Jump to content

Menu

Reasons to Consider a Less Selective, Less Expensive College


Recommended Posts

Hidden to outsiders, not necessarily to others who work there-- although that is certainly the case at times as well. 

 

I think we agree that having a developing child or teen in an environment that they can't easily escape (school, dorm, etc) that has more people drinking, smoking, and doing drugs than ones that aren't is not ideal. It's actually not ideal for anyone. An adult with a solid education at least has more options and more control.

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 479
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

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 s

Yes, thank you. There is a fallacy that one must attend an elite school to receive quality instruction. I've learned from personal experience that it isn't necessarily true. As others have mentioned y

Please don't quote -- a bit too much personal info   Derek, I know the conversation has moved on, but I was way too busy with university applications to reply to you earlier. I hope our experience i

Only those those four colleges, Ag, Ecology, Vet, I&L are part of the SUNY system. The rest are the private portion of Cornell and unlisted.

Thanks. There is a difference of $17k for tuition between the private portion and land grant portion of Cornell. I am only familiar with Cornell engineering and the cost of acceptance is estimated at more than $70k.

Link to post
Share on other sites

handed out the SUNY admissions info packet and reminded us that an 88 high school average (no letter grades in high school here). was really the bottom of the barrel for admitted students.  

 

 

No grade inflation here.  All assessments in NZ are curved to approximately 15% A, 30% B, 35% C, and 20% F.  Even more severely, DS's just took a music exam through the Royal School of London, and only 10% of students will get a 'distinction' which was a score of 70%.  You can make exams as hard as you want. And I will say, the difference in the grading percentiles between America and NZ made it very hard to explain to Admissions what DS's 4.0 actually means from an American point of view.    

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

Weeelllll, maybe not selling and smoking during breaks, but a big chunk of my coworkers smoked and everybody knew who did, and parties weren't drug free either.. Drug testing never seems to occur at places where everybody has at least a masters degree, or at least that has been my experience. ☹ï¸

 

Yes, because the cost of having to get rid of someone who is highly qualified (and specifically qualified, and trained, and etc.) and replace them with another person whom you might have to replace in a year is just not worth the drug-testing.

 

Now at a place with entry-level workers, it makes more sense (economically, not discussing the morality of it), because the availability of labor is higher, and because you tend to factor in a certain amount of turnover anyway as people move on to better jobs.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

When I was in high school, our grading scale was something like

 

100-96= A

95-88= B

87-78= C

77-70 = D

< 70 = F

 

I have no idea what that school's grading scale is now, but I haven't seen any local grading scale with that narrow of a top range. I wonder if grade inflation is also combined with more "college-like" grading scales (10 pt spreads)?

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Ours was 90-94 A-, 95-100 A; 80-83 B-, 84-87 B, 88-89 B+ (I am not that sure about the Bs, but I think that is right), etc.

 

There was no grade inflation in the top classes - I would say there were probably a fair number of As, certainly more than 15 percent, but if you took the school as a whole, 15% of kids weren't even taking the top weighted courses, and certainly all of the ones who did weren't getting As.

 

So a top-weighted A (IB) was 5.0, a mid-weight A was 4.5 (Pre-IB, Honors, DE classes, etc.), an A in a normal class was 4.0

 

A top-weighted B was 4.0, midweight B was 3.5, etc.

 

 

Thus, you might have 30% of the school getting As and certainly possibly that 30% of the IB students were getting As - but maybe 5% of students were getting 5.0s, if that makes sense, and another say 5-10% were getting 4.5s.  

 

There was no deliberate curve, though.  It's just if you have a large enough school with enough differentiation of ability, it sort of curves itself.

Link to post
Share on other sites

What I really want to know is how college admissions offices recalculate the high school GPA.  My kids' school has +/- so:
97-100 = A+ = 4.33

93-96 = A = 4.0

90-92 = A- = 3.67

 

I think that in most cases, the resulting reported unweighted GPA ends up not terribly different than if the school used 90-100 = A, basically because an A+ in one class can balance out an A- in another so that the gpa could still be 4.0 in the presence of A-'s.  However, if the college recalculates so that A+ = A = 4.0 but A- = 3.67, the recalculated GPA would be lower than 4.0.

