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college search considerations beyond the obvious


wapiti
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Beyond obvious considerations like general reputation/ranking for a specific program, likely cost for the individual financial situation, size, location, etc, I'd like to collect any advice you all might have.

 

For example, I found 8's post here to be very insightful (hope you don't mind if I quote it in this new thread):

 

For med school:

In terms of med school, there is an extremely vocal poster on CC who constantly reiterates that the biggest need for med school admissions (on top of the obvious need for very high GPA, strong science courses, etc) is a strong committee to help the UG. Anytime any poster states something along the lines of " but x school has a better reputation," she responds by asking " but do they have a better med school committee?" I have only read them and then promptly ignored them bc med school is not the goal of any of my kids, but based on Creekland's ds's experience, her point should probably be underscored. It sounds like the committee is vital to admissions, especially wo a compelling hook.

 

For engineering:

In terms of engineering, we want to know how the school is viewed by industry, not the general population. It doesn't matter to us if the public at large views the school as having a strong engineering program, but whether industry views it as having a strong engineering program. Having strong recruitment for co-op positions means that industry respects their UG program. Knowing how the career placement office works with the university to support co-oping, career fairs, on-campus interviews, etc is also an indication as to how job placement is viewed. For example, I would run away from a school that charges students tuition or other fees during their co-op semesters (other than a single credit hour charge for "co-op" which keeps them considered enrolled full-time). I personally think that is a slimy practice bc the student is not consuming school resources. (I was floored the first time I heard that it was even a thing.) Universities that value student work-experience should do whatever they can to help students take those opportunities.

 

For other majors:

We also meet with depts during their sr yr of high school. We ask pointed questions about where and what their past couple of yrs of grads are doing, what sorts of opportunities exist within the dept for UG research, assistance for internships, etc. Our current college jr felt comfortable with the answers he was given by Bama's dept even though Bama is not highly ranked for physics. He will have an inordinate amt of UG research by the time he graduates as well as multiple grad level physics courses. (He has huge faculty support and mentoring.....big fish scenario.He currently attends the same meeting as the grad and post-docs with his research advisor.) He will be applying to grad school next yr, so we'll see how well it works out. So far, in terms of REU offers, he has been extremely well received as a strong applicant. Hopefully, that will translate to grad school committees as well. Only time will tell.

 

Undecided major:  if anyone has any tips about how to approach the college search for an undecided major (non-engineering) for a strong student, I'm all ears.  My thinking is to look for a university that is strong in a variety of areas and where it is not terribly difficult to change majors.  Lottery admission is an issue with schools that are great in virtually all departments (e.g. Northwestern).  This search will be much more concrete with actual numbers for scores and grades, but are there any general considerations that would be helpful here?

 

Computer science:  on the one hand, I've been reading over at CC that the school/reputation of program doesn't matter much for CS, that what really matters is what one can do.  (Yay!  Inexpensive non-selective state college!)  On the other hand, I've also read that the school can be very helpful for getting the foot in the door, getting that first job.  (Stanford is worth full-pay!)  Is there a middle ground between reputation, expense, and reasonableness of admission?  For example, the best CS alternative in-state for us would be CO Mines or maybe Boulder, but they may be too close to home - what about OOS?  How to judge value for, say, CSE at Santa Clara where cost is high but location is superb and admission may be a reasonable possibility (albeit not slam-dunk as admissions stats are a good 3 ACT points higher in the engineering school than the arts and sciences, though there's also a CS option in A&S)?  How much do student peers matter for quality of education in CS?

 

I'm just trying to pick your brains for ideas to consider and questions to ask, the wisdom of your collective experience, that might not occur to us until after we've been through this.  One day I'll ask over at CC, but probably not until I have specific data - or is this question just pointless until then?  I'm just trying to get a handle on the big picture, if that's possible!

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Beyond obvious considerations like general reputation/ranking for a specific program, likely cost for the individual financial situation, size, location, etc, I'd like to collect any advice you all might have.

 

For example, I found 8's post here to be very insightful (hope you don't mind if I quote it in this new thread):

 

For med school:

 

 

For engineering:

 

 

For other majors:

 

 

Undecided major:  if anyone has any tips about how to approach the college search for an undecided major (non-engineering) for a strong student, I'm all ears.  My thinking is to look for a university that is strong in a variety of areas and where it is not terribly difficult to change majors.  Lottery admission is an issue with schools that are great in virtually all departments (e.g. Northwestern).  This search will be much more concrete with actual numbers for scores and grades, but are there any general considerations that would be helpful here?

 

Computer science:  on the one hand, I've been reading over at CC that the school/reputation of program doesn't matter much for CS, that what really matters is what one can do.  (Yay!  Inexpensive non-selective state college!)  On the other hand, I've also read that the school can be very helpful for getting the foot in the door, getting that first job.  (Stanford is worth full-pay!)  Is there a middle ground between reputation, expense, and reasonableness of admission?  For example, the best CS alternative in-state for us would be CO Mines or maybe Boulder, but they may be too close to home - what about OOS?  How to judge value for, say, CSE at Santa Clara where cost is high but location is superb and admission may be a reasonable possibility?

 

I'm just trying to pick your brains for ideas to consider and questions to ask, the wisdom of your collective experience, that might not occur to us until after we've been through this.  One day I'll ask over at CC, but probably not until I have specific data.  I'm just trying to get a handle on the big picture, if that's possible!

 

I will be interested to read others' experiences and thoughts.  I think meaningful data is difficult to obtain since there are so many variables.  I have no idea how one would go about evaluating the quality of the advising and the questions to ask during the college admission process regarding this issue and am interested in reading posts from those who have experience with the college advising.

 

Fwiw, when my oldest went through the college admission process, he was lucky enough to have to debate between two schools.  His research mentors were adamant that the rank of the undergrad does matter and that my son would be crazy to not accept the offer to the school he is at now.  (At the time, he was planning on going the pre-med route, and their advice was certainly contrary to the advice you read on CC. However, two of the individuals that were advising him sat on highly ranked medical school admission committees,including Harvard, so they certainly knew about what they spoke.)

 

Regarding the bolded, my son has received amazing summer internship offers  that he would not have received had he not been at the school he is at. OTOH, we are also friends with a computer guy who recruits for his company.  He does not recruit at the school my son attends because he says his company doesn't want to pay that much for one of its graduates.  

 

This college admissions process is not for the faint of heart. 

 

 

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For computer science specifically, ask about internships:

 

--does the department advertise internships--local, regional, national?

--does the department have staff dedicated to helping students land internships (and jobs for that matter)

--is there on-campus recruiting for internships?

--which companies or agencies recruit?

--where do the students intern?

--how many students intern after sophomore year?

--how many students intern after junior year?

--how many of those juniors received a job offer from their internship?

 

And by how many, I mean raw numbers and percentages.

 

My son graduated from a state flagship w a degree in cs in 2015. He works for a very large named company in Silicon Valley.

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My son graduated from a state flagship w a degree in cs in 2015. He works for a very large named company in Silicon Valley.

