Merry Christmas and happy holidays! URGENT:I desperately need help in college search

<p>Hey all,</p>

<p>I'm trying hard not to freak out about all of this, but with my first deadlines on January, 1 and not having a solid list of schools I want to go to, it's very stressful.</p>

<p>Anyways, I've done a bunch of different Supermatch searches and have had recommendations from my counselor, but my list is still pretty long. I was told in another section of the forum that you might be able to help me narrow it down/suggest other schools as well. Is there a way for me to post my Supermatch results here? If not, this a quick run through of what I'm looking for.</p>

<p>1) size of the school (LAC, large public, mid-sized)
•I don't think I'd do well in large lectures. So CLASS SIZE seems more important than anything else. Nothing massive.
•I think? medium school would be best for this, while also having good athletics -to spectate
•most likely liberal arts. I'm undecided on my major, and might want to do something ranging from sports medicine to biology, nutrition, design, landscaping, or advertising
•I would really like to have sports games matter to the student body -- I wouldn't play, but it would be fun to go to games where lots of people turn up. (D1 football games come to mind, which might be more common at larger schools)</p>

<p>2) location (part of the country, driving distrance from home, urban/suburban/small town, weather or geographic features)
•my two preferable locations are on a beach or by the mountains, but I'm flexible
•I live in New England so I'm used to crappy weather, but it might be nice to not worry about the cold so much..such as in the South
•I haven't looked out west much, with the exception of maybe a school like Boulder in CO (sure it's cold, but I love to ski) I figured that if it's gonna be cold, I might as well have something to do</p>

<p>3) culture (jock, intellectual, artsy, hipster, granola, quirky, etc..., liberal/conservative)
•this one I'm not too sure...my high school is currently trying to aid self-entitled individuals by outlawing holiday specific displays etc along with MANY other examples of trying to create equality (such as women only Wednesdays in the gym..), which I'm not a fan of<does that shed any light on my views? I'm definitely not discriminatory, but I don't think it should be up to the school to decide these things for us.
•I'm somewhat of a jock now, but I'm not sure how many sports I'll be playing in college
•I guess I'm between jock/intellectual. Kinda strange to put it that way, but that's how I see myself
•Definitely not preppy</p>

<p>4) deal-breakers (single sex? religious? cold?)
•must be coed
•I crossed out Michigan, for example, from my list due to the cold/no mountains</p>

<p>Then tell us:
3) what you plan to study/professional goals
•sports medicine
•nutrition
•Biologist
•landscape design
•stock broker
•something in medical field (pediatrician, surgeon, vet, radiologist)
•graphic design/photography</p>

<p>4) what you can afford (this one is crucial)
•I will try to find out tomorrow. Not very much though since my dad passed away and he was our main provider
5) grades and test scores
•3.73 GPA unweighted. Take all Level 1 classes
•1860 SAT/28 ACT - both weren't difficult, I just never had time to finish the sections. I recently found out I have ADHD and my counselor said she'll explain that in her letter regarding my low test scores. Is that a good idea??
6) hooks like URM, legacy, etc...
•from what I know, I have connections at William & Mary and Bowdoin, but there may be more. I'll ask that as well as what I can afford.</p>

<p>This the the list my counselor suggested a week ago:
•Wake Forest
•Bucknell
•Colgate
•Davidson
•Dickinson
•Elon
•High Point
•Franklin & Marshall
•Gettysburg
•Holy Cross
•Lafayette
•Lehigh
•UMD
•U Mass Amherst (safety?)
•U Miami
•U Richmond
•Rollins
•Skidmore (my counselor went there)
•UVM</p>

<p>Thank you so much for all your help!! I appreciate this more than you know.</p>

<p>Sorry this is a repost :/
Can't figure out how to delete the old one.</p>

<p>Here is the link to my Supermatch search: College</a> Search - College Confidential</p>

<p>If it doesn't work the first time, just keep trying. That's what happened to me. Thank you for any and all help!!!</p>

<p>So sorry to hear about the loss of your dad.</p>

<p>You definitely need to speak to your mom about what you can afford. If your funds are limited then take off all OOS publics and schools that don't "meet need."</p>

<p>If your mom has a large amount of savings/investments (such as from a life insurance payout), then that might hurt your qualifying for as much aid as you need.</p>

<p>Have you run any of the NPC calculators on your schools' websites? Only do so once you know your mom's situation....income, assets, home equity, etc. </p>

<p>UMass is only a safety if you know that you'll have all costs covered. If you're not sure how you'd pay, then it's not. </p>

<p>UMass</p>

<p>In-state tuition and fees: $12,797
Room and board: $10,310
Books and supplies: $1,000
Estimated personal expenses: $1,000
Transportation expense: $400 </p>

<p>Total costs....about $25k per year.</p>

<p>Be wary of schools that say they meet need. A lot of them say that and include your student loans in the financial aid package. It does not mean they are giving you free money. And some of them estimate your needs and still leave you a gap. In other words, they lowball your needs. </p>

<p>Finances trump everything. So wait until you get your acceptance letters and aid packages and compare.</p>

