Looking for colleges for quirky artsy S22

Early Decision is huge factor in getting into many schools and especially for most on this list. In describing your son a school like Middlebury seems like almost a perfect fit. Middlebury’s most recent class had over 50% admittance through Early Decision. The 2019-20 numbers for Middlebury show 45% acceptance for Early Decision and 13% as an overall acceptance rate. Having both ED1 and 2 as part of the approach of getting into schools of this type has to be a very key consideration.

The ED numbers include a lot of athletes. Not saying they aren’t qualified, but your chances don’t go from 13% to 45% unless you are also an athlete.


Actually, the athletes that are going to get a no already know that and are out of the pool. That’s why they do pre-reads. So the recruits in the pool are closer to 100% likely to be accepted.

There are other groups that you may not be part of that have their own odds which may be higher as well for different reasons. (Legacy, Questbridge, etc.)

So please don’t think your ED odds at Midd are 45%. Guessing OP knows this, but responding to the thread for others following along.


Take a look at UVM. Bigger than he wants but it really doesn’t feel that big and it definitely has the vibe you are describing. I believe they have a really good honors college.

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Yes, but the athletes don’t make up 100% of the ED group. The athletes in the ED group have a good chance (not all get the pre-read approval but still try), and some of the ED group has another bump. ED still gives the regular Joe a better chance just because the student is showing commitment to that school.

I think a lot of people look at the ED acceptance rate of 45% and think that’s soooo much better than the RD acceptance of 15%, but the two pools aren’t created equally. ED is still better, but not 3x better because of the athletes, legacies, special programs, hooks.

Thanks for all the feedback. I know most of the schools I mentioned originally are all “reaches”…just trying to find the second or third-tier equivalents, especially those generous with need and merit-based financial aid. He loves the sound of UNC Asheville, but I couldn’t find that they award much merit aid to out-of-state. Also he liked the location of Warren Wilson, but they don’t offer a CS major unfortunately. As for UVM, he would love Burlington, but it seems very pricey for someone out of state and it doesn’t appear the school gives much merit aid? A couple people suggested Skidmore and Vassar and we have added both of those to his list. Also added Colorado College, which seems to be slightly less selective than some of the other liberal arts college though still on the “reach” side. He also likes the sound of Western Washington, though not sure how much aid they would offer to an out-of-state student. Thanks for all the great suggestions and please keep them coming!

Seems like they have a generic page. The tuition is reasonable - and depending on how he rates vs. the student body, he might qualify.

You can always call admissions and ask for a range of $$ - and also find their average stats to see where you student fits. If they are stronger than average, they likely have a good shot.

Good luck.

Scholarships - UNC Asheville

I would be remiss to not plug UC Santa Cruz. Outstanding C.S. and music is everywhere. It is bigger than most of the schools mentioned here and OOS aid might not be stellar, but it is college in the redwoods, social consciousness for miles, and Quirky with the capital Q. Sports and greeks are negligible. His stats seem like in the UC range, but again OOS might complicate it.

OOS aid is nonexistent - UCSC would cost 65K/year.

St. Olaf deserves to be highlighted. Meets full need, and music and CS/math are two of its greatest strengths. Not in a mountainous area, but there are outdoor recreation opportunities. It offers conservatory-level music for majors, but participation in music among non-majors is widespread - it’s very much a music-saturated campus culture, and theatre has a strong presence too. If the NPC is favorable it could be a great choice.



Colorado College could be another good option. Applying EA provides a meaningful admissions boost. Merit tops out at 10K per year but there is also need-based aid. There are a very few highly competitive full tuition scholarships for STEM majors that require a separate application. The block plan is not for everyone but it opens up interesting possibilities for creative teaching and learning.

At WWU, merit for out of state goes up to 10K annually, bringing annual COA to just under 30K.

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Thank you, he has decided to go ahead and apply for Colorado College based on what we’ve learned and read. According to the CSS estimates I’ve run for CC, he would get most of his tuition covered there, so that will bring it in-line with our instate schools. We love the sounds of WWU, but unfortunately we just don’t have $30K per year to spend on college. :frowning:

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i believe Colorado College does one class at a time, intensively- as I am sure you know by now. The clock plan has 3 1/2 week courses, if I am reading the website correctly. That would suit my learning style- does it fit your child’s? I think it’s a great school. I wish I could go back in time and go there!

What is your budget? What state are you in? Some of your in-state publics may be worth checking out.

Have you checked out Berea? It’s work-study in Kentucky with free tuition. (Still have to pay for room & board, I believe). It’s similar to Warren Wilson in that all students are required to work. There is a consortium of these work-colleges: https://www.workcolleges.org/ . Might be worth checking out. I believe most of them do offer free tuition.

Careful with CC in that they take classes in the block system - i.e. one at a time. Great school but it is a different method so just be aware in case that doesn’t work for your student.

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We are in GA and he is planning to apply to UGA. I’ve heard good things about the Honors program at UGA, but his stats aren’t quite high enough for Honors (average SAT for Honors is > 1500!) Other than UGA, I can’t really find a GA state college that meets most of the criteria.

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My daughter had a 32 superscore - and got into UGA Early Action but not given Honors. They have auto admit or later admit.

She applied later admit and got in.

So it’s not impossible.

I don’t know that the differences are perceptible but UGA is a program whereas a U of SC is an entire college.

Other than you probably are going to UGA for free if you go that route - FSU has great merit for a 31 ACT plus (OOS waiver) and U of SC is also aggressive - if that were other options. Obviously you’re looking for quirky based on the outdoor thing. Well the good news is all schools have outdoor clubs and all will have music - either organized or not - so if it ends up at UGA or even Valdosta State…he’ll find his crowd.

Not sure how UGA ranks for CS; I know it’s not strong at all in engineering even though the university as a whole is quickly rising and surprisingly very difficult to get into.

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Maybe Sewanee? It checks the “artsy” ( Tennessee Williams Center | The University of the South ) and “outdoorsy” boxes (gorgeous campus that’s informally known as “the mountain” Sewanee Outdoors - YouTube ), and they have a computer science major. I’m not sure it’s overall as “quirky” as some other school cultures but he might be able to find the right mix there. They recently upgraded their financial aid to full-need-met.

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This thread might be of interest regarding scholarships in Georgia if you don’t already know all that:

The other thing to know about Colorado College is that it is #1 in the nation for median family income. They do have great financial aid, but a lower-income student is going to be very much outnumbered by wealthy peers. There are both pros and cons to this but it’s just something to be prepared for. These NYT profiles can be useful in comparing schools: Economic diversity and student outcomes at Colorado College - The New York Times