Does reach = unaffordable

<p>After my S's comments that the 2 classes he took at the state college this summer were way easier than his private high school classes. I know they were intro's but really? I am thinking maybe he needs to put a reach or two on his list. Although I think Honors colleges at some likelies may solve this problem. </p>

<p>But, since he needs merit are there any reaches that are affordable. Doesn't the definition of reach mean not in the mid-range? I'm thinking even matches are going to be unaffordable. That leaves only likelies, hmm.</p>

<p>He has a lower gpa for his test scores - 3.5W, 3.4 UW at rigorous private school with only 1 or 2 kids with 4.0 , 2200 SAT. He likes larger colleges or urban areas and warmer weather (1 or 2 of the three would be good); and is going to study in Arts & Sciences. Are there any reaches or matches even that he would have a good chance of merit?</p>

<p>There are hundreds of large colleges in urban areas with programs in the arts/sciences. Any particular area of the country?</p>

<p>Firstly, the definition of "reach" is completely dependent on the student. Secondly, the type of school that qualifies as "a reach for everyone"--ie, many of the Ivies and their peer schools, some elite LACs--have the deepest pockets and the most generous FA policies and will give some aid to students from families with incomes that are above, say, $75K. Thirdly, the definition of "affordable" depends entirely on your family.</p>

<p>It is hard to gauge your S's chances of getting in to one of the deep pockets schools. His SAT is okay, but his GPA will probably depend on his class rank and the rigor of his course selection. The small difference between his W and UW GPA could be indicative of a less-than-rigorous program, or of an idiosyncratic weighting system. Even if the school doesn't officially rank, the profile and the GC recommendation can make his status clear. ECs and essays and recommendations are also in the mix.</p>

<p>It is not surprising to me that a top student at a very good high school would find introductory courses at an average-at-best state or private college lacking in challenge. When you've consistently been in AP/honors classes with the smartest, most academically motivated kids in your HS, to suddenly find yourself in classes with kids from the middle-or-lower of the HS pack can be quite a change. I know kids who have found this to be true at both public and private colleges. </p>

<p>There are those who will maintain that it doesn't make a bit of difference what the level of the other students is. I think that is patently ridiculous. The classes are going to be taught to the level of the student body. The degree to which this makes a big difference to the individual student experience will depend on the subject matter and style of teaching, whether the students are stratified into an honors college and "regular" classes, whether the advanced student can skip directly to more challenging courses in certain fields, and so forth. SOunds like your student should be looking for a more challenging experience.</p>

<p>In my experience professors teach to the level of the students. So yes, there are certainly instances where college Intro courses can be less rigorous than courses at competitive high schools. That will not be the case for upper-level math and science courses.</p>

<p>It's hard to identify "likely" schools for merit aid without more information. For instance, an SAT of 800/800/600 Math/Reading/Writing, respectively would be much easier "sell" than 610/790/800.</p>

<p>But, since he needs merit are there any reaches that are affordable.</p>

<p>Some private schools offer 100% need based aid. However that means only up to EFC, it won't pay more than the calculations show you need.</p>

<p>If you state the difference between the EFC and what you feel your family can pay with loans/savings/current income, you might get some ideas on how to bridge the gap.</p>

<p>An advantage of the state flagships are that many departments have academics right on up to leading edge reesearch. In fact, the school does not have to be a flagship school to provide this; it just has to have a strong graduate program in the discipline. if a student taking courses at ANY college finds the work not challenging enough, he should move to a higher level of rigor, taking more advanced courses. </p>

<p>My college grad went to SUNY Buffalo which is not listed as a top state university. The school has a full menu, however, and many very strong programs with graduate programs there to support any undergrad who is able to take that rigor and advanced material. I was quite impressed with the science and math facilitiies, and I've known a number of folks who have gotten graduate degrees in the liberal arts there who are well grounded and considered experts in their fields. A top student certainly could find challenging class loads there.</p>

<p>My son, having been in a BFA program, and fortunate enough to have most of the core academic requirements met by AP course did not have to take many academic classes at the school. He had gone to a rigorous private prep school with the reputation for preparing its kids well for college. It is expected that its graduates find early college work easier than high school even when they start at a more advanced level than most freshmen. However, when my son took some literature, theater courses, he found that the discussions, analyses, standards were quite high at the school. None of these were the intro batch courses as he had tested out of them, so he was taking the courses with the hard core majors. He did not find the courses to be fluff and gained a new respect for the academic reputation of the school. He had been pretty cocky until then, since he did find many of the freshmen/sophomore intro courses very easy, and his peers often not as skilled and knowledgeable academically as his high school classmates were. Not at all the case, in the more advanced courses. He contemplated going for an advanced degree in theater or English as he does like that academic discipline, and would not have been adverse to getting it there. It would not be a walk in the park, he said, however.</p>

