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Underrated gems. Colleges that are never mentioned on CC but are really fantastic.


Replies to: Underrated gems. Colleges that are never mentioned on CC but are really fantastic.

  • sahmkcsahmkc Registered User Posts: 600 Member
    @privatebanker I think this is a fantastic thread because so many people on this site have such great information to share.You never know what "hidden gem" could turn out to be a great fit and even better financially than a state school due to merit and grant aid. I find it really concerning that many people ( not those on this site!) don't research colleges, they just go with one of the few they know. It's one of the biggest financial decision you will make and I definitely spent time researching options for our kids outside of our area. I even gave my spreadsheet one of my son's friends and he ended up at GW for less than our state flagship.
  • RandyErikaRandyErika Registered User Posts: 447 Member
    I grew up in a MD suburb outside of DC, but barely a 2 hour drive from where I now live, which is very close to a slew of amazing schools inside and outside of Philly. Other than those with Division 1 sports, Swarthmore is the only one I’d ever heard of until beginning our kids’ college searches. And I’d never heard of those they attend until their high counselor suggested we consider them.

    Even within PA, I’d be hard-pressed to tell someone where all of them are, especially those on the Pittsburgh side of the state. I’m assuming PA isn’t exceptional in that regard, although it might be to a certain extent.
  • RiversiderRiversider Registered User Posts: 686 Member
    edited June 8
    Ivies and big state schools are well known among masses but schools like Harvey Mudd, Caltech, Rice and Pomona doesn’t have similar clout. This is the reason they can’t beat Ivies in acceptance rate or yield game. This is a self-fulfilling prophecy.
  • barronsbarrons Registered User Posts: 24,979 Senior Member
    "And good quiz question is what school was offered a spot in the Ivy League and said no thanks."
    Not Rutgers
    Fake news.
  • privatebankerprivatebanker Registered User Posts: 4,960 Senior Member
    edited June 8
    The crimson. Hah. But thanks. I didn’t go there and know no one there. And also have no connection to NJ.

    But for an educated ivy person you would think that politeness and manners counted for something, it used to at schools at the ivy level.

    Fake news instead of just saying it in pleasant manner is a dick move.

    Do you know what the result of the petition was? The article doesn’t say.

    Do you know they almost merged with Princeton?

    And they were private until you 1945 or so. They are one of the 8 colonial era colleges. 1760 formation.colonial era schools also includes w and m and some of the current Ivy League.

    So the roots are interesting. They merged win a women’s college named Douglas in the 1920s which was ahead of its time. Although primarily a men’s university in many of its schools until the 60s

  • Sue22Sue22 Registered User Posts: 6,140 Senior Member
    C'mon, let's keep it civil. This is a useful thread and I'd hate to see it shut down.
  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 76,105 Senior Member
    When my kid applied to Santa Clara University in 2005, I would say it was a hidden gem. People in our state not only give me a blank stare...but also asked why our kid was attending an out of state public university...

    Even now...Santa Clara is not particularly well known in the northeast.
  • simba9simba9 Registered User Posts: 3,261 Senior Member
    edited June 8
    Perhaps nobody mentioned the University of Alaska Fairbanks, where I went for undergrad, because it's already world-renown. But if not, I'll pimp for it. It's the state flagship and gets lots of research money, but it only has 4000-5000 full-time students. So it's a research university that feels like a LAC. Tiny classes that are taught by professors (not TAs) who know your name. It's truly a unique place to go to school, absolutely no snobbery, and lots of characters among both students and faculty. I loved it.
  • SuperSenior19SuperSenior19 Registered User Posts: 148 Junior Member
    edited June 9
    @sahmkc Honestly, do most students really need to consider the "national reputation" for schools like Truman? Most of the kids who go to public schools in their state will probably stay in the region, whether intentionally or accidentally -- so if a student plans to attend Truman and then head back to St. Louis or Kansas City to be a math teacher, the national reputation and name recognition of Truman (likely little to none) has literally zero impact on their ability to get a job, whereas regional recognition is very important. In fact, I'd think someone wanting to teach in Missouri might even have BETTER job prospects going to Truman than, say, Pomona or the University of Michigan, because the people doing the hiring have probably hired lots of Truman grads in the past with good results but then lumps all out-of-state schools together as "has a degree." I read somewhere that over half of teachers teach within 30 miles of where they grew up anyway.

