STEM program opinion

Hi. This is my first post! I am the parent of a sophomore who is probably a mid D1 level athlete but will likely go to a D2/D3 school to better balance academics with his sport. We live out West but he is OK moving away. He is interested in STEM: likely engineering, computer sciences, or physics. 3.94 UWGPA. (got a B in honors math this COVID semester, errrrr). I think he will test well. I suspect over 31 ACT; 1400+ SAT. We won’t qualify for financial aid. Don’t care about D2 athletic money. Merit money would be nice.

So I’ve ruled out MIT and Caltech entirely because those schools seem preposterous to get in. Also Harvey Mudd.

Here’s a list of schools. This might be an unfair question but what would be your top 5 and why? Thanks in advance for considering this!

Wash Univ St.L
Trinity Univ (Texas)
Univ Texas Dallas
Rose Hulman
Colorado Schools Mines
Worcester Poly
Univ Rochester
Johns Hopkins
Case Western

If balancing academics and sport is the goal (and that’s an understandable goal), I would scratch Johns Hopkins off the list immediately. It’s extremely rigorous, has an under 10% acceptance rate with an over 1500 average SAT, and is known for grade deflation. I can’t speak to the other schools in that context but just wanted to share about Johns Hopkins (bc at that level of work you may as well seek the D1 scholarships, if that makes sense).

“I’ve ruled out MIT and Caltech entirely because those schools seem preposterous to get in”

For context, Johns Hopkins and Caltech share the same ranking on USNWR. Good luck!

What’s your budget? Some of these schools are $75k/year.

He’s only a sophomore. I wouldn’t give it another thought this year. Plus he doesn’t have an SAT/ACT score yet. Anything at this point is speculation.

Maybe visit a few schools to see what he likes.

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These schools have very different cultures, sizes, locations. I’d order the Fiske Guide to Colleges as a place to start. When possible, start visiting a small, medium, and large college to see how that feels to your student. Also, a lot of grades, scores, ECs, and experiences are still to come. Junior year is a good time to start narrowing your list.

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But are you ok with paying list price at any college (private colleges can be up to about $80k or so per year)?

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“Better balance academics with… (anything)” to me does not seem to be a description of MIT, Caltech, or Harvey Mudd. Thus ruling them out seems to make sense from more than one angle.

Are you eligible for WUE? We are not familiar with it for undergrad (we live in the northeast) but it does sound like a great thing to consider if you care about the price of university. There are a lot of families which do not qualify for need based financial aid but for whom the cost of university does matter.

My understanding (and admittedly I have not looked widely for a few years) the most expensive universities in the US are just over $80k per year, and costs are going up about 5% per year. Thus in three years we could be up 15%, and in six years we could be up 30% or over $100k per year. To me this makes me think “in-state” if the in-state schools are good or “WUE” if you qualify. Of course many factors come into play here.

Thank you OceanIsle. That is a good point.

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