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FULL Scholarship vs. Prestige

oldcmcalumoldcmcalum 116 replies3 threads Junior Member
We’re 90% sure we know the choice we’re going to make, but I’d love to get some more thoughts on the decision my daughter and I will be making in the next few weeks. I'm a widow (2 children), but I have a company that does relatively well and I received life insurance when my husband passed away 5 years ago, so we didn't qualify for any financial aid (beyond loans) at any of the schools my D20 applied to. Assuming my business continues to do well (seems to be hanging in so far with the current crisis, but that’s an assumption), I could have done full-pay almost anywhere, but the expense wouldn’t be insignificant to us and I’m pretty conservative fiscally, so it’s hard for me to imagine shelling out 75K per year for college. I went to CMC as an almost full financial aid kid with big merit back in the early 90s and it was life changing for me, but my D definitely has opportunities I didn’t have and doesn’t necessarily need that boost given her more privileged background (although CMC has always been far and away her first choice and if $ were no object, I think she’d choose to go there)

D20 cast a wide net of applications in search of merit (and also did a few reach applications where we didn’t expect she’d receive merit, but where if my business continued to do well, I might be willing to pay full freight). She’s a strong, but not super high stats student (3.8/4.3 GPA, 31 ACT, 12+ APs), but she has some unusual, high-end, national level honors and ECs which I think made a big difference in her being accepted and getting merit at a ton of places. She’s still waiting on two (super) reach schools this week (Stanford & Yale … super unlikely), but her acceptances so far have been better than we expected:

Claremont McKenna; Tulane; Scripps; University of Denver ($30K Merit); University San Diego ($25K Merit); Bryn Mawr ($12K Merit); American ($10K Merit); Denison ($25K Merit); Miami of Ohio ($22K Merit); Chapman ($28K Merit); Conn College ($25K Merit)

Where the big wrinkle comes in is that she just found out that she was awarded the Boettcher Scholarship (a FULL ride scholarship to any college or university in Colorado aimed at getting the best and brightest kids in CO to stay in-state). The combination of the scholarship and what the schools kick in, not only covers all Tuition, Fees, and Room & Board, but also provides grants for summer experiences, study abroad and tons of networking opportunities (and will also cover the tuition for a 5th year masters).

You can see from the list of acceptances above that she had a preference for smaller to mid-sized schools and really was interested in liberal arts colleges. Unfortunately, her only rejection so far was EA at Colorado College (which on paper would have satisfied the LAC preference and would have allowed her to use the Boettcher there). She’s interested in studying some combination of Econ/PoliSci/IR and she speaks French & Arabic (did the US State Dept NSLI-Y program in Amman two years ago). She’d eventually like to go into Politics and may do law school. She isn’t as interested in either of our big state flagship universities (CU Boulder or CSU Fort Collins), so if she accepts the Boettcher, she would go to University of Denver. She really likes DU and if it weren’t 20 minutes from our house I think this wouldn’t be as tough of a decision. Even though prestige-wise it definitely doesn’t match up with CMC or Tulane, she likes the programs and thinks she can find her people there.

We’re definitely leaning towards taking the Boettcher (we feel so fortunate she has this option) over CMC (her dream school) or USD (her favorite financially realistic OOS option) and I think the network she’ll get from Boettcher will be valuable to her in a career in politics/public service, but I definitely have this nagging feeling of regret about her turning down the more prestigious options based on the huge boost I got from CMC (or that she could get from S or Y if she’s one of the unusual lower stats kids that do in fact get in).

Any thoughts?
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Replies to: FULL Scholarship vs. Prestige

  • Coun2316Coun2316 114 replies5 threads Junior Member
    My advice to my daughter, who is still in the running (no guarantees) for a full tuition scholarship, is that getting a full ride is incredibly prestigious.



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  • powercropperpowercropper 1723 replies73 threads Senior Member
    In this uncertain world, knowing you can easily get your child home in an emergency is a good thing.

    Can you establish boundaries so you give your child the independence she needs to experience life on her own and grow into a mature adult?

    I would start with some real and honest discussions with your D. Have you demonstrated in the past that you trust her, have you let her make decisions, or have you hovered over her and pushed your choices on her? What types of boundaries does she want?

    Maybe together you can figure out some ground rules for communication and visits that would make her more confident that she will get the typical move away from home college experience.

