Input on college list for intl. relations or public health for D22 please

Long time lurker, first time poster would like your input on college list for D22 who is your normal smart suburban teen.

potential major: international relations/studies or public health, ideally a combination of both

female from Louisiana, not URM, not first gen, decent suburban public HS
GPA: UW3.9, W4.5, ACT 32 super score (31 single sitting, she doesn’t want to take it again), 8APs, 1DE

ECs: soccer (travel team and HS varsity), this has been taking up most of her time. she is recruitable for D3 level (maybe D2) but it doesn’t hold high priority for her and she isn’t actively pursuing it, she thinks she will to try to walk on if she goes to a D3 school, otherwise play club.
Student council and BETA, no leadership positions
Allied Health program (school based, special classes, volunteer requirements and shadowing/internship opportunities)
works as soccer referee
started a small TicToc based business last year during the pandemic
some volunteering but nothing extra and no leadership

awards: gold medal National German Exam (level 4, bilingual proficiency), will have LA seal of biliteracy for Spanish at graduation and soccer related awards (all metro and all district teams, MVP)

So I think ECs are a definite weak spot but the real weak spot are finances. EFC should be around $22,000 (so we qualify for need based aid at most private schools). Ideally our out of pocket, after federal loans, would be around $15,000, though that might not be attainable except for in state safeties. If COA ends up coming back around $20,000 at a school that hits all the spots we would try and make it work.

Her wishes: liberal environment (she’s very liberal for our Southern conservative area but no SJW), large city, mid size school, no geographic preference. And yes, some schools on the following list are neither of those :slight_smile:

Her current, rather eclectic, list:
American - we visited, it’s her dream school but most likely not financially feasible, which she knows
Tulane - we visited, second on her list after American but likely a reach since we can’t ED (finances could work due to advantages for LA residents)
U of Miami - finances look unlikely
Rhodes - we visited
Ole Miss, Croft School - only a contender if she gets into Croft
Agnes Scott - she is lukewarm on a womens college and thinks it might be too SJW but loves their programs and the location
LSU - safety (not enthusiastic about it as it is too close to home, most of her HS class will go there and she doesn’t care about football, a sacrilege in this area :wink:
U of New Orleans - safety of last resort
Tufts - high reach
Middlebury - high reach

What other programs are out there that we have never heard about? thanks for your input!

URochester is worth a look. Mid-sized university, pretty liberal, meets full need and is in an urban-outskirts location. Very internationally-oriented, with international students comprising more than a quarter of the undergraduates. UR has a flexible curriculum that requires all students to pursue a major, minor, or “cluster” (3 classes in the same subject area) in each of the three divisions - Humanities, Social Sciences, and Natural Sciences/Engineering. They have an International Relations major (Social Sciences division), and a number of Public Health related options including Environmental Health (Natural Sciences), Bioethics (Humanities), and “Health, Behavior & Society” (Social Sciences). So, if she wanted IR, she could easily assemble a combo of IR + Enviro Health + Bioethics and meet all of the distribution requirements with what would add up to an IR/Global health focus. It’s reachier than UMiami but less reachy than Middlebury and Tufts. Also D3 for sports.

Also look at Brandeis. Another urban-adjacent, D3, mid-sized, liberal university with a strong international focus and a high percentage of international undergrads. Possible programs include IGS: International & Global Studies, and HSSP: Health: Science, Society & Policy. You’d have to run the NPC to see if the $ would add up - they meet need in theory, but then again so does Miami and you said that looked unlikely.

I thought of Denison’s Global Health major and saw that’s on your list. Allegheny is another that has a similar program and can be generous with need-based+merit. Much less urban than you want but still perhaps worth floating an application. They received a $1.5 Million grant in 2012 to build the Global Health Studies program. Meadville is fairly middle-of-nowhere, but it’s within 100 miles of both Cleveland and Pittsburgh.

Beloit is another LAC that’s generous with need-based+merit and has both IR and Health & Society majors. Beloit is a pretty small city, but Chicago, Milwaukee, and Madison are all within a 100 mile radius.

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This is my daughter - minus the first gen and URM. Same scores, same grades.

AU was the top choice. We wasted more time on all their dumb demonstrated interest stuff and visited - got $15K - so it would have been about $58K. AU doesn’t meet 100% of need.

Other finalists were FSU and U of Arizona - because they are dirt cheap (about $23K with merit) and U of South Carolina. My daughter ended up at Charleston where she is a Charleston Fellow and International Scholar. If she keeps a 3.5, I have full tuition. As an International Scholar, they must major in Intl Studies and have a second - and she’s considering public health. The issue is - there seems to be two thoughts on public health - one is more medical and one is more - community oriented, project based - like being someone who goes around hyping up vaccines. My daughter is the second - but Charleston appears to be more medical. If your daughter were interested in those type programs, as Charleston is - lesser -in that sense, it could work…

btw - UGA has a wonderful program in IR as far as publics go - it’s highly rated and we got a 1/2 OOS scholarship. So likely too expensive.

