Any Bradley University NMF's Out There?

<p>My son and I would love to hear from a student who accepted a National Merit Finalist scholarship from Bradley. Anybody out there that can enlighten us about your experience? How do you like Bradley? How much weight did the NMF-Bradley scholarship package have on your decision to attend? And can I ask about the details of your NMF-Bradley package? Is it a full-ride? For OOS?

<p>Hi - DS is attending Bradley on a NMF scholarship (and also applied to UEvansville, since I saw you posted about that school as well). Since his situation is not typical, my input may not be helpful to you, but I'll share my impressions.</p>

<p>First, DS has Asperger Syndrome, a high-functioning form of autism. He has always had challanges with his social skills such that he has no close friends and only had a few friendly acquaintances in HS. However, he is extremely intelligent and decided to study civil engineering in college. We are from WI and eventually decided to only apply to schools within a days drive.</p>

<p>Finances were a major factor in his decision. He applied to UW-Platteville (not Madison - too big for his tastes and wanted to get out of Dodge) as a financial safety, plus Bradley, Evansville, Illinois Institute of Technology, Northwestern, and Rose-Hulman. We visited all six schools by the end of February 2009, and by mid-March, had ruled out Platteville (didn't like it), Northwestern (the student body and general "vibe" didn't seem like a good fit), and Rose-Hulman (didn't like it, plus expected FA to be insufficient). RH accepted, but FA was poor as expected. Platteville accepted, but was moot after acceptances at better options. Northwestern left probably the best overall impression EXCEPT for the fit thing, and despite his 2350 SAT and 3.98 GPA, he ended up waitlisted (he declined).</p>

<p>Evansville was easily our best visit (you can check our report on this site - VERY impressed), and it was a toss-up with Bradley for our financial safety slot. Hard to say with an 18-year-old, but I think the long 8 hour drive ended up being the tiebreaker (plus Bradley has a good regional reputation. Don't think it's on anybody's radar outside of a 300 mile radius, though). I would have been more than happy if he'd have decided to attend Evansville, as it seemed to fit his needs very well.</p>

<p>IIT was his early favorite and hung in there until decision day, but ultimately lost out because of the greater cost, the greater geekiness factor, and some specific poor impressions they made on two of our three visits (though academics were NOT a concern).</p>

<p>Bradley? He's finished his first semester and had a rough transition, mainly due to his Aspergers. Will likely be barely above the 3.0 GPA needed to maintain his scholarship (would have a semester to bring it up if he fell below that). He liked most of his classes, and while the other students seemed bright, he was generally at or near the top of his classes in level of understanding (his issues were often organizational in nature and involved time management). Professors were, for the most part, accessible and willing to help (at least when we prodded him to ask!). Dorm life was too chaotic for him at first, but his tolerance for noise went up and the novelty of independent college life went down for his floormates over time. He does say the food choices are pretty poor.</p>

<p>The scholarship covers tuition only (up to 16 credits - you pay ~$600/credit above that, plus minimal course surcharges), and while his $2500 NMSC scholarship was not stacked, others were (and went towards R&B). It's guaranteed if you name Bradley your first choice with NMSC, and as Bradley is private, OOS is not a factor. It's good for 5 calendar years, which is allowing DS to consider a double major in mathematics.</p>

<p>For DS, I think Bradley's been a good choice, as we anticipated his having transition issues. It certainly has been a financial godsend for mom and dad - and if/when grad school comes around, DS will have much more $$ available for that (both his and now our money).</p>

<p>Again, don't know how applicable his situation is to yours or whether my opinion of Bradley is of any help to you. My belief is he'll get a good education and can save his/our money for grad school (if he chooses, or for other purposes if not), where he can go after "prestige" if he wants. Apply and visit yourself, and you'll have a better idea of what's right for you and your son. Best of luck!</p>

<p>Wow. An awesome, very informative reply, Knowitsome! Thanks so much!</p>

<p>I also have an Asperger's son! But it's not the A.S. son that's researching colleges right now. Sounds like your son has done quite well for himself.</p>

<p>So the food's poor? That's too bad. Perhaps strangely, food quality is very important to my kids. So far, bad food has been a deal-breaker for more than one.</p>