Since some high schools use 90-100 = A, I'm trying to imagine how a college might recalculate all applicants' GPAs any other way than that (aside from any wacky weighting schemes for honors/ap).  If anyone has knowledge of college admissions gpa recalculation, I'd love to hear about it :) (I already know UCs recalculate using 90-100=A but they are unlikely to be relevant)

Edited by wapiti
  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

What I really want to know is how college admissions offices recalculate the high school GPA.  My kids' school has +/- so:

97-100 = A+ = 4.33

93-96 = A = 4.0

90-92 = A- = 3.67

 

I think that in most cases, the resulting reported unweighted GPA ends up not terribly different than if the school used 90-100 = A, basically because an A+ in one class can balance out an A- in another so that the gpa could still be 4.0 in the presence of A-'s.  However, if the college recalculates so that A+ = A = 4.0 but A- = 3.67, the recalculated GPA would be lower than 4.0.

 

Since some high schools use 90-100 = A, I'm trying to imagine how a college might recalculate all applicants' GPAs any other way than that (aside from any wacky weighting schemes for honors/ap).  If anyone has knowledge of college admissions gpa recalculation, I'd love to hear about it :) (I already know UCs recalculate using 90-100=A but they are unlikely to be relevant)

 

I'm wondering how much time they spend recalculating. Do they truly recalculate every application? Seems hard to believe. Do they double-check their recalculations so as not to make a decision based on an incorrect number? So many aspects of this whole process seem unfair. No wonder if often feels like a lottery.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not sure, but I doubt the data is entered by hand and if it is, a staffer (probably a college student) would do the entry (in which case I can see your concern though they'd just be entering the grades into the computer and the computer would do the calculating).  And yes, I do think the selective colleges recalculate for every student.  A state flagship may not.

Edited by wapiti
  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Grading here is not based on percentage correct. It is based in level of thinking demonstrated. If you can recall and explain that is a C. Relational thinking is a B. And insightful/abstract thinking is an A. So if you learn all the content presented and can recall it , the best you can do is a C.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Lewelma, that is also true of IB courses in the US; percentage scores are assigned, but generally based on a rubric that requires demonstration of various levels of insight (as well as some technical requirements).  Generally our teachers translated the IB scores scale (1-7) to American-style percentages based on the typical grade distribution of the 1-7 - so a 7 on a paper was like a 98 or something, I don't remember exactly.  

 

Math was done with a percentage correct, though - I am pretty sure there were questions and answers, and even proofs were sort of either right or wrong (although it was harder to get something right, of course, than to get something wrong).  I have to say I basically crammed and dumped all of IB Math 1 and 2 (PreCalc and Calc) so my memory of it is not great compared to my memory of Bio, English, Hist, etc.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

That may be true of standard classes here, too, but because of the weight, an A in a class where highest-order thinking is not required is essentially a B and an A in a class that is weighted is both harder to obtain by members of the class and impossible for average students, who are generally discouraged or disqualified from taking the class in the first place.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Arcadia, there is nothing about '4/20 Day' that is unique to UCSC. It's actually celebrated across the nation on 'many' college campuses, city parks, etc...

 

Let's face reality, pot is everywhere including all of our top campuses. In fact, according to one survey students smoke more pot at UCSB, UCLA, UC Berkeley, Virginia Tech, Brown, Princeton and Yale than at UCSC. Its just an old stereotype that is not unique at all to UCSC compared to countless others which most parents have no problem sending their kids to. 

 

Regarding the trees, yes, they are plentiful on campus, especially the redwoods. I can see how someone with tree allergies would have to be careful. Though I've never heard of anyone with allergies to redwoods, I'm sure its possible. I didn't see any cherry blossom there. I don't think they're native to the area.

I had a friend who attended UCSC for a year. He wrote to me about seeing a deer in the woods. First time ever seeing one. 

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Grading here is not based on percentage correct. It is based in level of thinking demonstrated. If you can recall and explain that is a C. Relational thinking is a B. And insightful/abstract thinking is an A. So if you learn all the content presented and can recall it , the best you can do is a C.

Wow - that's a high standard!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow - that's a high standard!

