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I need some help

voodoochild18voodoochild18 Registered User Posts: 10 New Member
edited September 2008 in College Search & Selection
All right well I have a bit of a dilemma regarding my college search. I am from Pennsylvania, and I am going to be a senior this year. My high school career has been adequate, but compared to other people not great. A major reason for this is due to fact that I have a disease called Crohn's Disease. I was out of school most of 6th and 7th grade and have had other less severe lapses during my high school career. Mentally and physically it was fairly difficult to convalesce grasp back my life again. This slowed my progress and also my school had this policy if you weren't in the honors track in your previous grades, you couldn't start out on an honors track in 9th grade. Plus I didn't know how much work I could actually do hence my courses weren't very challenging. Every year my schedule has been more challenging, though my sophomore year still only consisted of two honors courses. My unweighted GPA is 3.51 and my course load has been moderate/difficult. Including the courses that I am going to take in my senior, this is how my coursework looks: 2 out of 4 years I have taken honors/AP english(I am taking AP Comp this year) 3 out for 4 for Social Studies(AP US and AP Gov't, plus I got an 5 on the AP US exam with an A- in the class) 2 out of 4 for Math 2 out of 4 for Science(I am taking honors Physics and AP Bio in my senior year) 3 years of Spanish average of a B. To wrap this up, my extracurriculars aren't too great either (Tried to partake in many like my school's environmental club, Model UN, Winter Track, Cross Country, but transportation and getting sick hindered my ability to participate). I have contributed to science by helping out with many clinical studies for Crohn's, also I babysit my handicapped sister, and also I am planning to help out the Obama campaign. So my question is, how far can I shoot (I am mostly looking at small liberal arts colleges)?
Post edited by voodoochild18 on
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Replies to: I need some help

  • voodoochild18voodoochild18 Registered User Posts: 10 New Member
    oh and my SAT scores are all in the low 600's
  • nocousinnocousin - Posts: 841 Member
    Well....you are blessed. Pennsylvania is FULL of great schools that meet your needs and are close enough to home that if you have a relapse of Crohn's you can get home quickly and get the treatment you need. Crohn's as you know is exacerbated by stress, so its important you sleep right, eat right, get exercise and learn to take on only what you can take on and not over do it. Its also important you have vitamin supplements to ensure your body is ingesting nutrients.

    I am not an MD, but I know something about digestive disorders.

    That being said, you will be fine. Your scores are great considering your situation.

    You have a plethora of schools to choose from: Bucknell, UPitt, Lafayette, Lehigh, LaSalle, St. Joseph's, Gettysburg, Moravian, St. Francis, St. Vincent, Temple, Bryn Maher, Dickinson, Drexel, Duquesne, Franklin and Marshall, Grove City, Haverford, Robert Morris, Ursinus, Villanova, Valley Forge, Washington and Jefferson, York College just to name a few.

    Go to CollegeView — College Finder & Recruiting Service and plug in Pennsylvania and see what pops up and then contrast and compare.

    Good luck!
  • twomulestwomules - Posts: 1,207 Senior Member
    Are you looking to stay in the Penn area or mid atlantic states in order to have continuity with your medical care?

    Crohn's is awful. I think you've done very well considering you are managing that disease.
  • voodoochild18voodoochild18 Registered User Posts: 10 New Member
    twomules, I would like to keep in Pennsylvania considering that my medical care is in Pennsylvania, but New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island are all viable and conceivable possibilities
  • ConsolationConsolation Registered User Posts: 22,669 Senior Member
    Do you have any particular areas of interest, academically?
  • voodoochild18voodoochild18 Registered User Posts: 10 New Member
    Yes I believe so. I have always been a major history buff and have always liked my social studies/humanities courses. Recently I have developed a passion for politics. Other than that, Biology is the only other major interest of mine, maybe environmental science as well after doing a project on Acid Rain for my Honors Chemistry class
  • twomulestwomules - Posts: 1,207 Senior Member
    Nocousin made a great list. I'll add Juniata and Arcadia in Pa. Have you looked at Ithaca in NY?

    I'm wondering if a strategy of being statistically in the top 25% or 50% of a school would be a good idea. Then if you have a flare up, it might not be quite as hard to catch up.

    Do any of the CC people know the pros and cons of that?
  • nocousinnocousin - Posts: 841 Member
    Well.....stress reduction or management, as I am certain Voodoo knows, is very important. The BIGGEST reason crohn's strikes is poor diet, poor sleeping habits, lack of exercise, etc....so a party school is just as bad as a high intensity school. Or...he has to be very vigilant. Being close to home I think is a good idea. He can get home on weekends and catch up on sleep etc.....because freshmen year is fraught with all sorts of dorm issues, partiers, irresponsible people, procrastinators who then have to stay up late to get work done etc.....

    I am a STRONG proponent of Jesuit colleges as well. In his state there is U Scranton and St. Josephs. Both excellent schools. They are academic schools without being overly heavy into sports and the party scene. Villanova is a fine school....a bit tougher to get into and also a bit more intense academically....but also a bit more of a party reputation. So it depends.

    Lehigh has a party reputation, even though its a great school for engineering for example.

    Lafayette is a great school known for humanities and liberal arts.

