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To move or not to move - need advice

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Replies to: To move or not to move - need advice

  • carachel2carachel2 2952 replies23 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 2,975 Senior Member
    @dansmoaustin ... Could you chime in here about your daughters recent experience applying to Engineering at UT?
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  • piesquaredpiesquared 175 replies0 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 175 Junior Member
    edited April 2016
    My son was auto admit to the University of Texas. As discussed, entrance to majors is not guaranteed. He applied CompSci, which is very competitive, and got Turing Scholars honors. I had lots and lots of friends whose children applied engineering to UT, many of them not in the top 7% (8% this year), who were successful. It is holistic. There are lots of horror stories about kids who "should" have gotten in, but my anecdotal observation is that a strong overall student with leadership ECs does stand a good chance. There is absolutely no guarantee though, and you should understand that going in.

    Texas A&M is switching this year to a holistic review for engineering only. For A&M, you should strive to meet the auto admit stats (they do not take that many out of their auto admit pool), but you can be in the top 25% and still meet the SAT requirements. University of Houston (which is okay, better in Mech E and Electrical) wants to see a score of 600 on the math SAT. Texas Tech is a good option, as is UT-Dallas and even UTEP.

    Finally, the state schools do not meet full need, so we found that on average for a strong student with merit potential, a school like Colorado School of Mines ends up being fairly comparable financially. Other students I know are doing engineering at OSU or other neighboring state schools.

    Oh and about Katy, it's former prairie, so it has a certain (very flat) look to it. Everyone says schools are good. I can comment more on HISD and SBISD and somewhat on FBISD.
    edited April 2016
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  • quietdesperationquietdesperation 545 replies60 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 605 Member
    My dad moved us when I was headed into 10th grade. It was not a great experience for me, I'd had the same big group of friends and classmates from the time I was in kindergarten and I had to start afresh. Honestly, at that age, everyone knew each other and I wasn't equipped to make a bunch of new friends. Here are some things that happened to me that you may want to plan for:
    - moved from a school that weighted gpa to a school that didn't. they also didn't use weighted gpa for class rank.
    - I played varsity tennis and basketball, but wasn't good enough to make the basketball team at the new school.
    - I was one of the best chess players in the country at my age, there was no chess club at the new school and I couldn't find enough interested students to start one.
    - I dreaded lunch, a sea of students and no one I knew.

    I got through it and did very well socially in college but those three years were no fun. Hopefully your D is better equipped than I was to make new friends and based on your post, I'm sure you'll be proactive in helping her.

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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 32674 replies349 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 33,023 Senior Member
    I moved in early jr year of his, to the DC area. It distinctly affected my college choices, as the new hs was a giant step better than the former, the peer competition was almost universally stronger than before, and classroom expectations high. I had some serious catching up to do.

    I have zero regrets. What I gained form the move itself and the new intellectual experience was life changing. But the adjustment did point me at a different set of colleges than I would have earned in my other location. A number of opportunities were closed to me as a new kid.

    So imo, OP needs to consider how this timing might affect what her girl wants, what she may truly be able to continue to achieve- or not- and how that affects college. What if, for some reason, her robotics options (or role) are limited or the newspaper responsibilities are all sewn up? Is she resilient enough to make the best of this, forge new paths- and maybe see her college possibilities change?

    If she doesn't get into one of the 'better' TX college options, can you afford to send her private? What if she doesn't like those TX colleges and would have been happy at the multiple US or CSU choices?

    Can you wait and do this move at a later point in your family life?
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  • wecandothiswecandothis 849 replies103 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 952 Member
    I am a single parent- transplant from NYS (upstate) when children were small. My older child is a successful UC Berkeley grad and received excellent financial aid there- both merit and need based. My younger child went to an excellent local CC and is now transferring to either UC Davis or UC Berkeley, also with excellent aid. The educational opportunities here are amazing. Do not automatically assume you won't qualify for aid. Merit based aid is available at both public and private colleges/universities. There are many top notch private schools in CA that offer great aid packages, even if you don't think you qualify. The CSU's are incredible choices to have as "back-ups"- some of them have even gotten more selective than UC's in certain majors.
    Your D is doing very well, and in general I would advise: if it isn't broken, don't fix it.
    I know we pay a lot to live here, but in my opinion you just can't beat CA.
    Good luck with your decision.
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  • KnittergirrlKnittergirrl 212 replies8 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 220 Junior Member
    In terms of safety, the Houston area has something along the lines of 'flood codes.' Basically, when you're buying a house, it'll say the chances of that property flooding. So, there's the equivalent of "Once every 100 years," "Once every 500 years," etc. My house (in central Houston) does not even have a flood code since it's on relatively high ground. A lot of very nice homes are in areas near bayous which are very flood-prone. Your realtor can probably give you more information if you decide to move forward with this.