Not necessarily. I guess it depends how it's actually implemented. When my youngest ds was in upper elementary school that's what his grading rubrics looked like for many assignments. Not math though.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow - that's a high standard!

 

Well, about 60% of students get a C or F on any one standard. (no D's here). What I like about the system is that they challenge good students through higher level thinking rather than just more content to memorize.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, about 60% of students get a C or F on any one standard. (no D's here). What I like about the system is that they challenge good students through higher level thinking rather than just more content to memorize.

 

The US has been trying to do more of that at least in part through the common core. Though I'm not sure how effective it has been.

 

Since there has been such a big emphasis on standardized tests which have significant multiple choice sections, there is long standing tendency to teach to these tests (AP, PSAT, SAT, ACT, GRE, etc...). Add to that numerous test prep classes focused on scoring even higher. The unfortunate results are the numbers used as criteria for admissions including GPAs which vary so much based upon a school's rigor and grading policies. What do all those higher or lower numbers really mean in the end?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Please don't quote -- a bit too much personal info

 

Derek, I know the conversation has moved on, but I was way too busy with university applications to reply to you earlier. I hope our experience is helpful to you, although it is kind of from the other side of the coin as we have chosen to pay for ds to attend an elite if he can get in. Unfortunately, we think we will have to pay full fare.  We are not wealthy, but we own our 600 sq ft apartment, drive a 20 year old car, have health care provided by the state, and have a reasonably funded retirement.  If we are careful, we can pay out of salary, and we think that is what will be asked of us.  Why do we think an elite education is worth this crazy sum - 400K NZ dollars?  Well, first of all, we don't need the money for anything else.  Sure, we could have a better funded retirement, or be able to afford a house rather than an apartment, or go on a holiday, or whatever, but when we consider what else we could do with the money, it just seems less, somehow. We think that this experience will be the making of ds.  He will not be the best, and this is of critical importance to his development.

 

DS is applying to 4 elites and 2 top 20s. What we are after is not harder courses, but peers.  We have done our research and visited the schools. Each school has its pros and cons. MIT for example has reasonably easy math courses for ds, but the peer set would teach him about *using* his math for practical projects, which he is very interested in.  However, MIT has probably the most intense workaholic atmosphere of any school he is applying to.  We have no desire to spend a fortune to have our son destroyed by mental health issues.  We are very aware of this, and asked about it to the numerous MIT people in different roles. We have been reassured in different ways by different people.

 

DS needs challenge to thrive, and he needs true peers to be humble. My grandfather was an american chemist who was hand-picked to work on the bomb. By retirement, he had more than 100 patents to his name including synthetic rubber. He always told me "In my line of work, geniuses are a dime a dozen.  I'd take a hard worker any day over a genius."  My grandfather recognized that smart can equate to lazy and being used to being on top with little work. We do not want DS to see himself as the best.  He needs true peers that are his age.  Although there is another equally valid path of working at grad level with professors mentoring him, this is truly not what he wants.  He wants peers, not mentors, and I think that this strong desire has to do with being the top.  He was on the IMO team at age 15. That is just crazy young to be the top in the country, and I might add self-taught without knowledgeable parent, teach, or tutor. In fact, he has been self taught in math since the age of 8, and this is without textbooks as he considered them cheating. How does that affect your impression of yourself, I ask you? Seriously, how? So what we will be paying for is peers. Not status, not content, not mentors -- but peers. Kids his own age that profoundly understand him. I think it will be the making of him, and I think it will be a good use of our money.

 

Now, we just have to wait to see if we have overshot the mark.  I've warned him that he could get in nowhere. If so, he has guarenteed entrance to ANU which is top 20 in the world. Problem is, it's in Australia, and he really wants to go back to his roots in America.

 

I've kind of laid it out here in a heartfelt manner, so if you respond, be kind. Hope it helps you understand the issue from perhaps a different viewpoint. 

 

Ruth in NZ

Edited by lewelma
  • Like 13
Link to post
Share on other sites

I believe I mentioned this before in one of my posts, but I'll add again.  There are many who go on college visits to higher level schools (not necessarily limited to Top 20) and return incredibly happy about having found their "people."