    I think the prestige of this Scholarship is more than enough to override the concerns of attending a Local College.
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  • privatebankerprivatebanker 6322 replies123 threads Senior Member
    The big merit at Connecticut College would be pretty attractive to me considering. It’s a Nescac. Wonderful reputation relatively speaking and a really great LAC. And the merit aid.

    DU is pretty great too. Tulane and CMC are wonderful too.

    I personally would have her meditate on it, spend a lot of time on line tours and say IN the life videos out there. and not rush.

    Congrats on the acceptances !
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  • Twoin18Twoin18 1934 replies19 threads Senior Member
    “I think the network she’ll get from Boettcher will be valuable to her in a career in politics/public service, but I definitely have this nagging feeling of regret about her turning down the more prestigious options based on the huge boost I got from CMC”

    Don’t underestimate the huge boost she will get from Boettcher outside of just the networking in Colorado. She’ll be much better positioned with this prior recognition (compared to just being a regular CMC or even a Yale/Stanford student) to stand out in future highly competitive situations. The Truman scholarship is the obvious one for a student with public service aspirations, but for example DC think tanks take these sorts of awards very seriously too when looking at internship applications.
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  • NJCityNJCity 24 replies0 threads Junior Member
    Take the full ride unless she gets in to Stanford or Yale.
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  • holychildholychild 264 replies7 threads Junior Member
    Have her take the full ride. Full tuition is one thing but full ride is next level. I agree. There is prestige in that. I think she will have a great experience. Even though she is close to home she can live on campus. She doesn’t have to come home unless she wants to. Condeleeza Rice went there. Lots of very accomplished people went to schools we have never heard of and did exceptional things. “Where she goes is not who she will be”. Take the money and run!! Save the college funds for grad school or to gift her when she graduates for a down payment on a condo or a house. She will be set for life. She has shown though all her incredible experiences that she has a passion and she can excel wherever she goes.
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  • BenniesMom1BenniesMom1 181 replies3 threads Junior Member
    Coun2316 wrote: »
    My advice to my daughter, who is still in the running (no guarantees) for a full tuition scholarship, is that getting a full ride is incredibly prestigious.

    Amen to that !!!!! Same advice given to my son ... you look at your top three or 5 , and if one gives you a full-ride, that WILL be your top choice and you will love it, AND the prestige that comes from having that full-ride, like it’s been your #1 all along . Easy choice if you ask me !

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  • FunnyDadFunnyDad 24 replies1 threads Junior Member
    congratulations to your D for all the acceptances. If she is planing to go to law school later, it would beneficial for her to take the full ride and save the money she would have spent for her undergrad education to pay for law school. Also of all the colleges none of them are much better than University of Denver from a prestige factor - the only 2 that may stand out is Tulane and Bryn Maer. But if she really wants to political science and be in the thick of politics and decision making then Washington DC - American University would be great.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 80870 replies726 threads Senior Member
    oldcmcalum wrote: »
    Assuming my business continues to do well (seems to be hanging in so far with the current crisis, but that’s an assumption), I could have done full-pay almost anywhere, but the expense wouldn’t be insignificant to us and I’m pretty conservative fiscally, so it’s hard for me to imagine shelling out 75K per year for college.

    Given the uncertainty of business and investments, it may be worth adding more weight to the full ride to ensure that college is paid for.
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 24028 replies18 threads Senior Member
    The Boettcher is not just a full ride scholarship. It gives her a cohort experience at DU but also with the other winners at CU and CSU (and at CC, but if she goes to DU then CC becomes the hockey enemy). It gives her a network of past Boettcher scholars. There are mentor relationships, lectures, events, internships. It is the honors college experience and elite scholarship group so many on College Confidential search for. It is a big deal. Big.

    DU is not an also-ran in political science or international relations. It can boast 2 Secretaries of State as alums (Rice and Albright), it was chosen to host one of the presidential debates in 2012, it has a lot of foreign students and visiting professors in those areas.

    I know a lot of kids who go to DU who never go home and I know others who go home all the time - and bring their new friends for dinners and laundry. I know a guy who went to DU and it was closer to his father's home than his high school was (he went to Regis) but he lived on campus and it didn't matter that his father lived a mile away (and his mother about 5 miles away). He was 'away' at college. He probably saw his high school friends in Boulder more often than his parents.
    But the Boettcher Scholarship is about much more than financial support. We provide our scholars with unique opportunities to enhance their time in college, access to a broad network of successful alumni, and additional grants and experiences to jumpstart both their future careers and their leadership potential.