Hard data is difficult, but anecdotes abound. We've known a couple of CS students who applied to work at Google coming out of our state flagship. Both were very bright (in the Honors College, on fellowships/full rides, great grades, etc), but neither one received an offer. Both wound up working in tech for Walmart right down the road. We are fortunate to have some great companies within our state to work for. Obviously, they recruit heavily from our state flagship. This is why I think LOCATION with regard to where your student wants to wind up living is an important factor. What type (and how much) employment is available in the area? Is it an area that is economically thriving or stagnating? All companies are going to recruit in the state where they are located. Most (not all) college students do not go to college much farther than 150-200 miles from home. If you know where you want to be, attend college in that area! I'm not saying it's impossible to get jobs coming out of a state flagship at big name corporations if you are a couple thousand miles away - I just think it's not the norm. Much less expensive for corps to recruit locally. If you are attending a higher ranked school, I think it is easier to locate nationwide or globally. So, if you don't know where you want to live, a "brand" can take you more places. Walmart isn't likely to hire from San Jose State, and Google is not likely to hire from the University of Arkansas. But, both would likely be interested in someone out of HYPSM, all other things being equal. JMO!

 

The whole "Is fill-in-the-blank worth it?" is continually debated on CC and IRL. Most kids who have the stats to get into top 20 schools are also going to have the ability to get some generous merit money at lower-ranked schools. Ds has a friend who graduated a class ahead of him who turned down Stanford to be a McDermott Scholar at UT-Dallas. They only take 21-24 kids per year and many are poached from top schools because it is a sweet deal. It's a full ride with MANY perks including some designated staff just for the McDermott Scholars. They do a great job placing kids in all kinds of locations for internships. However, this program purposely goes beyond what a typical Honors College within a state flagship would have. So, does this kid, as a college senior have any regrets about not choosing Stanford? I really don't know. He is an EE major and had an internship with Tesla last summer with an offer waiting for him there when he graduates. However, what he *really* wanted to do was work for McKinsey (a management consulting firm). Certain industries (IB and certain management/strategy consulting firms) are NOT going to recruit at lower tier schools, special program or not. This is where "brand" definitely comes into play. He had a first round interview with them for their Dallas office, but that was it. And, he sought it out. Don't think they are holding recruiting sessions there. The cynic in me wonders if he had a chance at all or if that interview was just a courtesy.

 

So, I would add the idea of location relevant to where you want to eventually live as a consideration. And also be aware that some (yes, I think it's pretty narrow) industries are not going to recruit at lower ranked state flagships.

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Hard data is difficult, but anecdotes abound. We've known a couple of CS students who applied to work at Google coming out of our state flagship. Both were very bright (in the Honors College, on fellowships/full rides, great grades, etc), but neither one received an offer. Both wound up working in tech for Walmart right down the road. We are fortunate to have some great companies within our state to work for. Obviously, they recruit heavily from our state flagship. This is why I think LOCATION with regard to where your student wants to wind up living is an important factor. What type (and how much) employment is available in the area? Is it an area that is economically thriving or stagnating? All companies are going to recruit in the state where they are located. Most (not all) college students do not go to college much farther than 150-200 miles from home. If you know where you want to be, attend college in that area! I'm not saying it's impossible to get jobs coming out of a state flagship at big name corporations if you are a couple thousand miles away - I just think it's not the norm. Much less expensive for corps to recruit locally. If you are attending a higher ranked school, I think it is easier to locate nationwide or globally. So, if you don't know where you want to live, a "brand" can take you more places. Walmart isn't likely to hire from San Jose State, and Google is not likely to hire from the University of Arkansas. But, both would likely be interested in someone out of HYPSM, all other things being equal. JMO!

 

The whole "Is fill-in-the-blank worth it?" is continually debated on CC and IRL. Most kids who have the stats to get into top 20 schools are also going to have the ability to get some generous merit money at lower-ranked schools. Ds has a friend who graduated a class ahead of him who turned down Stanford to be a McDermott Scholar at UT-Dallas. They only take 21-24 kids per year and many are poached from top schools because it is a sweet deal. It's a full ride with MANY perks including some designated staff just for the McDermott Scholars. They do a great job placing kids in all kinds of locations for internships. However, this program purposely goes beyond what a typical Honors College within a state flagship would have. So, does this kid, as a college senior have any regrets about not choosing Stanford? I really don't know. He is an EE major and had an internship with Tesla last summer with an offer waiting for him there when he graduates. However, what he *really* wanted to do was work for McKinsey (a management consulting firm). Certain industries (IB and certain management/strategy consulting firms) are NOT going to recruit at lower tier schools, special program or not. This is where "brand" definitely comes into play. He had a first round interview with them for their Dallas office, but that was it. And, he sought it out. Don't think they are holding recruiting sessions there. The cynic in me wonders if he had a chance at all or if that interview was just a courtesy.

 

So, I would add the idea of location relevant to where you want to eventually live as a consideration. And also be aware that some (yes, I think it's pretty narrow) industries are not going to recruit at lower ranked state flagships.

I agree with everything here, but would add that not going to one of the schools that doesn't get notice from some high powered industries like consulting and Wall Street firms doesn't necessarily completely close that door. Getting a grad degree from a top ranked school can sometimes open the door again. One of my husband's students from our local LAC went on to an Ivy for grad school and when he decided he didn't want to stay in science was hired by one of the top consulting firms and has lived and worked all over the world for them. But obviously if you have no interest in grad school, then taking the prestigious route from the beginning is likely best. On the other hand, this guy admits he may not have gotten a prestigious national award and an Ivy League grad school admittance coming from a highly ranked, competitive undergrad, due to the level of competition. He chose to be a big fish in a small pond for undergrad and it worked out very well for him.
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Regarding the question of the quality of advising, it might be helpful for those of us with kids in college and beyond to post what is typical at our kids' schools.  I have been very hands-off since my son has graduated our homeschool and prior to my conversation with my son today due to this thread, had no idea what type of advising he received at his school. (The only time I assisted him was when he called to say that he had somehow lost one of his dress shoes and asking me to send him another pair.  Having seen his frat house, his request came as no surprise. :D )

 

Here is a summary of the advising that my son says is typical at his school. ( I have no idea what is "normal":)

He meets with his advisor three times a semester.  One of the meetings takes place over dinner.

Career services has helped him with his resume and linked-in profile.

Career services has helped answering questions my son has had regarding job offers.

The school has a large recruiting fair in the fall.

 

My son has been very happy with his advising and career services, and says both his advisor and career services would be available to him if he wanted to meet more than he does.

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Yes, find out who recruits at the school. Who is on the job fairs list.

 

Also consider what major companies have offices set up near the school. They may be there to scoop up the talent coming out of the school. 

 

 

And if eventual grad school is on the table, poke around to see how many graduates go on to grad school, and if the school offers support for that. Yeah, I went to a small Christian LAC in the Midwest, and when I started talking about the GRE lots of staff looked at me like I had two heads. Bad sign! Poor me, I thought all colleges were the same, sigh.

 

 

For CS, look at UNC-CH. OOS tuition isn't cheap, no, but.... if you can do good stuff, yeah, that should be on your list.

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I agree with everything here, but would add that not going to one of the schools that doesn't get notice from some high powered industries like consulting and Wall Street firms doesn't necessarily completely close that door. Getting a grad degree from a top ranked school can sometimes open the door again. One of my husband's students from our local LAC went on to an Ivy for grad school and when he decided he didn't want to stay in science was hired by one of the top consulting firms and has lived and worked all over the world for them. But obviously if you have no interest in grad school, then taking the prestigious route from the beginning is likely best. On the other hand, this guy admits he may not have gotten a prestigious national award and an Ivy League grad school admittance coming from a highly ranked, competitive undergrad, due to the level of competition. He chose to be a big fish in a small pond for undergrad and it worked out very well for him.

