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2 Schools Enough?


Replies to: 2 Schools Enough?

  • IzzieIzzie 413 replies13 threads Member
    TooRealistic, my son only applied to one school, Indiana. The minute he set foot on that campus, he said, "this is where I want to go". Indiana also has rolling admissions and he knew within three weeks after applying that he was accepted. We're from Illinois too and he refused to apply there because it was too close to home. Indiana is only slightly more expensive that Illinois because of the surcharge at UI for his major and Indiana gave him some scholarship money.

    If he would be happy at MSU, I'd say his plan sounds fine. I have to say that knowing where you're going to school by October first made for a stress-free senior year. My son is not a kid who second-guesses himself so I doubt that he'll have any regrets -- he has none so far and can't wait to leave in August.

    Just make sure he applies EARLY.
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  • archiemomarchiemom 1587 replies29 threads Senior Member
    Actually, my son (freshman this past year) insisted on applying to only one school, too. He visited, interviewed, and loved it; his stats were in the 75% range; he wanted a specialized program of study that only a handful of universities offer; and his overall application was strong with quirky ECs and lots of leadership. We (parents) forced him to visit and apply to one more school (which he did cheerfully, but sure that he would go to his first choice); in the end he also ended up applying to my husband's and my alma mater just to see if he could get in (but would never have gone there as they did not even offer the program he was interested in).

    So he was accepted at his dream school, rolling admissions, at the end of October. And that was that. He was right. And sometimes (although probably not often) two applications can be enough.
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  • cangelcangel 4054 replies73 threads Senior Member
    Another vote for a serious talk about a financial safety close to home and cheap.
    My D said this - what if someone in the family got very ill and I just didn't want to go so far away?
    MSU may fit this bill for you, but if the local commuter school or community college is a no go, then I think some other close to home/inexpensive school is just cheap insurance against that change of circumstances.
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  • gladmomgladmom 739 replies71 threads Member
    If he will know early that he is accepted by MSU, and he would be happy to go there if UVA didn't pan out, then 2 is enough, provided it is financially feasible.

    I would have been really nervous if my kids had only applied to 2 schools. Their top choices were uber-reaches, and they needed realistic fall-back options. Cost is a big factor in our family as well, since we are middle income, and H & I will be retiring soon. D applied to 10 and S to 8. D got her 3rd choice, since she was rejected by 1st choice and 2nd choice was too expensive. S got his 1st choice. However, until those last admissions/financial aid packages came in April, we had no idea where either of them would be going.

    U of Minn is a great school, but keep in mind that it gets pretty cold up there and there is more snow than here in Illinois. Climate was a big issue for my S in his choices of where to apply.
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  • shyanneshyanne 857 replies18 threads Member
    The applications for MSU come out in August. MSU is close to many hospitals and has clinics on campus also. MSU has something set up so students don't have to pay for a couple visits to the campus clinic or an ambulance in a emergency.
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 30260 replies59 threads Senior Member
    There are many kids who just apply to one school, sometimes ED or EA and that is it when accepted. Some kids already know where they want to go, and if the school is open enrollment, they just sign up.
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  • DCforMeDCforMe 612 replies14 threads Member
    I would encourage you to apply to both U of M and UIUC. not necessarily because of needing a safety, but because they are seriously some of the easiest applications you will ever see. The University of Minnesota one doesn't even have an essay, and might take you all of 15 minutes to complete. Heck, you could even fill it out for your son if you really wanted to. And UIUC only has two extremely short essays. If you don't mind paying the application fees (&SAT/ACT score reports), it's definitely worth the very small amount of time it takes to send them off. Always nice to have options.

    Additionally, speaking as an Illinois resident, after financial aid UIUC was my most expensive school, and U of M my least.
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  • somemomsomemom 11000 replies331 threads Senior Member
    My D only applied to one school, as the youngest she has watched the proces unfold with all it's stresses for the older sibs. She picked one rolling admit LAC type school with merit money, FAFSA only. Knowing from her sister's awards that this would be somewhere close to affordable.

    She did the early no essay app and was in by Oct w/merit $. We then kept tossing out other options she might pursue, other good schools to investigate, etc. Nothing in Dec, nothing in Jan, her last possible alternate school had a March deadline, by March she decided she was happy with her #1 choice.

    It worked for her because she had seen so much about the school options with her sisters and had been in school visits with them. They went to Ucs and she is thrilled to NOT go to a large public. It worked because she was clear on what she did want and because she did keep considering adding other schools along the way, comparing each one to the one where she is already in and determining whether or not it was worth an essay to have that option!! It never was and she's an English major ;)
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  • crazedcrazed 1884 replies90 threads Senior Member
    I agree that you should consider another 1 or 2 match schools.