    Upon receiving this Colorado scholarship, Boettcher Scholars automatically join a more than 65-year strong network of Boettcher alumni. Access to these alumni leads to great conversations, connections with local, national and international leaders, and can even turn into meaningful internships and jobs. We often hear from our scholars that the “Boettcher connection” helped them to find some of their best friends, business partners and future investors.
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  • MeddyMeddy 583 replies38 threads Member
    Condoleeza Rice managed to go there while her dad was Asst. Dean. It was also close to home for her and she did manage to go into politics right? I say DU is the way to go. Congratulations no matter what she decides.
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  • oldcmcalumoldcmcalum 116 replies3 threads Junior Member
    edited March 24
    Thanks to all of you for taking the time to reply and give your input - she is definitely leaning towards the Boettcher and is really honored that she was chosen as a Scholar. I agree that the full ride and the prestige of the Boettcher are ultimately worth turning down other options, but I know some of my bias comes from being a lower middle class kid from rural NorCal who had her world opened up by CMC. The opportunities I had there and because of graduating from there were insane, but I paid very little to go there (less than Cal or UCLA would have been) and my frame of reference and life experiences were very different from where she's starting from.
    The Boettcher is not just a full ride scholarship. It gives her a cohort experience at DU but also with the other winners at CU and CSU (and at CC, but if she goes to DU then CC becomes the hockey enemy). It gives her a network of past Boettcher scholars. There are mentor relationships, lectures, events, internships. It is the honors college experience and elite scholarship group so many on College Confidential search for. It is a big deal. Big.

    She really does value the cohort and networking sides of the Boettcher program and she knows the programs at DU will prepare her well. I think there's just some nervousness as we come down to decision time. It was helpful to both of us to read all of these responses, so thank you all so much :)
    edited March 24
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  • nehikernehiker 100 replies11 threads Junior Member
    This is probably a long shot but I would suggest contacting the admissions rep at Colorado College and sharing the news about the scholarship. Maybe it will help them change their mind. No harm in trying.
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  • CupCakeMuffinsCupCakeMuffins 1112 replies107 threads Senior Member
    edited March 24
    Is it just a matter of prestige and cost or things like fit, academics, opportunities, experiences etc have some weight as well?

    To be fair getting full ride at Random U is great savings but it isn’t something prestigious. Lots of admits get it and others just label their need based aid merit award so by all means consider it for savvy financial reasons but not as a prestige factor.
    edited March 24
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  • oldcmcalumoldcmcalum 116 replies3 threads Junior Member
    nehiker wrote: »
    This is probably a long shot but I would suggest contacting the admissions rep at Colorado College and sharing the news about the scholarship. Maybe it will help them change their mind. No harm in trying.

    Several people have recommended that, but I'm not sure she can get past the sting of being rejected. I've tried to tell that I think the reason she wasn't admitted EA was that she goes to a smaller, non-descript, lower-ranked public high school and one of her classmates who had a lower class rank, but higher test scores, decent ECs, 1stGen/URM was admitted EA and we think it was likely they didn't want to admit two kids from the same small Colorado HS.
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  • PurpleTitanPurpleTitan 13040 replies29 threads Senior Member
    I agree with everyone else. BTW, I get where you are coming from. I was a Pell Grant kid who went to an Ivy/equivalent on fin aid. I discovered fields and got opportunities I wouldn't have if I hadn't gone to the schools I did (though honestly, my public magnet and M7 b-school did more for me).

    But my kids will have grown up upper-middle class (and are going to a fine Montessori school now). They also have a dad who has experience in fields a lot of college kids want to get in to who can advise them. Long way of saying that they have a lot of advantages that kids growing up in the circumstances we did do not have. So if they were to have the same options as your D, I would tell them the Boettcher is the clear best choice since, even if they were to have $300K from me to invest, IMO, they would be better off investing it various ways (stocks, bonds, real estate, alternate assets, start a business, or certain elite MBA/masters programs) in terms of value for money. Especially since the Boettcher confers many of the same advantages as an Ivy/equivalent.
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