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How do you decide whether to bother applying to Ivies? (includes URochester discussion)


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#1 kokotg

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Posted 14 February 2018 - 12:23 PM

I know the conventional wisdom is that even if you have perfect everything, you're just as likely as not to get rejected by Harvard. But, I mean....some people get in. At what point do you decide it makes sense to give it a try? My son's a junior this year, and we have a pretty good idea of what his safety and matches look like, but I'm not sure how much of a...well, REACH his reaches should be (obviously the final decision is his, but I'm hoping to steer him in a realistic but ambitious sort of direction). I didn't have a lot of guidance (or any) on this when I was applying to college and later to grad school, so I went the route of....avoiding rejection at all costs. applying to exactly one school that I knew I would get into for undergrad. And then for grad school I thought I was applying to long shots, but I got in everywhere I applied and wondered if I should have aimed higher. 

 

Anyway, so....suppose a kid has a very strong transcript and test scores, within range for Ivy admission, and decent but  unremarkable extra-curriculars--do you encourage them to give Harvard or Yale or wherever a shot (assuming they're interested) in the hopes that something in particular about them might be what the school is looking for or that some random admissions person happens to really love their essay? 



#2 maize

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Posted 14 February 2018 - 12:45 PM

For a kid with a strong background, I would say research the schools, visit the campuses, talk with professors in his areas of interest, consider finances and aid, then apply to the schools that seem like the best fit.

Elite/prestige status shouldn't be a determining factor one way or another as long as at least a couple of the chosen schools are safeties. Yes some kids will get into the lottery schools so if a lottery school is a good fit go for it.
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#3 chiguirre

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Posted 14 February 2018 - 12:50 PM

What does your son want to major in? The Ivies with a few exceptions are liberal arts colleges. So they're great if you want a general undergraduate experience, not so great if you want to pass the CPA exam or study nursing or be a civil engineer. So, the first step is to look at the rankings for his potential majors. They might be dominated by Ivies or they might not. Of course, the highest ranked schools for the major will be super competitive too. It's hard to get into UT Austin's business school (ranked #1 in accounting). If he does want to go to a LAC, then Harvard is worth a shot if it's his dream.


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#4 JanetC

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Posted 14 February 2018 - 01:21 PM

Personally, I think for any school with less than a 25% acceptance rate, you need to have a stronger reason than "why not give it a shot?" There needs to be some sense of fit between you and the school to make it worth the stress of applying.

A sense of fit helps you find other schools as well as the Ivies and keeps your list in balance. For example, my kiddo has two reaches: Johns Hopkins and MIT. Both have (among other things on her wish list) strong research connections with NASA, but so does my kiddo's safety school, the University of Arizona. She's not in the mindset that some have on college confidential have that "There is no other school besides my dream school. If I don't get in, my life is over."

My own kid has semi-remarkable EC's, I think? I kind of worry that the EC standards are higher for homeschoolers. That maybe they're expected to be able to do more given their so-called "spare time while not in school all day"?
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#5 kokotg

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Posted 14 February 2018 - 01:39 PM

What does your son want to major in? The Ivies with a few exceptions are liberal arts colleges. So they're great if you want a general undergraduate experience, not so great if you want to pass the CPA exam or study nursing or be a civil engineer. So, the first step is to look at the rankings for his potential majors. They might be dominated by Ivies or they might not. Of course, the highest ranked schools for the major will be super competitive too. It's hard to get into UT Austin's business school (ranked #1 in accounting). If he does want to go to a LAC, then Harvard is worth a shot if it's his dream.

 

He says math right now. Possibly and/or political science. I do think this is probably a case of "this is my favorite subject in school right now" and not something with a whole lot of thought toward an eventual career at the moment, but he has no interest in anything like engineering or business, and I don't see that changing, so I think a LAC is probably where he should be looking. We've paid some attention to finding schools with strong math departments, but I don't know how much to focus on that since I don't know how likely his interest in it is to change. 



#6 kokotg

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Posted 14 February 2018 - 01:52 PM

Personally, I think for any school with less than a 25% acceptance rate, you need to have a stronger reason than "why not give it a shot?" There needs to be some sense of fit between you and the school to make it worth the stress of applying.

 

 

Honestly, one thing I like a lot about Harvard in particular (I think it's also true for Yale and Princeton) is that they don't look at home equity when they calculate financial aid. We lucked into a great deal on a foreclosure when the market was down a few years ago; our EFC is very reasonable and manageable when we look at just the federal form, but home equity kills us for most profile schools. That's not a very high minded reason, but it's a practical one. If he could get into Harvard we'd likely be out of pocket way less than our state U (although, of course, if he actually does have a reasonable shot at Harvard than substantial merit aid might happen at a state school). And aside from that....we'll be visiting a lot of schools this spring and summer and, I hope, getting a good idea of what kind of place he wants to be. He has a lot of extended family in and near Boston, so that's appealing. 


