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Is this combo of safeties/matches/reaches sufficient?


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#1 Jazzy

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Posted 13 February 2018 - 05:45 PM

I am trying to narrow down ds' list.  He wants to go to college but says he doesn't care where he goes so I'm making the list based on finances, and he'll choose from whatever options are reasonable.

 

We have a high EFC so we are looking to get merit scholarships.  Is the following combo sufficient:

 

Safeties

1. good community college w/2 year transfer agreements to great schools

2. very good university, affordable if he commutes, offers competitive tuition scholarship that would allow him to live on campus  (ds' stats are right in the middle for this school)

 

Match

1. good state university w/automatic aid that should make it affordable, also offers competitive full tuition plus 2 yrs R&B scholarship (ds' stats in top 10%), we have 2 family members who have gone here and had good experiences

 

Reaches 

1. small liberal arts school that offers competitive full ride (tuition, room & board, study abroad), otherwise unaffordable (ds' stats in top 5%)

2. big state university where ds could get some automatic aid, but would need to win a competitive departmental scholarship to make it affordable (ds' stats in top 10%)

3. same as #2 (stats in top 25%)

4. same as #2, but OOS w/tuition waiver (stats in top 10%)

5. same as # 3 (stats in top 25%)

 

Is this a good list?

 

There are 3 safeties I can add where could definitely get in and we could definitely afford it (1 commuting, 2 residential), but I'm not crazy about the schools and have received negative feedback on two of them.  Should he apply to these also just to be on the safe side?

 

Do I need to continue looking for options?


Edited by Jazzy, 13 February 2018 - 05:46 PM.

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#2 EKS

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Posted 13 February 2018 - 05:57 PM

There are 3 safeties I can add where could definitely get in and we could definitely afford it (1 commuting, 2 residential), but I'm not crazy about the schools and have received negative feedback on two of them.  Should he apply to these also just to be on the safe side?

 

I wouldn't apply to schools that you and your son aren't crazy about.  If the CC/transfer option is better than any of these, then I'd stick with that.



#3 Lori D.

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Posted 13 February 2018 - 06:19 PM

Agreeing with EKS about not worrying over schools that DS doesn't care for.

 

Other than that, I'd suggest looking into the departments of the degree field that DS is interested in to see what kinds of opportunities for research or special projects or honors programs or other options that would be of interest to DS, as that might make one or the schools more attractive to DS. Also see if any of those departments also have additional scholarship $$ to offer.


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#4 luuknam

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Posted 13 February 2018 - 06:22 PM

Safeties

2. very good university, affordable if he commutes, offers competitive tuition scholarship that would allow him to live on campus  (ds' stats are right in the middle for this school)

 

 

Not sure how this is a safety? Is he guaranteed admission in some way, or do they have a super high acceptance rate?


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#5 FuzzyCatz

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Posted 13 February 2018 - 06:27 PM

My only thought is your 2nd safety and I'm new to this process to but I'm thinking as I type for my own sake too.  ;)  Is this a financial and academic safety?  If he is right in the middle for stats, are you sure he is going to get in?  What is the acceptance rate or  does he just have to reach a threshold stat of some sort and then everyone gets in?  If he suddenly decides he wants a 4 year out of the gate, it might be nice to have a 4 year safety.  Or could your match possibly be a safety if he is in the top 10% for stats there?


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#6 Jazzy

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Posted 13 February 2018 - 07:00 PM

Safety #2 does not have guaranteed admission, but acceptance rate is 60%.  Is that safe enough?

 

He has assured admission at the match school, but needs merit aid. The college website says it awards aid over a certain SAT score (ds is above it), but doesn't state a specific guaranteed amount.  

 

At the 2 safeties I'm not crazy about, he is auto admit, and automatic merit makes them affordable.

 

Actually, I could add back in the safety I haven't heard any negative feedback on. The only reason I wasn't crazy about it is because it's OOS.  It's still an easy driving distance, automatic merit and automatic aid. 

 


Edited by Jazzy, 13 February 2018 - 07:08 PM.