Oh, of course! Not forever. And, they do hire consultants from multiple disciplines. As you stated, your dh's student attended an Ivy for grad school, so he did have the "brand." It's great that it worked out for him! Just like undergrad admittance, there are no guarantees that one will get in at the grad level, however.

 

It is a very narrow section of employment and is not going to apply to many.

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Regarding the question of the quality of advising, it might be helpful for those of us with kids in college and beyond to post what is typical at our kids' schools. 

...

Career services has helped him with his resume and linked-in profile.

Career services has helped answering questions my son has had regarding job offers.

The school has a large recruiting fair in the fall.

 

My son has been very happy with his advising and career services, and says both his advisor and career services would be available to him if he wanted to meet more than he does.

 

FWIW, middle son could have written all this too.  Career services has been very helpful for him in the past.  They have recruiting fairs at his school.  Graduates have gone on to really cool places doing neat things (we heard the destination of many of them last year at graduation).

 

Up until his recent issue, he's had no complaints at all.  He's loved his school with its opportunities and helpfulness.

 

I'm not really sure what the answer is TBH - or how to stop kids from falling through the cracks even when they give life their best shot.

 

Networking is probably a big key.  If any of my boys wanted to be a Civil Engineer, hubby could network and get them their first job.  If any wanted to teach, I suspect my reputation would go a long way locally.  Youngest son has his two standing job offers from things he's done over his college years (a summer job/internship & connections from his school).  Oldest got his first - and second - jobs from networking with people at his college.

 

Along those lines, for those not looking for med or law school (where hooks seem to count a ton), I think location is a biggie just like a pp mentioned.  Look for colleges respected in the area one wants to live.  If they have an idea of what type of job they want, what schools do they hire from?

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Thank you all so much!  This is great!  Luckymama, thanks for that list!

 

I don't recall ever speaking to my advisor in college, more an issue of me not realizing that I could/should.  I was really clueless.  Fortunately my favorite professor was very kind, which came in handy when I needed a recommendation later.

 

I had forgotten all about Wall St. recruiting on campus.  That path was competitive, as one might expect.  I was so lame in on-campus interviews; ah memories  :tongue_smilie:

 

for those not looking for med or law school (where hooks seem to count a ton)

 

FWIW, I think med and law school admissions are very different.  Top-tier law is numbers driven to an extreme, gpa/lsat, though the quality of undergrad may play a role in evaluating the gpa portion of the formula.  The only hooks I can think of for law school are URM and parent is a judge.  No special experience or special types of recommendations matter and there are no prereqs, unlike med.

 

I also forgot all about the potential angle of grad school.  Now I need to go back and read through more slowly...

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One thing I have come to realize is just how valuable the elite specialized programs are at some universities. Bama's Fellows and CBH, Ole Miss's Croft, USCarolina's McNair, CofC's Aikens Fellows, etc, are all designed to have the benefit of special mentoring, internship opportunities, monthly speakers, etc. That coaching and the connections offered are pretty awesome. CBH has been huge for our ds. When I started the college search with Dd, we specifically looked for these types of programs and where she would be in the top % of applicants in order to help her be competitive for them.

 

In terms of location of school and location of employment, I think major will influence that quite a bit. it was not the case for my chemE ds. Only one of his job offers was in the same state as his university and it was not in the same region of the state as the university. However, the company he did decide to work for is an international company and when offered a list of sites to choose from, he did choose that state (he did not even know that location was going to be an option at the time, so this is not the instate company I was referring to before.). He wanted to stay in that state bc of his wife's family. And based on our frequent moves with my dh's employment, I think international corporations that recruit on campus will most likely have employment opportunities all over the place.

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Are these covered in a guidebook, or did you just hunt for them college by college?

I searched college by college. They are often connected to the top scholarships offered by universities. Since merit $$ is a necessity, I started to narrow our search by honors colleges that had elite programs with special opportunities. The attention these kids get in these programs is pretty amazing. So, if you can't afford elite, it can pay you to be elite at somewhere avg.

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Hard data is difficult, but anecdotes abound. We've known a couple of CS students who applied to work at Google coming out of our state flagship. Both were very bright (in the Honors College, on fellowships/full rides, great grades, etc), but neither one received an offer. Both wound up working in tech for Walmart right down the road. We are fortunate to have some great companies within our state to work for. Obviously, they recruit heavily from our state flagship. This is why I think LOCATION with regard to where your student wants to wind up living is an important factor. What type (and how much) employment is available in the area? Is it an area that is economically thriving or stagnating? All companies are going to recruit in the state where they are located. Most (not all) college students do not go to college much farther than 150-200 miles from home. If you know where you want to be, attend college in that area! I'm not saying it's impossible to get jobs coming out of a state flagship at big name corporations if you are a couple thousand miles away - I just think it's not the norm. Much less expensive for corps to recruit locally. If you are attending a higher ranked school, I think it is easier to locate nationwide or globally. So, if you don't know where you want to live, a "brand" can take you more places. Walmart isn't likely to hire from San Jose State, and Google is not likely to hire from the University of Arkansas. But, both would likely be interested in someone out of HYPSM, all other things being equal. JMO!

 

The whole "Is fill-in-the-blank worth it?" is continually debated on CC and IRL. Most kids who have the stats to get into top 20 schools are also going to have the ability to get some generous merit money at lower-ranked schools. Ds has a friend who graduated a class ahead of him who turned down Stanford to be a McDermott Scholar at UT-Dallas. They only take 21-24 kids per year and many are poached from top schools because it is a sweet deal. It's a full ride with MANY perks including some designated staff just for the McDermott Scholars. They do a great job placing kids in all kinds of locations for internships. However, this program purposely goes beyond what a typical Honors College within a state flagship would have. So, does this kid, as a college senior have any regrets about not choosing Stanford? I really don't know. He is an EE major and had an internship with Tesla last summer with an offer waiting for him there when he graduates. However, what he *really* wanted to do was work for McKinsey (a management consulting firm). Certain industries (IB and certain management/strategy consulting firms) are NOT going to recruit at lower tier schools, special program or not. This is where "brand" definitely comes into play. He had a first round interview with them for their Dallas office, but that was it. And, he sought it out. Don't think they are holding recruiting sessions there. The cynic in me wonders if he had a chance at all or if that interview was just a courtesy.

 

So, I would add the idea of location relevant to where you want to eventually live as a consideration. And also be aware that some (yes, I think it's pretty narrow) industries are not going to recruit at lower ranked state flagships.

 

I probably should wait for another day to respond, because I was irritated with my kids all day, and I worry my mood is going to make my response sound grumpy. That said, I know I don't have time to respond tomorrow, and I have a very different view on this subject as the parent of a graduating senior from a state school who interned the last two years in Silicon Valley for top tech companies. 

 

A couple of students does not equal anecdotes abound. Just because the CS students you know were not hired at Google, does not mean others from the University of Arkansas were not. From what my kid experienced, Google actually has a good reputation for hiring from state schools. My daughter knows students from her school that started as full-time employees there last year. (Google actually does recruit on her campus, which is nowhere close to Silicon Valley.) You are absolutely right that it is not the norm for students from her school to go to work in Silicon Valley. However, in her experience, the reason is her classmates don't want to live there. So, they go to work for tech companies or for the tech side of big corporations in the areas of the country where they want to live, which may or may not be close to campus.