    Like anywhere else, I think the most important thing is to stay off the road when there is flooding. Main roads and highways are prone to flooding (as you can see by some of the road signs in the Houston area). Last June, I saw a ton of abandoned vehicles on and near a main road running through Houston. Even with moderate rain, some roads will start to flood, so use good judgment.
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  • dansmoaustindansmoaustin 172 replies0 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 172 Junior Member
    OK....here ya go. My experience. Guess we were the horror story piesquared is referring to. DD was top 4.5% (28 out of 601) at one of the highest ranked High Schools in Texas - Westlake High School. 35 ACT. National Merit Finalist. 11 APs. UWGPA 100 WGPA 109.3 Lots of ECs and lots of leadership. Did summer research, mission work, NASA High school aerospace scholar. Assumed she had great recs and wrote great essays because of where she got in - not easy schools. Accepted EA to ND (Reilly Visit invitee), UVA and my favorite, Rice. TAMU has offered a lot of merit aid. Some grants from the other schools but not renewable. She was auto admit to UT but did not get her first choice major. After considering all the options and visiting some, she has decided just this week to stick with UT and try to move into her major when she can. She has been told she has a good shot. But its risky. It's the best school for her major for the money and she will find a way. And its the best for grad school due to the awesome research that she can get involved in.

    The take away - going to such a competitive HS is challenging - we have 4.0 kids in the 2nd and 3rd quartile. Kids take APs as freshman to make it all work. While its nice to go to a top high school, it can backfire.

    UT is in a state of flux right now. Lots of kids get in holistically. Lots fail out in a year and the kids that got "Capped" transfer in sophomore year. Not sure this is good for anyone but really don't know how else you gain diversity which is really important IMHO. Also, with the fall in Oil prices, PE kids moved into Chem E so that was really hard to get into.
    Advice: Pick a bigger easier major to get into - Mech E or EE I have been told are a little easier but that will change too. It's a big somewhat impersonal school so you have to want that and be able to maneuver in that environment.

    TAMU changed their engineering admissions process in 2014. I had the opportunity to talk to the Dean of Engineering for the TAMU system - Cathryn Banks - about this. She came from Purdue, which does it the same way. While its harder on the students because freshman year is stressful trying to get into your major, it makes sense because the kids are offered seminars, talks etc to really learn about each major and maybe avoid the transfer process later. But there is a good chance you will not get your major. And you have to want to be an Aggie. Its a strong culture and my DD was not feeling it (most of her friends are going there). I am impressed by TAMU and what I heard at National Scholar visit day.

    I loved Rice but neither of my kids chose it. For BME you can't go wrong. Just not sure its worth double UT or more than double of TAMU. I know very little about Houston for living so I won't comment. Spoiled up here in Austin.

    Sorry this is so long. So very glad that this ridiculous process is over and I can focus on more important things like finding her a prom dress : )
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 76501 replies665 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 77,166 Senior Member
    edited April 2016
    TAMU changed their engineering admissions process in 2014. I had the opportunity to talk to the Dean of Engineering for the TAMU system - Cathryn Banks - about this. She came from Purdue, which does it the same way. While its harder on the students because freshman year is stressful trying to get into your major, it makes sense because the kids are offered seminars, talks etc to really learn about each major and maybe avoid the transfer process later. But there is a good chance you will not get your major.

    Schools whose engineering majors are filled to capacity (which includes many state flagship level schools) need to choose between various methods of admission to the major:

    A. Admit directly to the major. For those rejected from the major, but otherwise admissible to the school, some schools admit as undeclared or a second choice major, while other schools reject entirely. However, getting into the major or changing to another "full" major after enrolling can be very difficult, since the only spaces available come from attrition. UT Austin does it this way for engineering. (Note: in California, in most cases, UCs and CSUs do it this way for engineering majors.)

    B. Admit to undeclared or pre-major status, then compete for admission to the major after enrolling. This is less certain for those who are sure of their intended major, and can increase the stress and cutthroat competition in one's first year, since there is concern about being "weeded out". Admission to the major may be purely by GPA, or it may also include essays. Some schools have an automatic admission to major GPA threshold, below which admission to the major is competitive. Texas A&M does it this way for engineering, with a 3.5 automatic admission to major threshold. Other schools which do it this way include Purdue, Minnesota, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Ohio State. Wisconsin has an odd variant where students are admitted to their majors, but must meet a high GPA requirement (as high as 3.5, depending on the major) to stay in their majors.

