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Too Many Choices????

bulinskimombulinskimom 104 replies8 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 112 Junior Member
edited July 2008 in Parents Forum
I am looking for advice about my daughter. She will be a senior in the fall. She has always had good test scores (2200 SAT) and a great GPA (4.12 weighted) She has great EC's (Swimming, community service, Church, etc) and is well liked by her teachers and peers. She was fairly certain she new what her plans were this Fall for applications etc. but has just received her ACT score (the one and only time she will take it), and it has opened a new can of worms for her. It was VERY high. She now has a whole bunch of new schools that have popped up as "Good Matches", and no "Reach schools" All the Ivy's, Stanford, Berkely etc. She is feeling overwhlemed with these new choices and possibilities. Any thoughts or ideas on how we can best help her make a great choice? Thanks!
edited July 2008
77 replies
Post edited by bulinskimom on
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Replies to: Too Many Choices????

  • menloparkmommenloparkmom 12387 replies534 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 12,921 Senior Member
    despite her having a terrific ACT score[ congratulations!], that is unfortunately no guarantee these days that she WILL be accepted at schools like Stanford and the Ivys, as thousands of disappointed Hi Sat applicants last year can tell you, so be SURE she has some safeties that she LOVES!
    And without information about her interests, etc, we can't give good advise.
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  • laurstar07laurstar07 1032 replies21 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,053 Senior Member
    well...you still have time to revise that list! luckily she knew in june...i took my act for the last time in september and added schools last minute based on that. feeling overwhelmed? she should feel happy that now she has so many doors opened for her now! congrats!

    but she has to channel that overwhelming feeling carefully...while she has the opportunity, it isnt wise to apply to all 8 ivies.
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  • bulinskimombulinskimom 104 replies8 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 112 Junior Member
    She is fairly certain she will major in Engineering but doesn't really want a "traditional engineering school". She perceives this as Math, Science and Engineering only. She is also interested in many other things, European History, maybe flying jets, maybe medical school, is considering an academy or ROTC. She is a recruited swimmer, (Tier 2 D1 and below), Is very active in our Church, and holds leadership positions both at Church (she is the only youth member of our Parish Council - 100 family Parish) and in our State Swimming Community. Will be a NMS Semifinalist for sure and probably a finalist. She is honeslty a very well rounded mature person.

    Her struggle isn't with not getting in someplace, but with the large number of choices that have now become a more realistic option for her. How does she weed them out? That is her struggle.

    A complicating factor is that we live in Alaska. We can not visit as many schools as she would like. She does not have strong feelings one way or the other regarding urban or rural, would like a school between 4,000 and 15,000 and wants a very "traditional" campus. No interest in the Greek System or going to a school that has a large Greek System. Needs campus housing available for all four years. (The Alaska thing).

    Thanks again!
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  • bulinskimombulinskimom 104 replies8 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 112 Junior Member
    correction...1000 family Parish.
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  • ChedvaChedva 18816 replies11538 discussionsSuper Moderator Posts: 30,354 Super Moderator
    OK, being from Alaska, weather's not a problem - I suggest University of Rochester. 4500 undergrads, 2000 graduate students, strong engineering program along with everything else that a general university offers.

    Anyway, while the selectors may say that these ultra-selective are no longer "reaches", realize that they still are reaches for everyone. Any school with an admit rate of less than 20% is a reach.

    Now, ignore the scores. And then, ignore the names. Let her look at these schools and see if she likes them at all anyway! Don't get swayed by the name or by the prestige. If they weren't on her radar before, why should they be now? What is it about these schools, other than their names, that intrigues her? Would she still be interested in, say, Princeton if its name were "University of South Overshoe"? If not, cross it off her list.

    And congratulations to her!
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  • stacystacy 1079 replies21 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,100 Senior Member
    Smith has a great engineering program (and your daughter sounds like a decent candidate for some of the merit aid the college offers). They have a good partnership with NASA that allows a group of students to ride the "vomit comet" every year and conduct experiments in microgravity.

    It's a little smaller than she prefers (2800 undergrads) and DIII swimming (a DI sport, ROTC, and engineering sounds like an awful lot--maybe DIII is a better fit anyway?) but academically it sounds like a good match/safe for her. There's no Greek scene. The engineering program leaves enough room for a good number of electives, and Army/Air Force ROTC programs are available through UMass-Amherst.
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  • MarinMomMarinMom 626 replies12 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 638 Member
    My d also had strong grades/test scores and was interested in engineering. She emailed the track and field coaches at the schools that she liked the most and found the responses to be illuminating. Answers ranged from "If you're willing to make the sacrifices required of a D1 athlete, we can talk" (she's not into sacrifice) to "you're my number 1 recruit" (the D3 school where she eventually went).

    Here's the list of schools that my d looked at or thought about that are Tier 2 Div 1 or below:
    Ivies: Cornell (strongest Ivy engineering school), Princeton (good engineering and intense undergrad focus), Dartmouth (small, intimate engineering school - good for someone who isn't sure that engineering is the way she wants to go). We didn't look at Harvard, but they're pouring tons of money into their engineering program, plus you can cross-reg at MIT. Columbia has a good school of engineering, but she hated the core curriculum.
    Tech schools with D3 athletic programs and a certain amount of diversity: MIT (you have to like and be good at math/science to go there, but they also have strong programs in humanities/social sciences, plus you can cross-reg at Harvard or Wellesley), Harvey Mudd (the Claremont Colleges are all clustered together and athletic teams are combined, so you can take classes, eat with, work out with non-engineers).
    Other D3 schools she checked out but didn't follow through on for various reasons: Tufts (supposedly they are looking for female engineering majors), Carnegie Mellon, Rice. Also UCSD, which I think is Div 3. Of all the UC's this might be the best bet for your d, as the 6 college system makes a big campus a little cozier. Not sure how the housing situation would work for her however.