 

After her first internship in Silicon Valley, she planned to go back to live there after graduation. In fact, she decided to avoid dating anyone seriously after that, because she did not want to choose between moving to California and a serious relationship. However, after her second internship, she changed her mind about moving to Silicon Valley. So, when she was asked by the company where she wanted to work after graduation, she ranked another city/state, where the company has an office, ahead of Silicon Valley. Her job offer was for her top choice, even though she had never been to that office. When the company who she interned with after sophomore year contacted her to set up an interview, she asked for one in her first-choice location, where that company also has offices. That company flew her to her first choice location even though she interning right down the street from their headquarters. The COL in California is the reason she decided to go elsewhere. As a rising junior, she noticed co-workers complaining about paying their student loans. As a rising senior, she noticed everyone complaining about housing prices and took note of how much they were paying to rent or buy. She worked for companies known for generous salaries, and she did not want to find herself in that position. 

 

I don't know what HYPSM means, but Wal-Mart recruits on her campus even though it is an out-of-state school a lot more than 200 miles away from Arkansas. There are also people from her school that work at Tesla and McKinsey, which also recruits on her campus. For anyone interested,here is the link to see if they recruit on your campus http://www.mckinsey.com/careers/students Their website also says, " we are always ready to receive applications from talented students from any school." They do have very early deadlines for applying for jobs/internships.

 

Oh, of course! Not forever. And, they do hire consultants from multiple disciplines. As you stated, your dh's student attended an Ivy for grad school, so he did have the "brand." It's great that it worked out for him! Just like undergrad admittance, there are no guarantees that one will get in at the grad level, however.

 

It is a very narrow section of employment and is not going to apply to many.

 For fun I googled my students' school and McKinsey, and got a lot of linkedin hits. I picked the first five, and then searched for more information on each name, since I don't have a linkedin account. They graduated with degrees in engineering (2), business (2) and psychology. One has an undergrad from a small liberal arts school that is ranked in the top 200 and a MA and PhD from the top 100 school my kids attend. McKinsey was this man's first job after receiving a PhD; he is now a senior partner in an office far from their school. The others earned bachelor degrees from the school my kids attend, worked in their field a couple of years, and then earned MBAs from Chicago (2); Stanford and Carnegie Mellon (that one might not have been a MBA). Then they went straight to work for McKinsey. At least three of these four work in the office closest to their undergraduate school. 

 

My daughter visited 3 schools while in high school, a top 20, a top 50 and a top 100. She had stats in top 25 percent at all 3. After visiting, she liked the top 100 best and did not apply to the other two. She received good automatic merit aid plus some additional scholarships, but no special programs through the school. I don't think it has any. She will graduate debt free; and she could have paid for all four years out of her internship earnings. She applied for the second internship on the company's website. She applied to the first through a program she had been selected for as a high school senior. (She also did a reu at an out-of-state school after her freshman year. She simply applied and asked a professor and the president of the ACM team for references.) I am not sure if anyone official at her school knows that she interned at these places or where she will work after graduation. She missed the first day of class due to her interview with sophomore year's company, but she didn't mention the company to her professor when she emailed to say she would miss that day. When she asked for an extension on her offer from the junior year company while she was waiting on the second offer, the recruiter offered to fly her to the company location she would be working at after graduation for a recruiting event and an extra five figures on her signing bonus. She missed two days for this, but she just told her professors it was for an interview. She had thought she would miss a lot of classes in the fall for interviews, but she only interviewed with these two companies, since they were her top choices. She will use her internship earnings to travel for a few months after graduation. Someone she met through interning went to a top 20 private school and received/accepted the same job offer my daughter did (minus the extra signing bonus), she said, "I wish I could afford to travel."

 

When she met the chair of her department while in high school, he assured her she would have multiple job offers before graduation. In her case, her job hunt was done before she attended a single class senior year. So, there was never any debate and there was no second guessing at our house about whether she needed to go to a higher ranked school. They would not have brought a better undergrad experience, internships or job offers. Here is an interesting article on this topic. My daughter does not go to the same school, but she met the young woman profiled while they were both interning in Silicon Valley. While her school/specifics are different from my daughter, she obviously does not have any regrets either.

 

http://www.forbes.com/sites/michellecheng/2016/06/09/degree-vs-school-which-helped-this-college-junior-land-internships-at-google-and-microsoft/#6e287c8267f3 

 

Again, I hope this did not come out as an attack. I simply wanted to point out my daughter's experience, as well as that of computer science students she knows, is very different from what you suggested. 

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*LC Different fields, but similar stories. Our kids have done exceedingly well at their lower ranked publics. Zero regrets for opting for that route. (They couldn't have chosen another more expensive route, anyway, so it is really a moot pt! ;) ) Our oldest graduated from a small, low-cost, public tech university and works alongside engineers from the engineering powerhouses (Mich, GT, A&M, VT, etc.) There is no difference in career or pay based on school.

 

Right now, our college jr is attending on full scholarship. What a blessing! He is also making the absolute most of every opportunity offered. He loves Bama and has been involved in some great research.

 

We don't know where our current sr will attend, but we do know it will most likely be a lower ranked public bc they are the ones offering her the biggest scholarships. One thing I found interesting is that even though USCarolina is only ranked around 107, their Darla Moore School of Business's international program ( including their undergraduate program) is ranked #1 in the country and has been for something like 15+ yrs. We are not ranking focused at all (we cant afford to be), but USC is looking like a fabulous, close to full-ride option for her that even includes ranking plus the amazing benefits of being a Top Scholar.

 

There are so many things to consider when applying to college. Unfortunately for our kids, the very first and most important filter is cost. They have to have at minimum full-tuition scholarships or live at home and commute. My job as their guidance counselor is to help them find affordable programs that meet their individual needs. I spend a lot of time researching individual schools, the programs, their scholarships (and GPA requirements to keep), etc and then they start making contact to narrow down the list. I cannot tell you how many emails my last two sent to depts asking specific questions about placement and how a student entering with advanced level courses would fit in to their program. The absolute non-standardized replies are quite revealing. One Russian professor told Dd she would have to start in 101 bc all of their students have to. Other professors would write her back and tell her that she needed to consider other schools bc she was at their graduation level and they really didn't have anything to offer. Then others were super excited and encouraging. (And now, a yr and a half after we started our search, Russian is moving to toward a minor vs a major based on her current thoughts!) And, oh my, ds had one of the most horrific dept meetings ever with a school. Understanding the dept is one of our most important criteria outside of the initial filter of cost. After our experiences with a few depts, I would never choose a school without fully understanding the dept. (One of the depts Dd met with was similar to ds's nightmare dept meeting. )

 

ETA: Trip down memory lane. Here is a link to ds's nightmare visit. http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/topic/493481-well-not-what-i-expected-is-a-fairly-accurate-summation/?p=5287896 Gosh, I learned a lot from his college admissions process. It's funny to read that now and know what I know in hindsight. Dd's search has been so much more focused and just better in general. We now know that financial aid is nowhere close to making schools affordable and merit is the only way we can afford to go. I am thankful I didn't mess him up and leave him without good options. I am especially thankful he applied to Bama. (We almost didn't have him apply bc we didn't think he would actually end up there!!) I was a much better GC this time round with Dd!!

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I have been reading these boards for many years and now have one ds who is a freshman in college and a second ds who is a junior in high school.  I have come to be on the same page as 8 as far as college choices and financing.  However, my kids are not as elite as hers.  Mine are good, capable students with decent test scores (low 30s ACT) and without the major competitions, recognition that would make them elite students.  But that same philosophy works if drop down a tier.  My kids can get that substantial merit aid and quality experience being a big fish in a small pond.  