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't think a 3.4 has been common among applicants to elite colleges for a very long time. A 3.4 = 16 Bs and 12 As. One or two Bs actually has very little impact on GPA — it's literally only a few hundredths of a point (1 B out of 28 credits = 3.96, 2 = 3.93). Assuming a student took at least a few honors/AP/DE classes, their weighted GPA will be over 4.0 anyway. I don't think elite colleges consider a difference of a few hundredths of a GPA point to be any more significant that the difference between a 35 and a 36 on the ACT.

 

It's a shame that so many HS students are so obsessed with rankings and with the idea that the only way to get into elite schools is by doing boring things perfectly (5s on tons of APs, 1600/36 on SAT/ACT, etc.) instead of doing really interesting and usual things well and with passion. Especially since the latter is often more successful.

I don't know if this is new but my friend was telling me some $$$ privates in NYC now have "mini courses" in area of student's interest, with those grades excluded from GPA.
Link to post
Share on other sites

Peers can be found everywhere for undergrad. One might be better off looking at a place where one can advance one's knowledge or one's start-up as well as have intellectual peers.  It only takes a cluster of peers for happiness.

 

This may be true, but the bigger the pool of peers one has to choose from, the greater the odds of finding that cluster. Kindred spirits and true peers are not always a given in any situation. It makes sense (and cents!) to go where the odds are greatest, wherever that may be for a given student. An honors program will not offer a large enough pool of true peers for every student.

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

Peers can be found everywhere for undergrad. One might be better off looking at a place where one can advance one's knowledge or one's start-up as well as have intellectual peers.  It only takes a cluster of peers for happiness.

 

Some students are ok with this.  They will do well wherever they go.  They might enjoy A better than B, but they'll do well at both.

 

But many students like having peers(!), where they actually fit in with the crowd, not just a handful of friends they might find.

 

And... there are some students who have trouble finding peers when they're such a minority presence at the school.  Maybe there are some out there, but finding them - and getting along with them (even academic peers don't always have tons of other things in common).  Those students can end up depressed or disillusioned.

 

Wanting to find their people in larger numbers is NOT a bad thing.

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

Clusters are everywhere, from the CC, to the regional U to an honors program or elite.   

 

No, they are not.  There may be some at some CCs or Regional Us or similar, but they aren't everywhere.

 

When we took my middle son's sophomore ACT score to our local CC to sign him up for DE classes, the admin office said they had never seen such a high ACT score before.  He scored higher on their math placement test than anyone (without Calculus) had before.  The lad couldn't drive yet, but ended up leading his study groups in his classes and having some of his assignments used by his professors in later classes (they asked for his permission).

 

This kid gets along well with pretty much everyone.  He had friends there, but it wasn't until he got to a nice college that he had some academic peers.  Even there he graduated Summa Cum Laude (top 1%) and was usually the leader of his study groups (plus a paid TA for recitations, etc).  Had he stayed in our CC he would have still aced his classes, but it honestly wouldn't have been the same experience for him - including class content and definitely with research opportunities.  (Other areas apparently have higher level CCs than we have.)

 

There is a wide variety of level in colleges and they tend to attract similar groups of students.  Some colleges (esp large schools) have a wide variety, but smaller ones can be much less so.

  • Like 6
Link to post
Share on other sites

This is such a journey.  One of the few insights my oldest has had is that she really wants a school where the vast majority are as smart, or smarter, than she is, because that motivates her to do her best work, learn the most, be the best she can be.  Sigh, this is going to be a tall order due to low admit rates (and Ivy-level isn't even on the table; probably more like 20-50-ish).  Meanwhile...dh pipes in, what about scholarships?  I tried hard not to laugh, knowing that won't be the case at schools where the student falls in the middle for stats, and I'm working on a spreadsheet of lower-cost options (either due to lower price or potential merit or both) so that he can begin to learn the lay of the land, the potential trade-offs that I've been looking at for quite some time now.

  • Like 6
Link to post
Share on other sites

I can also add that on some of our college visits or inquiries, professors often told us that my guy would be better at a different (deeper) school.  I don't recall admissions ever saying that, but I doubt the professors were lying.  We adjusted where we looked accordingly.  It's why many potentially "free" (for him) places got eliminated.  We didn't need free.  We just needed affordable.