#7 JanetC

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Posted 13 February 2018 - 07:03 PM

I am concerned with how passive your son seems to be in this process. Has he visited any schools? Done any career interest surveys or job shadowing? Does he really have no preferences as to major or school?

Many net price calculators will estimate merit aid if you enter stats, and collegedata.com will give you some idea of typical merit awards. It's not enough to be in the top whatever percent. You need to be in the top percent at a school that gives out merit. Not all do. If you're aiming for competitive top-applicant scholarships, there may probably be an interview or essay where your son will have to demonstrate his plans for his future and his interest and fit with the school, which will be hard if his reason for applying is, "mom picked the schools for me."

I would have suggested you help your son explore his interests and goals or let him do a gap year rather than building his list for him.
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#8 Jazzy

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Posted 13 February 2018 - 07:33 PM

Janet, I actually don't like it either, but he is kind of just this way.  Super laid back and doesn't have too many preferences.  Even today when I asked him if he'd be okay with adding a small liberal arts school to the list of larger schools, he said sure, sounds good. I explained that the curriculum would be a little different and he said fine. I've asked him to look at websites and stuff, but he's not interested.  I think he's just super practical and knows we'll have to see how the financial packages come back.  

 

We have asked if he wants to go to college, and he assured us that he does.  He did voluntarily spend a lot of time studying for the SAT and brought his scores up a bunch.

 

I am trying to get him excited and involved.  Monday, he's going to a college day where they'll do a tour, talk about the application process, and sit in on seminars in different departments.  He also decided he's leaning toward a finance or accounting major, and he's applying to 2 free summer programs about accounting and 1 for business.  I was concerned about how he'd answer the "Why do you want to do this?" and "Why are you good for this?" questions because I really did badger him into applying to the programs, but he did a really good job.  He's still working on the essay.

 

I just remember being his age and having no plan.  My mom told me one Friday night that she was taking me the next morning to take the SAT. I went and took it. My math teacher approached me one day and said where are you going to college.  Blank stare.  He said, "If I help you get a scholarship to xyz, will you go?"  Okay.  He told me to write a letter and fill out the app, and that's where I went.  

 

I have been disappointed in ds' lack of interest, but I was kind of the same way.  And I did really well in college and had a great experience so I'm kinda just prodding ds along hoping everything will workout.  He is doing everything I'm asking him to do.  He's just not doing the research.

 

To make the list I just made a list of schools in a radius around our home, looked at the graduation rates to rule out any really bad ones, looked at the college websites for the stats for acceptance, tuition rates, and merit awards to see what would be affordable.  There are some specific department scholarships at the reaches.  I just don't know if he'll win them.  The only colleges I've crossed off that met all of that criteria were the two safeties I mentioned above.  I got some negative feedback from people on those two.

 

I don't think a gap year would be good for him. When he has a goal or something, he'll work toward it, but with no goal or plan, he's not going to find interesting things to do.

 


Edited by Jazzy, 13 February 2018 - 07:36 PM.

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#9 katilac

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Posted 13 February 2018 - 08:16 PM

I would want fewer safeties and one more match. 

 

I would not regard 60% admit and stats right in the middle as a true safety. I see it as more of a match. 

 

One way to get a better idea of your chances at a competitive scholarship is to look at the school's common data set. How many do they give out with a requirement of 30 ACT, for example, versus how many incoming freshman have a 30 ACT. It's a very rough gauge but helpful. Or, if you think he is top 5%, how many students does that include, versus how many scholarships are given out. 

 

Also, keep in mind that you won't have an answer on most competitive scholarships until late in the year. The scholar days, competitions, and/or interviews may not even occur until March, with decisions made after that. That was too late for my oldest, who was ready to MOVE ON, so she wound up accepting a guaranteed offer at a school on her short list and dropping out of the competitive ones. She had her classes scheduled before she would have had an answer from some of these schools, lol. For that reason, I would want at least two admission safeties that he could afford without competitive scholarships. 

 

You don't say what grade he is in, but I'm assuming he's not a senior, lol. I don't think a lack of interest in searching for schools is all that concerning. My youngest was more than happy to let me do the initial legwork, and didn't get truly interested until nearly halfway through senior year (she's a senior right now, so very recently). 

 

We didn't explore a gap year even at her most uninterested, because she was fine with going to college (college or full time work? college it is!), and I didn't see how super entry-level jobs would narrow down her interests anyway. I think that college, with its various classes and experiences, is just as likely or more likely to do that. And honestly, I don't want to drag this out for another year, lol. She can go to college rather inexpensively, so I'm fine with her starting and figuring stuff out as she goes.  

 

I agree that he will probably get more interested and excited once he knows which schools are actually possible! 


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#10 katilac

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Posted 13 February 2018 - 08:23 PM

One more thought about competitive scholarships: they usually require additional essays, interviews, and so on. Every single one we have personal experience with has required a physical visit to the school. This can get old quick, which is another reason I would want to skew toward schools that are affordable with guaranteed merit. Going through a competitive process for five different schools is a big job. 

 

When a student lacks clear direction, my preference is for a school with a good number of majors to choose from, which knocks out many of the smaller LACs. 


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#11 justasque

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Posted 13 February 2018 - 09:30 PM

>>he doesn't care where he goes 


 

Nonetheless, he needs to be the one to make the choice, and that's going to be easier if he has lots of information.  Visit, visit, visit.  He will get a lot of info from listening to the presentations, and going on the student-led tour.  You can ask questions, and he'll be there to hear the answers (and maybe ask some of his own).  Don't forget to ask the student tour leader (and any other students you interface with) lots of questions about their experiences at the school, where else they applied, how they decided, what they like about their decision, and so on.  We visited each likely school at least once and in one case (a reach school) three or four times for various events.  Each time both parents and student(s) learned more from the presentations, and gleaned more from just being there.  Contrast that with several students I know who didn't visit, or didn't really visit/question/research enough to understand what their major was all about at the school, what classes they would be taking while there, what extracurriculars would be available, what there was to do in the area besides classes, what different dorms would be like, what the campus would be like (large suburban/rural vs. unconnected buildings in a big city), and so on.  They ended up changing schools & majors after one semester.  Not a disaster, but not ideal either.

 

I'm glad to hear he's applying to summer programs.  My kids who did summer on-campus programs (residential programs, but not at the schools they ultimately attended) had a good of what they did and didn't want - they had a basic foundation of "what college is like" to work with before beginning their search.  

 

>>I'm making the list based on finances, and he'll choose from whatever options are reasonable.

He is lucky to have a mom who will whittle down the options for him.  I would also consider making a list based on his desired major.  Different schools might have programs aimed at different aspects of the major, leading to different kinds of jobs.  If you can look at the classes required for the major at each school, that may help him to get a feel for what each school may be like to attend, and what doors it may open for him down the line.  Another way to get a sense of this is to go to an Open House day where the department he's interested in will have a presentation.
 
>>>We have a high EFC so we are looking to get merit scholarships. 

There's a balance to consider here.  VERY generally speaking, the better (more competitive) the school, the harder it will be to get merit money, meaning that there's a chance that the schools that give him the most money may also be schools where he will be among the highest achievers (meaning he may not be as challenged as he could be).  That's a major generalization - different schools have different amounts of money to give, different departments within a school may have students with higher or  lower average stats,  and so on.  But what I'm trying to say is don't overlook where he will fit in the "pack"; it may come down to a choice of spending more money to get a more challenging education; do your research and be prepared to make trade-offs. 

 

>>
Safeties
1. good community college w/2 year transfer agreements to great schools
2. very good university, affordable if he commutes, offers competitive tuition scholarship that would allow him to live on campus  (ds' stats are right in the middle for this school)

 

I like that you have two safeties.  Option 1 is always a good fallback.  Option two sounds like it may work as a commuter school.  I would do some research to see if commuting is permitted and how many of the students do so, etc., to be sure commuting is going to be a good experience.    
 
>>>Match
1. good state university w/automatic aid that should make it affordable, also offers competitive full tuition plus 2 yrs R&B scholarship (ds' stats in top 10%), we have 2 family members who have gone here and had good experiences

 

Sounds good.  Visit, visit, visit.  
 
Reaches 
1. small liberal arts school that offers competitive full ride (tuition, room & board, study abroad), otherwise unaffordable (ds' stats in top 5%)
2. big state university where ds could get some automatic aid, but would need to win a competitive departmental scholarship to make it affordable (ds' stats in top 10%)
3. same as #2 (stats in top 25%)
4. same as #2, but OOS w/tuition waiver (stats in top 10%)
5. same as # 3 (stats in top 25%)

 

That's a lot of reaches.  Reaches are good to have, but I'd like to see maybe two more matches in the mix.  Sometimes as you look closer, one or two end up being not ideal for one reason or another (or even a hard no), and it's nice to have good choices come May.  I don't think you need any more safeties - I'd focus on finding matches and VISITING.
 


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#12 Sebastian (a lady)

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Posted 13 February 2018 - 09:44 PM

Before I look at anyone else's comments, 

 

I am trying to narrow down ds' list.  He wants to go to college but says he doesn't care where he goes so I'm making the list based on finances, and he'll choose from whatever options are reasonable.

 

We have a high EFC so we are looking to get merit scholarships.  Is the following combo sufficient:

 

Safeties

1. good community college w/2 year transfer agreements to great schools

2. very good university, affordable if he commutes, offers competitive tuition scholarship that would allow him to live on campus  (ds' stats are right in the middle for this school)  This sounds more like a match than a safety.  Or it is an admissions match and financially a safety.

 

Match

1. good state university w/automatic aid that should make it affordable, also offers competitive full tuition plus 2 yrs R&B scholarship (ds' stats in top 10%), we have 2 family members who have gone here and had good experiences

 

Reaches 

1. small liberal arts school that offers competitive full ride (tuition, room & board, study abroad), otherwise unaffordable (ds' stats in top 5%)

2. big state university where ds could get some automatic aid, but would need to win a competitive departmental scholarship to make it affordable (ds' stats in top 10%)

3. same as #2 (stats in top 25%)

4. same as #2, but OOS w/tuition waiver (stats in top 10%)

5. same as # 3 (stats in top 25%)

 

Is this a good list?

 

There are 3 safeties I can add where could definitely get in and we could definitely afford it (1 commuting, 2 residential), but I'm not crazy about the schools and have received negative feedback on two of them.  Should he apply to these also just to be on the safe side?

 

Do I need to continue looking for options?

 

To me it looks like you only have one school that is a safety both with regards to admissions and to finances.  The school you list as a second safety looks like the biggest reach for admissions, even though it is financially affordable as a commuter student.

 

I don't think that there is any reason to add a safety that you or he would not be OK if he attends.  So if you have negative impressions of a school, then I would keep looking for another school or two.  I'd like to see more that have the combo of being matches for admissions and not relying on competitive scholarships.  

 

For the reach schools, I'd also consider where his stats are relative to other students applying to that department.  This can especially be an issue with big schools, where the overall stats of the school can vary from the stats in specific departments.  (Ex. a student might be top 10% for the school in general, but only top third for the engineering department.)


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#13 GoodGrief

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Posted 13 February 2018 - 09:59 PM

Your safety needs to be a school in which admission and affordability is a certainty (rather than simply probable or conceivable), and the student doesn't mind attending. In theory he only needs one, though I think it is nice to have a couple of backups in mind in case something changes.

 

I suspect once he starts doing more visiting and listening to presentations. he will have a better idea of what he wants.


Edited by GoodGrief, 13 February 2018 - 10:01 PM.

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#14 8FillTheHeart

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Posted 14 February 2018 - 06:58 AM

Our experience with competitive merit it that kids who are invited to competitive scholarship weekends are invited precisely bc they are passionate, excited, and involved. It isn't about introvert/extrovert, but drive, commitment, and achievement.

Unless your student's application, essays, and CV come across as being driven, focused, and having a long-term commitment to some sort of specific high-achieving endeavor that you are not sharing in this "detached from the process" description, I am not sure pursuing competitive scholarships is going to be a successful approach unless he is targeting schools significantly below an academic match. (Some of the smaller privates fit this description, but I would strongly recommend visiting before actually pursuing this type of school.). The entire purpose of competitive merit from the schools' perspective is to bring students on to their campus that are going to have an impact in their collegiate community. It isn't about good students. It isn't about just being a great, nice kid (though, hopefully that is equally true!!), but what they will offer to the community outside of the classroom.

Remember to keep the perspective that you cannot compare him to students locally, but nationally, bc that applicant pool seeking competitive merit is not going to consist of the students around him but from across the country.
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#15 whitestavern

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Posted 14 February 2018 - 07:26 AM

We are chasing merit as well, being full pay. DD is not interested in large schools, so we focused on mid-tier LACs where she was in the top 25% of applicants. She has done very well, I think, receiving $25-30K everywhere she's been accepted so far. She's a pretty average student, so someone more competitive would do even better. This past week she's even been getting additional merit $$ from some of her schools! So all are going to be around $25K for us, which with some belt tightening and her working full time this summer we can handle. For comparison, our state uni instate tuition is $30K. If your son ends up preferring a small school you might want to add some LACs that are known for merit to his list.


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#16 Jazzy

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Posted 14 February 2018 - 08:08 AM

Thanks for the feedback everyone! I really appreciate the help thinking things through.

The match school and the small private school scholarships are the only ones that have competition weekends. We can afford the match school with just the automatic aid he should get. The big scholarship would just be a bonus. His stats are very high for the private, but I heard it’s a good school. It also seems like the kind of school where he really could contribute. He’s applying to a summer camp at the match school, and we’ll visit the smaller one.

The school I have listed as a safety (I’ll move it to match), says the average SAT score of x gets y amount. My ds got x score so it’s likely he’ll get that scholarship if admitted even though it’s not guaranteed, right? This school is big enough to have a forum on College Confidential and I did see some students with his scores get the scholarship we’re looking at. I’m trying to get him into a free summer camp there, but the department is still waiting to see if it will be funded.

The situation with the reaches other than the private is that he qualifies for $5,000-9,000 in automatic merit at these larger state schools. They each also offer seperate scholarship apps through the school of business where he could get additional merit. Just a bit more aid would put them under budget. So these are not tippy top scholarships that would make him the face of the school. I think they just want the highish test scores.

I did cross off one reach, and moved the safety I had listed to match.

Going to look for a true safety and another match. It’s okay if it all comes down to one school in the end, but it will be nice if he has a few choices. I really appreciate the feedback.

Hopefully, ds will become more interested with more exposure. I actually think this process might light a fire under him and help him mature. Dd, OTOH, already knows her major, what school she likes, etc. I’m sure she’ll have a list ready and will NOT want my input. And she WILL shine at competitive weekends. Just hope she has the test scores, lol.

Edited by Jazzy, 14 February 2018 - 08:11 AM.


#17 Jazzy

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Posted 14 February 2018 - 08:09 AM

We are chasing merit as well, being full pay. DD is not interested in large schools, so we focused on mid-tier LACs where she was in the top 25% of applicants. She has done very well, I think, receiving $25-30K everywhere she's been accepted so far. She's a pretty average student, so someone more competitive would do even better. This past week she's even been getting additional merit $$ from some of her schools! So all are going to be around $25K for us, which with some belt tightening and her working full time this summer we can handle. For comparison, our state uni instate tuition is $30K. If your son ends up preferring a small school you might want to add some LACs that are known for merit to his list.


That’s really encouraging! Congrats!!!

#18 RootAnn

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Posted 14 February 2018 - 09:53 AM

This thread has caused a good discussion in my house with my rising senior. The needed intermesh between academic and financial requirements make these categories tough for us.