<p>Your scores are good, but not stellar. Its a good idea to spread around applications just to make sure.</p>

<p>Do not apply to any school where you cannot see yourself being happy and thriving. </p>

<p>Don't pick too many reaches. Focus on match and safety schools.</p>

<p>That 28 on the ACT translates into a 1920 on the SAT, so go with the ACT as your reported score if you can.</p>

<p>I assume you are a resident of Massechusetts, right?</p>

<p>Define your connections at William & Mary and at Bowdoin: Schools have very specific definititions of what counts as a legacy - it differs by school. </p>

<p>Let us know what your financial position is before we opine on the school list.</p>

<p>Good call M's Mom. I'll see if I can just report the 28 on the ACT.</p>

<p>Yes, I live in MA. As far as my connections go, I only have close family friends who have become very successful after leaving Bowdoin and William & Mary. No direct legacy. I guess all they could do is put in a good word..?</p>

<p>In terms of finances, I will need some sort of loan/aid wherever I go. My mom is widowed and makes ~24k a year supporting 3 children, one of which already in college (not me). We don't have a whole lot of savings, but a decent amount in stocks. Which of these is relevant when it comes to applying for loans/aid? My mom has the impression that I should first find the schools I want to apply to, then worry about paying for it later, since I'll need loans anyway.</p>

<p>Does this help narrow down my choices at all? Let me know when you can.</p>

<p>You have to fill out the CSS and FAFSA in order to be considered for aid.</p>

<p>As a general rule, schools where your stats are in the 75th percentile or higher will give you better aid in the form of grants and scholarships, reducing your borrowing needs substantially.</p>

<p>Reach schools for you, if they take you, will not be very inclined to give you scholarship money, and grant money may be iffy. </p>

<p>Prestige clouds the thinking of too many kids when they apply to schools. Being a match or safety school has NOTHING to do with the quality of education or whether you would be happy and succeed there. It has to do with admissions likelihood given YOUR stats, and whether they offer you money to come there. </p>

<p>There is nothing wrong with dreaming and applying to reach schools, but do not count on them to admit you or offer you money. </p>

<p>If you are below the 50th percentile in a school's profile, its a reach school for you. </p>

<p>In my opinion, your list is too reach heavy. Fine schools and you MIGHT get in, but then you might get stuck with insufficient aid and a lot of loans. </p>

<p>Beef up your list of schools on the safety level (use Barrons or Petersen's Directory). Safety schools will give you the money. </p>

<p>Do the FAFSA online now and see how that figures what your expected contribution will be (what you/mother must come up with.) </p>

<p>Finally, millions of kids are trapped because of finances. Life is not fair. But the well balanced and strong simply shrug and go to work and save money, join the military and use their college benefits after 3 years or they go to community college for a year to save a lot of money. Increasingly a college education is becoming elitist. Its sad.</p>

<p>However, apply as instructed and see what happens. Look at other schools in Pa, like Drexel, Juniata, St. Joe's. In Md. look at Loyola-Maryland and St. Mary's College of Md (a state school). In Virginia look at JMU, Mary Washington. </p>

<p>In NC, Elon and High Point are excellent choices and I encourage you there. But also look at Belmont Abbey. </p>

<p>In New York there is St. Bonaventure, Siena, Canisius, and several of the SUNY schools. </p>

<p>In Rhode Island look at Roger Williams and Providence and Assumption College. </p>

<p>Good luck.</p>

<p>Thanks for your advice, very informative.
We have a family friend handle all of our taxes, so much of what we used for the CSS were 'educated guesses' based off previous years. I'll also have to hear from him about FAFSA. Here's what we got when calculated for Elon (sorry if the formatting is kinda messed up):</p>

<p>Estimated Cost of Attendance
Tuition & Fees
27,881$
Room & Board
9,090$
Books & Supplies
900$
Transportation
1,100$
Personal Expenses
1,500$
Estimated Total Cost of Attendance
40,471$</p>

<p>Estimated Grant Aid
Grants and Scholarships
9,800$
Estimated Total Grant Aid
9,800$</p>

<p>ESTIMATED NET PRICE
30,671$</p>

<p>Estimated Self Help
Student Loan
11,000$
Student Work
2,500$
Estimated Total Self Help
13,500$</p>

<p>ESTIMATED REMAINING COST
17,171$</p>

<p>Again, just approximations for one school.</p>

<p>I have since eliminated Richmond, Flagler, and Rollins (amazing campus, but too few majors/not the ones I'm thinking I'll be interested in) and finished a draft of my common app essay. It's about 1500 words so I have a lot of simplifying to do o_O</p>

<p>I'll have a chance to look at the schools sovereign recommends in the morning. Thanks again for your help!</p>

<p>*on a side note, what are your opinions on Wake Forest? I'll continue to read reviews on the school, but am curious if you think it would be a good fit for me, based off what I'm looking for (see first post in thread), finances, etc. Also, I want to be especially sure that I both want to go there and be able to pay for it, seeing as time is a factor and their admissions questions are borderline ridiculous. --I guess their tactic of weeding out uncertain applicants is working..</p>