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#7 JumpedIntoTheDeepEndFirst

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Posted 14 February 2018 - 01:54 PM

Part of the equation should be if you have the means to fund an Ivy education. They don't come cheap and the kids you are up against for merit scholarships are the kids who get admitted to Ivies. 

 

Also, it used to be conventional wisdom to not apply to the undergraduate Ivy where you would want to attend graduate school, your graduate admissions chances were higher coming from another institution.  I don't know if this is still true but... there it is FWIW.

 

If it all works for you then why not try...the worst they can do is say no, and they might say yes.


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#8 JumpedIntoTheDeepEndFirst

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Posted 14 February 2018 - 01:55 PM

nm

 

double post


Edited by JumpedIntoTheDeepEndFirst, 14 February 2018 - 01:55 PM.


#9 kokotg

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Posted 14 February 2018 - 02:00 PM

Part of the equation should be if you have the means to fund an Ivy education. They don't come cheap and the kids you are up against for merit scholarships are the kids who get admitted to Ivies. 

 

Also, it used to be conventional wisdom to not apply to the undergraduate Ivy where you would want to attend graduate school, your graduate admissions chances were higher coming from another institution.  I don't know if this is still true but... there it is FWIW.

 

If it all works for you then why not try...the worst they can do is say no, and they might say yes.

 

Ivies have the means to fund US, which is part of the appeal :). I said this above, but I think all the Ivies meet 100% of demonstrated need and several of them don't look at home equity (unlike most CSS profile schools), which would help us out tremendously. If we just look at salary, our EFC is doable for us; home equity kills us (and we have 3 more kids and 25 years left on our mortgage; we're not borrowing against home equity to send anyone to college)


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#10 kokotg

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Posted 14 February 2018 - 02:05 PM

(incidentally, I feel superstitious about even starting this thread; what if he fails physics this semester?! What if his SAT score looks nothing like the practice tests he's taken so far?! I'm jinxing everything!)


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#11 regentrude

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Posted 14 February 2018 - 02:22 PM

How good are his stats? Does he have the test scores to be competetive? Does he have an outstanding transcript? If yes, then apply. If no, don't bother.

My DD had the above plus some strong extracurriculars and applied to six extremely selective (Ivies and similar caliber) schools; she got admitted to two. So kids do get in -  but be prepared that he might not. 

But in the end, I'd rather have the disappointment of not getting in than wondering, and never knowing, whether it might have worked if I had tried.

 


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#12 JumpedIntoTheDeepEndFirst

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Posted 14 February 2018 - 02:43 PM

Ivies have the means to fund US, which is part of the appeal :). I said this above, but I think all the Ivies meet 100% of demonstrated need and several of them don't look at home equity (unlike most CSS profile schools), which would help us out tremendously. If we just look at salary, our EFC is doable for us; home equity kills us (and we have 3 more kids and 25 years left on our mortgage; we're not borrowing against home equity to send anyone to college)

 

After two rounds of college applications I guess I'm a bit jaded about the financial aid process, feels a bit like working with used car dealers.  Yes, many schools have wonderful potential aid, often worth filling out an application to see if they will admit and grant the needed aid.  However, until that financial aid package/letter is sitting in my hand I am reluctant to believe what the advertising says; the reality can be different.  Sometimes different in the "wonderful" sense, sometimes in the "not what I expected but I can make it work" sense and sometimes in the "what!!!!!"  sense.

 

As long as you and your kid on are the same page about what needs to happen with financial aid to make an Ivy work and you are willing to invest the application/score report money, I still say go for it.  You can never be admitted or win the scholarship if you don't risk rejection and try.

SaveSave


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#13 Plateau Mama

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Posted 14 February 2018 - 02:54 PM

For me the biggest question is how does your kid feel about always having to work really, really hard to be average? The Ivys/super selectives everyone is super smart. That can be hard for someone who is used to, and likes always being at the top.

My daughter had a perfect 36 on her ACT, 4.0, blah, blah, blah. She applied to one super selective because she fell in love with it. She was going to apply to an Ivy, but the one she chose doesn't allow double majors so that was a deal breaker for her. Now my child has always been the tippy top, not even close to her classmates. She would absolutly thrive being around super smart people. Some kids wouldn't.
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#14 Crimson Wife

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Posted 14 February 2018 - 03:05 PM

Ivies have the means to fund US, which is part of the appeal :). I said this above, but I think all the Ivies meet 100% of demonstrated need and several of them don't look at home equity (unlike most CSS profile schools), which would help us out tremendously. If we just look at salary, our EFC is doable for us; home equity kills us (and we have 3 more kids and 25 years left on our mortgage; we're not borrowing against home equity to send anyone to college)

 

Which schools are those? I never heard of any elite school that didn't expect parents to tap into home equity so if there are some that exclude it, I just may have to rethink our guidance to our oldest.
 



