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Fun and Frivolity at T20

ChezCurieChezCurie 181 replies5 threads Junior Member
Okay, I know that you can find fun people at any school, but recently I've met a number of current students or recent graduates of T20 schools who were either rude, unable to have a simple conversation, or just plain duds. This includes students from Yale, Cal Tech, and Swarthmore. Which top schools are most likely to draw kids who, for example, play the guitar/harmonica/accordion in their dorm rooms, go on 3 am ice cream runs, or throw spontaneous dance parties in the halls? Actually, I'll settle for nice people who can introduce themselves, shake your hand, and not slam the door in your face. ;)
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Replies to: Fun and Frivolity at T20

  • stradmomstradmom 5052 replies51 threads Senior Member
    There are 2400+ 4-year colleges in the US. Limiting yourself to 20 of them....
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  • LindagafLindagaf 9529 replies512 threads Senior Member
    edited October 10
    I never made a single friend at the CSU I attended. Maybe I was the dud? I know a few people who attended Yale. They are all super interesting. Much more interesting than me. Oh dear, I guess this proves my theory. 😏
    edited October 10
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  • ChezCurieChezCurie 181 replies5 threads Junior Member
    Thanks, @Lindagaf! I guess I've just been discouraged by these recent interactions. I am wondering if it's a generational thing--kids who have so focussed on academics and getting in to a T20 don't have the luxury of being spontaneous or whimsical? Always having their phone in to rely on for company, they don't know how to respond when someone asks them an icebreaker question? I guess my underlying concern is if you go to all of this work to get into a T20 school and everyone around you is a flatliner, is it worth it? My kid, who was present at a number of these interactions asked for me to remind them not to apply to X school. Maybe this is why, from what I understand, Cal Tech has a prompt on its application this year that asks something like, "Tell us how you're fun!"
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  • makemesmartmakemesmart 1682 replies14 threads Senior Member
    Could it be a selection bias on your part too? You might have met worse douchebags from nonT20 schools but they somehow didn’t register? 😅
    And they are just anecdotal encounters that shouldn’t and couldn’t draw meaningful conclusions on the overall atmosphere of the three schools nor the student bodies as a whole.
    As for “having phone for company”, I am afraid that is a global problem, we haven’t seen the worst yet
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  • bloomfield88bloomfield88 211 replies0 threads Junior Member
    You might want to consider the top academic universities in the Pac12, SEC, Big10, ACC and the ACC/Independent. Stanford, Vanderbilt, Northwestern, Duke, Notre Dame come to mind.
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  • ChezCurieChezCurie 181 replies5 threads Junior Member
    Selection bias for sure, @makemesmart! :blush: It comes down to finding a university that promotes community building and where my kid can find others who are willing to connect and hopefully also have fun--the recent uptick in teen/young adult suicide and overall depression is a concern to me as my kid chooses where they'll go to school.

    Thanks, too, @bloomfield88, for your suggestions on universities to consider. Just curious, why do these schools come to mind?
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  • Racingfan53Racingfan53 84 replies7 threads Junior Member
    I personally know 3 girls who graduated last year and are now freshmen at Stanford. They are all extremely interesting, funny, fun to be around people.
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  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 4629 replies18 threads Senior Member
    My son's at Michigan so close enough to top 20. He would love to do a 2:00 am ice cream 🍦🍧 run. There are also nice, intelligent kids that do have fun. Sometimes what they think is fun I don't but that's OK. They are very collaborative. So that's my rah, rah..... We were also very concerned about mental health like suicide. Neither of my kids have those types of issues but we know 2 families that kids committed suicide on Northwestern campus. One the day of graduation.

    Just make sure the support services are what you expect at the school your child goes to.

    I also tell both by kids yearly, we are paying a lot of money for college so use all the services and go to many activities. I remind them to go to the mental health services if they are stressed or just because. They don't even have to tell me but just go.
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  • bloomfield88bloomfield88 211 replies0 threads Junior Member
    "Thanks, too, @bloomfield88, for your suggestions on universities to consider. Just curious, why do these schools come to mind?"

