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Reasons to Consider a Less Selective, Less Expensive College

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I will also say that we pulled every string we could find to be able to talk to lots of people at these schools.  Children of friends of friends. Friends of online friends. Friends of my dad's.  Colleagues of friends. NZ friends. USA friends.  We sent our net far and wide.  And we met with professors, students, and advisers at each school we visited. And I'm so glad we did!  Each had a different story to tell, and the stories that were repeated were the ones we paid the most attention to.

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3) REU - pretty tricky in mathematics. Basically, very hard to do math research until you are at a graduate level. So we asked about physics research opportunities. At places like Harvard, they are more silo-ed, so only physics majors get physics REUs and the math kids have to go to more industry internships like finance and computer science. Places like MIT celebrate interdisciplinary work, so math majors are considered high end problem solvers and are taken into whatever research area they are interested in. At Michigan, you kind of had to get your REU on your own, no help really.

 

 

I don't necessarily agree with most of your analysis of what happens on campuses in general, but this point is the main one I want to address. There are programs out there that focus on their grad students and it is very unlikely that UGs can get involved directly in a professor's research and more likely are working for a grad student or a post -doc. But then there are schools that encourage their top UGs to get directly involved in research and professors know how to interface with students as early on as freshman yr (those perks described earlier where kids in certain programs are matched with mentor professors and research as part of their Scholars program. )

 

Beyond those on-campus experiences are REUs, While some students may do anREU at their home campus, that is not the intent. The purpose is to engage in UG research opportunities not available to the student on their home campus and the U in REU stands for UG. Students apply to REUs around Dec and are notified around Mar as to whether or not they were accepted. There are definitely REUs for math majors.

https://www.maa.org/programs/students/undergraduate-research/research-experiences-for-undergraduates/is-an-reu-for-you

http://www.ams.org/programs/students/emp-reu

https://www.nsf.gov/crssprgm/reu/list_result.jsp?unitid=5044

 

Fwiw, my ds made the decision to drop schools from his list if they were dismissive toward UG researchers. It is not the case at all institutions. I know for ds his research has morphed and progressed during his UG yrs. He originally met with his mentor and did projects for her. Last yr he progressed to being part of her team. He is now part of the team meetings with her, the grad students, and post -docs and has his own project within the team. Since the research is an international collaboration, he has worked with researchers around the world. And, yes, math students can get involved in similar experiences as UGs ( ds has friends that do. He is also a math double major and was once approached to see if he wanted to get involved in math research. He didn't, but he could have.)

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I have listened to what you have to say 8.  And it directed many of my questions at the universities.  I sincerely think that my ds is looking for different things than yours, which has directed his choice of schools. 

 

I will also have to say that we talked to the top math student at harvard, the "superstar" they called him, and he had a math REU.  He was incredibly dismissive of the work he was doing and how minor it was, and how the professor could answer this question in about 1 day which would take this student 3 months. So sure there are math REUs, but UG just aren't going to push the boundaries in math like they can in an applied field like physics or computer science or engineering.  DS is much more interested in an REU in physics, which is why Harvard was lowered on his list because it was clear that they would be given to physics majors over math majors. 8, I'm not ignorant of what is out there, but the balance we are looking for is different than what your ds has found.  

Edited by lewelma
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Lewelma, is that because your son is interested in what might be called pure math instead of applied math?  I wonder to what extent that sort of very specific focus makes a difference with kids who go to elite universities (or decide not to).  IME almost everyone I knew started college with a different focus than they ended, at least slightly, but none of us were all that specifically driven in HS, either.

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I have listened to what you have to say 8. And it directed many of my questions at the universities. I sincerely think that my ds is looking for different things than yours, which has directed his choice of schools.

 

I will also have to say that we talked to the top math student at harvard, the "superstar" they called him, and he had a math REU. He was incredibly dismissive of the work he was doing and how minor it was, and how the professor could answer this question in about 1 day which would take this student 3 months. So sure there are math REUs, but UG just aren't going to push the boundaries in math like they can in an applied field like physics or computer science or engineering. DS is much more interested in an REU in physics, which is why Harvard was lowered on his list because it was clear that they would be given to physics majors over math majors. 8, I'm not ignorant of what is out there, but the balance we are looking for is different than what your ds has found.

The bolded comment makes absolutely zero sense which is why I even bothered to post. Your ds lowering Harvard on a list bc of physics REUs would be bizarre since students don't typically do REUs at their home school and their home school doesn't make the admission decisions.

 

Fwiw, that is a fact that will be likely be true for every physics REU. Physics REUs are geared toward rising Jr or sr physics majors that have completed a certain number of core in-major courses and physics research. They are designed for physics/astronomy majors. I just looked at the language of several top physics REUs and every single one stated students were required to be a physics major. (I think it is true for all of them bc funding is for physics research.)

 

Where kids attend school is irrelevant for REUs bc students go to a different school for them. They apply. (Competition (for physics anyway) is steep. Admission to a physics REU is a very low % chance, some say tougher than grad school admissions.) They are either rejected or extended an offer. So if someone told you that your math major would be ineligible or unqualified for physics REUs, they did you a favor bc they are just telling it like it is. Unless he is a physics/math double, he won't be doing an REU in physics at most schools. Physics is the point.

 

(In house opportunities might be different, but without a physics background, at top schools, he will be competing against physics majors for physics research. Think about the level of those equally top kids. How would their physics qualifications stack compare to his. Fwiw, research opportunities are limited. More kids want them than get them.)

Edited by 8FillTheHeart
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The idea that students can only find intellectual "peers" at elite schools is simply not true. In fact, if one is looking for "large numbers of peers," as mentioned above, they may be better off at a top state flagship. Obviously test scores are not the only measure of intelligence, or even the best measure, but it's convenient since it's easy to find comparable stats for various schools. The top 1-1.5% of students in the US have test scores of 33-36 ACT, or 1500-1600 SAT.

 

Total number of students with scores in this range:

 

Harvard (~65%) 4,400

Princeton (~65%) 4,000

Yale (~65%) 3,500

Brown (~50%)  3,300

Ohio State (25%) 11,000

U Michigan (~35%) 10,500

UCBerkeley (~35%) 10,200

UT Austin (25%) 9,800

UVA (~35%) 5,600

UNC-CH (25%) 4,500

 

There are three times as many top 1-1.5% students at Michigan, Berkeley, or Ohio State as there are at Brown. UNCCH and UVA have more than Harvard, Yale, or Princeton.

