D21 school selection unbiased help

Trying for feedback to narrow schools for D21 who is non stem, possible language/global studies major potentially pre law, knowing that logically cheapest is best to save for future school. Using general descriptions, approximate USNWR rankings, location, and out of pocket annual costs vs names in an attempt to remove bias, here goes… budget $50k, prefer under $40K (no financial aid reviews/comparisons/negotiation completed at this time)

medium state U, D1 sports 16,000-22,000 undergrads
1 In state honors for about $25K, top 20 public, medium city
2 oos honors for about $35K, top 40 public, suburban
3 oos no honors for about $55K top 10 public, small town

smaller state and private LAC D2/3 sports, 2,500-12000 undergrad
4 oos no honors for about $50K top 10 public, small town
5 private honors for about $50K top 75 national, medium city
6 private LAC for about $35 K top 50 LAC, small town
7 private LAC for about $60K top 25 LAC , small city

Things like courses, study abroad, climate, food, clubs, ease of travel are all considered fairly equally…Location and size are from rural and tiny to city and large and everything in between…Thanks in advance for help in identifying factors to consider in addition to cost…

Since this seems to be solely a quantitative exercise, it appears that 1 or 6 are your best choices in terms of cost and rankings.

Personally I wouldn’t use rankings as the only other criteria besides cost in decision making, especially since they’re all in the top 75.

What about strength of major and the right fit for your student?

Congratulations on the acceptances and good luck with your decision.

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Achieving a high GPA is concern if prelaw, too. I’d lean toward #1 to save for law or grad school. But I agree #6 is good option, perhaps with opportunities for mentors or research, or more personal attention , less bureacracy.


Based on the limited info. shared in this thread, option #1 is probably the best option.


126 for cost

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I agree that 1 or 6 is the best, depending on whether the student wants an LAC or a larger public.

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Thank you for your honest feedback, I think 2 and 7 are falling off the list so listing in preference having visited precovid with driving distance travel. I will unblind the schools as we get closer to a decision
3 -5 hour
6 -2 hour
1 -4.5 hour
not visited yet
4 -5.5 hour
5 -3 hours

If interested, you can see if any of these suggestions overlap with your daughter’s available choices:


Thank you for the information, school 1 doesn’t fall on either list Only 3 and 6 are on both of the provided lists…

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Look at how often advanced courses in the languages are offered. Just because they’re on the catalog doesn’t mean they’re offered every year. There should be different advanced courses every year. Email the language dept, ask what advanced classes were offered this Spring and will be offered next year. You would expect a minimum of 2-3 different ones each semester (beside survey of literature, overview of history, advanced grammar, etc.)

Is there an opportunity to start (from scratch) a language from the same geographical area as her main language and reach advanced level in it, perhaps through a 2nd study abroad program?

Look at the orientation: literature or culture&society? A culture orientation will mesh better with her major.

What about study abroad for her geographical or thematic area of interest: is it sheltered (just Americans) or is there an opportunity to take a class or two with local students? Does it include language, history, contempary society classes? Are field trips included or extra? Is it covered by FA?

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Based on the information given (pre-law, costs), #1 is obviously the most attractive on that basis, with #6 also attractive if a small LAC is significantly preferred over a larger university.

But the factor that is not adequately described would be whether each has good offerings in her areas of academic interest, including courses to an advanced level in the foreign languages she is interested in, and various courses in the regions of the world and subject areas (e.g. history, literature, art, sociology, political science, economics) that she may be interested in under the general term “global studies”.

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I’ve no explanation as to why they didn’t alphabetize these schools properly.

This is starting to sound like a game show with a grand reveal.

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Would you care to make a guess, lol? This process is challenging for sure with limited visits and uncertain covid plans for fall. D21 will be fine wherever she goes or there is always transfer. This “blind” exercise was to minimize to perceived “prestige” that can sometimes cloud best fit. Thanks for playing along.

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We just went through this process, so I understand and am happy to help. But right now, yours is purely a futile quantitative exercise which is not going to help a student with fit. As you know, college decision is more than a numbers game.

Also, you might be surprised to know that CC members are capable of looking beyond “prestige”. If anyone is enamored by prestige and rankings, it’s usually the parent. :wink:

Good luck!


This exercise is analogous to taking aspects of 7 cars and sharing 1 detail at a time and asking people to rate the cars.

A car is more than the sum of its parts.

There’s a different car for every type of driver. Hiding the model name and sharing just a few details is not going to be helpful.

Surely there’s more nuance to this decision making. Surely your student has narrowed this down to 2 or 3 by now? Or are they completely lost and having an analysis paralysis?

Thank you for the feedback, here are schools under consideration. All great schools where D21 could be successful, all offer study abroad (some more culturally immersive than others) and language programs, general education requirements seem similar for the publics, they all take some AP and DE credits
1 Pitt 2 Delaware 3 UVA 4 W&M 5 GWU 6 Dickinson 7 Richmond

The specific language(s) of interest are offered at all to a sufficiently advanced level, and her other areas of interest under the broad term “global studies” are well covered at all?

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What languages is she interested in and what area of global studies? Each school will have differing areas of focus within both languages and global studies, knowing her specific areas of interest would help to give feedback.

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Study abroad appears to be especially popular from a few of these schools: