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BS Class of 2018 Thread

twinsmamatwinsmama 1623 replies53 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
Maybe it's early for this, but as I have two in the class of '18, I'll get the ball rolling. I've been starting to browse college-related threads in the main forum, and I just took a peek at the parents class of 2018 thread over there. OMG. Long posts bragging about their kids' scores (the thread was started in 8th grade by someone who just had to tell the world that her kid already had a 31 on the ACT), obsessing over their kids' course selection, etc., etc. There but for the grace of God....

Anyway, since I need something, anything, to do for my kids, I am starting to learn about colleges. The kids did well on the practice PSAT, so they are starting to get tons of college emails and real mail. It feels like their school's college counseling department is starting to gear up the machinery to handle their class. So I'm trying to get educated about things to come. Also, I'm wondering whether boarding school college counselors advise students about how to consider financial realities when choosing colleges. Our financial reality is that we won't be able to pay more per year than we already do for their heavily subsidized prep school education. And I don't want them saddled with big loans; one is aiming for med school and will accumulate plenty of debt there. So they either have to get into schools that truly meet full need or get big merit aid. I hope the college counselors can steer them accurately, given those constraints.
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Replies to: BS Class of 2018 Thread

  • doschicosdoschicos 20834 replies216 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    @twinsmama I think if you talk to your children's college counselors when one is assigned and bring up your thoughts and limitations on the financial aspect of college, you will find that they can be helpful. You certainly won't be the only one in the same situation. BS faculty can well relate to the need to look for good FA or merit aid themselves if they have children at or approaching college age. I know it was handled well at my kids' BS. If your giving that message to your children now and they understand it and then identify that need to the counselor at the beginning of the process, I wouldn't anticipate any issues at all on getting everyone on the same page.

    There is great info on CC about which schools are generous with need based aid as well as those with good merit aid. If you haven't bought a Fiske guide yet, I'd recommend it. That way you and the kids can start reading up on schools and seeing what might be of interest then checking out their merit aid/FA generosity.
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  • twinsmamatwinsmama 1623 replies53 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Thanks, @doschicos . I did get a Fiske guide (a couple of years out of date, but I doubt that matters too much). What I don't know is how much to trust it. Have you found it to be accurate? Gosh, I have really been on CC too much this weekend!
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  • doschicosdoschicos 20834 replies216 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I have found it to be fairly accurate at least for the small LACs that my kids were focused on. But, an in person visit is always best. It's at least a helpful tool in narrowing things down a bit. I don't think any of the college search books change much from year to year at least on the qualitative stuff so I wouldn't worry about not having the most recent version. You can always find quantitative info online. Common Data Sets for each college are helpful there.
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  • stargirl3stargirl3 3390 replies37 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Groton recently had a weekend for parents of juniors to tell them everything about college counseling. It hasn't really sunk in that this whole college thing starts in less than a year...
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  • MAandMEmomMAandMEmom 1628 replies10 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    The best way to fund higher education is to get a job at an institution that participates in the Tuition Exchange program. Any job...
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  • ChoatieMomChoatieMom 5199 replies237 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    ^^^...or to send your kid to a service academy. :(
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  • twinsmamatwinsmama 1623 replies53 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Excellent ideas. Not likely to happen, but excellent ideas. :-)
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  • hellomaisyhellomaisy 199 replies7 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    @twinsmama, I have been surprised by the volume of mail DS has received since taking the PSAT. He didn't do that well, and the schools writing him are clearly in a certain tier (ones who tend to pursue students, not who get pursued). Still, we have been introduced to several that we wouldn't have known about/considered (small LACs, mostly). Do you know your kids' counselors? You should have gotten their name(s) recently. We know ours from previous introductions (sports camp) but are eager to talk to him about what we envision for DS, what we think he will need, etc. We also think that DS will probably end up taking the ACT, not the SAT, based on a school-given test he took last year. But that doesn't get decided until later this spring, I don't think. I've been really, really pleased at the amount of communication and involvement that the kids will get as 11th graders next year...test prep, etc. The Board has thrown a lot of $$ at the college placement department and college prep activities, and it seems to be paying off for class of 2016 (as it did for 2015). Fingers crossed it will continue.
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  • MA2012MA2012 1233 replies1 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    DS didn't get assigned his college counselor until fall of 11th grade and didn't meet with her individually until last week. He has gotten so much more mail after PSAT in 11th compared to 10th grade. So maybe more mail is being sent this year,
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  • twinsmamatwinsmama 1623 replies53 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    @hellomaisy, We know who he is (same for both kids, which makes good sense) but haven't met him or communicated with him yet. You're right that they really offer a lot for 11th grade, and I like the whole attitude of calm down and try to enjoy the process.
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  • twinsmamatwinsmama 1623 replies53 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    @MA2012 , Mercersburg just started assigning counselors in 9th grade. I think they meet in large groups in 9th, small groups in 10th, and individually thereafter. I have no idea why colleges even send the mail in 10th grade. That surprised me a little.
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  • MA2012MA2012 1233 replies1 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited February 2016
    @twinsmama I didn't realize at first that the post was directed to you and your kids go to school together. Just wanted to say that some schools assign counselors later. I am learning a lot with kid#1 who is Class of 2017 but looking at this thread too.
    edited February 2016
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  • payn4wardpayn4ward 3179 replies13 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited February 2016
    I was looking at CollegeBoard SAT test schedules.
    https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/sat/register/dates-deadlines
    They will introduce August test date, on August 26, 2017 (year and a half from now, never early/late to plan ahead :) ) and will remove a test in January 2018.
    So there will be no threads on whether January test scores will make it to colleges on time or not, Ha!
    edited February 2016
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  • doschicosdoschicos 20834 replies216 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I think that's a good idea. Wish they had a August date when my kids were at that stage.
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  • booklady123booklady123 402 replies30 threadsRegistered User Member
    @twinsmama I'm so relieved to see that you started this thread (I will send you a PM too).