<p>So, Idinct, your son does not need to zip cavalierly through foundation courses if he is at that level where he can move to advanced classes. When looking at any college that interests him, look at the selection and complexity of the courses that the department offers. My neighbor transferred from her small Catholic college because it simply did not have the resources for her to continue advancing in Art and graphics which became her major and field of interest. She was taking the most advanced courses in sophomore year and there was no grad school program at the school where she could advance. However, she feels that the Loyola gave her an excellent start for college and gave her freedom and opportunities that she would not have had at a school with a more competitive art department. Also she did not know she would be going that direction when she applied and started at the school. She ended up getting her degree from NYU; her outstanding performance at Loyola making her a good transfer prospect. Though, NYU did provide what she needed to move forward in her field, she missed the comfort and pleasures she did get at Loyola. Her children will go to a smaller college at first, she says, so that they can get a good solid start. It is not always about how advanced you can get in the academic field that is important about a school.</p>

<p>We are full EFC, S is the youngest of 5 so we have exhausted other funding routes, so he is looking for Merit not FA. I would say we need merit to keep costs under $25K total for all under consideration. He could possibly take the small fed loan on top of that, although he would be the only one to do se. We are already struggling to pay loans for the others, apparently not something they look at in FA.</p>

<p>Unfortunately he doesn't have the easier sell sat score - its 660M, 780CR, 780W. However, it does speak to his strengths or non-strengths (math). As you can see he from his W/UW he hasn't taken a lot of APs so far. Most of the aps at his school are offered in math/science/foreign language; not humanities. He is taking 2-3 more Sr year. He his middle of the pack at his prep school, they do really well in top-20 college placement probably 30-40% of class, but most if any don't need merit. He doesn't have any outstanding ECs apart from his hobbies. He will have great recs as his teachers really like and respect him.</p>

<p>He is looking West(CA) or South. He really likes warmer weather. Would prefer a larger campus-4000+. I would say none of them are deal breakers at this point for a reach where he could get significant merit.</p>

<p>Many/most "intro" classes are not that demanding. They're often just for core curriculum req'ts that give students an overview of subject matter. They're not an indication of how hard a college is going to be when taking classes within any particular major. </p>

<p>Also, summer classes aren't always a good indication, either.</p>

<p>Yes, I am thinking S will place out of most intro classes with APs, test scores and other credits so perhaps it isn't that big an issue. btw now I remember my two who went to Cornell said first/second semester was easier than this high school. However it didn't last long after that! S was definitely way ahead of everyone in these classes though and he said most of them were going into soph year of college.</p>

<p>I think summer isn't always indicative as you have many kids trying to catch up. Think you need to look at other things like strength of major, graduate program, and opportunities on campus rather than just selectivity.</p>

<p>Would like to have 1-2 affordable reaches(with merit) to put on the list though.</p>

<p>Intro and Summer classes both tend to be easier. Also, professors must teach to students who did not attend challenging, private schools. I found that classes became more challenging as time went on. </p>

<p>Did you son take the PSAT? If so and he is in the running to be Commended, Semi Finalist or Finalist, there is merit money tied to those scores. </p>

<p>It sounds like your son might do well at a honors college. Many colleges have them now and they vary widely in what is offered. That's something he could research.</p>

<p>Be sure to check out the thread on "Schools that offer good merit aid."</p>

<p>Idinct, we are in the same situation. Looking to pay about $35K and my son is not in the running for merit awards with SATs way below yours. Looking at state schools, commuter schools, OOS schools and low sticker price schools. Also some Catholic schools have some merit awards that might bring the cost down to what we can afford.</p>

<p>ldinct, if it wasn't for the part about preferring warm weather, I'd suggest you check out U. of Rochester. Our son got merit aid there with stats very similar to your son's (then chose Goucher College instead, partly for the warmer climate...).</p>

<p>Yes, I've looked at the merit thread and have added to the list what I saw that fit, but the list is pretty small. Let me give you an example of what he is looking for. Something like a Fordham, where someone told me he could possibly get $10-$12K or something like an Emory(I know, no chance) where if he was the only one from his school nominated by GC for whatever that award is he would stand a chance(5 years ago might have been possible, now several people apply and it has become more much more competitive). A U of Miami (FL) no idea if merit is a possibility. You know those up and coming colleges, where 5 years from now, they wouldn't be giving a kid like him merit. </p>

<p>You guys are the experts, there are so many little known gems that he would have never considered have we not heard about him on CC. There have got to be more that we haven't unearthed.</p>

<p>CPT- I would say its got to be under $25-30K. We've already downsized the house and that is still a lot to swing, and I really dont want him to be the only kid with a student loan unless absolutely necessary. Things are supposed to get easier when we get older. We have several Jesuit schools on the list that seem to have a lower COA.</p>

<p>There used to be some really good schools with $30K range tuitions, but we all know what have happened to those. The good thing so far is he hasn't fixated on some dreamy reach school.</p>