    But looking at his scores I would focus on St. Joes and U Scranton.....or some of the other schools I mentioned.
  • voodoochild18voodoochild18 Registered User Posts: 10 New Member
    two mules, I have looked at Ithaca, and it sounds interesting, would you recommend it?
    nocousin, thank you for the list. I have visited Lafayette a couple times and also my cousin went there and graduated very recently. It seemed like a fine school to me.
  • nocousinnocousin - Posts: 841 Member
    You are most welcome. To give you some more meat on the bone, we know a girl at Wake Forest with Crohns...and she is doing swimmingly fine! She just manages her stress, NEVER stays up late and parties...and does all the right things. She also does some interesting things with emotional wellbeing and breathing exercises.....a sort of naturopathic look at things....some of this is mind over matter, you know what I mean? Not getting all anxious over things you cant control or stuff that happens. That kind of stuff.

    Dont obsess about the name schools. Just go to the school that feels like the best fit for you and your needs. College is a lot about having fun as well. So when I say dont party, I just mean dont stay up until 200 am and abusing alcohol......it doesnt mean you dont goof around (time permitting) and playing frisbee, or playing pingpong, or listening to music or going to healthy dances etc.

    And finally, know that you are not alone. Every human being has challenges in life and there are lots of people out there with even more serious challenges than you. You can and will get through this and actually have a GREAT TIME in college. And as you learn how to manage your self, your body's limits and limitations, you can grow as a person and even find wellbeing in the process. Even people who seem like they are perfect or made of teflon have problems....at some time in their life, it will happen. So dont be afraid of reaching out a bit for better things.....just do it in a well managed environment....smaller steps at a time, instead of giant leaps.

    You will be just fine. Let me know if I can help.
  • voodoochild18voodoochild18 Registered User Posts: 10 New Member
    Also I have a question on how many schools I should apply to, and how many of each of the following: reach, good match, and safety schools?
  • nocousinnocousin - Posts: 841 Member
    Depends really on YOU and so forth. My general rule for all students is to apply to 9-10. 3 reach, 4 match and 3 safety, and then hope for the reaches, but embrace your match and safety schools.

    In your case the added qualification for match needs to be if you feel comfortable going there, not just what are its admission scores.

    You will be fine.
  • voodoochild18voodoochild18 Registered User Posts: 10 New Member
    All right thanks for the input
  • voodoochild18voodoochild18 Registered User Posts: 10 New Member
    Also another important factor in my college search is the type of student body that a college has. I am person of liberal leanings and would probably be more comfortable in a liberal student body. However, I have a good amount of friends that are conservative so I wouldn't mind it if there were some conservatives around though I am looking for the best fit for me. Also ethnic diversity would be a plus. So any liberal leaning, ethnically diverse schools in PA that would make sense based on my resume and other factors already talked about in this forum ? Again, NY, CT, RI, NJ, MA, MD are all viable options as well.
  • nocousinnocousin - Posts: 841 Member
    Private schools are GENERALLY less diverse than public schools. It just goes with the territory. Most colleges are liberal leaning, partly because faculty are often liberal, students of that age group tend to be more liberal etc. But you will find a cross representation of political views at all colleges, both faculty and student body. You have to visit the school and see for yourself, ask kids and measure that against what your eyeballs and gut tell you. What one person thinks is nirvana, another person might say, "no way!" We walked on Duke's campus and my D said, "this is not me." She has many friends there. So it goes. Nothing against Duke. Its an outstanding university.

    You might also consider Villanova outside Philadelphia. I think Swarthmore is likely the MOST liberal and perhaps most diverse of private colleges in Pa, but its incredibly hard to get into. Just exceptionally selective. Bucknell is likely one of the most conservative and likely the least diverse, but its a fine school and has an outstanding reputation. Some kids relish a challenge and looking outside the box anyway. It depends upon you. I dont emote over politics, I relish a good argument, but can have a beer or cup of joe afterwards with no hard feelings. What I despise is people who get ad hominem about politics and "pick friends" because of that. Sad. Ethnicity is fine with me...but there are degrees of ethnicity.....because ethnic groups can be clubby and exclusive more than political views. And that goes for EVERY ethnic group. A healthy normal balance that is representative of society as a whole is often the best bet.....but again, that depends on the person. NYU is very diverse, but it might get on some people's nerves.

    Finally, with 3,000 colleges in the United States we have so many choices you can drive yourself crazy with "what ifs and what about that place" kind of stuff. At some point you just have to make a list of 20 schools, whittle it down to 10-12 and go with that. Most people would be happy at a LOT of schools...there isnt ONE school for you, but there is a school out there that you will feel the best fit and do well. In other words, dont obsess about your list or finding the PERFECT school. Every school has issues, because every human being has issues. You know what I mean?

    Some kids want to be adventurous and do something completely different from where they grew up. Some kids want to have a continuation of their home life and/or high school. Some kids care more about the social scene and some kids are robotic and could care less. Do you want challenge in your life? In what areas and to what degree?

    I can tell you what we did (my D) and why and what her experience has been. Its a growing up experience no matter where you are at. Its not going to be perfect and you wont get your way and have a 4.0 (likely) every semester, always get the perfect girlfriend, eat the most fabulous food in the world, everyone will agree with you, nobody will annoy you etc. Its not that way at all. Its chaotic, annoying, stressful, and a bit crazy at times. That is college. Its a PHASE in your life that we all must pass through. And then, presto! you are in the adult working world....and will be reminiscing about those crazy college days. I had 4 great years in college and then graduate school after that. Great times. But I wouldnt want to stay there forever. We all make choices in life. Sometimes they are life changing choices and this CAN be one of them. It depends on you.
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