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Does anyone else just feel overwhelmed at the beginning of the process?


Replies to: Does anyone else just feel overwhelmed at the beginning of the process?

  • roycroftmomroycroftmom Registered User Posts: 2,705 Senior Member
    Sadly, compmom, it is increasingly important to focus on one's major early, and not just if you are one of the 38 million people living in California or 27 million living in Texas, where public colleges limit admitees by major. If OP may pursue computer science, that is a restricted major at many schools due to oversubscription, and major changes may not be allowed. My DD eliminated schools that limited those who tried to get into psychology as a major, as she wanted to keep that option open. Look carefully at each school's policy for internal transfer of major, particularly public schools.
  • compmomcompmom Registered User Posts: 10,626 Senior Member
    edited September 2017
    In my experience (which is limited to certain schools, some public), programs like computer science are accessible after a year on campus, for those who did not enroll (or get in) for freshman year. I would love to see info on schools limiting admission by major- is this a formal limit or are you referring to admission preferences that are not explicitly outlined? Many parents on this forum, over the years, have actively encouraged entering as undecided because it leaves things open for new interests that might be discovered early on. There are exceptions of course, and it can be difficult entering a major with a rigid 4 year course sequence after freshman year. Still, for a large number of students-and schools- it can be beneficial to enter without knowing what to major in and also many many students change once or more than once.

    Can you post the info on limits on admittees by majors in California and Texas?
  • roycroftmomroycroftmom Registered User Posts: 2,705 Senior Member
    It is a formal limit, compmom,and well known by residents and accessed by google searches on the specific university. Most Texas and California public universities admit students directly into the college or major specified on the application,and for some majors, such as compsci, it is extraordinarily competitive-only the top 2 or 3 percent of high school applicants get into UT-Austin's computer science department, for example. And no, it can't be transferred into very easily, if at all, as the universities wish to avoid an end-run around their admission limits. Those limits also apply often to engineering and business schools (and alas, in UT-Austin's case, psychology). Other well-known examples include Carnegie Mellon's computer science department. You can look for information on internal transfers at each school of interest; some school websites (such as UT or Texas A&M) are very honest about stating that if you were not admitted to your CS major as a freshman, do not ever expect to transfer into it. I think UCLA and Berkeley are the same. It does complicate things for high school applicants.
  • compmomcompmom Registered User Posts: 10,626 Senior Member
    This is common in computer science, yes, though UMass allows application after freshman year I believe. And for those who want to go to specific schools within a university, such as engineering, business or nursing, of course you apply directly. And the transfers you refer to are within schools, not within departments in one school. (Changing majors usually refers to changing majors within, say, the College of Arts and Sciences, which is very common.)

    Psychology is not a separate school, so that is unusual.

    But are you saying that you cannot apply to public schools in Texas and California as an undecided?
  • roycroftmomroycroftmom Registered User Posts: 2,705 Senior Member
    One can apply to the UT-Austin's College of Liberal Arts as undecided, and then later, decide on a major within that particular school such as history, English, sociology, etc (except for psychology, which is restricted). However, that will not give you access to majors such as biology or math or computer science (in the natural science school), business engineering, or architecture, etc. (all separate schools).
  • compmomcompmom Registered User Posts: 10,626 Senior Member
    edited September 2017
    I see you have to select two majors for UT.

    Certain majors have requirements for application, but many don't.

    Are these tentative choices or are you saying that they are written in stone?

