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Underrated gems. Colleges that are never mentioned on CC but are really fantastic.

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Replies to: Underrated gems. Colleges that are never mentioned on CC but are really fantastic.

  • Sue22Sue22 6115 replies108 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    C'mon, let's keep it civil. This is a useful thread and I'd hate to see it shut down.
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  • thumper1thumper1 73823 replies3219 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    When my kid applied to Santa Clara University in 2005, I would say it was a hidden gem. People in our state not only give me a blank stare...but also asked why our kid was attending an out of state public university...

    Even now...Santa Clara is not particularly well known in the northeast.
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  • simba9simba9 3247 replies20 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited June 8
    Perhaps nobody mentioned the University of Alaska Fairbanks, where I went for undergrad, because it's already world-renown. But if not, I'll pimp for it. It's the state flagship and gets lots of research money, but it only has 4000-5000 full-time students. So it's a research university that feels like a LAC. Tiny classes that are taught by professors (not TAs) who know your name. It's truly a unique place to go to school, absolutely no snobbery, and lots of characters among both students and faculty. I loved it.
    edited June 8
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  • SuperSenior19SuperSenior19 173 replies7 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    edited June 9
    @sahmkc Honestly, do most students really need to consider the "national reputation" for schools like Truman? Most of the kids who go to public schools in their state will probably stay in the region, whether intentionally or accidentally -- so if a student plans to attend Truman and then head back to St. Louis or Kansas City to be a math teacher, the national reputation and name recognition of Truman (likely little to none) has literally zero impact on their ability to get a job, whereas regional recognition is very important. In fact, I'd think someone wanting to teach in Missouri might even have BETTER job prospects going to Truman than, say, Pomona or the University of Michigan, because the people doing the hiring have probably hired lots of Truman grads in the past with good results but then lumps all out-of-state schools together as "has a degree." I read somewhere that over half of teachers teach within 30 miles of where they grew up anyway.

    Ironically, I don't live in Texas, but I've heard of Trinity and I would think it's a good school. Granted, my parents probably have no clue it exists, but they haven't done anywhere near as much college searching as I have :)

    And for the love of everything CC, Rutgers already had its 15 minutes of fame on another thread. It happened so long ago, it's as relevant as someone's middle school Spanish grade (spoiler: not relevant at all).
    edited June 9
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  • SLCUtahMomSLCUtahMom 6 replies0 postsRegistered User New Member
    When I saw the title of this thread, my first thought was: the College of Idaho. So glad its already been brought up (first time I've heard it mentioned on CC) and I think it deserves more praise. Back in my HS days in Montana, I remember it being very popular for kids who wanted a LAC (that and Carroll College - another great school).

    C of I has a good education, friendly kids, a real community feel, and a great reputation in the mountain west. Alumni include 7 Rhodes scholars and 3 governors. Location is perfect for lovers of the outdoors - hiking, skiing, fishing. Less than a half an hour drive to downtown Boise, as well. Seems like Williams, Middlebury, or Hamilton for a huge discount just because it's in Idaho. Average COA after scholarships is $20k. Put it in New England and I'm sure its acceptance rate would drop to sub-30% easily.

    C of I's PEAK curriculum is perfect for anyone who fancies themselves a renaissance man and wants to dabble in lots of different academic disciplines, while still being employable. All students have a major and three minors in the humanities or fine arts, social sciences or history, natural sciences or math, and a pre-professional discipline. Professional majors include accounting, business, communication sciences and disorders, education, engineering, law, marketing, medical lab science, medicine, nursing, physical therapy, and public health. Professional minors include communications, criminal justice, data science, dentistry, journalism, language and literacy education, leadership, occupation therapy, optometry, pharmacy, physician assistant, and vet science. Other unique majors include exercise physiology, health sciences, international political economy, and minors in British studies and human performance, as well as all the usual liberal arts departments. Not bad for a LAC with 1100 students!

    Another hidden gem that I don't think has ever been mentioned on CC before: Rocky Mountain College in Billings, Montana. Very friendly students. Good faculty interaction. Big sky lifestyle while still being in a city. And cheap! My niece had barely a 3.0 GPA GPA and a 24 ACT and merit aid brought the cost down to 25k a year. Not bad for a school whose noted alumni include a famous mime and the guy who played Hannah Montana's brother, especially considering the cost of some northeast LACs.

    Agree with BYU-Idaho. I think part of the lack of name recognition is due to the fact that it was called Ricks College until 2001. It's a great school - my DS returns home from his mission in several weeks and is excited to be headed back to Rexburg. But it's one of those schools where the kids who would want to know about it do know about it. I absolutely adored my time at BYU and have the Cougars apparel to prove it but I would never recommend it to anyone on CC unless I knew that they were LDS. Same goes for BYU-I, BYU-Hawaii, and LDS Business College.
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  • mommdcmommdc 11277 replies30 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    As I was looking at schools with good music programs, I came across these, but they also seem to be good schools for science.

    Messiah College, Grove City College in PA.