    C. Combination of A and B. Some students (the top applicants) receive direct admission to the major, but some space in the major is held for competitive admission by enrolled students who are admitted to undeclared or pre-major status. Washington does it this way for at least some majors (notably CS).
    edited April 2016
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  • mom23travelersmom23travelers 478 replies9 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 487 Member
    I moved when I was in the middle of 10th grade. I moved my children just before 10th and 11th grade.

    Sometimes you have to move when kids are in high school. They can survive and even thrive. But it is really hard and if you have a choice I'd think pretty hard before doing it.

    You should also look at residency requirements while your child is in high school. You might need to stay in state for the duration of their college.
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  • thumper1thumper1 73309 replies3189 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 76,498 Senior Member
    What are the choices? Staying in CA for the next three years...or moving?

    I'm thinking your overall cost of living will be less in TX than CA. Will this affect the amount you can contribute to college costs?
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  • MotherOfDragonsMotherOfDragons 3934 replies25 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 3,959 Senior Member
    Texas has no state income tax, right? That certainly would affect how much one can afford to pay each year if you decide to go that route.
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  • collegeandicollegeandi 194 replies3 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 197 Junior Member
    Thank you all for sharing your experiences and insights. It is helping me better understand my options...
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  • collegeandicollegeandi 194 replies3 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 197 Junior Member
    Thank you all for all your valuable inputs, help and support! Here's the update..

    After a lot of thought and research, we have decided to continue living where we are until we have to move due to job change etc. This is not going to be easy considering DH's travel but we are going to try it.

    After communicating with the Katy, Cypress/Fairbanks schools, we expanded our search to DFW and surrounding area. But we got the similar response in the GPA adjustments and setting her way back on course selection path. There are not many jobs in H's filed in Austin, so couldn't really try it.

    Some of the contributory factors to this decision were:

    1. The savings, after moving, would not be enough to send the 2 kids to OOS or private colleges in that short time frame.

    2. All the counselors confirmed that the GPA and class rank would be significantly compromised in their SD systems.

    We would never have thought the possibility of the GPA adjustment or the subsequent course selection in this process if this wonderful community would not have pointed it out to us among other things and experiences.

    Thank you so much for that!
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  • wis75wis75 13892 replies62 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 13,954 Senior Member
    Do not make the number of highly ranked colleges/universities in either state play a part in your decision. Your D can only go to ONE school, the rest are superfluous. Both have schools that will be excellent for your D.

    There is no perfect place to live. Every place will have pros and cons. You need to think about your family's quality of life. This means figuring out a host of factors.

    Finances will certainly be different- remember the state income tax factor and cost of living.

    Schools will be different- check on quality for the area you can afford for her HS.

    Religion and politics matter. You need to be comfortable with the area's demographics. Hard to be in the extreme minority for these two.

    Climates and terrain are different. I'm sure you can come up with pros and cons for each area. Hurricane or earthquake possibilities... Dry/humid.

    Finally- look at this as a move for long after your D is gone. Where will you parents be happier in the long run? Will the work, commute et al be worth leaving your current culture? Again, being instate for your D's public college means you have two excellent states.



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  • collegeandicollegeandi 194 replies3 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 197 Junior Member
    That is a great insight @wis75 ! Thanks for sharing it.

    The decision was hard. We found the Texas schools which have similar ECs and coursework to offer. Also, tried to find something for our younger DS who is polar opposite to DD. Luckily, they both make friends easily.

    She is currently in the top 5-10% of her large, fairly competitive school.

    Due to various GPA calculation differences in Texas and CA SDs (6-4points vs 5-4 points, A+ vs A etc), her adjusted GPA lies in the bottom 35-40% range of Texas schools class. 3-4 Texas schools offered to test her to take preAP but not APs while 30-50% Texas students were taking APs in the same class; keeping her back again.

    Texas public University system is largely driven by class rank. We had to consider other options like OOS/ private colleges for her admission in this light.

    After moving to Texas, the saving would not have been in the 40-50k/year range to afford OOS or private college for 2 kids over the short span of 3-6 years.

    We are not very hung up on any one particular public or private college yet. D will see how things pan out and then will know how to proceed.

    If relocation becomes inevitable due to job scenario, we will have to leave our current friendly, adorable neighborhood.

    Both the states offer us many other points to enjoy life.
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