 

Most flagships have honors colleges and other programs that bring top kids together for housing, classes (smaller, more rigorous, with top profs), and other special perks and programs. Of course there are students, particularly in STEM fields, who are not just top 1%, but top 0.001%, and those students may find more genuine peers — other 0.001% students — at MIT, Chicago or similar ultra-elite schools. But the idea that the typical smart/gifted kid with a 35 ACT and lots of AP 5s can't find "intellectual peers" at a school like Michigan, UTAustin, or Ohio State is absurd.

 

It may come down to the definition of peers and fit. I consider peers to be not only the same intellectual ballpark, but there *must* be kindred spirits as well. That's trickier than just looking at scores. Fit, in my definition, includes school size -- both campus and student body. By the numbers above, very few schools fit the small category. To get a high number of intellectual peers at a small school, more selective colleges are probably a better bet. 

 

In regards to kindred spirits... it may mean there needs to be something else about the school that would attract students with certain personalities or interests. That *something* may be at a large state school or it may be at a more selective one. 

 

Perhaps for many/most students, the idea of kindred spirits is foreign. People = guaranteed friends. For other students the equation looks much different.

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I recently discovered that one of the highly regarded private schools in my area requires a study hall. I've been impressed by their overall philosophy. Many students can pay full freight to top schools and will be aiming high. They still have a study hall. The school is well-established, not new and untested.  I do agree that study hall is probably rare at high levels, though.

Edited by Woodland Mist Academy
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I've honestly never heard anyone refer to Ohio State or UT Austin as "elite" schools. They're excellent schools, but I don't know anyone who would consider them "elite" in the same way as Ivies and other top privates. There are no public universities at all in the USNWR or Forbes "Top 20" lists. (UCB and UCLA are in the 20-30 bracket on the USNWR lists.) OSU, PSU, UTA, UF, UGA, UCD, UIUC, U Wisconsin, U Conn, and U Washington are all ranked between 45th and 60th. I have never seen anyone here on WTM, or on CC, or IRL refer to those as "elite" schools.

 

But if your definition of "elite" actually includes "most state flagships," then we are in agreement that the vast majority of "1-percenters" can find intellectual peers at those schools.

 

We live in different areas.  I hear OF these folks on CC (and they are usually rebuffed there more than supported on the threads I read, but that was years ago - I rarely get there now) and a little bit on here, but I don't know any of them IRL.  It seems to me that those folks consider which schools are elite by acceptance rates.  The crowd I know uses either academics or sports to pick "elite" schools.  I align with the academic group.  My academic group also differentiates by major or field of study.  An elite school for engineering might not be elite for English and vice versa.

 

When we looked for colleges, we asked some on here or CC, but we also checked with those in the fields my kids thought they wanted to pursue - esp those doing the hiring.  We took their word for which schools were more worth it than others (to check into).  I never once bought US News and only google it now when I need to see a ranking (like with MI), not to get a sense for which schools are good.

 

I guess you can never say never. There will always be cases where things can occur which are not necessarily reflective of the norm including those kids with highest test scores, GPA, APs, etc... Its really hard to speculate at that point since every young person is so different in what they are looking for as well. I don't think every high achiever is necessarily looking for that sort of sympatico group of intellectual equivalent peers to have deep, late night discussions about quantum physics and the like until the wee hours of the morning. Some may be happy to have those discussions in class with their instructors, TAs or a few students as those topics arise. Whether or not one must go to school X and 'only' school X to find that sort of tribe is also very subjective. Who can say that will only occur at Stanford, UC Berkeley, MIT, etc...? Maybe only that one student based on his/her perception

 

No, not every student is. That's where fit comes into play.  U Rochester vaulted into first place for middle son 100% because he spent the night there and stayed up pretty much all night discussing the research other students were doing.  He loved it.  He knew he'd found his people.  He had never had this experience before.  At other schools kids would tell him about the school or sports teams (esp Pitt and UA) or other things he just didn't care about.  At UR roughly 80% of the students do undergrad research.  That's a pretty high number for a student interested in research to be able to find peers.  There's research at the other schools he applied to too and he'd have found peers there, but not the research culture.  One prof was cute in how he worded things at an Awards Ceremony we attended.  The young lady getting the award was a competitive swimmer at the school.  He introduced her by saying it was rare for them to have a competitive sports person in their lab, and she introduced them to many new things.  For one, they learned the school has a gym...  :lol:

 

There are also other schools he could have applied to - zillions of them (schools have peers) - but he picked some he liked and some we knew we could afford and just went with it.  In the end everyone has to go with one school even if there could have been several that would fit.

 

FWIW, he's not just into research.  While at school he was involved in (sometimes leading) American Sign Language, Dance, Christian, Juggling, and (a little bit of) Chess Clubs.  These lads and lasses involved in research like doing other things too.  It's not exclusive.

 

 

 

No Woodland Mist, you didn't fail. I think we understood your point. Its just not always a workable solution for many, especially if that school is 30-40K above a families budget even if they 'could' get in. That was eternalsummer's point as well. Where the odds are greatest may be irrelevant in those cases. Hence quite a few bright kids go to other schools out of necessity or for other preferences such as closer to home or extracurricular activities which they enjoy.

 

I thought it was posted earlier that we're assuming parents could afford these choices...

 

And yes, fit includes other things besides academics.

 

 

My younger ds would do so well being a big fish in a small pond.  He has no interest in being a small fish in a big pond like his brother.  Academics are just a small part of his life -- he is very social and active.  The key is FIT.  Just because some want to be challenged and *need* elite universities, does not mean that those who choose to do something else are lesser.  We have always believed that younger ds will be more employable than older ds because of his EQ.  There is NO judgement from me if a student chooses a lower ranked school. None. 

 

My other two are like this.  They aren't even interested in research.  Youngest tried it at his school briefly.  Oldest was never interested.  Mine all chose affordable schools that fit them.  They were all in the Top 25% of stats for their schools.  I looked for that due to the affordability factor.  Middle son would have been practically anywhere.  Youngest and oldest would not have been.

 

I recently discovered that one of the highly regarded private schools in my area requires a study hall. I've been impressed by their overall philosophy. Many students can pay full freight to top schools and will be aiming high. They still have a study hall. The school is well-established, not new and untested.  I do agree that study hall is probably rare at high levels, though.

 

There are no study halls in my school except for kids who choose it instead of doing a club on club days (twice per month).

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I recently discovered that one of the highly regarded private schools in my area requires a study hall. I've been impressed by their overall philosophy. Many students can pay full freight to top schools and will be aiming high. They still have a study hall. The school is well-established, not new and untested.  I do agree that study hall is probably rare at high levels, though.