    @ChezCurie While the academic statistics may be identical to the other Top 20, they are more diverse in mindset and that is mostly self-selection. There will be plenty of introverted, shoe-gazing, geeky kids (aka one of my daughters, who tries desperately to pretend she isn't), but being in the Power 5 sports conferences they also attract plenty of what some movies used to call "All-American" kids (work hard, play hard). These 5+ universities, attract a large swath of kids that want the best of all worlds - outgoing, social, sporty, within a top notch academic environment (my other daughter at the same uni).

    There is a palpable difference on-campus between a Caltech, MIT, Ivy, U Chicago and a Power 5 conference academic institution. Of course, nothing wrong with any of the former. They are fantastic universities. The latter are just a unique combination of what you may be looking for.
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  • MWolfMWolf 1805 replies13 threads Senior Member
    My kid is a first year at Midd, and she has that sort of fun (well, not the midnight ice cream runs, since the countryside closes down by 10 PM...). I don't know if you'd consider Middlebury to be a T-20, though.
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  • ChezCurieChezCurie 181 replies5 threads Junior Member
    @Racingfan53, interesting about Stanford, huh? They seem to be known for their preference for "quirky" kids. Sounds like your friends prove this true! It's great to hear.

    @Knowsstuff, it's funny you mention Michigan. I've always been attracted to Ann Arbor. I applied there as an undergrad and grad myself. It's definitely on my kid's list because it is strong in both music and engineering. So glad to hear your son is having a great experience there.

    Checking out the mental health services available is a great idea. I can't even imagine the pain those poor kids and families experienced with the Northwestern students' suicides you mentioned.

    @bloomfield88, these "palpable" differences are exactly what I'm after. Thank you for helping clarify what I'm really asking and for your suggestions!

    @MWolf, Middlebury would definitely make the cut! :smile:
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  • bloomfield88bloomfield88 211 replies0 threads Junior Member
    @ChezCurie "Checking out the mental health services available is a great idea. I can't even imagine the pain those poor kids and families experienced with the Northwestern students' suicides you mentioned."

    I wouldn't throw Northwestern under the bus for suicide just because someone reports two deaths. While Michigan is a great school, it doesn't exactly shine on the topic of suicide. Actually, pretty scary stats to me.

    Directly from the University of Michigan website:
    "Facts:
    At University of Michigan CAPS, 38% of students have thought about or considered suicide.

    According to the first National College Health Risk Behavior Survey, 10.3% of respondents reported seriously considering attempting suicide, 6.7% had made a suicide plan, and 1.5% reported they had attempted suicide one or more times in the 12 months preceding the survey. This shows that suicidal behavior falls on a continuum. One aspect is suicidal ideation (thinking about death or killing one’s self), continues with planning and preparing for suicide, and ending with threatening, attempting, and completing suicide.

    University of Michigan-Ann Arbor Suicide Statistics:

    26% students think about suicide to some degree
    At-risk groups reported significantly greater suicidal thoughts (this is not an exhaustive list):
    ​Transgender/gender-fluid gender identity 64%
    Students with disability or disabilities 43%
    Self reported GPA < 2.4: 47%
    Financial Stress 37-40%
    67% reports sometimes feeling isolated and alone"
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  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 4629 replies18 threads Senior Member
    Whose throwing any school under the bus? I just happen to know what I said. Every school deals with this. I am glad that Michigan has upfront information on their website. Their mental health services are outstanding. A good friend of mine kid had to use them. Not all schools have strong mental health services. I hear about NW more since I live in Chicago. Not throwing them under the bus
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  • Darcy123Darcy123 334 replies6 threads Member
    Well if you combine the USNews T20 and the Princeton Reviews' Happiest students you'll find: Vanderbilt, Rice and Brown. Emory is just short at #21. Although I'm not sure ice cream was actually part of the survey.
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  • PrdMomto1PrdMomto1 230 replies5 threads Junior Member
    I would maybe look at which schools have students report that their environment is collaborative rather than competitive. My daughter was drawn to those and incidentally those seem to be a lot of schools on the "happiest students" list. I think you often hear "work hard, play hard" at a lot of these schools too.

    My daughter chose one of those and while she is working REALLY hard in her classes she is having a lot of fun too. The kids truly seem nice and work together and help one another out. And at her campus there is a late night student run food option for those midnight snack runs!
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