What College is right for me? (Safety Schools Especially)

About me:
GPA: 3.9
SAT: 780 Math 740 CR 680 WR
680 Math2 700 History
2 APs Junior year
3 APs Senior year
Violin for 8 years
I’d say a pretty great college essay about my autistic sister and how she shaped me
Have ~150 hours volunteering for a summer camp, but that’s about it as far as ECs go
4 years outdoor track, 2 years indoor track, 2 years Cross Country

I generally prefer english to math but don’t mind either. I enjoy history and philosophy. I consider myself to be pretty competitive and love watching sports, and also appreciate art too and enjoy listening to music. I don’t care much for drama/theatre or sciences. While I love to run I don’t intend on perusing in competitively.

What I need:
-An attractive campus
-Not cliquey
-An intelligent and friendly group of kids
-Liberal Arts (Idk what I want to do and most colleges I’m looking at are liberal arts anyway)

What I’d like:
-A rural area
-A college that isn’t huge on partying (I don’t drink)
-Nothing further than a 5 hour drive from CT (If someone wants to sell me on Midwest liberal arts go for it)

Current Colleges I’m considering:

Reach:
Amherst
Bowdoin
Colby
Williams

Match(?):
Hamilton
Skidmore
Lafayette
Kenyon

Safety:
I dunno!

Thank You!!

what are your career goals?

Safeties might include College of Wooster, Kalamazoo, Lawrence University (all in the Midwest), St Lawrence in upstate New York, Muhlenberg, Gettysburg, schools like that. Denison in Ohio is very popular among east coast schools so may be more of a match than safety. Of those, Denison, Gettysburg and St Lawrence may have more in common in terms of campus feel with the schools you did list as reaches and safeties.

Most LACs want to see demonstrated interest, and be convinced that a student is a good fit, so stats alone are not a good predictor. Although I wouldn’t want to spend too much time parsing the difference between low reach and high match, Hamilton, Skidmore, Lafayette and Kenyon are very popular choices and not really matches for anyone.

As anyone will tell you, pretty much every school has partying, so unless you choose a dry campus with strong penalties for alcohol, there will be partying. Consider looking for schools where there are robust choices for socializing without alcohol or drugs.

Good luck, and keep researching!

All schools have partiers, but all schools have kids that don’t.

Safeties must be affordable.

How much will your parents pay each year? Ask them, please don’t guess.

Yes, talk to your parents about what they will contribute to your college costs.

You may want to check if Eastern Connecticut State University, which advertises itself as a public LAC, can be a safety that you would be interested in attending.

Other public LACs are listed at http://www.coplac.org/members/ . SUNY Geneseo may be worth a look, since SUNY out-of-state prices are not too bad.

“appreciate art”

You may want to slightly favor schools with art museums.

“love watching sports”

You might miss football at Skidmore. However, their hockey could make up for that.

“An attractive campus”

“The 25 Most Beautiful College Campuses in America” / Thrillist (article available online). From your list, Hamilton and Kenyon are included.

You are a strong candidate and may get into several of the colleges on your list (by SAT score, you are above the 75th percentile at half of them), so you might not need to add more than one or two admissions safeties. An excellent option in its own right, St. Lawrence is one school that could serve this role for you, though it is somewhat beyond your five hour limit. Denison is another. Be sure to show a sincere interest in every college you apply to.

My parents aren’t overwhelmingly concerned with college costs. I’m their only child who will be attending college. Obviously being cheeper is a benefit but being expensive does not rule any college out.

Thanks for all the colleges to look into! Very helpful thread so far.

Another potential safety to look into is Clark.

Why do you consider Colby a reach but Hamilton a match?

Other threads I’ve read on this website have led me to believe Colby is more selective.

At the end of the day it doesn’t really matter if it’s match or reach, though. I’ll apply to both schools regardless.

They have seen the list price cost of attendance, or net price calculator results, of the colleges on your list? Sometimes, parents say “don’t worry about the costs” but are then shocked in April when they find out what the costs actually are.

@Naathan what I meant is that Hamilton is also really selective, and I think in order to be realistic I think you should look at it as a reach as well.

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My parents aren’t overwhelmingly concerned with college costs.


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Your parents may not know that some colleges now cost $70k PER YEAR. Please ASK them how much they will pay. If they won’t give a figure, then ask them: “Will you pay $60k per year for college?” See what they say.

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I’m their only child who will be attending college


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This is a concern. Does this mean that you have a special needs sibling? If so, then your parents may be concerned about costs if they have a child who will need life-long support.

Please ask them.

I did ask them, not sure what in my post implied that I didn’t.

They are willing to spend 60K a year.

I don’t understand why you’re so keen on this either. I asked for college suggestions. If I had looked into the suggestions and decided they were too expensive my family and I would make that decision ourselves.

My S (at Bates) and D (attending Bates this fall) looked at a lot of the schools on your list or similar to them. I would agree that Hamilton belongs with Colby. D was not interested in joining a sorority, so that also colored her experience with some schools. I use the term likely instead of safety.

Here are some other LACs to consider. They’re all good schools but I’ll list what they/we saw as their down sides:

St. Lawrence. Overall a nice school. Isolated, a little “lax bro” for their tastes. My sense is that it’s best for kids who really like the outdoors because there’s not much to do in the town. Match/lilkely.

Hobart and William Smith. Also far and lax bro. but remained on their lists, as they have some good internship programs and seems to have a pretty good sense of the direction in which they want to go. In an unattractive small city. Perhaps more of a drinking culture than you’d like but worth checking out as it feels similar to the NESCACs Likely.