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, about 60% of students get a C or F on any one standard. (no D's here). What I like about the system is that they challenge good students through higher level thinking rather than just more content to memorize.

 

What are high school grades used for in NZ?  I assume that your University system is like the UK system, where admissions are mainly based on test scores, and GPA doesn't matter much for entrance to university.

Link to post
Share on other sites

We will have to agree to disagree.  Our experience is looking outside the major or area of acceleration is also valuable in finding like minds.  My son has no desire to silo, and prefers people who enjoy thinking no matter what the major.  

 

Our experiences are definitely different - from high school on.  Readers should know there are differences (if they don't already) and consider schools according to their situation.

 

All three of mine liked having peers.  Major of interest to their peers and friends never really mattered.  I think that's common among students.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

...

 

Hi Ruth,

 

I really do appreciate you sharing your son's experiences as well as your thoughts on this. I also believe its good to consider 'both' sides of the coin when making one's final decision. The beauty of this forum is we have such a wide swath of students represented. I have considered the posts about fit and peers including opportunities to be challenged. I've always appreciated your thoughtful input on this forum among many others whose kids are at the elite schools for various reasons.

 

Quite honestly, the answer to these questions will naturally be narrowed for many of us due to financial constraints which include multiple children going to college. In addition, and possibly the most obvious, most are simply not in the place where they could gain acceptance to schools like MIT, Cal Tech or Stanford even if the parents could afford it. For us its more a matter of degrees within our given constraints. And in those cases, where would each child be able to thrive best given their strengths, weaknesses, goals and preferences? For us, the question won't be elite schools or not but rather a variety of public/private options considering many factors. Will ranking even matter for us in these cases where schools vary but not as extreme as top tier vs. the rest of the pack? Rather, some are generally more recognized as 'good schools' vs. those which are lessor known but may be a better overall fit. For example many of our state schools in CA are well recognized. In fact some are even considered public Ivys (UC Berkeley, UCLA, etc...). Then there are other middle of pack schools, so to speak, which have different claims to fame such as great engineering program, marine biology, nursing, etc... Still there are others which are more obscure but kids do fine in their areas of academic pursuits.

 

I definitely think about fit within our constraints and each child's interests. That is also why I'm currently more drawn to a local UC vs. Cal State school in close driving distance. The former (UCSC) offers more research in our son's areas of stem interest (Robotics, CS, Data Science). Though I know one of the professors at our local Cal State who also oversees a grant to begin new research and develop programs in Biomedical Data Science for the university. So I plan to speak with her about the school's goals including what they plan to develop academically in the next few years.

 

In addition to this, I've been thinking about our lessor known private schools such as Westmont and Chapman University along with more affordable options out of state. Though our oldest wants to stay in CA. So out of state may be more of a consideration for the younger ones once they approach college age. 

 

I think some of things you've described make perfect sense in your son's case (as well as others) who need peers at those levels, in his case elite schools. I just don't think that applies for other kids who will thrive within a variety of peer groups. In some cases based upon their personalities, they do better when they can rise to the top (big fish, small pond) while in others they do better when really pushed from the bottom of the pack. Then there are those who will do very well academically and professionally regardless of their peers. I've seen this first hand professionally where some of our best and brightest engineers went to 'average' state schools. Yet they are doing great in their work and adult lives. Some of them are very driven. There may even be a bit of an 'underdog' work ethic not there with those from the more well known schools. So overall I think there is a place for all of these schools, from the most elite to the more common public universities which represent a 'good fit' and 'good value' given the wide spectrum of college students we are have. kwim? 

Edited by dereksurfs
  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

It could also be important to add that there is rarely a "single" school that will work out for any given student, but rather several that could work just fine (even for fit, academic and otherwise).  Schools have peers too.  There's more than one that's in the Top Whatever for X field.

 

A key for those of us wearing Guidance Counselor hats is to winnow that list of 4000 (or whatever the number is) down to a tiny group worth applying to.  Ideally any one of that tiny group would fit and at least one will turn out to accept the student and be affordable.

 

Success can come from any college.  No one should dispute that, but "any college" is not always right for "this specific" student.  That's where Guidance Counselors try to help.  There are many factors to consider - those factors can even differ for each student.