 

While my kids' school doesn't have study halls, there is a time period each day, around 30 min, for students to visit teachers for extra help, to make up a quiz from an absence, take care of business, etc.  It's a little different from a study hall in that the purpose is to get the students to take advantage of support from the teachers.  For a kid struggling with a class, the first question is always "did you go to the teacher during the support period?"  Students who don't visit teachers can use the time however they wish; the most efficient students will use the time for homework, sort of a mini-study hall.  My understanding is that this type of time period, for accessing teachers, is not unusual among the local private schools.

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While my kids' school doesn't have study halls, there is a time period each day, around 30 min, for students to visit teachers for extra help, to make up a quiz from an absence, take care of business, etc.  It's a little different from a study hall in that the purpose is to get the students to take advantage of support from the teachers.  For a kid struggling with a class, the first question is always "did you go to the teacher during the support period?"  Students who don't visit teachers can use the time however they wish; the most efficient students will use the time for homework, sort of a mini-study hall.  My understanding is that this type of time period, for accessing teachers, is not unusual among the local private schools.

 

That may well be true. It's just the first time I had encountered it. When we considered brick-and-mortar schools for high schools, it was the only one on our list that had a full class period for study hall. We didn't look at a large number of schools, though, so it's quite possible many of them have some period of time each for for what you describe. Thanks for pointing that out! 

 

Most of the other ones we considered had 7 actual classes with an 8th class optional (or strongly suggested) at 6am or during lunch. The private school with a study hall really stood out.

Edited by Woodland Mist Academy
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I can say I believe we saved $70 by my paying attention to previous threads here on the The College Board forum

DS wanted to apply to University of California--Berkeley 

CA folks here said they don't give merit aid to out of state students

so we crossed them off

----------------------------------------------

a friend of mine from work who's son just graduated from UChicago said he was also accepted at Berkeley but they offered him almost nothing in aid

UChicago did so he went there!

 

 

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I have listened to what you have to say 8.  And it directed many of my questions at the universities.  I sincerely think that my ds is looking for different things than yours, which has directed his choice of schools. 

 

I will also have to say that we talked to the top math student at harvard, the "superstar" they called him, and he had a math REU.  He was incredibly dismissive of the work he was doing and how minor it was, and how the professor could answer this question in about 1 day which would take this student 3 months. So sure there are math REUs, but UG just aren't going to push the boundaries in math like they can in an applied field like physics or computer science or engineering.  DS is much more interested in an REU in physics, which is why Harvard was lowered on his list because it was clear that they would be given to physics majors over math majors. 8, I'm not ignorant of what is out there, but the balance we are looking for is different than what your ds has found.  

 

Some schools/professors do a better job providing challenging research for students than others. My son did math research last summer that he thought was very challenging. He decided he doesn't want to go the academia route because he found the work too isolating.

 

You might have already checked this site out but for anyone interested, the Goldwater Scholarship website lists UG candidates and their research. These are only the scholarship recipients and honorable mentions and not all of what individual universities are doing. It can provide a starting point for anyone interested in research or academia, though.

 

 

Just some observations off the top of my head about choosing a math school:

 

Some math schools are selling a math program that may not be all it's cracked up to be. My son opted out of one of those schools that seemed wonderful and is glad he did because now as a junior, ds is tutoring honors real analysis to a friend via Skype at that university and the work is no where as difficult as what my son had. He is surprised it's an honors class.

 

Some schools teach both grad students and undergrad students who are doing the honors math track. The classes are far more challenging than the regular classes and this is a much better arrangement than making a strong math UG student sit through an easy math track.

 

Flexibility to change majors later in the UG years could be important. Some schools are more flexible than others.

 

Internship opportunities. Many math students apply for winternships and internships at trading firms. Jane Street in NYC pays very well, possibly the best, and they are incredibly nice people. My son will be working as a prop trading intern (not at Jane) and will get about $7.5K per month plus catered breakfasts and lunches. These can be helpful for work experience and can offset the cost of school.

 

Anyway, I think wherever your son goes, he will do very well.

Edited by MBM
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The bolded comment makes absolutely zero sense

 

I know, right.  :tongue_smilie:  I would have to write a book to explain all our reasoning.  Posting here is just a massively shortened form.  Basically, ds is applying to half tech schools and half liberal arts schools, and the tech schools are way better for getting in-house REUs. So for example, MIT has lots of opportunities both in the summer and in the January term for research in interdisciplinary fields; Harvard, not so much.  And we honestly don't know how ds is going to find being so far away from home.  Will he want to celebrate being in American and go find REUs all over the country?  Or would he be more comfortable staying in one place and settling for what he can find in-house?  Because we don't know, in-house research needs to be at least somewhat available to make sure he has options.  

 

I think the situations that all of us are in when finding appropriate schools for our kids is way more complex than we are writing down.  We are just getting snippets of thinking that goes into these decisions. 

Edited by lewelma
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I think the situations that all of us are in when finding appropriate schools for our kids is way more complex than we are writing down.  We are just getting snippets of thinking that goes into these decisions. 

 

Absolutely. It's tricky because for privacy reasons some of us don't want to give too much info, but then it makes comments/decisions look a bit off or downright absurd. It's human nature to try to fill in the details we don't know -- presuming this or that and ending up with a picture in our minds which is far different from reality. Such is the internet...

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While my kids' school doesn't have study halls, there is a time period each day, around 30 min, for students to visit teachers for extra help, to make up a quiz from an absence, take care of business, etc.  It's a little different from a study hall in that the purpose is to get the students to take advantage of support from the teachers.  For a kid struggling with a class, the first question is always "did you go to the teacher during the support period?"  Students who don't visit teachers can use the time however they wish; the most efficient students will use the time for homework, sort of a mini-study hall.  My understanding is that this type of time period, for accessing teachers, is not unusual among the local private schools.

 

We have these twice per week.  Some students get more too, pending what's going on, because the other three days per week have a "reading period" where kids are supposed to read (their choice of what) for half an hour, but in certain circumstances, students get extra help instead of reading.

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I know, right.

Here the communication is the issue bc of how we are using terminology. REU has a pretty specific meaning and it normally applies to NSF/other specifically funded summer research programs normally not at your home school.

 

In-house UG research is usually not called an REU. There are exceptions, but doubtful we are discussing the same thing when you refer to any term other than summer.

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Got it. No in-house research experience for undergraduates, only in-house undergraduate research.  Love it.  :D

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So they did a survey and found that students didn't feel welcome, so they made a major cultural shift to become more collaborative.  They have weekly tea and cookie afternoons with faculty, have a UG lounge where the faculty also hang out, have weekly pizza lecture nights.  The focus is definitely working together and supporting each other.  