    I would think a kid could be undecided and apply for two majors and change later. Is this requirement to declare first and second choices for the university's planning purposes or is a 4 year commitment to a major a requirement for admission?
  • VegasRollerVegasRoller Registered User Posts: 132 Junior Member
    Yes, the whole process is overwhelming. My son is a senior who did everything right for 3 years of high school. Now applying and has the same exact record as everybody else. The college application process has become so over-competitive that there is no way to truly get ahead. That is why we are all chronically behind. Its a lose-lose.
  • roycroftmomroycroftmom Registered User Posts: 2,705 Senior Member
    I don't have kids at UT-Austin. or anywhere in Texas. But I know many high stats freshman applicants turned down by undergraduate business schools and computer science departments across the country (Boston College, for example), who really have no realistic hope of transferring into those departments, and thus must choose whether they are willing to attend that college without that major as a possibility. As OP asked about both math and business, s/he needs to consider seriously the risks of an undecided major hanging onto the hope that just maybe,an internal transfer to either of those departments would be allowed. Private universities tend to be more accommodating, but even they are beginning to limit overly-popular majors. So "undecided" is a risky proposition if you are seriously interested in either of those majors at many places.
  • AnAsmomAnAsmom Registered User Posts: 71 Junior Member
    A couple more suggestions for you to consider in addition to the ones already suggested. NC State and UNC Charlotte. They’re pretty good, active, large to mid-sized schools that offer merit scholarships to OOS kids as well. Your son’s stats, from the info you’ve given so far, make him competitive for the named full rides at both schools. Financial aid for OOS students at both schools is available but I’m not sure that they pledge to meet all need. With the students there that we know, it wasn’t a factor.

    The full ride at NC State is probably more difficult - several NMF kids we know with ACT scores of 34-36 and GPAs that put them in the top 5% of their high schools have reached finalist status without actually getting the scholarship. However, you are automatically considered for a $2000 per year scholarship if you do get to that stage and invited to apply for both the Honors and Scholars programs(a formality since kids with high stats do all seem to get in). Also there are many other smaller scholarships that you can apply for with a separate application after you’re offered admission (this will vary depending on the college/department to which you’ve been admitted). Kids with undeclared majors(admitted to First Year College) also have a few scholarships that they can apply for, IIRC.
    As to campus, NC State is a tale of two campuses(old and new) and a lot of kids don’t seem to like that. I would definitely recommend that you visit before he applies. Regarding other things you’re looking for: It is an active campus, downtown Raleigh is very close to the campus and offers a lot of action. Part of the ACC so there is a lot of hype every year about the teams’ prospects especially considering UNC and Duke have got all the recent honors. Distance is over your 8 hour radius from Nashville.

    UNC Charlotte. I’m not as well informed about this school. We know fewer people going there. I believe they invite you to apply for the full ride scholarship if your stats are above average. The son of a friend was invited to apply. They are in state, his SAT score was well above 2200 but he was out of the top 10%(at a highly competitive high school). He didn’t end up applying for the full ride as he had gotten into many other schools with good merit. The school is trying to attract higher profile kids in order to improve their ranking and popularity. They have added new programs of study, and built new fancy dorms and department buildings to this end.
    The one kid we know who goes there, told us that he loves it there when we met him this past summer. It is in a nice area of Charlotte, very active campus and there is now a light rail that lets you go into downtown Charlotte(apparently free for students). They do have an Honors program as well. UNC Charlotte athletics is in no way comparable to the ACC or SEC colleges but seems to have a good fan base. It is a bit closer to Nashville as well.

    Investigate the colleges further before you visit and visit before you apply. Both the schools have an early deadline of October 15 for scholarship consideration, I believe. If I’m not mistaken, UNC Charlotte has some kind of rolling admissions. At least they did up to last year. Honors programs vary from college to college. In some, it creates a smaller, similar minded cohort for the student and in others it makes absolutely no difference. This would be a good question to raise when you're visiting.

    DS made it very difficult for us last year because he disliked the amount of time he was required to put into every aspect of the application process. If your son is unwilling or lacking the time to do the research himself, you could help him by doing the research and planning the visits. This is best done in junior year and the summer before senior year, in our experience. Once all visits are over, you should come with a list of schools together that he would be happy to attend and you would be comfortable sending him to and paying for. Good luck to you, the parents, and your son throughout this journey. Long post, I'm sorry - I just couldn't condense it anymore.
  • compmomcompmom Registered User Posts: 10,626 Senior Member
    I cannot find anything about required choice of major(s) for application to UC's. Sorry to be a dog with a bone here but I want to be careful about what I post in the future.
  • roycroftmomroycroftmom Registered User Posts: 2,705 Senior Member
    At Berkeley, see section on "high-demand majors" and alternatives thereto.
  • 3puppies3puppies Registered User Posts: 1,719 Senior Member
    Yes, the process can be overwhelming for some, but remember, it can also be very exciting. I loved visiting campuses with my pups - while my S was quiet throughout the process, my D was downright bubbly - finding great things about all of them.