<p>I'll look for your Evansville post. Thanks again for giving me so much good information!</p>

<p>Asperger's must be a tough thing for a college student. My father has Asperger's; I know all the in's and out's indeed since he also has a major case of ADD as well.</p>

<p>Asperger's is a tough thing for a college student. I think LIFE is tough for Asperger's people. (And it's tough, at least in our case, for their families -- because, bless their hearts, AS people are hard to live with! At least in our case.) </p>

<p>My AS son, who loves timeliness, predictability, and routine, has had trouble adjusting to crazy college schedules. Different class schedules each day. Professors emailing last minute assignments. The honors program making last minute arrangements for meetings, events, or presentations. Last-minute stuff and Asperger's don't mix too well. His first semester of college brought along a new problem -- anxiety attacks! It was so tough for him to adapt to last-minute requests as quickly or as casually as his classmates.</p>

<p>But, as is his way, he learned new coping skills and even managed to keep those new anxiety attacks at bay. I'm so proud of him for all that he overcomes each day. He also learned to share his "weakness" a little more. In middle and high school, he never told a soul about his Aspergers. Now, as a young adult, he's learned to trust other young adults and professors with his news when it's appropriate -- that he's Asperger's and therefore struggles with things that don't cause a lot of stress in other non-AS people. So far, he's gotten a lot of understanding from profs. He still does everything that's expected of him, of course, but now they understand and apparently feel compassion for the very obvious stress he's feeling. When he starts "spazzing out" a little and forgetting things, dropping things, losing things, at the busiest times of the year or at impromptu moments, people are actually compassionate. It's nice.</p>

<p>My son is a NMF and we are considering Bradley. His older brother is already at Bradley and for him it was a great fit. The best part is small classes and professors that teach and get to know the student. For my son who is the high school senior, we honestly were a little bit of college snobs who thought he'd go to a "better" school than his brother. But with the full tuition and the reality that it is 1) close to home 2) personal attention 3) good college 4) full tuition scholarship 5) flexible easy to work with administration that we thought we were now idiots to not reconsider.</p>

<p>At Bradley the only complaint my older son has had was it now is seeming a bit small. And the dorm food was bad. But he has made great friends, written for the paper as a freshman, done research for a professor and really really blossomed and now is thinking about law school. He has grown so much into a person I am really proud of.</p>

<p>So I think his brother may be joining him. Is U of Illinois truly worth 16 thousand more a year out of our pockets? 64 thousand? Not when my son is thinking med school. He needs the money for that more than undergrad.</p>

<p>Amen to that, ctab! My family is all about getting the best possible undergraduate education for the least amount of money! It's a balancing act -- is school A "X-thousand" dollars better than school B, or not? We're not rich, and the kids all want to go on to grad school. So, we're saving the undergrad money by making choices similar to your family's choices, and hoping that it pays dividends in the end.</p>

<p>Is the food still bad at Bradley? Strangely, that's practically a deal breaker at our house. It's not that the kids are picky eaters -- they like everything -- but they're HEALTHY eaters. And "bad food" often equals unhealthy food.</p>

<p>simplelife- well, everyone gets tired of dorm food after awhile. There are more veggie type options in the Geisert cafeteria and dorm residents can eat anywhere they want. I am proud of my son already at Bradley as he has developed healthy eating habits and now lives in st james place apartments, snacks on raw broccoli and eats a yogurt and a apple a day. Wow. </p>

<p>For my high school senior we were considering Wash U and the dorms are 12,000 a year so I guess the food should be better! I figure with the dollars we are saving if he does commit to Bradley we could probably get some healthy snack food into his dorm fridge. Our final choices for college are now Bradley, U of Iowa (still in running for presidential) and he did love Purdue. Didn't care for the vibe at Illinois, although most smart kids at his high school go there. He got into SLU's medical scholars, but not loving SLU so its probably out. Would like to hear he gets into WashU just for pride anyway. Also in Illinois Wesleyan, Marquette and Iowa State. We need to start sending back no thank you's but honestly can't find all the stuff!</p>

<p>Hey we have a decent income but NO ONE can afford 50K a year for Wash U. It s sad that to attend a person either must be so poor as to qualify for basically free tuition or super rich. Oh well lots of other options out there. </p>

<p>good luck</p>