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lisabees

Looking for a small, intellectual liberal arts school - average SAT score

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Poor DSD.  In person, she is highly articulate, highly passionate, highly informed.  She is well read, currently reading Handmaid's Tale and Emma on her own.  If you recall, she was homeschooled to dance ballet full time and returned to PS in January.  

 

She is a rising senior.

 

Her test scores aren't great.  1210 SAT.  One AP score of a 3.  Not sure of GPA; can't seem to access it.  Probably 3.5.

 

She wants a highly intellectual school filled with people who take academics and world issues seriously.  But it is difficult to find with those scores.

 

Her reach school is Mt Holyoke.  She was fine with Wooster.  In the spring, we did a whirlwind road trip and also saw Earlham, Denison, Clark, Goucher, Bryn Mawr, Oberlin (to see my oldest), U of Rochester, Muhlenberg.  She just returned from Susquehanna University's Writer's Workshop. She is a talented writer.

 

Right now, I am looking for names of additional schools; I can research the financial aspect and determine whether or not it is worth applying.

 

Is St. John's worth a look? 

Edited by lisabees

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What about Antioch? Their writing workshop just finished, and I think they have a fairly good program. If I'm not mistaken, the CTCL were designed for B students (and it looks like you already visited some), so maybe that list would provide some additional options.

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I will certainly check into Chatham.  We are in PA; don't know anyone who has attended.

 

Antioch is super tiny, isn't it?  That won't work for her.  I'll double check.  Thank you!

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I will certainly check into Chatham.  We are in PA; don't know anyone who has attended.

 

 

You do now. I graduated in 1982 with a philosophy degree. At that point, Chatham was a women's college. It went co-ed 2 or 3 years ago.I loved my time there.

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You do now. I graduated in 1982 with a philosophy degree. At that point, Chatham was a women's college. It went co-ed 2 or 3 years ago.I loved my time there.

 

Awesome!  I will reach out to you soon!

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Here are some of my dd's matches and safeties. She's looking at similar LACs and has a 3.7 gpa, 1260 SAT, 30 ACT

 

Wheaton (MA) can take classes at Brown

SIena, Union, SUNY Geneseo (NY)

Allegheny, Franklin & Marshall, Gettysburg, Juniata, Lafayette, UScranton, Ursinus, Washington & Jefferson (all PA)

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Russell Sage? Women's college in Troy, NY, but Right down the hill from RPI filled with smart guys, in case the all women part scares her.

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Her chances even for reaches might increase if you look outside of your geographic area. In the Midwest, check out Grinnell and Macalester. And Cornell College for a non-reach. Out west, take a look at Reed, Whitman, and Occidental.

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Desires for size, major, and geographic location? You mentioned being a good writer - is she wanting to major in English?

 

Also, any type of political bent? Greek/no Greeks?

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Of the schools you looked at, which did she like?

 

I really like Whitestavern's list.  It contains pretty much all I would have suggested.

 

As a reach consideration, also consider Dickinson.

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Here are some of my dd's matches and safeties. She's looking at similar LACs and has a 3.7 gpa, 1260 SAT, 30 ACT

 

Wheaton (MA) can take classes at Brown

SIena, Union, SUNY Geneseo (NY)

Allegheny, Franklin & Marshall, Gettysburg, Juniata, Lafayette, UScranton, Ursinus, Washington & Jefferson (all PA)

Thanks - I will check out Wheaton and Siena.  Allegheny and Juniata may end up on the list.  I have been to both - they are definitely in the middle of nowhere.  More than many LACs.

 

Franklin and Marshall, Lafayette and Gettysburg are local to us and won't offer enough merit.  Ursinus is only a half hour away.  Won't seem like a college experience.  I will check the others.

 

You might looks at Hillsdale College, in MI. 

 

Way too conservative for her!  But thanks.

 

Russell Sage? Women's college in Troy, NY, but Right down the hill from RPI filled with smart guys, in case the all women part scares her.

 

Never heard of it.  I'll check it out.

 

Her chances even for reaches might increase if you look outside of your geographic area. In the Midwest, check out Grinnell and Macalester. And Cornell College for a non-reach. Out west, take a look at Reed, Whitman, and Occidental.

 

 Our road trip was in the midwest.  Agree on the location and culture of the school for this dd.  I don't think she'd get in, though, at some of those.

Desires for size, major, and geographic location? You mentioned being a good writer - is she wanting to major in English?

 

Also, any type of political bent? Greek/no Greeks?

 

Small size, undecided, location doesn't matter.  

 

Very liberal, hipster, intellectual

 

Of the schools you looked at, which did she like?

 

I really like Whitestavern's list.  It contains pretty much all I would have suggested.

 

As a reach consideration, also consider Dickinson.

Dickinson didn't even give my older son - with much higher stats - any merit.  Sigh.

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With liberal and hipster as criteria, I would add Lewis and Clark in Portland and maybe Beloit in Wisconsin.

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Have you looked at Eckerd? According to this list, her current stats would qualify for 16K in merit aid, and they also have a Creative Arts Scholarship for writers. They had a great writing program when I was there, and I assume it's still pretty strong. Not quite as hipster as Reed, but leans liberal and and has a creative and intellectual vibe.

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Some other possibilities across US:

 

South 

Trinity Univ (TX),  Southwestern (TX), University of Dallas (TX - Private), College of Charleston (SC), Hendrix (AR), Rhodes (TN), Centre (KY), Oglethorpe (GA), Sewanee (TN), Agnes Scott (GA)

 

NE/Mid

Goucher (MD), St. Lawrence Univ (NY), Clark (MD), Sarah Lawrence (NY)

 

Midwest

St. Olaf (MN), Gustavus Adolphus (MN), Knox (IL), Ohio Wesleyan (OH), Kalamazoo (MI)

 

West

University of Puget Sound (WA), University of Redlands (CA), Willamette (OR)

 
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Liberal and hipster would fit well up here in VT. 

 

Castleton

 

Lyndon State

 

Bennington

 

UVM - not strictly a liberal arts school, but has lots of options for studying and is a great college

 

St. Mikes

 

Also, Salve Regina in Rhode Island might be worth a look. It's in my hometown and has an amazing campus and some great programs.

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I have more time to spend on this now.  Sorry if I was brief in my previous responses.

 

To be more specific.  Merit matters.  Not $5,000, but $25,000 (of course, it depends on price of school).

 

She leans hipster and liberal.  Social justice should matter greatly to the student culture.  Preppy, greek life is not a good match.  Mainstream is fine.

 

Our road trip included Oberlin, which she had always revered because of my oldest attending and working there.  Once she got there, she decided it might be a bit much for her - to give you an idea of how hipster and liberal she is willing to go.  

 

She is a quiet, serious girl.  She is appalled by most kids' behavior with drinking etc, but she is not sheltered at all from pop culture.  She is insecure, but really has the ability to bloom into a leader.  She needs a place that will allow her to grow.

 

She is a talented creative writer and loves the idea of a liberal arts school to help find her passion.  She loves the idea of the seven sisters schools.

 

Her fave on our road trip was Mt Holyoke (and Bryn Mawr).  But her fave realistic school was Wooster - she had her first interview there - was terrified - but did fabulously, weaving in global warning and Jonathan Swift's A Modest Proposal (I wasn't there, but the counselor told me she was amazing when I joined them in the interview).  Earlham seemed...I don't know...somber?  Denison was okay for her - a little too preppy/athletic but she liked other things about it.  Muhlenberg was okay.  I thought she'd like it more.  Clark was in too rough of a neighborhood for her.  

 

I also had on my list - Beloit, Lawrence and Kalamazoo.  Thoughts?

 

My oldest had the stats for schools mentioned here - and he received good merit.  I just don't think she would - Grinnell, Macalester, Kenyon, Denison.  He liked the same culture.

 

I am about to write a list of your schools and do some looking.  I cannot thank you all enough.  She was upset earlier this morning; she is constantly disappointed in herself and it's difficult to watch.  

 

I told her we should do an interview at Goucher as practice.  Any thoughts on St. John's in MD?

Edited by lisabees

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Look at Saint-Mary-of-the-Woods College in Indiana. It's Catholic, but the nuns are really big on the environment and social justice. It just went co-ed in the last couple of years, and it has a really supportive environment.

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My ds goes to Oglethorpe (GA) mentioned up above. It is very liberal, social justice oriented. The liberal arts core is pretty intellectual and challenging. The president of the college is a very outspoken liberal guy and the student body is more diverse than you find at many LAC.

 

I don't think the overall student body would have the intellectual vibe your dd is looking for but the liberal, social justice part is there. The big advantage is that it is in Atlanta and close to the MARTA. So, while it is a tiny school, you have all of Atlanta to live in.

 

It is a quirky, tiny school and I hesitate to recommend it because it really is not a fit for everyone. It perhaps could be a safety school for your dd as it has some of what she is looking for and she would definitely get in.

 

My ds did very well there financially. He didn't get the top scholarship but he got a nice one and they were much more generous with a financial aid grant than the other LAC he applied to. They allowed him to stack an outside scholarship as well.

He had a 31 ACT and a couple 3s on APs but nothing special about his record. He feels like one of the better students there but not the smartest by any stretch.

 

Just thought I would chime in because it was mentioned upthread. My ds has been happy with his choice. While it probably wouldn't be a "dream school" for anyone it has worked out well for ds. Finances were huge in our decision, though.

Edited by teachermom2834
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Can you ballpark an acceptable final cost? Some schools give more aid, but are substantially more expensive. 

 

Loyola University in New Orleans costs about $52,000 for tuition, room, and board. Her stats would get her about $17,000 in guaranteed merit aid, and she could apply for other things. Grants are available depending on EFC, and they do have their own net price calculator. Catholic but pretty liberal, you do not have to be Catholic, Christian, or a believer at all, small, definite hipster vibe. Beautiful dorms and fabulous location in the city on St. Charles Avenue. 

 

Allegheny College in Pennsylvania costs about $57,620 for tuition, room, and board. Their net price calculator doesn't break down scholarships vs grants, so you would have to enter your own info. I know they have some guaranteed merit aid, but I can't find a list of levels. Middle of nowhere for sure. Hipster vibe. I haven't seen it, but my niece just graduated and loved it (art major). 

 

Her scores are rather low for good merit aid at a lot of these schools (if I'm converting them to ACT correctly, about a 25?), and honestly admittance might be a reach at more than Mt. Holyoke. Has she compared her SAT score to the middle range of each school? That's not the only thing that matters, but it's the first step in figuring out admit and merit chances. 

 

Can she go onto a college search site and enter her scores and some of her criteria? The one at College Confidential is down, maybe someone can suggest another. 

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If you need merit, take a look at Trinity University and Southwestern.  They both have very generous merit and also relatively low total COA (in the low 50's). Trinity has a matrix showing gpa and scores and how much merit a student will receive.  For Southwestern, you can use their NPC to determine expected merit. I'm not sure about Trinity but "Chill & Hipster" were the two most common adjectives for Southwestern on Niche.com.

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While it probably wouldn't be a "dream school" for anyone it has worked out well for ds.  

 

Wouldn't be a dream school? Are you kidding me? It looks like Hogwarts! 

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You might also consider some of the small Canadian liberal arts colleges like Mount Allison, St. Francis Xavier, Bishops Univ. The total COA in US dollars for international students is $30,000 or less. Also, St. Andrews in Scotland is a popular alternative for US students.

Edited by 3andme
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Wouldn't be a dream school? Are you kidding me? It looks like Hogwarts!

It is pretty impressive to drive up on. And they do film lots of movies and TV shows there. When ds tells people where he is going they usually haven't heard of it but if they have they say "you are going to live in a castle?" He actually plays baseball there and the stadium is the oddest stadium he will ever play in. Looks like it should have a moat around it. Funny place. 🙂

 

He is getting a good education but it isn't of similar ranking to the higher tier schools being discussed here. But for the right kid it is a good opportunity. They are usually on lists of best financial aid, best value, best for first generation students. I know that they did very well for my son compared to the other LAC in the region.

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Forgive me if I missed this - is prepping and retaking the SAT an option? Has she taken a practice ACT to see if she performs better? Sometimes a few more points can make a big difference. 

