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dmmetler

DD’s current list-any opinions?

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@DD is really interested in cognitive science, particularly as relates to animal behavior. She’s looking at schools that have either cog sci departments or good psychology and biology departments, usually with an agricultural focus since those tend to have more of the organismal classes. She also has a big interest in social justice and sociology, and is interested in schools that have strong programs there So far, she has 95-97% ACT scores and a 4.0 unweighted with 36 college credit hours. She will probably have 60+ college credits completed at graduation, at a mix of CC, regional U’s, and State flagship U’s

 

Here’s the schools on her list so far:

She’s visited and likes:

University of Toronto (definite reach for financial reasons, possibly for admissions as well)-amazing campus, programs in everything, libraries to die for, loves the idea of the college system (especially University college and Trinity College) Toronto is an amazing city, but HUGE school and Far from home. It also may be too cold. 

Middle TN State U (financial and admissions safety) she qualifies for automatic admissions and good merit aid), one of her favorite herpetologist is there, she already has a spot in a lab, likes Murfreesboro, not too far from home, 

Arkansas State- best friend is likely to go there, close to home-automatic out of state tuition waiver, eligible for competitive merit aid), has not yet been able to connect with the herpetologist directly, but has on social media. It is also Currently an all-female Herpetology lab. Amazing animal specimen collection. (Match if honors stats are used)

University of Nevada-Reno-She LOVES their bio/ag department, and has done a lot on their campus. Great herp diversity. One of the top places for some of her other interests, probable internship/job opportunities. More younger than average students than most schools. Far away. (Match, if honors stats are used). Freshman dorms are not impressive,  and the cafeteria is OK, but not exciting (having said that, this is also the one campus where she has regularly stayed on campus, so she has much more experience with their housing). 

 

University of Alabama-Huntsville-knows the herpetologist there, excellent support for undergrad research, excellent honors program. (Match, if Honors program stats are used)-REALLY likes the dorm and cafeteria, honors program sounds good, departments aren’t specifically focused on her areas, but have enough classes that she can piece things together pretty easily, and has no cap on transfer credits and accept from her college without issue. Can take graduate courses while on undergraduate scholarships.

James Madison-knows the herpetologist, good undergrad research, family nearby, dorm and cafeteria are OK, would probably accept transfer credits, good support for multidisciplinary studies. More sports focused than sge likes, and may be a reach financially-she would have to get one of a small number of very good scholarships to make it financially reasonable to go there over an in-state school. 

Also on the list:

Tuskeegee University-she loves the history and heritage, and they definitely have the ag classes she finds interesting, plus some really good merit options. (Safety based on stats, but HBCU’s tend to look less at numbers). 

Agnes Scott-Again, she likes the idea of a Women’s College, and it’s been described to her as Hogwarts in Atlanta. I’m not sure if it has enough bio/STEM for her, though. (Reach due to cost). It also may be too small. 

Smith College-Women’s college, likes the history and heritage, definitely likes the social alignment and sociology, good reputation for biology and options to take classes at other schools (reach for everyone)

University of Central Florida-Dad went there, has the programs she wants, good sea turtle program, family nearby, but is HUGE. Possibly good merit aid (match, if honors program stats are used)

 

ADDED after 4/11 college fair

University of Arizona-already qualifies for excellent merit aid, has all of her concentrations, plus some really awesome herpetofauna. Probably a decent honors program match. Very active program in Herpetology circles. (Same problems as Reno-FAR away from home)

 

Miami University (Ohio)- has her programs and concentrations, in a smaller school. She would be competitive for merit scholarships (and would need them). Anyone know anything about it? 

 

University of Missouri-it has everything, and she qualifies for good merit aid. I’ve mostly heard of it in conjunction with kids who want to get sports scholarships, but again, it looks like it might be a good honors program/financial match. 

 

 

Edited by dmmetler
Added a few scholls

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What about adding some small more liberal arts schools, such as some of the NESCAC schools? Some of these are generous with aid, and with your DD's interest in herpetology, adcoms would likely find her to be an interesting candidate. 

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Arkansas State - no info on the college, but lots of natural beauty in the area and very friendly and welcoming people; we live in the south but were still impressed by the hospitality. 

Tuskeegee University - seems like a big undermatch for her; I'm not about the prestige and I don't think scores mean everything, but imo there is ideally a critical mass of students in the same general range. 75% of their students have an ACT of 22 or below. I can't find a common data set for them to see how their upper 25% shakes out but they should be able to provide that information, and it sounds like she will be able to skip most gen eds. Strong departments and involved professors can go a long way, of course. It might also help to get your hands on some relevant syllabi.  

 Agnes Scott-Again, she likes the idea of a Women’s College, and it’s been described to her as Hogwarts in Atlanta - I'm sorry, Agness Scott, that distinction belongs to Oglethorpe! I was pretty sad that neither of my kids went there. 