    I haven't been checking in on these boards too much other than to check my messages from the BS parents help thread, but I recently came back to start browsing around, for the same reason that you did: college hunting is looming and I feel very ill-prepared for the process. And I found the main boards weren't a good match for my situation. So maybe parents here might be more helpful.

    OTOH, I am far less worried about the logistics of the process this time around (registering for tests, keeping an eye on deadlines, etc.), given the robust team of folks who do all that at his school. But I am worried about helping him define his criteria in order to find the best "fit" for him. Unlike with the BS application process, where the number of schools that would have worked for us was so limited, the sheer volume of possibilities out there for college, especially given that he is willing to go far geographically, is very overwhelming to me!

    We are almost a full FA family, and just trying to figure out how we might visit even a portion of the schools he's interested in is very stressful!
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  • twinsmamatwinsmama 1623 replies53 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited March 2016
    Hi @booklady123! I've been cramming over the past few weeks, because the kids wanted me to have some college knowledge to discuss over spring break. Here's what has been helpful so far, with the caveat that I don't know enough to be sure whether the sources are accurate. Nevertheless, they're what we've got.

    A quick overview of financial matters: The College Solution (I forget the author)

    Websites for actual important stats (and rankings more useful than USNWR):

    Centerforcollegeaffordability.org
    Nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator

    A cool book: Cool Colleges by Donald Asher

    Many big, fat, slightly out-of-date college guides

    I think visits, even superficial drive-throughs, are helpful, although my husband doesn't get why visits should matter. However, we drove through the campus of one highly-regarded LAC on our way home yesterday, and the kids and I, shallow people that we are, all rejected it on sight. The architecture depressed us. But, like you, I don't know that we can visit faraway schools due to the expense.

    A big question in my mind, given that so many of the finest LACs are small institutions in small towns, is whether that is too much more of the same for students who have been at boarding schools in small towns. However, I really don't think it would be to my children's benefit to sit in large college lecture halls after years of discussing and thinking and writing in small classes.
    edited March 2016
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  • vegas1vegas1 555 replies2 threadsRegistered User Member
    Fellow P18 here. This will be our third heading to college. We found visits to be helpful to narrow down the type of school our kids would best fit in. Large vs small, urban vs suburban/ rural, liberal arts vs engineering, public vs private etc.. @twinsmsna we did many drivebys and got valuable information from those. We certainly did not visit all of the schools the kids applied to. My oldest is attending a college we didn't visit until he after he was accepted.

    Mine did not want their college environment to be anything like their boarding school ( sleepy New England town) One is at an engineering school in the west and the other is a private university in New Orleans.

    Fit is vitally important as we all know. Our son struggled his first term to adjust to large lecture hall formats and has expressed how unprepared he was for the differences. He did adjust - just took a semester.
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  • ChoatieMomChoatieMom 5199 replies237 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    A big question in my mind, given that so many of the finest LACs are small institutions in small towns, is whether that is too much more of the same for students who have been at boarding schools in small towns.

    Choaties refer to Wesleyan as "Choate North." We drove over there on one of our visits, but ChoatieKid refused to get out of the car. He wasn't interested in LACs, and he didn't to be spotted by former classmates. He said, "Wesleyan is just four more years of Choate." We left him in the car and enjoyed a stroll anyway.
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  • doschicosdoschicos 20834 replies216 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    "A big question in my mind, given that so many of the finest LACs are small institutions in small towns, is whether that is too much more of the same for students who have been at boarding schools in small towns. However, I really don't think it would be to my children's benefit to sit in large college lecture halls after years of discussing and thinking and writing in small classes."

    @twinsmama I guess it depends on the individual. Both my kids went form BS to LAC. They wanted to continue with small classes. Most first year classes were in the 20-30 student range which was still 2-3 times what they had in BS. One thing they did want, though, was a less preppy environment which they both got as well as a less isolated location. One is 15 minutes outside a major city and one is within walking distance of downtown in a city. Neither of my kids would learn best in a big lecture hall. (Who does??)
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  • jdeweyjdewey 349 replies12 threadsRegistered User Member
    I am utterly clueless and will lurk here (not ready to get feet wet, waving/watching from shore)
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