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Parents of the HS Class of 2017 - 3.0 to 3.4 GPA

eandesmomeandesmom Registered User Posts: 3,099 Senior Member
As some of the 2017 parents including myself are lurking about the very helpful 2016 thread on this topic, I thought I'd start a new one focused on our 2017 kids. Hopefully at some point the mods can move this to the Class of 20xx community sub forum.

I decided to expand this from 3.0-3.4 as that is the B-B+ range.

I've copied over some of the initial guidelines from previous threads.

As a guideline, this is not a chance thread for students. It is for parents of kids roughly in the B to B+ range with any range of test scores. Of course, all parents are welcome, but it is not meant for the top of the line, applying to Ivies sorts of dilemmas. Advice from parents of other years is definitely appreciated!

Things to talk and think about now

1. Test Prep

2. School Visits & casting WIDE nets


4. Possible Financial/Merit aid

5. Books to assist our quest of the perfect school for our children.

6. Requesting LOR's before school gets out

And as we get close to and into senior year:

1. Applications (EA vs. ED vs. RD), essay prompts, etc.

2. Auditions (music, dance, theatre)

3. Senior year visits & overnights

4. The Waiting Game of acceptances

5. Reviewing award letters

6. Committing and sending in that check!

So, pour another cup of coffee (or tea), bookmark this thread, and start posting!

Replies to: Parents of the HS Class of 2017 - 3.0 to 3.4 GPA

  • eandesmomeandesmom Registered User Posts: 3,099 Senior Member

    Books (from the 2013 3-3.0 thread) I haven’t read any of them (yet)

    Finding the College Right for You!, by John Palladino, Ed.D.

    Colleges that Change Lives (2013-2014 edition), by Loren Pope & revised by Hillary Masell Oswald.
    Getting Into College with Julia Ross: Finding the Right Fit and Making it Happen, by Julia Ross

    8 First Choices: An Expert's Strategies for Getting into College, by Joyce Slayton Mitchell.

    The College Solution: A Guide for Everyone Looking for the Right School at the Right Price, by Lynn O'Shaughnessy

    CC related threads

    Can we talk to the B and C students about college?

    Brag about your lesser known school! Some of these are competitive, some not, definitely a mix

    Other research resources
    A+ Schools for B Students (sorted by school size and type)
    Add away!!!
  • eandesmomeandesmom Registered User Posts: 3,099 Senior Member
    edited March 2016
    I'll kick it off with a bit of background on my S17 and where we are at in his search

    3.4 UW, we do not weight but I believe it would be a 3.6.
    He "just" hit the 3.4 with this past semester. Rollercoaster of a first 2 years grade wise, ADHD meds started spring of sophomore year have helped. Hopefully he can keep it there or even maybe improve it a tad but he'd have to do even better to move it to a 3.5 and I am not sure that's realistic at this point in the game. I'll be happy if he can keep it at the 3.4. And honestly for him, I'm not sure it matters all that much in terms of his options. 3 honors and 3 AP's so far. We just finished registration for next year, he will do 3 AP's for senior year and I pray he didn't bite of more than he can chew. All were his choice.

    24 ACT. Have not taken the SAT, may or may not. Retesting the ACT in June. Practice tests would indicate he could do better than the 24 but with the ADHD and the fact that he has never had accommodations in HS (so won't get them for the test) makes timed tests a large challenge for him, he really struggles to finish within the time constraints (and doesn't).

    We do not rank so I've no clue where he falls.

    Decent EC's but not over the top. Jazz band , marching band section leader, stage crew (sound and lights), band council, student council, church youth group mission stuff, campaigned for and implemented a compost program for the entire school, created a student holiday band and negotiated/arranged performances at a local mall during Santa photos to collect donations/fundraise for a marching band trip to Ireland. Program was so successful that the Santa photo people gave a generous direct donation to the trip.

    He is a picky kid with a strong idea of what he wants to do, kind of school environment and geographical locations. We also have some financial constraints on what we can reasonably pay for and will not qualify for need at any FAFSA schools and are unlikely to qualify at a Profile school though we may try to make a case if he actually got into one.

    Based on all of the above here is where we are at and what we have found for possible matches.

    His requirements: Rain (or snow), trees, mountains. West or PNW but not Seattle. No "hot" sun or dessert. Not a "big" state school that is super sports focused or huge greek system. Prefers the liberal arts "feel" of a school. Preferably not ultra conservative. No religious affiliation.

    My requirements: Cost, chances for merit, program fit and options if he changes his mind on what he wants to do. ABET accredited for engineering.

    Possible majors: Sustainable/renewable energy engineering, environmental engineering, environmental science/environmental studies with focus areas in energy and/or policy. Not as interested in the soils/water aspect of the ENVS programs or in the environmental engineering programs that are CE's with an environmental concentration

    Match and Safety Schools seem to be:

    Western Washington University/Huxley School of the Environment: Price is right, decent fit on the ENVS side but not as energy focused as S17 would like. Engineering option is electrical, not a great option. Would have to have a huge jump in GPA and test scores to qualify for merit so do not expect anything.

    Colorado State University: Price is higher than I'd like, a stretch. They do offer some merit at S17's current stats but it's not quite enough. Engineering fits are decent but no back up ENVS program options for max flexibility. Biggest of the schools on the list and may be too "rah rah" for S.

    University of Wyoming: Price is right, offers merit at S17's current stats. Has the best program offerings for fit (at least on paper). Really no clue how this one will feel at all, we know very little about it though what we do know is pretty good.

    Humboldt State: Price is right thanks to WUE. H and I are not crazy about the overall schools reputation but the environmental programs, both engineering and studies/science get pretty good reviews. If he changes direction in a substantive way, not a lot of good options and would likely mean a transfer. Their stats are horrible but I am trying to reserve judgement. We do know folks who have gone or are going and love it. If we tour, would not be till fall or after admission.

    There are a few more I think should be on the list that fit most of what he wants that he's killed due to location (Northern Arizona, University of Nevada Reno) and one he kind wants on the list that I've (basically) killed (Evergreen).

    Reach (as in pie in the sky reach) Schools are:

    Reed: Cannot afford unless they decide we have need and they meet full need. They offer little to no merit and even if S17 did get in, merit would not be coming his way. This is S17's dream school. It has a good ENVS program but no engineering (unless you did a 3-2). Chances of him getting in are almost next to none. Almost in the sense that S17 is quirky enough he would fit in quite well and that may come across. Academically though I think it's too intense and that scares me even if he did get in and they offered "need".

    Lewis and Clark: Same financial issues as above. Same program concerns. If S17 wants to apply I will let him but it is definitely not a focus school at all and the chances are lower here than at Reed.

    I kind of hate that the list is so small and I can't say right now I am in "love" with any of the options though I definitely have "on paper" preferences. They all have pro's and cons and no clear front runner really. Montana State is "kind of" on the list but the program offering is pretty minimal for his area and not much in the way of options if he changes his mind. If he does bump up the stats he could potentially get a bit more $ at CSU or U of Wyo but I'm not counting on it at all. Same thing at Montana although that goes up for every point on the ACT. I do kind of wish there was a reach (or stretch lol) school that was an amazing fit but just am not finding one out there with his geographical and size (and my price) restrictions.

    We plan to tour Colorado State (engineering program tour) and U of Wyo (also program tour, requested 3 areas) over Spring Break and then go to the Spring Discovery Day (or whatever it's called) at Western in May.

    Other than that right now it's normal school work, AP test studying and then the spring musical which takes up a ton of time. Our school doesn't have the kids really do anything on the LOR piece until August. Which seems ok for the most part since half of the schools on our list don't ask for them. He "may" ask 2 teachers in the spring before school gets out since we know he will not have one of them next year and it's 50/50 on the other. The other 2 possible LOR targets can wait till fall as we know he will have them and I think that a month or more in class with them first (to refresh them on the classroom side he's had them before and does EC stuff with both currently) makes more sense than asking now.

    We are not currently even thinking about any kind of summer related activity to the college search/looking good on an application other than maybe test prep class if he is retesting in the fall. He may, or may not, try to get a job but I want him to enjoy this "last" summer. He will have one week of church camp but that may well be it. If he does decide he wants to apply to Reed (he is pretty set on it) I will have him work on those essays as well as the common app one and the one for Western over the summer but that will be it.

    What about everyone else?

    I was thinking it might be nice to start a running list of these B-B+ schools and which offer merit for kids with those kinds of stats.
  • MomStudent2017MomStudent2017 Registered User Posts: 97 Junior Member
    @eandesmom ... thanks for starting this thread. My class of '17 son is my only child, so I'm starting from scratch.

    I've been lurking on the class of '16 3.0-3.3 thread, but haven't posted. The "can we talk to the B & C students about college?" thread & the "A+ schools for B students" US news website have been helpful.

    The students (approx 1,400) at my son's HS are assigned to the 4 counselors by last name. Once or twice a year there is a "planning for college" meeting, but I don't find them helpful. I don't think he has spoken to his GC more than once a year (usually during course selection time).

    Not that it really matters, but in our public schools unweighted GPA's are as follows: B- @ 2.7, B @ 3.0, B+ @ 3.33. My son's cumulative & weighted junior mid-year GPA is in the 3.0-3.33 range. So far he has taken 2 honor courses & APUSH. Next year he's scheduled to take AP Lang & AP Gov't.

    He hasn't taken the ACT (April 2016) or SAT (June 2016) yet, so it's been difficult researching colleges based on GPA alone. Our school uses Naviance, but a website that's supposed to be more accurate for GPA comparison is collegedata.com.

    My son's #1 college requirement is that they have a marching band & #2 is east coast location. We're scheduled to visit the following colleges next week during spring break: Stevenson U & Towson U in MD, WV U, Ohio U, East Carolina U & Appalachian State U in NC. Last summer (on our way to & from the beach) we visited the following in VA: Christopher Newport, George Mason, Longwood, Old Dominion, Mary Washington, & VA Commonwealth. Even tho only 2 have a MB, I wanted him to get a feel for mid vs large, regional vs national, & rural vs suburban vs urban. So far he doesn't want an urban campus & prefers a medium sized student population. And, it's very important to him that the bathroom is located in his dorm room & the dorm room has A/C :)

    Hope to hear from more parents soon!

  • mathprof63mathprof63 Registered User Posts: 328 Member
    @MomStudent2017 :
    Our school uses Naviance, but a website that's supposed to be more accurate for GPA comparison is collegedata.com.

    Your school's Naviance will predict GPA compatibility better than collegedata.com because it shows GPA relative to others in his school. In my kid's competitive high school, the accepted kids' GPA's from Naviance were quite different from that in collegedata.com . This was also confirmed by the GC who told us that the courses in our district are quite rigorous.

    However, collegedata.com is quite good for showing the ACT / SAT ranges of incoming freshmen, and that tends to be consistent with the school Naviance data.
  • OnTheBubbleOnTheBubble Registered User Posts: 807 Member
    edited March 2016
    My older boy is at an elite New England LAC in his freshman year. He is the athletic version of Felix Unger. His brother, Class of 2016, is Oscar Madison without the cigar.

    3.4 GPA and 26 ACT. He went to a Catholic middle school and goes to a public high school. He was attracted to smaller schools, several Catholic colleges because of the close culture and alumni networks.

    He did very well with merit at several of them. Without any debt, net cost of attendance: St. Michael's College $28k, University of Scranton, $31k, Siena College $26k and St. Bonaventure, $20k, yes $20k. Despite not being technically eligible for need-based aid, I did the FAFSA because they all basically demanded it be done and each had a few thousand. I just counted it as merit.

    His favorite teacher has a daughter at St. Bonaventure in the GTD admit program with George Washington Medical, so that school may win out. He really liked the visit last weekend as we did. We aren't religious and my wife is Jewish. The Catholic schools just have a nice feel.

    Susquehanna also was a nice package in the mid 30's. Nice school. All less or basically equivalent to in-state costs.

  • eandesmomeandesmom Registered User Posts: 3,099 Senior Member
    @MomStudent2017 we have a very similar set up at our school, 1250 ish students, GC by last name. The only times S17 has met with the GC is to discuss obtaining a PE waiver and to try and help him determine whether or not to take AP Lit next year (more on the side of if he didn't, what was the best alternative). He will be doing AP Lit (changed his mind at literally the 11th hour), AP Calc A/B and APES. Even if he doesn't get the PE waiver, the rest of his schedule should be pretty easy so hopefully he didn't over commit.

    I will say she has been just lovely and quick with responses directly to me which makes me quite happy.

    We use Naviance. I did go in and "add" the schools currently on S17's list. It is interesting to look at them and compare to cappex/college data. I am not sure if everyone's Naviance works the same (as it is new to me as well). Ours pulls data from 3 years of students at our school, their stats and success rate in admission at the schools and then compares S17 to those results, versus looking at his stats compared to the published data elsewhere.

    In general the results are similar and in some cases much more favorable (others less) than the published data elsewhere would suggest.

    My son would also like a marching band as an option, though he is not positive he wants to do that in college. He would like knowing it is there though should he want to. If he did end up at Humboldt, he would do MB there but that is definitely not for the more serious MB kid! S17 (and S19) is actually in Ireland right now with his MB, they won "best overall band" at the St. Patricks Day parade in Dublin yesterday. Pretty cool stuff for the band geek family.

    That is a busy spring break! Sounds like you've hit a number already so you are way ahead of us, this will be our first visit.

    I hadn't thought about bathroom in the dorm room, I have heard a lot of chatter about co ed bathrooms though and AC. Given S17's target locations, AC is unlikely but you never know I guess. Not sure it's a concern of his. I do hope to get him to make a list of questions to ask and maybe a basic chart to put his notes in so he has a compare/contrast tool post visit when things are not fresh.

