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Miss Mousie

Colleges that Change Lives - reviews, experiences

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OP - I attended Hendrix myself, but that was a loooong time ago....

 

<snip>

 

I have many fond memories of my time as a student there. :)

 

Exactly the kind of info I was looking for!  I understand it was long ago, but the impressionistic "flavor" stuff, for lack of a better term, is just what I had in mind.  Thank you so much.

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I don't know what your child wants to study, but check out Ursinus. Ds didn't go there, but we loved it, and they were extremely generous with merit aid, offering him over $30,000.

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I don't know what your child wants to study, but check out Ursinus. Ds didn't go there, but we loved it, and they were extremely generous with merit aid, offering him over $30,000.

 

Neither does he.  ;)

 

Thanks for the lead, I'll check it out.

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<snip>

 

Sigh.  I seem to have a way of stepping into controversy with what I thought was an innocent request for information.  Many thanks to those who have contributed.

:grouphug:  :grouphug: I do that often. I think I'm asking a simple, straightforward question and then..BAM...controversy... and I'm left wondering what I did wrong.

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How cool!  Thanks, Cynthia!

 

ETA:  And people say an English major is useless.  Harumph!  ;)

 

 

Edited by Miss Mousie
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I went to a CTCL (Eckerd) for undergrad and a huge university (UCLA) for grad school, so I have some experience at both ends of the spectrum. 

 

One of the biggest and most obvious differences was that there were 200-300 students in the intro classes at UCLA, and maybe 20-30 students in my intro classes at Eckerd. Even the intro classes were run more like seminars — there was no hiding in the back of the auditorium hoping not to be called on; participation was expected and if you were skipping class it would be readily apparent. All of the profs I knew at Eckerd were really devoted teaching, and very engaged with students. I was on a first-name basis with many of them, and had been to their homes for parties or BBQs. The emphasis on “mentorship†there is not just marketing —the level of attention from, and access to, professors that undergrads have at Eckerd was equivalent to that of grad students at UCLA.

 

At Eckerd there was a LOT of writing, in every class, and all my exams were essay types, no scantron sheets, no multiple choice. Work was returned with extensive feedback from the professor, not checkmarks from the TA. One of my philosophy classes required two 1-page response papers every week (1 for each class meeting), and it had to fit on a single page. That was amazing training in how to hone your argument down to the essential points and express yourself as clearly and concisely as possible. (It was also a LOT of work for the professor, grading roughly 60 essays/week X 15 wks, just for one class.) Classes were more about Socratic discussion than lecturing.

 

Other things I particularly liked about Eckerd were the intensive 1-month Winter Term and the special 1-month Autumn Term just for freshmen; the amazing range of options for study abroad (I spent a summer in Greece and a semester in London); and the fact that there were very few required courses and the ones they did have were interesting and interdisciplinary. Also, I liked that it was a small, supportive, tight-knit community. The flip side of that, though, is that if you really don’t get along with someone, it can be harder to avoid them.

 

Even though Eckerd is not particularly highly ranked, every person I knew who applied to grad school, law school, or med school was accepted. I got into every grad school I applied to, including UCLA and Berkeley.

 

 

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I went to a CTCL (Eckerd) for undergrad and a huge university (UCLA) for grad school, so I have some experience at both ends of the spectrum. 

 

One of the biggest and most obvious differences was that there were 200-300 students in the intro classes at UCLA, and maybe 20-30 students in my intro classes at Eckerd. Even the intro classes were run more like seminars — there was no hiding in the back of the auditorium hoping not to be called on; participation was expected and if you were skipping class it would be readily apparent. All of the profs I knew at Eckerd were really devoted teaching, and very engaged with students. I was on a first-name basis with many of them, and had been to their homes for parties or BBQs. The emphasis on “mentorship†there is not just marketing —the level of attention from, and access to, professors that undergrads have at Eckerd was equivalent to that of grad students at UCLA.

 

At Eckerd there was a LOT of writing, in every class, and all my exams were essay types, no scantron sheets, no multiple choice. Work was returned with extensive feedback from the professor, not checkmarks from the TA. One of my philosophy classes required two 1-page response papers every week (1 for each class meeting), and it had to fit on a single page. That was amazing training in how to hone your argument down to the essential points and express yourself as clearly and concisely as possible. (It was also a LOT of work for the professor, grading roughly 60 essays/week X 15 wks, just for one class.) Classes were more about Socratic discussion than lecturing.

 

Other things I particularly liked about Eckerd were the intensive 1-month Winter Term and the special 1-month Autumn Term just for freshmen; the amazing range of options for study abroad (I spent a summer in Greece and a semester in London); and the fact that there were very few required courses and the ones they did have were interesting and interdisciplinary. Also, I liked that it was a small, supportive, tight-knit community. The flip side of that, though, is that if you really don’t get along with someone, it can be harder to avoid them.

 

Even though Eckerd is not particularly highly ranked, every person I knew who applied to grad school, law school, or med school was accepted. I got into every grad school I applied to, including UCLA and Berkeley.

 

I'm out of Likes for the day (sigh), but I just want to say - Eckerd hasn't changed.  It's been a great college for my youngest and we've been envious of some of his opportunities.  He's already been to Greece (one of his Jan intensive classes) and expects to study in Jordan next fall.  He's definitely enjoying his time there with his profs, Aspec members (https://www.eckerd.edu/aspec/ ), and friends.  Oh, and he's learned a lot too.   :coolgleamA:  (Academically and Life Lessons)

 

FWIW, he's even started keeping his room clean!   :svengo:  That is something I never thought would happen... and even penned this thread apologizing to my future DIL just two years ago!

 

http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/topic/540328-to-my-future-dil/

 

I don't know if I can give credit to Eckerd, but why not?  It certainly wasn't me.