 

College freshman ds is at a small private school that most people have never heard of.  Not ranked in any significant way.  But it is located in a major city with abundant internship possibilities and excellent job placement in his field.  He is able to pay for it out of his summer earnings and while appropriately challenged he still emerges as a leader in his classes and clubs.  He already has the attention of his advisor and others in administration on his campus.  He is having a great experience.  

 

Next ds will likely attend a regional public university instead of the state flagship.  While he could gain admittance and some scholarships to the flagship, he will get much better merit aid at the regional and will be automatically admitted to the honors program and hopefully also be able to distinguish himself.  

 

So, as 8 said about being elite at a less elite institution plays out in my family at even less elite institutions :) While I would not send my kids somewhere that I didn't think would provide them with a good education and experience I have learned not to get enamored with a brand name.  Finances are a huge concern here so the best bang for the buck for us will come from going off the beaten path to some less popular schools. 

 

Our EFC is just laughable.  So merit aid it is.  Now the focus is on finding the best option within the pretty narrow window of what we can afford. 

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Teachermom2834 Not all of my kids are top students. :) Our oldest dd was a solid student but not advanced. The affordable option we found for her that she loves is occupational therapy assistant. She attended our local university for a yr (commuting) and was then 1 of 35 students accepted into the only OTA program in the state. She is now happily employed as a COTA which is a great career. Our current 9th grader will probably live at home and commute to the local university as well.She is a stronger student than our oldest, but not as strong as her other older siblings.

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Thank you all for your thoughtful replies.  I have so much to learn!  More questions:

 

For asking questions of a department, is it easier to ask via email or at a campus visit?  Do you make the admissions office aware of this correspondence to show interest by cc-ing them on the email?  Would internship questions (e.g. for CS) be directed to the department or to the campus career/recruiting office?

 

For CS specifically, for applying to internships and/or post-grad jobs, are college GPA or CS grades included on the resume?  How competitive is the process for getting an internship with a big-name employer (or otherwise very attractive smaller employer; I have no idea how this field works) from a lower-ranked school (e.g. >100) vs a highly-ranked one (top-50 overall or top-10-ish in the field)?  What I am wondering here is whether on the one hand, a lower-ranked school might (or might not) be easier for earning a high GPA, and on the other hand, maybe employers hire fewer at the lower-ranked school vs the higher one (or not)?  Aside from the questions at the actual interview, if a student is trying for a first internship, what on the resume from CS would indicate something about the quality of the applicant?

 

Now that I think about it, I remember that GPA mattered somewhat for Wall St. on-campus recruiting in undergrad.  I also have in the back of my mind the intersection of the CS and/or math world and the Wall St. world, though I'd guess that may involve a graduate degree of one sort or another.  Now I'm getting too far afield :)

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One thing comes to mind as I'm continuing to read this thread... many here are talking about "success" in general.  That sort of success can come from pretty much any college.  It depends more on the student than where they study.  I have no doubt my middle son will be successful in life as that's purely a part of his personality.  His path may take a turn, but whichever turn he opts for, he'll be successful at it as he works to do so.

 

I've seen successful students come from tippy top colleges, "regular" colleges, and even lower ranked colleges - or no college.  My youngest will obviously be successful from his lower ranked (> 100), but Top 6 in "Reefer Madness" school (Princeton Review's ranking) even though he uses no drugs at all.  As a junior there he already has two standing job offers in fields he likes and he loves his school.

 

The difference from the other thread is specific goals.  Middle son wanted to be a doctor.  We knew the competition for that was tough, but falsely thought one could get there on merit - doing well - esp if one did really well with MCAT, GPA, and recommendations.  The competition for those slots is so tough (for unhooked kids) that we've discovered that myth ('cause on merit, my guy has it all - he even tutors others for the MCAT now and has NEVER had a bad peer or adult review in his life).

 

When goals are specific, one needs to dig deeper.  Do I live in a state where med school is easier to get into?  That helps. We don't.  Does my kid have a hook (doctors in the family, URM, first gen student or other awesome backstory)?  That definitely helps. Mine doesn't.  I don't really think my guy is "losing out" to "less worthy candidates."  I think there are plenty of terrific candidates out there, but others have something helping them stand out.  Mine doesn't.  If we had chosen another school, I think the Pre-Med advising would have been better - or perhaps the school itself more respected - and it could have given my guy what UR has not - an extra stamp of approval (or similar) rather than being "one of the crowd" in a pile of applications.  That's where I feel I missed as a guidance counselor - not realizing what the competition for unhooked kids is - even if they get tippy top stats and recommendations.

 

As for cost, perhaps I should remind folks that URoc was his least expensive choice - beating a full tuition scholarship at U Alabama and coming in less expensive than our state schools...

 

Cost doesn't say it all.  For specific goals when there is fierce competition and no hooks, one has to look at other things - and that's where it gets murky.

 

Best wishes to all contemplating choices.

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And sometimes you don't know what will open a door. Do your best and, at the the end of the day, RELAX!

 

1) I can't share my ds2's stories due to privacy issues, but honestly if your kid goes to a good school, works hard, gets an internship or two, and gets a prof or two really behind him, he will do well. Even if the road is long and has lots of twists and turns.

 

2) And do remember that McKinsey and Harvard Medical School and Intel are dreams for many students, but not for all. Some, like my younger son, want to go that road less traveled. And there is nothing wrong with that. One can live a "successful" life without that crazy-hard-to-get job and that pedigree degree. (Written as my son enjoys the gorgeous ocean view from his remote apartment living out his dream job in a town with no police department, no stop lights, and no high school.)

 

Breathe. It will all work out. Somehow.

 

 

 

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For asking questions of a department, is it easier to ask via email or at a campus visit? Do you make the admissions office aware of this correspondence to show interest by cc-ing them on the email? Would internship questions (e.g. for CS) be directed to the department or to the campus career/recruiting office?

...

Now that I think about it, I remember that GPA mattered somewhat for Wall St. on-campus recruiting in undergrad. :)

My kids direct all their questions toward the dept. Depending on the dept, they might email the dean first and ask whom they should contact or if their major has a specific dept chair, they may email that person directly. All of their emails have been very well-received.

 

It may be a mistake, but we have never engaged our local recruiter. I couldn't even tell you who they are. But for schools that they have screened through email as one and they are really interested in, we visit. (That is why the reaction at the 2 schools with such horrible dept visits were surprising. The kids had told them that they were making inquiries due to advanced course work in those subjects. The school for ds asked for him to email his list of textbooks used, and he did. We were blind-sided by their response. Ironically, the same sort of exchange had taken place with a dean at GT and he contacted ds and told him that he had gotten his courses approved for credit!!)

 

Sometimes they do connect with their admissions officer. Depends on the school, whether they need an interview, etc.

 

Yes, GPA can matter when it comes to getting interviews, placement, etc. They need to send (I think unofficial) copies of their transcripts for REUs. Some, not all, companies do filter by GPA for the students they will interview on campus, etc.