#15 JanetC

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Posted 14 February 2018 - 03:11 PM

List of schools and home equity in their financial aid formulas -- most schools verified in the past year but always confirm before building your entire college list on this

http://www.thecolleg...preadsheet.xlsx
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#16 8FillTheHeart

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Posted 14 February 2018 - 03:35 PM

I think this presentation is very helpful for thinking through the process: http://www.manhasset...n2011.05.17.pdf

You can take the same sort of through porcess and morph the stats and objectives into profiling your student for merit, etc as well.
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#17 kokotg

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Posted 14 February 2018 - 04:01 PM

List of schools and home equity in their financial aid formulas -- most schools verified in the past year but always confirm before building your entire college list on this

http://www.thecolleg...preadsheet.xlsx

 

ooh--thank you! I was working off of this list from 2014 and coupling it with doing a zillion net price calculators to see if they confirmed what the list said: http://www.thecolleg...al-aid-chances/


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#18 JanetC

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Posted 14 February 2018 - 04:11 PM

ooh--thank you! I was working off of this list from 2014 and coupling it with doing a zillion net price calculators to see if they confirmed what the list said: http://www.thecolleg...al-aid-chances/

 

Uhhh... that's where my spreadsheet link was from!


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#19 kokotg

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Posted 14 February 2018 - 04:14 PM

How good are his stats? Does he have the test scores to be competetive? Does he have an outstanding transcript? If yes, then apply. If no, don't bother.

My DD had the above plus some strong extracurriculars and applied to six extremely selective (Ivies and similar caliber) schools; she got admitted to two. So kids do get in -  but be prepared that he might not. 

But in the end, I'd rather have the disappointment of not getting in than wondering, and never knowing, whether it might have worked if I had tried.

 

I think his transcript is really solid (right now. knock wood): 4.0 unweighted, lots of AP and DE, lots of examples of pushing himself well beyond requirements. He's taking the SAT in March, so we'll see, but his practice test scores on Khan are good and if he comes up short he has the summer to work on it. We'll reevaluate after his 2nd semester grades and his SAT scores are in, but, yeah...I think I'm inclined to encourage him to go for it with at least one or two big reaches if he wants to. 


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#20 kokotg

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Posted 14 February 2018 - 04:17 PM

After two rounds of college applications I guess I'm a bit jaded about the financial aid process, feels a bit like working with used car dealers.  Yes, many schools have wonderful potential aid, often worth filling out an application to see if they will admit and grant the needed aid.  However, until that financial aid package/letter is sitting in my hand I am reluctant to believe what the advertising says; the reality can be different.  Sometimes different in the "wonderful" sense, sometimes in the "not what I expected but I can make it work" sense and sometimes in the "what!!!!!"  sense.

 

As long as you and your kid on are the same page about what needs to happen with financial aid to make an Ivy work and you are willing to invest the application/score report money, I still say go for it.  You can never be admitted or win the scholarship if you don't risk rejection and try.

SaveSave

 

Have you found the net price calculators to be way off with schools that say they meet 100% of demonstrated need (and only do need based)? They ask for so much information on those already! 



#21 kokotg

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Posted 14 February 2018 - 04:20 PM

Uhhh... that's where my spreadsheet link was from!

 

haha! oops....I was just reading the summary and totally missed the link to the spreadsheet. doh! 



#22 Sebastian (a lady)

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Posted 14 February 2018 - 05:06 PM

The first question should be if there is a degree program (or two or three) at the school that is of interest. The next question would be if the culture of the school is one he wants. If neither of those questions is yes (for any school) i don't think he should apply.

My son did not apply to any Ivy. He did apply to schools like Notre Dame, Stanford, Chicago, and Washington University.
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#23 Hoggirl

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Posted 14 February 2018 - 05:54 PM

For me the biggest question is how does your kid feel about always having to work really, really hard to be average? The Ivys/super selectives everyone is super smart. That can be hard for someone who is used to, and likes always being at the top.

My daughter had a perfect 36 on her ACT, 4.0, blah, blah, blah. She applied to one super selective because she fell in love with it. She was going to apply to an Ivy, but the one she chose doesn't allow double majors so that was a deal breaker for her. Now my child has always been the tippy top, not even close to her classmates. She would absolutly thrive being around super smart people. Some kids wouldn't.


But somebody rises to the top at elite schools. I agree you can't assume you will, but you also can't assume how hard a kid will have to work or that s/he will become part of the "average" group. Not that there is anything wrong with being average! I seriously doubt my Ds is going to be PBK, but he had to be in the top 20% of the engineering college to be invited into the engineering honor society.

OP, I'm assuming you know this, but I'm throwing it out in case you don't since you mentioned testing - top schools usually want to see at least two Subject Tests as well.
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#24 kokotg

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Posted 14 February 2018 - 06:21 PM


OP, I'm assuming you know this, but I'm throwing it out in case you don't since you mentioned testing - top schools usually want to see at least two Subject Tests as well.