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Creekland is right.  Penn State is "literally" the BEST college in the world.  Talk about changing lives.  Almost every kid I know attends that school and is incredibly, deliriously happy.  That is NOT a joke.  Penn State is an obsession around here.  Many adults I know attended Penn State and STILL talk about it with pure joy and now they tailgate with their kids every chance they get.  The attachment people have to Penn State is creepy and - what's the word I am looking for?  No coffee yet today - nationalistic-like.

 

I am soo thrilled someone mentioned Elizabethtown.  I would have loved it if my middle son went there, but he chose Susquehanna (and is very happy).  Do know that Elizabethtown doesn't offer a football team.  Soccer is the big sport.  And there is no Greek life.  It changes the culture a bit; it's not known as a big party school.  If you visit, they will take you to the cafeteria and gift you with the most delicious carrot cake!

 

Ursinus - different than Elizabethtown. Academics are tougher and parties are rougher. I know a few kids who attend on basketball scholarships, so they were not driven by academics.  The school was too difficult for one of them and he transferred to an even smaller school.  You might want to check out how many local kids they accept.  I am having lunch with my friend whose daughter attends Ursinus; I'll be asking about her experience.

 

When I was looking with my oldest, CTCL helped me reframe my questions.  It helped me get over the name game when choosing colleges.  My stepdaughter would be great at an Eckerd and others like it, so I'll be listening in to this discussion, especially if you can add some all-girl schools.  

 

 

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Re: Jackie's mention of winter term.  Oberlin also has one and it absolutely changed oldest DS's life.  Because he thrives on independent study, he used the opportunity to the fullest.  Every essay he ever writes - to get into certain programs or grad schools - mentions the effect Winter Term had on him, personally and academically.  It's how he ended up a physics major.

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Re: Jackie's mention of winter term.  Oberlin also has one and it absolutely changed oldest DS's life.  Because he thrives on independent study, he used the opportunity to the fullest.  Every essay he ever writes - to get into certain programs or grad schools - mentions the effect Winter Term had on him, personally and academically.  It's how he ended up a physics major.

 

Ooh... I had a Like again!  Must go back and add some others.  I got on autopilot, then realized it was letting me add them!

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Creekland is right.  Penn State is "literally" the BEST college in the world.  Talk about changing lives.  Almost every kid I know attends that school and is incredibly, deliriously happy.  That is NOT a joke.  Penn State is an obsession around here.  Many adults I know attended Penn State and STILL talk about it with pure joy and now they tailgate with their kids every chance they get.  The attachment people have to Penn State is creepy and - what's the word I am looking for?  No coffee yet today - nationalistic-like.

 

I suspect there's a college like that in most regions. Here it's UNC Chapel Hill.

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I suspect there's a college like that in most regions. Here it's UNC Chapel Hill.

 

Va Tech fits too - in Virginia, of course, and among alumni elsewhere.

 

If students are looking for that type of environment, there really are several options - all depending upon where one lives or desires to live.

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Creekland is right. Penn State is "literally" the BEST college in the world. Talk about changing lives. Almost every kid I know attends that school and is incredibly, deliriously happy. That is NOT a joke. Penn State is an obsession around here. Many adults I know attended Penn State and STILL talk about it with pure joy and now they tailgate with their kids every chance they get. The attachment people have to Penn State is creepy and - what's the word I am looking for? No coffee yet today - nationalistic-like.

 

I am soo thrilled someone mentioned Elizabethtown. I would have loved it if my middle son went there, but he chose Susquehanna (and is very happy). Do know that Elizabethtown doesn't offer a football team. Soccer is the big sport. And there is no Greek life. It changes the culture a bit; it's not known as a big party school. If you visit, they will take you to the cafeteria and gift you with the most delicious carrot cake!

 

Ursinus - different than Elizabethtown. Academics are tougher and parties are rougher. I know a few kids who attend on basketball scholarships, so they were not driven by academics. The school was too difficult for one of them and he transferred to an even smaller school. You might want to check out how many local kids they accept. I am having lunch with my friend whose daughter attends Ursinus; I'll be asking about her experience.

 

When I was looking with my oldest, CTCL helped me reframe my questions. It helped me get over the name game when choosing colleges. My stepdaughter would be great at an Eckerd and others like it, so I'll be listening in to this discussion, especially if you can add some all-girl schools.

Susquehanna offers a major my next DD is interested in, whereas Elizabethtown does not. So it's been on my radar but I haven't visited. Does it also have a CTCL vibe?

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There are many students who graduated from our school (and there) who would agree with having it on the list. I agree based upon their assessments. (We've never checked the school out ourselves, but it's one I have on my recommend list.)

Creekland, Do you have impressions of St. Vincent's in Latrobe?

 

We know a couple of families with kids who have gone there to study science and had good outcomes in jobs and grad school. I was once told they seem to appreciate musicians. Their merit seems good and stacks.

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Creekland, Do you have impressions of St. Vincent's in Latrobe?

 

We know a couple of families with kids who have gone there to study science and had good outcomes in jobs and grad school. I was once told they seem to appreciate musicians. Their merit seems good and stacks.

 

I actually haven't even heard of St Vincent's until now, so can't be of any help unfortunately.  That doesn't mean they aren't worthy of checking out.  Around here many dedicated Catholic families send their kids to the local Catholic high school so I think my "supply" of students who would be interested in the school is pretty limited coupled with it being a small school...

 

I can say students from our school have loved Susquehanna... 

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But couldn't the bolded be said about any college?

 

I don't know that its the same everywhere.  My city has 5 degree granting institutions.  Two are medium/largish universities, one is a big giant university, and there is one small LA college that is similar to the kinds of places on the CCL list.  I know a lot of people that went to all of them, and the LA college had that kind of impact on a much higher proportion than the others, especially the large one, did.  It had a much more definable culture, more students involved in extra activities (not sports,) a lot more contact between faculty and students.  It was pretty common for the kids to go through the big university and get their credits and their degree, learning facts and skills, without having anything like an alternate worldview, or different way of life, presented to them. 

