Good private college fits for my DD22: Insights much appreciated!

I agree that Reed is a stretch, so she’d have to do a good sales job. But in many ways, I think she’s just what they’re looking for and I think it would be a great fit for her. If she & you decided she might be interested, I’d schedule a visit and try to set up an interview while you were there. I’d also try to get an interview with an alum. If we were looking for the cookie cutter credentials that would match a school at this level, it wouldn’t be her. But she has so much else going for her that I could see the right school really taking an interest. Reed strikes me as the school that just might do that. Real life accomplishments mean more than numbers. Intellectual curiosity is a lot more impressive than GPA. She has both accomplishments and curiosity in abundance. A special young woman.

Here are a few others to consider which won’t be as challenging for admissions but have a lot to offer. Look past your initial impression of each to see what’s there.

St. Mary’s College of California
Willamette University (OR)
Whitman College (WA)

Many of the public schools in the West offer tuition discounts to CA students through a program called WUE.
here’s the full list of WUE schools

A few smallish publics worth investigating from the WUE list NAU in Flagstaff, Southern Oregon in Ashland, Ft Lewis in Durango (my son loves it there) and of course U of Hawaii.

Good luck

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I think that LACs that value writing would value a published author (assuming this is a commercially published book, with agents/ editors, sales numbers, etc., not a self published book). So, while they’d be big reaches, I’d include Hamilton and Kenyon.
For math, st Olaf stands out as a possibility, and Eckerd and Knox would offer excellent opportunities for writing and a decent curriculum, probably merit.

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Several posters have mentioned Eckerd College. My 2 kids went there and it is a hidden gem. Located in Florida in a progressive area of the State, a member of CTCL schools. They have the Writer’s in Paradise program started by Sterling Watson and Dennis Lehane. Numerous study abroad programs both long and short terms. Internships: Hurricane Track Analyst, U.S. Geological Survey
Cryptologic Intern, National Security Agency
Tableau Intern, The Data School in London
Hollings Scholar, NOAA
Immunological Intern, National Institutes of Health.


Agree. @pixter can you expand on what is meant by published author?

Until I read the part about wanting warm weather, I was all set to recommend St. Olaf in Minnesota. Fantastic math program in an absolutely gorgeous setting, with merit aid likely for your DD , intimate but nor tiny size (3000). But cold. Best sledding hill in the nation, however:)


As a starting point, I would look at solid liberal arts schools ranked between 30 and 100 that are strong in writing and math. Dislike US News, but it is an easy way to begin. Finally, if you are looking for learning services I would reach out to each school you like, 1-by-1, to get a feel for what they offer.

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Since open to LMU and SCU, the University of San Diego has a total undergraduate enrollment of 5,919. It also has an applied math major.


And it’s campus is gorgeous with breathtaking views of the ocean.

What is the subject area of her published work ?

Book, article or ?

Self published ?

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That’s an excellent suggestion, thank you! I remember thinking about it earlier and forgot to add to my list, you just confirmed it…And she loves to ski!

Yes, I really do think she would be better served by a small school and a more intimate learning environment, but don’t want to rule out good public candidate schools for her either. Thank you and yes, my head is spinning! :smiley:

She has self-published her novel and also had her short fiction accepted at a few respected lit mags.

She self-published her debut novel and has had her short fiction accepted at a few lit mags. She writes dystopian fantasy fiction. She’s also been interviewed and published her fiction in her high school magazine.

Okay, that’s a different level than “commercially published”. See if she can shop something to a “real” imprint but without a recognized publisher it won’t really matter as much and Kenyon-level colleges are out of reach.

Knox, Eckerd, and St Olaf should stay on the list though (Knox/Eckerd= good matches, St Olaf= low reach).
Wrt St Olaf, have her look into the American Conversation program and the other “conversation” programs.

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You always want to have “reach” schools. I still think for an 18 year old to have written and self published is an amazing achievement.

In the end, crazy or not, I told my daughter I wanted her to get rejected somewhere - and she did at UNC OOS and Rice. She got waitlisted at W&M and Emory- and those are essentially rejections.

To me, that means she applied to the “right level” of schools as she has 17 acceptances.

If she had 21 acceptances, I’d have been like - needed to apply to Harvard. My point is - if she loves Kenyon - doesn’t hurt to apply.


It is definitely an achievement, but in my opinion it becomes a good EC as opposed to a spike/hook that could come with a recognized publisher.


Beyond smaller campus, what kind of vibe? USD is utterly gorgeous but when we visited we sensed a preppy, wealthy vibe, outgoing kids and service oriented. Really different from a Reed or other PNW schools.

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A student whose first choice is a safety need not apply to any other schools, reach or otherwise.

We can disagree - in the sense of you should not apply to one school because I read countless stories of people getting turned down everywhere, even perceived safeties.

But if you live in X state and you know you want to go to a specific school, and that school will render a decision to you in a timely manner so that if you do get rejected, you can still apply elsewhere - then sure.

I did not - and it’s a long chain - read where the question asker had a top school. In fact, the title is asking for good private colleges.

My comment was in reference to someone said take off Kenyon because it’s too far a reach and I was simply saying - if Kenyon is a desired school, no need to take it off.

So you are not wrong - but I did not see your perspective as relevant to the topic of being asked.


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