Any colleges we're not thinking of?

UMD is 30 minutes out of D.C., great poli sci and is a big 10 school, so lots of school spirit. UW Madison is known for their political science department as well.

My teen also wanted a medium-large size school with a great campus spirit. Northeastern was just an odd ball in the mix, and now it’s become their #1 choice amongst their list of acceptances!

NU’s hefty merit $, acceptance into Honors program, flexibility of trying out majors & doing combined majors, and the fantastic coop program to create a solid work resume even before graduating were big factors. There won’t be traditional school spirit, but we think kids can have a good time anywhere, especially in a city like Boston.

My point is, it’s ok to have one or two odd schools in the mix. Your student’s mind could change in 6 months.

Good luck!

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Might be too small, but thinking of Denison Lugar, Dickinson, URichmond, Wake Forest for poli sci, policy, govt in particular.

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A lot of this could be dependent on how you define medium and how important the drive is, but 8-10 hours would open up a few other medium to large schools with good poly sci programs and school spirit, like U Michigan, PSU, Cornell.

What about Vassar? Any comments on the school spirit here? I visited it briefly with my daughter a few years ago when she was looking at Marist, but it wasn’t an official visit. It looks gorgeous and is highly rated for both Political Science and Public Policy. Are they good with the merit aid?

Vassar is very good with need-based aid, but AFAIK doesn’t offer merit aid.

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UVA jumped out to me immediately. Sounds like a great fit to me.

So it’s been a few weeks and we’ve added/subtracted and even visited a few colleges informally. We live near DC so yesterday we went to DC and walked around American, GW, and Georgetown- completely on our own, no tour or anything like that. It was actually an interesting experience. He was extremely unimpressed by American. There was nothing that made it stand out, and there was no little street or anything that had fast food, pizza, or any “college type” stuff off campus. I know the students are mainly home due to covid, but it seemed extra dead. Surprisingly he really liked GW. I didn’t think he would, due to location, but the students we saw were very friendly and helpful, and he liked the hustle and bustle. A lot of them were wearing GW shirts. He also loved the Georgetown campus but it was our last stop and we ran through it really fast. So now he has GW, Georgetown, UMD, William and Mary, UPenn, Brown and (ha, ha) University of Chicago on his list. He got some info from them and for some reason it resonated with him and it is actually the one he is looking at most. He doesn’t seem to have any interest in smaller colleges but I am going to have him at least look at a couple of small schools to be sure- he said he would look at Vassar, Bowdoin, and Macalester. I’m really hoping some of these schools open up for tours soon or we are going to have a very busy fall! Some we won’t go to unless he gets in, but some are close enough we can look at them. Just thought I’d give an update to his thoughts.


So after spending A LOT of time on the computer this weekend and doing all the NPC, it has become apparent we aren’t getting any need based aid, so it looks like UMD is the place to be for him!! Seriously, we can’t justify $70,000 with no merit aid. So I hate to limit him to one school, even though this seems to be a great option- top 25 school and in-state tuition that we can afford. Are there any schools that aren’t top tier that might offer merit aid that have a decent political science department?? Just so he has at least a few other schools to look at. Possibly University of Vermont? A smaller LAC? We looked at Wisconsin, but it looks like they also do not offer much, if any, merit aid. I am avoiding Southern schools- mainly because they tend to be Greek life focused and he is not into that at all, and because as a rule they tend to lean conservative and I don’t know if he’d be happy there. However, I have nothing against the South, so if you have any schools that the social life doesn’t depend heavily on Greek life we would be open to suggestions.
And I forgot, he was looking at the Naval Academy at one point, but then discarded it. Maybe we can have him re-examine it.

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Kalamazoo is excellent for poli-sci and has good merit. Less merit for Dickinson College but still there are some possibilities. Clark University if he has something for the LEEP scholarship program.
American has merit aid (you have to apply to the Honors program I think).


@Scrapgirl3 , what about Miami of Ohio? They offer really good merit scholarships, and it fits his criteria of 8-10 hour drive and medium to large school. Undergraduate teaching is supposedly very good.

