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

jazzymomof7jazzymomof7 248 replies23 threads Junior Member
edited February 2019 in Parents Forum
DS is a senior this year, and his application process has gone better than I could have even imagined. Lots of pleasant surprises and thankfulness!

He applied to 1 safety, 5 matches, 2 reaches, and was accepted to all. Dh got a promotion in Dec that makes all but 1 school affordable even if ds doesn’t get the additional merit money we were hoping he’d receive. We’re overjoyed and thankful!

Dd is a freshman and said that when it’s her turn she wants to go OOS. Said she wants to experience life in a new city. And some other fluffy stuff about how she couldn’t put it into words, but she’s talked to others and they understand, lol.

I don’t want to discourage her, but from what I’ve seen, pursuing lots of reaches and OOS schools (that would require competitive scholarships to be affordable) seems like a stressful and often very disappointing process. She doesn’t even know much about any elite/OOS schools and would have to go actively seek out these schools when we have MANY great affordable in state publics and privates where she could likely receive merit money if she ends up with the stats for elites. (We’re in Texas.)

I am also thinking that if she’s at the top of some of these in state schools, she could explore other cities at conferences, summer programs, study abroad, etc.

She’s interested in med school, and I’ve heard undergrad doesn’t matter much for that.

Just trying to figure out how best to guide her. I’d love for her to have the happy, stress-free application process her brother has had, but I don’t want to limit her if there’s something I’m missing.

Is there any reason it would be important to include elite/OOS schools on the list?
edited February 2019
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Replies to: Why is it important to have reach/OOS schools on the list?

  • jazzymomof7jazzymomof7 248 replies23 threads Junior Member
    I shared all of that with her.

    As for privates, we have a very high EFC that’s only going to go up with the recent salary increase. We won’t be eligible for need based aid, and we don’t feel it’s wise to pay elite/OOS prices, when we’ll still have 5 more kids to put thru college.

    I did tell her she could pursue competitive merit and be prepared to turn down any offers that don’t match what she could get in state. But from what I’ve seen on here that seems to be a very stressful, disappointing process, and I’m wondering if it’s even worth it.
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  • mathmommathmom 32789 replies160 threads Senior Member
    You should start with a realistic talk about finances.

    That said, my kids had different reasons for going out of state.

    Older son wanted the best computer program that accepted him. His stats and such were such that reach colleges were his matches, but he couldn't count on them accepting him. His list had six reaches and two safeties. The safeties offered him money, and he got into two of the reaches. He went to the reach he liked better and is in his dream job now across the country. (The university he attended was only half way across the country.)

    Younger son loves to travel and was looking for good international relations programs. He also hates NYC so he didn't want to look in our area. He wanted to see new sights and meet new people. Sometimes if you go to the state school where half your friends are going you end up hanging out with them instead of making new friends. He's very smart, but his stats weren't quite as strong as my older son. In the end he also applied to a lot of reaches and a safety - with similar results. Went to the reach school and got decent grades, was on the Dean's List senior year. He was about 3 hours away in college and in the Navy now.
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  • eb23282eb23282 696 replies19 threads Member
    DD wanted out of state because she didn't want to be close to home, or in a college with lots of kids from her high school or high schools in our area. She was accepted at a small private 7 hours way that gave her a merit award that makes the cost only slightly more than what our in-state schools cost. But honestly, I wouldn't want her to go to school in-state, no matter how good they may be, because she does not enjoy this area of the country.
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  • retiredfarmerretiredfarmer 1130 replies3 threads Senior Member
    edited February 2019
    The process of researching universities has the potential to be a process of self-discovery:
    a, The student needs to think about and to better define their own interests;
    b. The applicant should spend time learning, in some detail, about the prospective universities.

    When students just reach for a famous name off someone's concept of a ranking list or just reach for the local university because they have heard of it, they are skipping what can be an important education.

    At what other point in life do they have the opportunity to look critically at themselves in the context of their future?