 

. . ..

 

3) REU - pretty tricky in mathematics.  Basically,  very hard to do math research until you are at a graduate level. 

 

My daughter is under the impression that most of the top programs have afternoon tea.  Her department (Ga Tech) and every workshop she's attended has had daily afternoon tea.  Michigan, frankly, seems a little skimpy at one/week.  (In Michigan's defense, however, it is on her list of top Ph.D. programs because it is a stellar math department.)

 

And I would adamantly disagree with not being able to do research as an undergrad.  My daughter did massive amounts of research as a dual-enrolled student in high school.  She was published, collaborated with mathematicians at universities on three different continents and attended multiple workshops and conferences, almost entirely at her department's expense, as a DE student and as a freshman.  She has never done an REU; everyone told her the math at your standard REU would be too easy for her.  She's doing research with professors, Ph.D. students and post-docs in her department.

 

Anyway, I'm not really following this thread, but there is certainly math research being done by undergrads at some schools.

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I've honestly never heard anyone refer to Ohio State or UT Austin as "elite" schools. They're excellent schools, but I don't know anyone who would consider them "elite" in the same way as Ivies and other top privates. There are no public universities at all in the USNWR or Forbes "Top 20" lists. (UCB and UCLA are in the 20-30 bracket on the USNWR lists.) OSU, PSU, UTA, UF, UGA, UCD, UIUC, U Wisconsin, U Conn, and U Washington are all ranked between 45th and 60th. I have never seen anyone here on WTM, or on CC, or IRL refer to those as "elite" schools.

 

But if your definition of "elite" actually includes "most state flagships," then we are in agreement that the vast majority of "1-percenters" can find intellectual peers at those schools.

 

I've been out mowing all day today and my mind went back to this (sorry).

 

FWIW, middle son was accepted to a very hard to get (odds-wise - about 5% who applied got it if I recall correctly) nicely paid summer research gig at Stanford his junior summer.  This was for Brain and Cognitive Science.  I think most in the crowd you are talking about would consider Stanford an elite school, so which schools does Stanford consider elite "enough" to take in undergrads and pay them for research?  I posted a list back in the day on a thread (that took me forever to find!!!), so I'll repost the list here.

 

It came from this thread:

 

http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/topic/551877-kid-accepted-to-all-8-ivy-league-schools-chooses-alabama/page-3?hl=%2Bclaremont&do=findComment&comment=6378370

 

-----------------------

Three students come from official "Ivy" schools - only two schools represented.  Ten students do not.  Five students come from four state schools.  Eight students come from private schools.

 

Still, none of the schools on the list surprise me and one could easily interchange other peer names (state and private) other years and it wouldn't surprise me either.  What they need is a good Brain/Cognitive studies program (though I believe he told me one student was majoring in math/cs and another in psych, so there's a little diversity there too).

 

ETA the whole list here:

 

U Rochester

U Wisconsin - Madison

U Michigan

Yale (2)

Brown

UCSD (2)

UC Berkeley

Wellesley

Claremont-McKenna

WUSTL

Stanford 

 

-----------------

 

I'm sticking with what I use as a definition of elite - not some weird definition a magazine or acceptance rates create.  There are a fair number of state schools and non-Ivy privates on that list and the list will morph pending upon the major or field one is looking at.

 

TBH, U Rochester likely won't stay there for Brain and Cognitive sadly.  Seems one of the big guys in the dept couldn't keep his pants on (similar to Hollywood and politics) and it's devastated it for the time being.  I'm hoping they clean house (those who need cleaning) and "restock," but who knows?  I'm just glad my guy graduated when he did - and wish some of these guys would use some common decency!!!  :cursing:

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My daughter is under the impression that most of the top programs have afternoon tea.  Her department (Ga Tech) and every workshop she's attended has had daily afternoon tea.  Michigan, frankly, seems a little skimpy at one/week.  (In Michigan's defense, however, it is on her list of top Ph.D. programs because it is a stellar math department.)

 

:001_wub:      

 

(A real life example of the nuances of finding a good fit!  A math program that has at least a minimally acceptable frequency of afternoon tea times... :laugh: )

Edited by Woodland Mist Academy
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:001_wub:      

 

(A real life example of the nuances of finding a good fit!  A math program that has at least a minimally acceptable frequency of afternoon tea times... :laugh: )

 

Haha, but of course! Without adequate tea times what good is a math program, anyway? Who cares about sympatico 'tribes' and all that rubbish when they can't even get tea right? lol  :lol:

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My daughter is under the impression that most of the top programs have afternoon tea. Her department (Ga Tech) and every workshop she's attended has had daily afternoon tea. Michigan, frankly, seems a little skimpy at one/week. (In Michigan's defense, however, it is on her list of top Ph.D. programs because it is a stellar math department.)

 

And I would adamantly disagree with not being able to do research as an undergrad. My daughter did massive amounts of research as a dual-enrolled student in high school. She was published, collaborated with mathematicians at universities on three different continents and attended multiple workshops and conferences, almost entirely at her department's expense, as a DE student and as a freshman. She has never done an REU; everyone told her the math at your standard REU would be too easy for her. She's doing research with professors, Ph.D. students and post-docs in her department.

 

Anyway, I'm not really following this thread, but there is certainly math research being done by undergrads at some schools.

I'm so glad you posted bc I didn't think it was an accurate assessment (more likely depts' dismissive responses.) Lower level physics students are limited in what they can do just as much as lower level ______ students are. I find it hard to believe that math is any different. Professors who are willing to work with bright, motivated students know how to incorporate them into research projects at an appropriate level and stretch the students and develop their researching skills.

 

Btw, your dd's experience sounds awesome! It also sounds like why she was awarded such a presitigious math award. Kudos to her!

Edited by 8FillTheHeart
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My daughter is under the impression that most of the top programs have afternoon tea.  Her department (Ga Tech) and every workshop she's attended has had daily afternoon tea.  Michigan, frankly, seems a little skimpy at one/week.  (In Michigan's defense, however, it is on her list of top Ph.D. programs because it is a stellar math department.)

Well, I am hearing better and better things about Ga Tech. That was the 8th school on his list, but honestly we were concerned it would be too hot and full of mosquitoes. How is that for a good reason to throw out a school!!!  But ds has grown up in a coastal town - 68 degrees is a hot summer day and we always have a breeze. However, after reading your post this morning, I asked him about applying there, and he said that maybe he should given all the good vibes we hear.  His cousin *loved* it when he visited two weeks ago. 

 

But as for afternoon tea at top programs, we were told Nope by Harvard, MIT, Waterloo, and CMU.  As for Michigan, I actually thought the prof we met with said *daily* afternoon tea, but I thought I must have misheard.  That it would be too good to be true, but maybe not!  I was *very * impressed with Michigan, and ds was very impressed with the *food*.  Haha, another very important criteria for a university.  

 

And I would adamantly disagree with not being able to do research as an undergrad.  My daughter did massive amounts of research as a dual-enrolled student in high school.  She was published, collaborated with mathematicians at universities on three different continents and attended multiple workshops and conferences, almost entirely at her department's expense, as a DE student and as a freshman.  She has never done an REU; everyone told her the math at your standard REU would be too easy for her.  She's doing research with professors, Ph.D. students and post-docs in her department.

 

Anyway, I'm not really following this thread, but there is certainly math research being done by undergrads at some schools.

Outstanding news. We asked at *every* school we visited, and each one of them said Nope, except for the very exceptional -- which is definitely your daughter. My ds is assuming he is not *that* exceptional. 

Edited by lewelma
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Outstanding news. We asked at *every* school we visited, and each one of them said Nope, except for the very exceptional -- which is definitely your daughter. My ds is assuming he is not *that* exceptional. 

 

I would definitely not assume such a thing.  She is exceptional because of what the faculty there have done with her.  I mean, she's smart, yes, but lots of kids are smart.  As for stories about undergraduate math research, you might want to check out some of the bios of the past winners of the AWM's Schafer Prize; the winners have all done undergraduate research, and they have done it at a variety of schools.  Most are from Harvard, MIT, Chicago, and the like, which are the schools your son is targeting, but there is at least one from U of Utah (and she started at community college!), and obviously one is pending from Ga Tech (should be posted in February).  The bios go back 20+ years, and the most recent, at least, go into a lot of specifics about their undergraduate experience.  One of my favorite things generally are "how I got here" stories, and it is a real treasure trove.

 

I wouldn't argue with the weather being a factor in a college search, and Atlanta is just nasty during the summer, but if undergraduate research in math is your thing, you could do a lot worse.

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I would definitely not assume such a thing. She is exceptional because of what the faculty there have done with her.

I can't like this statement enough. Faculty mentors are worth their weight in gold. They take a true interest in their mentees and really help them grow. I cannot say enough good things about the mentors my ds has had. Edited by 8FillTheHeart
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Derek,

 

We were discussing early college yesterday and my husband’s take on choosing a less selective and less expensive college is

 

1) our kids are so generalist that they are likely to stay for a long time in college either to do more majors and/or to get to PhD. So to stretch the dollar further, better to go to a less expensive college so we could afford to pay for more years. Also fresh graduates pay at his company is a flat rate regardless of where the person graduated from, so the less money spent on undergrad means the more money left over for later years.

 

2) real estate is also cheaper near less selective universities other than downtown San Jose which we aren’t keen on. Buying a home in somewhere like SLO for kids to stay for college and then keeping it as rental property until time to use it as a retirement home is affordable.

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Derek,

 

We were discussing early college yesterday and my husband’s take on choosing a less selective and less expensive college is

 

1) our kids are so generalist that they are likely to stay for a long time in college either to do more majors and/or to get to PhD. So to stretch the dollar further, better to go to a less expensive college so we could afford to pay for more years. Also fresh graduates pay at his company is a flat rate regardless of where the person graduated from, so the less money spent on undergrad means the more money left over for later years.

 

2) real estate is also cheaper near less selective universities other than downtown San Jose which we aren’t keen on. Buying a home in somewhere like SLO for kids to stay for college and then keeping it as rental property until time to use it as a retirement home is affordable.

 

Arcadia, 

 

Those sound like some good reasons and a excellent plan. We love the SLO area and if we could afford to buy there we would do it! That's a very nice school as well.

 

Right now we are also considering moving to an area nearer nice, affordable public schools. WA is one option we're considering. Most of the public U's are not impacted like in CA inlcluding UW, WWU, WSU, etc... In addition, they have satellite campuses like UW-Bothell which is highly regarded for its computer science program among others.

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Arcadia, 

 

Those sound like some good reasons and a excellent plan. We love the SLO area and if we could afford to buy there we would do it! That's a very nice school as well.

 

Right now we are also considering moving to an area nearer nice, affordable public schools. WA is one option we're considering. Most of the public U's are not impacted like in CA inlcluding UW, WWU, WSU, etc... In addition, they have satellite campuses like UW-Bothell which is highly regarded for its computer science program among others.

 

My friend's son went to UW-Bothell for two years.  There is a CC on the campus as well and he took classes there for less and inter-mixed them with some UW classes.  He did quit college and didn't finish, but it was a nice place to go.  

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Right now we are also considering moving to an area nearer nice, affordable public schools. WA is one option we're considering. Most of the public U's are not impacted like in CA inlcluding UW, WWU, WSU, etc... In addition, they have satellite campuses like UW-Bothell which is highly regarded for its computer science program among others.

Don't romanticize Washington's colleges.

 

UW has plenty of capacity-constrained majors - including computer science http://www.washington.edu/uaa/advising/academic-planning/majors-and-minors/list-of-undergraduate-majors/

 

WWU has had a policy for years that really raises the bar for kids who fail to get into CS at UW trying to transfer in and bump out kids who started in Bellingham. The CS program is starting to become more competitive for the kids who start as freshmen as well.

 

WSU is a party school to a very unhealthy degree. During the rececession, the previous president cut a lot of the arts and other creative outlets for the kids who don't party. So now, when class is over, there's basically just beer. While I don't think the "rolling river aquatic center" is a campus necessity, when you take the "college is for studying, not an entertainment center" ethos too far, you get something very unhealthy. Look just across the border at UIdaho, also a party/fratty school. But they generally have a fuller campus calendar of events, lots of ski trips organized by the rec center, etc. There is also an unhealthy right-wing political presence. The president of the campus Republicans was forced to resign after being filmed marching in Charlottesville. They reelected him president again this year.

 

You are correct that UW Bothell is an underappreciated gem, though. It is a commuter school with somewhat limited majors, but they seem to be doing great things there.

 

The community colleges -- gosh lots to say there. Like Cascadia/Bothell, there are four year programs available at just about any CC. The new WSU programs on the Everett campus are promising and the new WSU engineering center there looks gorgeous. Edmonds has a unique robotics program. My kid is at Bellevue, which offers nursing and other healthcare opportunities. Yet there are noticeable budget cuts happening. My daughter is finishing up this spring. She needs one more random elective class. When searching for classes in the 9:30 time slot, it was really hard to find something. They are moving tons of classes online to save money, and one online class was plenty for DD. My kids both had excellent overall experiences, but we are noticing things like advisors who leave and are not replaced making it harder to get appointments, cost cutting mergers between offices, etc. I'm not sure how much of it is blowback from a spending spree that the recently-fired president went on and how much is a sign of lasting decline.

