Help the world's pickiest girl correct her misconceptions and build a college list!

Yup. But still worth exploring for someone concerned about feeling isolated in a LAC. But for the weather, I would also throw in any school in the general vicinity of Boston, just because it is such a great college town. Just to kick the tires and comparison shop.

1 Like

I’d suggest Brandeis, not far outside Boston. Also American University. Great poly sci on the edge of DC. Villanova in suburb of Philly. Miami University Ohio?

1 Like

I’m also in the ASU Barrett camp and also second South Carolina.

Thought I would share some context as my kids applied to them.

D19: 4.0 UW, 4.4W, 33 ACT; Business major; UofSC Honors College, in-state tuition + $2,000 per year scholarship (didn’t apply to ASU, wasn’t on our radar then); came down to top 2 of 5 acceptances, UofSC and UNC (UNC in-state, always her dream, picked UNC)

D21: 4.0 UW, 4.5W, 32 ACT; BME major; UofSC Capstone Scholars (not Honors), in-state tuition + $500 per year scholarship; ASU Barrett, $15,500 per year scholarship; currently deciding between ASU and UNC (top 2 of 8 acceptances), eliminated UofSC because ASU better option for her major + Barrett > Capstone

Top 2 reference is based on overall fit per my kids (not rankings)

D21 is also super picky :wink:.

Both schools have a mix across political spectrum, so I don’t think they are extreme/activist either direction and are somewhere where almost everyone can find their people.

Good luck!


Yes, the Claremont consortium is different, which is why I suggested it. But Amherst offers a lot to make it worth considering because even though the campuses aren’t contiguous, the town is literally crawling with college students (30,000 of them in town) and the campus is right in the center of the town. Econ & Poli Sci departments are excellent and there are no frats.

1 Like

Yes, I think Villanova in particular is worth putting on the it’s. Nice suburban campus, rail transit makes inner city easily accessible, strong business school and Econ Dept, and OP should be a likely admit.

Divorced parents complicate financial aid matters. Please read FAQ: Divorced parents, financial aid, and net price calculators . However, if your non-custodial parent will not be cooperative with financial aid forms, then colleges which require non-custodial parent finances will not give need-based financial aid (i.e. you need to be able to pay list price, or aim for merit scholarships which tend to be much harder than admission).

Complex assets complicate financial aid matters even more.

Like most students, you need to be picky about affordability, and can only be picky on other aspects within the set of colleges that are affordable.


Trinity U in TX
U San Diego
Santa Clara


@Spineappletwists read what @ucbalumnus has written … “you need to be picky about affordability, and can only be picky on other aspects within the set of colleges that are affordable”

Have those adults who are paying for your college confirmed what they can contribute?


Michigan, Michigan State are givens. Like the Rice and Emory and ASU angle… But also check out Babson…

1 Like

U of San Diego, Villanova and Santa Clara are all Catholic. I agree, they are all great schools. However, one item on her wish list was non-religious school.

That’s right; I won’t charge for those :wink:

Your priorities need to be cost and compromise. So many students start out wanting pretty much all you’ve described. Understand that unless you’re Greta Thunberg or David Hogg, you will have to let go of some of your idealized notions. Decide what is non-negotiable, within reason.

Have you told us yet what your exact grades are? How many AP/IB/Honors classes do you have? Do you have my test scores? What are your main ECs (be non specific if you like.) People have suggested a bunch of reaches along with others.

I see you posted another thread about Penn Wharton, which is about as high a reach as anyone can get. You said you have preconceived ideas, so I will suggest to you that if business is your goal, there are plenty of excellent colleges that will help you get into business, IB, consulting, accounting, etc…

For many business type jobs, experience is more important than an undergrad degree from business school. Critical thinking skills are highly valued in the business world. Don’t assume you need to attend Ross or Wharton to succeed in business. There are plenty of good colleges that will help get you where you want to go, but most of it will depend on you and how proactive you are in finding opportunities. It’s a good idea to think about colleges that will offer a lot of student interaction and professor engagement, where you will be able to more easily develop your critical thinking skills. For those reasons, look at the smaller colleges mentioned here, such as Rice.


I hope she reconsiders. None of those schools are really “religious” IMHO.

1 Like

I agree! I would add Boston College to the list too.


How about UNC?