<p>I'll be checking back to see what you all have to say. Thanks!</p>

<p>We don't have a whole lot of savings, but a decent amount in stocks. Which of these is relevant when it comes to applying for loans/aid? My mom has the impression that I should first find the schools I want to apply to, then worry about paying for it later, since I'll need loans anyway</p>

<p>The stocks are definitely relevant.</p>

<p>Your mom is misinformed. You cannot just take out loans anyway... You shouldn't just worry about money later when your family doesn't earn much but has assets.</p>

<p>Your FA packages will already include your maximum student loans. As you can see with your Elon estimate, they included 11k in student loans (which is VERY high for a student) and yet you still have $17k in remaining costs. How would the remaining costs get covered.</p>

<p>Frankly, I'm a little shocked by the $11k in loans from Elon. Your Stafford loans will total 5500. Are they suggesting that you'd get another $5500 in Perkins loans? I've never heard of that large of Perkins loans and I don't think you can really expect that.</p>

<p>Your mom would have to co-sign any additional loans. that's a bad idea since she'd be responsible and she doesn't earn much.</p>

<p>You say that you have a sibling in college. How is that child's college costs covered?</p>

<p>I think you need a more reasonable list for your stats. Your list needs to include schools that meet need and would likely accept you. Your chances at BC and Wake are low.</p>

<p>*•sports medicine
•nutrition
•Biologist
•landscape design
•stock broker
•something in medical field (pediatrician, surgeon, vet, radiologist)
•graphic design/photography</p>

<p>*</p>

<p>Looking at your career plans suggests that you need to avoid loans as much as you can. If you're planning on medicine, then med school costs will be very high, so you should borrow little for undergrad. Many of your other career ideas won't be high paying after you graduate so how would you pay back those loans?</p>

<p>Figure out your safeties first -- schools you will be admitted to, which you will definitely be able to afford, and which you will like attending. Your in-state public universities and community colleges are the most likely safety candidates. Your stats would give you the large Blazer Elite Scholarship at UAB, but they give those out first come first served, so this late in the process, they may not have any left.</p>

<p>Given that you are not really sure what it is you want to do, I think you need to look more broadly for schools off the "beaten path". Have you considered Franklin Pierce University in NH (excellent merit aid) and they offer a lot of what you say you may be interested in, not too far from Mass, so travel expenses would not be an issue. There are lots of schools like this that may not be on your radar, but could offer a very good education, financial aid that would make school affordable, and also offer the social, etc, activities you seek. You just have to look a bit. Franklin Pierce does have rolling admissions, so it isn't too late, although good aid is offered early.</p>

<p>
[quote]
I haven't looked out west much, with the exception of maybe a school like Boulder in CO (sure it's cold, but I love to ski) I figured that if it's gonna be cold, I might as well have something to do

[/quote]
</p>

<p>Check out Colorado College. It's arguably the best school in that state (College</a> Rankings - Top Ranked Universities in Colorado - Highest Overall School Score - StateUniversity.com). Their RD application deadline is January 15. For admissions selectivity it is comparable to Richmond, Holy Cross, or Lafayette (but trust me, has much better skiing :)) The climate is very sunny, dry, and not as frigid as the upper Midwest. Kiplinger's rates it highly among "best value" colleges (#11 of 100 LACs).
I'm confident that if they accept you, they would not expect you to borrow $11K/year.</p>

<p>Pre-med and sports medicine programs:
<a href="http://coloradocollege.edu/Bulletin/March2005/healing.asp%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://coloradocollege.edu/Bulletin/March2005/healing.asp&lt;/a>
[url=<a href="http://www.coloradocollege.edu/academics/curriculum/catalog/departmental/sport-science.dot%5DSport"&gt;http://www.coloradocollege.edu/academics/curriculum/catalog/departmental/sport-science.dot]Sport&lt;/a> Science ? Colorado College<a href="one%20of%20the%20only%20LACs%20to%20offer%20cadaver-based%20human%20anatomy%20and%20physiology%20classes">/url</a></p>

<p>
[quote]
I don't think I'd do well in large lectures. So CLASS SIZE seems more important than anything else. Nothing massive.

[/quote]

CC has no classes larger than 49 students. Only about 2% have more than 29. About 2/3 have fewer than 20 students.</p>

<p>
[quote]
I would really like to have sports games matter to the student body -- I wouldn't play, but it would be fun to go to games where lots of people turn up

[/quote]
</p>

<p>Hockey is the big spectator sport. One of the best D1 teams in America. Enthusiastic following by the college and surrounding Colorado Springs community. After a couple of games, you'll think football is for sissies.</p>

<p>Other posters are giving you good advice on the importance of safeties and not being too clouded by school prestige. On the other hand, generally speaking, the more selective the school, the better the need-based aid. Merit aid is a different matter. However, from what you've disclosed, it looks like you should qualify for significant need-based aid (unless your family's stocks do have a high value and are not protected in a retirement plan).</p>

<p>I think you have a good (though overly long) list on the match & reach sides. Just be sure to cover your safety base for cost as well as admission.</p>

<p>Holy Cross does have January 15th application deadline and like the Ivies is need-blind for admissions. HC has very nice campus.</p>