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How to Advise My Girl?

MommaJMommaJ 5575 replies189 postsRegistered User Senior Member
edited July 2008 in Parents Forum
I've posted before about my daughter whose SAT's I's (670 M, 770 CR, 720W) were better than her 3.3 unweighted GPA (weighted will be much better, probably 3.7, but I don't have the numbers yet). Her just-released SAT II's kept up the pattern with a 770 in Lit., 690 in US History. She copes with mild OCD and ongoing anxiety disorder, has ADHD and non-verbal learning disability, gets accommodations (sitting the front row of class and extra time on tests, printed copies of any material that has to be copied from the board), but she forgoes them most of the time. She has one main EC, a deep and abiding commitment to the school theater program--she's been in every show since freshman year, and expects to finally get a lead in her upcoming senior year musical (the casting is seniority weighted). This is a huge time-taker, since for weeks before each show, rehearsals are daily and run late. She was just elected to the governing board of the student drama group, but beyond that is simply not a leadership-type. (Hey, somebody needs to be a follower, right?) She has never been one to join clubs just for the sake of saying she's a member, and I can't fault her on that.

Let's see, what else: NHS; Tr-M (music honor society); sings in the school's elite chamber singers; she competed to state regional level in singing, but didn't make all-state; just got the Emerson College Book Award; in top 10% of 650-member high school class, but it's a public school in a small city, with a totally mixed bag of kids, many not college-bound; community service is an ongoing commitment over three years to a group that provides companionship and activities to developmentally disabled kids. Her current and last summer spent as a CIT in the theater section at a performing arts camp she previously attended as a camper. Loves kids and babysits when she can. Not an athletic gene in our entire family tree.

She hasn't a clue what she wants to do in life--it took quite a while for her to realize that a career in musical theater was probably not realistic (she can't dance) and she hasn't quite moved forward from there. (I am in awe of the kids who are so career directed at such an early age--I can't imagine how one can know one wants to be an engineer at 16 or 17, I sure had no clue at that age, nor did my son, who is still pretty aimless after graduating college.) In any case, whatever she does will not involve an iota of math, the bane of her existence. She's not a scholar by nature, doesn't love learning for learning's sake and all that, so I don't see graduate school in her future, unless it is something vocationally oriented.

Soooooo-How do I advise her about what schools to consider? What sort of schools would be reaches, safeties, fit? (We've done a little basic visiting, enough for her to decide that she doesn't want to be in an isolated rural area nor in an urban school that lacks a campus.) I gather from CC and other sources that her scores will be subordinated to her GPA by admissions officers, which makes it hard to assess her fit at colleges based on their stated SAT ranges. I guess she should not be looking at schools where her scores are a fit, but at places where median scores are lower than hers. Does this make sense? Oh yes, we are in the Northeast, and right now, given the way that air travel is spiralling down into expensive chaos, I want her in the Northeast or Atlantic states so that she can use auto or train for travel to and from school. I think she's done awfully well considering the impediments she's had to deal with, and would hope schools would see this, but I know everybody and their dog seems to claim a disability these days, and I fear hers will not register in her favor.

If you made it through this, my thanks (and shouldn't you be doing the laundry or something?), and I would appreciate your thoughts.
edited July 2008
28 replies
Post edited by MommaJ on
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Replies to: How to Advise My Girl?

  • calmomcalmom 20489 replies166 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Skidmore?

    Note: even if the SAT scores were not subordinated to the GPA, I don't think you would want your d. in a hugely competitive college environment with her history -- she should be in a place that is well within her academic comfort level so that she doesn't get overwhelmed. If she targets colleges that are a good fit academically - in other words, where a B+ GPA is fine for admissions -- then I think her SAT scores will be a big advantage and may even draw some merit money.

    Given your d's strong writing & CR scores, Sarah Lawrence could also be a good fit, but I don't think they even look at test scores any more -- so the scores would not confer any admissions advantage there.
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  • munchkinmunchkin 1248 replies31 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    My son has nvld too. His specialist tutor recommended Landmark college. His first year at a regular college was very very difficult with his executive deficits.
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  • latetoschoollatetoschool 3021 replies122 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    You might want to consider Rutgers (sp?) - a good friend of my daughter's choose this school over William & Mary and some other nice acceptances, and she participated all years in the music department, and in the choir. What struck me was when she came down with mono just days before she was scheduled to leave with the choir for Rome - and how the department reached out to support her, and made sure to make room for her in future events.