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I went to a CTCL (Eckerd) for undergrad and a huge university (UCLA) for grad school, so I have some experience at both ends of the spectrum. ...

 

 

Really good info!  Thank you so much for chiming in.  I would have loved that kind of school....

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I suspect there's a college like that in most regions. Here it's UNC Chapel Hill.

 

Yes, and here it is Ohio State.  

Edited by Erica H
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It's been my understanding that the CTCL came about as a way to show potential students that there are schools out there other than the elites (the Ivies, the Big 10) that have great programs and opportunities. The majority of schools in the CTCL are ones that wouldn't be on most student's radar. When my DC began looking at colleges and unis, we had only heard of one or two.

 

What I would like to see is a list of schools like those in the CTCL that rotates members every couple of years.

 

 

What the CTCL list did for us was highlight the type of school we were looking for because he did want the small school, not religious, not overly competitive environment that still offered opportunities. He is at a similar school that is not on the list but offers similar advantages. I like the concept of CTCL in that it highlights schools you might never have heard of that are actually pretty neat and not too hard to get into. I love the concept but there is nothing magical about the specific list.

 

 

A book entitled CTCL is going to sell better than one called, "Some Good Colleges That You can get into that you Have Never Heard of." I mean that tongue in cheek. While I think all colleges can/should change lives, I agree that different kids have different preferences in schools. I also understand that others will do better at a certain type of college rather than another.

 

I wouldn't lose sleep over the controversy at all. I suspect there are many reading (or reading in the future) who will find this conversation useful.

 

Yes. There is a "personality" and goal difference between directional state Us (akin to PA's typical state schools) and those on the CTCL list (or those that should/could be on the list). A CTCL school will take a more personal interest in the student and their lives/goals trying to help guide them. Whether that difference is affordable to students is entirely a personal matter.

 

 

I guess it depends on the state school. When I was in college, I received a phone call from someone on campus asking me to come interview for a job related to my major. A professor of mine had recommended me. I had never spoken to that professor about wanting a job or even needing one. I was a shy student, so I am not sure I had even spoken to him outside of class. He was one of the professors in my major that students always called by his last name, even though we called others by their first name outside of class. When I toured my alma mater with my oldest, the advisor for her major, which was different than mine, was showing us around and she stopped to tell a student to come see her the next day about an on-campus job that she thought he would be a good fit for. I was pleased to see while the school had grown, its people still had a personal interest in the students.

 

In another instance, I wanted to take certan classes that were outside my major and were in a different "school" than my department. There were a couple of pre-reqs for the first class that everyone in that "school" had to take, but they had nothing to do with the classes I wanted to take. Since this was before computers, I simply registered for the first class I wanted to take during my sophomore year. (This was out of character for me, and I talked in my sleep about it, which amused my roomate.) Sometime in the first two weeks of class, the professor called my name and asked me to see him after class. This was the largest class I had at the school. Most of my clases were less than 30 students, I think I had fives classes around 100. This one had close to 200, and it was in a large auditorium with the professor up on a stage. Plus,the professor was intimidating. He was a tall man, who was well-known on campus as the sponsor of upper-class honor socieity as well as another group. I knew the gig was up, and I would not be able to take my classes. Instead, the professor said that he knew of me/ or had asked about me and I could stay in the class even though I did not have the pre-reqs. I went on to complete enough classes in that department to have a major, and I was in the honor society the professor sponsored later in my college career.

 

Creekland is right. Penn State is "literally" the BEST college in the world. Talk about changing lives. Almost every kid I know attends that school and is incredibly, deliriously happy. That is NOT a joke. Penn State is an obsession around here. Many adults I know attended Penn State and STILL talk about it with pure joy and now they tailgate with their kids every chance they get. The attachment people have to Penn State is creepy and - what's the word I am looking for? No coffee yet today - nationalistic-like.

Disclaimer, I only know one person who has gone to Penn State, and I have never noticed this about her, probably because we do not know anyone who will go to Penn State. However, I think this touches on why people could be offended by the whole premise of CTCL.

 

When people have an attachment to a big school and say it changed their lives, it is creepy, but when someone says it about a smaller school, it becomes a college that changes lives.

 

My grandparents, my parents, my uncle, my sibling, a number of my cousins, my husband, and I all went to the same school that my kids attend. Still, I let my kids make their own decisions about what schools to visit/attend...and they ended up at the same place the rest of us did. My sophomore and my sophomore niece are planning to attend also. When my oldest started there, a neighbor, with no affiliation to the school, said, "I have never met anyone who did not love there time there." I thought that was a good thing, not a creepy one.

Edited by *LC
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I guess it depends on the state school. When I was in college, I received a phone call from someone on campus asking me to come interview for a job related to my major. A professor of mine had recommended me. I had never spoken to that professor about wanting a job or even needing one. I was a shy student, so I am not sure I had even spoken to him outside of class. 

 

No one is saying students can't get recommendations for jobs from state schools.  Networking happens in any college IME and that's what your experience is - networking - the employer networking through the prof.

 

The difference in what I've seen via CTCL (and similar) schools is in your last statement that I quoted... ;)  I'm not sure there's a student in those schools that wouldn't have spoken to their professors, often becoming very close to them (as mentors).  Many times it's professor initiated - wanting to get to know their students better.

 

Some students like this and thrive upon it.  Others do not and should consider a different college choice.

 

There's no right or wrong answer here - only right/wrong for the student.

 

I should also add that students can get close to profs at other types of schools too.  Middle son is close (mentor-ish) with all of his even when class sizes reached 100-200.  It's his nature to reach out and develop that relationship, but at his school it won't be the professor reaching out, so what happens with him is not necessarily a "common" experience.  A prof can still recommend their "top" students to future employers without developing a relationship.

