right arrow
Examples: Monday, today, last week, Mar 26, 3/26/04
We’ve got a new look! Walk through the key updates here.

Would you comment on son's list of colleges?

2

Replies to: Would you comment on son's list of colleges?

  • CountingDownCountingDown 13303 replies110 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 13,413 Senior Member
    Here's the beginning of the math discussion I mentioned previously -- goes from p. 619 through page 621.
    http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/parents-forum/544629-parents-class-2010-a-619.html

    S had BC Calc, Calc-based stat, multivariable, differential equations, lin alg, discrete math, complex analysis and a proof course, plus he self-studied complexity theory and other areas of theoretical comp sci (which is heavily applied math) while still in high school. Basically, he didn't apply to a school unless he felt the department would be able to offer what he needed. At some schools, this would have involved some independent study with a prof; in others, there are multiple levels of analysis/abstract algebra courses offered; some offer early graduate work; at others, there was generous placement/options to test into courses. We know tippy-top math folks who have attended each of these various options.

    S's top three going into senior year were UChicago, Mudd and MIT (in that order), and he was fortunate to be accepted at all three. Each has its pluses and minues, both in the math dept. and in the school itself, but these are the schools that spoke most clearly to S. Depending on someone's other interests, specific fields of interest in math, etc., there are a number of excellent choices.

    His experience is NOT typical. His college search was very department- and program-focused and he wanted strong CS as well. There were many, many excellent schools (UW-Madison for math and UIUC for CS in particular) that simply weren't on his radar due to size and that he really, really, really liked the UChicago/Mudd vibe. The fact he liked UMich was astonishing to us.
    · Reply · Share
  • mathmommathmom 31930 replies155 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 32,085 Senior Member
    My son loves Carnegie Mellon. He has no regrets about being there (and he turned down Harvard to attend.) My one reservation about Carnegie Mellon is that, more than most schools, you can be a 100% computer geek there. The generous AP policy means he's only had to take a couple of courses outside his interests. They tend to assign roommates with similar interests - his freshman roommate was in engineering and it seemed like most of his floor were either in engineering or computer science. I'm told that if you want to it's easy to branch out and meet other people, but it's also easy not to. Given that my kid was likely to go find his own crowd no matter where he was, it's nice for him to feel like he's normal and not a rareity. Academically he's been challenged - and he's got a good well-paying internship this summer - which he found through the CMU grapevine.

    From the feel - I'd say CMU is a little more pre-professional than most colleges. It has a lot of kids who already know what they want to be when they grow up and is particularly strong in those fields. (i.e. engineering, computer science, drama, music, art and architecture.)
    · Reply · Share
  • maritemarite 21343 replies243 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 21,586 Senior Member
    Missourigal:
    We had the exact same concerns as Countingdown for S. We regretfully eliminated LACs for the reasons Countingdown cites: not enough advanced courses offered on a regular basis. The universities listed in this thread all offer the range of courses that an advanced student (someone who has already moved beyond BC-Calc while in high school) would want to take. S eliminated Chicago from his list because he was not sure about the Core :).
    · Reply · Share
  • midmomidmo 3715 replies5 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 3,720 Senior Member
    do some serious investigation as to whether a school's program can keep him busy for four years.

    MissouriGal, my initial reaction to this post by CountingDown was that most universities (as opposed to LACs) will have plenty of math to offer advanced undergraduates because of the availability of graduate level courses. However, upon thinking about it a bit more, I agree that your son should ask specific questions about curriculum flexibility, rules related to enrollment in graduate level courses, etc. My son is a computer science and math major at a private university that has very different rules for students enrolled in the College of Arts and Science and those enrolled in the School of Engineering (which is where computer science is found, in this case). As an "engineering" student also majoring in math, he gets to follow the rules of the engineering school, and in this case, those rules are far more flexible than those dictating curriculum for students in A and S. As a result, he has been allowed to enroll in advanced courses from the start, including topology as a freshman--not such a hot idea, BTW, even for a student with several post-BC courses taken at a university while still in high school. (Son likes math to the extent that it serves his interests in cs and A.I., unlike most math majors who love it for its own sake.)