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Don't romanticize Washington's colleges.

 

UW has plenty of capacity-constrained majors - including computer science http://www.washington.edu/uaa/advising/academic-planning/majors-and-minors/list-of-undergraduate-majors/

 

WWU has had a policy for years that really raises the bar for kids who fail to get into CS at UW trying to transfer in and bump out kids who started in Bellingham. The CS program is starting to become more competitive for the kids who start as freshmen as well.

 

WSU is a party school to a very unhealthy degree. During the rececession, the previous president cut a lot of the arts and other creative outlets for the kids who don't party. So now, when class is over, there's basically just beer. While I don't think the "rolling river aquatic center" is a campus necessity, when you take the "college is for studying, not an entertainment center" ethos too far, you get something very unhealthy. Look just across the border at UIdaho, also a party/fratty school. But they generally have a fuller campus calendar of events, lots of ski trips organized by the rec center, etc. There is also an unhealthy right-wing political presence. The president of the campus Republicans was forced to resign after being filmed marching in Charlottesville. They reelected him president again this year.

 

You are correct that UW Bothell is an underappreciated gem, though. It is a commuter school with somewhat limited majors, but they seem to be doing great things there.

 

The community colleges -- gosh lots to say there. Like Cascadia/Bothell, there are four year programs available at just about any CC. The new WSU programs on the Everett campus are promising and the new WSU engineering center there looks gorgeous. Edmonds has a unique robotics program. My kid is at Bellevue, which offers nursing and other healthcare opportunities. Yet there are noticeable budget cuts happening. My daughter is finishing up this spring. She needs one more random elective class. When searching for classes in the 9:30 time slot, it was really hard to find something. They are moving tons of classes online to save money, and one online class was plenty for DD. My kids both had excellent overall experiences, but we are noticing things like advisors who leave and are not replaced making it harder to get appointments, cost cutting mergers between offices, etc. I'm not sure how much of it is blowback from a spending spree that the recently-fired president went on and how much is a sign of lasting decline.

 

Hi Janet,

 

Thanks for sharing your kids experiences in WA. Yes, I've heard about some of the problems and realize its not all roses. UW is 'highly' competitive and also more crowded than most schools in the PNW as the major flagship U. Its probably the closest thing to our impacted public CA flagships such as UCLA, UC Berkeley, UCSD, etc... That's also why we haven't been considering it at least at the main campus.  That said, there are still some good opportunities such as UW Bothell which is actually the fastest growing U in the state. I've heard great things about that program including working closely with companies in the area for internships and jobs later for grads. Lots of activity going on in Everett as well at the WSU branch.

 

I've been warned about WSU Pullman being a party school. Since we're looking to stay in Western WA we're not really looking there. We also haven't been looking at WWU for computer science. Rather, we're considering it for our younger girls who are interested in other areas such as environmental science. But they are still not sure what they'll major in. So time will tell.

 

The private U's also tend to be more generous when it comes to scholarships than those in CA. Lastly, Running Start seems to be a well recognized program for high school students wanting to obtain college credit. We are doing something similar in CA under dual enrollment. However, it's more organized and widely adopted in WA.

 

Its interesting to see what they are doing at some of the CCs like offering certain 4 year degrees. I hadn't heard about the robotics program at Edmonds. 

Edited by dereksurfs

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My daughter graduated from UW, and it was wonderful, but engineering and comp sci are definitely impacted there. If you are not a direct admit as a freshman, it's probably not wise to proceed.

 

I just heard a sad story about a potential nursing major at WSU, the daughter of a friend who we have known from childhood; great student. She spent two years at WSU as a pre-nursing major, and then was not admitted to the program for junior year. She had all the required classes, a 3.6 GPA, and no disciplinary issues or other red flags. She had to leave her school and return to our state. She is working this year and is applying to our local nursing program (which is also impacted, but she would have had a better chance had she started here freshman year.)

 

Selective school or no, everyone should investigate the likelihood of being able to graduate with their desired major, ideally in four years.

 

 

Edited by GoodGrief
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UW has a new engineering admissions system starting with this year's admissions cycle. It should make it more predictable whether you will be able to get a major in the college of engineering.

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UW has a new engineering admissions system starting with this year's admissions cycle. It should make it more predictable whether you will be able to get a major in the college of engineering.

 

That will be wonderful for their students!

 

As far as the original question in the thread, one reason our current college student chose the college that she did (highly selective private, and not her cheapest choice, but by far one of the more affordable ones) is that there was no question that she could get her major. Freshmen there don\t even commit to a major until the end of the first year. At her full ride option, it was going to be difficult or impossible to switch gears. She did, in fact, ultimately choose a different branch of engineering after a year of exploration at the school, so the choice was a wise one for her.

Edited by GoodGrief

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My daughter graduated from UW, and it was wonderful, but engineering and comp sci are definitely impacted there. If you are not a direct admit as a freshman, it's probably not wise to proceed.

 

Hi GoodGrief,

 

I'm glad to hear your daughter's experience at UW was wonderful. Would you mind sharing a bit more about what she liked and what made it wonderful? Did she enter as a freshman from out of state? If out of state, why did she choose it over other local options?

 

I'm assuming your daughter went to the main Seattle campus. At least in the past, I've heard students had to get accepted twice for engineering, once to the main school and second to the school of engineering. That's actually fairly common here in CA as well. But not knowing acceptance to the later would be difficult indeed. It sounds like they are changing that part based on Janet's post. The thing that's different about UW is that they have satellites which are less impacted such as UW Bothell and UW Tacoma. In addition, the students have a smaller campus with better student/teacher ratios yet still receive a quality UW education.

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Hi GoodGrief,

 

I'm glad to hear your daughter's experience at UW was wonderful. Would you mind sharing a bit more about what she liked and what made it wonderful? Did she enter as a freshman from out of state? If out of state, why did she choose it over other local options?

 

I'm assuming your daughter went to the main Seattle campus. At least in the past, I've heard students had to get accepted twice for engineering, once to the main school and second to the school of engineering. That's actually fairly common here in CA as well. But not knowing acceptance to the later would be difficult indeed. It sounds like they are changing that part based on Janet's post. The thing that's different about UW is that they have satellites which are less impacted such as UW Bothell and UW Tacoma. In addition, the students have a smaller campus with better student/teacher ratios yet still receive a quality UW education.

