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DD can't decide which school to attend


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My DD just got home from accepted student day at Clark. She has now attended 3 out of the 4 top contenders.

Each one has something to offer and price wise they are all in the same range.

There are things she likes and dislikes about all of them. I don't know why this seemed easier when my son was going through this decision making process.

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If she just returned from one of her choices, perhaps after a few days of quiet an answer will emerge?

 

Which one of the schools has the best department for her major and goals?

 

Has one school showed more interest than others, offered any special opportunities?

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If she just returned from one of her choices, perhaps after a few days of quiet an answer will emerge?

 

Which one of the schools has the best department for her major and goals?

 

Has one school showed more interest than others, offered any special opportunities?

Excellent advice. Let there be some distance. Give time for her mind to quiet from that weekend and see if as time goes by if different positives start to emerge and tip one school's positives into the "attend here" category.

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I agree that some time and distance may help her clarify the priorities here. Sales people can be extremely persuasive. There are always pros and cons. Have her reread the usnews.com pages about each school.   My Dd looks on Niche.com which is another site your DD might look at.  I prefer usnews.com  Whatever works for your DD. Check on usnews.com for that specific major about how they are ranked.

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SDD doesn't even talk about college anymore. I don't think she's interested in making a choice.

 

If we do bring up the topic, it ends up with her crying that she should be going to top-tier schools (stats and money aren't there). Sigh.

 

She has AWESOME choices. Many with great merit and financial aid. 

 

The past year has been exhausting. 

 

Edited by lisabees
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We're having the same thing here. 3 or 4 schools, all with different pros and cons. 

And this is for two dss. 

 

The school that 'should' give a full ride has given us the most negative 'feelings'. Both ds say if they don't get the full ride they don't want to go there. Housing fee due NOW. And it seems like we     won't officially get the potential full ride offer until after May 1!

 

School with next lowest cost...I'm not sure about the engineering rankings compared to the other options.

Better school with highest cost (of the schools we've narrowed it down to)...is it really worth the extra cost? I dunno. And some campus issues.

4th school is very appealing to one ds, other ds has 'better' scholarship there, but really not in the running anymore because of the 3.6 gap requirement to keep it.

 

And then there's the safety school which has given awesome scholarships and has made them feel very wanted, would be essentially free with extra perks.

 

 

Sigh.

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SDD doesn't even talk about college anymore. I don't think she's interested in making a choice.

 

If we do bring up the topic, it ends up with her crying that she should be going to top-tier schools. The story has grown tiresome.

 

She has AWESOME choices. Many with great merit and financial aid. 

 

The past year has been exhausting. Thanks for letting me vent...

 

 

For DD, I used to think a top school was going to be the only way to go, but as I have read more on these boards, and talked to people around me in real life, I've realized that going to a tippy top school for undergrad might not be as desirable as I thought.

 

My sister and her boyfriend both went to a regular state uni, and then attended a top medical school. Many of their med school peers were Ivy graduates, others went to less highly-ranked schools. I had the opportunity to meet many of them as well as talk to my sister and her bf in length. We all agree that for undergrad, an environment with less competitive pressure might be better, and maybe aim for a tippy-top school for grad school, once there's more maturity and experience in a college environment.

 

My sister and her boyfriend, coming from a more humble background, both graduated top of their class, above many of the Ivy graduates.

 

I know a couple of other Ivy and MIT grads in real life who are encouraging their own kids to go to lesser-ranked schools for undergrad.

Edited by omd21
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For DD, I used to think a top school was going to be the only way to go, but as I have read more on these boards, and talked to people around me in real life, I've realized that going to a tippy top school for undergrad might not be as desirable as I thought.

 

My sister and her boyfriend both went to a regular state uni, and then attended a top medical school. Many of their med school peers were Ivy graduates, others went to less highly-ranked schools. I had the opportunity to meet many of them as well as talk to my sister and her bf in length. We all agree that for undergrad, an environment with less competitive pressure might be better, and maybe aim for a tippy-top school for grad school, once there's more maturity and experience in a college environment.

 

My sister and her boyfriend, coming from a more humble background, both graduated top of their class, above many of the Ivy graduates.

 

I know a couple of other Ivy and MIT grads in real life who are encouraging their own kids to go to lesser-ranked schools for undergrad.

 

Hey - if you can convince her, that would be awesome!!!

 

She has spent the past year dwelling on what she isn't rather than what she is (which by the way is wonderful). 

 

It is heartbreaking to watch her be miserable during this entire process.

 

She has amazing acceptances - St John's College, Agnes Scott, Earlham, Beloit, College of Wooster, Knox, Susquehanna, Lawrence (and Denison just in with a yes, but not enough money).

 

I was hoping a recent trip to Agnes Scott would excite her. It didn't. At all.

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Is it wrong that I am glad that I am not the only one with a child who can't decide. Misery does love company.

 

I think in her gut she wants Susquehanna. But out of the 3 it is the most expensive. Even though they did come back with more aid when we asked it is still more than Clark and Albright. My dh is telling her not to worry about the money and I am like whoa, dude, money is a factor.