 

Thanks, yes--he's not at all happy about it, but he knows :). We've looked at Emory most closely so far as far as highly selective places go, and they want to see 3. 


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#25 JumpedIntoTheDeepEndFirst

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Posted 14 February 2018 - 06:35 PM

Have you found the net price calculators to be way off with schools that say they meet 100% of demonstrated need (and only do need based)? They ask for so much information on those already! 

 

I honestly don't remember and didn't save all the irrelevant paperwork from kid no 1 (the schools not attended).  I will say that each school had a different picture of what they considered our demonstrated need.  I wasn't a huge fan of the net price calculators.  I found them to be ball park tools not necessarily a reflection of the package kiddo was offered in the end.  They weren't hugely off but they weren't totally accurate.

 

As mentioned in a previous post, it is important that the school has a desired program that will lead to graduate school or a desired profession.  


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#26 Tsuga

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Posted 14 February 2018 - 07:02 PM

Ivy League and military academies go into the kid-driven bucket for me. I will tell them about the colleges and options in middle and early high school, we will talk through what makes these things special honors, but if they don't push after that, I'm not going to. Ivies are too big a financial sacrifice for me, and military academies too big a heart sacrifice for them, to push them. I'll present the option. I'd be in tears with pride if my kids managed to get in, though.


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#27 snowbeltmom

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Posted 14 February 2018 - 08:50 PM

Which schools are those? I never heard of any elite school that didn't expect parents to tap into home equity so if there are some that exclude it, I just may have to rethink our guidance to our oldest.

MIT is one.

#28 cbreeding

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Posted 14 February 2018 - 09:19 PM

My nephew, who attended Yale, REALLY, REALLY wanted to attend Yale.  My SIL said she would not pay the application fee (they are tight on money) nor could they really be able to help much with the college cost if he chose this option.  My nephew got a job, paid for the application himself, and received a wonderful financial aid/scholarship package (he graduated without debt!)  

 

I'm not sure that really answers your question.  There are a great many wonderful universities.  Ivies have pros and cons.  I, personally, would only pursue it if my child had a strong desire to attend.


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#29 hopskipjump

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Posted 15 February 2018 - 12:15 AM


But in the end, I'd rather have the disappointment of not getting in than wondering, and never knowing, whether it might have worked if I had tried.

 

This. If there's an Ivy with a program of study he's interested in... why not?

 

(we are in the financial category where attending an Ivy would be loads cheaper than attending a state school... I've already got my third kid checking into those high-profile schools simply because of the financial aid he would receive!)


Edited by hopskipjump, 15 February 2018 - 12:17 AM.

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#30 GoodGrief

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Posted 15 February 2018 - 12:50 AM

Does the school have the programs of interest and does it make sense financially, after running the NPCs? Would the cost of applying be a hardship? If the answers are yes/yes/no, and the student is up for yet another set of essays, go for it, keeping in mind that the odds are low even for the highly qualified.


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#31 GoodGrief

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Posted 15 February 2018 - 12:59 AM

What does your son want to major in? The Ivies with a few exceptions are liberal arts colleges. So they're great if you want a general undergraduate experience, not so great if you want to pass the CPA exam or study nursing or be a civil engineer. So, the first step is to look at the rankings for his potential majors. They might be dominated by Ivies or they might not. Of course, the highest ranked schools for the major will be super competitive too. It's hard to get into UT Austin's business school (ranked #1 in accounting). If he does want to go to a LAC, then Harvard is worth a shot if it's his dream.

 

Cornell and Princeton have two of the most highly rated engineering programs in the nation at #10 and 11 on the US News engineering program list. And all the Ivies appear in the top 50 for engineering, with the lowest being Dartmouth at 47. They are really pretty strong in most areas. :-)

 

Part of the equation should be if you have the means to fund an Ivy education. They don't come cheap and the kids you are up against for merit scholarships are the kids who get admitted to Ivies. 

 

Also, it used to be conventional wisdom to not apply to the undergraduate Ivy where you would want to attend graduate school, your graduate admissions chances were higher coming from another institution.  I don't know if this is still true but... there it is FWIW.

 

If it all works for you then why not try...the worst they can do is say no, and they might say yes.

 

No merit scholarships at Ivy schools, so no concerns about competition there. It's all need based, and a few of the schools have far and away the most generous need-based aid available.


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#32 chiguirre

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Posted 15 February 2018 - 08:22 AM

Cornell and Princeton have two of the most highly rated engineering programs in the nation at #10 and 11 on the US News engineering program list. And all the Ivies appear in the top 50 for engineering, with the lowest being Dartmouth at 47. They are really pretty strong in most areas. :-)
 
 
No merit scholarships at Ivy schools, so no concerns about competition there. It's all need based, and a few of the schools have far and away the most generous need-based aid available.

