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kokotg

Colleges in the South for quirky, nerdy kids

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We have a giant list of schools in the Northeast and midwest that DS17 (rising senior) is considering, but not a whole lot closer to home (north Georgia). We've toured UGA, Emory, and Oxford; he'll certainly apply to UGA, but I really see him doing better at a smaller school. He liked Oxford, but isn't sure about the part where you end up at Emory after 2 years (he liked Emory fine, but didn't love it). What he's looking for (and/or what his parents are looking for):

*strong math department (not interested in engineering or sciences other than possibly physics)

*liberal/progressive vibe

*greek life either non-existent or not a big deal on campus

*academically minded

*preferably more quirky than preppy

*great financial aid (either merit or need-based or a combo)

Doesn't care about sporty vs. not (he likes watching sports but doesn't play any). Not picky about location as far as urban vs. rural. 

He has an excellent transcript/GPA/SAT

We toured a bunch of schools in the northeast over the summer and his favorites were Bowdoin, Vassar, Williams, and Hamilton (with the caveat that there weren't many students around, so it was hard to get a feel for some things). In the midwest, he hasn't yet visited but is interested in Grinnell, Carleton, St. Olaf, Oberlin, Earlham, Knox, maybe Macalester. 

Our current list is a little light on safeties/matches; of course he had to love Williams and Bowdoin :)....so more of those, but still places with very strong academics would be nice.

Where should we be looking in the southeast?

 

 

 

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Have you looked at Berry? Small, quirky, no Greek life at all. I loved it when we toured, but dd is crushing on Tech. ?

 

ETA - Berry is a work school, so nearly every student has an on campus job. Hope applies to GA residents, and they have interesting scholarship opportunities.

Edited by FriedClams
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50 minutes ago, FriedClams said:

Have you looked at Berry? Small, quirky, no Greek life at all. I loved it when we toured, but dd is crushing on Tech. ?

 

ETA - Berry is a work school, so nearly every student has an on campus job. Hope applies to GA residents, and they have interesting scholarship opportunities.

 

I'd love for him to be that close, and I hear the campus is gorgeous....but I think Berry would be way too conservative for his tastes.

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3 hours ago, kokotg said:

 

I'd love for him to be that close, and I hear the campus is gorgeous....but I think Berry would be way too conservative for his tastes.

I'd take a look. It did not strike me as conservative. Lots of diverse clubs advertising on campus. No religious component. It's a huge, beautiful campus and lots of nature so pretty crunchy atmosphere. You might be pleasantly surprised. ? A friend has a student about to go there and she described the orientation as "very relational, very personal". 

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I would assume you looked at Georgia Tech. 

University of Alabama at Birmingham has a nice reputation for medical research. I am not sure if that carries over to math. University of Alabama at Huntsville is more math and science. 

DH majored in math at Furman and had an amazing experience. 

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Berry does describe itself as based on Christian values. We went to a scholarship day there and they did refer to themselves as a Christian school but not denominational and open to a variety of beliefs. But many homeschoolers in my area do look at Berry because it is perceived to be more conservative than most. 

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1 hour ago, lmrich said:

I would assume you looked at Georgia Tech. 

University of Alabama at Birmingham has a nice reputation for medical research. I am not sure if that carries over to math. University of Alabama at Huntsville is more math and science. 

DH majored in math at Furman and had an amazing experience. 

 

32 minutes ago, trulycrabby said:

University of Alabama in Huntsville and Georgia Tech.

 

My oldest is at UAH. I can testify that it is hella nerdy ?

They have amazing merit-based financial aid. Like, AMAZING, if you have top scores and GPA. It's probably less expensive than any of the schools you listed even before any merit aid. It's not a "name" school, but it's Tier 1 for research and generally ranks in the top 200 on the various lists and top 125 for publics. About 7,500 students. 

There's Greek life but it's not a big deal. Ice hockey is the top sport, no football team. Lots of quirky groups like cosplay, swing dance, Quidditch, gaming, Pokemon. There's an honors college with designated classes, priority registration, the usual. 