    Both give some good merit, and GCC has a pretty low COA. GCC does not participate in federal financial aid program but PA grant program. They do have their own student loans they offer with low interest rates I believe.
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  • merc81merc81 10175 replies152 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited June 9
    I enjoyed reading about the College of Idaho, a school with which I've been somewhat familiar, @SLCUtahMom. It should be noted though that colleges such as Williams and Hamilton might offer slightly lower net costs, on average, than U of I.

    https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?q=Idaho&s=all&id=142294#netprc

    https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?q=Williams&s=all&id=168342#netprc

    https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?q=Hamilton&s=all&id=191515#netprc
    edited June 9
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  • sahmkcsahmkc 588 replies19 postsRegistered User Member
    edited June 9
    @SuperSenior19 I'm sorry but you completely missed the point of my post. What I was saying was that a school might not be considered a "hidden gem" in it's region, but on a national scale it would be a "hidden gem". So that while some may feel a certain school is not a hidden gem because it's well known in their area it might be on a national scale. Often when you look outside your region, you can get better odds of acceptances and merit /grant aid from private school that are trying to raise their profile nationally. They may want to be able to say they have students from all states etc… I think the reason that my sons friend was able to negotiate with GW on his aid package because he was from Missouri and that is an underrepresented state at GW. Trinity took our family and another family out to dinner and I believe that is only because our families were from underrepresented areas.
    edited June 9
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  • momofthreeboysmomofthreeboys 16617 replies66 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Agree. The good regional colleges don’t have trouble filling their schools with regional kids but most of those colleges and especially the privates crave the geographic and even global diversity so can be a very nice cost option. In general those colleges are still priced lower than the more well known privates yet give as good if not better all around education. I know this is very true at Kalamazoo which while always having geographic diversity to some degree works harder for that now than perhaps thirty years ago.
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  • barronsbarrons 23031 replies1951 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited June 9
    I know a lot about RU--NJ raised and brother attended. There are plenty of myths and this is a very old one. We also could debate the College of NJ.
    edited June 9
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  • EyeVeeeEyeVeee 673 replies7 postsRegistered User Member
    ^^^ Boy are the CC folks gonna be upset when they find out all this talk is for nothing.

    @tkoparent - Just to add to your NJ confusion. Rowan now includes Burlington Country College (2 locations), Gloucester County College, and I think Camden County College. They have a Technology building in Mullica Hill, and they have partnerships/agreements with Rutgers Camden (which they were supposed to take control of a few years ago) and Cooper Hospital. Rowan is all over South Jersey now.

    If you had been to Glassboro State in the '70's or '80's, you wouldn't recognize the place. Talk about a good ROI on a $100M investment.
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  • SchadretSchadret 131 replies19 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    Kean University also has a phenomenal highly-selective STEM program. My D took some tours, talked to the professors and the students and loved it. All of the seniors she talked to were going to to highly-regarded PhD programs or med school. The main issue for her was simply that it's like 10 minutes away from where we live and a major commuter school. We said on several occasions "if only that program/school were at a different university she'd do it in a heartbeat". While the university itself accepts almost anybody, the STEM programs generally require 1400 SAT minimum.

    https://www.kean.edu/academics/nj-center-science-technology-and-mathematics

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  • natty1988natty1988 608 replies8 postsRegistered User Member
    @4kids4us Montana State is becoming more popular in California. In my S's class a few students applied, no one is attending, but having a few kids apply is a big thing, considering no one used to apply..
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  • natty1988natty1988 608 replies8 postsRegistered User Member
    @SLCUtahMom I was the one who mentioned College of Idaho! It really sounds like a neat place. C of I sent both my kids brochures, but neither one was interested, so they didn't apply. I was a bit bummed, because it looked so neat in the brochures. But, oh well! Their choice, not mine. My stepdad lives in Reno and his neighbor went to College of Idaho. Only grad I know from there.

    Never heard of Rocky Mountain College..seems like a good place. And definitely underrated! The only Montana schools I've heard of are: Carroll College, Montana State, U of Montana..
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  • EyeVeeeEyeVeee 673 replies7 postsRegistered User Member
    While the university itself accepts almost anybody, the STEM programs generally require 1400 SAT minimum.
    WIth an 82% acceptance rate and a 75th percentile SAT score of 1070 (middle 50% is 880-1070 with an average of 975), if it takes 1400 to qualify for STEM admission I would be concerned about the STEM students being so intellectually superior that it would negatively impact their social and non-STEM class interactions.

    It also can't help future prospects to come from a school with such significantly lower admission standards than the ones associated with the STEM programs.
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  • barronsbarrons 23031 replies1951 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    The CONJ was the name of Princeton U for around 150 years!! https://blogs.princeton.edu/mudd/2015/07/when-did-the-college-of-new-jersey-change-to-princeton-university/
    When Trenton State claimed it there was some squawking.
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  • SchadretSchadret 131 replies19 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    @EyeVeee we agree, which is why she didn't go there. In isolation, from what we saw and heard during a full day of talking to professors and students, it was one of the best we saw (she was looking at the biotechnology/molecular bio 5 year bs/md program).. but the concerns about the rest of the school outweighed the pluses of the program. It's one of the local "anyone can get in" colleges here in NJ (though much better than it used to be). The STEM program kids said they were mostly like a school unto themselves, even socially.. they were very persuasive, just not quite enough.

    I can see why it's hard to grow a program and reputation.. daughter like the individual program the best, would have been free for her with scholarships, but she chose elsewhere since the rest of the school is fairly low stats.
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  • EyeVeeeEyeVeee 673 replies7 postsRegistered User Member
    @Schadret - School reputations and student body can change....but it takes a lot of time. Rowan is a good example. The moment Rowan gave Glassboro the money, the engineering department had a bit more swagger. Over time, as more and more kids picked Rowan over some local options in NJ and PA for engineering, others started to follow for non-STEM majors. It's still toughest in STEM, but the reputation of the school has REALLY changed over the past 30 years.

    Maybe Kean gets there in a decade or two...especially if the economy turns and price becomes more and more of a deciding factor for families.

    The folks I know from Glassboro will admit they went there for the parties. Now they are "backing in" to an academic pedigree that they have nothing to do with (not that it matters...).
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