    This young lady simply enjoys singing, being in the choir, being around music - no real intent in any sort of a career in it. She is also very shy, yet had no problem navigating Rutgers for four years...graduated with an art history degree and is now applying to grad schools.
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  • corrangedcorranged 6602 replies82 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Drew. Drew, Drew, Drew. New Jersey, near the city, big on musical theater but other fields also, small classes, a great match, likely for scholarships, happy and artsy students, great fields for students who like the arts (i.e. arts administration, museum studies, and all the musical theater majors), etc., etc.
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  • mmaahmmaah 908 replies36 postsRegistered User Member
    She sounds like such a great kid! And she definitely sounds like a fit for a small liberal arts school with a well-developed drama program and a warm community. I don't know the east coast schools well, but would echo the Skidmore listing and have heard Otterbein has great music/theater. Some others that bounce into my head are Franklin and Marshall and Alvernia. Just looking those up on College Board and then using the "find similar" search tool will probably lead to some you wouldn't have thought about. She has good scores and grades in fact if you get past the CC skew of who posts. Look at the links at admissionsadvice.com
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  • colormehappycolormehappy 212 replies2 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    She sounds like a pretty grounded kid who isn't concerned with prestige. That's good. A mix of schools that are in or slightly below her range would be good. It might build her confidence academically which could help with her anxiety (though I'm not an expert on the issue so I could be grasping at straws here). Skidmore sounds like a good choice. Most LAC have small enough classes that her professors would be able to get to know her and help her work through her impediments. They would be more likely to give her extra time on an exam than a professor who has 300 students in one class. LAC also tend to have active and involved theater departments and groups but allow you to explore other disciplines and find what suits you. I wish you and your daughter the best of luck.
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 28772 replies56 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    I would google learning disabled support, and get the list of schools that have this service. Talk to the people there, visit them, and check out the mental health services that are provided as well. I don't think it is the academics that will be a problem for your d as much as the usual college anxieties. Kids that have no underlying problems often have trouble with mood disorders, relationships, time management, substance abuse, etc. Someone who is fighting some emotional/behavioral issues already may have an even tougher time away at school. If I were you, I would look for schools that are not too far from home, maybe within the hour so that you can keep an eye on her. I know families whose children had issues, and it was truly much easier if they were close by, than having to fly out or drive a huge distance. Many of these kids really grow up after college and are then ready to go anywhere, but these next few years are often very difficult for kids.
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  • icantfindanameicantfindaname 251 replies5 posts. Junior Member
    If you live in Ct, you say the NE, I would look into UConn Honors. The SAT is about right. I think you need top 5% of class also. They have smaller class sizes than regular a dedicated dorm registration benefits and other perks. We looked into it for one of my children who is also a little ocd and we were quite inpressed. It is run extremely well by some very qualified administrators. They have put a lot of money into the school and it keeps going up in the rankings. My child went to Williams but the full ride at UConn honors was not that easy to pass up. Public U's are looked down on by some in the NE but in bang for the buck 18k in state UConn honors is imo a much better choice than say Fairfield or Holy Cross at 40K. I never quite get how they charge almost the same rates as Amherst or Williams, but I guess thats the market. Good luck.
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  • paying3tuitionspaying3tuitions 12571 replies759 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Muhlenberg in Pennsylvania, Goucher in Baltimore, Wheaton College in Rhode Island
    came to mind for some artistic pleasure as well as nice locations.
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  • LurkNessMonsterLurkNessMonster 1932 replies83 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    I would second Drew. We know a student there who has had to overcome many challenges and heartbreaking setbacks in his early life, and he has thrived at Drew. It's located in Madison, N.J., a suburban location within easy reach of Manhattan on the commuter rail. Drew is also known for its political science program. I imagine Drew would be a safety/match for your daughter.
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  • mmaahmmaah 908 replies36 postsRegistered User Member
    Yes for Muhlenberg and I think they are know for working well with any LD issues. I'd second Drew also from what I've heard.
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  • bonanzabonanza 1104 replies1 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Wheaton College is in Norton, Ma--not RI but I would second that suggestion. It is a good choice for bright kids with learning differences.