<p>I think he makes the cut for Pitt's Honor College and the Chancellor's Award. Rhodes College is also a good one to try. University of Denver, SMU, SUNY Binghamton, SUNY Geneseo, . Also look at some former all female schools like Goucher, Wheaton, Skidmore. If they give merit aid, your son has the stats to get an award, and they do like male applicants. Some of those schools have excellent academic departments and reputations. College of Charleston has become a popular pick around here. Universtiy of St Louis is another good pick. Tulane definitely should go on your list. American might give you just enough to squeak by in terms of merit money. University of Miami has some nice merit awards. Also look at some Florida LACs such as Stetson, Eckerd, Rollins. I know kids who got nice merit money from there. </p>

<p>Is your state flagship a good possibility? Does it have reciprocity with other state schools? Oh, St Mary's of MD is a wonderful school with excellent academics. ROTC might be a good consideration with his stats. Son decided not to do it, but he could have gotten a nice Navy ROTC scholarship. Also the Coast Guard and other academies are fully subsidized.</p>

<p>Many of the LACs have some merit money tucked away for high test scores. Gettysburg, Denison, Dickinson are some examples. Look for the ones that do have merit money and look at the percentage of kids who get in relationship to stats. As I type, I am thinking o f more. G, Vanderbilt, Case Wester, UsC, BU, Brandeis, Clark, Clarkson, U of Tulsa, Syracuse,RPI, Marquette.Trinity College, Wash & Lee, Whitman, Williamette, Sewanee, Furman,DePauw,Ursinus.</p>

<p>This is true:

Many of the kids who come out of our h.s. having taken the most rigorous schedule offered at our rigorous h.s. find the freshman year intro courses that make up the distribution requirements at their colleges not to be too difficult. Classes become more challenging as the students advance in their majors.</p>

<p>I have a school suggestion for you. Not a reach school, but a real gem for a liberal arts kid: University of Minnesota Morris, the public liberal arts college of Minnesota. University</a> of Minnesota Morris | About Morris
It is a bargain for everyone: $8k annual tuition. No higher for OOS students.
<a href="http://www.morris.umn.edu/financialaid/forms/0910costsheet.pdf%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://www.morris.umn.edu/financialaid/forms/0910costsheet.pdf&lt;/a>
I suggest that he apply. The application process is easy. When he is accepted (rolling admission), he will be offered a free trip there to visit the campus. The free trip is offered to any OOS student accepted to UMM who lives at least 350 miles away from Morris, Minnesota. That is certainly the majority of the U.S. population. :)
University</a> of Minnesota Morris | Admissions | Visit Us | Options for Visiting Morris | Out-of-State Visitors</p>

<p>Cpt - some excellent suggestions there that we hadn't considered - Skidmore, Brandeis, Trinity, Wash & Lee
Currently investigating - Denison, Clark(might be too small, but great for his major, and Wooster is a hard sell); and Uof Miami.</p>

<p>MW Mom- thanks for the gem of a suggestion, but S wouldn't consider Minnesota. Also the reason why Maine is out. He doesn't know enough about Ohio or PA to keep it off the list (yet).</p>

<p>See I knew you guys would come up with some great ideas. How about other less known merit awards like Emory has for the one student recommendation from GC- any others of those out there?</p>

<p>There are some big name awards out there. UVA , UNC Chapel Hill, BC, Johns Hopkins, UChicago, Duke, Wake Forest, Georgia Tech, Caltech, Wesleyan, Swarthmore that have some big merit money but the chances of getting those awards are more difficult than getting into HPY. There are only a few awards given, but they are often full rides, full tuition, or a big monetary amount. Your kid has to be in the very top echelon to get those awards. And getting into some of these schools is difficult in itself, so being in the top 1-2 or even 5% of that group is rare. Emory is also a tough one.</p>

<p>Get yourself the big US News & World Report guide. There is a section in the front that lists all of the schools, average financial aid award, % getting it, and average merit award and % getting it. You can look at the % getting the award, look at the test scores of the school and see if your kid would likely be in that group to be considered. For instance a 1% getting the award at Duke does not make it a very likely catch given the stats of Duke students. However, about 27% of the kids at GW get awards. If your kid is in the upper 10-15% of the stat range, he would have some chance of getting a nice award. Also the amount tells you what can be expected. If the amount is small, you know that the college gives lots of small awards. My second son got a number of those, all under $5K which was nice but didn't make much of a dent on the $50K price tags.</p>

<p>Didn't Brandeis get rid of the merit scholarships? I thought they were offering purely need based aid at this point.</p>

<p>brandeis...</p>

<p>*Scholarships and Fellowships</p>

<p>In addition to its deep commitment to need-based financial aid, Brandeis maintains its own strong scholarship and fellowship program. These opportunities are determined primarily on merit, but financial need is considered as well.*</p>

<p>How much merit aid do you need to make a $50k+ school affordable?</p>

<p>Maybe people can post what stats are needed and how competitive these other schools' scholarships are. Does W&L offer scholarships other than the 12 Johnson scholarships?</p>

<p>Another program he might want to consider is the James Madison program at Michigan State. And I second the honors programs at the University Of Denver and American University.</p>