    @OnTheBubble my family has a strong history of Catholic/Jesuit schools. Seattle U...my father taught there for years and H got his MBA, several cousins when there and my cousins daughter is in the nursing program University of Portland in particular. S17 won't consider Seattle U and sadly, U of P just really didn't have a great program fit for him. There is an ENVS program and we have talked about making him at least visit if we visit the other "Portlands" but he's not terribly keen on the idea at all. If he wants engineering though, it doesn't work and practically speaking they tie theology right in with the policy piece (at least in their literature) and that was a deal killer for S. All the rest that seemed to come up as solid options were either California, or Gonzaga which he has zero interest in either. I do know my dad plans to try to get him past this "religious affiliation" hang up but we will see where he gets with that.
  • OnTheBubbleOnTheBubble Registered User Posts: 807 Member
    edited March 2016
    Gonzaga is quite a good school, with a lot of spirit and friends say the campus is stunning. Seattle U is a very good school as well.

  • eandesmomeandesmom Registered User Posts: 3,099 Senior Member
    @OnTheBubble yes, both are excellent schools. We know many kids at both. I will say though, for as great as Gonzaga is...it is still in Spokane which is part of S17's deal killer lol. Really though the bigger issue is none of them offer the energy or environmental engineering programs he wants. Gonzaga is not as generous as Seattle U or U of Portland and of course has that whole basketball thing going on. Which is a pretty silly reason not to consider a school but since the programs don't fit (at the moment) I'm not sweating it.
  • OnTheBubbleOnTheBubble Registered User Posts: 807 Member
    edited March 2016
    Wait he doesn't like basketball? You would think a kid that likes marching band would like sports.

    Whats wrong with Spokane?
  • auntiekauntiek Registered User Posts: 174 Junior Member
    @eandesmom - have you considered Willamette? They give great merit aid, and have many of the qualities you're looking for. Wishing you the best of luck!
  • eandesmomeandesmom Registered User Posts: 3,099 Senior Member
    @OnTheBubble it's a Seattle thing. I suppose there is nothing wrong with Spokane. But it's a small town with not a lot to do that really isn't a college town either. I think in his mind if he is going to go to that kind of climate which is quite different than Seattle, he would prefer a more of a college town feel if he can find it.

    It's not so much he doesn't like basketball he could just care less about sports in general. His HS basketball team won girls BB for state and the boys came in 2nd, he could've cared less. MB is different than pep in his mind but it's about the band, not the game. Around here you say Gonzaga and all anyone thinks is basketball and good school. Usually in that order.

    He is being high maintenance, no doubt about it. :)
  • MomStudent2017MomStudent2017 Registered User Posts: 97 Junior Member
    edited March 2016
    @mathprof63 ... thanks for the response re: Naviance -- I got that bit of info on collegedata from this website: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/determining-college-fitby-numbers-jan-rooker

    "...If he is using the score produced by a program called Naviance which is employed by many high schools to give students information about the scores and GPAs of students from their high school who have been “accepted” to this college, then he may be seeing a much higher average score than might exist for those attending this school. This is because some of the students who were accepted to this college will not attend, and the ones who will most likely not attend are those at the very top of the chart..."

    @OnTheBubble ... "Wait he doesn't like basketball? You would think a kid that likes marching band would like sports."

    My son "hates" sports but LOVES marching band :) At our local colleges Marching Bands perform during football games whereas Pep Bands perform during basketball games. Just not the same for some kids.

    @eandesmom ... congrats on the MB going to Ireland. Our HS was invited to attend the parade this year but the previous marching band director unexpectedly quit & the new director the school hired didn't want to attend :(

  • StressedinCAStressedinCA Registered User Posts: 50 Junior Member
    edited March 2016
    Thank you for starting this thread...m in CA and my S is a Jr with W GPA 3.1, however the silver lining is his SAT 2250, will there be colleges willing to look at his SAT more than his GPA? Has excellent ECs
  • eandesmomeandesmom Registered User Posts: 3,099 Senior Member

    In all fairness that might be a crazy trip to walk into. We go every 4 years and it's a ton of fundraising and planning and a lot of performances once there, both parade and concert. Absolutely amazing though. Limerick is up next. Yet don't come back till next Thursday. The good news is you saved a nice chunk of change. Sending 2 was a bit ugly.

    Your S and mine sound like they'd get along fine :)
  • eandesmomeandesmom Registered User Posts: 3,099 Senior Member
    @StressedinCA I would definitely think so! Does he have any schools or majors in mind? Many I have seen for merit seem to have an "OR" category. So hitting one metric, either gpa or a test score qualifies while others go the "AND" route which means hitting 2 metrics. In those cases though it's often sliding scale where the gpa is high and test score can be low or vice versa. I would think admissions could definitely work the same. The "chance me" calculator can give you an idea although I think it may err on the conservative side.
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