Need help for deciding colleges for political science major

<p>My S is rising senior and deciding now which colleges he should apply to. He wants to major in political science and do laws in graduate school. If anyone could give us reach, match, safety schools based on his rough stats below, we will very appreciate that (maybe we already know HYPS is obviously reach, so we're much more interested in the match and safety schools). From your information we can start researching each school in depth and figure out good list of schools he should apply to. </p>

<p>GPA: 3.97 / 4.0
SAT: 2370
PSAT: 237
No SATII yet
3APs so far (one self study) and 5 more APs in senior (3 or 4 are max until junior in his HS)
EC: Debate captain (couple of state awards), Mock trial lawyer, Tri-M president, Martching band (some state awards)</p>

<p>He is in CA public high school around 70th ranked in the nation, so competition is quite intense in his HS. Again, we appreciate any of your inputs! </p>

<p>Aha, great financial aid always becomes a great considering factor :)</p>

<p>Any school is going to be fine, you kinda did not give enough information. Your s will be able to go to LawSchool from any UndergradSchool,(a 50 rank school is just as good as a 10 ranked school), also the major should not effect the choice much, because your son is going to study broadly(not just in that department), and some of the best departments(research wise), have horrid professors for teaching.</p>

<p>Really you need to consider a few things:
What can you afford? Can you get in?
Location? Size? urban vs rural?
Just to name a few</p>

<p>Berkeley seems like an obvious first choice. </p>

<p>A nice first place to start is the US News rankings. I should emphasize that rankings are not the most important thing. They are, however, organized approximately in order of selectivity. You might consider ranks 20-30 as being match-ish. Anything above that is a craps shoot, even for students with your kid's grades.
Don't forget to look at LAC's; They are a great option for many kids.</p>

<p>I suggest U of Virginia, because I am moral obligated. We are 25 on USNews, We have a top 10 law school. We are usually given high marks for our professors'teaching. He have very historic grounds.</p>

<p>Do you happen to know what type of political science your S would be most interested in? American? International? Methodology? Theory? Comparative? </p>

<p>I would recommend (for just political science in general):
U Chicago
Duke
MIT
UNC-CH
Columbia
UMich
NYU </p>

<p>All of the above mentioned have the best departments in the country. (Ranked between #4 UMich and #17 NYU). Granted, this is graduate department rankings, but it gives you a general idea as the to the strength of the faculty/department overall.</p>

<p>Cost constraints?</p>

<p>Be aware that political science is one of the most popular majors for pre-law students, even though no specific major is required for law school. On the other hand, math and philosophy and several other majors tend to do better on the LSAT -- perhaps having to exercise both quantitative/logical thinking as well as qualitative/humanistic/social thinking may be helpful.</p>

<p>From personal experience, I'll agree with ucbalumnus - I'm a double major in philosophy and politics and (1) I find them to go well together, especially when coupled with psychology and (2) I find that the logic/reasoning skills taught from philosophy classes (especially logic) can be quite helpful. I've found the LSAT a relatively easy test, considering. Whether or not that's a direct effect of majoring in philosophy, I cannot say.</p>

<p>Thanks for the great info ALL!
Since he is 2nd generation Asian, he would be more interested in internation relation, but not quite decided yet. We're not caring much about the size or the location. But we do care about the financial aid or scholarship if it is available :) While he was doing the Lincoln-Douglas debate, he said he was more and more interested in knowing philosphy, so double majoing like NYU2013 mentioned would be very interesting idea. Is NYU good for that? How is the financial program there?</p>

<p>Rising senior???</p>

<p>Does that mean that your son isn't a senior yet?</p>

<p>A "rising" student is "between years"....such as during the summer between junior and senior year, a student is a "rising senior".</p>

<p>NYU good for that? How is the financial program there?</p>

<p>NYU is notoriously bad with aid.</p>

<p>* But we do care about the financial aid or scholarship if it is available *</p>