 

I was just reading about the new UW engineering admissions policy after JanetC's comment. It really sounds great! It's tough to get into UW as an engineering major, but for those who get in, they have a guaranteed engineering spot and get their freshman year to explore all the engineering options before picking a track. They have not solved their overall issue with capacity, but are making the best of resources they have.

 

My daughter really enjoyed the atmosphere at UW Seattle; the urban campus, the ease of public transportation. There were plenty of places to find community. Her instructors were excellent. UW was very easy to work with when she became ill, as far as processing withdrawals, and they did not pull her scholarship when she was struggling. It's a beautiful campus, and for those inclined, there's the whole big school sports thing available too.

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ETA: Our son really enjoys math. Though he hasn't competed or done anything collaboratively yet with peers beyond the chats in his online class. He may eventually double major in math and CS or Physics. So I truly am interested in the collaborative nature of programs you've looked into and what you like about them.

 

Have you looked into Santa Barbara's college of creative studies? They have a Computer Science major, as well as Math and Physics -- they have priority enrollment in classes and are supposed to have automatic research opportunities.  I don't know about the quality of those majors, though I have heard I don't know where that that computer major is very good. We looked at it for Writing and Literature for my daughter and decided against it as it didn't seem to quite have it all together for that particular major -- which is good because my dd is now majoring in Poli Sci and History. 

 

We were very worried about impacted majors for my dd at UCLA but so far it hasn't been a problem. Yes, large lectures, but all classes taught by full profs and she says her TA's are outstanding -- she is very impressed by them. Other majors might have a different experience as far as difficulty with enrollment.  She has friends at UCSD and UCSC. I don't know much about their experience other than the one at UCSD is extremely happy and is getting the classes she needs so far (engineering) and the one at UCSC is struggling socially -- but that is mainly the effect of one going in with friends she already knew vs. going there knowing no one. 

 

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Just a jumble of thoughts from trying to catch up on this thread...

 

A big yes to UCSB's College of Creative Studies. Great program from all that I've heard and my kid almost ended up there. I believe kids can double major with two CCS majors -- good to have a look and tour if you can. The head of the math department was incredibly kind when A applied and was admitted. She reached out many times to answer questions and invite A to visit her. We were debating between that and UC Berkeley but Berkeley was of course much more doable as we live much closer and would not have to move to yet another expensive area (SB's rents exceed or equal the Bay Area's and it would have been nuts to let go of the low mortgage we pay for a house we own! Not to mention we were choosing a great math dept anyway).

 

Our experience (or rather my kiddo's) with our somewhat selective (17% acceptance rate), in-state and less expensive college:

  • So glad to be able to take advantage of an in-state school like UC Berkeley -- it's a huge huge school but the math department is not as large and not as impacted as EECS or Economics or Chemistry.
  • A takes only honors core upper division major requirement classes -- these rarely go over 30 students per class...it's been easy to be added even on a waitlist by just appearing at every class. However, no prof has taken attendance...not in math or in the humanities. A has not taken EECS classes yet so cannot be sure if they do take attendance in those departments. An UG could potentially sit in on those classes for interest. Other upper div classes A is taking/taken are not honors but have only about 20-35 students a class.
  • A has completely bypassed the need to take those 400-600-strong lower division and general ed classes that Berkeley is famous for. SO glad A covered general eds via community college. Our CC was not excellent for math but was top-notch for the humanities. Just fabulous that A could jump directly over all of those requirements at a low cost and at a pace A was comfortable with.
  • Big difference between honors and regular sections. A is now a grader (an opportunity open to students who have already taken the class) for a regular section upper division math class and is stunned by the difference between honors classmates' work and these regular section students' work -- all are math majors, many pure math like A, but still...it really shows when you've had practice with math research or at least with writing proofs and I keep reminding A that A's background is very different. A is learning to be patient.
  • I pay $3500+ a semester, split 50% with A's dad (my ex) for a total of $7000+ a semester. A did not qualify for any aid as we have to report dad's income in finaid applications. Again, glad to be in-state!
  • Commuting from home costs about $250-ish a month for train and food and little snacks/stationery etc. (A has classes every single day so the kid eats on campus not to mention it costs about the same for me to pack food for A from home).
  • From March, A will receive about $300 a month as a grader which will cover train tickets and food cost, yay!
  • Fingers crossed that A will be able to find a UGSI (undergrad student instructor/TA) position from fall onwards which will help significantly towards tuition (pays about $1000/month, possibly more).
  • A has a grad student mentor now for the math department's directed reading program, which will hopefully lead to math research in that area in the very near future. DRP is open to all interested students and lots of students are admitted as long as they answer the application carefully and are specific about the kind of text/research they want to work on. A's research will probably center on algebraic topology.
  • None of A's instructors were grad students. We were a little concerned after hearing from someone that UC employs grad students to teach classes. It might still be true in some UCs, not too sure, but so far in Berkeley Math, they are all profs/assoc. profs.
  • Lots of research available as far as A knows...A's just having too much fun right now in input mode (vs output mode) and specifically wanted a lighter freshman year (mainly to deal with health issues).
  • The culture is actually not extremely competitive that A can see. There's lots of collaboration. Someone asked how to know what a fit is like. I think at this age/stage, students create "the fit". Fit is just SO subjective that I don't think you can tell by hanging out at a campus for a few hours during a tour. In fact, A has taken math circle at Berkeley for years and it's still not been completely evident what culture/fit was till A went after opportunities. Yes, there are kindred spirits but they now know A's age so it's been a little uncomfy for A but I think those kids are getting over it. A is long past caring what anyone thinks about A's age.
  • I think A's age though is making a difference in some other ways, one of which is that A cannot truly experience the college experience of collaboration/discussion by having to come home instead of living in dorms and meeting classmates at night/study hall/library etc. For now, A will commute from home due to reasons we cannot avoid.
  • Lots of pizza! A loves pizza and I can't have pizza anymore (unless gluten free) so that's helpful. :) Every math meet (there's one at least 2x a week) has pizza. Profs appear when invited. A loves these in general.
  • Going to UCB knowing no one has been a little hard...but it's getting better. A's classmates now text A for help and vice versa...that is a development I like watching. Otherwise, the main draw is the professors and A's had some pretty cool ones already just 2 semesters in.
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UCSB's College of Creative Studies sounds wonderful, but they don’t assign letter grades. I know many consider this a plus, but what if my kid wants to pursue a master of a PhD program? My friend (a college prof) told me this factor could work against the student in graduate school admissions.