I wouldn't call the campus progress or liberal, though. dd actually found it conservative to the point of culture shock, but then again she was born and raised in the New Orleans area, so it might depend on your point of view! The liberal and progressive students are out there, though, they're just not what strikes you first. They do have groups for LGBTQ, atheist/agnostic/freethinker, diversity and equality, and so on. Huntsville, aka Rocket City, is considerably more hip, progressive, and diverse than UAH while remaining nerdy at heart (lots of scientists and engineers, like, SO many). 

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1 hour ago, lmrich said:

I would assume you looked at Georgia Tech. 

University of Alabama at Birmingham has a nice reputation for medical research. I am not sure if that carries over to math. University of Alabama at Huntsville is more math and science. 

DH majored in math at Furman and had an amazing experience. 

 

We've kind of looked at Tech...we haven't actually done a visit, because I think he's leaning more toward a LAC. He's into math right now, but is also interested in political science and a bunch of other stuff...a LAC with an open or semi-open curriculum might be a better fit so he can explore a bit more before settling on one thing. We should do a visit at least, though, because the whole part where he'd have a Zell Miller scholarship and maybe even be able to live at home at least some of the time is awfully appealing financially.

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10 minutes ago, katilac said:

 

 

My oldest is at UAH. I can testify that it is hella nerdy ?

They have amazing merit-based financial aid. Like, AMAZING, if you have top scores and GPA. It's probably less expensive than any of the schools you listed even before any merit aid. It's not a "name" school, but it's Tier 1 for research and generally ranks in the top 200 on the various lists and top 125 for publics. About 7,500 students. 

There's Greek life but it's not a big deal. Ice hockey is the top sport, no football team. Lots of quirky groups like cosplay, swing dance, Quidditch, gaming, Pokemon. There's an honors college with designated classes, priority registration, the usual. 

I wouldn't call the campus progress or liberal, though. dd actually found it conservative to the point of culture shock, but then again she was born and raised in the New Orleans area, so it might depend on your point of view! The liberal and progressive students are out there, though, they're just not what strikes you first. They do have groups for LGBTQ, atheist/agnostic/freethinker, diversity and equality, and so on. Huntsville, aka Rocket City, is considerably more hip, progressive, and diverse than UAH while remaining nerdy at heart (lots of scientists and engineers, like, SO many). 

 

Thanks for all that! UAH comes up over and over again--we should definitely take a look. We're only looking at places that either meet 100% of demonstrated need or where he'd have a good shot at significant merit, so the sticker price at the places I've listed isn't what we're looking at....but if UAH keeps offering merit like they've done in the past, it sounds like they'd still come out ahead of nearly anywhere else (barring pulling off getting into Harvard or getting one of the handful of full rides at UGA or somewhere).

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16 minutes ago, kokotg said:

 

Thanks for all that! UAH comes up over and over again--we should definitely take a look. We're only looking at places that either meet 100% of demonstrated need or where he'd have a good shot at significant merit, so the sticker price at the places I've listed isn't what we're looking at....but if UAH keeps offering merit like they've done in the past, it sounds like they'd still come out ahead of nearly anywhere else (barring pulling off getting into Harvard or getting one of the handful of full rides at UGA or somewhere).

 

The 2019-2020 scholarship chart is available here: https://www.uah.edu/admissions/undergraduate/financial-aid/scholarships

They're downgraded the top award to provide only two years of university housing instead of four, which is kind of weird because I'm sure most people would prefer to pay so much per year and not have a big jump the last two years. 

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10 minutes ago, katilac said:

 

The 2019-2020 scholarship chart is available here: https://www.uah.edu/admissions/undergraduate/financial-aid/scholarships

They're downgraded the top award to provide only two years of university housing instead of four, which is kind of weird because I'm sure most people would prefer to pay so much per year and not have a big jump the last two years. 

 

So it looks like to get even the 2 years of housing covered, you have to get a 1600 in a single sitting on the SAT? Hmm... actually might not come out any better than Tech or UGA in that case.

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2 minutes ago, kokotg said:

 

So it looks like to get even the 2 years of housing covered, you have to get a 1600 in a single sitting on the SAT? Hmm... actually might not come out any better than Tech or UGA in that case.

 

What do you mean by a single sitting? Is that referring to not super scoring? They will take your highest score, but they do not super score. 

I actually didn't even notice that they raised the required scores! It's a pretty big change, which I guess isn't surprising because UA made some big changes last year. 

For 2016-17, a 4.0 GPA and 34 on the ACT earned full tuition and housing for four years. For which we are very thankful, lol. 

Now you need a 36 for full tuition and housing for two years. That would be about $4,000 per year for the first two years, and about $8,000 to $10,000 per year for the last two years, depending on meal plan and such. 

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8 hours ago, katilac said:

 

What do you mean by a single sitting? Is that referring to not super scoring? They will take your highest score, but they do not super score. 

I actually didn't even notice that they raised the required scores! It's a pretty big change, which I guess isn't surprising because UA made some big changes last year. 

For 2016-17, a 4.0 GPA and 34 on the ACT earned full tuition and housing for four years. For which we are very thankful, lol. 

Now you need a 36 for full tuition and housing for two years. That would be about $4,000 per year for the first two years, and about $8,000 to $10,000 per year for the last two years, depending on meal plan and such. 

 

Right--not superscoring. He has pretty close to a 1600, but not a 1600. But, yeah, with the Zell Miller scholarship, he already has tuition covered at any public college in Georgia, which makes it tough for out of state publics to compete. But private schools with solid financial aid usually give me a number comparable to what we'd be out of pocket at UGA....and we'd come out ahead at those once we have more than one kid in college (since our financial aid would go up with need based aid then but not with the Zell Miller)

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9 hours ago, GoodGrief1 said:

I was going to say Berry, but also College of Charleston

 

I keep coming back to the College of Charleston....I think every time I do the financial aid looks lackluster, but I will take another look. He likes Charleston ?

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33 minutes ago, Hoggirl said:

Hendrix College - top merit is pretty competitive, however. 

 

Hendrix is on our list! The net price calculator spit out a pretty competitive quote....I think it was probably a combo of merit and need based that they were showing. It's just as far away as some of the midwestern colleges we're looking at, though, so I kind of think of it more in that category.

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3 hours ago, kokotg said:

But, yeah, with the Zell Miller scholarship, he already has tuition covered at any public college in Georgia, which makes it tough for out of state publics to compete. But private schools with solid financial aid usually give me a number comparable to what we'd be out of pocket at UGA....and we'd come out ahead at those once we have more than one kid in college (since our financial aid would go up with need based aid then but not with the Zell Miller)

2

 

We have a state scholarship here, too, but the funding is precarious from year to year. It's fully funded for the coming year, and that's all we're counting on for our youngest (although certainly hoping for more, lol). 

Do watch the fees carefully. At least one of our state schools has fees that very nearly equal tuition! It sounds like you're running the calculators, but I thought I'd mention it for any lurkers. 

I'm not cut out for the stress of waiting on financial aid packages every year, lol. 

It sounds like he will have lots of great choices! 

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25 minutes ago, katilac said:

 

 

Do watch the fees carefully. At least one of our state schools has fees that very nearly equal tuition! It sounds like you're running the calculators, but I thought I'd mention it for any lurkers. 

 

 

Oh, yes--we're definitely taking the ridiculous fees into account when we look at the finances! 

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10 minutes ago, lmrich said:

Georgia Tech has a liberal arts college or school. 

 

They do, but that's not their strength. They don't have a political science major, for example (only a minor), so if he decided a year or two in that he wanted that, he'd have to transfer. They also give you much less freedom to choose classes and explore different disciplines than a typical LAC. We've been looking at lots of schools with few or no distribution requirements, and that appeals to him. We met with a math professor when we visited Williams, and the first thing he told us was, "if you know you definitely want to do math and nothing but math, then don't come to Williams." Because it's a small department that won't be able to offer the same things as a large research university, so if you're sure you're going to major in math and then hit grad school, you should be at a big university. But if you're not sure and you want to explore different areas, then you're better off somewhere that gives you time and freedom to take classes all over the place before settling on one (or two) majors. 