    Ironically, I don't live in Texas, but I've heard of Trinity and I would think it's a good school. Granted, my parents probably have no clue it exists, but they haven't done anywhere near as much college searching as I have :)

    And for the love of everything CC, Rutgers already had its 15 minutes of fame on another thread. It happened so long ago, it's as relevant as someone's middle school Spanish grade (spoiler: not relevant at all).
  • SLCUtahMomSLCUtahMom Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
    When I saw the title of this thread, my first thought was: the College of Idaho. So glad its already been brought up (first time I've heard it mentioned on CC) and I think it deserves more praise. Back in my HS days in Montana, I remember it being very popular for kids who wanted a LAC (that and Carroll College - another great school).

    C of I has a good education, friendly kids, a real community feel, and a great reputation in the mountain west. Alumni include 7 Rhodes scholars and 3 governors. Location is perfect for lovers of the outdoors - hiking, skiing, fishing. Less than a half an hour drive to downtown Boise, as well. Seems like Williams, Middlebury, or Hamilton for a huge discount just because it's in Idaho. Average COA after scholarships is $20k. Put it in New England and I'm sure its acceptance rate would drop to sub-30% easily.

    C of I's PEAK curriculum is perfect for anyone who fancies themselves a renaissance man and wants to dabble in lots of different academic disciplines, while still being employable. All students have a major and three minors in the humanities or fine arts, social sciences or history, natural sciences or math, and a pre-professional discipline. Professional majors include accounting, business, communication sciences and disorders, education, engineering, law, marketing, medical lab science, medicine, nursing, physical therapy, and public health. Professional minors include communications, criminal justice, data science, dentistry, journalism, language and literacy education, leadership, occupation therapy, optometry, pharmacy, physician assistant, and vet science. Other unique majors include exercise physiology, health sciences, international political economy, and minors in British studies and human performance, as well as all the usual liberal arts departments. Not bad for a LAC with 1100 students!

    Another hidden gem that I don't think has ever been mentioned on CC before: Rocky Mountain College in Billings, Montana. Very friendly students. Good faculty interaction. Big sky lifestyle while still being in a city. And cheap! My niece had barely a 3.0 GPA GPA and a 24 ACT and merit aid brought the cost down to 25k a year. Not bad for a school whose noted alumni include a famous mime and the guy who played Hannah Montana's brother, especially considering the cost of some northeast LACs.

    Agree with BYU-Idaho. I think part of the lack of name recognition is due to the fact that it was called Ricks College until 2001. It's a great school - my DS returns home from his mission in several weeks and is excited to be headed back to Rexburg. But it's one of those schools where the kids who would want to know about it do know about it. I absolutely adored my time at BYU and have the Cougars apparel to prove it but I would never recommend it to anyone on CC unless I knew that they were LDS. Same goes for BYU-I, BYU-Hawaii, and LDS Business College.
  • mommdcmommdc Registered User Posts: 11,255 Senior Member
    As I was looking at schools with good music programs, I came across these, but they also seem to be good schools for science.

    Messiah College, Grove City College in PA.

    Both give some good merit, and GCC has a pretty low COA. GCC does not participate in federal financial aid program but PA grant program. They do have their own student loans they offer with low interest rates I believe.
  • merc81merc81 Registered User Posts: 10,002 Senior Member
    edited June 9
    I enjoyed reading about the College of Idaho, a school with which I've been somewhat familiar, @SLCUtahMom. It should be noted though that colleges such as Williams and Hamilton might offer slightly lower net costs, on average, than U of I.



  • sahmkcsahmkc Registered User Posts: 600 Member
    edited June 9
    @SuperSenior19 I'm sorry but you completely missed the point of my post. What I was saying was that a school might not be considered a "hidden gem" in it's region, but on a national scale it would be a "hidden gem". So that while some may feel a certain school is not a hidden gem because it's well known in their area it might be on a national scale. Often when you look outside your region, you can get better odds of acceptances and merit /grant aid from private school that are trying to raise their profile nationally. They may want to be able to say they have students from all states etc… I think the reason that my sons friend was able to negotiate with GW on his aid package because he was from Missouri and that is an underrepresented state at GW. Trinity took our family and another family out to dinner and I believe that is only because our families were from underrepresented areas.
  • momofthreeboysmomofthreeboys Registered User Posts: 16,677 Senior Member
    Agree. The good regional colleges don’t have trouble filling their schools with regional kids but most of those colleges and especially the privates crave the geographic and even global diversity so can be a very nice cost option. In general those colleges are still priced lower than the more well known privates yet give as good if not better all around education. I know this is very true at Kalamazoo which while always having geographic diversity to some degree works harder for that now than perhaps thirty years ago.
  • barronsbarrons Registered User Posts: 24,979 Senior Member
    edited June 9
    I know a lot about RU--NJ raised and brother attended. There are plenty of myths and this is a very old one. We also could debate the College of NJ.
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