    Stanford is definitely worth an email too, as it's a pretty wonderful place. She also liked Duke. She wasn't good enough to compete at either school, but your d might be able to walk on.

    My recommendation would be for your d to read the Fiske Guide, which seems to be pretty reliable, and check out the websites of the colleges on her list. Then send off a bunch of emails to the coaches and see what they say. My d had friends who were recruited at Harvard (crew) and Princeton (swimming), and I got the impression that those schools flew the girls out for a visit - I could be wrong about that however.

    Good luck with it!
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  • ChedvaChedva 18816 replies11538 discussionsSuper Moderator Posts: 30,354 Super Moderator
    Oh, one more thing to consider: some of the top schools (Yale, Brown) will accept ACT in lieu of SAT I and II, but others (Harvard, Princeton) require SAT II even if you accept the ACT. Harvard and Princeton, in fact, require 3 SAT IIs.

    So, if she hasn't taken SAT II in addition to SAT I and ACT, she must decide whether she wants to take them, or whether that will, in and of itself, remove those schools from her list.

    Of course, if she has taken 3 SAT IIs and is pleased with the scores, she's back in the same position.
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  • MarinMomMarinMom 626 replies12 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 638 Member
    Hah! Didn't notice the jets and ROTC. My d has a friend who is now at the Naval Academy - her goal in life is to fly jets and possibly design them. She also applied to Cornell and won an ROTC scholarship to go there - but then wasn't accepted! Go figure.

    Your d should definitely check out Harvey Mudd, UCSD, and USC, as they all have strong connections with the SoCal aerospace industry. USC is Pac10 so may be a reach swimming-wise, but they give merit aid.
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  • laurstar07laurstar07 1032 replies21 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,053 Senior Member
    Cornell Cornell Cornell! :D
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  • mathmommathmom 31932 replies155 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 32,087 Senior Member
    Stanford and Cornell strike me as the most appropriate top schools, but it is true that Harvard is planning on increasing the size of its engineering department tenfold in the next ten years, so it's worth looking into. Both schools have plenty of non-engineers. Carnegie Mellon might be worth a look, but I think kids self-segregate by schools more there than some places. Being from Alaska will be a big plus.

    I concur with others though that none of the stop schools can be consider matches for anyone - they are still reaches. It's just that once you have those kind of scores and grades the matches kind of disappear! My son ended up applying to 6 reaches and two safeties. Got into 2 of the reaches and both safeties, and was waitlisted at Harvey Mudd. Harvey Mudd, is an engineering school, but part of a five college consortium so is definitely worth a look.
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  • minimini 26172 replies259 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 26,431 Senior Member
    "but has just received her ACT score (the one and only time she will take it), and it has opened a new can of worms for her."

    No reason it has to open a "new can of worms" - the schools that were goodd before haven't gotten any worse as a result of her ACT scores.
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  • ucsd_ucla_daducsd_ucla_dad 8506 replies67 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 8,573 Senior Member
    I think you mentioned it already but the service academies come to mind - Air Force Academy and Annapolis if she wants to fly and study engineering.

    The UCs can be expensive OOS compared to some privates and they have larger student bodies but they're pretty highly ranked in engineering. Given that, I think one of my UCSD D's last courses only had about 12 students in it (a graphics programming course). At UCSD although they only provide 2 years of on-campus housing, there's plentiful nice off-campus apartments just off-campus and it's served well by the UCSD shuttle so housing wouldn't be an issue.

    USC can give some decent money and also has a highly ranked engineering school so that's worth a shot. Stanford ranks well also.

    Stanford, USC, and the UCs all offer courses in many different areas should she choose to switch majors out of engineering (many do once they try it), she chooses a minor in a competely different area, or she just wants to try different types of classes.

    The academies off their own unique set of opportunities and especially for someone who wants to be a jet pilot they can't be beat. OTOH with the discipline and rigor they're not for everyone.

    Congrats to you D for doing well.
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  • NewHope33NewHope33 6136 replies72 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 6,208 Senior Member
    Well, first things first -- congrats to your D for doing so well! Be proud!

    I agree with those who suggest that the very high ACT score doesn't change things much. Your D still has her ambitions -- the ACT score doesn't change that. She STILL needs to select a list of schools which best match those ambitions. Read Chevda's posts carefully. A UG degree from Princeton won't help much if she wants to fly jets. Good luck to your D!
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  • lspf72lspf72 2484 replies128 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 2,612 Senior Member
    Don't think anyone has mentioned it, but won't being from Alaska also be a plus? Back when S was looking I recall several catalog quotes along the line of 'X' number of states represented. I think all schools favor geographical diversity.

    I'd second Cornell, and Stanford (a little closer to home). A very bright girl from S's class turned down MIT for Carnegie Mellon and is supposedly very happy there.
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