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Help please: planning first college trip to the US (visiting from the UK)


Replies to: Help please: planning first college trip to the US (visiting from the UK)

  • GMTplus7GMTplus7 Registered User Posts: 14,567 Senior Member
    I'm assuming the OP's safety schools are in the UK.
  • londondadlondondad Registered User Posts: 2,151 Senior Member
    @valent2016 "Do you think Haverford and Bryn Mawr would doable in a day?"

    Yes, definitely. Haverford and Bryn Mawr are only 1 mile apart on the "Main Line". Villanova is only 2 miles from BM also but in the other direction. Two summers ago we did a one hour self guided tour of Villanova and did the Haverford tour and info session in the morning and were able to make it down to Swarthmore (in South Philly) for the afternoon tour.

    I second an earlier comment on direct flights. We have not considered schools such as Vanderbilt, Tulane, etc as it is just too much of a hassle to have an 18 year old kid navigate an internal flight transfer after flying in from London.

    Also, if you are in Chicago, you should definitely see Northwestern. It is a truly impressive school.

    Good luck.
  • coolweathercoolweather Registered User Posts: 5,948 Senior Member
    I would drop Chicago from the list and visit Georgetown University and George Washington University in Washington DC. You can see a lot in DC.
  • bjdkinbjdkin Registered User Posts: 163 Junior Member
    "Before you start planning the logistics of your trip, eliminate schools that are not financially feasible (i.e. if you need financial aid and the school doesn’t offer it to int’l students, then just don’t bother). "

    This is invaluable advice from @GMTplus7 and cannot be stressed enough.

    It looks like you mentioned further down in the thread that "finances would be a challenge but not a criteria at this stage" . My advice is that if there is a chance that finances would be a challenge, they absolutely should be a criteria. All of the schools on your list are the types that students (depending on their likes/dislikes) fall in love with. This forum is littered with posts from students or parents who gained acceptance to their "dream school" only to face the heartbreaking decision of turning it down or putting a huge strain on family finances.

    Almost every college in the US has plenty of financial info as well as available merit scholarships on their website. (As an aside, it is extremely difficult to get a merit scholarship from a highly selective school--it compares to winning the lottery, IMO). I am not well-versed on International financial aid--but you should look into what international aid is available and/or be comfortable with the full tuition (including room and board) price tag before visiting.

    On the other hand, if 50-60k a year (in American dollars) is do-able,then you are good to go! Good luck with your list--you are smart to come here to start the process.
  • GMTplus7GMTplus7 Registered User Posts: 14,567 Senior Member
    The OP can afford a 3 week family trip to the US to visit potential schools, so the OP's income level is probably too high to qualify for much, if any, need-based financial aid. But it also sounds like the OP is not super wealthy and would prefer not to pay the rack rate for a school, if possible.

    The OP should include schools that give merit money. Merit money is awarded on the basis of academic stats, irrespective of family income. Chicago & Northwestern give merit money. Ivy league schools and the most selective LACs do not.

    Try this list:

    Besides looking at the column for "Avg non need based aid", also look at the adjacent column for "% of non need based aid". Some schools widely distribute merit money to many students, while other schools (e.g., Duke) awards it to very, very few.

  • mackinawmackinaw Registered User Posts: 3,014 Senior Member
    I also like the suggestion of Colby (it's 2+ hours driving from Boston). In midwest, some of the smaller schools are quite strong academically and not as selective as Chicago.

    Carleton (Minnesota), Grinnell (Iowa), Beloit (Wisconsin) [easy to reach from Chicago), Lawrence (Wis.), Kalamazoo College (Michigan). All very credible for grad schools as well.
  • PurpleTitanPurpleTitan Registered User Posts: 12,654 Senior Member
    edited May 2016
    Though note that Northwestern merit scholarships tend to be quite small and would barely make a difference.

    UChicago and BC may give out bigger ones to kids they really want, but there would be only a handful of those each year and would be extremely difficult to get (especially at UChicago; think someone who Oxbridge believes will do great things in econ/PPE).

    However, just as a lot of unis and colleges give credit for AP scores, many give for IB and some for A-Levels as well, which may allow you to cut down from spending 4 years worth of money to 3 or 3.5 (though selective LACs in general are pretty stingy about the credit they are willing to give).

    I also assume that her safeties are in the UK and much cheaper than full-pay at an American private.

    How did she come up with her list? Why those schools instead of UK unis?
  • londondadlondondad Registered User Posts: 2,151 Senior Member
    Two schools where a lot of UK kids apply to and often get merit scholarships are Northeastern and University of Miami. Both of these schools are near international airports with convenient flights to London.
  • coolweathercoolweather Registered User Posts: 5,948 Senior Member
    GWU scholarships for international students:

  • valent2016valent2016 Registered User Posts: 69 Junior Member
    Simply overwhelmed with the thoughtful and helpful points and guidance.

    Fully recognise the financial commitment and as per the "spot on" analysis from @GMTplus7 ...as a family we can support the tuition etc but it is a very big commitment (especially with my S soon to follow)...and ideally if we can get any merit scholarship that would be a welcome relief. Recognise, the probability of that happening is very Low. Many thanks for the Kiplinger link ...would be researching / following up on the lead...