    Elon in NC is also known for that.
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  • minimini 26172 replies259 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Ohio Wesleyan is terrific for students with learning disabilities, and is an outstanding school.
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  • dmd77dmd77 8597 replies66 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Some who is a bit OCD and loves theater is an ideal candidate for stage managing or lighting. Of course, there's no money in that either.
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  • binglebingle 354 replies73 postsRegistered User Member
    My d and her friend (both very interested in drama and music) visited Wheaton and loved it. We were lucky enough to be there for a play (Dracula) and they thought it was well done and they "approved" of the technical aspects of the theater.
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  • stacystacy 1079 replies21 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Smith gives a fair amount of academic support, since they've made a real effort to cater to students with different levels of academic preparation. There's no core requirements, so she won't have to take math (though I would recommend it! there's a quantitative help session, lots of different levels, and friendly profs...I HATED math in high school, took one stats class at Smith, and decided to minor in it). The theater program at Smith isn't as developed as some of the schools mentioned, but there are plenty of ways to get involved, both on campus, at the other 4 colleges in the local consortium, and in the community. There's a great community music center, too.

    Also, my brother sounds a lot like your daughter--some learning challenges but rarely accepts accomodations, an interest in music and theater. He would have loved to go to Smith (oh well!) but has been really happy at Hobart and William Smith. It's pretty rural, but maybe worth a look.

    Other schools in the general region (don't know much about these): Connecticut College, Trinity, Wesleyan, Sarah Lawrence, SUNY Geneseo, Vassar, Mt. Holyoke.
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  • MommaJMommaJ 5575 replies189 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Thank you all for your thoughtful comments. It's a bit overwhelming when total strangers wrack their brains to help! It's interesting that most of you targeted the learning disability issue as a primary consideration, while I was pondering how to identify reaches and matches when a kid has a lower GPA/higher score situation. Still a bit at sea on that one.

    Many of the schools mentioned are on my radar screen, some were new and I will definitely look into them--Drew, Goucher, Franklin & Marshall, Muhlenberg. Rutgers has a negative rep in this area that I think is hard to overcome. UConn Honors would certainly be financial nirvana for us (we are in CT), but it is in the ultimate boondocks and I'd have to drag her there and tie her down. Wheaton is a pretty nowhere-ish, too--getting to Providence or Boston is a trek, but it's a candidate. As for an all-girls school like Smith and Mt. Holyoke, I know there is the impact of the Consortium, but it would be an impossible sell--she's not boy crazy, just one of those girls who has always had boys as friends and would be totally weirded out by an an all-female environment (me, too, to be honest). Some that were mentioned seem unlikely in light of her GPA--Wesleyan, Vassar (older son, who was better-credentialed, is still smarting from that ED rejection, and they need boys!); even if she could be admitted, as colormehappy wisely noted, a less competitive environment would be likely be better for her. Otterbein is in Ohio, out of range.

    We visited Skidmore, mainly to show her what a "LAC adjacent to nice town" would be like. She was impressed--downtown Saratoga Springs is so delightful and so so walkable from campus that it makes the location seem less remote than it is. However, she got a strong preppy vibe from Skidmore that put her off a bit. I thought there was a clear preppy contingent, but a pretty wide mix of types. I also like the availability of business and education studies there as a way to add some practical elements to the LAC experience. I believe she'll apply.

    We have three non-LAC's on the list, all of which of course have big-class, big-institution negatives. Northeastern, which she loved upon visiting (we were doing the "urban, with campus" vs. BU "urban, no campus" demo), and whose co-op plan might be good for someone like her who has no great love of the classroom and is always is looking for the next new experience; American, which we have not visited yet, but which is enjoying some kind of popularity blip at her school; and Brandeis, which is an LAC-ish university and has an attractive proximity to Boston and a legacy boost. The first two would be comfortable for her competition-wise, I think.

    As for her theater/music leanings, it seems every school has at least one or more acapella groups and opportunity for non-majors to participate in some type of second-tier theater activity, so it's not a primary driver.

    I'm well on my way to developing an uber-list for her consideration upon her return from camp. Many thanks again!
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  • marnikmarnik 118 replies5 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    Just finished my laundry, so here I am. My daughter will be starting Skidmore in the fall. Like your daughter, she has absolutely no idea what she wants to major in, which was part of the draw of a LAC. She recently finished registering for classes, and was very pleased with the offerings, and happy that she got into all of her first choices. She is very devoted to her music, though on her own terms. She plays just for the love of it, and from our visits to Skidmore, there seems to be a lot of that going on. We got more of a 'free-spirit' feeling as opposed to preppy, though the town itself seemed to me to lean toward preppy. But my free-spirit daughter felt right at home.
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  • paying3tuitionspaying3tuitions 12571 replies759 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    What do you all think of Lesley College? The Boston location is a plus.
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  • corrangedcorranged 6602 replies82 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    I PM'd you, but for other people reading this thread, I suggested looking into McGill (reach), Hofstra, and Emerson.
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