    My gut feeling is that your son will be accepted to MSU. (I am an alum and we are great Spartan fans in our Long Island house!) Great school, great education with lots of choices of major as I suppose the other Big Ten's are. I was a transfer OOS and made friends quickly and it never felt like a huge school except if a class was across campus in the winter! We bundled up and the cold was always manageable.

    From what I know, my son was accepted (for last fall) with better stats and given scholarship opportunities you may also receive. They gave him lots of perks (in state tuition, job teaching or doing research, etc...) you may get some of the same.

    My old roomie's son (same age as mine) started there last fall. From what she told me along the way, with a 3.5 GPA, I assume unweighted, (at least for instate) he and his friends had to submit mid year grades before the acceptance letter was sent.(He got in with the 3.5 and 27 ACT. While the stats at MSU have probably risen like everywhere else, I think the size of the school helps a lot with the kids on the high end of the spectrum, like your son. They have lots of spots to fill and don't need to be so selective of the top kids, they can let them all in!!!

    (Just an FYI- things have gotten so crazy. Lots of kids on Long Island that we know did not get in to their match schools. A friend of mine had her daughter rejected from 2 of her safties (told on the tour that she'd be in Honors College) but accepted at a reach with merit $ for community service. They were all small schools by the way.)

    Apply ASAP- Strive to have the MSU app in Aug/Sept. Get your app done, send scores, and as soon as school opens in the fall, make sure the guidance office sends your grades and recs. (One problem we encountered with MSU when I called to see if all materials were received as they were not noted on line was that there were many mailbags that had not even been unpacked yet and it would take a couple of weeks to update the system. You can avoid this by applying early.

    As far as UVa- great school. Good luck. (Son applied and was accepted. No merit $.) (May want to add UMaryland which is very popular here although it will be a match with no guarantee. Being from IL may help you there as being from NY hurts us here. May want to add another big ten safety- Indiana is super popular here. Also, Ohio State (even though we had a big anti-OS chant at MSU!!)

    I hope your son gets accepted at both. You can't go wrong with either one of them.
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  • aronaron 127 replies14 threads Junior Member
    Why not Pitt's Honors College? The sports did not thrill my D but they might your son. Different vibe than the other schools and merit $$ available depending on his scores.
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  • thumper1thumper1 78015 replies3498 threads Senior Member
    DD only wanted to apply to three schools. Two were EA and one rolling. She had one acceptance in November, one in December and one in January. Oddly she then decided to apply to a reach in December...but didn't get accepted. We insisted she apply to a school close to home. So....five in all. But the first three were really all that mattered to her. She could have done two. The November acceptance (rolling admissions) was her number two choice and the December one (EA) is where she is going to college.
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  • dadtimesthreedadtimesthree 147 replies20 threads Junior Member
    If your son would be very happy attending either school, and there are no financial issues which would require him to attend a school cheaper than either, his list is plenty sufficient. I know that crazy things happen in college admissions, but he's everything but a lead pipe cinch to get in at MSU, and he'll find out early enough if he doesn't to have other options for a safety. For that matter, since your son wants to attend a large, state school, there are options out there (ranked in the same ballpark as MSU) which are absolutely 100% (because they go strictly on numbers, and your son's clearly qualify), and allow for later application deadlines--Mizzou, Kansas, Iowa, Arizona State, etc. He would be in the Honors College at all of those places, with money, at Missouri, which would make his cost lower than MSU. I'm not suggesting that he has to consider those schools at this time, but the idea that he'll wind up without an option isn't a reality.

    People here are, IMO, way too hung up on the have to apply to a zillion schools list. My older daughter applied to two schools. She narrowed her list before the application process (as your son has apparently done). She's very happy with her choice, and would have been happy at her other school had she not gotten into the school and program she desired. That's all you're looking for.

    Good luck.
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  • garlandgarland 16429 replies206 threads Senior Member
    S applied to two schools, UMich and his ED. Got into Mich by the end of October, then it was either there or the ED (as it turns out, he prob'ly woulda been better off at Mich, but I think the principle is still sound.)

    Anyhoo, as an aside, I get the Big 10 thing. I thought Northwestern would be a great choice for him to look at, but as the son of two Umich alum, no way would he consider it.
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  • CurrySpiceCurrySpice 224 replies15 threads Junior Member
    Will he be happy at MichState if he does NOT get into the honors college?

    I had a friend who did essentially the same thing this year. He applied to Penn State (and Shreyers Honors College) and Johns Hopkins. He was accepted at PSU, but not the honors... and flipped out about it. Turned out that he only wanted the school for the honors college, not the regular part.