<p>Financial aid is based on "need". If a school looks at your income and assets and thinks that you don't have need, then you don't get aid. Family contribution is roughly 25%-33% of your income. A family recently posted that with an income of about $125k, their child's ED school expects them to pay $35k per year. </p>

<p>The expected family contribution could be higher if you have a lot of assets, savings, or home equity. </p>

<p>Scholarships are based on stats....but many top schools don't give scholarships.</p>

<p>Yes he is junior now, just finished first semester.
Do you know any schools for poly science with good aid?</p>

<p>NYU has the best philosophy department in the english speaking world =D. I regularly take classes from field leading philosophers. Some of the greatest philosophical minds alive today teach at NYU - Ned Block, Thomas Nagel, James Pryor, Sharon Street, Peter Unger, David Velleman, Derek Parfit. All are huge names in Philosophy. NYU has been ranked #1 since 2004, consistently beating Rutgers, Princeton, Oxford. (NYU, Rutgers, Princeton and Oxford are the "big boys" of Philosophy). The philosophy department at NYU is actually the reason I chose NYU over some other very highly ranked schools/ivys. </p>

<p>As far as International Relations goes, the best schools are:</p>

<p>Harvard
Stanford
Princeton
Yale
Columbia
U Mich
U Chicago
UCB
MIT
NYU*</p>

<p>Those schools make up the top 10 for IR in the US. </p>

<ul>
<li>IR at NYU is an honors major within the politics department - meaning your S would have to take certain pre-requisite classes within the politics department and achieve a minimum 3.6 GPA to be considered admission to the program.</li>
</ul>

<p>While NYU is not known for always being generous with aid, if your son keeps his GPA around what it is now, with his SAT scores, it's possible he could get near full-tutition.</p>

<p>That's good to know, NYU2013. Thanks for the great info. Definitely we will look into NYU and would like your help again if it's ok.</p>

<p>No problem - Just send any questions you might have my way and I'll do my best to give you a good answer.</p>

<p>NYU is generally considered to be poor with need-based aid, though a few students apparently get good merit scholarships. If significant financial aid is needed, consider NYU to be a "reach" school -- one would need to hit the higher bar for a large merit scholarship, versus the regular bar for admission.</p>

<p>Be sure to have safety schools in the application list -- these are the most important schools to determine first, in order to avoid being shut out. Being in California, some of the mid-level UCs look pretty safe with those stats, if you can afford the cost of attendance net of non-loan financial aid, while having good departments in political science and philosophy.</p>

<p>Yes, UCB, UCLA are good match for him. His HS sends hundres of students to those schools every year. The most problem I heard for these schools is that they are UC so in terrible financial situation. As a result, the number of classes are cut so it is very difficult to be enrolled in good classes. It usually takes more than 4 years to graduate. I agree they have great programs for poly science, but have number of problems as well.</p>

<p>SeanDaddy, you should be suspicious of any list of top undergraduate IR schools that does not include Georgetown. A more objective discussion can be found here:</p>

<p><a href="http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/other-college-majors/503437-ranking-undergraduate-international-relations-programs.html%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/other-college-majors/503437-ranking-undergraduate-international-relations-programs.html&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

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<p>Actually, University</a> of California: StatFinder indicates that four year graduation rates have been rising at UC campuses. The most recent data, for freshmen entering 2005, shows 71.4% graduating in four years from Berkeley, and 66.9% graduating in four years from UCLA.</p>

<p>Indeed, the budget cuts and attendant rising in-state costs may have given students a greater incentive to graduate on-time. For Berkeley freshman entering in 2000, the four year graduation rate was only 57.2%; it was 45.6% for 1996 freshmen and 31.9% for 1992 freshmen.</p>

<p>But for safeties, consider the mid-level UCs like SD, D, I, SB, SC.</p>

<p>*Do you know any schools for poly science with good aid? *</p>

<p>In my opinion, most of the univ with top law schools are going to have very good poly sci undergrad programs....they seem to go hand in hand.</p>

<p>We need to know what you mean by "good with aid." A school can be fabulous with need-based aid, but they won't give YOU a dime if they think you earn too much or have too much in savings/investments/equity. My sister has 2 kids in schools that give "great aid," but she doesn't get ONE CENT from them....even with 2 in college....because of their savings. </p>

<p>Are you or your spouse self-employed or own a business or have "business related deductions"?</p>

<p>Do you have significant assets/savings/home equity? </p>

<p>Do you have a highish income...such as 6 figures?</p>

<p>The other kind of "aid" is merit based. The top schools like ivies and Stanford don't give any merit based aid. </p>

<p>Some of NYU's colleges give large merit scholarships (not all do!). Yes, with your son's stats, he might get a $20k merit scholarship towards tuition...but total cost is about $60k, so you'd still be on the hook for about $40k per year. </p>

<p>How much can you pay per year?</p>

<p>*It usually takes more than 4 years to graduate [from UCs].
*</p>

<p>Not when kids don't change their majors, take a full load, don't drop classes, and pay attention to req'ts. None of my nieces or nephews have taken more than 4 years to graduate from UCs.</p>

<p>I just heard from neighbors and friends that most UC classes are full and limited. Some people said it took 6 years. Anyway I agree that we should not judge based on only several incidents. One thing for sure is that they are in tough situation these days. </p>

<p>As for financial, we're not that in great status. We're living CA!
My ballpark figure is $20,000 to $30,000 would be the maximum we could support.</p>

<p>Thanks for the great link, LookingIn</p>

<p>


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<p>Per year?</p>

<p>$20,000 per year ~= CSU in-state list price without financial aid or scholarships, or certain super-cheap out-of-state list price schools like Minnesota - Morris, North Dakota, South Dakota State, and perhaps some Western Undergraduate Exchange (= 1.5 times in-state tuition) schools.</p>

<p>$30,000 per year ~= UC in-state list price without financial aid or scholarships, or certain cheap out-of-state list price schools like Minnesota - Twin Cities, Virginia Tech, or SUNY.</p>

<p>Most private or out-of-state public schools are in the $40,000 to $50,000 list price range before financial aid or scholarships.</p>

<p>Put "net price calculator" into each school's web site search box to get an idea of what kind of financial aid it may give to reduce your cost.</p>

<p>*As for financial, we're not that in great status. We're living CA!
My ballpark figure is $20,000 to $30,000 would be the maximum we could support. *</p>

<p>I'm from Calif so I totally understand the issue of a high cost of living. However, aid is NOT based on what you can afford, nor is it based on where you live (high cost of living). No margin for that. That's why I made the point that even if a school is "generous" with aid, it won't be generous if they think your income/assets are too high. </p>

<p>HYPS are 4 schools that give what I call "super aid." Roughly, they expect you to pay about 10-15-20% of your income if you earn less than about $160k and have modest assets. However, once you get past that benchmark, you may have to pay full freight. (The claims that these 4 schools only expect 10% doesn't seem to hold up when incomes are in the $125k+ area...but maybe that's because those people have assets or larger retirement contributions and maybe "student contribution" isn't part of the 10%???)</p>

<p>That said, the other schools that meet need (MIT, other ivies, etc) are NOT that generous. If your income is above 100k, they will likely expect about 30% of your income.....or more if you have assets. Only those who are lowish incomes pay nothing. </p>

<p>You need to determine whether your income and assets are too high for the aid you need. If so, then you need a strategy. If your likely expected family contribution is much higher than you can pay, then you have to include schools on your list that will work. </p>

<p>If your expected contribution will be much higher than you can pay, then:</p>

<p>Include HYPS....since their formulas are generous for those who earn less than $160k and don't have many assets.</p>

<p>apply to a couple of top schools that won't likely give the needed aid, but what the heck.</p>

<p>apply to some UCs.....since cost is about $30k.</p>

<p>apply to schools like Santa Clara and USC which give big merit for high stats.</p>

<p>apply to some financial safety schools that will FOR SURE give you large merit for stats.</p>