Quirky with Anxiety

Hi All, any advice appreciated. Mom of rising junior (2 older sisters in college). Son is quite smart, social, but also quirky (some aspergers traits but not enough to keep the diagnosis) and has OCD. Big into student government and wants to major in Pol. Sci., with a thought to law school to do something in government. Although he is quite bright, he does not need to be in a pressure cooker setting. He is also one who prefers to discuss current events, etc with his friends instead of sporting events, etc. He would do well in a very small teacher student ratio environment, a place where he can really get to know his professors. An environment that is discussion based and collaborative would be something he would like. Hoping to stay in the south east or mid atlantic… DC and NYC are also thoughts. He does not drive and has no intention to. So, a city that is walkable with a lot to do is also a plus. Also, access to great health care to keep an eye on the OCD. Starting to look early, because for him, a good fit will be extremely important to keep him in the great “place” he is now. As far as testing, I am not sure yet. It is looking like he will be about 30 ACT, could be higher. But, the anxiety gets him sometimes. He does have straight A’s and great extra curriculars. No AP’s, but all honors (school does not offer AP). Thanks again!!!

I would look at American, GW, and Catholic University for sure. Check the NPCs, though, as none of are particularly generous with financial aid.

Clark University in Worcester, MA. Perfect for that profile of student.

He loves George Washington’s location ( he recently competed in the National Geography Bee in DC and we stayed right by there). Do you think he would fit in socially? What is a NPC?

I’ll check it out! Thank you!

NPC is the Net Price Calculator. You plug in your financial info. It will give you an idea of the financial aid (and sometimes merit aid) that you might get at that college. Run the NPC for each college. Go to each college’s website to find the one for each college.

Does he know about the list of test-optional and no test colleges and universities? He could check through it at http://fairtest.org/university/optional

Also look at the list of Colleges that Change Lives. I call that “the quirky list.”

"I would look at American, GW, and Catholic University for sure. Check the NPCs, though, as none of are particularly generous with financial aid. "

Aren’t GW and American a little large for the OP’s son, who prefers a small college, with collaboration, professor interaction. Would signal more a LAC in the SE/DC area right?

I was thinking a LAC as well.

What is LAC?
He can be on a larger campus if classes are small and professors are the type that get to know you. His sister goes to University of Miami, and the student body is large, but the campus feels small, but it NOT the fit at all for him.

Check out Goucher in Towson, which is suburban Baltimore.
They have an emphasis on the majors that he’s interested in, plus a supportive, cooperative, quirky student body that sounds like what he’d be looking for.
I second the recommendation for Clark, and agree that American might just work.

Although not in his geographic preference area, another that you might want to look at is Macalester in St. Paul, MN. Great for the IR/Gov student, with a collaborative global outlook.

At any school, be sure to be on the lookout for any options to participate in any combined degree (BA/MA 4+1) or accelerated (3+3 programs in Law, meaning three years of undergrad then directly into the schools’ internal JD program.) creating a continuous plan of study. For an OCD anxious-type kid, it’s a way to help them control what can be a scary future, as it allows them (after meeting stated criteria) to remain focused within the familiar campus and not have to go through a potentially painful application process.
Here’s the link for American:

On the west coast (again, outside of his geographic preference), Willamette would fit the bill academically and socially, including a 3+3 program:

Good for you for beginning your search now.

Hop, thank you so much! Great information! My oldest had a friend who graduated from Goucher, and I have heard great things. I think we will also check out Clark. We just have to make sure he has access to great docs for the OCD. In a remission period at the moment, but I am anticipating a relapse with changes of moving from home and starting college… just the nature of the disease. His dream schools (at the moment, we all know that changes as you get more into it) are William and Mary and George Washington. He hasn’t visited either.

Seconding Clark and Goucher. Willamette would check all his boxes except region, as would Beloit. Look into Earlham, perhaps Elizabethtown, SUNY New Paltz, St Mary’s Maryland (public honors college), Guildford.
Harder and likely more expensive, look into Dickinson. Not sure quirky but low key and international. Connecticut College and Skidmore as reaches?

Liberal Arts College

UMass Hospital is in Worcester, and they have a large dept of psychiatry.

My reason for keeping Southeast, Mid atlantic, and possibly a couple of Northeast cities, is I want a quick flight in case of emergency. I live in a major southern city with a pretty good airport. Like I said, the OCD is good right now, but, I know the nature of the beast and am very worried about something setting it off. I do not want to hold him back, so I want him to be able to spread his wings and go off to school, but, I also want to be realistic on what could happen. He can not take any meds, so he controls it through therapy (something in his system just won’t work with the meds, have done genetic testing, nothing works _ terrible side affects, including messing with his heart). I know I am giving a bit too much information, but the more you know the better the recommendations!

So, smaller school/community with supportive culture and accessible to airport and access to good mental health care? Some of the usual schools I’d suggest don’t meet the travel/health care access, like Earlham, Beloit, Knox and Lawrence. Depending on where you are, Centre might be driveable, but from what I’ve heard about the size of Danville, KY, it may not have the therapeutic options you are looking for. College of Wooster is about 90 minutes, mostly back roads, from both Columbus and Cleveland airports, so again, not going to hit that accessibility preference. One option to consider might be Denison in Granville, Ohio which is 30 minutes from Columbus airport and 20 minutes from very populated areas which likely have range of therapeutic offerings. We’ve spent a lot of time at Denison with our current student and found it to be a diverse, friendly, open community. Lugar program in Poli Sci might be of interest, which has both a domestic politics and international policy track. Perhaps more of a reach with 29% acceptance rate, but may be worth a look. Would any of the Texas LACs fit? I’ve heard good things about Austin College, though I’m not familiar with whether Sherman, TX might meet either transportation or mental health requirements. Clark in Worcester, MA? I’ve heard good things about Goucher, so second that suggestion.

Macalaster, in Minneapolis.

Macalester would probably be a reach but good idea since it’s small and in a major city with good medical care.