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On 8/1/2018 at 12:06 PM, kokotg said:

They do, but that's not their strength. They don't have a political science major, for example (only a minor), so if he decided a year or two in that he wanted that, he'd have to transfer. They also give you much less freedom to choose classes and explore different disciplines than a typical LAC. We've been looking at lots of schools with few or no distribution requirements, and that appeals to him. We met with a math professor when we visited Williams, and the first thing he told us was, "if you know you definitely want to do math and nothing but math, then don't come to Williams." Because it's a small department that won't be able to offer the same things as a large research university, so if you're sure you're going to major in math and then hit grad school, you should be at a big university. But if you're not sure and you want to explore different areas, then you're better off somewhere that gives you time and freedom to take classes all over the place before settling on one (or two) majors.

 

 

I know students at one of the midwestern colleges you mentioned that have three majors, plus the school offers minors and "concentrations." So yeah, if he wants to explore a lot of different things a LAC might be the way to go.

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Rice University?  I know they have an amazing endowment fund and can be super generous with merit aid.  They want diversity of location.  Rice does not have the scholarship set up of ;achieve ______score on ACT or SAT =this amount.  It looks like all applicants are considered for scholarships but I have no idea how you would find out  what  your student would potentially qualify for.  Maybe I missed it, but it looks like they aren't sharing much.

 

 

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On 8/3/2018 at 10:19 AM, SilverBrook said:

Rice University?  I know they have an amazing endowment fund and can be super generous with merit aid.  They want diversity of location.  Rice does not have the scholarship set up of ;achieve ______score on ACT or SAT =this amount.  It looks like all applicants are considered for scholarships but I have no idea how you would find out  what  your student would potentially qualify for.  Maybe I missed it, but it looks like they aren't sharing much.

 

 

Rice looks awesome, but it's in that crapshoot for pretty much anyone category (something like 9% admission rate). He has a bias against Texas for whatever reason, but I've been trying to get him to look at Rice.

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You are right about Rice.  You just never know.  Chances are better coming from out of State I believe.  I understand about the Texas bias.  I have relatives who have never been to Texas and think the while entire state  is dry with tumbleweeds blowing around and everyone acts like that one obnoxious person they met that one time.Sigh.  

Houston is the forth largest city in the US. So many different languages and cultures are here.  We have a harbor, no tumbleweeds ( this area is gulf coastal -the subtropics).  It is a huge city and Rice has its own tree lined, ivy covered area.  It is wonderful, but not for everyone. I don't know if I would push since it will be a more difficult admission than some others. Good luck!

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We LOVED Rice!  Ds received merit there (we did not qualify for need-based aid) of around $22,000 or so?  Can’t recall the exact amount.  They have a lower overal starting price-point than peer schools (yes, it’s all relevant, and it’s still very $$$), but I think at the time ds applied the amount of loans they included in financial aid packages were lower than Stafford loans.  

The people there were SO friendly, and we loved the residential college system.  It’s just a nice size, too - neither too large nor to small.  They are VERY keen on demonstrated interest.  Do a visit if at all possible.  We toured, did the info session, and ds attended a class and had a trial piano lesson (was considering a music major at the time). Beautiful campus in a beautiful area of Houston. As a university, it might have more math course offerings than a LAC.  I’m just speculating here. 

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When I was driving around Jackson this past weekend while there for a funeral, I was reminded of Millsaps College. If your son is opposed to Texas, I imagine Mississippi will seem unattractive, but I recall Millsaps being a quirky sort of place. Originally Methodist, but not so religious now if I recall correctly.

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6 hours ago, GoodGrief1 said:

When I was driving around Jackson this past weekend while there for a funeral, I was reminded of Millsaps College. If your son is opposed to Texas, I imagine Mississippi will seem unattractive, but I recall Millsaps being a quirky sort of place. Originally Methodist, but not so religious now if I recall correctly.

 

FYI, Millsaps is really small, less than 1,000 students. 

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