 
I see your point, but I still think you need to research by major and not by the general reputation of the school unless you want a broad liberal arts education. Here's a link to Harvard's Engineering School statistics:

https://www.seas.har...-facts/rankings

There's a big difference between their rankings in pure sciences (generally 1-3) versus their engineering rankings (14-33).

On the flip side, often big public flagships have overall rankings far below their departmental rankings. They have a mission to educate students from their state and might have automatic admit rules that adversely affect their USNWR ranking but don't affect their departmental rankings. So you get schools like UT Austin that aren't even in the top 50 overall but have a lot of top 20 departments.

Depending on what you're looking for in an undergrad education, it's important to know which rankings to use. Just as its important to know if you'll do better with need-based aid at a meets need school (like Harvard) or if you'll do better with merit money.

There's a lot to consider when you decide where to apply!
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#33 JanetC

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Posted 15 February 2018 - 11:04 AM

"Department rankings" are a silly way to choose an undergraduate degree as they are weighted towards

 

- larger faculty sizes = more grant money, more papers, more students so bigger reputation

 

- graduate program size, reputation and competitiveness = at some schools, undergrads and grad students are more likely to be both working in the labs, while others are really just the grad students. Undergraduate-focused programs are generally neglected in department-specific rankings.

 

Undergraduate origins of PhD recipients is also a somewhat interesting metric, but it is also skewed towards graduating class sizes if you do not rescale the raw numbers from the NSF. (Reed produces few PhD's in total, but as a proportion of it's undergraduate class size it punches above it's weight so they love to rescale the numbers to show that.) In addition, it's skewed towards schools where students go on to grad school versus those that go into industry (top Computer Science students get tons of money thrown at them from every direction from Wall Street to Silicon Valley, less incentive to go to grad school) and it's a lagging indicator (the PhD comes 4-8 years after the undergrad degree, so it tells you if there was a strong undergrad class was a few years ago).


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#34 creekland

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Posted 15 February 2018 - 11:23 AM

I let my kids decide where to apply. 

 

Two were nowhere near Ivy acceptance material. 

 

One was, but decided he had no interest.  A HUGE part of his lack of interest came from where we live.  Here, Ivies (except Cornell and U Penn) come with a sneer or disdain reaction if he told anyone where he went.  He didn't want a school where he'd get that reaction - one where he'd have to be careful wearing the sweatshirt or having a bumper sticker on the car.  He wanted one he could embrace fully without repercussions.  Granted, those who are "Ivy or Bust" will sneer at where he went, but we just don't have any of those around here and they seem to be in a pretty big minority everywhere we go.  When we went places and got talking with folks (just chatting or because he's wearing a sweatshirt, etc) even pure strangers would say, "That's a good school!" if they didn't ask "Do you mean RIT?"  :lol:  He liked that feel.

 

Having gone to a high school where kids regularly went to Ivy schools (in my day), the attitude around here seems kind of strange, but such if life and I totally understand and support his reasoning.  I think there are more areas like here than where I grew up - at least - more areas we're likely to find ourselves in due to our preferences.

 

I'm all for letting the student decide where to apply, esp for reaches.  What matters to them is what counts.  It's their life.  One should always have safeties IF determined to go to college that application cycle.  My youngest opted to skip the safeties and his Plan B was to work and try again if the only school he decided to apply to didn't work out.  It did, but he fully knew Plan B might be the path he'd have to take.


Edited by creekland, 15 February 2018 - 11:34 AM.

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#35 Alessandra

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Posted 15 February 2018 - 11:49 AM

I think you should visit schools to get a sense of what appeals to your ds. Large vs small, urban vs smaller town, etc. My ds was totally set on one particular school, but after he visited it and a number of other colleges, he completely changed his mind.
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#36 GoodGrief

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Posted 15 February 2018 - 03:16 PM

 
I see your point, but I still think you need to research by major and not by the general reputation of the school unless you want a broad liberal arts education. Here's a link to Harvard's Engineering School statistics:

https://www.seas.har...-facts/rankings

There's a big difference between their rankings in pure sciences (generally 1-3) versus their engineering rankings (14-33).

On the flip side, often big public flagships have overall rankings far below their departmental rankings. They have a mission to educate students from their state and might have automatic admit rules that adversely affect their USNWR ranking but don't affect their departmental rankings. So you get schools like UT Austin that aren't even in the top 50 overall but have a lot of top 20 departments.

Depending on what you're looking for in an undergrad education, it's important to know which rankings to use. Just as its important to know if you'll do better with need-based aid at a meets need school (like Harvard) or if you'll do better with merit money.

There's a lot to consider when you decide where to apply!

 

I was simply responding to your generalization that the Ivy League schools are for the most part liberal arts colleges without strong science departments. I do understand the issues with rankings :-) But it's a stretch to suggest that those schools are not suitable for someone interested in STEM :-) Wanted to clarify for people educating themselves by browsing the message boards.


Edited by GoodGrief, 15 February 2018 - 03:24 PM.

