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If you are deciding between great schools (top 30 type of schools), does it really matter if it is #8 vs #27?  Thinking about grad school and internship/employment opportunities, how much of a difference does it make?  If you can go to a #20 or #27 school with no debt, is it worth it to go to #8 (#19 world ranked) with around $20,000 or less in debt for the four years?  Is that $20,000 well invested or wasted?  

 

 

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For me, at that point I think other factors such as best fit, location, cost, size of school all would factor in more than where they rank numerically. I know others may say it's better to go to a higher ranked school. Are these rankings in your degree or just overall university rankings? If the higher ranked school offers more educationally (different classes, more depth, etc) then it certainly has more to offer.

 

I do think it can be worthwhile to invest an additional $20,000 in education for a reason. ... I would ask what is your reason?

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You are going to get a wide variety of answers.  Here is our perspective.  My dd could have attend URochester (ranked around 32) with debt (for us, more than $20,000 for 4 yrs, but based on the fact that you have qualified for so much need based aid, it may be relative, but for us the number is more than we can afford.  We won't take on debt if we don't have to.)  She will be attending USC for free (ranked 107).  I have absolutely zero concerns about internships, employment, or grad school.  None. 

 

Her brother could have attended top schools, but equally, with loans.  He attends Bama (ranked 103).  Again, zero concerns about internships, employment, or grad school. He has an impressive resume of accomplishments that he has been able to achieve at Bama. 

 

Why am I not concerned?   B/c the top students at these schools have excellent UG opportunities, get great internships/coops, attend top grad schools, and have excellent careers.  Their outcomes are not limited.  If they are entering a prestige focused field (which over on CC, banking/finance is the one constantly mentioned), then posters on CC are emphatic it matters.  At Top Scholars weekend, one of their IB (international business) srs discussed the number of places where he and his fellow students had been recruited (and many of the names were the exact same ones that over on CC they say will not recruit from any place other than the elites.)  This kid had an absolutely amazing list of accomplishments.  Again, it is b/c programs like TS and USC's IB program may be underrated by the public, but they are not in business.

 

So, I cannot fathom a difference in the rankings you are worried about. 

 
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You are going to get a wide variety of answers.  Here is our perspective.  My dd could have attend URochester (ranked around 32) with debt (for us, more than $20,000 for 4 yrs, but based on the fact that you have qualified for so much need based aid, it may be relative, but for us the number is more than we can afford.  We won't take on debt if we don't have to.)  She will be attending USC for free (ranked 107).  I have absolutely zero concerns about internships, employment, or grad school.  None. 

 

Her brother could have attended top schools, but equally, with loans.  He attends Bama (ranked 103).  Again, zero concerns about internships, employment, or grad school. He has an impressive resume of accomplishments that he has been able to achieve at Bama. 

 

Why am I not concerned?   B/c the top students at these schools have excellent UG opportunities, get great internships/coops, attend top grad schools, and have excellent careers.  Their outcomes are not limited.  If they are entering a prestige focused field (which over on CC, banking/finance is the one constantly mentioned), then posters on CC are emphatic it matters.  At Top Scholars weekend, one of their IB (international business) srs discussed the number of places where he and his fellow students had been recruited (and many of the names were the exact same ones that over on CC they say will not recruit from any place other than the elites.)  This kid had an absolutely amazing list of accomplishments.  Again, it is b/c programs like TS and USC's IB program may be underrated by the public, but they are not in business.

 

So, I cannot fathom a difference in the rankings you are worried about. 

 

 

Thank you 8.  I didn't really think much about it until something was said on my narrowing it down thread.  

 

I have also wondered about something you touched on here...would it better for dd to be an average kid in a #8 or maybe stand out some in a #27?  Just so much to think about, right?

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According to Malcolm Gladwell in "David and Goliath," it is more important to find a university where you can be a "big fish in a small pond" than to go to one with a higher rank. He has some interesting statistics to back up his idea, and my personal experience agrees. I went to the university of Kentucky for an undergraduate degree in biology while my best friend went to Duke for the same degree. I received individualized attention, was quickly noticed and guided into labs and classes where my teachers thought I could flourish. My friend struggled to look better than average. After college, I received a scholarship to medical school at Northwestern. My friend took out loans to go to med school at the University of Kentucky. It seems to me that if you plan to do post graduate education, the ranking system is trivial.

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Thank you 8. I didn't really think much about it until something was said on my narrowing it down thread.

 

I have also wondered about something you touched on here...would it better for dd to be an average kid in a #8 or maybe stand out some in a #27? Just so much to think about, right?

I doubt there is much if any difference between students at the school ranked 27 and the ones at the school ranked 8. There just isn't any real difference. It is giving the ranking system an ability to make minute distinctions at the UG level that do not exist.