Franklin and Marshall. She liked it but was a little concerned about the high participation level in frats/sororities. Match.

Gettysburg. Was recommended by her college counselor and we had a good tour but her reaction was just “meh”. Didn’t like the obvious influence of frats. Likely.

Dickinson. Liked it. Stayed high on both lists. Would be a match.

Conn. College. Also stayed on her list. No football was a turnoff for S but I think you’d find plenty of sports to watch. D would have applied had ED at Bates not come through. Match.

Wheaton (MA). Some good programs. S’s friend is there and likes it. Felt slightly shabby and the food looked terrible. D was turned off by some of the traditions left over from the days when it was an all-girls school. Stronger academics than you would expect from a school with its high admissions rate. I would have kept it on the list but neither kid wanted to apply. They were probably also turned off by the fact that it was too close to home. Likely.

Muhlenberg. When she visited we drove through a crowd of kids with heavy piercings and dyed hair. Her comment was “Not my people”. We did not stay for the tour, as she already had some safeties she liked on her list. I have heard good things about Muhlenberg and I think our experience may have been an anomaly so I’d take our experience with a grain of salt. Likely.

Goucher. S and H saw a lot of drugs/alcohol on the tour. Probably not a good match for you but would be a likely.

Juniata was recommended. S and H skipped it after realizing what a hellacious drive it would be. Would be a likely.

Denison. Somehow we never made it there but I would recommend it as a match. Lots of friends’ kids love it.

Clark. Frankly, I don’t remember why it came off S’s list. May have been Worcester. Probably a likely.

We did not look at Hampshire because we had visited someone there are my kids felt it was too artsy/alternative/druggy for their tastes. Likely.

I assume you’ve been to Union (match/likely) if you’ve seen Skidmore and Hamilton. If you haven’t toured Union I’d swing by when you visit the others. My D took it off her list. Can’t remember why other than the unattractive city.

This is a highly subjective account so anyone is free to chime in and tell me how wrong these opinions are!

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I did ask them, not sure what in my post implied that I didn’t.

They are willing to spend 60K a year.

I don’t understand why you’re so keen on this either. I asked for college suggestions. If I had looked into the suggestions and decided they were too expensive my family and I would make that decision ourselves.
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great! They will pay.

You have NO IDEA how many posts we see in the spring from kids who find out that they don’t have any affordable schools. Many have had parents who’ve misled them or many just didn’t get clarification from their families. You wouldn’t believe how many times we’ll look back at the posting history and see that a year prior, the student was writing that money wasn’t a concern.

Often people don’t realize the cost until April when it’s too late to apply to other schools.

So, we just wanted you to make sure. Good. Your parents have said that they’ll pay 60k

You have NO IDEA how many posts we see in the spring from kids who find out that they don’t have any affordable schools. Many have had parents who’ve misled them or many just didn’t get clarification from their families. You wouldn’t believe how many times we’ll look back at the posting history and see that a year prior, the student was writing that money wasn’t a concern."
^^

THIS!!
mom2collegekids speaks the truth. There have been dozens of threads started by panicky Seniors whose parents suddenly said in April they cant pay for college when acceptances roll in , after making reassuring " no problem" noises to their children. .
OP, I hope your parents can afford AND ARE WILLING to spend $$ 250,000 in the next 4 years to send you to college.

If so. then great!

Drew, in Madison, NJ, would definitely be a safety for you (you would probably get a terrific merit award), and has a lot of the characteristics you seek. Its Presbyterian heritage keeps it from being a big partying destination, and kids can always get on a train into NYC for adventure. The NJ Shakespeare Theatre is on campus, and it’s a local treasure. Madison is a nice, walkable town.

What do your parents think about where you can/should attend? How many schools do you plan to apply to? How many have you visited, and what have you discussed about that with your parents? Are you planning to decide career goals later, or do you have some ideas in mind now?

Have you considered receiving merit at a ‘lower’ standing school in order to preserve UG costs in the event you will want to or need to go on to graduate school?

I believe a lot of posters do want to see you applying to enough of the schools where you can gain admittance and also be able to find academic success - that way, if you haven’t visited all you are applying to, you can do later visits as things sort out on admission acceptances.

Quite a smaller percentage of parents can afford full private or full OOS tuition costs. You may be lucky in that regard.

@Sue22 Awesome response. I’ll look into all of those. What made your kids pick Bates?

@mom2collegekids Fair enough. I don’t frequent this website (otherwise I wouldn’t have needed to make this thread), so I was not aware that that was a common issue here. My parents have been very helpful and vocal throughout the college process. They were the ones who set up my trip to Colby and Bowdoin which are both $60,000 colleges and my dad has reassured me about cost multiple times.

Now, questions:

Should I even bother applying to any Ivy League colleges? I’m pretty sure I have no chance at the most selective, but what about Cornell? I’m aware it will be very very slim, but if there is even a slight chance I figure I might as well. Don’t be afraid to offend me though, if my ECs or grades leave me no chance then tell me that. You’ll save me some money and some stress.

What are thoughts on Midwest liberal arts colleges such as Carleton? I’ve heard a lot of great things about them, including that they are a bit less preppy than northeast liberal arts colleges, and I would be willing to fly if I really do like those schools. They also tend to have higher acceptance rates from my minimal research.

Thanks!

You might want to look at Miami of Ohio. Medium size school in rural area. Mostly liberal arts, but other options too that you could explore. Beautiful campus in a rural area. Also have division 1 sports which you might enjoy. I grew up in New England and went to Bates and found Miami to be similar to eastern LACs but with more to offer.