help with first "list"

<p>My first post! My apologies in advance..it's a long one...but I hope I'll get some guidance??</p>

<p>My daughter is a rising Junior. She is an above average/honors student and looking forward to college. She has begun thinking about where she would like to apply, and we will begin looking this fall, starting with in state schools. (We live in Virginia, so we are blessed with great state schools :) )</p>

<p>I'd love some help/insight/comments/guidance as to where we may want to look. Here's a bit about her..</p>

<p>Northern Virginia student
Presently, weighted GPA is 4.06. She gets A's and some B's
Mostly honors courses just finishing first AP course. As a Jr. she will take 3 APs. (Jr. sched includes AP Eng lang, AP US History, AP Environ Science, precalc and Spanish 4)
Involved in school choir program, takes private voice lessons,will audition for advanced choirs for next year
Involved in community theater (but not at school..)
Volunteers summers at mission camp - this year a Jr. counselor
Spanish Honor Society
Very confident she will be in English Honor Society next year (first year of eligibility)
Two years of a sport, through JV and two years of club..but quit after this year.
Has had part time job since last summer. </p>

<p>Living in Virginia, she has UVA and William and Mary on the top of her list. While she has a record to be extremely proud of, she feels as if they are reach schools for her. What do you all think? Yes, she has a great GPA and takes challenging courses..but there are harder ones offered at her school that she is not taking. (For a reason - she follows the rule of taking the most challenging courses you can while maintaining A's and B's.)<br>
She doesn't seem to have a real interest in any other Va schools. VTech is out - she is definitely more of a humanities student - she dislikes math and science. James Madison seems to take a very large number of students from this area and she feels like it would be a continuation of high school. UMW? Maybe? </p>

<p>Out of state schools that she is interested in are UNC Chapel hill (there's her biggest reach I think), NYU and Elon in NC. She would like to look in the Boston area as well, but I feel like she is choosing a city, and then trying to find a school that she could attend so she could be in Boston..</p>

<p>Her biggest "requirement" right now is that she attend a school with "interesting" students. She has many friends, but is most drawn to those who converse more about deeper topics, who are silly and smart at the same time..</p>

<p>She is outspoken, not shy at all. But she also likes to be alone at times.</p>

<p>She wants a liberal arts program..for now. Her possible acedemic interests are English, Art History (she has a huge interest in this..but most likely as a minor) Public Relations, Social Entrepenuership, or Communications</p>

<p>I am aware of the big missing piece here - her test scores. She has taken the PSAT as a freshman and sophmore, and has done well - sophmore scores in mid 600's. She wants to take a prep course before SAT's next year.</p>

<p>So..if you are still with me...here are my questions?
How "reachable" are her reach schools? (UVA, WM, Chapel Hill)
And are there other schools that come to mind that we may look at? Cost is OF COURSE an issue. In fact, she would only be able to attend a private school if she recieves a scholarsip of some sort. (I doubt we would qualify for much need based..unfortunately..)</p>

<p>Thanks for reading this entire post..and a bigger thanks for any guidance! (I hope..)</p>

<p>The guidance counselor at her HS should be able to tell you how likely it is that she can get into the state universities. If they have Naviance, they should also be able to give you a read on the other places that her HS traditionally sends students. Find out if you can log into Naviance yourself, or if the passcodes are only for the counselors.</p>

<p>Have you run the financial aid calculators at FinAid</a>! Financial Aid, College Scholarships and Student Loans and College</a> Calculators - savings calculators - college costs, loans ? Do that, and think about how your family can meet your EFC. How easy would it be for you to go over that EFC, and by how much? How much are you willing to let your daughter go into debt, and how much money do you expect her to make in the summers and/or during the school year? You are fortunate to have NOVA at your back door (so to speak), so you really don't have to look far for her rock-bottom sure-fire financial safety.</p>

<p>She should take a look at the women's colleges. Find the ones in VA at The</a> Women's College Coalition and take a day trip to visit one or two. The "second tier" often have merit money available, although the "top tier" (the old 7 sisters) tend to only hand out need-based aid.</p>

<p>If you are looking for merit aid, there are several good threads on the subject in the Financial Aid and Parents forums. Click on the links on the left-hand side of this screen and check them out.</p>

<p>Wishing you all the best!</p>

<p>Nice post. </p>

<p>Does your school have Naviance? If so, you should have an amazing sample of accepted students at both UVA, WM and (likely) UNC and their scores and G.P.A. Take out the outliers and it will be pretty darn good idea what it will take. If you don't have Naviance, ask your kid's guidance counselor. If they don't know ... you need another guidance counselor pronto. </p>

<p>My view is that NYU is a peer level school to William and Mary. However, the cost savings difference between the two schools could easily fund a brand new car after graduation and a very good down payment on a starter home. </p>

<p>Activities? Hopefully that part-time job is an interesting one because mission camp, choir, Spanish Honor Society, community theatre, club sports just says 'a girl is applying' to school (minus dance and playing the flute in band). Dime a dozen yawn-fest. </p>

<p>G.P.A. is key to in-state schools so don't go chasing a ton of APs and hurt the average. Better to be conservative and get great grades at what a kid does study. </p>

<p>Best of luck.</p>

<p>thanks for the replies, I will definitely look into Naviance. We do have an excellent guidance department so I will check in with them as well. </p>

<p>ctyankee - I appreciate the thoughts on W and M and NYU - I agree completely. We will look at both - and she knows that NYU would not be a choice unless scholarship/aid is available to her. She loves/knows the area (half her family is from NY). I also agree about the debt - save it for grad school if possible!<br>
I'm sure no malice was intended, but it was a bit of an "ouch" to call my daughter's interests (that's what they are..they were chosen as such long before college was on the horizon..) a dime-a-dozen yawn-fest. I am certain you wouldn't want her to make her interests more interesting on paper just to rise above the "a girl is applying to college" mentality. :)<br>
And she works to make spending money (including college), learn to work with different personality types, mangaging a schedule and learning reliability, responsibility and accountability. But, yes. It is interesting to her. Otherwise she wouldn't do it. </p>

<p>I'd love any other ideas of other schools to look at..not sure if she'd go for an all girls school...in fact. I'm certain she would not. Basically looking for medium-large schools with liberal arts programs for B+/A- students on the East Coast..that's as narrowed as I can get right now! (hence the need for guidance :) )</p>

<p>The yawn-fest was a poorly considered comment on my part. I apologize. </p>

<p>
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I am certain you wouldn't want her to make her interests more interesting on paper just to rise above the "a girl is applying to college" mentality.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>What's pertinent is each candidate gaining the admission officer's interest by highlighting accomplishments that help gain that interest. An admissions officer may very well be first-reader on 250 applications and 250 more as second-reader. They are human. If you are the 5th person that highlighted what they did on summer mission trips, it's not going to go well. </p>

<p>
[quote]
And she works to make spending money (including college), learn to work with different personality types, mangaging a schedule and learning reliability, responsibility and accountability. But, yes. It is interesting to her. Otherwise she wouldn't do it.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>Agreed. As she is already doing this as a sophomore (and if she continues this), I would think many application readers would be very interested in this. It might even make a good essay or supplemental essay if she had a specific story to come out of that. </p>

<p>Medium/Large and liberal arts does narrow things quite a bit. </p>

<p>Villanova, Lehigh, Lafayette come to mind and all could be visited in one day. If making a Boston swing, Tufts, Boston College and Boston University. After some visits, it might help to narrow her search further ... but there's no place like home ... especially when you have superior in-state schools.</p>

<p>Consider College of Charleston (SC). My daughter loved it and nearly chose it but opted for something a bit closer to home in the midwest. Very liberal-arts oriented, nice size, nice city...reasonable cost (state school). If she gets her test scores up a hair she may get merit money; she can apply to their honors college. Another UNC to consider is Asheville. That is their liberal-arts focused campus (aside from the big flagship). We toured and were impressed, and again--if money is a consideration, it is a great deal for OOS compared to many schools. About 4,000 undergrads I think. Not exactly east coast, but really pretty and Asheville's a nice town with a lot going on--an 'alternative' vibe, very 'green/organic/outdoorsy'.</p>

<p>Since she is a woman and she wants a Liberal Arts college she could consider applying to the top all women's colleges: Wellesley, Mount Holyoke, Barnard, and Smith and even Sweet Briar and Hollins in the south.
I agree with the suggestion of Lehigh , maybe James Madison Universit?</p>

<p>Since you need some scholarships you might want to look at this thread: <a href="http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/financial-aid-scholarships/848226-important-links-automatic-guaranteed-merit-scholarships.html%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/financial-aid-scholarships/848226-important-links-automatic-guaranteed-merit-scholarships.html&lt;/a>
And this one: <a href="http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/financial-aid-scholarships/63770-best-schools-give-most-merit-based-aid.html%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/financial-aid-scholarships/63770-best-schools-give-most-merit-based-aid.html&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>
[quote]
I'm sure no malice was intended, but it was a bit of an "ouch" to call my daughter's interests (that's what they are..they were chosen as such long before college was on the horizon..) a dime-a-dozen yawn-fest.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>You want to convey that your D is more than just "involved in", "participating in", "auditioning for", "member of" a laundry list of activities and organizations. If she has leadership positions or awards in any of these, fine, get that out. If not, she'll need to reflect a little more on what she has gotten out of them and what she has given back. No need to embellish too much. It's all about her (her personality, her "passion"). She can express her story with ironic humor, sincerity, or whatever best reflects her personality and take on her experiences. Have a little fun with it (without getting carried away). The adcoms want to get a sense of the personality behind the numbers so they can be confident they are admitting a person who will contribute to the community. You've already conveyed some of that ("many friends ... silly and smart ... outspoken...likes to be alone at times") so try to weave it into a story that touches on concrete social experiences. She sounds like a great kid.</p>

<p>Your daughter sounds like an outstanding young woman and you should be proud.</p>

<p>I think she has a good chance at UVA or W&M depending on her SATs. She should probably apply to James Madison as a safety. Seems like the state schools of Virginia will provide what your daughter needs. She should re-take the SATs 3 or 4 times. Not sure if UVA and W&M superscore though.</p>

<p>Why is a private school not affordable? They give grant aid, work-study, loans.</p>

<p>
[quote]
Why is a private school not affordable? They give grant aid, work-study, loans.