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*LC - If you look on that McKinsey list, you'll see that they recruit all over for PhD students and Post-Docs. The list of places where they recruit undergrads is far more limited. I just used them as a representative example that *some* (very limited - which I believe I stated) employers/industries only recruit at elite schools when hiring undergrads. The OP asked about factors that people might not generally think of. Undergraduate recruiting ON CAMPUS is limited to certain schools by certain employers. If one cares about that type of employment, it could matter. Your examples of those working at McKinsey include people who got MBAs or other graduate degrees from top schools after attending your dd's school for undergrad. I think location should be a factor. Others don't. That's fine. If we all agreed, we wouldn't give the OP anything to think about! ;)

 

My use of the word "abound" was in reference to the fact that the OP would likely get many examples from the many responses to come on this thread. I simply contributed three. I did not mean that I had the last word on anything. I was just providing the ones I had.

 

A degree from a highly-ranked school does not guarantee "success" (however one defines it), and a degree (or no degree at all) does not guarantee a "lack of success" (however one defines it).

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In no particular order, these are some things we considered for our older kids.

 

Did it have a Navy ROTC unit

 

Details of the Computer Science major - Was it part of the college of engineering or the college of science (neither is "right" but it might bear on how easy a double major or a minor is to accomplish, or how many credits would apply if a student transferred - say from CS to mech engineering or computer engineering)?  

 

What were the degree requirements and sample course of study?  

 

When did the student start courses in the major?  I like programs where there is a semester or two of common engineering courses before the student is locked into the major requirements.  I think a lot of students come in not really knowing the details of different flavors of engineering or what they one they prefer is called.  So a little intro and flexibility is good.

 

What was the first math course on the sample plan (I steered ds away from schools where pre-calculus was the first required course.  I know some students may need to take pre-calc at college, but I thing for an engineering degree, the degree should assume readiness for calculus with exceptions for some, rather than assume everyone starts at pre-calc.  That was a sign to me that the student body was probably less well prepared.)  

Are there specialization tracks within the major?  What are students studying?  Some schools have a CS program that specializes in IT management.  DS wanted more programming, design, and application with things like robotics and drones.  

 

Comparing CS degrees was challenging, because nearly every school has a Computer Science degree, but they could be very different from school to school.

 

Is there on campus housing readily available all four years of college?  (I'm not thrilled with schools where the vast majority of upper classmen live in subdivided houses and apartments off campus.  I like the potential for an extra layer of supervision through a Dean of Housing and an RA system.  So it was a positive if the school guaranteed a student could live on campus all four years if they wanted to.

 

For next kid, who is an international affairs and policy student, we did a similar deep dive into the various political science, international affairs, foreign service, and East Asian Studies degrees.  This was even harder than comparing CS degrees, because different schools had different programs called different things.  Georgetown gets slighted in some circles because it doesn't have a "political science" degree, but does have the school for foreign service.  Again, it was worth comparing degree requirements and sample courses of studies.  Some programs were eliminated because their East Asian Studies program focused on literature, rather than history and modern politics.  A literature focus wasn't a good fit for my student.  

 

DS wants to study Chinese for 4 years, but not major in Chinese.  So again, it was worth looking to see which schools really offered 4 years worth of Chinese (some schools only had a minor available and only offered about 3 years worth of courses) and which programs would be compatible with 4 years of a foreign language within a different major.  This took looking at the offerings in the course catalog and also in the recent course offerings or course availability lists for recent semesters.  Often a course will be listed within a department if any current students might have taken it, even if the course isn't regularly offered.  The course availability listings will give you insight to what is actually offered in a typical semester and how many students are taking the courses.  Just as an example, here is the Chinese offerings for University of Hawaii for fall (decent course listing, but only 23 taking 300 level courses) and spring  (down to 18 students in 300 level).  This is a similar listing for University of Washington for fall 2016.  There seem to be 2-3 times the number of students in 300 level, although there could also be students taking mulitiple 300 level courses. UW has many more 100 level sections than UH does.  

 

What other languages are available?  To use the UH vs UW comparison again, UH offers  23 foreign languages including Maori, Samoan, Tahitian and Tongan (though again look at actual offerings.  Tahitian had only 1st and 4th year available, while Tongan only offered a single section at 200 level).  UW has 11 East Asian languages plus Sanskrit and seems to offer a total of over 30 different languages, some in both modern and ancient versions.  However with the UW listings, you have to dig down, because languages are listed on the schedule that done't have any courses scheduled or only have one section at one level.  At the same time, UW seems to have an option with several languages to do a supervised reading for credit - an option I didn't notice at UH.  

 

Edited by Sebastian (a lady)
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What was the first math course on the sample plan?

 

When did the student start courses in the major? I like programs where there is a semester or two of common engineering courses before the student is locked into the major requirements. I think a lot of students come in not really knowing the details of different flavors of engineering or what they one they prefer is called. So a little intro and flexibility is good.

 

Did you see pre-cal as the first math requirements in engineering depts or just in the computer engineering schedule? I ask bc I have never seen chemical or electrical engineering programs start with pre-cal. Based on my kids' experiences, I would think it would be next to impossible to complete a degree in 4 yrs due to the rigid scheduling required for sequencing pre-reqs.

 

I don't know anything about computer engineering, but it makes me wonder if there is less rigidity to the schedule and ABET requirements?? (No idea.)

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Did you see pre-cal as the first math requirements in engineering depts or just in the computer engineering schedule? I ask bc I have never seen chemical or electrical engineering programs start with pre-cal. Based on my kids' experiences, I would think it would be next to impossible to complete a degree in 4 yrs due to the rigid scheduling required for sequencing pre-reqs.

 

I don't know anything about computer engineering, but it makes me wonder if there is less rigidity to the schedule and ABET requirements?? (No idea.)

The pre-calc start was for computer science at a school ds did not apply to. I don't remember which school it was now.

 

I agree with the difficulty it would present. To me it was a marker that the school's student body in that major was not at the level ds was looking for.

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I thought of a couple more I've seen come up.

 

Food services. Not only quality, but things like wide options for vegetarian or gluten free students.

 

Housing again. Some freshmen really want to be off campus. It might be better for health reasons or be a personal preference.

 

Proximity of medical providers. This might be for a chronic condition or treatment of an injury. It can be hard to be far from your medical team, or not have in network providers, or have a long distance to travel to get to the provider.

 

Ease of travel to and from school. For example, ds flies into a small regional airport, then takes a public bus to campus. Some campuses aren't very near an airport or train station.

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(Sigh)  My guy is finding multiple things he was told wrong by his Pre-med advisers - this upon asking med school admissions why he wasn't invited to interviews (something that is recommended to do on various web sites).  Even in last week's "what happened" appt he was still being told incorrect info.

 

It frustrates us both considerably, but answers the "why" question.

 

My advice to all?  Even after selecting a college, don't trust advisers.  One would THINK they would know their job and be up on current trends, etc, but assuming this is the case can lead to disappointment even at "name" schools.

 

We're going to opt to pay for an independent consultant for the next round (which I think he is going to do - esp given the circumstances).

 

Yes, he should have looked into more himself, but honestly, when one is at a name school where oodles of pre-meds go (many ARE the offspring of physicians), one seriously expects they can trust the advising and with his schedule (we wonder if he sleeps), I can see why he trusted them.  So did we (parents).

 

It's really, really frustrating.   :cursing:

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(Sigh)  My guy is finding multiple things he was told wrong by his Pre-med advisers - this upon asking med school admissions why he wasn't invited to interviews (something that is recommended to do on various web sites).  Even in last week's "what happened" appt he was still being told incorrect info.

 

It frustrates us both considerably, but answers the "why" question.

 

My advice to all?  Even after selecting a college, don't trust advisers.  One would THINK they would know their job and be up on current trends, etc, but assuming this is the case can lead to disappointment even at "name" schools.