    An "activist" applicant creates a learning experience.
    edited February 2019
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  • jazzymomof7jazzymomof7 248 replies23 threads Junior Member
    @StPaulDad

    Yes, personality plays a role. Ds is very laid back. Dd is a much more ambitious.

    Glad to hear that applying OOS doesn't have to be stressful or disappointing. We have good friends who took their exceptional dd on a tour of elites/OOS, and they were all so excited. In the end she received rejection after rejection. She ended up somehwere instate where she is absolutely thriving, but it was sad to watch the process, and I think that is coloring my perception.

    I hadn’t considered applying to OOS schools that aren’t necessarily elites or reaches because we have so many great schools in Texas, but if dd really just wants to be OOS, that strategy might help with a successful application process in terms of acceptances and affordability.
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  • jazzymomof7jazzymomof7 248 replies23 threads Junior Member
    @retiredfarmer That’s a good point.

    @mathmom How did your sons feel about the multiple rejections? Did they go into the process expecting that outcome?
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  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 5506 replies25 threads Senior Member
    @jazzymomof7... I stopped ready the thread when I came across that you have 5 more kids to get through college .. Yikes...... She will have to go where you say out of need. We have two in college now and really don't know how we would afford another one in college....... I give you a lot of credit. Her options will have to be narrowed by your ability to pay. If you have unlimited funds then this really doesn't matter so much and she should pick a school that she will be comfortable going to for 4 years and will help her reach her goals. As stated forget about ranking etc. Getting a quality affordable education will get you further in life then just a ranking of a school. Taking both kids across the United States visiting schools really opened my eyes to this. I was really shocked just how many great schools of higher education there really are.
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  • NickihNickih 29 replies0 threads Junior Member
    We are in Texas. The only school that my daughter considered in Texas for film was UT Austin. She would have gotten no merit aid at UT. She has (mostly) decided to go to Depaul. They have a good film school. The University itself was a safety. The COA for us at UT with no merit is about the same as Depaul with merit. So for her degree with similarly ranked film schools the cost for us was virtually the same. UT and A&M with no merit aid are going to cost the same or more as a good OOS with good merit. Louisiana and Arkansas state schools also sometimes give Texas residents in state tuition.
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 35243 replies399 threads Senior Member
    Imo, you're right and she's 15. Miles to go. At that age, we couldn't "tell" our girls but could set a context. Eg, wanting them to go where they'd thrive, grow, and be ready for the stage post college. In 9th, we took a sort of "Who knows what that'll be?" attitude. Nor did we let.them have fixed ideas. It's too soon, they're just out of middle school.

    I'd take the pressure off her. "Let's explore." Besides, she may or may not have the stats and ECs for wildly chosen "dreams." I'd take the pressure off her.
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  • StPaulDadStPaulDad 528 replies2 threads Member
    Yeah, six is a lot. We have four, but one is following the trade school path and another is aspiring to a service academy.

    Maybe that's a thing to look at: SAs are all outside of Texas, she will see the world and meet other people, and they do provide good financial aid and a guaranteed job! Maybe not a great fit for continuing directly to med school, but a different path to service and an affordable education. Seriously, even if the shooting thing isn't a good fit look at the Coast Guard and Merchant Marine academies.
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  • washugradwashugrad 1153 replies13 threads Senior Member
    A couple of things come to mind, some of which other posters have brought up already -

    *Texas is a big state and maybe if you can drill down on what she's looking for more in an OOS experience, you might be able to find it by going to a different part of your own state.

    *As others have said, a lot of private schools that aren't the tippy top ones do offer merit aid to good students. Our oldest is at a small liberal arts college and we are paying just a bit more than we'd pay for UC in state.

    *There are also OOS public schools that offer great merit aid, especially in the south, and especially for National Merit Scholars. Check out Alabama and Florida. I don't know if your DD's scores will be close but maybe that would give her some incentive to study for her PSATs.
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  • Parentof2014gradParentof2014grad 1021 replies13 threads Senior 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.

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  • TS0104TS0104 1135 replies29 threads Senior 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.
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 8819 replies85 threads 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.

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  • jazzymomof7jazzymomof7 248 replies23 threads 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.
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