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Forgive me if I missed this - is prepping and retaking the SAT an option? Has she taken a practice ACT to see if she performs better? Sometimes a few more points can make a big difference. 

 

:iagree:

 

If her CR score is a lot higher than her math score, then she may do better on the ACT, since math is only 25% of that score vs 50% of the SAT. If she could do some intensive prep work over the summer and take the ACT in September, she might find herself in a much better position for merit money. She could also retake the SAT, either in August or October. Any of those three dates would return scores in time to apply by November 1st (which is often the scholarship deadline).

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Look at Saint-Mary-of-the-Woods College in Indiana. It's Catholic, but the nuns are really big on the environment and social justice. It just went co-ed in the last couple of years, and it has a really supportive environment.

:iagree: It has a really good reputation and while it is Catholic the culture there isn't overly restrictive... students do tend to behave a bit better (I'd only known it as a Women's College that several friends went to/ I visited them at). 

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Has she looked at the Cook Honors college at Indiana U of PA? It's a small, quirky, intellectual liberal arts college in the middle of a bigger university. Total cost for PA in-state is roughly $23,000/yr without aid, and they have a brand new fine arts performing center if she's still dancing. The freshman class all lives & studies together in its own dorm, and I've heard that the mentoring is wonderful.

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Forgive me if I missed this - is prepping and retaking the SAT an option? Has she taken a practice ACT to see if she performs better? Sometimes a few more points can make a big difference. 

 

 

:iagree:

 

If her CR score is a lot higher than her math score, then she may do better on the ACT, since math is only 25% of that score vs 50% of the SAT. If she could do some intensive prep work over the summer and take the ACT in September, she might find herself in a much better position for merit money. She could also retake the SAT, either in August or October. Any of those three dates would return scores in time to apply by November 1st (which is often the scholarship deadline).

 

I was originally concerned about the pace of the ACT - she just doesn't do well on any kind of test.  She is so slow.  Her AP Lang score was a 3 because she didn't get to 21 problems.  

 

But...with that said, I told her this morning to do the September ACT; I'd hate for her to have regrets. She is doing a practice exam now to get a feel for it.  I'll have to find the best practice resources.  Thanks for the suggestion.  Jackie, it was your mention of math only being 25% that made me reconsider. :)

 

She has taken the SAT twice.  First was 1200; second was 1140.  Superscored 1210.  Math was only 500 this time around!  Yikes.

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Has she looked at the Cook Honors college at Indiana U of PA? It's a small, quirky, intellectual liberal arts college in the middle of a bigger university. Total cost for PA in-state is roughly $23,000/yr without aid, and they have a brand new fine arts performing center if she's still dancing. The freshman class all lives & studies together in its own dorm, and I've heard that the mentoring is wonderful.

 

Hmmm...I will consider this.  IUP doesn't have a great rep around here, but it would be wise to look at larger universities as well.

 

She is so stuck on reputation.  It doesn't help that her (step)brother is off to an Ivy this year.  The emotions are difficult sometimes.

 

Re: cost.  Her father has saved quite a bit (at least to me!) and plans to contribute a portion of his income.  He says $40,000 a year.  I know what he has; I would say $30,000 is a better bet, if he wants his second to go to college!  He is new to this and hates to disappoint his girls in any way.  This is my biggest fear!

 

Now that we are married, he may benefit from having two of my kids in college as well.  It depends on what the school uses for financial aid determination.  Otherwise, he will be considered full-pay.

 

I narrowed down the list you all gave me last night.  I feel so much better with the options.  I will check out the new recommendations.

Edited by lisabees
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Carleton College and St. Olaf College are both excellent smaller liberal arts schools, and they both happen to be in the same town of Northfield, Minnesota. Carleton is considered the more liberal of the two but St. Olaf is not too conservative either.

 

ETA:  I'd also recommend Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota.  (Also more liberal-leaning.)

 

ETA again:  After reading your last description, I'd probably rule out St. Olaf, but I think both Carleton and Macalester would fit.

 

Edited by J-rap
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Re; Catholic and Christian Schools.  I know most college have some affiliation, but many are no longer adherent to those specific teachings. 

 

DD is an atheist.  St Olaf was originally on the list, until I found out more about the culture.  

 

I haven't considered Carleton for her; my memory was that she wouldn't get in and the merit wasn't generous.

 

Canada!  She would like that.  Her uncle is a professor at McGill. :)

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DD is an atheist.  St Olaf was originally on the list, until I found out more about the culture.  

 

 

 

We must have both come to this conclusion at the same time.  :)  (I also ruled it out in my "ETA" above.  I did add one more for you though:  Macalester College in St. Paul, MN.)

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Also, St. Andrews in Scotland is a popular alternative for US students.

But this is not a huge tuition savings, unless you account for the 3 yrs vs 4, right?

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Can you ballpark an acceptable final cost? Some schools give more aid, but are substantially more expensive. 

 

Loyola University in New Orleans costs about $52,000 for tuition, room, and board. Her stats would get her about $17,000 in guaranteed merit aid, and she could apply for other things. Grants are available depending on EFC, and they do have their own net price calculator. Catholic but pretty liberal, you do not have to be Catholic, Christian, or a believer at all, small, definite hipster vibe. Beautiful dorms and fabulous location in the city on St. Charles Avenue. 

 

Allegheny College in Pennsylvania costs about $57,620 for tuition, room, and board. Their net price calculator doesn't break down scholarships vs grants, so you would have to enter your own info. I know they have some guaranteed merit aid, but I can't find a list of levels. Middle of nowhere for sure. Hipster vibe. I haven't seen it, but my niece just graduated and loved it (art major). 

 

Her scores are rather low for good merit aid at a lot of these schools (if I'm converting them to ACT correctly, about a 25?), and honestly admittance might be a reach at more than Mt. Holyoke. Has she compared her SAT score to the middle range of each school? That's not the only thing that matters, but it's the first step in figuring out admit and merit chances. 

 

Can she go onto a college search site and enter her scores and some of her criteria? The one at College Confidential is down, maybe someone can suggest another. 

 

I gave my ballpark in my previous post, but I wanted to thank you for pointing these out.  I just told her last night that a COA of $10,000 less with a similar merit package is a HUGE difference.  She sees herself as a failure by not getting into the selective schools. So many hours and tears have been shed during my gentle yet firm reality checks for her.  The sad thing is she could totally fit into a Mt Holyoke.  On our visit and discussion with a current student, she was told (after talking a lot about women's issues) that she is the perfect fit.  Two things will hinder her success no matter where she goes - her lack of confidence and her lack of translating her "awesomeness" on midterms and final exams.  If you all met her, you would NEVER think she was anything but a super-high SAT gal.

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I gave my ballpark in my previous post, but I wanted to thank you for pointing these out.  I just told her last night that a COA of $10,000 less with a similar merit package is a HUGE difference.  She sees herself as a failure by not getting into the selective schools. So many hours and tears have been shed during my gentle yet firm reality checks for her.  The sad thing is she could totally fit into a Mt Holyoke.  On our visit and discussion with a current student, she was told (after talking a lot about women's issues) that she is the perfect fit.  Two things will hinder her success no matter where she goes - her lack of confidence and her lack of translating her "awesomeness" on midterms and final exams.  If you all met her, you would NEVER think she was anything but a super-high SAT gal.

 

I sure hope her guidance counselor can translate this into similar words on their part of the application.

 

SAT/ACT isn't everything.  Be sure she interviews at places she likes.  And best wishes on her future ACT.  Two of mine did remarkably better on the ACT than SAT.

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I sure hope her guidance counselor can translate this into similar words on their part of the application.

 

SAT/ACT isn't everything.  Be sure she interviews at places she likes.  And best wishes on her future ACT.  Two of mine did remarkably better on the ACT than SAT.

 

I can get a chance to say these things, too!  I homeschooled her when she danced full time.

 

Her interviews and essays (which I am betting will be phenomenal) are key.  She is also hispanic.  But it's not getting her in.  It's getting her in with merit!

 

I told her that she should do some interviews at her least favorite schools in the next few weeks.  Practice, you know...