University of Central Florida-Dad went there, has the programs she wants, good sea turtle program, family nearby, but is HUGE. Possibly good merit aid  -  their merit aid was annoying to us, hard to figure out, you could get differing amounts for the 'same' scholarship (same name), and fairly late notification. That's been a good four years, though. 

University of Alabama-Huntsville-knows the herpetologist there, excellent support for undergrad research, excellent honors program - I'm pretty sure everyone knows I like UAH. I'll just add that dd is at a fabulous honors conference right now. She took an honors seminar on current Middle Eastern philosophy, and today they get to meet several of the authors and hear them speak. 

 

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I don’t think she’s gotten anything from Oglethorpe, but we can easily visit. We’re planning to visit GA Tech (we know the Herpetology professor there, who is also the curator of ectotherms for Zoo Atlanta, but their program is very focused on biomechanics, not behavior), and possibly UGa as well-one of her favorite people is at UGa, as well as Agnes Scott. 

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1 hour ago, dmmetler said:

University of Central Florida-Dad went there, has the programs she wants, good sea turtle program, family nearby, but is HUGE. Possibly good merit aid (match, if honors program stats are used)

University of Alabama-Huntsville-knows the herpetologist there, excellent support for undergrad research, excellent honors program. (Match, if Honors program stats are used)

These were DD#1's top two picks because they both offer what are pretty much full rides for National Merit Finalists (although UCFs offer is technically better since they cover full Cost of Attendance).

DD found that UCF's honors college made the school seem much smaller than it is. Campus was gorgeous and super easy to navigate (DD described it as 'intuitive.'). DH loved the library. Honors dorm was amazing. Full sized bed, own room in a suite-style, full kitchen set-up. Barnes & Noble right under the Honors Dorm. People on campus pretty diverse & had a progressive, hippy, and laid back vibe when we visited. Area surrounding campus offers good food options since the dorm-food is abysmal. 

UAH is, of course, smaller. It had a more nerdy campus feel - like it was okay to be smart. Kids were super welcoming and nice. I believe all the dorm setups offer your own room (suite-style, share a bathroom with one other student). Seemed like there was definitely an opportunity to do research and get job opportunities as an undergrad. Definitely not a rah-rah sports school (which is what really appeals to my DD since she's sick of the Football Is King culture where we live).

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Will you not qualify for any financial aid? I agree with looking at the NESCAC and other schools that guarantee to meet 100% of need. I mean, at Stanford, you pay no tuition if you make less than 125k and no tuition, fees, room, or board if you make less than 65k. Other schools have similar programs. That doesn't work too well in high COL states like CA, but coming from TN, it's generally easier to qualify.

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Unfortunately, we are likely right in the gap where we will get little financial aid, even at the “meets need” schools, but will be unable to pay the full cost of most schools. Which is why we are looking heavily at schools that give merit aid and where DD is an overmatch (but have good honors programs). DD is getting fairly heavy recruiting from Vanderbilt, U of Chicago, and similar schools, but their net price calculators are not exactly reassuring. 

And, to be honest, for DD’s interests, often the schools that are the best fit have “Agricultural College” somewhere in their name, at least historically. Which means a lot of the private schools are off the list (DD knows one of the biologists at Yale, and he’s flat out told her that she should go elsewhere for undergrad, but he would love to see her for grad school). The only ivy that has what she wants is Cornell, and she isn’t enamored with the climate or location. She’ll accept cold for Toronto, but not for Ithaca. 

 

DD definitely wants a more liberal vibe, or at least an accepting campus. I could actually see her enjoying the right sorority, if there was an appropriately geeky one with a lot of girl power focus. I think she would also enjoy cheering at the college level if the school had an appropriate team (she would NOT be cheering at UCF-they are one of the top Division IA Co-Ed teams in the USA, and their typical female cheerleader weighs about 90 lbs and is under 5’2”), but she is unlikely to be a recruited athlete for cheer. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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If she's pondering Canadian schools, I'm wondering if she might be interested any of these?

-University of Guelph

-University of Saskatchewan

-University of Lethbridge

-University of Alberta

All have well-regarded biology and agriculture programmes. All will be cold! Lethbridge will be the warmest, with Chinook winds periodically through the winter.

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Agnes Scott has a program with Georgia Tech where you do two years at Scott and two at Tech. I know it works for engineering, but I don’t know about other majors. Would that be a possibility for her? 

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3 hours ago, dmmetler said:

I don’t think she’s gotten anything from Oglethorpe, but we can easily visit. We’re planning to visit GA Tech (we know the Herpetology professor there, who is also the curator of ectotherms for Zoo Atlanta, but their program is very focused on biomechanics, not behavior), and possibly UGa as well-one of her favorite people is at UGa, as well as Agnes Scott. 