Save your money for law school.

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I don’t know much about merit aid at larger schools, but you will find that some LACs just below the very top tier are quite generous. Take a look at Denison if he is willing to consider an LAC. Denison has a very strong Politics and Public Affairs department, and the Lugar program offers congressional internships. About | Lugar Program The History department is also terrific. Denison is generous with merit for the students they want. Typically, as soon as Denison is mentioned on CC, someone will mention that there is greek life on campus, so I’ll just try and head that off at the pass here. There are fraternities, but they are nonresidential and not a dominant factor on campus. My son is at Denison and has no interest in joining a fraternity, although both of his roommates are in a frat. It hasn’t been an issue at all, and he loves the school. Denison is small but has a beautiful campus and a lot of school spirit. It is a half hour outside Columbus, the state capital, which might also be of interest to someone interested in politics.


I disagree with crossing Northeastern off the list. I am an alum of the law school and parent of a freshman. Northeastern has a great, self-contained campus in a city with lots of trees and green spaces. This was an atypical year due to the pandemic but normally there is a lot of excitement about the Beanpot, the annual hockey tournament with the other Boston area colleges. The women’s hockey team finished second in the country this year. Greek life is not a big presence.

I read the Northeastern Parents Facebook group page and parents are overwhelmingly happy with their students’ experiences, including their co-ops in political science. I know some have worked for Elizabeth Warren. There is a plus JD program where students could begin a first year of law school during the last year of undergraduate. As an example, my co-ops in NU law school were with a Third Circuit judge, the Justice Department in DC, the Alaska Department of Law in Juneau and a DC law firm. Each of these was an excellent learning experience. The co-op program isn’t for everyone but many bright, motivated students have found it to be very helpful in figuring out career paths and securing future employment. NU has many happy students, including mine.

My son got some merit aid from NU (a Dean’s Scholarship) but turned down a larger Presidential Scholarship from George Washington. I think that was $26k. Also, you don’t pay tuition when your child is on co-op.

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Your son might want to consider taking the ACT in addition to retaking the SAT; often kids will do better at one test or the other.

Your son might look at UNC-Chapel Hill. Admission as an OOS student would be difficult, but no more so than admission to an Ivy (and maybe slightly easier).

Thanks so much. I actually love the concept of Northeastern, so I will discuss that with him again. I am reading all of these ideas and researching them all. He is taking the ACT in June. I appreciate all of you!

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I really encourage you to look at the James Madison College at Michigan State. It is one of their three residential colleges and its focus is on public policy and international relations. Since it’s essentially in the same town as the state capital, it has a lot of great internship opportunities (in fact, a field experience is required for graduation, but that can take place anywhere). It was one of my D21’s final choices, but she ultimately went with a small LAC instead of the big university (even though the residential college gives a more LAC-type experience). The program looks genuinely outstanding based on everything I’ve read about it and all the zoom events we attended. I’ll always be a little wistful that’s not where she ended up!!!

And now that I’ve made it down this far in the thread, I can tell you that with your son’s stats and what you want to pay, JMC at Michigan State would be a perfect fit. They publish their automatic OOS merit awards based on GPA and test scores. Additionally, admission to their Honors College comes with a merit award, and then JMC itself offers scholarships of varying amounts. My daughter got $15K OOS merit, $5K Honors College and $3-5K study abroad stipend, depending on length of program. She was not an automatic admit to the Honors College, though, but admitted after she submitted an essay for additional consideration. Earlier Honors College admits had access to a much more generous scholarship competition, and I saw a lot of initial HC scholarships bumped from $5K to $13.5K + $3500 professorial assistantship. Michigan State’s Honors College provides a lot of excellent opportunities.

So that, coupled with the James Madison College, really was a lot for my daughter to turn down. In the end, she just felt like she fit better at a smaller school.

(FWIW, my D was also accepted to Wisconsin for political science. It’s an excellent school but she didn’t get a penny in merit aid.)

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im a student at NU studying political science if you have any questions

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