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You asked a couple times about St. John's. Given what you've said about your daughter, I'd say you should definitely check out the MD campus and the Santa Fe campus if you can. She would have no trouble getting in, but I went through the graduate program and have no idea what kind of merit aid is available for undergrads. Both campuses fit the bill for open-minded, hipster, liberal, social justice concerns but in different ways, and the students and tutors do some serious intellectual work. It is a nontraditional program, however, so she would have to be okay with not choosing a major. 

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Has she looked into any" test score optional" schools?

They supposedly give merit & admittance based on the whole kid "without" scores.

 

Yes, I will be sure of it. :)

 

You asked a couple times about St. John's. Given what you've said about your daughter, I'd say you should definitely check out the MD campus and the Santa Fe campus if you can. She would have no trouble getting in, but I went through the graduate program and have no idea what kind of merit aid is available for undergrads. Both campuses fit the bill for open-minded, hipster, liberal, social justice concerns but in different ways, and the students and tutors do some serious intellectual work. It is a nontraditional program, however, so she would have to be okay with not choosing a major. 

 

Thanks for catching that.   I think we will visit when we visit Goucher again.  

 

Okay adding to the list.  Any thoughts as to culture, town, academics, travel from Philly would be greatly appreciated.

 

Beloit

Wheaton - Norton (maybe; merit not as great)

St Lawrence

Knox

Willamette

Hendrix (don't think I could get her to consider Arkansas though)

Kalamazoo

Lawrence

St John's College

 

Still on list: Wooster, Denison, Muhlenberg, Goucher and, of course, Mt Holyoke

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Carleton College and St. Olaf College are both excellent smaller liberal arts schools, and they both happen to be in the same town of Northfield, Minnesota. Carleton is considered the more liberal of the two but St. Olaf is not too conservative either.

 

ETA: I'd also recommend Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. (Also more liberal-leaning.)

 

ETA again: After reading your last description, I'd probably rule out St. Olaf, but I think both Carleton and Macalester would fit.

Carleton is on the list of 50 most selective colleges in another thread. While not as super selective as Carleton, significant merit aid would require top test scores and grades at Macalester.

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Yes, I will be sure of it. :)

 

 

Thanks for catching that. I think we will visit when we visit Goucher again.

 

Okay adding to the list. Any thoughts as to culture, town, academics, travel from Philly would be greatly appreciated.

 

Beloit

Wheaton - Norton (maybe; merit not as great)

St Lawrence

Knox

Willamette

Hendrix (don't think I could get her to consider Arkansas though)

Kalamazoo

Lawrence

St John's College

 

Still on list: Wooster, Denison, Muhlenberg, Goucher and, of course, Mt Holyoke

Of your list above and local to me, I would say that Lewis and Clark might be a better fit than Willamette, but Willamette is much more likely to offer better aid, both merit and financial. Lots of students who don't get the aid needed for Lewis and Clark end up at Willamette. Both are easy to get to from the Portland airport. Portland is about as hipster and liberal as you can get, so I'm sure she'd love it. Salem is smaller and more conservative, but it's easy to get to Portland via public transportation. Both would probably have lots of her tribe with Willamette also having maybe more sporty, pre-professional types and Lewis and Clark having more wealthy CA transplants. Both have plenty of environmentally focused students. Academics would be quite similar. Edited by Frances
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I would suggest looking at University of Dallas.  It has a strong liberal arts core curriculum.  It is "enthusiastically" Catholic, so I don't know if that is a good match or not. It depends upon what type of social issues are important.  

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I would suggest looking at University of Dallas. It has a strong liberal arts core curriculum. It is "enthusiastically" Catholic, so I don't know if that is a good match or not. It depends upon what type of social issues are important.

My nephew is a couple years out University of Dallas. My take on it is that it still pretty conservative and not particularly socially minded. I have a similar daughter but US is not going on her list.

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SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER & RECEIVE A COUPON FOR
10% OFF
We respect your privacy.You’ll hear about new products, special discounts & sales, and homeschooling tips. *Coupon only valid for first-time registrants. Coupon cannot be combined with any other offer. Entering your email address makes you eligible to receive future promotional emails.
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