 

What should be considered is what UGs are able to participate in. For example, the dean at on school ranked around 30 told ds that he had more direct research experience as a high school student than their UGs. That UGs worked for grad students bc their dept focus was on their grad students. At Bama, ds has worked on his own project directly with his research professor and works as part of the research team alongside a grad student and a post-doc. That mattered to him far more than UG institution name. He lives and breathes research. His REU acceptances reflect that research drive.

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According to Malcolm Gladwell in "David and Goliath," it is more important to find a university where you can be a "big fish in a small pond" than to go to one with a higher rank. He has some interesting statistics to back up his idea, and my personal experience agrees. I went to the university of Kentucky for an undergraduate degree in biology while my best friend went to Duke for the same degree. I received individualized attention, was quickly noticed and guided into labs and classes where my teachers thought I could flourish. My friend struggled to look better than average. After college, I received a scholarship to medical school at Northwestern. My friend took out loans to go to med school at the University of Kentucky. It seems to me that if you plan to do post graduate education, the ranking system is trivial.

My ds is at an unranked private LAC that most people have never heard of. He is definitely a "big fish". He is loving it and taking advantage of all kinds of academic and social opportunities. He was quickly identified by the profs in his department as a top student and one to take a special interest in. I have no doubt that for this particular child his choice is far better than if he was competing with the thousands of students in his major at our state flagship.

 

As with all these discussions, it depends ;) (the kid, the school, opportunities available, etc)

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I doubt there is much if any difference between students at the school ranked 27 and the ones at the school ranked 8. There just isn't any real difference. It is giving the ranking system an ability to make minute distinctions at the UG level that do not exist.

 

What should be considered is what UGs are able to participate in. For example, the dean at on school ranked around 30 told ds that he had more direct research experience as a high school student than their UGs. That UGs worked for grad students bc their dept focus was on their grad students. At Bama, ds has worked on his own project directly with his research professor and works as part of the research team alongside a grad student and a post-doc. That mattered to him far more than UG institution name. He lives and breathes research. His REU acceptances reflect that research drive.

 

 

This has been a huge concern for dd.  She fears that at Duke all of the research will be graduate level and she also loves research.  Undergrad research opportunities are a big deal to her.

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Attolia,

I so hear what you are saying and love what everyone else has already said here. Oldest DD had everything going for her to apply to the "prestigious" schools, and after a lot of thought and discussion as a family, SHE passed on applying to them because of the financial burden on our family. We would have to pay pretty much full price anywhere she went, so she didn't pursue applying anywhere that didn't offer merit  aid.  To this day, she gets some snarky remarks about her accomplishments and WTH would she attend a state school.  I don't even get that, by the way.  :confused1:

 

What I can say is she is debating between two very different schools size wise and rank wise and will be thrilled at either choice. Rankings wise, I think you and I are in the same "dilemma" but I know through discussions with the schools, I don't think there is any substitute for the personal mentorship, undergrad research and individualized attention your daughter can get at a school regardless of rank.  Personal connections, relationship building, and individualized attention are so invaluable for the future. When you add grad school to the mix, I know from personal experience forging connections and graduating at the top of your class are often far more important than where your undergrad is from.

 

Lots of different paths and options are out there for all of our students here on the boards, and it totally depends on each person's goals and how they look at life, I have discovered.  I sincerely wish the best for you and your daughter and everyone else here on the boards as we make the best decisions for each of our unique circumstances. :)

 

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According to Malcolm Gladwell in "David and Goliath," it is more important to find a university where you can be a "big fish in a small pond" than to go to one with a higher rank. He has some interesting statistics to back up his idea, and my personal experience agrees. I went to the university of Kentucky for an undergraduate degree in biology while my best friend went to Duke for the same degree. I received individualized attention, was quickly noticed and guided into labs and classes where my teachers thought I could flourish. My friend struggled to look better than average. After college, I received a scholarship to medical school at Northwestern. My friend took out loans to go to med school at the University of Kentucky. It seems to me that if you plan to do post graduate education, the ranking system is trivial.

 

Same experience here.

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It's tough to tell how they are rated in her field.

 

Eckerd is only ranked #122 overall, but when we were looking for a Marine Science major, folks in the field we asked always put them Top 10 - often #1, esp when looking for tropical schools.  Going to Harvard instead wouldn't have given an undergrad a boost in that major.  Even going to U Miami (ranked #44) wouldn't have been better when we compared the two.  At Eckerd, the Marine labs are literally right on campus.  At U Miami they're a few miles (often 45 min with traffic) away.  At Eckerd there are no graduate students, so undergrads get to do all the fun stuff.  At U Miami a good bit of those jobs go to grad students.

 

Do your checking carefully.

 

I'd tend to think it's not worth the extra money, but then again, I'd fall back on suggesting she check what the Profs specialties are to see where she aligns more in what she wants.

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Attollia - I think the difference is minimal at rankings you are talking about.