 

We're going to opt to pay for an independent consultant for the next round (which I think he is going to do - esp given the circumstances).

 

Yes, he should have looked into more himself, but honestly, when one is at a name school where oodles of pre-meds go (many ARE the offspring of physicians), one seriously expects they can trust the advising and with his schedule (we wonder if he sleeps), I can see why he trusted them.  So did we (parents).

 

It's really, really frustrating.   :cursing:

 

I am sorry to read this.  Could you share what info he was given that was not accurate? 

 

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(Sigh) My guy is finding multiple things he was told wrong by his Pre-med advisers - this upon asking med school admissions why he wasn't invited to interviews (something that is recommended to do on various web sites). Even in last week's "what happened" appt he was still being told incorrect info.

 

It frustrates us both considerably, but answers the "why" question.

 

My advice to all? Even after selecting a college, don't trust advisers. One would THINK they would know their job and be up on current trends, etc, but assuming this is the case can lead to disappointment even at "name" schools.

 

We're going to opt to pay for an independent consultant for the next round (which I think he is going to do - esp given the circumstances).

 

Yes, he should have looked into more himself, but honestly, when one is at a name school where oodles of pre-meds go (many ARE the offspring of physicians), one seriously expects they can trust the advising and with his schedule (we wonder if he sleeps), I can see why he trusted them. So did we (parents).

 

It's really, really frustrating. :cursing:

Wow, the story just gets worse and worse. It really makes you wonder what is going on. We share your feelings about advising, and we have taken a much more hands-on approach after ds's problems.

 

I am liking your post because your ds plans to try again if he doesn't get in off the WL somewhere. I have heard of students being called the week before school starts with offers of slots, so there is still hope.

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I am sorry to read this.  Could you share what info he was given that was not accurate? 

 

 

1)  Timing (of applications) doesn't matter.  

 

     - In reality, the quicker the better and if a school sends you a secondary, they want it back within 2 weeks or they don't really consider you interested.  This is tough to do when one is waiting on the school's portion (or LORs) for what one needs.  One should be sure they have everything in line ahead of time and be ready to go.  He got secondary applications (many of these are automatic) within hours of applying, but had to wait up to a month to return some of them due to waiting on things from others.

 

2)  His research should stand out (for MSTP) and be a "plus" because it's "unique."

 

     - In reality, schools prefer to see research that is more "hard science" based (bio/chem or similar) for MSTP (not regular med school), AND they want to see that the student has worked on the same project for a minimum of two years.  My guy has done research since the summer of his freshman year, but as is common with UR, he's jumped around on a few different projects seeing what he likes.  He's only been doing his current one for a little over a year - automatic non-consideration for MSTP (at places that have responded to him).  His current project also has to do with how kids acquire language - not nearly the same as BioChem types of things.

 

3)  If rejected for MSTP, schools will automatically consider you for med school.

 

     - In reality this happens at URoc, but does NOT happen at all other schools.  It could happen at some.  He hasn't heard from all - I don't think he asked all (this applies to #2 as well).  So, he had Plan A of hoping for MSTP which we all knew was a lottery shot (though apparently his entering the lottery was even a longer shot - not a "great prospect" as he was told).  Then he had Plan B of more or less expecting "plain old" med school if not accepted to MSTP.  Now he finds out many (most?) of these places never even considered him for Med School.  If he had known all this ahead of time, he'd have chucked MSTP and simply applied for med schools - likely doing much better.

 

Then of course, there's the source of the LOR issue with Brain & Cognitive Science not being considered "science" by med schools, but his responses back haven't mentioned that (yet).  He wasn't told anything wrong about that from the pre-med office - they just didn't catch it until after the fact - and that is the ONLY thing he was told was wrong when he checked with the office last week.  They didn't mention the reasons he's actually being given.

 

Such is life.  It's incredibly frustrating to all of us, but still nice to know reasons instead of wondering why.  We're firm believers that there's always a cause to an effect and the cause should make sense.  Due to knowing the cause, he's seriously thinking of applying again next cycle, but this time just to med schools.

 

Since he's looking for limited spots (due to not having any hooks), he needs to have things as perfect as possible - thus our paying for real pre-med advising hopefully from someone who will give him truthful advice about his application.

 

Hope this helps others down the road.

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Could he wait an extra year and establish residency in a state that gives preference to their own students? Maybe do an MA in public health or work in a lab?

 

We have talked about these options.  I'm not sure one year is long enough to establish residency though.  We hope to hear real, honest, truth from the outside consultant (and then double check that as best we can), then he'll see how he wants to proceed.

 

In the meantime, I'm still hoping one of the waitlists comes through... it would be so relieving even if we're out needless money at that point from a consultant.

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Computer science:  on the one hand, I've been reading over at CC that the school/reputation of program doesn't matter much for CS, that what really matters is what one can do.  (Yay!  Inexpensive non-selective state college!)  On the other hand, I've also read that the school can be very helpful for getting the foot in the door, getting that first job.  (Stanford is worth full-pay!)  Is there a middle ground between reputation, expense, and reasonableness of admission?  For example, the best CS alternative in-state for us would be CO Mines or maybe Boulder, but they may be too close to home - what about OOS?  How to judge value for, say, CSE at Santa Clara where cost is high but location is superb and admission may be a reasonable possibility (albeit not slam-dunk as admissions stats are a good 3 ACT points higher in the engineering school than the arts and sciences, though there's also a CS option in A&S)?  How much do student peers matter for quality of education in CS?

My senior, who has signed her contract for her post-graduation CS job, recently thanked me for not letting her go into debt for her degree. She went to a state school ranked similarly to your in-state options. She had her choice between internships and stopped her post-graduation job interviews at 2, because those were the top two companies where she wanted to work. 

 

One thing to remember is that many kinds of companies hire CS grads and these companies/jobs are located all around the country. I recently heard Boulder is ranked as one of the top tech hubs in the country. 

 

She went OOS to a school that was ranked lower than in-state options, because that is where she wanted to go. The in-state schools were too close or too big or not the right kind of campus. I am not a worrier, and I knew she would receive a fine education with good scholarships and be employable after graduation. It seems I was right. 

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Hard data is difficult, but anecdotes abound. We've known a couple of CS students who applied to work at Google coming out of our state flagship. Both were very bright (in the Honors College, on fellowships/full rides, great grades, etc), but neither one received an offer. Both wound up working in tech for Walmart right down the road. We are fortunate to have some great companies within our state to work for. Obviously, they recruit heavily from our state flagship. This is why I think LOCATION with regard to where your student wants to wind up living is an important factor. What type (and how much) employment is available in the area? Is it an area that is economically thriving or stagnating? All companies are going to recruit in the state where they are located. Most (not all) college students do not go to college much farther than 150-200 miles from home. If you know where you want to be, attend college in that area! I'm not saying it's impossible to get jobs coming out of a state flagship at big name corporations if you are a couple thousand miles away - I just think it's not the norm. Much less expensive for corps to recruit locally. If you are attending a higher ranked school, I think it is easier to locate nationwide or globally. So, if you don't know where you want to live, a "brand" can take you more places. Walmart isn't likely to hire from San Jose State, and Google is not likely to hire from the University of Arkansas. But, both would likely be interested in someone out of HYPSM, all other things being equal. JMO!

