Any less selective no-loan schools?

<p>Hi there. I'm trying to help my daughter identify schools she might apply to, hoping someone here has good advice. Here is her info:</p>

<p>Senior at a very exclusive private boarding school, receiving full tuition because we have very low income (my husband is in college now, and our estimated contribution is $0). She has excellent extracurriculars - she's been involved in 10 drama productions, select choir, was assistant head of her dorm, has done community service internships for the past 3 years (including 1 for a senator), along with multiple clubs. </p>

<p>Her problem is somewhat mediocre grades - her overall average is an 84%. Her school does not do rankings as a philosophical thing, so she doesn't have a class ranking. She will have great instructor and advisor recommendations. Her SAT score was 1790, which I know is also not fantastic. </p>

<p>Our biggest problem is, as I said, extremely low income. We cannot afford to take out loans, nor do we have much cash. We had hoped that going to this boarding school would give her the opportunity to get into a selective school with paid tuition or no-loan policy - but with her grades and SATs being what they are, we're not so sure this will work out. Hoping someone here can suggest some schools that have good financial aid but have a higher acceptance rate. Location and size are not as important as the financial aid (east coast would be great), because if she doesn't get into a school with aid, she's going to be at home and going to community college. Which would be ok for me, but she'd be really miserable. Any suggestions?</p>

<p>Have you discussed this with the counselor at her school? Most private schools excel in this area, often having one counselor exclusively devoted to college admissions.</p>

<p>Yes, she's met with her school's college advisors, and she sent me a list of schools they recommended. I'm a little concerned, however, and plan to call them, because many of the schools have very selective rates - Columbia, Harvard, Wellesley... And then they recommended a couple that we could never, ever EVER afford, like Hood College. So I'm not sure what's going on there. I thought if I could be proactive, I might be able to identify some more realistic schools that actually have good aid, because I wasn't feeling very confident after seeing the list they suggested. She says she made her financial situation clear to them, but I don't know if they really get it...</p>

<p>What is your state flagship and does your state have any need-based aid programs?</p>

<p>There aren't any "full need" schools which aren't highly selective - every such university gets way more applicants than they can hope to admit, precisely because of those generous aid policies. It's an unfortunate fact of our current system.</p>

<p>There is nothing wrong with going to a community college, then transferring to a state university. If that's the option she takes, it can be a great one.</p>

<p>*Most private schools excel in this area, often having one counselor exclusively devoted to college admissions. *</p>

<p>True...but if this is an elite boarding school, then the GC may not be used to dealing with low income kids who also have modest stats. A low income kid with high stats, can get tons of aid at top schools, but a low income kid with modest stats often has the hardest time getting need met.</p>

<p>The fact that a GC would give a list that includes schools like Harvard to a student who has a 1790 SAT and a GPA of 84% screams that this GC isn't thinking clearly or isn't used to dealing with this situation.</p>

<p>Some states (like Calif and NY) give state aid in addition to fed aid, so that helps cover college costs.</p>

<p>
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There is nothing wrong with going to a community college, then transferring to a state university. If that's the option she takes, it can be a great one.

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</p>

<p>Just keep in mind that transfer scholarships and aid is often less than first-year admissions aid/scholarships, but if she does very well at CC, it could work out. I also think if she lowers her standards (I agree with the above comments about the GC and the school recommendations), she might get some need-based aid and perhaps some leadership scholarships depending on the details of the ECs you described. Larger public schools tend to be less expensive than smaller private schools, so look into those options in your state. Also, if there is a school within driving distance from your home then that will save a lot in room & board expenses.</p>

<p>
[quote]
There is nothing wrong with going to a community college, then transferring to a state university. If that's the option she takes, it can be a great one.

[/quote]

It can also be a poor one. While some areas may have great cc's, I know ours for one is an unappealing last resort--many of the students are taking classes like remedial algebra; a lot of the instructors are adjuncts who do this to supplement other jobs and give short shrift to their classes--and I bet many others are similarly lacking. It would break my heart to have to send a child there for two years--if two years at a cc is the only option for the OP's daughter, I hope it's a darn good one.</p>

<p>I recommend that OP meet with the college counselor and lay out the issues with clarity. Sometimes a teenager is not the best person to frankly discuss financial matters, and she may not be assertive enough to challenge the counselor's conclusions and make her work harder--I know my kids would never have had sufficient moxie for that.</p>

<p>Another thought--you say you can't afford loans, but are you taking into account the Stafford loans that your D will be able to have in her own name, without regard to your credit?--they aren't huge, but they make a dent.</p>

<p>Student</a> financial aid in the United States - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia</p>

<p>What state are you in? Some states have give their own aid in addition to federal aid.</p>

<p>For instance, if you're in NY, and you're low income, she could go to a SUNY and likely have all costs covered with Pell, TAP, a student loan, and perhaps some money from a summer job.</p>

<p>Do you have a state university that your D could commute to? That might be better than a CC.</p>

<p>She should apply to Loyola Maryland...they promise to meet need, but she will likely have student loans that SHE would be responsible for.</p>

<p>
[quote]
While some areas may have great cc's, I know ours for one is an unappealing last resort--many of the students are taking classes like remedial algebra; a lot of the instructors are adjuncts who do this to supplement other jobs and give short shrift to their classes--and I bet many others are similarly lacking. It would break my heart to have to send a child there for two years--if two years at a cc is the only option for the OP's daughter, I hope it's a darn good one.

