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How many schools did your DC apply to?

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I keep reading that students shouldn't apply to more than 6-8 because it reduces the quality of applications, etc.

DD has a list of 12 and we are having a difficult time reducing to 8.  Since financial aid is such a big deal, we don't want to reduce her options too much since she desperately needs to compare financial packages.

 

So far she has

 

(categories are defined by running her stats on the parchment website)

 

Reach schools (no plan to get in, haha) ...

Harvard, Princeton

 

Slight reach (parchement calls this a match but at only 45% likelihood we are still calling it a bit of a reach) ...

Duke

 

Matches

Wake, Emory, W&L, Davidson, Chapel Hill

 

Safety

Queens, Furman, Elon, NC State

 

 

*** I know that Davidson is not HS friendly.  I am fully aware.  We have some ties there though so she might apply anyway - although it isn't her favorite school and it might drop from the list sooner rather than later. 

 

Edited by Charleigh

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Well, we are a bit of an anomaly...

 

DS1 - one application

DS2 - one application

DS3 - one application

 

That's it.  Our fall back plan was the local community college.  So far, we are three for three, for three.  (LOL)

Edited by Kinsa
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Five. That's the limit in the UK. But all the universities in a particular tier tend to cost the same, so there's no financial reason to apply to lots.

 

He was given offers by them all.

Edited by Laura Corin
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Well, we are a bit of an anomaly...

 

DS1 - one application

DS2 - one application

DS3 - one application

 

That's it.  Our fall back plan was the local community college.  So far, we are three for three, for three.  (LOL)

 

 

That sounds so pleasant :001_wub: â€‹So easy peasy :001_wub: I can't convince DD to go that route.  Honestly, a college application counselor suggested that dd not even consider that route because she is high stats and we aren't high income so she "should" hit some nice merit and need based aid, making entering as a freshman a better option for her personally.  Now my other kiddos might be another story :rolleyes:       â€‹  â€‹

Edited by Charleigh
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I keep reading that students shouldn't apply to more than 6-8 because it reduces the quality of applications, etc.

DD has a list of 12 and we are having a difficult time reducing to 8. Since financial aid is such a big deal, we don't want to reduce her options too much since she desperately needs to compare financial packages.

 

So far she has

 

(categories are defined by running her stats on the parchment website)

 

Reach schools (no plan to get in, haha) ...

Harvard, Princeton

 

Slight reach (parchement calls this a match but at only 45% likelihood we are still calling it a bit of a reach) ...

Duke

 

Matches

Wake, Emory, W&L, Davidson, Chapel Hill

 

Safety

Queens, Furman, Elon, NC State

 

 

*** I know that Davidson is not HS friendly. I am fully aware. We have some ties there though so she might apply anyway - although it isn't her favorite school and it might drop from the list sooner rather than later.

Ds applied to 6. He started apps to two others that he didn't complete. Partly he decided he wasn't as interested in those two schools, but I also think he burned out on essay writing.

 

How many on the list are Common App schools? Which have supplemental essays? Keep in mind that there may be just as many essays for scholarship and honors college applications as for admission.

 

I'm not familiar with Parchement. Two neighbors with top grades, high scores and state level athletics were both turned down for Duke, a school they thought was a match. The admission rate is 11%.

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That sounds so pleasant :001_wub: â€‹So easy peasy :001_wub: I can't convince DD to go that route.  Honestly, a college application counselor suggested that dd not even consider that route because she is high stats and we aren't high income so she "should" hit some nice merit and need based aid, making entering as a freshman a better option for her personally.  Now my other kiddos might be another story :rolleyes:       â€‹  â€‹

 

Yeah, we've sorta lucked out on the financial end of things.  (I explained it all here, if you are interested.)  Had we been in a different financial situation, things would have looked much different for us.

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Ds applied to 6. He started apps to two others that he didn't complete. Partly he decided he wasn't as interested in those two schools, but I also think he burned out on essay writing.