[/quote]

Maybe because of loans... The OP stated Privates that give good scholarships might be workable. But with such a great selection of public Us available looking at Privates may not be necessary. With high SATs to match her grades the student may be able to pick up some good merit aid.</p>

<p>Speaking of Boston, Boston College appears to be a good academic fit for your daughter, but of course, you have mentioned the issue of cost, so I doubt BC would seriously be affordable for you.</p>

<p>I know a handful of kids from Virginia who go here. I remember how one girl mentioned the only reason she was attending BC was because she couldn't get into UVA. </p>

<p>If cost is a serious issue, dig deeper and look beyond the cream of crop state schools. Virginia has fair deal of good public schools, and its university system consists of far more schools than just UVA, W&M, or Virginia Tech. </p>

<p>I wish your daughter well and I hope she gets into one of these affordable state schools. Looking at her credentials, I'd say she has a serious chance at UVA or W&M. Encourage her to maintain that high GPA, it is important for in-state students.</p>

<p>I think your d would have a strong shot at W & M and UVA. If she can boost her PSAT scores just a bit, even stronger. Though you say she "dislikes" math and science, it will be a help if she can continue to perform well in them - I know that W & M likes to see a challenging curriculum, including APs in math and science when possible. As others have said, a NOVA high school's guidance department should have a very good idea of what kind of stats it takes to be admitted from her school.</p>

<p>Mary Washington sounds like a probable safety or a strong match school, and it's a great place. Our impression was that the students are clearly academically-minded. The campus is beautiful, with impressive facilities. </p>

<p>Other schools my kids visited where your d is certain to find an interesting student body: Dickinson in Carlisle, PA (merit aid available); Ithaca College (ditto); University of Pittsburgh (diverse student body, strong departments, Honors College which would probably admit your d, generous merit aid in a neat section of Pittsburgh). We didn't see them, but since she likes Elon, might she think about other excellent southern LACs such as Rhodes, Eckerd, and Furman?</p>

<p>She sounds like a great kid who will have strong choices in two short years! :)</p>

<p>Thank you all so much - what a great response, with some really great advice! I am reassured that she has a chance at UVA and W and M. And her other high interest schools (NYU and Elon..how different can you get, btw?!) may be possible with merit scholarships. Elon has a fellows program she just found out about and that seems to have bumped it up to the top of her list.</p>

<p>To those who suggested other schools - I will be hitting the bookstore as soon as the new college guides come out. So many choices...</p>

<p>Again, thanks again - I know where to go for guidance from now on :)</p>

<p>She sounds like a lovely girl. Take a look at the Colleges of Distinction and Colleges That Change Lives websites for some good small schools--many of which give generous merit aid, as well as need aid.</p>

<p>For larger schools, take a look at Boston U; Northwestern; Carnegie Mellon.</p>

<p>momneedsguidance, based on everything you've shared, it does appear that UVa or WM would be among your best options. If you are middle class Virginia residents without substantial college savings, and you don't have specific unusual needs, then there are not too many other schools worth paying a significant price premium over these two. One issue, unfortunately, is that you are not just Virginia residents but Northern Virginia residents. As you probably know, that can make admissions a little more competitive.</p>

<p>Here are some admissions data break-downs from 2003. I don't know if the profiles have changed much.
[url=<a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/education/specials/uva_chart.htm?nav=hptop_ts%5Dwashingtonpost.com%5B/url"&gt;http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/education/specials/uva_chart.htm?nav=hptop_ts]washingtonpost.com[/url&lt;/a&gt;]&lt;/p>

<p>It seems your D has a good shot if she keeps up her grades and does well on the SATs. But you still need other options. You may want to focus on private schools in the US News 21-75 range or beyond, in the "Liberal Arts Colleges" and "National Universities" lists, or the entire US News "Masters University" list. These lists are good sources of schools that offer merit scholarships. To qualify for them, you'd typically want her scores to be in the top 25% of matriculated students. </p>

<p>One good resource is the Common Data Set files available on the web for most schools. Google for the school name plus "Common Data Set", download, and review section H for merit scholarship data.</p>

<p>If you do want to consider public schools in neighboring states, also check out St. Mary's College of MD (Maryland's public honors college).</p>

<p>Thanks for the tip about searching the Common Data Set files - very interesting!! I'll definitely check out the US News lists as well - thanks!</p>