 

However, my son and I discussed him being the big fish in a little pond versus just another smart kid at a selective university. He didn't want to be that big fish. He specifically wants peers that will challenge him and push him. I've seen him flourish in some situations where he challenged by other students. I can see the merit of both for different kids. My second may very likely go toward being a big fish in a small pond.

 

 

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You may want to compare internship and grad school placement of the particular departments to be sure - I can't remember what field your dd is interested in.  For rank itself, I vote no significant difference between #8 and #27 for future opportunities.

 

That said, 20k debt for 4 years - sounds like just Stafford loans - is not an amount I'd lose sleep over, either.  If she really preferred the one that included 20k debt over 4 yrs, I'd be supportive though I'd also have a discussion about potential cost of grad school, depending on what type.

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We look at the whole picture. In the fall DS is transferring as a junior to a top-20 school in his major. He wants that school because no loans will be required, and it has a specialization he wants. The only disadvantage is that it is a very large school, but with smaller classes in his speciality thankfully. The employers he wants recruit there, and there are lots of co-op opportunities, clubs related to his interests, etc. etc. 

 

That's a win-win in my book. He probably could have gotten into an even higher-rated school with more "brand" recognition, but the overall wasn't as good.

 

 

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My ds is at an unranked private LAC that most people have never heard of. He is definitely a "big fish". He is loving it and taking advantage of all kinds of academic and social opportunities. He was quickly identified by the profs in his department as a top student and one to take a special interest in. I have no doubt that for this particular child his choice is far better than if he was competing with the thousands of students in his major at our state flagship.

 

As with all these discussions, it depends ;) (the kid, the school, opportunities available, etc)

 

This is our family too.  And mostly it has worked out really, really well!  One out of my five children does regret his decision to not shoot for a top-ranked college.  Had we done it differently, I probably would have encouraged him to do that.  But it's easier to see all of that in hind site.

 

We have a small LAC in our state that has an almost identical name as a very highly ranked university in a different part of the country.  The son of family friends went to this LAC.  A big business hired him, thinking they were getting someone from the highly ranked university.  When they found out -- after they hired him and probably months later -- that he was from this tiny conservative LAC, they all had a laugh!  They really liked his work and were glad to have him, but admitted they would not have hired him if they had known.  (And the young man wasn't trying to deceive them.  He didn't know about all of this until later when it came up in an awkward conversation.)

 

Things like this are discouraging to hear though, because the young man was clearly qualified, yet they would not have hired him given the college he was from, had they known. 

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You need to be aware of what the rankings are ranking and what the students' goals are.  For most people, I do not think a #8 vs a #27 school is going to matter in the long run.  Is the ranking in a particular discipline?  Is the ranking based on the faculty's research that an undergraduate will have no access to?  Is the ranking based on strengths in majors other than what the student is looking for? 

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Don't forget that sometimes kids can be big fish in a big pond (this is more comparing an LAC to a larger school).  Obviously, it doesn't happen to all students who go there, but some kids swim at the top regardless of where they go.  We're not going to an award ceremony for middle son because he ended up average in the larger pond he chose.

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Don't forget that sometimes kids can be big fish in a big pond (this is more comparing an LAC to a larger school).  Obviously, it doesn't happen to all students who go there, but some kids swim at the top regardless of where they go.  We're not going to an award ceremony for middle son because he ended up average in the larger pond he chose.

 

 

Wouldn't it be nice to know the answer to this question!  Isn't that the toughest part about homeschooling?  I don't know if dd would be valedictorian of her high school. I know that Duke turns away 70-80% (or something crazy like that) of valedictorians that apply.  She hasn't gone head to head in academics with many people like her to know if she would come out on top.  Dd isn't exactly a competitive person anyway.  She is always in the top half a percent in test scores, she has won writing awards, etc but does this mean she can rise to the top at a place like Duke?  I have no idea!  I wish I knew the answer to that because of course, being the top at the top is the ideal.  Where is that crystal ball?  :lol:

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Ten years ago I would have said it makes a great deal of difference and you should spend the money. (Dh and I and most of our extended families went to "name" schools, so that was the paradigm we were used to.)

 

After ten years of dealing with kids, colleges, friends' kids, and helping other students through the college process, I would say --

 

1) Names do matter. Saying you went to "Ivy League X" does bring respect.

 

2) Debt matters hugely. My kids graduated debt-free, and they are all dumb-founded by the amount of debt carried by their peers. Many of their friends don't have the option of a vacation or of thinking about home-ownership. They are saddled with debt up to their eyebrows, and they are just hoping nothing happens to their job so they can pay it all off. (One kid knows someone who was fired and had problems finding a job subsequently. Talk about a huge financial mess!)

 

3) And the name of the school matters a lot LESS than you think it might. Employers want to see that their future new employees have had work experience (internships, etc.). They want to see a decent GPA. And they want experiences that make the student stand out -- EC's or awards or pursuing passions, etc.

