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Why is it important to have reach/OOS schools on the list?

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Replies to: Why is it important to have reach/OOS schools on the list?

  • Parentof2014gradParentof2014grad Registered User Posts: 841 Member
    We made sure our kids understood our budget, and the fact that they had to meet it with merit aid. This will be all the more important for you if your D is still interested in med school by late junior year, and because you have a bunch of other kids to consider. We insisted they apply to our local in-state public (basically guaranteed admission, good quality, easily affordable) and let them pursue competitive merit out of state, at schools where they had a reasonable chance of getting it, meaning they fit the basic criteria for the scholarship in terms of academics and extracurricular stuff, and leadership qualities. It can be a stressful process. My D applied to 8 universities with competitive merit, knowing that if she didn’t get it, it would effectively be as many as eight rejections, and It was a TON of essays and yes, a lot of stress. She did win one of the eight, and attends there. I think she’d say it was a good experience to go through all that. My other kid did something similar, but with a shorter list of schools.

    It’s also harder, when you’re seeking merit, and depending on your budget, to find a school that’s academically better than what you can find in Texas, but you can find that variety she’s looking for with similar academic strength, if she really wants to look for that.

    Both of my kids have gone OOS (one to Texas), and I do think it’s been great for them to experience a different culture and region than they grew up in. It wouldn’t have been worth it to destroy our budget to make that happen in that particular way, but it was accomplished at the same cost as our state universities. One did study abroad twice and that was wonderful for her and also helped her experience different cultures.

  • TS0104TS0104 Registered User Posts: 623 Member
    May I suggest separating "elite " and "OOS" in your thoughts. There are many non-elite schools around the country that are great and give merit.

    There isn't any need for reaches, especially the elites. Yes my DS applied to 3 reaches (non elite), still waiting for answers, but had matches and safeties he was happy with and has been accepted to all. Having a "reach" may be nice for a goal, or to work harder on ACT/SAT, but it's certainly not necessary!

    It seems as if most kids in our small suburban public school do not apply anywhere out of state. We have many great schools in state, and it mostly has to do with finances. We are lucky that we were able to provide our kids with more options financially and support their desire to get out and explore a new area, but it's not a necessity. And even in our smaller state (Ohio) you can find something different than where you live, whether small/large/urban/college town.

    I found as the process went along that my son was naturally able to look at his wants and needs more realistically, including net costs after merit offers.
  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 Registered User Posts: 4,202 Senior Member
    I'll also echo what other posters have already said. No, you don't need elite reach schools. And IMO, if you don't qualify for need based aid and can't afford the tuition, it is an exercise in futility and disappointment.

    That said, there are plenty of OOS privates that are a step down that may offer your daughter merit if her stats are high enough.

    If your daughter continues to want to follow a path to medical school, going out of state may hinder her chances of an instate medical school. IMO, the most economical undergrad path is best for a student planning on med school.

  • jazzymomof7jazzymomof7 Registered User Posts: 220 Junior Member
    Thanks all! I know it is early, and her interests may change. I am just trying to manage expectations (my own and hers), and do a bit of planning. She is homeschooled so if she aims higher than ds or goes OOS, she may have to take some extra steps like SAT subject tests, and I may have to do more detailed transcripts and supplemental material than I did for ds, which I don’t mind doing at all.

    DS’s process has been so stress free, and we’ve all been so happy with the outcome that it seems pointless to take on additional stress. But every child is different, and you’ve given me some good food for thought.

    She knows there are budget constraints so I’ll just let her dream for now, and we’ll have more concrete discussions in a couple of years.
  • jazzymomof7jazzymomof7 Registered User Posts: 220 Junior Member
    @socaldad2002 Those are really good points.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 73,730 Senior Member
    3) Being among your peer group academically is important;

    Unfortunately, pre-med students need to see their peer group as competitors for often-scarce A grades.
  • lookingforwardlookingforward Registered User Posts: 30,896 Senior Member
    I'm leery of even using the word, "dream." Kids don't have a good idea of what they need, in early hs (or even later.) It's always a delight to find great lesser known colleges that turn out bright, motivated, career-able kids. That's not limited to some category like "elite" or "OOS." It's where your kid can be empowered.

    I'm not sure why kids in certain states (notably, Texas and NJ,) insist they can't go off to colleges their hs peers attend. I can't recall, say, Michigan kids complaining that UMich is full of Michiganites, lol. Or other flagships. It isn't high school, it's the big world of college.