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The difference in what I've seen via CTCL (and similar) schools is in your last statement that I quoted... ;) I'm not sure there's a student in those schools that wouldn't have spoken to their professors, often becoming very close to them (as mentors). Many times it's professor initiated - wanting to get to know their students better.

 

Some students like this and thrive upon it. Others do not and should consider a different college choice.

 

There's no right or wrong answer here - only right/wrong for the student.

I wanted to highlight this because I think that sometimes parents of shy/introverted students believe that smaller schools are preferable to larger universities for their children. Of course it all depends on the individual student - I'm not trying to make any broad, sweeping generalizations - but there is literally nowhere to hide in the classroom at these CTCL-types of schools. Someone else mentioned above that if you are missing class, not participating in class (this is often expected), etc., it's going to be obvious. Some shy/introverted type kids seem to prefer the larger university setting where it's easier to blend in/be anonymous.

 

Reiterating what Creekland said - "There's no right or wrong answer here - only right/wrong for the student."

Edited by Hoggirl
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I wanted to highlight this because I think that sometimes parents of shy/introverted students believe that smaller schools are preferable to larger universities for their children. Of course it all depends on the individual student - I'm not trying to make any broad, sweeping generalizations - but there is literally nowhere to hide in the classroom at these CTCL-types of schools. Someone else mentioned above that if you are missing class, not participating in class (this is often expected), etc., it's going to be obvious. Some shy/introverted type kids seem to prefer the larger university setting where it's easier to blend in/be anonymous.

 

Reiterating what Creekland said - "There's no right or wrote answer here - only right/wrong for the student."

 

Yes! This is so true!  I wanted one of my sons to attend a small college because he is introverted and I thought it would be best for him.  When we went on a college tour, the professor told him, "If you get a haircut, we'll notice it" as if it would be a positive thing to have so much individualized attention.  My son was horrified and ended up at one of the biggest universities in the U.S. As you said, he prefers that setting because it's easier to be anonymous.  

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As a shy, introverted student who mostly succeeded in being anonymous in college: This is not necessarily a good thing.

 

Even beyond the need for recommendations for grad school or internships, college students really can't reach their fullest potential anonymously.

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My extrovert loves his small school. He wants to know every student, teacher, and administrator on campus. He he can go anywhere alone and know he will find people he knows when he gets there. He loves it.

 

I loved my giant school. I could run into my professors in public and they didn't even know I was in their class.

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My son is thinking about attending a CTCL, but he is still deciding. This thread has been full of great information. Thanks to the OP for starting it as we didn't have much feedback on smaller schools like these until now. 

 

Also, for anyone who is interested, the CTCL organization has scholarships for students who are going to attend one of the CTCL schools. You can find more informations here

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I know we have some posters here with kids who attended one of the CTCL schools, but I'm hoping there are more that I'm not aware of, and of course would like to hear anyone's thoughts.

 

I'm wondering what your/your child's perceptions & experiences were.  

 

What was special about the school?  If your child applied to more than one CTCL school, did all of the schools accept?

What great/unusual/challenging/etc. opportunities did your child take advantage of?  

What did your child do (or plan to do) after graduation, and did that college make a difference in your child getting to that next step?

Would you/your child say the "change lives" bit is accurate?

 

DS15 and I will soon be visiting our third CTCL.  I think almost all of them sound terrific, but I also know that a lot depends on the student.  The college can offer everything under the sun but if the kid isn't interested or won't take the necessary steps for whatever reason, that isn't necessarily the college's "fault" - but then again, maybe that's what the "change lives" part is all about - making that extra effort to reach waaaayyyy out to the kids who don't jump in with both feet?  

 

I don't know.  I think I'm just looking for BTDT, good & bad.  The stuff you can't get from brochures and group tours.  (And, if I'm honest, looking for some sign that one of these would be Just Right for my kid!)

 

I don't want to wade into the other discussions on this thread, just want to say that my son's experience with The College of Wooster was exceptional. It was the perfect place for him, full of amazing opportunities that stretched him and challenged him, and full of quirky kids that he connected with.  Another long time WTM kid is also a Wooster alum, and I know at least one other WTM kid started there, but the mom seems to have quietly slipped away from the forums.

 

What was special about the school? You mean other than the bagpipers and black squirrels?!  Like other small schools it has a very close knit community. The small departments mean that students are closely mentored. My ds started doing paid research before the end of his freshman semester, traveled for field research each of the 3 summers he was there. He was a TA and a peer tutor. He traveled and presented posters at professional meetings in his sophomore and senior years.

 

The amount of writing and the high stakes senior capstone project really challenged him. Unlike most other colleges, that capstone project is required for graduation and if you don't successfully complete it, you don't graduate. Students are mentored all the way, so you'd think they wouldn't fall through the cracks, but a couple of my son's friends didn't graduate simply because their capstone project wasn't up to snuff. (An expensive lesson to learn -- I think the school offers a discounted tuition for kids who have to revise their projects.) 

 

Actually, my ds thought Wooster was the perfect school for really smart, intellectually curious students who are not cut out for the competitive environment of Ivy league or other prestigious schools. Or weren't cut out for the high stakes college admission process for the big name schools. The quality of the education was high, and the graduation stakes very real, but it was a nurturing, engaging place to be. The professors all do research, and all publish and are well connected in their fields, but they truly love to teach. To me it was the perfect step after homeschooling, with challenging classes and mentors who were as fully vested in his education as I was. One of his professors told me at graduation that he stood out in her freshman seminar class, and she actually wrote a note on his first midterm, "Have you considered this as your major?" I loved that they saw his potential and pushed him along.

 

His professors created classes for him because he had finished everything else that was offered. They encouraged him to polish his research and submit it to an academic journal, but he just couldn't push himself to do more than he already was doing. Now that he has graduated he still corresponds with his professors, and knows they will advocate for him when he is ready to apply for grad school. I know he would like to be a professor at a small, liberal arts college one day. He is currently teaching English in Japan, at a high school, and watching his students as they face their own college admissions process in the next few weeks.