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#37 GoodGrief

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Posted 15 February 2018 - 03:23 PM

One was, but decided he had no interest.  A HUGE part of his lack of interest came from where we live.  Here, Ivies (except Cornell and U Penn) come with a sneer or disdain reaction if he told anyone where he went.  He didn't want a school where he'd get that reaction - one where he'd have to be careful wearing the sweatshirt or having a bumper sticker on the car.  He wanted one he could embrace fully without repercussions.  Granted, those who are "Ivy or Bust" will sneer at where he went, but we just don't have any of those around here and they seem to be in a pretty big minority everywhere we go.  When we went places and got talking with folks (just chatting or because he's wearing a sweatshirt, etc) even pure strangers would say, "That's a good school!" if they didn't ask "Do you mean RIT?"  :lol:  He liked that feel.
 

 

Certain schools do seem to elicit a polarizing reaction, for whatever reason. I see it online more than in real life though. People here really don't have a whole lot of interest in my kids' colleges past what they are studying.

 

For us, the reason for applying to certain selective schools was the potentially positive financial aspect and the availability of desired programs.

 

By the way, my daughter told me yesterday that she sent in an app for a summer internship at U Rochester, but is not feeling very hopeful because it's a highly desirable/competitive site :-)
 


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#38 Alice

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Posted 15 February 2018 - 05:39 PM

For me the biggest question is how does your kid feel about always having to work really, really hard to be average? The Ivys/super selectives everyone is super smart. That can be hard for someone who is used to, and likes always being at the top.

My daughter had a perfect 36 on her ACT, 4.0, blah, blah, blah. She applied to one super selective because she fell in love with it. She was going to apply to an Ivy, but the one she chose doesn't allow double majors so that was a deal breaker for her. Now my child has always been the tippy top, not even close to her classmates. She would absolutly thrive being around super smart people. Some kids wouldn't.

 

 

Dh went to Yale and always says that he felt like he didn't work very hard once he got there. The attitude was sort of "if you are here, you deserve to be here." He worked really hard in high school but then felt like college was fairly easy. That was of course about 1000 years ago, so maybe it's changed. I do know he has a bunch of friends from college whose kids are there now and have said the same thing about it now. 

 

He did say that you do have to be comfortable being around people who are elite...both financially, socially, academically, etc. He was from Indiana and a first-generation Chinese-American. The socioeconomic differences were much more of an issue for him than academics. He is now the most "unconcerned with other people" person I've ever met. In the sense that he really does not compare himself to others ever. That might be partially from personality and partially from the trial by fire of being put in a situation where he either felt inferior or just decided it didn't matter. 


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#39 creekland

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Posted 15 February 2018 - 07:40 PM

Dh went to Yale and always says that he felt like he didn't work very hard once he got there. The attitude was sort of "if you are here, you deserve to be here." He worked really hard in high school but then felt like college was fairly easy. That was of course about 1000 years ago, so maybe it's changed. I do know he has a bunch of friends from college whose kids are there now and have said the same thing about it now. 

 

He did say that you do have to be comfortable being around people who are elite...both financially, socially, academically, etc. He was from Indiana and a first-generation Chinese-American. The socioeconomic differences were much more of an issue for him than academics. He is now the most "unconcerned with other people" person I've ever met. In the sense that he really does not compare himself to others ever. That might be partially from personality and partially from the trial by fire of being put in a situation where he either felt inferior or just decided it didn't matter. 

 

Interesting that you mention his attitude.  I felt the exact same way being the scholarship student at the fancy, expensive, private high school I went to in 10th grade when we went to FL to assist my grandmother after my grandfather's death.  I'm still not sure if the scholarship came from the school itself or if it came from someone grandma knew as she ran her church's thrift store.  I know it didn't come from my family.

 

The main social thing I learned is some people have boatloads of money - far more than the average person can even comprehend having - but that didn't mean they were any different than I was inside.  It just meant they had more spending money on them at school than I saw in a year or more.  Once I showed I could keep up with them academically (had to test to get into the school to start with), they accepted me as a friend, well, some of them did anyway.  Once they learned that I wasn't able to do the things they could (like go out or order in for lunch), they willingly paid my way.  I was invited to their houses, but never once invited anyone to mine (my grandmother's).  That was probably the only way I really felt inferior at the time.  Now I wouldn't care.

 

I sometimes wonder where they are now (the friends I had), but it was so long ago I don't recall last names to even see if they are online somewhere, but I don't even once wish I were them - or anyone else.  We're all the same inside (allowing for human differences). I don't worship or envy the rich nor disdain the poor.  It was a good thing to learn.  I like to think my friends learned the same thing, but with just one of me and the group of them and only for a year - who knows?


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#40 SanDiegoMom in VA

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Posted 15 February 2018 - 08:46 PM

He did say that you do have to be comfortable being around people who are elite...both financially, socially, academically, etc. He was from Indiana and a first-generation Chinese-American. The socioeconomic differences were much more of an issue for him than academics. He is now the most "unconcerned with other people" person I've ever met. In the sense that he really does not compare himself to others ever. That might be partially from personality and partially from the trial by fire of being put in a situation where he either felt inferior or just decided it didn't matter.


