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Why is Furman so easy to get into?

isabellebanisabelleban Registered User Posts: 20 Junior Member
This may be stupid, but I'm sure many of you will understand that I would really like to attend a university that is not beneath me. Furman is beautiful and unique and they even classified themselves as "elite" when I visited, but with an acceptance rate of 63% can they really say that? I don't want to be overqualified as a student to attend the university I choose, but perhaps there is a different reason why their acceptance rate is so high? Could it be because not that many students apply? Thanks!

Replies to: Why is Furman so easy to get into?

  • pineapple1203pineapple1203 Registered User Posts: 94 Junior Member
    I think many who apply/attend Furman are self selecting. Those who want to party and coast through college do not apply. Furman has a very unique feel and community that attracts a very niche student. For what it's worth, when I attended Furman Forward yesterday they mentioned the class of '21 is the most selective class since 2008, and I got the vibe that they will be increasing selectivity in the future. My ACT score is over the 75th percentile and I haven't ever felt that I was 'overqualified," but it did make for a generous financial aid package.
  • dheldrethdheldreth Registered User Posts: 319 Member
    ^^ I agree, I think students who apply and attend are self selecting. Like many private schools, cost of attendance is prohibitive unless you are competitive academically and get sizeable scholarships, or wealthy enough for full pay. I taught in public schools in SC, and only students with high GPA and test scores even applied to Furman and other private schools. Others who did not feel they would qualify for scholarships applied only to state colleges because they would be more affordable.

    I wouldn't be concerned about being overqualified, or that your classmates won't be at your level. Furman has a reputation for being challenging and for grade deflation. One medical school my younger D applied to actually adds 0.5 to the GPA of Furman students who apply because of the difficulty of the school. And unlike the state schools, Furman has +/-, rather than a 10 point scale - so that if a Furman student gets a 92 in a course, it is an A- and translates into a GPA of 3. 67, whereas at most schools who have a 10 point scale it is an A and would be a 4.00.

    When you are applying to college, it is easy to get caught up in statistics like acceptance rate, but really, once you are in college that won't matter. Choose your college because it is best suited for you - major/courses you want, size, location, you prefer, extracurricular activities that are important to you, opportunities such as research and study away if that interests you, and is affordable for you.
  • NavyNoleNavyNole Registered User Posts: 21 Junior Member
    I agree with the comments above. My son got into lower acceptance rate schools (Davidson and Richmond) but chose to go to Furman. He is getting challenged in all of his classes. His profs are holding him to very high standards. And he absolutely loves it there. While nearly all the students are serious about their studies, they also find time to volunteer and they can actually enjoy their college experience socially.
  • isabellebanisabelleban Registered User Posts: 20 Junior Member
    Thanks y'all! @NavyNole @dheldreth @pineapple1203 These were all very helpful.
  • eldestgoingeldestgoing Registered User Posts: 29 Junior Member
    @dheldreth can you please explain the grading system? Why would the school have a system that prejudices its own students post graduation? That seems insane and quite frankly I doubt few grad schools take a unique grading system into account.
  • NavyNoleNavyNole Registered User Posts: 21 Junior Member
    Furman uses a plus/minus system. Many universities use it - it's not unique at all. Some schools like Furman and Davidson still give real grades. If you earn an A there, it means something. Grad schools know which universities are tough graders and which give out easy A's. They adjust accordingly.
  • dheldrethdheldreth Registered User Posts: 319 Member
    Right. It isn't unique, though probably more common at private schools than state schools. It isn't inherently a disadvantage. If a student earns an 88 or 89 in a course, at Furman they would have a B+, which translates into a GPA of 3.33. That grade would be a 3.00 on the ten point scale. The As are hard to come by, and my Ds found that they got more of the minuses than pluses!

    At the parent meeting with the president at orientation with D1, he said "80% of your students graduated from high school with a 4.00 or higher. Four students graduated from Furman last year with a 4.00." He was encouraging parents not to be hard on their students if it isn't as easy as high school. And it wasn't. But I cannot say enough about the wonderful education my daughters got at Furman, and the intellectual growth that occurred over 4 years. They had no trouble getting into law school and medical school. Furman is well respected by graduate schools.
  • CharleighCharleigh Registered User Posts: 17 New Member
    Furman is a fantastic school with incredible educational opportunities. My daughter has been accepted at Duke, Wake Forest, Rice, Davidson, etc and she hasn't scratched Furman off the list yet. Furman is just now gaining in popularity outside of the south so they do not have as many applicants as other schools. It isn't a school that many lower stats kids apply to for some reason. Most kids look at their stats and decide if they will apply. Also Furman isn't a full need met school, so you don't have as many people taking a "shot in the wind" hoping for a better financial package. Furman is increasing in prestige very rapidly. Just two years ago when we began our search they were on the south
  • HappyAlumnusHappyAlumnus Registered User Posts: 1,199 Senior Member
    edited April 2017
    Every school says that its students are amazing and that it is amazing.

