threads Member
    I'd echo the suggestion to check out Skidmore and was also going to suggest Whitman (not East Coast but it's not Midwest either), and I think it might work in many ways. Neither has the fully open curriculum (though it might be helpful to see how onerous the distributive requirements would be, specifically, for your D).

    In terms of trying to bring in a true safety option, CTCL school Kalamazoo has an open curriculum - but it's not East Coast and doesn't pull enough, probably, from outside the region for what your D is looking for.
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  • PublisherPublisher 11560 replies155 threads Senior Member
    I would not forget that your daughter's class rank is currently #1 out of about 350 students.
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  • dadof4kidsdadof4kids 1097 replies89 threads Senior Member
    Publisher wrote: »
    I would not forget that your daughter's class rank is currently #1 out of about 350 students.

    I assume you mean that she shouldn't be afraid of aiming high? I go back and forth. I know many don't have rank at all anymore or only have deciles. But I would think if the schools see 1/350 right in front of them it should carry some weight. Plus the underrepresented state and at least quasi-agriculture background should be in her favor. Some days I think she shouldn't ED and should add Yale to the list.

    Other times I lie awake in bed hoping she gets into Connecticut or Macalaster.
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