My daughter is somewhat in that situation right now on a smaller level. She is rooming with two other out of staters who are full ride (70 grand) while she's on the GI bill and pays nothing. She says it can get awkward at times. She's got a new roommate lined up for next year who is there on financial aid and is really looking forward to it.

#41 daijobu

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Posted 15 February 2018 - 11:37 PM

Like PPs, I'm concerned that you refer to "the Ivies" as a group, not as individual schools.  Cornell is very different from Brown or Yale or UPenn MIT or Stanford.  If your son sees something at Princeton that really appeals to him, some special program or major, a particular research lab or overseas program or anything, then by all means throw your hat in.  

 

And for heavens sake, don't let one aberrant SAT score stop you from applying!  


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#42 Tsuga

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Posted 15 February 2018 - 11:43 PM

"Department rankings" are a silly way to choose an undergraduate degree as they are weighted towards

 

- larger faculty sizes = more grant money, more papers, more students so bigger reputation

 

- graduate program size, reputation and competitiveness = at some schools, undergrads and grad students are more likely to be both working in the labs, while others are really just the grad students. Undergraduate-focused programs are generally neglected in department-specific rankings.

 

Undergraduate origins of PhD recipients is also a somewhat interesting metric, but it is also skewed towards graduating class sizes if you do not rescale the raw numbers from the NSF. (Reed produces few PhD's in total, but as a proportion of it's undergraduate class size it punches above it's weight so they love to rescale the numbers to show that.) In addition, it's skewed towards schools where students go on to grad school versus those that go into industry (top Computer Science students get tons of money thrown at them from every direction from Wall Street to Silicon Valley, less incentive to go to grad school) and it's a lagging indicator (the PhD comes 4-8 years after the undergrad degree, so it tells you if there was a strong undergrad class was a few years ago).

 

Thank you for your criticism of the metrics here. Super helpful when speaking to kids who are concerned about "mediocre" ranking schools that are great values for the price!



#43 kokotg

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Posted 16 February 2018 - 08:39 AM

Like PPs, I'm concerned that you refer to "the Ivies" as a group, not as individual schools.  Cornell is very different from Brown or Yale or UPenn MIT or Stanford.  If your son sees something at Princeton that really appeals to him, some special program or major, a particular research lab or overseas program or anything, then by all means throw your hat in.  

 

And for heavens sake, don't let one aberrant SAT score stop you from applying!  

 

Right, I understand that, and he definitely won't be applying to every Ivy because of some misplaced value placed on "prestige." I was using Ivies more as shorthand for "impossibly selective colleges he's interested in." Right now he's still in research mode and we're putting together a list to visit this summer. We've done a couple of college visits locally so far, and I think he's still trying to figure out what he wants. He's interested in Brown (open curriculum appeals to him), maybe Harvard (I think that's mostly about Boston and maybe some misplaced value on prestige after all ;)). Definitely not Dartmouth, he says, even though his grandfather just retired from the math department there; too much Greek life, reputation for conservatism turn him off. And not MIT because he's interested in pure math but not hard sciences or engineering so much. But it's early days. Although fall will sneak up on us quicker than we want it to, I'm sure! 


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#44 JanetC

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Posted 16 February 2018 - 10:43 AM

By the way, my daughter told me yesterday that she sent in an app for a summer internship at U Rochester, but is not feeling very hopeful because it's a highly desirable/competitive site :-)


Even with the Jaeger controversy it's that popular? I suppose the boycott is over since the president stepped down, but I'd still think this would not be a good recruiting year for them.

#45 GoodGrief

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Posted 16 February 2018 - 12:47 PM

Even with the Jaeger controversy it's that popular? I suppose the boycott is over since the president stepped down, but I'd still think this would not be a good recruiting year for them.

 

It's just a summer internship; I can't speak to admissions for the university itself.



#46 GoodGrief

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Posted 16 February 2018 - 12:59 PM

Dh went to Yale and always says that he felt like he didn't work very hard once he got there. The attitude was sort of "if you are here, you deserve to be here." He worked really hard in high school but then felt like college was fairly easy. That was of course about 1000 years ago, so maybe it's changed. I do know he has a bunch of friends from college whose kids are there now and have said the same thing about it now. 

 

He did say that you do have to be comfortable being around people who are elite...both financially, socially, academically, etc. He was from Indiana and a first-generation Chinese-American. The socioeconomic differences were much more of an issue for him than academics. He is now the most "unconcerned with other people" person I've ever met. In the sense that he really does not compare himself to others ever. That might be partially from personality and partially from the trial by fire of being put in a situation where he either felt inferior or just decided it didn't matter. 