 

We know students who went to top schools but graduated with a GPA less than 3.0 who have had SERIOUS trouble finding a job. We know a student who went to a significantly lower-tier school where he stood out who became one of the first ten employees in a software firm that will probably go public in the next year or so -- think beaucoup $$$$. Honestly, I have problems arguing that School #7 is much better than School #20.

 

That said, do think about where your kid is headed. In some fields, ranking is HUGE. In order to get a position as a philosophy prof, you need to have gone to a tippy-top grad school, and philosophy grad schools prefer students who have gone to tippy-top undergrad programs, so if you want to head in that direction #7 may be a significantly better choice than #20. (17 Ph.D's are awarded in philosophy for every one tenure track opening!)

 

Also, just because #20 may be as good or better than #7 doesn't mean that #302 is a good choice! Second-tier is fine, but there are schools from which you just can't pursue your dreams.

 

What does your student think about the schools? Which program is more appropriate? How about availability of internshihps? Dorms? Extra-curriculars? Campus culture? City versus country? Proximity to an airport? Your kid is the one going there, and I'm sure he has an opinion!

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Also, just because #20 may be as good or better than #7 doesn't mean that #302 is a good choice! Second-tier is fine, but there are schools from which you just can't pursue your dreams.

 

What does your student think about the schools? Which program is more appropriate? How about availability of internshihps? Dorms? Extra-curriculars? Campus culture? City versus country? Proximity to an airport? Your kid is the one going there, and I'm sure he has an opinion!

 

 

No, she doesn't have an opinion :lol:  - she likes and dislikes certain aspects of all of them.  She sees the pros and cons in each school and they are different enough that it is like comparing apples and oranges.  We haven't visited since sophomore year so revisits will help her sort this out.  I was just curious if ranking was important enough to garnish some debt.  I honestly don't know.  

 

DD doesn't exactly know what she wants to do either. She wants to try to double in English and Bio so she has flexibility.  She would love to be an English professor one day.  Bio is a back up because she would also enjoy biomedical writing/research or biostatistics as well.  In either case, undergrad will not be enough.  She will need graduate level studies.  

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Honestly, you aren't looking at bad number (Top Whatever) schools with any of her choices.  You aren't comparing #8 to #508... or even #208.  Has she looked at what the English or Bio profs at each place have for research and/or specialties yet?  I'd have her do that before visits.  She might be able to ask more and make connections making her choice easier.

 

20K in debt wouldn't deter me if it were the better school for her, but not due to the ranking.  I'd say that if the rankings were reversed in this situation too.

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No, she doesn't have an opinion :lol:  - she likes and dislikes certain aspects of all of them. 

 

Hopefully it'll all sort out on revisits.

 

If all else remains the same, then I'd go cheaper and let someone pocket the $20,000 difference. When I went to school, my dad said that whatever I made in scholarships I could spend toward a car as it was saving him that much money. You could do something similar. $20K could be used to go to school, buy a car, start a retirement fund (when working), etc. If you are willing to spend the money you might let her decide where the $20K goes and see what is really important.

 

I would love my kids to get good enough finances toward collage that I have money I was "planning" on spending toward college to help teach them to invest for retirement or some other some such investment toward their future.

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Between Duke, Wake Forest, and Emory - no - I don't think the ranking matters much. I would guess that Duke has better NAME recognition because of their basketball team. That, of course, has nothing to do with their ranking as an academic instituiton. It's just that more people have *heard* of them because of the strength of their basketball program.

 

At the level you are discussing, everyone is going to be a big fish. It's going to be difficult to stand out whether the environment is competitive or collaborative. IMO, what you need to determine are your dd's long range goals and which school is most likely to be her best advocate to help her achieve those goals. Along with all the other "fit" issues.

 

I think at lower-ranked schools, smart, driven kids will absolutely stand out. A key to me is whether they can maintain their drive if they are well above the majority of the fish. Some will, some won't. That's tied to personality and character. I definitely think that being in a smaller cohort/honors College/special program can help maintain that drive because you are around like-minded fish. Just my opinion.

 

On the thread about "things one might not think about" regarding college selection, I got flamed for talking about target schools for IB and top management consulting recruiting, Without being overly specific, I will say that my ds has a summer internship in one of these two fields with what is considered a top firm. There are eight interns. Six of those eight are from Top 10 schools. The other two are from schools ranked between 11 and 20. Yes, this is a sample of one, but I stand by my opinion that rank *can* matter for these career areas for *undergraduate* recruitment. Very limited and n/a to your dd's interests. Though it is my understanding that IB is quite popular among Duke students - and across many majors.

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Why am I not concerned?   B/c the top students at these schools have excellent UG opportunities, get great internships/coops, attend top grad schools, and have excellent careers.  Their outcomes are not limited.  If they are entering a prestige focused field (which over on CC, banking/finance is the one constantly mentioned), then posters on CC are emphatic it matters.  At Top Scholars weekend, one of their IB (international business) srs discussed the number of places where he and his fellow students had been recruited (and many of the names were the exact same ones that over on CC they say will not recruit from any place other than the elites.)  This kid had an absolutely amazing list of accomplishments.  Again, it is b/c programs like TS and USC's IB program may be underrated by the public, but they are not in business.