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

What are high school grades used for in NZ?  I assume that your University system is like the UK system, where admissions are mainly based on test scores, and GPA doesn't matter much for entrance to university.

 

GPA is the same as test scores here.  To get into university you need the equivalent of 4 SAT subject tests and 4 AP exams (so both a first and second year in a subject).  The difference is that each of these are single tests in the USA and they are 5 assessments each in NZ. Plus, there is no multiple choice, all assessments are all essay exams, papers, lab reports, art portfolio, etc. So basically students here take 20 assessments in their Junior year and 20 in their senior year, and these assessments are nationally standardized like the AP exams. Because NZ is a small country, ALL grades here are nationally moderated.  So if you write a paper or do a lab report, it is based on a very specific standard and grading rubric, and then the teachers have to send in examples of their grades to make sure they are not grading too easy or too hard.  And A at one school is identical to an A at another because the standards are the same and the grading is the same.  Does that make sense?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Derek, I totally get what you are saying.  My main point was to explain how not all of the kids applying to elites are after prestige or think that it will directly link to a better job. I know that that was not your thoughts, but I do get hints of it from others both here and elsewhere. I also know there is a bit of a rat race and helicopter parent thing going on with the competition to get into elites, and we have mostly side stepped it by being in NZ.

 

 

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

Peers, sigh.  I have thought long and hard about this.  DS's desires for peers come out of his own experience.  He has taken two math courses at the local university which is highly regarded and the mean and median for the courses was 60%. DS scored 100% in both.  Students were 4 years older than him.  It was this experience that has driven him out of NZ for university. He could ramp up to graduate level and work closely with a professor, and we have seriously and deeply considered this option. And he really doesn't want to do it.  He doesn't want to have to self study all UG material, he wants courses to be hard enough that he can take them with peers and study together and learn from each other.  He is also not ready to chose a research path, or field of interest.  He wants time to explore his options. 

 

As for peers through other areas.  This is what he wrote about in his university essays. That there were no peers in math, so he gained peers and friends through music, and it was through these friendships and experiences that he learned that he wanted to work cooperatively in math and science, not on his own. 

 

He has also applied to two schools with honors programs. One global, one just in mathematics.  And the one in mathematics has a professor who has already offered to be his mentor, so if he goes there he would have peers and a mentor.  This school is top of *my* list. We will see if it is for ds.

 

I think that it is hard to know what is going to work, and all we can do is collect evidence and work within our own experience.  

  • Like 5
Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm curious to know how summer programs correlate to actual experiences on campus. My teen has been to several summer camps at various campuses with varying levels of selectivity and cost (both for the camps and for the colleges/universities where the camps took place). The differences have been striking. I'm aware that this is anecdotal and somewhat subjective, but I'm interested in hearing about the perceptions and experiences of others. Does a summer camp give a good reflection of college life at the school?

I really think summer camps have nothing at all to do with the school.

The opposite may happen, ie child may form strong opinion based on a SPLASH program or summer camp or whatever. There's a school I personally think should be on DS short list that he now refuses to consider because? I don't know, maybe it was overcast that day. I'm finding out that there is such a thing as too little info, too soon.

Edited by madteaparty
Link to post
Share on other sites

Peers, sigh...

 

Lewelma,

 

Its interesting that you mention this regarding his peers. Our oldest ds has experienced this 'in part' during some of his college courses at our local CC. He doesn't like to say he is in high school and because of his height most don't realize it. After getting the highest score on one of his chemistry exams, the professor made him come up in front of the class which he really doesn't like. He then asked him his keys to success, was it his high school chemistry classes? lol However, since he had never taken chemistry before and 'was' in high school, he didn't quite know how to respond. Awkward! :tongue_smilie:

 

I've asked him how he feels about this, being at the top or near top of his classes. He said that there are other students doing well and getting A's. So he hasn't really thought about it much and it hasn't bothered him. He still has to study diligently to do well. Being in high school, he doesn't look for college age study buddies or anything like that. Nor does he long for that kind of peer group. But that could change once he's in college, I guess. For now he's very independent in his studies, though he doesn't mind working in groups on projects as long as the others aren't too flaky. 

