More matches needed?

<p>These are the schools on my son’s list. My concern is that if he strikes at all his reach/match schools I don’t want him to be relegated to his safety school. As we have visited different colleges he has hinted that he will be real unhappy if he ends up at his safety, our state flagship (Ohio State). So his safety isn’t really a safety, but will probably remain on his list because it is good for his intended major (engineering/science) and will be affordable. We are a low/medium income family with an EFC near 0, so cost is important. I want the probability of having to attend his safety less than 1 percent.</p>

<p>These are his schools ranked roughly by selectivity:</p>

<p>Yale
MIT
Princeton
Dartmouth
Caltech
Chicago
Olin
WUSTL
Rice</p>

<p>His stats:</p>

<p>SAT: 2400
SAT II: 2400
Rank: 1/200
Curriculum: Most demanding (11 APs)
ECs: Very average (sports, art, school clubs, summer math and engineering programs)
Recommendations: Should be excellent
Hooks: None</p>

<p>He is going to visit WUSTL and Chicago next month. He will have visited all of his schools except Yale, Princeton and Caltech. If he adds more match schools, it would be nice if he could visit them before he applies. With his profile, I think he should get into at least three schools on his list. Am I too optimistic? Should I encourage more options in the match range?</p>

<p>Other options:
Duke
Vanderbilt
Northwestern</p>

<p>Thanks,</p>

<p>QEDdad</p>

<p>Well he has the numbers for any of those schools, but the low admit rates would make me nervous as well. I can't speak to the fin-aid at these schools but three that come to mind that are a bit easier to get into but still pretty rigorous:</p>

<p>Carnegie-Mellon - Match/Low Reach
University of Rochester - Match
Case-Western - Safety</p>

<p>Of course there's always Michigan, but being from Ohio I don't know if they'll let you into the state much less the university ;).</p>

<p>Thanks for the input, I'm pretty happy with his list, just want to know if he is taking too much risk. One of his good friends is attending Case and is happy, but he's thinking outside of Ohio. Carnegie-Mellon would definitely be in the running but has poor financial aid.</p>

<p>Well I think you are rolling the dice a bit when you factor in the admit rates. Six of your first nine schools have admissions rates below 13%, at least three have single digit admit rates. His easiest admits are Rice and WUSTL both of which admit around 22%. Your son is a very strong candidate, but those are odds I wouldn't be comfortable with.</p>

<p>I would think that with EFC near zero, cost should be nearly irrelevant. With his stats, he should expect to be admitted to many of these fine schools that meet full need:</p>

<p>Colleges</a> That Claim to Meet the Full Financial Needs of Students - US News and World Report</p>

<p>If he applies to 10 match schools where his chances at each are 50/50, he has a 0.1% chance of having to attend his safety.</p>

<p>Both Rice and Princeton post some pretty detailed stats. At Rice I think his probability of admission is well over 50%. At Princeton, 2300+ is at 27%. That is the problem. What is his chances of getting into each school, and how independent are those probabilities. I guess in the end, it would pay to be cautious, even if it means not being able to visit all the match schools.</p>

<p>Meeting full need is a necessary, but not a sufficient test. Meeting full need without loans is what I'm shooting for. For example Harvey Mudd would surely make the short list, except they would most likely cost an extra $40,000 over four years, as near as I can tell.</p>

<p>Many schools publish their Common Data Set (google can find it if they do). Section C9 shows the stats of the last matriculating class. I heard of a study that suggested that for a random student at a random school, test scores in the 67th percentile resulted in a 50% chance of admission (because of how yields work--lower scoring applicants are more likely to accept an offer of admission, so fewer offers are given to low scorers than to high scorers).</p>

<p>Meeting full need without loans will be tougher. Schools with limited endowments can admit 10% more needy applicants if 10% of costs are met with modest loans. There may not be a relationship between list price and loans; our D1's school was singled out as the most expensive in the state, but produced the lowest cumulative indebtedness at graduation.</p>

<p>Have you looked into Emory? If your son shows interest, he is likely to get in. If he doesn't, he will get rejected/waitlisted. If you want more info on the school, PM me.</p>

<p>Emory, as I recall does not have a engineering department. I know Chicago does either and it made the list. I've pointed that out to my son, but he says, "But it's Chicago."</p>

<p>Vossron, one of the problems with being a high stats kid is that the common data stats are no help in deciding if a school is an option. The schools at the very top seem to take perverse pleasure in saying how many 2400s they reject. When we were visiting some of these colleges, they would state how SATs didn't really matter, that they considered each candidate holistically. I personally think that they are just trying to boost application numbers, because their mid fifty percentile scores didn't just happen by themselves. Lately I've been looking at the estimated median SAT score of peer institutions to try to predict who cares about SAT scores (Caltech) and who doesn't (Stanford).</p>

<p>
[quote]
I would think that with EFC near zero, cost should be nearly irrelevant.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>He's sure to get aid from any school that accepts him, probably lots of it. But there is bound to be variation in the balance of self-help versus grant aid. </p>

<p>I'd be very surprised if none of those 9 schools accepted a student who is first in his class with perfect test scores and average or better ECs. A more likely scenario is that several of the schools in the upper half turn him down, and the remainder offer aid packages laden with loans, work study, or more than the expected parental contribution. I'd be a little surprised at that outcome, too, but better to be cautious. The way HYPSM seem to look at things is that they see no significant difference between a 2400 and a 2200-2300. They apparently get lots of applicants in the latter range with astonishing ECs and "stories".</p>