    I can't stress enough the importance of running the NPC's, and having a discussion with your child before he gets his hope up. Every year we see parents who think they can afford $10-15K per year, only to find out the NPC"s will almost all say they expect $25-35K. This is a big difference. Talk about it before you apply.

    Your son's grades and test scores indicate he is a special student - but guess what, there are a LOT of kids like him. I recall telling DD that as I understand the college search and admissions process, there are too many unknowns for us to come up with the perfect list - we have limited resources and I had a hard time justifying her spending over a grand on applications and test fees. I told her this was not to say there was anyone better than her, but some schools may prefer to give other kids a chance - they have reasons we won't ever understand.

    If your kid wants to do most of the work himself - great. If he wants help/guidance/prodding, that's fine too. You know your kid, and how to approach him. This is a big decision, you can give him the financial parameters and tell him to run with it on his own, and/or you want to help but you don't want to be pushy. Or tell him you don't care if he think's you're being pushy, if he wants your $$, then he needs to get a prelim list done by _____ . Different approaches work for all kinds of kids/families.

    You're on the right track - the fact that he's visited a few schools already will help. IMHO, this is the time you start talking to him less like a kid, and more like an adult. Don't be afraid to tell him you want to stay flexible, and remind him that you understand that the admissions process is waay different than it was back when you applied, so you both can learn more together about the process. Tell him you want to treat him like an adult, but that is going to be hard for you because he'll always be your baby boy, you can ask for his patience and tell him you'll try to remain patient with him as well. If you take time to celebrate the milestones, it will be easier to accept the inevitable roadblocks/stumbles, but you'll learn to respect him more, and possibly actually get some back (from a teenager!). It will make it easier for you once he goes away, knowing he's made the right decision.

    When DH and I were visiting all the great campuses, especially in Spring through Fall, DH would make a point to tell us, even interrupting some of the tours, to literally stop and smell the roses. One of the reasons I love him so much.

    DH also told me he thought the college search/admission process is like trick-or-treating, the process can be scary at times, it can be a lot of fun, but it is over before you know it.

  • GumbymomGumbymom Forum Champion UC Posts: 27,015 Forum Champion
    For the majority of the UC campuses, Computer science is found in the School of Engineering which admits by major.

    UCB has CS in the College of Engineering and also in the College of Letters and Sciences. For the College of Engineering, it is a direct admit into the major. For L&S, you need to take several pre-req courses and maintain a specific GPA before you can declare the major.

    UCSB/UCLA/UCSD are direct admits for CS, so switching into the major later is not guaranteed even if you meet the GPA and pre-req criteria.

    UCD offers CS in the College of Engineering and L&S. L&S is an easier admit since the college does not admit by major. Again there is no guarantee they can switch later from another major, but switching in the College of Letters and Sciences is easier than into the Engineering College.

    UCR/UCI has a direct admit but CS in it's own college. You can switch into the major later, but again not guaranteed.

    UCSC does have a direct admit for CS for top applicants, but for other applicants they can take the pre-req courses with a specific GPA and declare the major.

  • moooopmoooop Registered User Posts: 2,210 Senior Member
    This is not nearly as complicated as it appears at first. It helps that you are looking for largish state schools that will give u enough aid to drive the price down to the $15k vicinity---that narrows the options quickly. And the ones that qualify tend to have simple applications without essays.

    Check out the automatic or near-automatic scholarships at Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Mississippi, Alabama. Texas Tech & Florida State will likely have u pay the low instate tuition rate, & will likely give u additional $. West Virginia is another one to check out
  • xxiinnxxiinn Registered User Posts: 8 New Member
    Try to apply Notre Dame. They like smart and athletic students. And if you have two kids, it is highly possible to have financial aid.
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