 

So I do find it very interesting to hear about these kinds of academic peer concerns especially when its coming from the students themselves. The kind of peer groups our kids enjoy have more to due with extracurricular interests.  For example, ds loves piano and jazz and he's had the opportunity to play with other musicians in various venues. In addition, he likes to hang out with peers in our church youth group. Right now he's getting ready for an all day amusement park trip and is super exciting about it. These kids come from a wide range of backgrounds (academically, socioeconomically) with an even wider range of hobbies and interests. 

 

All this to say its not out of the realm of possibility that he'll join an academic club or honors program in the future and get really excited about that. For our younger dds, they take more prodding academically and would much rather be outside playing or engaged in other hobbies. So we'll see over time how that works out.  

Edited by dereksurfs
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

This whole thread is depressing. My kids are in 7th, 4th, and 3rd grade, which means 8 straight years of college, 4 of those years with 2 in college at once. I think we could probably afford $20K/year, but what good is $20K? That won’t cover tuition at even a lower tier private school. And based on what I’ve read, EFC is usually way more than families realistically can pay. I do not want my kids having to commute an hour each way to the nearest state school with its low admission standards and depressing, unsafe campus. Neither do I want them commuting a half hour to the glorified high school that is our closest community college.

 

I can try to sock away $20K/year for the next 5 years, but it still won’t cover one year of college per kid.

 

They’re smart but not driven. They’ll probably make solid test scores, maybe even high test scores, but they’re not going to win the competitive top-level merit scholarships.

 

I feel now like my kids would have been better off with me working full time and having them in school. (Unfortunately I was so determined to be a homeschool mom that I did not get any qualifications that would enable me to have a lucrative career.) The whole point of me homeschooling them was to have a higher standard than our lousy public schools, but if they end up in lousy colleges anyway, it’s kind of a waste.

Edited by musicianmom
Link to post
Share on other sites

And based on what I’ve read, EFC is usually way more than families realistically can pay.

 

I think it's very individual.  Why not pop on to a few college websites (e.g. your state flagship and then a couple of private colleges that you think might be possible for admission) and run the NPC right now?  It may not be perfect info, but it's better than no info at all.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

This whole thread is depressing. My kids are in 7th, 4th, and 3rd grade, which means 8 straight years of college, 4 of those years with 2 in college at once. I think we could probably afford $20K/year, but what good is $20K? That won’t cover tuition at even a lower tier private school. And based on what I’ve read, EFC is usually way more than families realistically can pay. I do not want my kids having to commute an hour each way to the nearest state school with its low admission standards and depressing, unsafe campus. Neither do I want them commuting a half hour to the glorified high school that is our closest community college.

 

I can try to sock away $20K/year for the next 5 years, but it still won’t cover one year of college per kid.

 

They’re smart but not driven. They’ll probably make solid test scores, maybe even high test scores, but they’re not going to win the competitive top-level merit scholarships.

 

I feel now like my kids would have been better off with me working full time and having them in school. (Unfortunately I was so determined to be a homeschool mom that I did not get any qualifications that would enable me to have a lucrative career.) The whole point of me homeschooling them was to have a higher standard than our lousy public schools, but if they end up in lousy colleges anyway, it’s kind of a waste.

 

Many parents get overwhelmed especially initially when considering the cost of college. This is even more so when they have multiple children. Since we homeschool and my wife stays at home with the kids out of choice, we're in what some refer to as the 'donut hole' financially. The single thing that has helped us the most in coming to grips with these things are friends who are in the same boat with BTDT experience. There are some on this forum who can help with that as well. We've found friends locally who also assist us in this way. Its almost like preparing for marriage or giving birth for the first time. You need support!

 

Locals typically can give some of the best advice since they are in your same shoes, especially those with similar financial constraints considering the college options available. Whenever we feel somewhat overwelmed, I remind my wife about the engineer I work with who has 9 kids and his wife homeschools. They have three in college and five more waiting in the wings! Out of sheer necessity they decided that if their kids wanted to go to college, they would have to fund it themselves. And guess what? They're all doing fine so far. One has graduated with a BS in engineering from their flagship state school. When speaking with them, they are not stressed out about it since they've found an approach that works for their family. 