 

How many on the list are Common App schools? Which have supplemental essays? Keep in mind that there may be just as many essays for scholarship and honors college applications as for admission.

 

I'm not familiar with Parchement. Two neighbors with top grades, high scores and state level athletics were both turned down for Duke, a school they thought was a match. The admission rate is 11%.

 

 

Duke is always a reach, just my personal opinion. 

Edited by Charleigh

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Fwiw I though ds would apply to more schools. I was predicting 8-12.

 

Ds 2 has a longer list because more of his schools have lower rates.

 

We also found the ROTC and academy nomination process was like adding 4 extra applications on, complete with recommendations, transcript and interviews.

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My ds did 10 but they were all common app without extra essays and only 3 had a fee. So all he had to do was check a box and have his test score sent to some of them. He would not have done so many if it required more effort.

 

He really had narrowed what he wanted to about 5 by the time acceptances started coming in. He had his hands full with scholarship applications, honors applications, scholarship interviews for just those. He let those extras drop at the ones that were not in his top 5. Our experience led us to believe ds would not have handled seriously pursuing more than that number well.

 

The ones on your list are more competitive than the ones ds applied to and my impression would be that her work would be on the front end of the application, not the extras that came later for the lower tier schools we worked with.

 

I think 12 is ALOT but with those competitive schools and the need for financial aid I do not think it is too many. But expect to have to clear time in the schedule to complete them all and to show interest at the ones that consider that a factor.

 

A very good friend of mine has a dd in a high achieving public school. Her ds is NMF, 34 ACT, 700s on SAT 2, an athlete and various other extras. She applied to 10 schools and only ended up with 4 acceptances and one is completely unaffordable. She doesn't have the choices she expected to have. I think when you are going for those kind of schools a high number of applications makes sense.

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First child - one and done

Second child - will do two

 

First child - one and done

Second child - two will do!  (LOL)

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Five.  We targeted schools where his ACT composite score placed him at the 75th percentile of admitted students because we thought that would give him the best chance of being admitted combined with a shot at having a good intellectual peer group.

Edited by EKS
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My DD did four, I had been pushing for five or six.

 

When you have 12 like this, you just need to do them in order: Save lottery schools Harvard and Princeton for last, and get the realistic choices done first. Start writing essays over the summer, too. Many kids can power through 12 apps, but many others could not. The list often shortens at the last minute just out of exhaustion from doing all the essays and such.

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We also found the ROTC and academy nomination process was like adding 4 extra applications on, complete with recommendations, transcript and interviews.

 

 

AMEN!!!!!!

 

 

#1 dd applied to exactly ONE! And got in. And then repeated that for master's #1. And then for doctoral #1. And then left that program and applied for yet exactly one master's. She did finally applied for three doctoral programs. Good thing, as she only got in at 2. Of course those 3 were IN, Boston and Julliard!

 

Dd#2 applied 3 academies, ERAU, AFROTC & NROTC, Hillsdale--got in all of them. 

 

Dd#3 applied to 2 academies, AROTC and 4 other schools. She got the AROTC and all the schools but the academies. She got a prep year to USMA but took her AROTC at WY. 

 

Ds applied to 3 academies, AFROTC and three other schools. He got everything but the academies, and took his AFROTC at Mines. 

 

Dd #4 doesn't know yet. Her short list is currently 6 schools and 3 academies. 

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Wow- sounds like too many schools.

 

Why so many safety schools?  

 

And, can't she apply first round (early action) to reach (1 or 2) and match schools (maybe her favorite 3), and then think about more match school and safety schools if she doesn't get in to those?

 

 

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Dd applied to one early decision. I made her finish two early action applications so that if she didn't get her first choice early decision she'd have a positive answer from somewhere before Christmas.

 

She got in her first choice. The other two schools kept pestering her even after she officially withdrew applications.

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I keep reading that students shouldn't apply to more than 6-8 because it reduces the quality of applications, etc.