    Has your son looked into more state universities? Perhaps my opinion is biased, but I think a lot of them are very similar. There's the big 10 Midwestern ones, as well as a bunch of other schools. What about Penn State? U Pitt gives a TON of money out, and it's a fantastic school.
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  • TheAnalystTheAnalyst 2801 replies13 threads Senior Member
    Our son was exactly like Garland's. Applied rolling to UW-Madison where he had an answer by October and UVA ED where he got his answer in November and is attending. If he had not gotten into his ED school, which he considered a reach, he would have been delighted with UW and had no plans to apply elsewhere.

    I will mention that a 4.0 weighted GPA would be a serious reach in-state for UVA from our high school. The year my S was applying I put together spreadsheets on the prior years. Of the 18 accepted from our school the year before he applied, only one had a GPA below 4.0. The next were 4.18, 4.33, 4.43 and then higher. A 4.48 was waitlisted. Same story in prior years and I can only assume it has gotten more competitive. With that said, I don't think you can compare weighted GPA's from one school to another, so he might have a better sense of his chances based on class rank. I would consider top 5% in-state to be a sure bet, with the closer you get to that 10% threshhold the lower the chances unless the rest of the application just sings. For out of state, I assume it is more difficult.
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  • johnshadejohnshade 378 replies2 threads Member
    As Puddnhead Wilson said: "Behold the fool saith, put not all thine eggs in the one basket, ... but the wise man saith, put all thine eggs in the one basket and -- WATCH THAT BASKET."
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  • jmmomjmmom 8916 replies168 threads Senior Member
    How well does he know either of the two schools? If he feels he knows them pretty well, and the finances are covered, two schools is plenty.
    I tend to agree with what I think is mini's underlying point here. Others have commented on whether or not he needs additional apps from the admissions safety and financial safety aspects.

    I just want to focus on whether he is "safe" in terms of being happy with the possible outcomes, knowing - as many of us do - that some kids (not just a few) change their perspective on what they seek in a school between fall of Senior year and spring of Senior year.

    So... if he and you are fairly sure that he will be HAPPY with the potential outcome of only one admit - to MSU - two could be enough.

    I'd just want you and he to think about how some kids feel downhearted to have only one option. Some seem to feel dejected if the only acceptance was to the safety - there is just some human nature at work which devalues the safety because it IS the safety.

    So I'd consider more than just a reach and a safety to enhance the chances that he will have the ability to have a choice and a hedge against changing his perspective on what he wants. If, eg, he's ever considered a smaller school, a techie school, a _____ school... I'd add one of that type to the mix. And not a reach one.
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  • bblfraserbblfraser 230 replies0 threads Junior Member
    My daughter visited 3 instate colleges. Liked them. Doesn't feel she needs to look further (I think they're probably in the "match" category). My husband and I would like her to at least look OOS and just see what else is out there (because there is a lot out there!). This seems too early in her life not to at least consider more options.
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  • bclintonkbclintonk 7683 replies31 threads Senior Member
    You mention your son's weighted GPA, but what about unweighted? And what's his class rank? I ask because as I understand Michigan State's Honors College, an invitation to join is automatic for any admitted student in the top 5% of his graduating class who also has an ACT composite of 30+. Clearly your S meets the ACT standard; if he meets the class rank standard, he's in. If not, it's a much more "iffy" proposition.

    And if he is accepted into the Honors college, merit-based financial aid is also automatic: $8K/yr for four years for nonresidents. If he re-takes the ACT and bumps his score up to 33 (which I'd strongly recommend), it's even sweeter: an automatic research assistantship to a professor (8-10 hrs/wk for a stipend of $2300) PLUS tuition remission to in-state levels, on top of the $8,000 scholarship he gets just for being admitted. This is a really sweet deal, and it does make MSU much cheaper than UIUC at in-state tuition.

    Given his stats and MSU's admission standards---73% acceptance rate, 22-27 median ACTS, no quota on OOS admits---it's hard to believe he won't get in to MSU. The real key here is getting into the Honors College which is a really terrific opportunity for OOS students; without that, it will be costlier and not as attractive an educational option.
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  • TooRealisticTooRealistic 128 replies22 threads Junior Member
    Wow! I can't get over how thoughtful CC folks are. Thank you all so much, I just love that you guys make S and me think.

    As to class rank, he was top 6% (sooo close) at the end of 1st semester Jr. year, but I have no idea what's up right now. Although if he does not get into the MI State honors college, I don't think he will care (I think that he'd still get $6000). I do however, sense an ACT retake happening ASAP (33 = in state tuition - how sweet is that?). I mentioned that several Big 10 schools including UIUC have a better reputation for his major, and he does not care. He's convinced that he can make a go of anywhere.

    I know and he knows that UVA is an uber-reach for him, but he wants to try. Who knows, maybe UVA is longing for a middle-class white kid from IL who has no outstanding skills (unless you count being able to catch food in his mouth that is thrown from great distances)? It could happen - right?

    Thank you all again for the words of wisdom
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