    So, yes, encourage your son to make appointments and ask pointed questions of undergraduate program directors in the math and physics departments, if those are his probable majors.
    · Reply · Share
  • CountingDownCountingDown 13303 replies110 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 13,413 Senior Member
    Midmo -- S has also found that the CS department has been very flexible about placement whereas math departments are a little more sequence-oriented. (At UChicago, they are both in the same school.) S is a theoretical CS guy, so where his interests lie straddle both CS and math. He's majoring in math to support the CS, too, though he is also very fond of pure math (geometry, not so much).

    Will agree with mathmom that there are some schools (for S, Mudd and MIT in particular) where S felt he would be able to settle into a life of happy social geekdom and live in his comfort zone. With Chicago, he felt like he'd be challenged to break out of that zone, and it was a pivotal point in his decision. OTOH, he is working at MIT this summer and has absolutely loved it.
    · Reply · Share
  • nngmmnngmm 5613 replies95 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 5,708 Senior Member
    If your son is very advanced in math (well beyond Calc BC by the time he graduates), a university that will allow him to take graduate level courses is essential. (All schools on your list, except probably HM, will give him that opportunity)
    · Reply · Share
  • maritemarite 21343 replies243 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 21,586 Senior Member
    S's chum at Harvey Mudd reported that there were not enough pure math courses, but that he supplemented with theoretical comp sci courses. He's headed to a grad program in comp sci.
    S decided against HMC, Caltech and MIT for the same reasons Countingdown's son chose Chicago, but without the Chicago Core.
    · Reply · Share
  • MomPhDMomPhD 250 replies63 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 313 Member
    HMC has merit awards for top kids. Their graduation requirements include 1/3 of credits in non-math/science/engineering areas. Kids don't enter with advanced standing--maybe skip ahead in a course or 2 at most; very little AP credit accepted. HMC itself is small but it feels midsized because of the adjacent consortium colleges (5K students).
    · Reply · Share
  • maritemarite 21343 replies243 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 21,586 Senior Member
    Re post 24:
    S did not make use of his advanced standing eligibility, but was able to take grad courses, as do Chicago students. These are not just upper level courses: there were real grad students in the courses.
    · Reply · Share
  • ec1234ec1234 1199 replies2 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,201 Senior Member
    I agree with marite, I know that at princeton several of the math majors started in 300 level (Junior) classes, and proceeded to take most of the grad classes required for a PhD from princeton. Depending on the kid it can be very important to have grad classes offered and accessible. This isn;t just true for math, but is true for most of the sciences as well. I took 5 graduate biology classes there, which definitely prepared me better for graduate school and I would have run out of classes to take if I couldn't have taken the grad classes
    · Reply · Share
  • thumper1thumper1 73025 replies3179 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 76,204 Senior Member
    Sorry, can't comment about safety choices without knowing stats. I can't even comment on whether the initial list is realistic without knowing the stats. It doesn't matter if he's a math/science nerd...if his standardized test scores and gpa are not at a certain level for the schools listed.
    · Reply · Share
  • mythmommythmom 8292 replies13 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 8,305 Senior Member
    SUNY Stony Brook for a real admissions and financial safety.

    The list looks great with the additions provided by Marite and CountingDown.
    · Reply · Share
  • maritemarite 21343 replies243 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 21,586 Senior Member
    Stony Brook is indeed a very good choice both in terms of academics and finances!
    · Reply · Share
  • bclintonkbclintonk 7623 replies31 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 7,654 Senior Member
    Also consider U Minnesota-Twin Cities as another financial safety. OOS tuition is capped at $4,000 above the in-state rate, they do give merit money to top OOS candidates, and the math department is quite strong, ranked #17 (just behind Wisconsin and just ahead of UIUC) in the US News rankings of math grad programs.
    · Reply · Share
  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 28056 replies56 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 28,112 Senior Member
    Johns Hopkins has a great pure math department with plenty of upper level graduate courses.
    · Reply · Share
This discussion has been closed.

Recent Activity