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Math & Science Safety Schools?

ToTallToTall Registered User Posts: 12 New Member
edited September 2008 in College Search & Selection
My son is strong in math and science. He has the grades in AP classes and test scores for MIT, Harvard, etc. While he had been interested in an Engineering school, he recently decided he would rather go to an Arts and Science school instead of an Applied school. He choose Cornell, MIT, Harvard, and Chicago as the schools to receive his ‘free’ set of ACT scores.

He really likes Cornell, and he would fit in well at Chicago according to what I read here (except for the urban part). He realizes it’s likely he may NOT be accepted into any of the schools of this caliber that he applies to, despite his scores, ECs, etc.

So, given that real possibility, we would appreciate suggestions for appropriate ‘safety’ schools given his ability and interests?

Post edited by ToTall on

Replies to: Math & Science Safety Schools?

  • laviebohemelavieboheme Registered User Posts: 457 Member
    WPI maybe?

    or possibly RPI, although their acceptance rate went down quite a bit in the last year.
  • RacinReaverRacinReaver Registered User Posts: 6,608 Senior Member
    What do you mean when he decided he'd rather go to an Arts and Science school instead of an Applied one? That's a little confusing when he sent scores away to MIT since they're a pretty applied-tech school.

    Anyway, if he likes MIT or engineering oriented schools, then Carnegie Mellon, RPI, Case Western, WPI, and Lehigh are schools of varying difficulty he could look at.
  • Erin's DadErin's Dad Super Moderator Posts: 34,465 Super Moderator
    If you meant Liberal Arts College (LAC) then Reed is a good option.
  • ToTallToTall Registered User Posts: 12 New Member
    He’s become less interested in ‘real projects’ and more interested in ‘theoretical'. His teachers, mother and I have thought he tends toward the abstract and ‘creative’. Lately he’s thinking the same.

    Yes, he’ll send scores to MIT because, well, it’s MIT. Frankly, we think he’ll do well at any school he goes to (after the shock of his first year).

    Reed is appealing to me, I like the idea of a Liberal Arts school with a reactor, but I don’t know about him. I agree with a PM I received, I don’t think it’s a safety school either. Besides, aren’t acceptance rates a result of the number of applicants, or is that factored in when they are listed (% per 100?).

    So the question remains; What safety schools are there where he would learn and explore Math and Science for their own sake?
  • minimini Registered User Posts: 26,431 Senior Member
    A great one is St. Olaf's, with one of the strongest undergraduate math departments in the country. They have 60-65 math majors a year; more than 50% go on to do graduate work, and it is in the top six schools in the nation in undergraduate origins of mathematics Ph.Ds.
  • RacinReaverRacinReaver Registered User Posts: 6,608 Senior Member
    I think to have a better idea for suggesting safeties we'd need to know more about the stats of your son. Is MIT a reach, a large reach, or a "well, it can't hurt to try" type of application? Lots of my friends at CMU had applied to MIT and used CMU as a bit of a "safety" school.

    Back when I was doing my applications (six years already?) I was top 10% of class (maybe 5%) out of ~700 students in a very good public, 8 APs, 1460 SAT, 800 SAT II Chem, 790 SAT Math IIc, 510 Writing (oh man that one hurt), and had a ton of clubs and activities that I was actively involved in. I considered RIT, WPI, and Rose Hulman my safety schools, RPI as a match, CMU as a high match, and Caltech as a sizable reach.
  • jbuscjbusc Registered User Posts: 2,252 Senior Member
    If his grades are good enough to be in contention for MIT, Harvard, etc., then he might want to consider USC, where there might be potential for merit money (1/2 tuition scholarship if he's NMSF)

    If by "arts and sciences" school you mean a school where someone can also study other fields outside their science/engineering major, USC is also good because the president of the university has pushed that very strongly and encourages everyone to minor in an area completely unrelated to their major - those people can be designated as "renaissance scholars" by the university and can get special scholarships for graduate school.
  • ToTallToTall Registered User Posts: 12 New Member
    Thank you all for your interest!

    I’ve received a couple of PMs requesting additional information for a more complete picture. So here are more brush strokes.

    2008 SATs; Critical Reading 720, Math 720, Writing 620. He took them in 2007 and he got; Critical Reading 680, Math 730, Writing 580. The Math scores went down a bit, but the others came up. He’ll be taking the Math Level 2 and Physics subject tests.

    Truthfully, he doesn’t really have a lot of ECs unless you can count hanging out with the teachers after class. He’s taken summer courses in Cryptology and Genetics, both from CTY. This past summer he went to France on a school trip. (He was affected by the D-Day graves at Normandy, impressed by the attack on the cliffs, and ‘came in second’ in a ‘contest’ to find the youngest causality.)

    We live in the mountains so we go hiking, biking, and kayaking. He joins us on occasion WHEN we can get him away from commanding his minions in ‘World of Warcraft’.

    What he does ‘have’ is an occasional student coming into our home for help, as well as helping some online. In years past he’s helped students with their math and science classes and prep for their SATs. I don’t know about this year. In middle school he received an award in Sewing Class (really) for teaching other students how to thread and operate the machine. So he’s got some ‘teacher’ in him somewhere.

    His only real distinction is that he thinks different. (I don’t know where he gets it.) This is an example:

    A past physics project involved launching an egg in a rocket. Score was determined by the length of time the egg was airborne and its condition when it was recovered. Typical airborne times for this project were 50 seconds or so. His entry was up for over 4 hours. It would have been longer but it was untied from the flag post at end of the school day and taken down. (Multiple rockets and helium balloons).

    Because his score was such an outlier, it was thrown out. This is not an infrequent occurrence for him. Hence the sour taste in his mouth for applied subjects and his attraction for ‘pure’ Math and Science.

    He also once explained to me concisely and succinctly, how the French Revolution led to the Cold War.

    He’s smart, but he’s not one of those gifted kids that can speak seven languages before they learned how to walk. Considering the above, and the likely hood of not getting into Cornell, MIT or Harvard, what safety schools would know what to do with someone like him?

    And thanks again for your responses!
  • fiona_fiona_ Registered User Posts: 1,811 Senior Member
    Haha, he seems cool in a quirky fashion.

    I'm looking at Reed, Swarthmore and Haverford. I was recommended them. I'm especially fond of Reed because the surroundings seem beautiful - Portland! Hiking, biking, hmm... Sounds like a good fit!

    I'm not too sure about the other two so check em out.
  • nmparentsnmparents Registered User Posts: 129 Junior Member
    Rural LACs with outdoor activities available and good sciences: Williams, Amherst, Colgate, Hamilton, Bucknell, Lehigh, Bowdoin, Bates, Colby, Oberlin, Kenyon

    Also of potential interest: Colorado College, RPI, University of Colorado, Swarthmore, Haverford, Brandeis, Tufts
  • phurikuphuriku Registered User Posts: 2,779 Senior Member
    I think Harvey Mudd would be a good fit for him. Not a safety school, but probably safer than MIT, Harvard, and Chicago.
  • shennieshennie Registered User Posts: 2,467 Senior Member
    For a safety look at Allegheny.
  • ToTallToTall Registered User Posts: 12 New Member
    Thanks to all. We copied all the suggestions and will be checking them out. tt
  • Erin's DadErin's Dad Super Moderator Posts: 34,465 Super Moderator
    As Vossron reminded me by PM, Reed is not really a safety (though more accessible than MIT). Also for consideration, Reed offers no merit aid while some of the other recommended schools do.
  • NY_DemocratNY_Democrat Registered User Posts: 554 Member

This discussion has been closed.