 

I have read this mantra as well, but I don't agree with it.  Imo, what reduces the quality of applications is waiting until the final hours to begin working on the applications or applying to a bunch of schools that can't possibly all be good fits simply because the schools rank highly on the ranking lists.

 

If a student has 12 schools that are all good fits, writing the supplemental essays should not be difficult nor should the quality of the applications suffer. 

 

 

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For us, 5, 8, and 3. For each dc, it was the right amount.

I've heard the advice that if you are going for Ivies or schools with similar acceptance rates, you should basically count all of them as "one", and make sure that with what's left you have a good balance of "reasonably sure I'll get in" and "reasonably sure we can afford it", being sure to have at least one school which fits into both categories (and make sure you like that school!).
I've watched way too many nieces and nephews apply mainly to Ivies, only to find that when they didn't get in (despite being well-qualified and strongly encouraged to apply (courted, even) by the school), their remaining choices were less than ideal.

I second the advice to:

1) Pick one to apply Early-Whatever. If nothing else, it's emotionally helpful to know "I'm going SOMEWHERE" early on in the process.

2) Do the applications in a more-or-less logical order, in case you run out of steam along the way.

Also:

--Make a list of things you want the school to know about the student, and make sure that each of those things is in the application somewhere. As an example, a job at Scout Camp could be under "employment", "extra-curriculars", or mentioned in an essay.

--Make a "cut and paste" file so that you can re-use whole answers, paragraphs, or phrases when doing multiple applications.

 

--Make a master deadline list.

 

--Remember that if you show little interest in a school (never visit, never call, etc.) you may get waitlisted regardless of a strong application. They need to be careful with their stats, and every kid they admit who doesn't go to that school is a ding to their rating.  

 

--I've been told that it's perfectly acceptable to decline to answer if a schools asks where else you are applying; this may be particularly wise if you are applying to many schools.

 

(Bonus "voice of experience" tip:  Don't screw up your FAFSA by adding an extra zero somewhere.  You'll end up with a six-figure EFC.)

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DS applied to one. He did early decision, so we knew he got in before other deadlines. He started the application to one other school, but never submitted it. We also knew that he would get an automatic full tuition scholarship to that school. It is one of the top schools in the world for his major. He loves it. I wish we had sent him earlier.

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One. He transferred after 3 years at the CC to a smaller private LAC with as much transfer scholarship money as they award. He has loved the school and his experience there. If he had not been accepted to that school, he would have been able to transfer to the big in-town state public university -- he would have tolerated it and gotten a degree, but would not have thrived there.

 

Starting at the CC was the very best situation for this DS, who warms up to new things slowly -- he was able to live at home, gain confidence and a very high GPA at the CC, and was there long enough to earn an AAS degree and enough credits to transfer -- and also was there long enough to get tired of it and really be *ready* for the LAC. ;)

Edited by Lori D.
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First - One.  Accepted.

 

Second - Three, then changed her mind about college altogether and waited another year.  Then applied at just one.  Accepted.

 

Third - One.  Accepted.

 

Fourth - Five.  Chose one and attended it a year.  The following year reapplied at her second choice and third choices, and is now completing the year there (at her second choice from the year before).  Great decision!

 

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I've heard the advice that if you are going for Ivies or schools with similar acceptance rates, you should basically count all of them as "one", and make sure that with what's left you have a good balance of "reasonably sure I'll get in" and "reasonably sure we can afford it", being sure to have at least one school which fits into both categories (and make sure you like that school!).

I've watched way too many nieces and nephews apply mainly to Ivies, only to find that when they didn't get in (despite being well-qualified and strongly encouraged to apply (courted, even) by the school), their remaining choices were less than ideal.

 

 

 

This advice, put in this way, is spot on and I haven't ever really seen it explained so well.