 

So, I cannot fathom a difference in the rankings you are worried about. 

 

Can I jump in and ask how you find this information out, please?  Thank you!

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It's tough to tell how they are rated in her field.

 

Eckerd is only ranked #122 overall, but when we were looking for a Marine Science major, folks in the field we asked always put them Top 10 - often #1, esp when looking for tropical schools.  Going to Harvard instead wouldn't have given an undergrad a boost in that major.  Even going to U Miami (ranked #44) wouldn't have been better when we compared the two.  At Eckerd, the Marine labs are literally right on campus.  At U Miami they're a few miles (often 45 min with traffic) away.  At Eckerd there are no graduate students, so undergrads get to do all the fun stuff.  At U Miami a good bit of those jobs go to grad students.

 

Do your checking carefully.

 

I'd tend to think it's not worth the extra money, but then again, I'd fall back on suggesting she check what the Profs specialties are to see where she aligns more in what she wants.

 

Very similar experience with a friend of ours.  She is going to University of Hawaii, which isn't highly ranked in most areas, but in a few (astronomy, marine biology, and degrees related to tropical environmental science or tropical botany) it is very good.

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Very similar experience with a friend of ours.  She is going to University of Hawaii, which isn't highly ranked in most areas, but in a few (astronomy, marine biology, and degrees related to tropical environmental science or tropical botany) it is very good.

 

Yes, that one also made the Top 10 list we were given and was a serious consideration by my guy at the time.

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I have a friend who deliberately looked for a school where his son would be roughly in the top 25% of the class.  He didn't want his ds to be the #1 student, but he also didn't want him to be at the bottom of the class.  

 

I agree with the others that the distinctions in rankings are nonexistent.  You need to consider all the other factors, including your student's future plans.  For example, if your student is considering med school or vet school, very competitive programs, he may want to think seriously about being a big fish in a state university that enables to have in state admission to a low cost state med school.   Maybe.  Depending on his goals and whatnot.  Maybe if he wants an academic medicine career, it would be better to attend a name school that has a medicine department already.  Maybe not?  

 

Or if he has an interest in a particular department, pick the school that provides him with the best preparation or has the best reputation, or whatever.  It's a tough call.  

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I have a friend who deliberately looked for a school where his son would be roughly in the top 25% of the class.  He didn't want his ds to be the #1 student, but he also didn't want him to be at the bottom of the class.  

 

 

 

 

How do you know where your student will fall?  Just based on test scores and GPA or some other factor?  

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Between Duke, Wake Forest, and Emory - no - I don't think the ranking matters much. I would guess that Duke has better NAME recognition because of their basketball team. That, of course, has nothing to do with their ranking as an academic instituiton. It's just that more people have *heard* of them because of the strength of their basketball program.

 

 

 

 

Do you think that Davidson is less than those?  Davidson is the 9th rank LAC in the nation.  Is that less appealing than the 27th university in the nation? Davidson has ridiculous research opportunities and a 100% med school admit (first time try).  I don't know how to compare them.  It is like trying to compare apples and oranges  :banghead:

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Can I jump in and ask how you find this information out, please?  Thank you!

I had a long response typed out and Safari crashed on my iPad.  This is a jumbled version b/c I am in a hurry.

 

There is so much more to selecting colleges than simply rankings on USNWR.  Many universities have elite programs offered to a small pool of students.  Those students have access to mentors, career training. fellowship mentoring, etc.  They are usually tied to top scholarships as well.  

 

My kids applied and were accepted into those types of elite honors programs at state flagships. These programs have generic info available online for prospective students to read.  If they are invited to interview weekend, they hear presentations made by current students and hear the bios of former students.

 

For example, my ds was 1 of 40 students accepted into a research honors program at Bama: https://honors.ua.edu/programs/computer-based-honors-program/  Examples of this yr's students' research projects: https://live.cbhp.ua.edu/schedule.php (you can scroll through the list and see different majors)  

 

My dd will be attending USC.  She was 1 of 20 kids accepted as a McNair Scholar.  McNair, Stamps, Carolina, and Horseshoe Scholars make up their Top Scholars program: https://sc.edu/about/offices_and_divisions/undergraduate_admissions/honors_and_scholars_programs/top_scholars/  

 

In addition, sometimes majors make a huge difference as well.  For example, USC's IB UG program has been #1 in the country for almost 20 yrs even though the school itself is ranked 107.  Within the IB program, there are elite programs.  The students in those programs are given unique internship opportunities and are incredibly successful.