 

My ds didn't do any of the organized clubs other than the club for his major. BUT he had a large, close knit group of friends and they played lots of D&D through the 4 years, and binge watched tv together, or played board games. They traveled together on breaks -- hiked part of the Appalachian Trail. 

Edited by JennW in SoCal
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Actually, my ds thought Wooster was the perfect school for really smart, intellectually curious students who are not cut out for the competitive environment of Ivy league or other prestigious schools. Or weren't cut out for the high stakes college admission process for the big name schools. The quality of the education was high, and the graduation stakes very real, but it was a nurturing, engaging place to be. The professors all do research, and all publish and are well connected in their fields, but they truly love to teach. To me it was the perfect step after homeschooling, with challenging classes and mentors who were as fully vested in his education as I was. One of his professors told me at graduation that he stood out in her freshman seminar class, and she actually wrote a note on his first midterm, "Have you considered this as your major?" I loved that they saw his potential and pushed him along.

 

 

 

Wow, can I enroll?  Right now I could really use an educational, nurturing environment with professors who are looking out for me.  Why isn't there a small LAC for old people?  

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No one is saying students can't get recommendations for jobs from state schools.  Networking happens in any college IME and that's what your experience is - networking - the employer networking through the prof.

 

The difference in what I've seen via CTCL (and similar) schools is in your last statement that I quoted... ;)  I'm not sure there's a student in those schools that wouldn't have spoken to their professors, often becoming very close to them (as mentors).  Many times it's professor initiated - wanting to get to know their students better.

 

Some students like this and thrive upon it.  Others do not and should consider a different college choice.

 

There's no right or wrong answer here - only right/wrong for the student.

 

I should also add that students can get close to profs at other types of schools too.  Middle son is close (mentor-ish) with all of his even when class sizes reached 100-200.  It's his nature to reach out and develop that relationship, but at his school it won't be the professor reaching out, so what happens with him is not necessarily a "common" experience.  A prof can still recommend their "top" students to future employers without developing a relationship.

 

 

Interesting, I have never seen/heard of networking defined that way...I have always seen it used in the context of something a job hunter does to find a job or a salesman does to cultivate leads. In both my examples, the professor reached out to me without me making the first step. I definitely had friends in college that were very close to our professors and kept in contact with them long after graduation. And, I did talk to my professors more as my time in college went on.

 

It is funny that we just had this conversation, because today I was 20 minutes early for a meeting, which never happens to me, and there was another woman there early. It just so happens that she and her husband went to the same school I attended, and we were in a joint activity back then, While we had mututal friends, we were not friends. Fast forward a million years, our oldest children graduated from high school together and both attend the same college we did. Since they are seniors, she and I were talking about what they are going to do after graduation. Her exact words, "He ended up taking this class in xxxx and it changed his whole life. He gained a mentor and found his passion." He was hired by a Fortune 50 company as a marketing trainee. A few weeks after graudation, he will move 1,000 miles away to the company headquarters to begin training. After a few months, he will then go to another location (or more than one) that will be assigned later to complete training. I am not sure when he will find out where he will be assigned after training.

 

I completely agree there is no right or wrong, however, I do think many/most students can handle their non-preferred environment if their circumstances require it.

 

I wanted to highlight this because I think that sometimes parents of shy/introverted students believe that smaller schools are preferable to larger universities for their children. Of course it all depends on the individual student - I'm not trying to make any broad, sweeping generalizations - but there is literally nowhere to hide in the classroom at these CTCL-types of schools. Someone else mentioned above that if you are missing class, not participating in class (this is often expected), etc., it's going to be obvious. Some shy/introverted type kids seem to prefer the larger university setting where it's easier to blend in/be anonymous.

 

 

Thanks, I never would have thought of that. I am guilty of thinking as you said, and I had my current freshman visit a small school in our area that everyone we know loves even though he had already been admitted to the OOS school I attended.

 

When we went on a college tour, the professor told him, "If you get a haircut, we'll notice it" as if it would be a positive thing to have so much individualized attention.  My son was horrified and ended up at one of the biggest universities in the U.S. As you said, he prefers that setting because it's easier to be anonymous.

During my senior's freshman year, she went to see a professor she had in the fall to ask for a recommendation for a summer job, but he was not in. However, her current professor was in the office next door, so she decided to ask him since she was doing well in that class. While they were talking, she could tell something was bothering him. Then, she happened to take off her glasses, and she could literally see the light bulb go off.(She did not wear glasses in class.) They laughed it about when he confessed he was having trouble mathcing her face with glasses with the face he associated with her name.

 

Thanks to the OP for starting it as we didn't have much feedback on smaller schools like these until now. 

I also appreciate this thread, because I love to hear about different experiences. At least one of my younger kids will not be going to where our family has gone, and I would have thought smaller was a better a fit for her for all the reasons mentioned above. It might be, but this thread gives me more things to think about. Right now, this kid does not like being put on the spot.

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Interesting, I have never seen/heard of networking defined that way...I have always seen it used in the context of something a job hunter does to find a job or a salesman does to cultivate leads. 

 

FWIW, networking is just people connecting with people to get info, find employment/employees, or similar.  With employment, it's totally different than placing "Help Wanted" (or similar) ads.

 

It's extremely common for employers to network - checking with current employees for future prospects, checking with college profs for future prospects, or even hiring headhunters to do these sorts of things for them.  A huge number of jobs (esp in private companies) are never advertised, but positions are filled by networking.

 

I even got my first "outside of home" job in my teens (at a local library) because they had a shelving position come open and asked one of my friends who she'd recommend.  She then asked me if  I wanted a job.  I had never mentioned wanting a job... but I took it and enjoyed it.

 

Networking is the ideal way to get jobs IMO.  