 

My friend whose dd applied to 7 schools with less than 20% acceptance rates really felt like she had a really good chance.  Surely she would get into one of those was the thought.  But it just doesn't work that way.  I have watched a few kids in that situation and they seem to largely get accepted to most or rejected from them all.  It certainly doesn't play out that if you apply to enough of those schools that one of them will "hit" but it seems hopeful applicants figure just one at least will admit them and it just doesn't work that way.  I like the idea of grouping all those school as "one".

 

This friend really hates her safety.  She just didn't think she would need it.  She never did identify a single school that was both a financial and acceptance safety that she could feel good about.  That was the big mistake. 

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11

 

3 Big State U safeties - all acceptances to honors colleges with merit. Two with enough competitive merit to be full rides

 

2 Match private schools - both acceptances. approx $20,000 or so in merit at each

 

6 Reaches - four acceptances (one with about $22,500 in merit per year), one waitlist (small, private LAC), one rejection (only Ivy ds applied to)

 

The reach schools definitely had the most intensive apps with some having very involved supplements.

 

Ds was very good about pacing himself. I would have liked everything to have been completed by Thanksgiving, but it wasn't. He continued to work on one or two apps even after Christmas. But, none were done at the 11th hour.

 

Many essay questions (outside of the Common App) can be slightly repurposed and used for more than one application. It is, however, a time-consuming process. My ds purposefully saved one easy class (he attended a public charter for high school) for fall of his senior year. He also had all but one subject test completed by fall of his senior year. I think getting testing done as early as is feasible makes the process less stressful.

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One, early decision, so we've known since December where she was going.  It is a financial safety, but its 25% acceptance rate means it wasn't an admissions safety for anyone.  Despite the fact that she is so enmeshed in the math department that she stores her lunch in the faculty lounge's fridge, I did not consider her acceptance a given.

 

I encouraged her to apply to other schools; she refused.  And for what she wants to do, I reluctantly have to admit that she was right:  it would be harder to find a better balance between affordability and academic reputation.

 

I have so many friends whose seniors do not yet know where they are going.  Planning is my middle name, so not knowing where my kid's going to be going to college in--gasp--APRIL-would drive me batty!

 

Assuming she continues to swim, I expect my sophomore also will apply to only one school.

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We planned on more, but ended with 5. Here's the thing. My son got tired/exhausted of the whole process. Usually, even if the school is on the common app, there are extra essays to write. So yeah, we ended applying to 5 and he got accepted to 4.

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Child 1 - 1

Child 2 - 1

 

Both were their first choices, both got early decisions, both are in our price range, both have good programs for their majors. 

 

 

 

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For those who have mentioned it, we simply can't apply ED - too risky financially :(  She will apply early action where possible and not binding.  A few of her schools do have that option so that's great.

DD is a writer and she plans to work this summer on the common app essays and she already has a few award winning pieces that could be great addition (where applicable) to her application because they do make her interesting.  She is also signed up for a workshop this summer that walks students through filling out the common app and she really hopes to have much of her footwork done during summer break because some of her schools have early application dates for admission and/or scholarships.

 

 

 

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I have so many friends whose seniors do not yet know where they are going.  Planning is my middle name, so not knowing where my kid's going to be going to college in--gasp--APRIL-would drive me batty!

 

Assuming she continues to swim, I expect my sophomore also will apply to only one school.

 

My MIL who barely talks to us to begin with asks in every single conversation where eldest is going to school next year.  US: We don't know.  Her: what do you mean you don't know? Us:  It means we have no clue where he is going, we are still waiting for information from colleges.  Her: Well surely you have some idea.  Us:No we really don't.  Her: Why are you hiding it from me?  Us: We're not hiding we just have no idea.

 

And the things is we are totally okay with this.  DS changes his mind about what he wants frequently because frankly HE doesn't really know what he wants.  At this point I think it will be best if he takes a gap year and figures out what he wants, but I know MIL will go absolutely batty if we tell her he's not going anywhere. 

 

Funny how we are all so different to our approaches to life.  It would drive you crazy not to know and it drives me crazy that someone expects us to know already. 