 

If you check out different universities, look into their honors programs and elite scholarship programs.  Some of the public honors programs have excellent outcomes.  Check out Public Honors. http://publicuniversityhonors.com/new-top-programs-by-category/

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Do you think that Davidson is less than those? Davidson is the 9th rank LAC in the nation. Is that less appealing than the 27th university in the nation? Davidson has ridiculous research opportunities and a 100% med school admit (first time try). I don't know how to compare them. It is like trying to compare apples and oranges :banghead:

Just to confuse you more, here's a ranking system that shows Davidson above all her other choices. The Forbes list combines research universities and LACs on one list.

 

Each of these ranking systems has different criteria. Please don't fret about this too much. She has great choices. None will be "perfect." NO school is perfect. Idk if you are talking to her about this a lot or not, but I would advise not to. There is no "bad" decision here. Let her know you have confidence in her ability to make the best choice for her. Gently saying, I think you think you all are missing some piece of information that would lead to the "right" choice. You aren't. It's hard, but it will be okay!!! Hugs

Edited by Hoggirl
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For example, my ds was 1 of 40 students accepted into a research honors program at Bama: https://honors.ua.edu/programs/computer-based-honors-program/  Examples of this yr's students' research projects: https://live.cbhp.ua.edu/schedule.php (you can scroll through the list and see different majors)  

 

 

 

 

 

I will admit now that sometimes I feel like DD dismissing all that Chapel Hill has offered her is a mistake (Honors Carolina, the Johnson Scholarship, and the honors research program).  As indecisive as she is, that is one thing she knows - she does NOT want to go to CH :(  I am sure that the programs at USC are equally awesome as well.  

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Just to confuse you more, here's a ranking system that shows Davidson above all her other choices. The Forbes list combines research universities and LACs on one list.

 

Each of these ranking systems have different criteria. Please don't fret about this too much. She has great choices. None will be "perfect." NO school is perfect. Idk if you are talking to her about this a lot or not, but I would advise not to. There is no "bad" decision here. Let her know you have confidence in her ability to make the best choice for her. Gently saying, I think you think you all are missing some piece of information that would lead to the "right" choice. You aren't. It's hard, but it will be okay!!! Hugs

 

 

Thanks, I will look up that list too  :lol:

 

No, I am not talking to her about all of this.  I keep telling her that she could put on a blind fold and throw a dart and she would make a great decision  :coolgleamA:   We live in Tarheel country.  People here have strong objections to Duke and aren't afraid to voice their thoughts.  She originally dismissed Duke and now she is thinking about it and I was more concerned about whether the debt is worth it?  Ultimately, it is her debt and her decision.  She may also get that outside scholarship that removes that loan.  I don't feel like dd is thinking very clearly right now.  She is overwhelmed and has been sick with something that is taking forever to get over and her head isn't clear enough to really make a decision.  I keep telling her NOT to even try to make a decision until she revisits them all.  I don't want her to make a decision right now.  I just don't really understand how to compare one to the other. I would like to point her to some resources that will help her.  I can't thank ya'll enough for your help. 

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Do you think that Davidson is less than those? Davidson is the 9th rank LAC in the nation. Is that less appealing than the 27th university in the nation? Davidson has ridiculous research opportunities and a 100% med school admit (first time try). I don't know how to compare them. It is like trying to compare apples and oranges :banghead:

For getting into a top PhD program, generally I don't think you can go wrong choosing a good LAC. My undergrad LAC was much lower ranked than Davidson, and I had classmates in all different majors get into multiple highly ranked PhD programs. My husband taught at another LAC, also ranked much lower than Davidson, and students there had similar outcomes.
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I will admit now that sometimes I feel like DD dismissing all that Chapel Hill has offered her is a mistake (Honors Carolina, the Johnson Scholarship, and the honors research program). As indecisive as she is, that is one thing she knows - she does NOT want to go to CH.

Cynthia's post was full of awesome advice. Let her mull through and take ownership. Maybe she senses somethi g you don't. My dd thought she wanted a small school until several visits and a weekend. Then she said no way. They made her feel claustrophobic. She has to live with the choice. Your dd may feel something off at CH.

Edited by 8FillTheHeart
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How do you know where your student will fall?  Just based on test scores and GPA or some other factor?  

 

Yeah, I think basically test scores, whether your student is comfortably above the median score.  Did your student just squeak in off the wait list, or were they recruited and admitted EA from the start with a sizable merit scholarship?  Or somewhere in between?  

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No, I am not talking to her about all of this.  I keep telling her that she could put on a blind fold and throw a dart and she would make a great decision  :coolgleamA:   We live in Tarheel country.  People here have strong objections to Duke and aren't afraid to voice their thoughts.  She originally dismissed Duke and now she is thinking about it and I was more concerned about whether the debt is worth it?  Ultimately, it is her debt and her decision.  

 

 

For gosh sakes, don't let loyal alumni/sports fans make her important academic decisions for her, lol.  

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Yeah, I think basically test scores, whether your student is comfortably above the median score.  Did your student just squeak in off the wait list, or were they recruited and admitted EA from the start with a sizable merit scholarship?  Or somewhere in between?  