 

Yale and Harvard both have a reputation for grade inflation. That's still true today. In some sense, I suppose that's not entirely a bad thing; learning for the sake of learning. That is not the case at my daughter's school, though they did officially drop the grade deflation policy.

 

Truly, "elite" people have not been an issue at all for her, though she comes from modest means. Maybe she is just not one to notice things like that though. She has a full social life, and finds it easy to live on a budget there because of copious free food and entertainment. I do recall feeling like the "poor kid" at my private Christian college back in the day though. They really didn't offer large scholarships, so most kids that went there had parents who could foot the bill easily.

Right, I understand that, and he definitely won't be applying to every Ivy because of some misplaced value placed on "prestige." I was using Ivies more as shorthand for "impossibly selective colleges he's interested in." Right now he's still in research mode and we're putting together a list to visit this summer. We've done a couple of college visits locally so far, and I think he's still trying to figure out what he wants. He's interested in Brown (open curriculum appeals to him), maybe Harvard (I think that's mostly about Boston and maybe some misplaced value on prestige after all ;)). Definitely not Dartmouth, he says, even though his grandfather just retired from the math department there; too much Greek life, reputation for conservatism turn him off. And not MIT because he's interested in pure math but not hard sciences or engineering so much. But it's early days. Although fall will sneak up on us quicker than we want it to, I'm sure! 

 

FWIW, I would say that Princeton is probably the most conservative of the Ivies...but it really isn't conservative at all, lol. The atmosphere is probably more tolerant of those with conservative or religious ideas though. When my daughter visited Dartmouth for accepted student weekend, they had a costumed keg mascot out and about, so, yes, Greek life definitely a thing there.


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#47 creekland

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Posted 16 February 2018 - 11:58 PM

Even with the Jaeger controversy it's that popular? I suppose the boycott is over since the president stepped down, but I'd still think this would not be a good recruiting year for them.

 

I've wondered how that will affect things.  Time will tell.  The strange things is similar "cwap" has been going on (and outed) at other colleges, but not had the same effect of wanting to string the whole college from the trees.  We've never figured out why they were singled out.  And now with the independent reports clearing the college of wrongdoing, plus his admission of doing some things he shouldn't have (though not legally wrong), I just don't really get the whole deal TBH.  Too many folks declaring guilt just on a say so, without being willing to accept the facts.

 

I've told a few kids it could be a GOOD year to try for admission due to the controversy, but obviously, not in the BCS department until they get new folks in.  I'm glad my guy graduated before that dept fell apart.

 

I suppose if too many looked at it as a GOOD year it could end up being a really tough one...

 

Time will tell.



#48 JanetC

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Posted 17 February 2018 - 10:42 AM

I've wondered how that will affect things. Time will tell. The strange things is similar "cwap" has been going on (and outed) at other colleges, but not had the same effect of wanting to string the whole college from the trees.


What has been astounding to me as an outside observer has been that despite the number of witnesses and the severity of the complaints, the department chair and the president of the university responded in no uncertain terms that "no university policy was violated." They basically from the beginning bet their careers and reputation on defending this guy. (And the president Seligman eventually lost that bet.)

DD was visiting campus when the initial EEOC complaint dropped https://threadreader...63977282383873# It was the most bizarre campus tour, and since we hadn't read Mother Jones before heading to campus we had no idea what was going on other than "why are they showing us all six floors of the library and not taking us to explore the campus???"

When similar complaints came up at other U's the people in charge either swore they never heard a word about the guy or at least said, "we found him in violation of university policy and made him watch three hours of videos on sexual harassment" or something. The UR administration dug in hard in defense of this guy.

The persistence of UR saying "no university policy was violated here" (https://www.insidehi...-little-closure) has made the complainants dig in equally hard -- http://www.campustim...women-backward/

These things are usually settled quietly, and maybe with Seligman out of the way it can still be settled, but if it goes to court there will be lasting damage to UR. The text of the lawsuit shows that they are threatening to make it extremely ugly and personal -- check out paragraph 3 https://www.scientif...nt-allegations/

#49 JoJosMom

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Posted 17 February 2018 - 10:54 AM

List of schools and home equity in their financial aid formulas -- most schools verified in the past year but always confirm before building your entire college list on this

http://www.thecolleg...preadsheet.xlsx

 

Thank you so much for sharing this!



#50 SeaConquest

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Posted 17 February 2018 - 06:37 PM

Having the stats to be competitive is really a given in the Ivy admissions process. I would actually focus on ECs and crafting his story. Why him? What does he bring to the school? Why is he a fit for this school? Why should they not pass him by? Because he is really smart and does well in his classes is not the correct answer. You need a theme that flows naturally through his activities, achievements, LORs, and essays. 

 

Besides get good grades and test scores, what else has he done? What is he passionate about? Why? How did that passion come about? How has he demonstrated that passion? What does he hope to accomplish by attending this school? Why are they a fit for each other? Grades and test scores check one box. How does he check the others? 


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