Why Rhodes?

Hi, Need some help here. S applied and was accepted, but with one of the lower scholarships. He had a 34 ACT/1520 SAT, ~3.8 UW/4.25 W (10 APs by grad at very rigorous school), lots of ECs (including top mock trial) and leadership. It’s hard/expensive to get to Rhodes from where we live, and Rhodes does not have many kids of his religion. S has been invited to 3 full tuition scholars days (all on the same day though), 1 at a higher ranked LAC, 1 at a pretty good university so can’t compare, 1 at a top regionally ranked university closer to where we live, and has already received good merit at higher ranked schools. I hate to go by rankings, and that’s why S applied to Rhodes in the first place (it isn’t a school to which kids at his school apply), but now we’re wondering if it’s even worth a visit. While I know you can’t count on a certain amount of merit aid, we diligently searched out schools where we thought he would get a good education AND a certain amount of merit aid. Based on his stats and interests, Rhodes seemed to fit the bill. S now feels the school doesn’t really want him. Can someone who goes there or a parent with a child there give us some information about why Rhodes is still worth considering? S isn’t sure about his major - maybe thinking premed (know that isn’t a major), maybe business. Thank you!

Well, in the absence of posts from current students, I can talk about generalities. I only came across this because my S is considering applying to Rhodes. Most of the info in your post though sounds as if you are talking yourself out of Rhodes (low offer, hard to get to, S feels like they aren’t offering enough, religion). Have you ever visited? From what I read, I suspect if you visit it will go higher up on your list, because of the beauty of the campus and the architecture. If it’s a serious contender, visit…fit and feel will be important and you have to visit to get that, but it is OK to take a school off the list if the offer isn’t good enough!

I can provide my perspective as a parent who has visited (and will be visiting again in a few weeks for an admitted students function). Right now, Rhodes is top two for my D18 along with Tulane. She wants to attend college in a city, preferably an interesting one, so Memphis fits that bill for her. But what makes Rhodes somewhat unique among similarly-sized LACs is the emphasis on real science, facilitated in large part through their close relationship with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital right down the road from campus. The collaboration between the two institutions, and resulting hands-on, real research opportunities, is impressive. Most LACs don’t have a major research hospital at their disposal to the extent that Rhodes does. As my daughter has expressed interest in the biological sciences, a couple of days ago she received a letter from the President and CEO of St. Jude, outlining the relationship and opportunities between the two. His daughter is a Rhodes alumna, so he seen firsthand and has a vested interest in continuing and building upon the relationship and attracting top students to Rhodes to work with. It was a cool letter for her to get.

As has been mentioned, campus is indeed beautiful if that is important, and the facilities appear to be well maintained and for the most part updated. Of course they just opened a new $34M science facility last August, so that is appealing as well. Their medical and grad school placements are high relative to a lot of LACs, due in no small part to the real-life research and work experiences the Memphis location allows for.

She did receive significant merit aid from Rhodes, and due to it’s lower price than many of the other schools she is considering, placed it among her more affordable choices as well.

Hopefully that helps provide some context for our interest…good luck with your search!

@pishicaca thanks for the interesting info on Rhodes - had no idea about the St Jude connection. Just looking at it now as my S18 is in and done so working on S20 who wants a southern school (we are from the Northeast). Knew about the beautiful campus, have gotten emails regarding lacrosse there but did not know about the rest. Thanks - it puts it way up there for us!
Now to visit…

@Momtofourkids I’m glad you found it useful! Since that letter, D has since received others from multiple current students (four at least), the Chair of the Board of Trustees and President Marjorie Haas among others. I’m sure these letters go to all accepted applicants, but it makes it feel like Rhodes cares and really wants your student to be a part of its community. We go back for an accepted student even in a couple of weeks and how that goes will be the tipping factor in her decision. She’d have to be really blown away, though, as at this point I think she’s pretty sold on her other choice. Still, she wants to go to make sure she’s not missing out on something incredible. Regardless of the outcome, Rhodes has been an enjoyable and personalized journey for her. Good luck to your son in HS and beyond!

My son is a sophomore at Rhodes and we could not be happier with his experience. We are from New England and he was accepted at several of the LAC’s here. He applied to Rhodes on a whim after reading about it and was accepted with a generous scholarship and recruited by a coach. He wanted to visit and went down for an accepted students weekend and his mind was made up. There are not many small liberal arts colleges in cities, and he realized after his visit he did not want to be in the woods of Maine. When they called to recruit him he mentioned the cost of flights to Memphis and they gave him an additional scholarship to cover the cost. The administration is very hands on, the former president actually called him to recruit him. His classes are very challenging but the professors are very accessible. He has had volunteer and internship opportunities already. And the boy who responded to any question about high school with ‘fine’ now talks about his classes, his volunteering and his friends at length on our weekly phone calls. His friends who have graduated all have good jobs or are in grad/medical school. And most importantly he loves it.
As a tuition paying parent I like the fact that the school invests there money in the academic buildings. The dorms are a little old, but safe and livable. The food is not what you might get at a Colby or Bates, but it is healthy and edible.

pishicaca, those letters don’t go to all admitted kids. My daughter is a junior and didn’t get them, lower merit money than my son who has received the Rhodes hard press. I don’t think it’s due to a difference in administration, I think it is a difference in my kids.

havenoidea, if you can figure out how to DM me (apparently it can be done), feel free. I responded to a different post from you, so you know I have a junior there, but I also have a son accepted for fall who hasn’t decided yet. I have many reasons why Rhodes. I’ll try to post later if I don;t get a DM

My international son has accepted Rhodes offer - paid deposit last week. Of course we have not visited so are only going on email and internet communication, but our Admission Officer could not have been more approachable. The fact that Rhodes offered him a full music scholarship easing our contribution definitely put Rhodes up there. But as he says who wouldn’t want to go to a college that appreciates (and will pay for) his talents! He is absolutely thrilled to be going and because of this I am pretty sure any ‘food not so great’ ‘dorms old’ will not even be noticed!
We paid for some help to navigate the college admission process as we had NO idea what to do (absolutely no history of American college system personally or through school) and the ‘counsellor’ said the college picks you. And after 10 applications, 2 acceptances, 1 waitlist, 1 I don’t know what it was but if you could come up with the full whack we might reconsider your application, with one more to come in I do believe it was the college choosing us.
I know this is not really helping you @havenoidea idea but I do believe that if he is having doubts that is most probably enough to move it down the list.

Thanks for all the input. S applied to Rhodes bc of all the things pointed out here. I think the point about wanting to go to a school that appreciates what you bring is why he lost interest in Rhodes. Thankfully, he’s done extremely well in the college search process and has great options already, so it’s not a big deal. He’s off to HS Mock Trial Nationals, so a top college mock trial team is something he thought about, but then again, he can be part of another team’s success. Or maybe he’ll find something new. I’m a big believer that everything works out how it should. Congrats to everyone!!

Here are a few reasons we love it, And I will preface it to say we have a Rhodes junior, a sophomore at a major research university, and a rising senior who has it on his list but isn’t sure. A huge percentage of kids are pre-med, my husband is a doctor who trained in Memphis with numerous Rhodes grads and found them to be quite brilliant. Kids who aren’t premed generally do go on to grad and professional school. Doesn’t know what he wants to do? Perfect. Most 18 year-old boys don’t. You declare spring sophomore year. Our D began as bio and tossed that when she realized she is at a liberal arts school and should study what interests her and still take all pre-med requirements. It’s going very well, she has grown so much for this choice and has begun to carve out a plan for her life’s work, incorporating that liberal arts degree. She wanted to be in an urban setting. This is a huge consideration. It’s smack in the middle of a city of a million +, and if you go a mile or more away, it can be pretty sketchy. We lived here when we were first married and I was never very comfortable in my mid-town neighborhood at night, but then again I didn’t have gates and a guard like Rhodes. That said, the city has afforded incredible opportunities for her to serve, learn, and be a part of the community. She is a Big Sister to a young girl, she has interned at Church Health, which offers outreach to low income people with health care needs, and is now another internship now involving the relationship of faith and health. She has studied housing disparity and wage inequality in a real life laboratory–Memphis has extreme poverty and disparity. I’ve visited liberal arts schools like Furman and Davidson that are suburban, and they are great–it’s a matter of taste. Sewanee is basically Rhodes on a secluded mountain–also great for the right kid.
One of the things I think of most when I swoon about Rhodes is that my daughter, who recently sported bright pink hair during her abroad semester, is perfectly at home in her sorority, something unthinkable at the big state school I attended. I think it is very inclusive–probably less diverse than they wish to tout–but she has sorority sisters and non-sorority friends who are all over the place, faith-wise, regionally, and economically. She has grown so much, and as Rhodes likes to brag, it is a college that changes lives. Hers has definitely been changed, and I would never advocate a school that is more of the same as high school/their hometown for an 18 year-old.
So much of this doesn’t apply to my son, who has more selective schools as options, but that merit aid is really tempting him, and I am sure he is flattered by all the letters he gets. I honestly think he just wants to be someplace his sister couldn’t go because he worked harder. Siblings!!
I’d love to help in any way. We feel it has been worth every penny, but that said we couldn’t have done it without Rhodes’ generous merit aid.

Kids are funny. My daughter found the various letters from current students and alumni (she got the St Jude’s letter too) “creepy.” “Another stalker letter” she says when she sees the envelope.
Still, Rhodes is in her top 3.

@mom9955 Thanks for all of your thoughts. While we have already signed up it is great to hear this about Rhodes as we couldn’t visit.

I’m excited for you to see it the first time! Memphis has changed so much since we lived there in the 90s. So many more options for restaurants, positive urban development, and many young people moving to the city. Pro tip: the hotel situation stinks. The downtown ones are ridiculously expensive boutiques (see the ducks though), and we usually book a hotel in East Memphis, which is not a fun drive. When it’s just me, I get an Airbnb, as there are many nice ones near Rhodes, Central Gardens, and Cooper Young.

@RecusantSam I felt like my son had the same thought, he didn’t seem to open most of them, and they are laying around all over the place, but I saw them one from Dr. Haas on his nightstand yesterday. 18 year-olds can be awfully stoic.

@mom9955 We are unable to get to Rhodes for the start of term - S is travelling directly from Lisbon (we live in the UK) but he is there with his international organisation for 3 weeks prior to start date - so we are intending to visit in October over Fall recess. Already looking into Airbnb. We (H & me) are really looking forward to our holiday in the US. We haven’t been on a big holiday together for years, just weekends etc so I think we are just as excited as the boy!
re the letters: as an international letters came as emails and there weren’t a ton but every time one came S told me. It did the trick for him. He also ‘replied’ to a couple and the AO quickly replied back even if it was just a ‘thanks’. Made a big impression on S and obviously on AO!

My daughter is a senior at Rhodes. We have been very happy with the selection. She enrolled thinking she was going to be a biology major. Ended up being a double major in Math and Chemistry. She has participated in research as a fellow, studied abroad and has been active on campus. The location in Memphis was important as we wanted a school with a southern feel to it and one that encouraged faith. Rhodes requires 3 semesters of religious classes. Some have faulted the school for not being diverse enough, but we saw that as a plus in that my daughter felt safe on campus at all times.

Through the school’s honor code, she can study in any building and leave her computer anyplace and not worry about it being stolen. Also, she receives personal interaction with her professors, which will help when it comes time for applying to graduate school.

@SoCalDadof3 Not having diversity makes a campus safer? I’m not sure what you are saying. My daughter is interested in Rhodes but a lack of diversity is one of the things that makes her hesitant.

I’m stating that being 1,000 miles away from my daughter, it gives me comfort to know my daughter is safe. There is diversity on campus, but Rhodes is a historically Presbyterian college in a southern city. One just needs to realize that the campus culture is not similar to one in New England or even California. For my family, that is a good thing.

Yea @janiemiranda I found that comment disturbing too.