 

 

I found this...

"The 25th percentile ACT score is 32, and the 75th percentile ACT score is 35.

In other words, a 32 places you below average, while a 35 will move you up to above average. There's no absolute ACT requirement at Duke, but they really want to see at least a 32 to have a chance at being considered."

 

DD is above average.  If that matters.  So why does my mama heart worry about her there?  Worry about the competition?  She battled through multiple super selective scholarship weekends and ended up in the top in the end and enjoyed the process and the other competitors so much.  Yet I worry.  Is that just what mom's do?  We can't help it  :confused1:  :confused1:  :confused1:

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Do you think that Davidson is less than those?  Davidson is the 9th rank LAC in the nation.  Is that less appealing than the 27th university in the nation? Davidson has ridiculous research opportunities and a 100% med school admit (first time try).  I don't know how to compare them.  It is like trying to compare apples and oranges  :banghead:

 

First, I disagree that Duke's name recognition is due to sports.  While it is a sports-crazy school (and something to consider in terms of school culture), it has an academic reputation that stands alone.  

 

I will gently say that I know virtually nothing about Davidson. (I'm from the midwest and California, so it may have a more regional reputation.)  OTOH I do think highly of schools like Duke especially, and I've heard of Emory and WF.  So in terms of brand recognition for folks like me, Davidson loses.  

 

HOWEVER, as we all know, brand recognition to someone like me is of little value since I am not in the business of offering admission to med schools or PhD programs or offering any jobs to new grads.  It sounds like Davidson is a strong school, albeit one I know little about.  

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I found this...

"The 25th percentile ACT score is 32, and the 75th percentile ACT score is 35.

In other words, a 32 places you below average, while a 35 will move you up to above average. There's no absolute ACT requirement at Duke, but they really want to see at least a 32 to have a chance at being considered."

 

DD is above average.  If that matters.  So why does my mama heart worry about her there?  Worry about the competition?  She battled through multiple super selective scholarship weekends and ended up in the top in the end and enjoyed the process and the other competitors so much.  Yet I worry.  Is that just what mom's do?  We can't help it  :confused1:  :confused1:  :confused1:

 

:confused1:  :confused1:  :confused1: Indeed!  

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As for big fish is a big pond, I couldn't read properly until I was 12, but came in the top 10% at Duke because I was willing to put in the work. Some homeschooling kids have much better study skills and work ethic than school kids. I tutor so i see that many school kids need major hand holding. How have you structured your homeschool? How independently can your kid learn? Is she self motivated or motivated externally by quizzes and tests. The answers to these types of questions will determine how well she swims in a big pond.

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How do you know where your student will fall?  Just based on test scores and GPA or some other factor?  

 

One never knows TBH.  Once kids get out on their own anything can happen.  They select their friends, they find their freedom, they make their choices.

 

In general, kids who have a good work ethic in high school have better odds than those who coasted and got similar grades/scores.  This is because work is familiar to the first group and foreign to the next, but at these schools, all will find something to challenge them that they hadn't seen before.  The coasting group will assume they can still coast and can even freak out when they encounter something they have to figure out.  If they learn how to study and actually put some time into studying, they will do well.  If not... well, one can end up with those stories of "Joey got a 36 on the ACT but failed out of college - therefore the ACT is worthless."  No, the ACT isn't worthless.  It shows Joey had the capability far beyond what many other students have, but he never learned to use it.  Jack learned to study and put effort in.  His 33 could end up better, but again, not due to the test - due to their habits.

 

Any kid can also fall into the trap of too much time spent elsewhere - clubs, sports, time with friends, etc.  They have to know how to balance their time.  My own hubby is a great example of this.  He barely graduated from college in Engineering (literally - 2.0something).  He's not the least bit dumb and has become a terrific Engineer with his own company and so much work that he never has to advertise - clients do it for him via word of mouth.  His problem was spending way too much time with the Corps of Cadets, Navy ROTC, and sailing while he was in college - not studying.  Fortunately he learned enough that he did just fine on the job - and graduated at a time when 2.0 graduates could still get decent jobs (plus had Navy stuff on his resume).  I'm not sure he'd do as well getting that first job today TBH.

 

My oldest and youngest slacked off more in college.  Middle son did not.  All do plenty of extra curriculars, but middle son adds a bit of studying to his.  It's no surprise at all to me that he's finished so well.  It's no surprise to anyone who knows him.  That said - going in - one never knows.  I would have bet my oldest would have buckled down and did super well too... He's doing fine now at his job - at or near the top for his position (they rank folks and we saw the leader board), but he took more after his dad at college.  Such is life.

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For gosh sakes, don't let loyal alumni/sports fans make her important academic decisions for her, lol.

I'm going to guess you don't live anywhere in the SEC. Lol! It's hard enough living in the backyard of an average flagship. I can't imagine the pressure living in the backyard of a flagship that is also strong academically.