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My daughter applied to one, the only school in the country that had an early entrance program that was appropriate for her. 

 

My son applied to 11, but he had good reasons . . . I swear!

 

He felt very strongly from the very beginning that he was interested in only a certain type of school: small-to-medium sized, private, liberal arts with strong programs in performing arts. Although on paper our income looks good, we can't come close to being able to afford our official expected contribution. His test scores were good but not stellar, and he absolutely needed a big chunk of merit and scholarship aid in order to be able to afford the kind of school he wanted to attend. To make matters even more fun, a good number of the schools to which he applied required that he not only be academically admitted to the college but also audition for admission to the program(s) of his choice. So, between the admission/audition double whammy and the financial situation, we figured it was best to cast a fairly wide net.

 

My hope was that, when the dust settled, he would find himself with at least three schools to which he had been admitted both academically and to his chosen program(s) AND which were realistic options financially. I wanted very much for him to know that he was making a meaningful choice about where to attend.

 

Out of the 11 schools, he was admitted (academically) to nine, waitlisted at one and denied at the 11th. Out of those nine schools, he was not offered places in his chosen program(s) at two. Out of the seven remaining, he was offered financial packages that brought the cost of attendance within our range at . . . wait for it . . . three.

 

So, in his case, 11 turned out to be the right number, even though I sometimes felt like we were a little crazy to allow/encourage that many applications.

 

I remind myself that, if we average out the two kids, each one applied to only six.

 

 

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dd1 - One and done.  Yay!

 

dd2 - Nine.  She got into them all, but we can only afford two of them.

 

dd3 - Is only 15, but thinks she would like to go to a state school like dd1 that will take all her CC transfer credits and has desired major(s).  So, maybe another one and done??  Or maybe two.

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12 for dd, 5 for ds 1, 6 for ds 2, and ds 3 is a high school sophomore but he currently plans on applying to U of MI and WMU for aerospace engineering, U of MI and University of Detroit Mercy for robotics engineering, U of A Huntsville, Purdue, and MTU if he changes to mechanical engineering since they do have robotics courses but do not offer the major. He loves MTU and would fit right in, but without an aerospace or robotics engineering major, I think he's likely to land somewhere else because I really don't think he will change to mechanical. Virginia Tech may be on the list given the accomplishments of their DARPA team, but I haven't had the time to investigate how generous they are with merit aid and he needs a boatload in order to afford OOS tuition. U of A is known for their generosity if the scores are in line with their admission criteria for engineering.

 

So maybe seven schools for him.

 

I applied to 12 back in the day, however as a music piano performance major with two reaches on my list - Eastman and Curtis - and well, that is one major where things are just super funky...if you think that IVY admission's is crazy, go look at the actual admission's stats just for piano performance at the more selective schools and it is something like 2% so one can not have all one's eggs in one basket so to speak. So it was warranted.

 

DD had a hard time at first narrowing down whether or not she was majoring in nursing or chemistry so she picked six for nursing and six for chem, and landed in chemistry along with medic school.

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For those who have mentioned it, we simply can't apply ED - too risky financially :(  She will apply early action where possible and not binding.  

 

Can someone explain this to me?  When you get an early decision, do you still not get the financial aid offer until later?  or how does that work?

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Can someone explain this to me? When you get an early decision, do you still not get the financial aid offer until later? or how does that work?

ED is binding. It is a commitment that the student WILL attend the school if accepted. You know early, your likelihood of acceptance is higher, but you can't compare financial packages. Most schools don't suggest applying ED if finances is an issue.

Edited by Charleigh
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Have you run the NPC for all of the schools?  The only reason I would suggest not applying is if the school is just not going to be affordable.  We have learned that it is just a waste of $$ to apply if the NPC says it is too expensive, bc t is just magical thinking to believe that somehow the package will have different #s.

