Political Science/eastern time zone

DD22(smart outgoing, confident, and politically motivated liberal) is looking for a very good political science/pre law/public policy program at a college anywhere from New England to GA. 3.9 GPA unweighted/4.32 weighted, 1370 SAT, 31 ACT. Tends to make friends with the arts/smarts kids, and has interest in ceramics and photography and especially debate. Her dream school is Brown but she his aware she is not in range. Her list now includes: Smith, Mount Holyoke, Wellesley, Bryn Mawr, Villanova, Lehigh, Gettysburg, Vassar, Wesleyan U, American, Johns Hopkins, UVA, William & Mary, Emory, UGA (honors program?), Davidson and Macalester. Her favorites now are UVA, William and Mary, Smith, Vassar and Bryn Mawr. She isn’t particularly socially adept in big groups and a big party school would feel terrible to her but she likes to have fun in smaller groups-- just not “stupid fun.” She has taken Georgetown and Univ of Richmond off her list as she doesn’t feel they are a good cultural fit, UNC because it’s nearly impossible to get into for an out-of-stater (we live in Maine), Swarthmore because of their housing philosophy and Brown/Vanderbilt because she knows she won’t get in. Open to advice regarding political science programs in particular or any more general suggestions. Thanks.

  1. $$: can you pay for all of these schools with no loans? you mention law & public policy- both areas that require expensive grad school. Also, public policy also famously pays poorly until you get into the upper echelons (and often doesn’t even pay well then!), and debt can seriously limit the ability to take un/poorly paid internships and entry level jobs.

  2. Some random comments on specific schools:

  • GW doesn’t have the warm and cuddly LAC feel you seem to be emphasizing, but is the single best school for a highly motivated PoliSci student: the ability to have meaningful internships during term- a key element for getting jobs in the field- is unparalleled.

  • Has she looked at George Mason?

  • “a big party school would feel terrible to her”- so why UVa??

  • Not sure that Lehigh is going to feel like a good fit

  • Was she looking at the College or SFS for Georgetown? they have surprisingly different cultures.

  • What didn’t she like about Swat’s housing policy? I was curious so I took a quick look online & didn’t see anything that wasn’t present in all of the colleges that the Collegekids have been involved with (including some others on your list).

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For Poli Sci/Public Policy, also take a look at Denison outside Columbus, Ohio (eastern time zone). Excellent fine and performing arts (including ceramics, which Vassar does not have as part of its studio art curriculum). Its old party school reputation is long out of date – . yes, there are parties, same as at Amherst, Kenyon etc., but not the only thing happening on campus on the weekends.

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Take a look at Franklin & Marshall. D20 really liked it a lot and she sounds a lot like your D.

UVA and William & Mary are also impossible to get into for out of staters.

Gettysburg has a very good public policy program.

For refining your daughter’s current choices and for additional ideas, these sites might be helpful:

Most the schools you mention are out of range - on this list, I’d say Lehigh, Gettysburg, American (if you express interest) and maybe Macalester.

Might she consider Elon, College of Charleston, Franklin & Marshall, Washington College (MD), Dickinson, Allegheny.

While it’s ranked higher, she’ll have an easier time getting into South Carolina’s Honor’s College than UGA - where the avg ACT is much higher. She’d have an outside chance at Washington & Lee. Not sure your state but perhaps a small state school in your state.

Budget? Have your run the NPCs?

Pretty combative.

  1. Don’t worry about how I’m going to pay for it. If I felt like that was pertinent, I would have mentioned it.

  2. GW is an integrated urban school, which she isn’t interested in.

  3. George Mason takes significant money from the Koch family. For my liberal-minded daughter, this would be unacceptable.

4.UVA is not what I consider to be a big party school. It has 17K people on campus. U Florida has almost 53K. That’s a big party school.

  1. The college for Georgetown.

  2. Swarthmore is fully committed to a 2-person traditional dorm situation. No special interest housing, theme housing, coop, “houses” etc.

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Definitely no intent to be combative!

re: finance- people arrive on CC with very different levels of resources, very different levels of familiarity with college costs & funding, and very different levels of familiarity with the political science field. Every year parents and students get nasty surprises (including getting into the dream school & then discovering that they aren’t able to afford it). So, the first question is pretty much always about budget and expectations. We have a collegekid / now gradschool kid deep in the polisci space, and it’s one that I have experience in, and I am continually dismayed at how brutal the path is, and just how badly students / new entrants in the field are used.

re: GW- I get that about GW, and don’t blame her at all! just wanted to make sure that you all were aware that the internship difference at GW is real, significant and meaningful. Of course, the college experience has many components, and that is just one.

re: GMU- good point! I had forgotten the Koch funding thing.

re: UVa- LOL this a great example of how something that seems so clear when you write it can be read differently! I was thinking schools with a strong party culture, but I see your point about big party school :slight_smile:

re: Georgetown- IF her political science interest has a strong international element, it’s worth checking out SFS (vs the College).

re: Swat housing- gotcha.

re: Elon- pretty traditional; College of Charleston- only in the Honors college; Macalaster- urban campus.

One last question (also for @tsbna44): she has a 3.9UW, and lots of schools will still be test optional for this coming cycle, Are y’all sure that the schools you think are ‘out of reach’ really are out of reach? @lollylolly, do the ECs, LoRs & essays tell a strong story?

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I read College Mom’s note - what was combative? Everyone on CC asks about money. You didn’t mention it - so whether or not it’s pertinent to you, we are not mind readers, so she asked. As Poli Sci is not pre-professional, for those who find jobs, it’s low paying - so it’s 100% a very fair question.


Interesting you ask about the test optional. I didn’t know this - I learned on the CC - but schools that are test optional still ask you to report test scores after the fact (even though they don’t use in admission). U Chicago enrolled a 20 ACT. Bates 25th percent was 27 - but again, it wasn’t used. So Eastern Seaboard, if you go test optional, maybe a Bates might make the cut?

When I see a 4.3 W vs. a 3.9 UW, my guess is there was 5 or 6 APs - so hence I mentioned schools a cut below - because I’m guessing the rigor is solid, but not spectacular. Most with a 3.9 would be a 4.5+ if they had extreme rigor - but again, without a listing of classes, it’s just a guess.

To many of the schools added, how about Connecticut College, Skidmore, Ursinus.

Not all schools require submission of test scores for matriculants, I am not sure ANY are requiring that for class of 2021…if you know of some please share.

UChicago has never required matriculants to submit test scores (since they have been TO)…so that ACT 20 applicant applied with their test score, and was accepted. Even non-TO schools have always been able to accept students with low test scores.

One you get past the very tippy top, there are lots of schools that are good at Poli Sci. I would concentrate more on the overall feel of the school than the major. What about Oberlin?

Actually I thought the same and brought up no way and someone corrected me that they’re required to ask for it from TO who enroll. I’m like you…I thought no way. And I can’t find it on the net that it’s true.

Perhaps what happened is someone submitted it but applied TO so it wasn’t reviewed in the admission decision. Bates also had a discrepancy and that was how they explained it.

Like you, I’d have thought - TO means no score if you don’t desire. So who knows. Since someone corrected me I threw it out.

Wesleyan has a lot to recommend it, including sitting members of both houses of Congress to serve as role models. I highly recommend John Hickenlooper’s autobiography as one example of how a young person can gradually, and over many years, collect enough life experience to start a political career. IIRC, he started out with nothing more than a masters degree in geology.*

*The Opposite of Woe: My Life in Beer and Politics

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Connecticut College fits your daughter’s current mix.

Since her first choice is Brown, here’s an article/list of “schools similar to Brown”:

Tsbna44/ Wow— well, according to her college counselor, her advisor and al online metrics, most of those listed are not reach schools, with UVA being a stretch. Still it is at the top of her list and her gpa/LOR/activities/essays are strong. Those you list as targets— Gettysburg, Lehigh and American— are all consistently labeled as safeties for her. We know she’s not in range for Brown, Vanderbilt, Columbia etc. but feel very comfortable having her apply to Smith, William and Mary and Bryn Mawr. She is within range for all of them.

Collegemom3717/ Ok, I see better where you’re coming from. I agree that some here seem awfully ready to put my DD22 in a much lower category than her 3.9 UW, 1370 SAT,31 ACT deserve. Her letters will be strong— these same teachers have written things like “intellectual leader” and “gifted in the humanities” “strong work ethic”, etc. she hasn’t begun her essays but worked with a PhD in a college writing class last year so I think she’s very capable of submitting great essays.

She is still very interested in UVA, William & Mary, Smith, Bryn Mawr and Vassar. Her college counselor has Smith, Mount Holyoke and Bryn Mawr as safeties for her.

And yes, I believe I needed a comma between ‘big’ and ‘party’! :joy: