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Would you comment on son's list of colleges?

MissouriGalMissouriGal Registered User Posts: 129 Junior Member
edited July 2009 in Parents Forum
No particular order. He is a total math nerd and wants to major in physics or mathematics, and that's all he cares about. Has he left out any obvious contender? Thanks for your help.

Harvey Mudd
UC Berkeley
Carnegie Mellon
Our State Flagship (Financial and Admission Safety)
Post edited by MissouriGal on

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

  • gadadgadad Registered User Posts: 7,772 Senior Member
    Nice list - does he need all three of Michigan, Wisconsin and Illinois?
  • LurkNessMonsterLurkNessMonster Registered User Posts: 2,015 Senior Member
    Will you be needed any merit aid in order for him to attend? If so, I recommend including a school or two known for its financial aid. OOS publics are usually bad in that regard. The tippy-top schools on your son's list like Stanford and MIT don't give merit aid at all.
  • nngmmnngmm Registered User Posts: 5,708 Senior Member
    It is a good list, as far as school quality goes, though it is strange to see Harvey Mudd and CalTech on the same list as Berkeley and UWisconsin-Madison...
  • maritemarite Registered User Posts: 21,586 Senior Member
    S's total math nerd chums (all graduated now) attended:
    Harvey Mudd

    Other schools to consider:
    Brown for applied math
    NYU for applied math
  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 76,061 Senior Member
    Good list I suppose. Without knowing your son's stats, it's very hard to say whether this is a good list or not. The schools look highly competitive to me (even the OOS publics). I'm wondering what he thinks his match schools are...and I hope he loves that instate flagship safety. My guess is there are others that could be added but without knowing your son's info, that is hard to determine.

    Marite's list is excellent...but only if your kiddo has very very good standardized test scores, GPA/class rank. Those schools are highly competitive (and excellent).
  • AnudduhMomAnudduhMom Registered User Posts: 783 Member
    + Rensselaer + RIT - Berkeley maybe (UC schools for Out Of State applicants >3% acceptance rate, lower than most Ivy League schools)
  • mathmommathmom Registered User Posts: 32,045 Senior Member
    Marite's list is just a list of where the students actually attended. I'm sure they all had safeties. My son had both small and large schools on his list. He was adamant that all he cared about was the quality of the academics in his field. When he pronounced both Caltech and Berkeley as equally fine, I decided to believe him. It looks like a good list. My son is majoring in computer science and minoring in physics at Carnegie Mellon.
  • midmomidmo Registered User Posts: 3,720 Senior Member
    He is a total math nerd and wants to major in physics or mathematics and that's all he cares about.

    1. I wonder how much he would like UChicago's required core curriculum if he has little real interest in a wider range of topics.

    2. I have the same question as LurkNessMonster regarding merit money. I don't think UIUC or UW-Madison are offering much in the way of financial aid or merit money to OOS, MI is very tough to get OOS, and a student I know who was admitted to top IVYs got nothing at UC-B. How about including Rice if merit money is of interest (I know students offered half-tuition who got nothing from some of the public unis on your list)? Some of the other top privates are also a better source of merit money for really top students than OOS publics--and they are also more generous with need-based aid because there is not a preference for in-state students.

    3. I think nngmm's comment is worth thinking about. UCB, WI, MI, UIUC are huge campuses. They even make your own flagship public look cozy. Harvey Mudd and CalTech are smaller than many high schools. Some students prefer large, some prefer small, but I don't think the size factor is entirely irrelevant for most undergraduates.
  • MissouriGalMissouriGal Registered User Posts: 129 Junior Member
    Mathmom, does your son like it at Carnegie Mellon? When I saw that name on son's list I went to their website and the computer program looked so fascinating. I still have no idea what my son may wind up "doing" after he graduates.
  • ModadunnModadunn Registered User Posts: 6,263 Senior Member
    Niece was total Math nerd and attended Reed.
  • pixeljigpixeljig Registered User Posts: 1,428 Senior Member
    what would be good safety list for such a student? My reason for asking is DS loves Math and Comp Sc but the list above is not going to be within his reach. We are looking at GT, UT, SMU, Vandy....................he wants to stay away from cold.
  • maritemarite Registered User Posts: 21,586 Senior Member
    For comp sci, I would look at other schools besides those I listed. CMU;UIUC;RPI;WPI come to mind.
    Among LACs, besides Williams and HMC, I should have added Reed and Carleton.
  • CountingDownCountingDown Registered User Posts: 13,398 Senior Member
    The schools S1 (math/CS major) had on his list were:

    UChicago (attending)
    Harvard (applied at last minute when new FA was announced)

    S picked Chicago because he wanted the Core -- he knew this was his opportunity to dip his toes in other waters. Other schools he considered: Reed (loved it), Berkeley (math grad students told him don't come for UG), Swat, Pomona, Williams, Princeton, Carleton. Other good math programs: UCLA, NYU, Grinnell.

    If your math major has significantly more work under his belt than BC Calc, do some serious investigation as to whether a school's program can keep him busy for four years. At one school, S was told that the last time a student had come into their program with the amount of math S did, he wound up transferring to Harvard (obviously, this was a few years ago, since H no longer accepts transfers). While S liked smaller schools, he found that the resources of a research U were essential. Even within that limitation, the ability to move on a faster track was crucial. By way of comparison, Analysis is a junior (or even senior) year course at many schools, and it is generally considered the make-or-break for math majors. At some of the top schools, it is possible for freshmen to place into Analysis or beyond.

    If you search on "math major" in the 2010 parents thread, we covered a bunch of this same ground and I posted some links for math major types.
  • MissouriGalMissouriGal Registered User Posts: 129 Junior Member
    Counting Down, what schools were the ones your son determined he would be actually challenged at for four years of math? This is going to be important for my son as well.

    If you don't mind saying.
  • MidwestParentMidwestParent Registered User Posts: 852 Member
    As someone else mentioned, it is hard to comment on a list without knowing stats. College admissions can be very tricky. Might want to add more "safeties". Case in point - my nephew. Brilliant kid - NMF, SAT 2390 (one and only sitting), Pres Schol semi, IB diploma, val, played a sport, lots of ECs including an internship at a national museum, etc. etc. Rejected at Harvard, Stanford, and MIT. Accepted at Harvey Mudd, CalTech, WashU, and Northwestern (and some safeties offering four year free rides). Ultimately decided that he wasn't 100% sure he was "all science" and is attending Northwestern. Good choice in that he changed to a nonscience major his sophomore year!
This discussion has been closed.