For example, dd#1 has two academic safeties identified right now, but they are both financial reaches unless she gets a certain scholarship at one or an extra departmental scholarship at the other. Dd is having a tough time finding a financial safety that she would be ok with attending. Thanks for starting the thread.
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#19 Arch At Home

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Posted 14 February 2018 - 10:41 AM

Unless your student's application, essays, and CV come across as being driven, focused, and having a long-term commitment to some sort of specific high-achieving endeavor that you are not sharing in this "detached from the process" description, I am not sure pursuing competitive scholarships is going to be a successful approach unless he is targeting schools significantly below an academic match. (Some of the smaller privates fit this description, but I would strongly recommend visiting before actually pursuing this type of school.). The entire purpose of competitive merit from the schools' perspective is to bring students on to their campus that are going to have an impact in their collegiate community. It isn't about good students. It isn't about just being a great, nice kid (though, hopefully that is equally true!!), but what they will offer to the community outside of the class.

 

8, this summarizes what I have been thinking about in my own house. My DC are slow at determining direction and thus do not communicate a drive that will impact a campus. For this reason, automatic scholarships and schools where we can afford the CoA are a better direction for us to focus than highly competitive merit scholarships.

 

Thank you for helping me clarify this in my mind.


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#20 Jazzy

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Posted 14 February 2018 - 10:43 AM

Root Ann, having financial limitations creates a lit of uncertainty. Ds is auto admit to most of his schools, but we just don’t know how much money he’ll get. At first, I thoight we’d apply to as many schools as possible, but then I heard about application fatigue and thought we’d better whittle it down.

Thankfully, he really is okay with community college as a safety. He has a lot of homeschool friends that went that route and had good experiences. It’s a solid school with guaranteed transfer agreements and acceptance of credits to some good schools.

Arch at Home, 8’s post caused me to go back and carefully consider whether or not ds has a chance at the scholarships he’s aiming for, too.

ALL of the advice in this thread has been extremely helpful!

Edited by Jazzy, 14 February 2018 - 10:50 AM.

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#21 katilac

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Posted 14 February 2018 - 11:22 AM

Unless your student's application, essays, and CV come across as being driven, focused, and having a long-term commitment to some sort of specific high-achieving endeavor that you are not sharing in this "detached from the process" description, I am not sure pursuing competitive scholarships is going to be a successful approach  

 

I think that it is very possible to be detached from the college search process and still be a driven student, or a student with specific high achievements. It's not like it's a process imbued with excitement, lol. 


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#22 8FillTheHeart

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Posted 14 February 2018 - 11:33 AM

8, this summarizes what I have been thinking about in my own house. My DC are slow at determining direction and thus do not communicate a drive that will impact a campus. For this reason, automatic scholarships and schools where we can afford the CoA are a better direction for us to focus than highly competitive merit scholarships.

Thank you for helping me clarify this in my mind.


I can share what I think the process looked like for my Dd based on the comments and feedback she got during interviews. Whether this is completely accurate is just a guess.

I think what made my Dd stand out was her commitment to languages. She taught herself to fluency in French no teacher. We designed an approach, but the driving force was her. She attended Alliance Francaise meetings when the avg age of the people in attendance was probably 70+. She attended bc she was determined to have an opportunity to converse. (She was rewarded in her persistence when 3 yrs later a company brought in a large number of French nationals and some French teens and families joined.)

She also was committed to mastering Russian. She spent hours upon hours on her pronunciation. She translated a Russian fairy tale bc she wanted to in conjunction to her study of fairy tales and culture.

She did have awards which confirmed her level of commitment and achievement, but I do not think it was the awards that mattered. I think it was her drive that mattered. This is why I disagree with the comments made that she got her scholarships bc of her Russian awards. It was actually her mastery of French that garnered comments in her interviews, not her Russian awards.

When she applied to colleges, she expressed her excitement about being able to join foreign language clubs and getting involved in cultural events on campus. Her commitment to her languages and her determination to achieve mastery had already been demonstrated. And, now, on her campus she is undertaking a huge Russian language cataloging project for the Russian dept. She is super excited about it. She goes to the language tables. She is co-chair for a cultural event. So, what they probably expected and hoped for by offering her the scholarship is exactly what she is doing bc that is the drive she had demonstrated during high school and is simply continuing on campus.

I am not sure if that is helpful or not. When I look at other recipients, it isn't about long lists of ECs or being captains or presidents of a long list of clubs, but deep long-term commitment to an activity or cause that they will likely continue on their campus and energize other students to engage bc that benefits the college.
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#23 8FillTheHeart

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Posted 14 February 2018 - 11:47 AM

I think that it is very possible to be detached from the college search process and still be a driven student, or a student with specific high achievements. It's not like it's a process imbued with excitement, lol.


Mom researching schools that offer scholarships and fit cost vs a student searching out programs, on-campus actitivites/clubs that they want to become involved in are 2 very different scenarios. Getting scholarships based on just merit, no question that what you describe is a good option. But, when you are discussing competitive merit, I suspect the drive needs to come from the student bc that leadership/"take charge of the situation" personality is what they are looking for. Detached from the process is not a descriptor I would use for those kids.

For many kids the process is imbued with deep interest bc they approach as being completely vested in their future.

#24 Jazzy

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Posted 14 February 2018 - 01:12 PM

I think that it is very possible to be detached from the college search process and still be a driven student, or a student with specific high achievements. It's not like it's a process imbued with excitement, lol.


I was VERY detached from the process as I described above, but ended up very involved on campus and graduated with honors. The process was totally different then. I can’t believe all of the things kids are doing to get into college nowadays.

I had never heard of the level of involvement some students have in the process until I started reading here and on CC - emailing professors and department heads is something I didn’t even know students did, lol!

I have probably made ds sound like a big loafer, but he does his schoolwork totally independently, he’s an A student, he plays competitive bball at a high level and has some regional awards for that, worked a 30 hour summer job, etc.

He is not a tippy top kid, but the schools on his list are not tippy top. Our state’s flagship and top 5 schools are not on his list. A couple of the schools make the top 10 on some lists, but not all. I *think* that makes a difference, but maybe not...

I want him to be interested in the process, but one thing I’m not sure about is encouraging him to get excited about specific programs/organizations/etc. at specific schools when his options might be limited by finances. Couldn’t that set him up for a big disappointment in the end?

I appreciate the reminder not to be overly optimistic. I do want to be realistic so I hope I’m painting an accurate picture. I appreciate all of the advice.

#25 JumpedIntoTheDeepEndFirst

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Posted 14 February 2018 - 01:47 PM

I would look at more match schools.  

 

I never really thought of Community Colleges as safeties, more a plan B if 4 year options were exhausted.  Not that this wasn't a considered option or that I am downgrading this route but rather because they usually don't require the advance work on admissions that 4 years schools do, so I left them as an option to be pursued in April or May once all other admissions/financial aid decisions have been finalized.

 

As far as reach schools are concerned I would let the number you can afford application fees/test reporting fees for and work off that number.  If your budget for applications is large enough and the pay off could be big enough then go for it.

 

I have one kid who applied to double digit numbers of schools and landed the dream school and scholarship.  Next kid applied to only a handful and has been quite successful in gaining scholarships and admissions (still waiting to hear from some though). I'm not sure there is any one right number, that said I would have at least 2 4-year options in the safety and match categories.


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#26 Jazzy

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Posted 14 February 2018 - 02:18 PM

I would look at more match schools.

I never really thought of Community Colleges as safeties, more a plan B if 4 year options were exhausted. Not that this wasn't a considered option or that I am downgrading this route but rather because they usually don't require the advance work on admissions that 4 years schools do, so I left them as an option to be pursued in April or May once all other admissions/financial aid decisions have been finalized.

As far as reach schools are concerned I would let the number you can afford application fees/test reporting fees for and work off that number. If your budget for applications is large enough and the pay off could be big enough then go for it.

I have one kid who applied to double digit numbers of schools and landed the dream school and scholarship. Next kid applied to only a handful and has been quite successful in gaining scholarships and admissions (still waiting to hear from some though). I'm not sure there is any one right number, that said I would have at least 2 4-year options in the safety and match categories.


What criteria did you use to find matches in terms of scholarships?

#27 JumpedIntoTheDeepEndFirst

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Posted 14 February 2018 - 02:32 PM

What criteria did you use to find matches in terms of scholarships?

 

We didn't do many independent scholarships but kid no 1 was a match for many scholarships/merit aid at the schools she applied to, while kid no 2 is in search of a ROTC scholarship.  

 

I'm not sure if we had criteria but we always asked did they fit the profile, academic major, grades, test scores, and did they write a solid essay.  In the preparation department they worked on interview skills and the kid interested in ROTC has spent a significant amount of time working on physical fitness since that is one of the major considerations.

 

Both kids knew that there were schools they chose to apply to that would be impossible without some sort of scholarship.  If they didn't have scholarship money, we couldn't fund the school.  In that sense they were also sure to apply to schools in our price range that they would want to attend as well.

 

There really are no guarantees no matter how close a match you are.


Edited by JumpedIntoTheDeepEndFirst, 14 February 2018 - 02:33 PM.

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#28 JanetC

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Posted 14 February 2018 - 04:19 PM

What criteria did you use to find matches in terms of scholarships?


Most scholarships come from the colleges themselves, so we find the schools with other desired features (major, size, etc) then use the school admissions and financial aid websites to look for available scholarships.

#29 8FillTheHeart

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Posted 14 February 2018 - 05:19 PM

Most scholarships come from the colleges themselves, so we find the schools with other desired features (major, size, etc) then use the school admissions and financial aid websites to look for available scholarships.

 

We took the opposite approach and started with a list of schools with scholarships, categorized them by automatic, seemingly automatic (or a large number of undisclosed recipients who appear to get $$ simply based on the application), competitive (small number of recipients).  Dd researched schools, contacted depts, etc to help her narrow down her list.  We visited schools and she found things that made her reduce her list even more (dorms/bathrooms were a big deal to her. She completely wiped out a few schools bc dorms situations she didn't like.  ;) ) Dept responses eliminated a lot of schools.  

 

Once she had a manageable list, she spent more time researching and narrowing down the list to the ones she wanted to apply to.  Even then, she applied to several she shouldn't have bc she eliminated them long before she heard back from them.  Some were pretty unrealistic financially, but she applied just to see and knew that unless she got one of the handful of really big awards, they would be a no-go.  She was incredibly blessed bc her favorite from the beginning is where she is attending. 

 

But, there were some definite growing experiences along the way. Campus visits with dept meetings really clarified things for her; she matured a lot through the process in understanding what she wanted for herself and how to handle herself during the meetings.  Her first ones were awkward; her latter ones were much more deliberate,and she was far more professional/composed.

 

She realized she really didn't like small campuses.  Her interview weekend at one small weekend left her wanting to run the opposite direction (really glad she went on that overnight b/c she really, really disliked the campus after that one and decided that small campuses made her feel claustrophobic.) I was glad she had applied to both large and small campuses b/c it would have been sad if she had only applied to small campuses. 

 

But match scholarships are really going to be mostly automatic in realistic terms.  Then, you have to be brutally honest about how your student compares stat-wise and profile-wise for competitive merit.  I don't think, for example, that dd would have been competitive for something like the Robertson Scholarship at UNC.  UNC only accepts 18% of OOS students and it is extremely competitive in general.  Being extremely competitive for competitive scholarships meant dropping down in selectivity (conversely, the ones she eliminated before she actually received offers were the ones where she felt like she had dropped down too much and that were too small to actually offer what she wanted.  She figured there were other equally affordable options without pursuing them any further.)  You refine your list and process as you sort of go through it. 


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