 

The whole "Is fill-in-the-blank worth it?" is continually debated on CC and IRL. Most kids who have the stats to get into top 20 schools are also going to have the ability to get some generous merit money at lower-ranked schools. Ds has a friend who graduated a class ahead of him who turned down Stanford to be a McDermott Scholar at UT-Dallas. They only take 21-24 kids per year and many are poached from top schools because it is a sweet deal. It's a full ride with MANY perks including some designated staff just for the McDermott Scholars. They do a great job placing kids in all kinds of locations for internships. However, this program purposely goes beyond what a typical Honors College within a state flagship would have. So, does this kid, as a college senior have any regrets about not choosing Stanford? I really don't know. He is an EE major and had an internship with Tesla last summer with an offer waiting for him there when he graduates. However, what he *really* wanted to do was work for McKinsey (a management consulting firm). Certain industries (IB and certain management/strategy consulting firms) are NOT going to recruit at lower tier schools, special program or not. This is where "brand" definitely comes into play. He had a first round interview with them for their Dallas office, but that was it. And, he sought it out. Don't think they are holding recruiting sessions there. The cynic in me wonders if he had a chance at all or if that interview was just a courtesy.

 

So, I would add the idea of location relevant to where you want to eventually live as a consideration. And also be aware that some (yes, I think it's pretty narrow) industries are not going to recruit at lower ranked state flagships

 

...As you stated, your dh's student attended an Ivy for grad school, so he did have the "brand." It's great that it worked out for him! Just like undergrad admittance, there are no guarantees that one will get in at the grad level, however.

 

 

*LC - If you look on that McKinsey list, you'll see that they recruit all over for PhD students and Post-Docs. The list of places where they recruit undergrads is far more limited. I just used them as a representative example that *some* (very limited - which I believe I stated) employers/industries only recruit at elite schools when hiring undergrads. The OP asked about factors that people might not generally think of. Undergraduate recruiting ON CAMPUS is limited to certain schools by certain employers. If one cares about that type of employment, it could matter. Your examples of those working at McKinsey include people who got MBAs or other graduate degrees from top schools after attending your dd's school for undergrad. I think location should be a factor. Others don't. That's fine. If we all agreed, we wouldn't give the OP anything to think about! ;)

 

My use of the word "abound" was in reference to the fact that the OP would likely get many examples from the many responses to come on this thread. I simply contributed three. I did not mean that I had the last word on anything. I was just providing the ones I had.

 

Sorry for the delay in responding; it was a crazy week. I don't know why my post came through in such a big font...I promise I wasn't trying to shout.

 

The McKinsey  website states that they are always ready to receive applications from talented students from any school, which is what your example shows. The student you know applied and was selected for an interview but he wasn't hired. There is no reason to assume that the result would be any different if he had accepted the Stanford offer; I am sure there are Stanford students who apply, interview and are not hired by McKinsey. I am guessing that there are even Stanford students who apply and do not get an interview. Assumptions and generalizations are my pet peeves.

 

I also wanted to put the McKinsey link out there so anyone that has a student interested in consulting can look up the colleges their student is considering. You will find they do recruit undergrads at top 100 state schools. An easy way to find some is to simply type in the name of a state. You are right that 80 percent of the folks from my daughter's school that work for McKinsey had graduate degrees top from top schools. Of course, they were admitted to those top schools, "there are no guarantees that one will get in at the grad level," with a state school undergrad degree. The other 20 percent had a graduate degree from the state school and an undergrad degree from a lower-ranked school. Of course, those percentages are just based on the first five names that came up in my search. You are right that is a small group of people interested in consulting, but it does show it is possible to work at McKinsey without going to an elite undergrad or even grad school. (P.S. My daughter is not interested in consulting. She turned down a consulting internship interview, because as the child of a consultant, she did not want a consulting lifestyle for herself.

 

The real reason for my first post is that you said that Google isn't likely to hire students from outside their area unless they go to a higher ranked school based on the experience of two students you know. You also said the same was true for Wal-Mart. (Did I mention my dislike of assumptions and generalizations.) I know both of those companies recruit on/hire from my kids' campus, which is not located near either of their headquarters. Based on this fact, I'm sure they also recruit on other campuses nationwide. The funny thing is that your original post quoted luckymama's post about her son graduating from a state flagship in CS and going to work in Silicon Valley. I am pretty sure I remember correctly that he did not interview with the company on his college campus.  (Many tech firms have telephone interviews.) I remember  the post because it was when my then sophomore daughter was headed to Silicon Valley for an internship. The post about an unexpected move across the country for a CS job made glad my kid was only going there for a few months.

 

I agree that location is something to consider when looking for a school.  However, I think location means different things. For some people, like me, that means finding a school outside where you grew up in order to experience something different.(For the record, I did not go back to my home state. I went to a state my parents had moved, because it was closer to campus, where my future husband was still in school.)  For my daughter, going somewhere that her family visited regularly, so they could bring her food, was important. The ease/expense of getting to the school should be considered. Climate and campus settings are important considerations regarding location also. I also agree looking at the economy near campus is especially true if the student needs to work to attend school/earn money.  In today's mobile society people move all the time, so even if a student's first job after college is near the school, there will be free to seek out transfers or other opportunities to move. 

 

(As an anecdote that proves nothing, the internship that I did while in college was in a different state. The intern before me was from my OOS school. My first job out of college was still OOS, and I replaced someone that had gone to my school. After working a few years, she had wanted to change careers to one primarily found in New York City. She and a college friend saved money and went to NYC where they broke into this new industry. I know the one I replaced is still there and thriving; she frequently comes back to our school to speak & interview for internships. 

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*LC - If you look on that McKinsey list, you'll see that they recruit all over for PhD students and Post-Docs. The list of places where they recruit undergrads is far more limited. I just used them as a representative example that *some* (very limited - which I believe I stated) employers/industries only recruit at elite schools when hiring undergrads. The OP asked about factors that people might not generally think of. Undergraduate recruiting ON CAMPUS is limited to certain schools by certain employers. If one cares about that type of employment, it could matter. Your examples of those working at McKinsey include people who got MBAs or other graduate degrees from top schools after attending your dd's school for undergrad. I think location should be a factor. Others don't. That's fine. If we all agreed, we wouldn't give the OP anything to think about! ;)

 

My use of the word "abound" was in reference to the fact that the OP would likely get many examples from the many responses to come on this thread. I simply contributed three. I did not mean that I had the last word on anything. I was just providing the ones I had.

 

A degree from a highly-ranked school does not guarantee "success" (however one defines it), and a degree (or no degree at all) does not guarantee a "lack of success" (however one defines it).

To add to your points, those already short lists of schools are flexible, as in, a bank that may have hired at (say) top 10 MBA programs, may, circa 2008, choose to hire from only top 5 MBA programs. Ask me how I know ;)
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In retrospect, I wish I could have been far more relaxed about the whole process.

 

What you wrote I could have written (more or less) about my oldest and youngest.  When "success" can be defined merely as finding their way in life by eventually finding a field and job they like, yes, one can (usually) relax, 'cause most students who apply themselves (at any college) end up doing well.

 

My middle son will also find "success" if that's how it's defined. However, considering he's wanted to be a doctor since third grade - and still does in spite of this latest setback - I wish I had been more involved and hadn't completely turned the reins over to advising I thought would be good.  I blame myself for this setback as I easily could have researched more about it all - even while he was at his college of choice.  I just assumed "the professionals" would take care of it.  I was wrong.  And it does matter to his life.  It matters A LOT.

 

The difference is whether one has specific goals (and how competitive those are) or basic goals.  Different advice applies.

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