<p>Suggested match schools: Purdue, Bucknell, Rochester, Villanova, Georgia Tech, Rose Hulman. Those are (mostly) for an engineering orientation. You have many other choices among arts & science schools, including small liberal arts colleges if those have any appeal. Possibilities: Grinnell College (big endowment, lots of scholarship money available, new science facility), Wesleyan University.</p>

<p>So you realize Chicago has no engineering programs. It's excellent for science and mathematics though. A school that is about equally selective (or slightly less so), but with engineering, is Johns Hopkins. USC, too, but it looks like your kid is looking for a more wonky atmosphere.</p>

<p>Tk21769,</p>

<p>I looked at Johns Hopkins several years ago, but it appeared that their financial aid was a little marginal. All of the schools on my son's list claim to be no loan. I do agree that the EFC and student self help could vary considerably. Some schools have excellent financial aid estimators (Princeton, MIT, Dartmouth). Some lay out their policies very clearly and some do not. That is why I'd like to see him have at least three school that he would be thrilled to attend as options.</p>

<p>Your son may be able to create a safety through the EA applications process. If he applies EA and has an acceptance in hand by December from an EA school with a good record for aid, he can regard that acceptance as a safety. There are two possibilities here. He could apply to Yale SCEA. Alternatively, he could apply EA to U of Chicago, MIT and Caltech. You'll want to consider (with help from more knowledgeable posters on CC) which is the best strategy for him. </p>

<p>Is he going to be a National Merit semifinalist?</p>

<p>He will most likely apply EA to Chicago, Caltech and MIT. Since the time between the EA notification date and RD applications due date is so short though, he would have to have all of the RD applications lined up regardless of outcome, so I'm not advising him to wait. It would definitely ease the worry though.</p>

<p>Yes he will be a NMSF. Ohio State guarantees full tuition, he doesn't have much interest in the schools that pursue National Merit kids though. The val at our school a couple of years back (36 ACT) choose the University of Oklahoma for the scholarship. My son does not want to follow that model, although maybe I could sell it to him as a safety option. It is good to have options.</p>

<p>Dartmouth, Chicago, WUSTL have no/weak engineering. Consider Cornell if science or engineering is his intended major. See what kind of financial aid they offer.</p>

<p>Make sure to take a look at Keilexandra's list of NM scholarships (go to the end of the thread for the most up-to-date listing). </p>

<p><a href="http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/national-merit-scholarships/649276-nmf-scholarships-updated-compilation.html%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/national-merit-scholarships/649276-nmf-scholarships-updated-compilation.html&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>collegehelp,</p>

<p>We visited Dartmouth and Cornell. Before the visit Cornell was in the running and Dartmouth was a maybe. He liked Dartmouth and didn't like Cornell. I agree Cornell definitely has a better engineering program, but I didn't feel it was the school for him. If he gets into Dartmouth (a big maybe) then the consideration of where he would get the best technical education may eliminate it, but the school has so many other positives, I think it would be wrong to eliminate it at this stage.</p>

<p>WUSTL and Chicago may be eliminated as well after a visit, but right now they look good - WUSTL in particular is a popular school at his high school. Kids at his high school seem to prefer Midwest schools and LACs, not too much interest or success with the Ivy League schools.</p>

<p>I originally started this thread hoping someone would tell me that he should be fine and his college list looks balanced, or the opposite that he needs more match schools. I appreciate all the suggestions though on schools to consider. Most of the suggestions I have previously considered, but it is helpful to have them presented from a fresh perspective. Any further thoughts on the overall balance of his list?</p>

<p>Slithey Tove,</p>

<p>A few years back I took a very close look at NM scholarship opportunities. Now I think that our finances and his profile points to shooting for Full Need No Loan schools. I was really excited by mom2collegekids descriptions of the University of Alabama. As my son has matured though I think a large public is not the best fit for his personality.</p>

<p>Here are my thoughts:</p>

<p>Yale, MIT, and Princeton - reaches, as they are for pretty much everyone, but he certainly has a shot if he can get good recs, write good essays, etc.</p>

<p>Dartmouth and Caltech - from personal experience and what I've heard, they are suckers for high test scores (I got a likely letter from Dartmouth and I had very high test scores, but not perfect like your son's), so I would say these are a lower reach.</p>

<p>Rice, WUSTL - I would say these are matches; WUSTL isn't very strong in engineering I don't think, but I'd say it's worth keeping because like Yale and Dartmouth (which don't have great engineering reps either), it's still a very elite education overall.</p>

<p>Olin - I know Olin's a great engineering school, but I can't really comment on it's selectivity, etc. I would say any school is within your son's range though.</p>

<p>Chicago - I would cut Chicago out, since it has no engineering programs at all. Of course your son will probably change majors during his time in college, but I think it'd be better if he went to a school where engineering was at least an OPTION. But, if he loves it, by all means, you can apply. Chicago seems to emphasize creative essays a lot given what their essay prompts are, so if your son can write those well, Chicago'll be a match.</p>

<p>So at this point, if you cut out Chicago, you have 3 reaches, 2 lower reaches, 2 matches, 1 safety (and 1 unknown, Olin).</p>

<p>As for other recommendations, I would definitely add Northwestern to the list. It has a great engineering school and is a top university overall; I received some research scholarship money from the engineering school because of my academic stats, so I'm assuming your son would too and it'd be great for him to get involved in research right away. Northwestern would be a match.</p>

<p>I can recommend one or two other matches ... Michigan would be a good one for science/engineering. USC is pretty good in engineering too and assuming your son becomes a National Merit Finalist, he automatically gets half-tuition (I'm not sure how their regular financial aid is, though). Michigan and USC are probably in between safety and match and are still very respected schools.</p>