 

And as stated in my previous post, good networking can come from any college.  It's other things - esp more personalized attention - that separate out CTCL (and similar) schools.

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I don't want to wade into the other discussions on this thread, just want to say that my son's experience with The College of Wooster was exceptional. It was the perfect place for him, full of amazing opportunities that stretched him and challenged him, and full of quirky kids that he connected with.  Another long time WTM kid is also a Wooster alum, and I know at least one other WTM kid started there, but the mom seems to have quietly slipped away from the forums.

 

What was special about the school? You mean other than the bagpipers and black squirrels?!  Like other small schools it has a very close knit community. The small departments mean that students are closely mentored. My ds started doing paid research before the end of his freshman semester, traveled for field research each of the 3 summers he was there. He was a TA and a peer tutor. He traveled and presented posters at professional meetings in his sophomore and senior years.

 

The amount of writing and the high stakes senior capstone project really challenged him. Unlike most other colleges, that capstone project is required for graduation and if you don't successfully complete it, you don't graduate. Students are mentored all the way, so you'd think they wouldn't fall through the cracks, but a couple of my son's friends didn't graduate simply because their capstone project wasn't up to snuff. (An expensive lesson to learn -- I think the school offers a discounted tuition for kids who have to revise their projects.) 

 

Actually, my ds thought Wooster was the perfect school for really smart, intellectually curious students who are not cut out for the competitive environment of Ivy league or other prestigious schools. Or weren't cut out for the high stakes college admission process for the big name schools. The quality of the education was high, and the graduation stakes very real, but it was a nurturing, engaging place to be. The professors all do research, and all publish and are well connected in their fields, but they truly love to teach. To me it was the perfect step after homeschooling, with challenging classes and mentors who were as fully vested in his education as I was. One of his professors told me at graduation that he stood out in her freshman seminar class, and she actually wrote a note on his first midterm, "Have you considered this as your major?" I loved that they saw his potential and pushed him along.

 

His professors created classes for him because he had finished everything else that was offered. They encouraged him to polish his research and submit it to an academic journal, but he just couldn't push himself to do more than he already was doing. Now that he has graduated he still corresponds with his professors, and knows they will advocate for him when he is ready to apply for grad school. I know he would like to be a professor at a small, liberal arts college one day. He is currently teaching English in Japan, at a high school, and watching his students as they face their own college admissions process in the next few weeks.

 

My ds didn't do any of the organized clubs other than the club for his major. BUT he had a large, close knit group of friends and they played lots of D&D through the 4 years, and binge watched tv together, or played board games. They traveled together on breaks -- hiked part of the Appalachian Trail. 

 

Thank you so much for chiming in!   Wooster is the college we're visiting next weekend, so I'm especially grateful for the nitty-gritty you gave here.

 

I wondered whether anyone "fails" the IS, and what would happen if someone did.  Expensive, yes, and heartbreaking, I'm sure, but it's good to know they abide their high standards.

 

I'm getting SO excited for this trip!   :hurray:

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Just an FYI for anyone who is interested - a few of the CTCL schools have deadlines today including Wooster and Earlham. 

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I have been following along on this thread. We visited Grinnell last spring. After the Grinnell visit, all other colleges have been compared to it and all except one have come up lacking including a CTCL. The interdisciplinary courses; the gracious professors; the friendly, comfortable environment; and the good food (we are gluten-free and food is very important) really set a high bar. The study abroad, internship, and research opportunities greatly exceeded almost every other school. In poking around Grinnell's website, I discovered a listing of 16 colleges which Grinnell considers to be their peer schools. DD used that list to pick a couple of other schools to apply to.

 

Last summer DD also did a summer program at Barnard College in NYC. She was bowled over by that school. Barnard says that it uses the city as its classroom and it is true. She was out almost everyday going to museums, exploring neighborhoods, checking out theaters as part of her classes. The environment was prime for her to make connections. As a result she applied to Barnard and another Seven Sisters school with the hopes of getting into one.

 

I realize that neither of these are CTCL schools (well Grinnell was once) but I really believe that for my DD her life will be greatly expanded at either Grinnell or Barnard. She is still waiting on notification from 5 schools including Barnard. We have our fingers crossed that one of those schools comes back with a financial aid package which knocks our socks off. Otherwise, we as a family will have a tough decision to make in April.

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We're at Eckerd and ate lunch there the other day.  Apparently some (many?) students complain about the food, but wow, I don't have any idea what they are complaining about unless they prefer the taste of McD's or something.  They had oodles of healthy, super tasty, options (8-10 veggies alone ranging from snow peas to mushrooms to sweet potatoes to cauliflower, etc) cooked nicely and a salad bar, fruit, hummus, etc.

 

Someone once mentioned that they wondered if instead of a retirement home folks could choose to retire to a college dorm.  If at Eckerd, I'd vote for that!  If I could eat there pretty much all the time and someone else did the cooking and cleaning - then with their waterfront setting, Aspec educational opportunities and community, and all the perks of St Pete close by - why yes, that would be very attractive!

 

The memorial service they had for Elie Wiesel Tues night was very nice - they brought in the Western Wind A Cappella group

 

http://www.westernwind.org/about.html

 

who performed their "We Are Still Here! program - songs from the Holocaust - keeping the memories of those musicians and poets alive - a very fitting tribute.

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I have been following along on this thread. We visited Grinnell last spring. After the Grinnell visit, all other colleges have been compared to it and all except one have come up lacking including a CTCL. The interdisciplinary courses; the gracious professors; the friendly, comfortable environment; and the good food (we are gluten-free and food is very important) really set a high bar. The study abroad, internship, and research opportunities greatly exceeded almost every other school. In poking around Grinnell's website, I discovered a listing of 16 colleges which Grinnell considers to be their peer schools. DD used that list to pick a couple of other schools to apply to.