    Furman's admissions information can be objectively analyzed. Find charts showing applicants and admitted students for Furman and for other schools and you can see for yourself if Furman applicants self-select.

    Furman is ranked #53 in the US News ranking of national liberal arts colleges and has an undergrad class of approximately 2,700 to fill.

    Thus it has to accept a lot of people, with varying grades and test scores.


    If I lived in SC and had a college-age child, I'd be hard-pressed to justify paying Furman tuition for a school that doesn't necessarily have materially higher SAT score medians or better career outcomes than Clemson, and residents of GA and NC may feel the same way about Furman versus their state schools, too, so that may limit the applicant pool, I'll concede. That limitation of the applicant pool has nothing to do with claims that only amazing people apply to Furman.
  • carolinamom2boyscarolinamom2boys Registered User Posts: 6,565 Senior Member
    I think Furman's COA of over 60,000 per year is why fewer students apply which results is a higher acceptance rate. In terms of the grading scale discussion in prior posts, other SC schools grade using + or - scales including Univeristy of SC and College of Charleston
  • dheldrethdheldreth Registered User Posts: 319 Member
    @HappyAlumnus I'm not sure that anyone claimed that only amazing people apply to Furman. I said that as a public school teacher I observed that only high stat kids applied, because a lower stat kids knew they wouldn't get merit scholarships and the COA is high - don't know of too many kids in my school that could be full pay. What has been said by parents who have children who actually graduated from or are attending Furman is that our children had great experiences there and we elaborated on them. My older D, who is now a lawyer was able to compete at the National College Mock Trial competition for 3 years while at Furman - they've sent at least one team to Nationals for the last dozen years and hosted the National competition in 2016. For a lot of students that wouldn't matter, but for my D who wanted to be a litigator (and loved mock trial in high school), that was important. D2 is in Medical school, and I've already mentioned the courses and programs at Furman that made it a great choice for her.

    Quite frankly, SAT medians and US News Rankings mattered little to us. Both of my Ds were accepted to schools ranked in the top 20, but did not get enough scholarship money to make them doable. As far as outcomes, D1 wanted to be a lawyer, D2 wanted to be a doctor, and that's where they are (well, the one in med school is still working on it :) ). There are some things that you won't find on a data set that may be important to students. The ability to be on a highly competitive Mock trial team was important to D1 - no other school in the state is as good as Furman at this. D2 was accepted to the state schools with large scholarships - but she did not want to be in science classes with 300-400 other students, and be taught by TAs. At Furman, she was always taught lecture and lab by a PhD, class sizes were small, she got to know her professors very well, so well that at med school interviews her interviewers mentioned how personal her letters of rec. were.

    Many schools provide amazing experiences. By explaining what is great about Furman - in the Furman discussion area no less! - I and others are not putting down other schools. We are trying to give those who may be considering Furman the benefit of knowledge gained by having students attend there.

  • dheldrethdheldreth Registered User Posts: 319 Member
    @carolinamom2boys USCs grading scale has pluses, but no minuses. According to their website, their grading scale is:
    A= 4.0; B+=3.5; B=3.0; C+=2.5; C=2.0; D+=1.5; D=1.0; F=0

    Their pluses are higher than Furman's too (for example, a B+ at Furman in a 3.33). It looks like C of C's is similar to Furman's.
  • NavyNoleNavyNole Registered User Posts: 21 Junior Member
    @dheldreth very well said! Regarding the COA, my son has a friend that works in the Furman admissions office. This friend told him that all the freshmen that came this past fall had at least some financial help. I wouldn't expect anyone to pay $63k. That's the thing with all private schools - it's like buying a car - no one pays the full price. If a school doesn't give any (or enough) money, then you go to another school. That's why I had my kid apply to 7 schools (and varying types) to see which one gives the best deal. For him, it was Furman (we are paying less than for him to go the big state school) and he loves it there.
  • estudiante15estudiante15 Registered User Posts: 7 New Member
    @NavyNole I totally agree with you! My son was accepted to several in state and private schools and a Furman was the most generous of all! He just committed and he couldn't be happier, it was his first choice and he dreamed about Furman since we visited it! I am beyond grateful with Furman's generosity! We will be paying way less that any In State college he was accepted to. Thank you Furman!
  • NavyNoleNavyNole Registered User Posts: 21 Junior Member
    @estudiante15. Congrats! I hope your son enjoys it like son is.
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