Nothing wrong with just applying to UMich and MSU if they are affordable. Throw in some free-tuition/ride schools like the NMS scholarship schools if you want to get away from the snow. Your fin aid may well be a mess given your situation, so some of the suggestions are likely to be unworkable/unrealistic in any case. Maybe apply to some competitive merit scholarships like at Richmond. And I don’t think that you’re limiting yourself. How far you get will be mostly up to you (as well as what skills you pick up) in any case, regardless of the school you go to.

Really, they are religious to those who either don’t want to ignore it or are looking for the religion. USD has a huge cathedral as the centerpiece of its campus. Several activities, including graduation, have masses as part of them. My niece went there and all the students on the student government board were catholic and they were the ones who planned the very religious graduation. It’s welcoming to those who aren’t catholic, but the religious courses are required (broad range of subjects to pick from), many communications from the school will have religious symbols on them (crosses, “Yours in Christ” notations, religious quotes). Some students can just ignore them or think “Oh, that’s nice” but others get annoyed.

I think that people who say they don’t want a religious school know that they won’t be comfortable ignoring all the religious parts of the school. With so many other choices out there, why pick a school that you know you don’t want to follow the mission statement? Just go with another school.


I think you are eliminating some schools based on inappropriate stereotypes. For example, Tulane is very highly ranked, and offers some full tuition merit scholarships. You’re really so afraid that everyone there would be from NYC? Or is NYC just a code word for something else? In that case, there are a whole lot of other schools you probably should strike from your list, like Brandeis, Barnard, NYU (oh, that’s right, NYC is out), most of the Ivies, your in-state U Mich, Wash U (oh, I forgot, Wash U is too “rich”), and in fact, many of the best schools in the US and Canada.

Regarding the parents with the acrimonious divorce. Some schools will insist that both parents file FAFSA and CSS, so they’ll take into account both parents’ income and assets, unless you can prove that you are completely estranged from the non-custodial parent, meaning you haven’t seen them in many years, and they don’t pay child support.

Wouldn’t it be really nice to be able to get a full tuition merit scholarship, or even a full ride, and not have to deal with trying to get a reluctant parent to help you with tuition? Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to not have to worry about a parent pulling the financial rug out from under you at any point in your education, with no notice? That’s why, aside from U Mich and MSU, I really think your FIRST consideration here is what schools are likely to give you full tuition, or even a free ride. Toward that end, I would suggest that you set aside the stereotypes, and approach this process realistically. Unless there’s something you haven’t told us, you could be in the position of the parent with high income and assets messing up your financial aid, and all you’d qualify for is what you can get with the FAFSA, which might be as little as a total of 27K unsubsidized federal loan for the full four years.

Sure, go ahead and apply to as many dream schools as you like. But make sure you apply to schools that are likely to give a NMF free tuition or a full ride, plus apply to some schools that have great merit scholarships. Let go of the stereotypes - think realistically about affordability.


oh my goodness – please don’t accuse me of being anti-Semitic. I’m TRULY sorry if my list came off as harboring any sort of anti-Jewish sentiment in any way. I can assure you that I don’t feel that way in the slightest!!

My list was primarily to give readers a sense of what I value in a school. From what I’ve heard, Tulane has a more of a party school environment, and I personally don’t feel like I would want to be in New Orleans for college.

My WashU joke was a stab at the need aware admissions policy. They have the highest average student income of any us college… again, not a good fit for me, as I grew up with my single, lower-middle class parent.

Again, I sincerely apologize for any insensitivity!!


I think your internet research has given you the worst stereotypes about each school you listed. It’s maybe the basis for a school coffee house comedy monologue, but not for a serious college search. Are you aware, for instance, that Tulane has an incredible program for business and international relations, called the Altman program? Or that it awards half and full tuition merit scholarships? Or that Wash U, even though it is not need-blind, awards significant merit scholarships, too?

The unfortunate fact is that all the Ivies/tippy-top schools offer financial aid only, no merit aid, and from what you describe, your non-custodial parent’s finances will disqualify you from receiving financial aid. So unless that parent is willing to cough up 300K, or unless you can convince the school that you’ve had no relationship with that parent for many years, and that that parent pays no child support, there’s really no way for you to finance an Ivy. You need to be chasing schools that offer tremendous merit aid. Fortunately, you’re in the running for merit aid at those T50 schools that offer it, and there are good-enough schools with honors colleges where you’re pretty sure to get offered big merit aid. Be careful about writing off those highly ranked schools that offer merit aid just because of stereotypes gleaned from internet research.