Edited by dereksurfs
Link to post
Share on other sites

@musicianmom - I won't lie to you, kids with more money do have more options. If you haven't opened a 529 account, start now. Test scores also increase your options and chances for merit aid, so do a little test prep, too.

 

It isn't hopeless and your kids aren't limited to two schools. Financial aid is constantly changing, so there isn't any specific school advice I can give now that will be good in four years, but start going to college fairs and presentations and ask questions in 10th grade. Ask your friends with kids slightly older than yours for tips.

 

Here is my list of financial aid writers to look into

 

Financial Aid Blogs and Resources

 

Troy Onink - Financial Aid, College Financing

http://forbes.com/sites/troyonink

 

Lynn O’Shaughnessy - Financial Aid, Merit Aid

http://thecollegesolution.com

Also her book, The College Solution

 

Michelle Kretzschmar

College search, merit aid, athletic scholarships for baseball/softball. Michelle writes for two blogs:

http://diycollegerankings.com

Collegemoneysearch.com

Michelle homeschooled her son, but does not usually write about this aspect of college admissions.

 

Ann Garcia - Financial Aid

Thecollegelady.wordpress.com

 

Capstone Wealth Partners

This is a financial advisor based in Columbus, OH.

Blog: https://www.capstonewealthpartners.com/resources/blog/

Financial aid education videos. If you'd prefer a video answer to reading a FAQ, this one's for you!

https://www.capstonewealthpartners.com/resources/college-funding-learning-center/

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

  • Like 8
Link to post
Share on other sites

@corraleno - how did you get these numbers? Just linear interpolation? I would be interested in doing this for my DD's college list.

 

I'm not quite sure that I agree with your points, since intellectual vibe is more than just the test scores.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

This whole thread is depressing. My kids are in 7th, 4th, and 3rd grade, which means 8 straight years of college, 4 of those years with 2 in college at once. I think we could probably afford $20K/year, but what good is $20K? That won’t cover tuition at even a lower tier private school. And based on what I’ve read, EFC is usually way more than families realistically can pay. I do not want my kids having to commute an hour each way to the nearest state school with its low admission standards and depressing, unsafe campus. Neither do I want them commuting a half hour to the glorified high school that is our closest community college.

 

I can try to sock away $20K/year for the next 5 years, but it still won’t cover one year of college per kid.

 

They’re smart but not driven. They’ll probably make solid test scores, maybe even high test scores, but they’re not going to win the competitive top-level merit scholarships.

 

I feel now like my kids would have been better off with me working full time and having them in school. (Unfortunately I was so determined to be a homeschool mom that I did not get any qualifications that would enable me to have a lucrative career.) The whole point of me homeschooling them was to have a higher standard than our lousy public schools, but if they end up in lousy colleges anyway, it’s kind of a waste.

[tangent from thread]

You may want to consider DE at a CC if your students are up to that and it is discounted for high schoolers in your state.

You could eliminate one or one and a half years of costly tuition. Maybe by the time your students reach that point you could do some CC online from other schools in your state.

AP and CLEP are other options to save.

Options are expanding each year!

Link to post
Share on other sites

@corraleno - how did you get these numbers? Just linear interpolation? I would be interested in doing this for my DD's college list.

 

I'm not quite sure that I agree with your points, since intellectual vibe is more than just the test scores.

Yes, I looked at the Common Data set for each school. Some had exact figures (75th% was 33) and others I had to estimate — e.g. if the 25/75 range was 32-34, I used 50th% for 33 (so .5 x # of undergrads), if the 25/75 range was 32-35, I guesstimated 35th% for 33 (so .65 x # undergrads). Obviously they are rough numbers, but even if they're off by a few hundred for some schools, the difference between approximately 3-4,000 and 10-11,000 still stands.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

. 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.

 

Very true.  

 

I have three sons who graduated from OSU.  They were admitted with very scores, GPAs, etc. (2 were valedictorians at ps).  Two of them said in freshman year that they sometimes felt way behind the other students because they were so smart (one was in the honors engineering program).  Plenty of very intelligent, motivated students to meet!  

  • Like 6
Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...