 

Last summer DD also did a summer program at Barnard College in NYC. She was bowled over by that school. Barnard says that it uses the city as its classroom and it is true. She was out almost everyday going to museums, exploring neighborhoods, checking out theaters as part of her classes. The environment was prime for her to make connections. As a result she applied to Barnard and another Seven Sisters school with the hopes of getting into one.

 

I realize that neither of these are CTCL schools (well Grinnell was once) but I really believe that for my DD her life will be greatly expanded at either Grinnell or Barnard. She is still waiting on notification from 5 schools including Barnard. We have our fingers crossed that one of those schools comes back with a financial aid package which knocks our socks off. Otherwise, we as a family will have a tough decision to make in April.

Can you link to that part of Grinnell's site which lists the 16 colleges? I looked, but didn't find it. Or, just copy & paste the list here? Thanks in advance. Keep us posted on your daughter's decision.

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We ate at Eckerd again this evening.  I had coriander mint lamb, curried lentils, mushrooms, garbanzo beans, and some pita bread slices - all quite tasty.  Students eating with us had sandwiches, pizza, salads, various other veggies offered, and other entrees that were offered.

 

Yeah it's a rough life being a student with such "terrible" daily options.   :lol:

 

Eckerd works hard at being healthy and "outdoors" so I suspect it one wants the traditional taste of traditional foods, they might not be getting that.  The sandwiches were on baguettes, not plain ole white bread, etc.  But there were grill options of burgers, grilled cheese, and similar so...

 

Personally, I think college students who are there and complain about the food ought to be time machined back to the 80s when I was in college and compare options.

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I think college students complain about the food for two reasons.

 

1. They miss home cooking. There's no place like home.

2. The same food repeats pretty frequently so after a while, no matter what it is, it's starts to get old. I know when I was in school there was a limited list of recipes so you got the same stuff every month. If the student is picky and only has a dozen favorite things, they're repeating those few items even more frequently.

 

 

(Also, if you are at Eckerd for an event that is expecting a lot of parents, they do put out better food than usual for those sorts of things.)

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I think college students complain about the food for two reasons.

 

1. They miss home cooking. There's no place like home.

2. The same food repeats pretty frequently so after a while, no matter what it is, it's starts to get old. I know when I was in school there was a limited list of recipes so you got the same stuff every month. If the student is picky and only has a dozen favorite things, they're repeating those few items even more frequently.

 

 

(Also, if you are at Eckerd for an event that is expecting a lot of parents, they do put out better food than usual for those sorts of things.)

 

This is well before the event starts.  No other parents were in the dining areas when we were, but some profs opt to eat here fairly regularly.  ;)

 

Food/recipes at home get repeated quite frequently in a month too - at least at our house they did - with far fewer options.

 

Oldest son could easily complain about the food at his school - repetitive and bland.  Fellow students where middle and youngest go - complaints aren't real there in our experience.  Well, they are, but the students have no idea what other options are out there (at other colleges - or in college history) methinks.  Try being vegan or needing gluten free in my college days - very tough!  At middle and youngest son's schools?  Plentiful options - and tasty ones.

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This is well before the event starts.  No other parents were in the dining areas when we were, but some profs opt to eat here fairly regularly.   ;)

 

Food/recipes at home get repeated quite frequently in a month too - at least at our house they did - with far fewer options.

 

Oldest son could easily complain about the food at his school - repetitive and bland.  Fellow students where middle and youngest go - complaints aren't real there in our experience.  Well, they are, but the students have no idea what other options are out there (at other colleges - or in college history) methinks.  Try being vegan or needing gluten free in my college days - very tough!  At middle and youngest son's schools?  Plentiful options - and tasty ones.

 

The dining hall at my university is horrible. They usually have one type of cooked vegetable, and sometimes said vegetable is canned and just warmed up. I'm a vegetarian and they only have one vegan dish at dinner (none at lunch or breakfast) and they rotate between 5 or so different recipes, only 2 of which taste halfway decent. There's pizza and white pasta, but both are flavorless.There is a salad bar that's ok, so that's something, although sometimes they run out of lettuce (!!). Half the time I opt for making myself pb&j because it tastes better than the dining hall.  :glare: Maybe some people who complain about the food are just really picky, but I think there's also a lot of legitimately bad dining hall food. 

Edited by STEM

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I'd never heard of CTCL until this thread, but apparently I like them. 3 out of the 4 schools I applied to are on the list and one that I cut last minute as well.

 

I attended Transylvania U. in Lexington, KY. It probably could be on this list as well. They have a May term, have lots of levels of merit aid, small classes with great professors, and a beautiful campus. It's also close to UK so there is a lot of college life available even though Transy is really small. I also applied to Centre (which was my first choice but they didn't come through with enough $$), Hope & Kalamazoo. Reed was on my short list.

 

I attended a very small boarding school for high school (600 students total), so I knew that I didn't want a huge campus. I wanted to stay fairly close to home in IL, which was why Reed got cut. 

Edited by beckyjo
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The dining hall at my university is horrible. They usually have one type of cooked vegetable, and sometimes said vegetable is canned and just warmed up. I'm a vegetarian and they only have one vegan dish at dinner (none at lunch or breakfast) and they rotate between 5 or so different recipes, only 2 of which taste halfway decent. There's pizza and white pasta, but both are flavorless.There is a salad bar that's ok, so that's something, although sometimes they run out of lettuce (!!). Half the time I opt for making myself pb&j because it tastes better than the dining hall.  :glare: Maybe some people who complain about the food are just really picky, but I think there's also a lot of legitimately bad dining hall food. 

 

I agree that it depends upon the college - at least - at those we've eaten at it does.  My thoughts about students complaining are solely at/with the colleges we have a bit of experience with - and today vs a few years ago.

 

Eckerd, U Rochester, and Va Tech all get high kudos from us.

 

What's around for food is something prospective students should look at IME - and as a PP mentioned - NOT on days many parents are there as those can be skewed.