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I had a long response typed out and Safari crashed on my iPad.  This is a jumbled version b/c I am in a hurry.

 

There is so much more to selecting colleges than simply rankings on USNWR.  Many universities have elite programs offered to a small pool of students.  Those students have access to mentors, career training. fellowship mentoring, etc.  They are usually tied to top scholarships as well.  

 

My kids applied and were accepted into those types of elite honors programs at state flagships. These programs have generic info available online for prospective students to read.  If they are invited to interview weekend, they hear presentations made by current students and hear the bios of former students.

 

For example, my ds was 1 of 40 students accepted into a research honors program at Bama: https://honors.ua.edu/programs/computer-based-honors-program/  Examples of this yr's students' research projects: https://live.cbhp.ua.edu/schedule.php (you can scroll through the list and see different majors)  

 

My dd will be attending USC.  She was 1 of 20 kids accepted as a McNair Scholar.  McNair, Stamps, Carolina, and Horseshoe Scholars make up their Top Scholars program: https://sc.edu/about/offices_and_divisions/undergraduate_admissions/honors_and_scholars_programs/top_scholars/

 

In addition, sometimes majors make a huge difference as well.  For example, USC's IB UG program has been #1 in the country for almost 20 yrs even though the school itself is ranked 107.  Within the IB program, there are elite programs.  The students in those programs are given unique internship opportunities and are incredibly successful.

 

If you check out different universities, look into their honors programs and elite scholarship programs.  Some of the public honors programs have excellent outcomes.  Check out Public Honors. http://publicuniversityhonors.com/new-top-programs-by-category/

Same here.  Huge state university where a student is one of 25-30 fellows out of 8000 entering freshman class with every opportunity offered at undergrad level including grad level course work is pretty appealing... along with a full ride. In addition, high rankings within daughter's field of interest as others have said, mean a lot along with mentorship and appropriate introductions to forge relationships as they prepare for the next level whether industry or academia.  My daughter finds the opportunity to complete a double major in 4 years with a full ride plus summer stipend pretty appealing. :)

 

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Don't forget that sometimes kids can be big fish in a big pond (this is more comparing an LAC to a larger school).  Obviously, it doesn't happen to all students who go there, but some kids swim at the top regardless of where they go.  We're not going to an award ceremony for middle son because he ended up average in the larger pond he chose.

LOL!  "Big fish in a big pond" is precisely what someone told my daughter recently at a weekend meetup. :)

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I'm going to guess you don't live anywhere in the SEC. Lol! It's hard enough living in the backyard of an average flagship. I can't imagine the pressure living in the backyard of a flagship that is also strong academically.

 

 

So you understand  :lol:

 

Duke is the devil around here y'all.  They are the archenemy.  People don't feel just a little bit of passion for the heels either - It is a crazy load of crazy love.

Edited by Attolia
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First, I disagree that Duke's name recognition is due to sports.   

 

 

Agreed. I actually had no idea for a long time that Duke was anything in sports, but I certainly knew of their academic reputation. 

 

As for big fish is a big pond, I couldn't read properly until I was 12, but came in the top 10% at Duke because I was willing to put in the work. 

 

You didn't come in the top 10% at Duke just because you were willing to put in the work, though. You had the horsepower and you were willing to put in the work. 

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As for big fish is a big pond, I couldn't read properly until I was 12, but came in the top 10% at Duke because I was willing to put in the work. Some homeschooling kids have much better study skills and work ethic than school kids. I tutor so i see that many school kids need major hand holding. How have you structured your homeschool? How independently can your kid learn? Is she self motivated or motivated externally by quizzes and tests. The answers to these types of questions will determine how well she swims in a big pond.

 

 

One never knows TBH.  Once kids get out on their own anything can happen.  They select their friends, they find their freedom, they make their choices.

 

In general, kids who have a good work ethic in high school have better odds than those who coasted and got similar grades/scores.  This is because work is familiar to the first group and foreign to the next, but at these schools, all will find something to challenge them that they hadn't seen before.  

 

My oldest and youngest slacked off more in college.  Middle son did not.  All do plenty of extra curriculars, but middle son adds a bit of studying to his.  It's no surprise at all to me that he's finished so well.  It's no surprise to anyone who knows him.  That said - going in - one never knows.  I would have bet my oldest would have buckled down and did super well too... He's doing fine now at his job - at or near the top for his position (they rank folks and we saw the leader board), but he took more after his dad at college.  Such is life.

 

 

 

This is dd's greatest strength.  She is an incredibly hard worker.  She has aptitude, yes, but mostly she has an unmatchable work ethic.  Since she has a passion for learning, it doesn't feel like "work" as much.  I don't imagine her tiring of it any time soon.  I have a DS that I believe has an equal aptitude to DD, but not nearly the work ethic nor desire to focus on studies (he has "more important things to do").  

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