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Another with a dd who can't decide. After her EA acceptance she had a clear favorite and I think had decided it was going to be "the one." But while she was happy with that school, she had others she liked much more. She just didn't want to get her hopes up on acceptance because they were reachier schools. However, she was just accepted to one of those reach schools, which is giving her hope that she may get accepted to one or more of the others. And that is going to make her decision very tough. If she happens to get acceptances to the rest on her list, she wants to revisit her top three. And of course the finances all need to work as well. Thought we'd be closer to a decision at this point in time.

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Hey - if you can convince her, that would be awesome!!!

 

She has spent the past year dwelling on what she isn't rather than what she is (which by the way is wonderful).

 

It is heartbreaking to watch her be miserable during this entire process.

 

She has amazing acceptances - St John's College, Agnes Scott, Earlham, Beloit, College of Wooster, Knox, Susquehanna, Lawrence (and Denison just in with a yes, but not enough money).

 

I was hoping a recent trip to Agnes Scott would excite her. It didn't. At all.

Right, our words of encouragement and reassurance don’t always get through as they should. It’s a big life decision, with lots of pressure, who can blame them?

 

I love Agnes Scott, btw.

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Right, our words of encouragement and reassurance don’t always get through as they should. It’s a big life decision, with lots of pressure, who can blame them?

 

I love Agnes Scott, btw.

 

Yeah, it's been tough for her. 

 

I love Agnes Scott, too!

 

Dh and I rank it as number one...in our minds. ;)

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I think we might be down to two schools. We were really hoping Susquehanna might work. We already have a visit scheduled for Easter break but I'm wondering if we should just cancel it. Even with their top scholarship, it's still expensive and much more so than the two other options.

 

She has a scholarship worth more than full tuition at an instate university so it's hard to compete against that. I just wish she liked it more.

Edited by Tiramisu
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I think we might be down to two schools. We were really hoping Susquehanna might work. We already have a visit scheduled for Easter break but I'm wondering if we should just cancel it. Even with their top scholarship, it's still expensive and much more so than the two other options.

 

She has a scholarship worth more than full tuition at an instate university so it's hard to compete against that. I just wish she liked it more.

 

Can you appeal for more merit or needs-based aid? Did you receive more at a peer institution?

 

My son has loved his time there. :)

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Can you appeal for more merit or needs-based aid? Did you receive more at a peer institution?

 

My son has loved his time there. :)

I'm thinking about doing that, but tge peer institutions aren't that much lower. :(

Edited by Tiramisu
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  • 3 weeks later...
On 3/19/2018 at 7:26 AM, lisabees said:

 

Can you appeal for more merit or needs-based aid? Did you receive more at a peer institution?

 

My son has loved his time there. :)

To update, I recently made an appeal and dd got an additional grant. The cost would still be more than twice as expensive, so we won't be visiting again.

This process is really stressful, though I'm very grateful for the amazing scholarships she's received.

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7 hours ago, Tiramisu said:

To update, I recently made an appeal and dd got an additional grant. The cost would still be more than twice as expensive, so we won't be visiting again.

This process is really stressful, though I'm very grateful for the amazing scholarships she's received.

Dang. Sorry about that!

Our update:

DD got accepted to Oberlin and Denison, but the cost makes them impossible.

Next week, we visit Knox and Beloit. Her top choice so far is Agnes Scott.

We'll see what next week brings!

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Whenever I've had to make a choice among several options that each had things going for them (which grad school to attend, which house to buy, which city to move to, which job to accept, etc), I've forced myself to make an actual physical chart listing all of the factors that were important to me, ranked in order of importance, and then score each option for each of those factors. It's easy to feel like two options are equally good because one has great food and the campus is pretty and the other has a top ranking in your department and offered more money, but when you write it out and rank what's important, and see which options check off the most important boxes, sometimes the answer is obvious. It's also a good way to give "prestige" the weight it actually deserves, instead of allowing it to dominate the decision. (E.g. Brown versus Ohio State may seem like a no-brainer — pick Brown! But when you list what's really important — strength of major department, extensive list of courses, opportunities for undergrad research, $200K difference in cost — then it's actually a no-brainer in the other direction.)

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We are down to three choices here: Allegheny (honors), Dickinson, or URochester. Allegheny is the least expensive by quite a bit, but we could probably stretch ourselves to handle either of the other two. We are visiting Dickinson next week for admitted students day. I think URoch is currently on top. If anyone has any advice on how to determine if a school is worth a certain percentage more than another school, I'm all ears. DD not sure of a major, is thinking English right now with an eye towards teaching or working in some capacity with children or adults with developmental disabilities.

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20 minutes ago, whitestavern said:

We are down to three choices here: Allegheny (honors), Dickinson, or URochester. Allegheny is the least expensive by quite a bit, but we could probably stretch ourselves to handle either of the other two. We are visiting Dickinson next week for admitted students day. I think URoch is currently on top. If anyone has any advice on how to determine if a school is worth a certain percentage more than another school, I'm all ears. DD not sure of a major, is thinking English right now with an eye towards teaching or working in some capacity with children or adults with developmental disabilities.