 

I have no idea if all CTCL provide decent offerings.  I personally feel Eckerd does.  (My son feels the same way.)

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ps  If anyone out there is lurking and happens to have a homeschooled junior (young lady) at Eckerd - from VA - a transfer in... we had dinner with her yesterday evening.  She's a very nice young lady!  I almost asked her if her mom knew about the Hive, but didn't...  I almost posted this last night, but didn't.  This morning I figured - why not?  :coolgleamA:

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My son is currently a freshman at one of the ctcl. McDaniel in Maryland. He also applied to Clark is Massachusetts. He got into both. They were both generous with their aid. McDaniel a little more generous.

Granted, he is just a freshman but what he likes: for the most part his professors have been great and involved. They offer a lot of support to the first year students to help them adjust to college life. The small class size is important to him and he likes knowing his classmates.

 

What he doesn't like: the school is kind of in the middle of nowhere. There is a town and a shuttle to take you there. Everything is closed by a reasonable hour to adults, not so much college students. So no real night life.

The small size also means you can't really avoid some jerk who is making you miserable. It is inevitable that you will cross paths at least once.

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What he doesn't like: the school is kind of in the middle of nowhere. There is a town and a shuttle to take you there.

At my kiddos school, they can't find a work-study kid to drive the shopping shuttle on Fridays and Saturdays. (Only juniors and seniors can apply.) Her own work-study job is on Sundays. She feels rather stranded having only a Walgreens a half-mile walk away.

 

There are couple places to eat and a few other things nearby, but there's a ton she can't get to. Target, the grocery store, etc.

 

If anybody is college hunting, ask students how reliable that shuttle is!

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We ate at Eckerd again this evening. I had coriander mint lamb, curried lentils, mushrooms, garbanzo beans, and some pita bread slices - all quite tasty. Students eating with us had sandwiches, pizza, salads, various other veggies offered, and other entrees that were offered.

 

Yeah it's a rough life being a student with such "terrible" daily options. :lol:

 

Eckerd works hard at being healthy and "outdoors" so I suspect it one wants the traditional taste of traditional foods, they might not be getting that. The sandwiches were on baguettes, not plain ole white bread, etc. But there were grill options of burgers, grilled cheese, and similar so...

 

Personally, I think college students who are there and complain about the food ought to be time machined back to the 80s when I was in college and compare options.

LOL...they seriously need to get in a way back machine and see the "shepherd's pie" served at my school. Starving dogs would sniff it and then just turn up their paws and die...less suffering that way.

 

I subsisted on cereal and salad for four years. No one gained the "freshman 15" at my school. Losing weight was common!

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We're at Eckerd and ate lunch there the other day.  Apparently some (many?) students complain about the food, but wow, I don't have any idea what they are complaining about unless they prefer the taste of McD's or something.  They had oodles of healthy, super tasty, options (8-10 veggies alone ranging from snow peas to mushrooms to sweet potatoes to cauliflower, etc) cooked nicely and a salad bar, fruit, hummus, etc.

 

Someone once mentioned that they wondered if instead of a retirement home folks could choose to retire to a college dorm.  If at Eckerd, I'd vote for that!  If I could eat there pretty much all the time and someone else did the cooking and cleaning - then with their waterfront setting, Aspec educational opportunities and community, and all the perks of St Pete close by - why yes, that would be very attractive!

 

The memorial service they had for Elie Wiesel Tues night was very nice - they brought in the Western Wind A Cappella group

 

http://www.westernwind.org/about.html

 

who performed their "We Are Still Here! program - songs from the Holocaust - keeping the memories of those musicians and poets alive - a very fitting tribute.

 

This option is available at Ohio Wesleyan University, a CTCL school, my alma mater. A dorm, Austin Manor, was remodeled into apartments, some of which are available to students and some of which are available for older private residents. I'm not sure all the details now, but it used to be that the older residents could audit college classes for free, and there were social opportunities in Austin Manor for the seniors and students to mingle together.

 

 

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This option is available at Ohio Wesleyan University, a CTCL school, my alma mater. A dorm, Austin Manor, was remodeled into apartments, some of which are available to students and some of which are available for older private residents. I'm not sure all the details now, but it used to be that the older residents could audit college classes for free, and there were social opportunities in Austin Manor for the seniors and students to mingle together.

 

We just finished spending a bit of the day today with four Aspec members from Eckerd.  They audit classes and interact with students too.  That's how my son met them.  ;)  They don't live on campus, though some of them spend a bit of time there it seems.  The depth of knowledge is really, really appealing.  I know if we moved to this area, we'd join.

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My son applied to and was accepted at 4 CTCLs. Ds visited one on his own. That one stayed on his list until the very end as he really felt a connection even though the program and location were not as perfect as where he chose to go.  That $24,000 scholarship held for all four years regardless of the student's GPA because the administration wished to encourage students to take academic risks.  That was exactly the part of our educational philosophy that was expressed on ds's application. Perfect!

 

We toured two other CTCLs with ds.  They were warm and welcoming and seemed to really care for their students.  At the first one, I decided that I would have been very happy there.  Ds was offered a nice scholarship  and a research grant of  a couple thousand  for a project of his choice.  Dh loved the second one - by far the most liberal school we visited and that is saying something.  Ds thought the administration was great, but didn't really feel connected to the students.  Class sizes at all three schools were very manageable, unlike my experience at a state university with a couple hundred students in freshmen classes. 

 

At all of the CTCLs ds was accepted to, he was in the 75% with an ACT of 31 and a GPA of 3.7 (unweighted).  For those of you with students who are solid, but not top tier, the CTCLs and many other LACs can be a great fit and a tremendous value.  At a small LAC about 30 minutes outside of Chicago, ds could pursue his major (in a more limited fashion than where he is now, but still okay), with a good graduate program and sail for $10,000 a year less than his "safety" - one of our state universities.

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