Miami meets need so you might be ok there - and then since you have an EFC of $22K.

Here’s a full list for you - but you should look at high merit schools (Bama, Arkansas, Ms State, South Carolina, Miami Ohio, Pitt - for URM has the Cathedral of Learning which can get aggressive.

You have some schools on the list - but you can add more - Richmond, since you have Dennison - how about Macalester, etc.

LSU has wonderful aid but she’ll certainly have affordable safeties outside even without aid…

btw - if you drop the public health and just did IR, I would add Washington & Lee (Johnson Scholarship), Kenyon (since you have Dennison), Skidmore and Franklin & Marhsall because if they meet need, these are target schools. BU is larger - but aggressive - my neighbor is an URM, not poor (although showed it) and is paying $5K at BU and $20K at NYU for his two kids.

Run the NPCs to see.

Better you at least have a few schools that you know will meet your price point.

Here’s Every College That Offers 100% Financial Aid (

since she’s considering a smallish LAC like Middlebury (definitely not a mid-sized school nor in a large city) she should also look into Kalamazoo. It is not as well known for languages as Middlebury but something like 90% of the student body ends up studying abroad there. And they offer a major in Community and Global Health.

I’m just throwing this out there for further investigating, I don’t know their financial aid policies.

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Seconding Kalamazoo (urban, good for IR, liberal)
Also Hobart&William Smith (good for IR, liberal)
Macalester (urban, liberal, excellent IR) for another reach.
Run the NPC.

Rochester had not been on our radar. I just checked it out and it looks amazing. Looking at the academic offerings made me want to go back to school myself :slight_smile:

Brandeis had been on the initial list because of the HSSP major. I think she recently nixed it after a virtual tour, because she didn’t like the campus or the students in some chat or something like it.

thanks for your input!

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How competitive is the Charleston program? I looked at their website and it was somewhat confusing. My daughter’s interest in public health is more sociology/policy oriented not medial, so more like yours.

Arizona schools are out, because she doesn’t like the desert. I’m not kidding, we were in AZ three years ago and she made it clear she could never live there :slight_smile:

I’m afraid UGA is not affordable, the only other state flagships that would come in on budget are Mississippi, Arkansas and maybe Bama, which we she might add, since they are easy apps I think (but are probably too much like LSU in her mind).

By the way, she is not URM nor first gen. We are college educated but chose public service, which in LA is a vow of poverty :wink:

I love Macalester but she is afraid it is too activist, so it came off the initial list.

thanks for your input!

One other flagship that might be worth considering is Utah. It has the southwest-ish merit potential without the desert climate of AZ or NM. It’s in a major city but also has tons of outdoor recreation nearby. Both SLC and UofU are a lot more progressive than most people think. It’s a bit far but at least it’s a major travel hub with easy access between the university and the airport. You’d likely be over budget in the first year, but they offer a path to residency that would allow you to pay in-state tuition for years 2-4. With merit, it could average out to a manageable net cost. There’s a “health, society, & policy” major (BA or BS), an “international studies” program with a BA and a minor, and an undergrad certificate in international relations. Your daughter could probably get into the Honors College, which has its own housing and engages students in year-long Praxis Labs that address pressing social and environmental problems from an interdisciplinary perspective. (Many of the topics are health related.) Perhaps not enough of a draw to go that far, but possibly viable and definitely a change of scene from LA/MS/AL/AK without being in a desert!

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With respect to your daughter’s interest in public health, Rochester seems to have one of the stronger programs nationally in this area — definitely a school to continue to research.

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Johns Hopkins is hard to beat for her academic interests, and it meets her other criteria (large city, medium-sized school, reasonably liberal).

It’s extraordinarily selective these days, though, so it’d likely be a big reach. You should run the EFC calculator.


I need new glasses - I missed the word not on URM and First Gen. Sorry.

Charleston is definitely not competitive as a school per se in admissions. It’s not Tulane or Miami…but it’s also not McNeese State :slight_smile: It’s solid but not spectacular. Niche rates it B+. It’s in the Fiske Guide and Princeton’s best 368 or whatever. In SC, it’s the 3rd rated public. But it has a nearly national presence - certainly a strong one in the NE and South because of the merit. We are from TN - my daughter knows people from Boston, Texas, California, etc. in her three weeks.

So my daughter is a Charleston Fellow. Used to be an Aiken Fellow. That’s their creme de la creme student. I put the link below.

She is also an International Scholar - so a cohort of kids who want to do International Stuff. They require 2nd major - the first is International Studies - my daughter is doing Chinese. I don’t know what her second major will be - when I look at the list, I think Urban Studies fits - it’s interdisciplinary. I also put the link below.

U of A is gorgeous - and while it’s desert, it’s surrounded by mountains and snow. ASU is more complete deserty. She should re-look - after all you have a budget - and with that you have to make sacrifices. LSU happens to be nice - but it’s her HS again and this is an affordable and gorgeous opportunity - it’s cooler than Phoenix weather wise. But yes it’s desert.

So you say your EFC is about $22K. That is a federal thing. Truth is, you don’t know what private schools will rate you at and each is different. So you should pick - name your school Macalester - and run the NPC. Or pick another meets need school.

So back to your list - if you are taking off Macalester for being too activist and I think your daughter is going by what she hears or perceives and not reality - but then you MUST take American off your list because it’s known to be one of the most liberal, activist schools in the country. In fact, Niche rates it #1. Macalester is in the 200s.

U of Miami - I agree - most their scholarships are $25K so won’t be affordable but they do have full ones. They have others but unlikely. Rhodes doesn’t meet need but the median family income of people getting something is $116K. I’ve never been and I go to Memphis all the time - here it’s gorgeous.

Not sure why you’d apply to UNO - as you say it’s a safety of last resort. LSU is a safety for sure - definitely add Bama and/or Auburn (they are cheap),

FSU has a good IR program and historically with a 31 you get an OOS waiver - so it’ll be $22Kish or in range in total. Tuition is dirt cheap and with the waiver it’s like $7K.

One other one I’ll recommend - it likely won’t get to affordability but it’s an easy admit and excellent in both Public Health and IR - is Indiana University. It’s gorgeous, it has the potential for decent merit - maybe not get you to $22K but big. Public Health is strong and the Hamilton Lugar school of Global / International Studies is really great!! Take a look.!!

I do think you should look at the schools that meet need and check out the calculators - Kenyon, Dennison.

Because of your financial situation, your daughter may have to compromise. Does she want to go to LSU or does she want to go to a top level school like Mac? This is where mom has to explain money - and now having to move into a trailer home to afford to send her to school.

One other thought - there’s a few schools out there - Oglethorpe in Atlanta and Hendrix in Arkansas…+ U Maine - they have programs to match your in-state flagship - so that could work. It’s not all students - but you could look into that.

Here’s some links for you.

Charleston Fellows Program - College of Charleston (

International Scholars - College of Charleston (

We believe in making Hendrix College affordable and accessible to deserving students. | Hendrix College

flagship-50-general.pdf (

If your daughter’s international relations/studies interest leans toward economics or business, Arizona State’s Thunderbird might be worth a close look (notwithstanding its desert location). Thunderbird, which has a very strong reputation for international business and a vast international alumni network, used to be MBA only but now offers bachelor degrees in Global Management and International Trade.

Similarly, U of South Carolina is well-known for its international business program.

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For ideas for colleges strong in IR, this site may be helpful:

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thanks for all the links.

She knows she has to compromise and will be ok at LSU. But I think our approach is to try widely at variety of schools she finds interesting and then see how the financial aid comes back.

UNO is on the list as the ultimate safety, because it should be super cheap with her stats and has an IR major (not many LA state schools do)

I agree on Johns Hopkins but I think she took it off the list, because her stats are unlikely to get her in.

I agree on the wide variety. You have 20 common app slots. Use them. Niche has a list of no application fee schools. Use that list to find easy apps. Never know who may come big.

If she’s applying to schools where she’s better than avg she’s likely to get more aid. Good luck

Take a look at Colgate. It is definitely not in a city but they have generous need-based financial aid, a terrific IR program and a new global public health minor. There is some opportunity to do a semester at NIH, which is unique to them. Also of interest may be their 4+1 BA/MA program in IR at the Graduate Institute of Geneva/IHEID in Switzerland. There are a few different tracks within that program, though none related to public health.

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Is she sure she doesn’t want to fill out recruiting questionnaires for D3 schools? With her stats, coach endorsements could get her into higher reaches like Hopkins/Middlebury/Tufts and solidify her chances at lower-reaches like Rochester. She wouldn’t be locked in to play for 4 years if she didn’t want to. I can see how not pursuing varsity athletics could be a good decision, but if she’s on the high end of the recruiting pool for D3, it could be a real asset in nailing down a generous-aid school and avoiding the “compromise” outcome.

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It is really late to start the recruiting process for 2022, as most slots are likely full. Of course there is a chance there are still openings at some of these schools, so if interested, OP should email the coaches directly rather than start with the recruiting questionnaires. Building a quick rapport with a coach is critical right now, because even if all slots are full, some of these coaches could offer soft support.

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apart from it being very late in the process, she is not good enough to give her a boost at NESCAC level schools or Hopkins/Tufts. She has filled out recruiting questionnaires for some like Rhodes and Clark, which aren’t at as high of a soccer level (as far as we can judge that). But she likely doesn’t need the boost there.

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