    Wanting to experience a different location is fine. But not the primary purpose of the college years. You can vacation elsewhere, find an internship, go visit a college friend at their home, etc.
  • socaldad2002socaldad2002 Registered User Posts: 847 Member
    @ucbalumnus "Unfortunately, pre-med students need to see their peer group as competitors for often-scarce A grades

    I understand where you are coming from but some top students thrive in an environment with "best in class" students, faculty, and internships/research. Using your above reasoning, no premed student should ever attend a Top 50 (or top 100) undergrad college since their grades might suffer.

    Anecdotally, close friend went Yale undegrad and Yale Medical school. Not sure his 4 year college experience in pre-med would have been the same if he went community college 2 yrs and transferred to Long Beach state university for his B.S. would have given him the same preparation for an Ivy league medical school?
  • toomanyteenstoomanyteens Registered User Posts: 962 Member
    edited February 8
    I don't think OOS is necessarily less affordable -- it totally depends. My kids overwhelmingly got better merit aid OOS - adding we have 5 kids, right now 2 are done and 3 are in -- it is critical to understand where you can get automatic merit based on grades/test scores and like I said my kids got very good offers that way all go OOS -- and yes money is an issue with 5 kids
  • mathmommathmom Registered User Posts: 31,461 Senior Member
    edited February 8
    No my kids were not upset by getting a lot of rejections.

    My kids were were smart enough to know that if the acceptance rate at a college is under 10 or 15% and you can assume that most applicants are qualified, that rejections are likely. My older son got rejected from his first choice, but I think he ended up being better off where he attended. Younger son was thrilled when he got into a reach early action, so when the other expected rejections came in, it was no big deal. He didn't end up attending his reachiest school. Actually neither of them did, older so chose the better the department, not the highest ranked school he got into. Younger son thought the place he attended was a better fit.

    For my older son the thing I cared about was that he go to a school where the other kids were as smart or smarter than him. He had been coasting too long. He was self-motivated in the areas that interested him, but he got a lot of A's without working hard at all. Younger son was more of a slacker in high school. It was better for him to be challenged as well.

    A safety your child is willing to attend is a must. For older son there were lots of less exclusive engineering schools that would love to have him. For younger son we found some colleges with good IR programs that were less selective than the tip-top programs. Neither one was, in our opinion, well served by the in-state options.

    My east coast nephew ended up at Rice because they gave him a terrific financial aid package. He thrived there, and really enjoyed getting to know Texas.
  • Data10Data10 Registered User Posts: 2,638 Senior Member
    edited February 8
    Unfortunately, pre-med students need to see their peer group as competitors for often-scarce A grades.
    Using your above reasoning, no premed student should ever attend a Top 50 (or top 100) undergrad college since their grades might suffer.
    This is only true if the portion of A grades remains constant, regardless of college selectivity, which is not the case. Instead professors tend to give a larger portion of A grades as a larger portion of the class does A quality work, so more selective colleges tend to give more A grades. For example, in the Harvard senior survey, the median reported GPA was 3.8. 86% of the class reported having a cumulative GPA in the A/A- range. Avoiding being among the bottom 14% at Harvard is not necessarily more difficult than consistently receiving the rare A grades at a less selective college that gives few A grades.
  • jazzymomof7jazzymomof7 Registered User Posts: 220 Junior Member
    @toomanyteens Your post brings up another of my concerns... How do you get find and get a really good feel for OOS schools outside of the HYPS and similar schools that everyone knows.

    When I hear, Texas A&M, UT Austin, Baylor, Rice, I already have a feel for what those schools are like and what they have to offer. We have friends who may have gone there or sent their children there, etc. We also know what schools are party schools, not well-respected, etc.

    When I hear names like Tufts, Lehigh, etc. - I know nothing. There are many, many schools I had never heard of until joining this site.

    So how do you locate OOS schools that may end up cheaper than instate, and how do you truly get a feel for what they’re about by just perusing the website and going on a campus visit?
  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 Registered User Posts: 4,202 Senior Member
    We did a lot of research. Started off with which schools had strong departments in my daughter's intended major. then we got a feel for what kind of schools she liked (size, location, focus) and then started making a list. We visited 15 schools and DD applied to 8. She did a general tour, a major specific tour, ate in the dining hall, met with professors and sat in on classes where ever she could. She made repeat visits to the top schools on her list. She got very clear about what she valued and what she didn't.

    In terms of which schools are cheaper than instate, that takes more digging. My daughter's biggest awards came from her safety schools where she was way above the 75th percentile for GPA and test scores.

    Once your daughter is junior and has test scores, CC posters will be able to help too!
  • lookingforwardlookingforward Registered User Posts: 30,896 Senior Member
    Fiske Guide to Colleges. Then you haunt their websites, see the courses in her interest areas, prof backgrounds, particular interests, etc. Then dig into other ratings, more related to the possible depts. Imo.
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