My oh my! What great choices. Has she visited all three or will this be her first trip to Dickinson (love btw)?  URoch is also wonderful -  just different than small liberal arts colleges. 

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We quickly drove through Dickinson last year on our way home from another school but have not done a formal tour or anything. Honestly we don't even know much about the school! She put it on last minute mostly because of a recommendation from her APELC teacher who is an alum. The reason it's still on is because she really has no reason to take it off, lol. With the exception of URoch she did apply only to small LACs, but URoch had a similar feel to her, a very traditional campus and strong humanities even though it's an excellent research university. She very much liked the city setting there as well. I forgot to mention that she is planning on minoring in environmental science, so that is another reason Roch has stayed in her top choices. Hopefully the Dickinson visit will help narrow her list down to two.

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1 hour ago, whitestavern said:

We are down to three choices here: Allegheny (honors), Dickinson, or URochester. Allegheny is the least expensive by quite a bit, but we could probably stretch ourselves to handle either of the other two. We are visiting Dickinson next week for admitted students day. I think URoch is currently on top. If anyone has any advice on how to determine if a school is worth a certain percentage more than another school, I'm all ears. DD not sure of a major, is thinking English right now with an eye towards teaching or working in some capacity with children or adults with developmental disabilities.

2

 

fwiw, my niece graduated from Allegheny and loved it. 

In a purely practical sense, I would struggle with the idea of paying quite a bit more for the majors your dd has in mind. She will almost certainly need a master's degree. 

Actually, if she has an eye toward teaching, none of these schools would be on my list - they don't have undergrad education majors. Allegheny has a minor and Dickinson has a concentration. I don't know enough to know if those are good choices for getting into grad school, but they are not great choices for getting a job straight after graduation. 

Edited to add that I would struggle with the idea of paying quite a bit more for lots of other majors, as well. There would need to be specific and significant reasons that the pricier schools is a considerably better choice (not just slightly better, not just I like it more). 

Of course, she might be planning on graduate school from the word go. If she is, and the money is there for both, it might be a workable choice. If money is more of a consideration, I would go back and look at other schools on my list, with education in mind. 

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This has not gotten any easier. I was ready to tell her to pick Clark. But she got back from school number 4 a couple of days ago and I heard a level of excitement that I had not heard when she toured the other schools. 

We told her without thinking about it-which school would she drop if she had to drop on right now. She nixed Albright. Even though she likes the school and they gave her the most money the area is still very depressed.

This leaves her with Clark, Susquehanna, and Goucher. Susquehanna- cost the most. Clark-is really the best academic overall and she liked the people she met but the swim coach did not leave her with the warm and fuzzies. Goucher-also an excellent school and she really liked the coach and the swimmers she met. Since her brother is also attending school in Maryland - Goucher moves up on the convenience to the parents pro list. But. Not our decision. 

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We are getting closer to a decision. To her surprise she decided that the school her brother attends (McDaniel) had a lot to offer her when she went to visit him and attend admitted student day. Last night she told me she is now thinking Goucher is where she is meant to be. She has a couple of questions that she will reach out to get answers for and will hopefully be ready to commit soon.

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Dd has been all over the map as far as decisions go.  She was accepted to 9 schools, but several were eliminated due to cost ... either no scholarship $$ or not enough to make it doable.  As of 2 weeks ago, she was down to Illinois Wesleyan (safety as far as finances go - they gave her a KILLER scholarship), Kentucky, and Saint Louis University.  She was hoping for SLU, but they were still slightly out of reach.  A week ago, Minnesota offered her another scholarship, which put it back into financial possibility.  She was leaning 90% toward Minnesota until yesterday, when SLU offered her another scholarship.  She burst into tears over having to consider another school.  It took a while to convince her that it was a good problem to have ... her top two schools want her and they are doable financially.  She is sad that she didn't hear about the Minnesota scholarship in time to make another visit there.  We did a very quick 2 hour visit last January on our way to a competition.  

Here we are down to the wire.  Part of the difficulty is the major.  She didn't apply engineering to Minnesota because she wasn't confident that she would get in or get any scholarship funds if she did get in.  So, she is planning on neuroscience or environmental science.  At SLU, she was accepted into civil/environmental engineering, but would have the freedom to transfer out into something else.  Decisions, decisions.  

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15 hours ago, PinkyandtheBrains. said:

Currently I am a 5 min walk from Illinois Wesleyan:)

All of my kids had Illinois Wesleyan in their top picks.  When we visited, they asked what they could do to get on of our kids to commit there :).   I do wish K had gone there instead of Lawrence.  It is closer and we could have kept better tabs on her, perhaps preventing or at least mitigating the mental illness spiral.  For dd, it is just too small, not urban enough for her, and the climbing community isn't what she is looking for.  

7 hours ago, FuzzyCatz said:

Ha, I am a 5 minute walk from (part of) UMN-TC.   I am a college of science and engineering alum too.   Hard choices!   

Dd loved the area and likes the school.  We were just about set to commit until the SLU scholarship came through.

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