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UCSB's College of Creative Studies sounds wonderful, but they don’t assign letter grades. I know many consider this a plus, but what if my kid wants to pursue a master of a PhD program? My friend (a college prof) told me this factor could work against the student in graduate school admissions.

According to this article, 75% of CCS alumni go on to grad school, so I don't think it hurts as long as the student has good test scores and really strong recommendations. My undergrad school didn't give grades either, and I was accepted to every grad school I applied to, including a couple of top 10 schools. I think top test scores and really strong recommendations, plus a transcript with interesting and unusual courses, compensated for the lack of grades, and I would expect that a graduate of CCS would have similar qualifications.

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According to this article, 75% of CCS alumni go on to grad school, so I don't think it hurts as long as the student has good test scores and really strong recommendations. My undergrad school didn't give grades either, and I was accepted to every grad school I applied to, including a couple of top 10 schools. I think top test scores and really strong recommendations, plus a transcript with interesting and unusual courses, compensated for the lack of grades, and I would expect that a graduate of CCS would have similar qualifications.

Would you assume that for med school as well? Or is that a different animal altogether?

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Would you assume that for med school as well? Or is that a different animal altogether?

 

I know of at least two people in my graduating class who got into med school without grades, but I also know that part of the push to start giving grades there (which they do now) specifically came from students who were concerned about med school, so it may be more of a factor for med students than for general grad students. But I don't really know anything about med school admissions — of the two MDs I'm friends with, one did undergrad & med school at the same (not very selective) university, and the other had a history degree, worked and traveled the world for a while, and then applied to med school at the age of 30.

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UCSB's College of Creative Studies sounds wonderful, but they don’t assign letter grades. I know many consider this a plus, but what if my kid wants to pursue a master of a PhD program? My friend (a college prof) told me this factor could work against the student in graduate school admissions.

When we visited UCSB the advisor said many students double major in the College of Arts and Sciences, and all the gen eds and any other coursework is graded. So the only PF grades are in the CCS.

 

My dd just decided she is not the type to stay on top of her game without grades. She performs better under stress. As I will remind her this weekend since she told me she has three midterms and a paper all on next Monday and Tuesday!

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I always hear people talk about campus culture and if a student fits in into that. How would one even go about researching such a thing?

Frankly I find researching a "fit" so hard. It's one think to find a school with academic stats that match your own, but beyond that it seems to me a shot in the dark.

 

I have heard UCs are impacted. What does that really mean for a student?

 

I agree on the "fit" issue. You can't research that. Does it come down to your experience on the campus visit? That's not enough to make a decision.

 

As for UCs, they are impacted. It is really hard to get actual data about the consequences, however. I tried to find the average 4-year graduation rate for UCLA, and it was impossible. The closest I could get is that 90% of students graduate within 6 years.

 

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I agree on the "fit" issue. You can't research that. Does it come down to your experience on the campus visit? That's not enough to make a decision.

 

As for UCs, they are impacted. It is really hard to get actual data about the consequences, however. I tried to find the average 4-year graduation rate for UCLA, and it was impossible. The closest I could get is that 90% of students graduate within 6 years.

 

this is probably the 6 year rate - which I think is used as a "standard"

 

https://www.niche.com/colleges/university-of-california---los-angeles/after-college/

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It is really hard to get actual data about the consequences, however. I tried to find the average 4-year graduation rate for UCLA, and it was impossible. The closest I could get is that 90% of students graduate within 6 years.

 

UCLA 4 year graduation rate is 78.7% for the cohort who entered in 2013. Link below quote has data for cohort entering in 2000 to 2013.

 

“The average time to degree was 11.8 registered quarters (excludes time off) for freshman entrants who graduated in 2016-17; students who entered as transfers and graduated in 2016-17 registered for an average of 6.5 academic quarters. Of these transfers, 72% registered for 6 or fewer quarters.†http://www.apb.ucla.edu/campus-statistics/graduation-ttd

Edited by Arcadia
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I agree on the "fit" issue. You can't research that. Does it come down to your experience on the campus visit? That's not enough to make a decision.

 

As for UCs, they are impacted. It is really hard to get actual data about the consequences, however. I tried to find the average 4-year graduation rate for UCLA, and it was impossible. The closest I could get is that 90% of students graduate within 6 years.

 

 

My dd was told she'd have no problem graduating on time ... granted she's a poli sci major which while impacted, is not a super involved major.  Now she's wanting to double major which means she might take all four years rather than the three she had planned, but she really wouldn't have had trouble even graduating in three years. So far she's had no problems getting classes she needs -- albeit a stats class at 8 am and maybe her second chose for a gen ed requirement. But so far no worries. 

 

Kids that change majors or have pre-req's might impact the graduation rate, but she was told at the orientation that at most people take one extra quarter -- so graduate with 13 quarters instead of 12.

 

For fit, especially since my dd was applying far and wide, we spent a lot of time on college confidential and niche just to pick up trends.  Then we went and visited and that really did make a huge impact. Our dd was really interested in a city school and looked at NYU and Emerson in Boston, and we also looked at non city schools like William and Mary and Brandeis. We realized Emerson was basically a tiny campus of buildings with very slow elevators, making it a no-go for us as parents.  For a time she was dead set on William and Mary but when we visited it felt so large and empty to her, (large campus with only 6000 students) and she realized she wanted something more bustling.  We also visited on a normal late fall day and realized what a difference it can make on one's outlook if the entire campus feels windy and cold and you have to walk half a mile to class! That's a big adjustment! So that shaped her to appreciating a bustling student population of 30,000 students crammed into a campus  less that half the size of William and Mary, but warm enough to be outside all year long. 

 

Our next kids will probably focus less on fit since its going to be state schools for them. It will be more on what's available for their major. They are also less independent so I don't necessarily see them as wanting to go out of state. By this age my oldest was already researching early college boarding schools, she was so desperate to be independent! 

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Very, very proud momma brag alert, so be forewarned!! :)

 

I wanted to add this post here since our ds followed this path. His UG school is not ranked in the top 100. He was blessed with multiple stacking scholarships and was in essence paid to go to school. He pursued opportunities and used his UG experience to its absolute fullest.

 

His experience fits Bruni's and Gladwell's theories :) bc he has been accepted to some of the top theoretical physics programs in the country (including a top 5 and top 15 (with 1/4 time responsibilities)). His grad admissions process was so positive that early on he turned down a top 40 school's elite fellowship so they could offer it to someone else.

 

So for all of those families that are concerned their kids' future options will be limited if they can't afford the price tag of elite schools, encourage your students to bloom where they are planted and seize the opportunities on their campus.

Edited by 8FillTheHeart
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