    @Purpletitan ...yes, our "safeties" would be in the UK ...which are generally easier to call, given the very specific academic criteria for admission. Per the likely predicted grades for my D...she would be well over the cut-off for a number of good UK schools. It would also be much cheaper. However, both my D and S ...are extremely keen to study in the US....given the academic flexibility / difference in approach etc ...so here we are :) The credits for IB etc will be very helpful...

    @Intparent, @MYOS1634 Will try and weave in Haverford/Bryn Mawr for a day trip / researching the others now...

    @sue 22 - Will be researching / following up....will revert

    Thanks @londondad ....for the many helpful tips. Will follow up. One thought though - for the schools we are talking about ...how well are they recognised back in the UK for post Uni jobs etc? I was trying to research this aspect, but difficult to unpeel / or am looking at the wrong places....

  • Mom24boysMom24boys Registered User Posts: 943 Member
    @valent2016 Another reason to look at/visit Northeastern is that they have strong programs with international co-ops.

  • bopperbopper Forum Champion CWRU Posts: 13,894 Forum Champion
    For a match school that is affordable I would suggest SUNY Binghamton...
    It is around $38,000 for internationals and is generous with IB credits so they can graduate early/doublemajor/study abroad/intern. My daughter graduated in 2.5 years (with some summer courses) with her IB credits.

    It is up there in best values for Public Colleges:


    International Baccalaureate Program
    Binghamton University recognizes schools offering the International Baccalaureate program. The International Baccalaureate curriculum is the most challenging and comprehensive curriculum available and IB participation is recommended, taken into account and considered during the application process.
    Binghamton University students may earn credit by exam for coursework completed in high school under the International Baccalaureate Program. Credit is awarded only for Higher Level exams, with exam scores of 4 or 5 receiving 4 credits and exam scores of 6 or 7 receiving 8 credits.
    SUNY General Education requirements can be satisfied by completing Higher Level exams in five of the ten areas of competency. In addition, the General Education requirement for foreign language is satisfied by a score of 4-7 on either the Higher Level or Standard Level exams.
    Binghamton University requires an official International Baccalaureate transcript in order to evaluate credit. Official scores may be delivered electronically through the International Baccalaureate website (please see below). International Baccalaureate courses and grades listed on a high school transcript are not acceptable for evaluation.
    Students in the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program may receive up to 32 credits. To receive the full 32 credits, the following conditions must be met:
    The IB Diploma must be completed with a score of 30 or more points; and
    The student must complete at least three Higher Level exams with a score of 5 or higher.
    Diploma holders who meet these conditions receive credit for their individual exam scores plus additional liberal arts elective credit to total 32 credits.
  • jym626jym626 Registered User Posts: 57,360 Senior Member
    Keep in mind that many of the schools will be pretty dead in the summer months. Some have summer programs ( Vassar has its powerhouse theater summer program) but it will be a very different feel from what it is like when school is in session and campuses are bustling with students.
  • PurpleTitanPurpleTitan Registered User Posts: 12,654 Senior Member
    I'm not British, but I know some Brits and people who have gone to the UK to work after college in the US, and just as I would tell Americans who want to work back in the US that an American school makes more sense than an equivalent in the UK, I'd say the same to a Brit. For instance, I consider UCL/KCL/Edinburgh/St. A to be roughly equivalent to UMich/UVa/UNC/UT-Austin/W&M, but for an American who got in to one of those American schools, likely only Oxbridge/LSE would be worth traveling across the pond for as, outside of academia and a handful of international (and granted, elite) industries, most UK unis just wouldn't be known in the States so an American grad from Edinburgh/St. A (which both have decent-size American populations, even) would have to work harder to land a job back in the States. In the UK, I imagine that it's the same with only the Ivies/equivalents (like UChicago) and top American publics being much recognized, though @londondad would know more.

    I guess the difficult thing is that there really aren't any LACs in the UK, though St. A is smallish and more undergrad-focused, and it isn't so easy to switch majors in the UK as in the US. However, they could go to uni in the UK and do an exchange/study-abroad in the US/Canada (Canada's is close to the US system; unis there are essentially identical to American publics). Granted, I'm not sure how difficult that is or what restrictions they may put on flexibility, though I would think the Scottish unis offer more flexibility. Anyway, I know that Richmond is a LAC that has exchange programs with Edinburgh, St. A, and Warwick (possibly only certain departments).

    You may want to look in to Mount Allison (a Canadian LAC that has produced some ridiculous number of Rhodes Scholars).

    W&M and St. A do have a joint degree that you may want to look in to as well.

    Also, if your son is very strong in math and sciences, he may want to look in to the Integrated Science Program at Northwestern. I would compare it to the Natural Science tripos at Cambridge. It's designed so that you could finish it in 3 years if you don't double major in anything else. They want to send kids on to PhD programs from it.
  • intparentintparent Registered User Posts: 36,882 Senior Member
    Someone above suggested dropping UChicago. But I think you said it is the one your son asked to see. I agree that your D's stats probably aren't quite there. But if your son is a strong student, keep it on your list. It is unique.
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