 

 

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DS applied to only one school. He visited, decided that was the one and looked no further. Thankfully, he got it early admit. I have no idea what his backup plan was or if he even had one. 

 

DD is just starting the process. I've a feeling she'll be applying to more than one. 

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Oldest - 3 apps

Middle - 6 apps

Youngest - 1 app

 

No regrets with any of them actually.  We sorted through schools together and they applied to those they wanted to based upon their individual situations.

 

They were all fortunate enough to be able to attend their top choice, but that's only because the finances also worked out with those schools.

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Since we are fairly low income, financial aid considerations were a large part of my daughter's college list making process.

I initially generated a list of colleges which met 100% of need, then we generated a list of colleges with good Latin/Classics programs. In 10th grade, my daughter contacted the Classics departments of the colleges (about 30) which were on both lists to ask about requirements and/or suggestions for homeschoolers. The answers she received to her inquiries plus additional research helped her make her final list of colleges. One additional college was added to her list after she attended a Classics conference there and liked the campus (note: that college ended up offering, by far, the worst financial aid).

In all, my daughter applied to ten colleges/universities -- one, the local state university's honor college, was an absolute financial and academic safety. The others ranged from low to high selectivity in terms of acceptance with the strength of their Classics programs varying from good to excellent. The outcome was that she was accepted at eight of the colleges, wait-listed at a ninth (highly selective) and denied at the one Ivy League college to which she applied.

Since financial concerns were so strong, the eight acceptances gave her a range of financial offers to consider. And, yes, they did vary widely.

Regards,
Kareni

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Have you run the NPC for all of the schools?  The only reason I would suggest not applying is if the school is just not going to be affordable.  We have learned that it is just a waste of $$ to apply if the NPC says it is too expensive, bc t is just magical thinking to believe that somehow the package will have different #s.

 

 

 

Our NPC for all schools is within about $1,000 of each other except for NC State which is quite higher.  Honestly, for some reason the NPC for State is out of range for us.  I feel like we are missing something somewhere with that.  We wanted State to be her safety school :(  I've considered telling DD to just nix it from the list but she is hesitant. 

Edited by Charleigh

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Have you run the NPC for all of the schools?  The only reason I would suggest not applying is if the school is just not going to be affordable.  We have learned that it is just a waste of $$ to apply if the NPC says it is too expensive, bc t is just magical thinking to believe that somehow the package will have different #s.

 

But the NPC doesn't include merit aid, does it?

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First child - one.

Then I made him apply to a financial safety. He was right, one was enough. He's there now.

 

Second child - Two. 

Dd applied to one school, visited, was accepted, planned to go. Then last week we were looking at the fall course listings as they came out and were very unhappy with class sizes. She did an application to her (previously) second choice school and we're going to visit next week. I'm wishing I had made her follow through with them last fall when she considered them. It is another state school with guaranteed admissions with her stats and very late deadlines, so she will still be accepted and have a guaranteed scholarship. However, she has missed the first housing priority deadline and I could have lived without the last minute whirlwind. She will decide which school after the visit next Monday.

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But the NPC doesn't include merit aid, does it?

It will for some schools and it won't for others. If the NPC is asking about GPA, test scores, and number of AP classes, it may be trying to estimate the merit aid.

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But the NPC doesn't include merit aid, does it?

It takes researching the schools to understand merit aid. The 2 reaches on her list don't offer any. A few of the others offer a very limited number of scholarships. Applying to a couple of schools with extremely competitive scholarships might be worth it, but it really is probably a waste of money to apply to a lot of limited merit $$ schools bc the competition is so extreme. That really isn't an application strategy.

 

Applying to schools where your student is in the top quartile and the merit $$ is well known ***AND*** the merit money brings costs down to affordable is worthwhile. BUT, there are A LOT of schools where even their largest award, even at $30,000, might leave a huge gap between affordable and not.

 

I don't know the OP's income nor their child's academic competitiveness. Whether or not some of those schools are realistic in terms of merit $$ or great need-based aid is something they have to factor in.

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My daughter applied to a huge number of schools. 19, actually :-)

 

We are in somewhat of an unusual situation in that we are geographically isolated, and visiting wasn't really practical before applying.

 

Also, financial aid was/is hugely important. It was really hard to know how the various pieces of the financial puzzle would play out. For example, when application season started, we did not know if she was a NMSF (and of course you don't get final word on finalist status until well after most app deadlines have passed.) She applied to many outside scholarships that would have made certain colleges possible, but there was no way to know if she would win the scholarships.  Attendance at some schools was dependent on winning certain highly selective in-house scholarships. No way to know if she would get those until after applying to the school.

 

Then there are the highly selective schools known for generous need-based aid. She was very interested in the programs and the potential for aid, but the odds were low for acceptance (but possible!)

 

Oh, and there is a scholarship in our state to the in-state schools that is good for six years, but you have to apply to the schools during senior year of high school. So two of her apps were based on the possibility that she may need those schools and that scholarship in the next few years.

 

As the college app season is drawing to a close (though still have yet to make the final decision), I have zero regrets about the large number of applications. It was expensive, yes, but it looks like we will have decent financial savings on school that will more than make up for the initial investment. AND, she has a much better idea now about what she is looking for in a program than she did at the beginning of the process.

 

The process was a significant time investment for my daughter too, but we did plan for that to be a part of senior year. Got the bulk of testing done by the end of junior year, started looking at essay questions over the summer, etc.

Edited by Gr8lander

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DD - who wasn't quite sure what she wanted to major in, applied to 4.

DS - who knows what he wants to major in, applied to 5 (I made him apply to schools OOS). Neither kid really wanted to go to an OOS or other side of our state school (each child may have been switched at birth).

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Adding this, for us, the NPC definitely did not tell the whole financial story. For example, Dartmouth's initial financial offer cost us $10,000 less than what the NPC indicated. And, since she has an offer from Princeton, there is the possibility that Dartmouth will match it.

 

Also, sometimes there are new merit opportunities added; we found this to be the case with my oldest daughter, when she received a brand new scholarship at one school. And, again, there is the outside scholarship piece of the puzzle.

Edited by Gr8lander

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Don't nix NC State!  My dd's need-based package was actually slightly better at State than UNC...and both schools had better need-based packages than any of the private schools (only subsidized loans--whereas all the privates had non-sub or parent loans in the package!) plus the merit aid offers just didn't make a dent in the total cost difference.   I've only heard of 1 instance in which someone attended UNC over their preference of  State due to need-based aid differences, so something might be off about your calculations.  

 

Your dd's list looks very similar to my dd's initial list a few years ago, except that she did not bother applying to the Ivies (couldn't go north due to breathing issues related to cold temperatures) and refused to apply to Duke after visiting.    I think she ended up applying to 5, with a lot of schools dropping off during the fall when the reality of yet one more app. essay sunk in and the fact that if Emory didn't work out she would choose UNC or (State as a safety) over any other school on her list.  

 

Unfortunately, both UNC and State have October EA deadlines, but you are not notified of their decisions until the end of January, so waiting for EA results before applying to other schools doesn't  work, but definitely prioritize the "match" private school app's in order of interest level. 

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So far she has

 

(categories are defined by running her stats on the parchment website)

 

Reach schools (no plan to get in, haha) ...

Harvard, Princeton

 

Slight reach (parchement calls this a match but at only 45% likelihood we are still calling it a bit of a reach) ...

Duke

 

 

 

I would caution against defining a reach versus non-reach solely by stats.  (I'm not familiar with parchment.)  I agree with a PP, I would also consider Duke a reach for any student, even if their stats were above average for the school.  

 

A person with a perfect SAT and GPA is unlikely to get in to Harvard unless they have something else amazing going for them.   And for that matter Duke.  There are just too many kids with nearly perfect SAT and perfect GPA.  

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