[/quote]

Maybe I've been extremely lucky in my 9 moves over my career but we've never had a CC that bad. While many kids who end up at a CC are in some remedial courses, the OP's D would not be in those classes. Many adjunct instructors can have an enriching perspective because they are using the info they teach in their day jobs rather than solely teaching. </p>

<p>I certainly agree with the OP talking with the GC staff and being open to Stafford loans.</p>

<p>The CC in my area is pretty bad as well. Most of the courses are "remedial" types, with far fewer options for someone high-achieving. It really depends on the area the CC is in. My CC's districts are primarily small towns and poorer small cities, so there are not a lot of high-achieving students coming in (because the high school's aren't so great, either) and therefore not many students to take more challenging courses. The ones who are higher-achieving tend to transfer after one or two semesters because there aren't many more options for them without taking easier filler courses.</p>

<p>Please don't be hatin' on the remedial courses. Some students need them in order to be able to get on with their lives. And, it isn't always the kids' fault, especially with math given that there is a nationwide shortage of good high school level math teachers.</p>

<p>I don't think anyone is hating on anything here--just pointing out that every cc is not necessarily a suitable alternative for every student. When a cc has few high-achievers in the student body, the level of instruction and discourse in the classes will be low and the work will not be challenging--hardly good preparation for higher level classes at the school the student plans to transfer to.</p>

<p>I certainly wasn't "hatin" on anything - but it's disheartening for a top student in challenging high school courses to end up at a community college that simply cannot meet their intellectual needs. What can they fill their schedules with if they don't need the remedial courses? There aren't too many options for a high-achiever.</p>

<p>
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What can they fill their schedules with if they don't need the remedial courses?

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How about calculus? Accounting for someone intending to go into Business? Web development for someone going into an IT field? CC is not just for remedial courses. Now if a student has already gotten through real analysis in math they will not be happy with the math courses offered. But we are talking about a very small segment of students. When I graduated I think most students went to CC first.</p>

<p>^^ Again, it depends what your CC has to offer. I only spent 1 year at mine because beyond that, I had no relevant courses to add to my schedule to fulfill my major requirements for transfer and I would have been taking useless filler courses that would have pushed back my graduation. There is another CC not too much farther away from mine that has a much better reputation and more course offerings, but it is also much more expensive for students not living within the sponsored districts. So it all depends on the CC your area has.</p>

<p>* What can they fill their schedules with if they don't need the remedial courses? There aren't too many options for a high-achiever. *</p>

<p>First of all, CCs have the regular courses that a frosh and soph would take. They don't just offer sub-100 courses. How do you think that CC transfers are able to transfer as juniors if they're only taking remedial classes????</p>

<p>but it's disheartening for a top student in challenging high school courses to end up at a community college that simply cannot meet their intellectual needs.</p>

<p>????</p>

<p>From the OP:.... her overall average is an 84%. ...Her SAT score was 1790, which I know is also not fantastic.</p>

<p>It doesn't sound like the OP's D is a "top student". Many CC students will have similar stats.</p>

<p>I keep saying "depends on your CC" for a reason. <em>I</em> was a transfer, so I am fully aware of how CC courses may transfer.</p>

<p>MY CC wasn't worth much. Actually, a few of my credits ended up not transferring because the course descriptions and class syllabi were too vague to be accepted. </p>

<p>My CC's statistics course did not have a lab component to it. Luckily I could not take stats at my CC since it was not offered in either semester I attended (and stats is required for psych majors). The colleges I transferred to required a stats lab component, so I am fortunate I did not take it at my CC and then have to re-take it at my 4-year college.</p>

<p>I live in an area surrounded by small towns and less-than-appealing school districts, so my CC reflects that. The courses are much less demanding than the level 100 courses I took at my 4-year college.</p>

<p>I am tired of people becoming so offended because THEIR CC isn't just like mine. I always say "some" CCs when talking about those issues...because obviously not all are the same. But some are in really bad shape, and another poster did say something similar in this thread.</p>

<p>And an 84% at a private boarding school might be equivalent to a 90+% at a less challenging public school, so I wouldn't go based on the numbers alone. Not all GPAs are created equal if the school is more demanding, which I don't know, since I do not know anything about the school the OP's daughter attended.</p>

<p>Smith and Mount Holyoke aren't no-loan schools, but I know lower income students who have been happy with their aid packages there. Also, maybe Beloit and Lake Forest.</p>

<p>The CCs in the areas in which I've lived have been uniformly poor. In fact, this forum is the first place where I've ever heard that there are good quality CCs (such as in CA). It's also possible that we're making subjective judgements, and some of us may look at the same CC and come to different conclusions.</p>

<p>To Erin's Dad - 9 areas, and 9 great CCs? Honestly, that seems extremely unlikely. Did you actually have kids that attended them? My guess is that we have different standards, and would disagree as to whether they do in fact offer quality education beyond the remedial level. By the way, what passes for "Calculus" at many CCs is laughable. Sorry.</p>

<p>Of course CCs are exactly what some students need.</p>