If there is any interest in Oglethorpe it is worth a look. They have been awesome financially for my ds (read Surprise scholarship brag thread). There have fantastic financial aid and my ds got both merit and grant aid and was allowed to stack an outside scholarship. The big things there are business and music/theatre but they will work with your student to support their goals and you have the whole city of Atlanta at your disposal. I also think biology and psychology are supposed to be good.  My son’s girlfriend is a physics major and the only one at the school right now. She has good support from the faculty and they help her get what she needs. She is taking a class at Emory right now. Many kids go to GaTech for classes. And the education must be okay if the Oglethorpe students can hang at the other schools. This girl has also had research gigs at an SEC university and a national lab. So- if you visit make sure you talk to someone about what specifically they can offer your dd. There were biology and psychology awards given at the ceremony I was at on Monday and the winners seemed quite accomplished.

And just because you mentioned UCF, I’ll throw out University of South Florida in Tampa. My second ds is there now in the Honors Program. We are in TN and my ds is going to USF for close to what he would have paid at TN Tech or MTSU. It is huge (though not quite so much as UCF though at that point I’m not sure there is a difference.) 

Edit: just saw the part about liberal vibe, sorority, and cheer. Definitely check out Oglethorpe!! It will check all three of those boxes.

Edited by teachermom2834
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Well UC Davis is arguably the best animal science university in the nation, and with those stats she'd have a chance.  🙂  OUt of state might be very expensive and UC's don't offer merit aid though.

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4 hours ago, dmmetler said:

Unfortunately, we are likely right in the gap where we will get little financial aid, even at the “meets need” schools, but will be unable to pay the full cost of most schools. Which is why we are looking heavily at schools that give merit aid and where DD is an overmatch (but have good honors programs). DD is getting fairly heavy recruiting from Vanderbilt, U of Chicago, and similar schools, but their net price calculators are not exactly reassuring. 

And, to be honest, for DD’s interests, often the schools that are the best fit have “Agricultural College” somewhere in their name, at least historically. Which means a lot of the private schools are off the list (DD knows one of the biologists at Yale, and he’s flat out told her that she should go elsewhere for undergrad, but he would love to see her for grad school). The only ivy that has what she wants is Cornell, and she isn’t enamored with the climate or location. She’ll accept cold for Toronto, but not for Ithaca. 

 

DD definitely wants a more liberal vibe, or at least an accepting campus. I could actually see her enjoying the right sorority, if there was an appropriately geeky one with a lot of girl power focus. I think she would also enjoy cheering at the college level if the school had an appropriate team (she would NOT be cheering at UCF-they are one of the top Division IA Co-Ed teams in the USA, and their typical female cheerleader weighs about 90 lbs and is under 5’2”), but she is unlikely to be a recruited athlete for cheer. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m right there with her on Cornell. Has she considered Colorado State? I know they have a top vet school and lots of strong ag science programs, and the location and climate can’t be beat. Oregon State is another possibility to consider if she’s willing to go west. 

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Vanderbilt's merit scholarships might be a possibility for her with her unique background. The only thing that might make me question that is that Vandy is ***incredibly*** stat conscious. I'm not sure what her actual test scores are based on your post. 

I would not discount competitive merit at schools like NCSU's Park or USC's Top Scholar. Not so sure about GT and their presidential, though, bc again they are very stat conscious (no where near Vandy, though.) She would be an excellent candidate for STAMP Scholar at most schools that offer it.  Stamps is looking for students with her sort of background.

My recommendation would be to apply to the schools you listed as affordable and likable options, and then spend time investigating competitive merit options at 3-4 that might have the opportunities on campus that she wants. If she really sells herself and her initiative as a self-motivated learner who has gotten the opportunities she has under her own drive, I think she will make it to interview level based in our experience.

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She’s low 30’s now, but has taken quite a few classes since then. She’ll take the PSAT this coming fall, and unless she has a bad day, should qualify for National Merit based on Khan Academy’s practice. 

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2 minutes ago, dmmetler said:

She’s low 30’s now, but has taken quite a few classes since then. She’ll take the PSAT this coming fall, and unless she has a bad day, should qualify for National Merit based on Khan Academy’s practice. 

Is she applying next yr or the following yr?

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I agree with 8’s advice. I think your dd is an interesting candidate and should go ahead and look for some potential merit opportunities in addition to the match and safety schools you have identified.

My next ds isn’t nearly as strong of a candidate as your dd and I will have him applying to some on your list for automatic merit aid but also probably pick a couple where he might have a shot at a competitive scholarship. 

I would mention not to fall in love with any of the possibilities that aren’t a sure thing but you seem to have a good mindset about that. Your dd is a great candidate and if she was mine I would definitely pick a few others to shoot for. I’m not even super enamored with rankings or competitive schools but I’d take a run at a couple before just accepting that she has to undermatch to afford it. Maybe she does and then you make the most of it but you might be underestimating how strong she is.

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6 minutes ago, dmmetler said:

She’s low 30’s now, but has taken quite a few classes since then. She’ll take the PSAT this coming fall, and unless she has a bad day, should qualify for National Merit based on Khan Academy’s practice. 

If she's a Finalist she would qualify for a full ride at Univ. of Central Florida (Benaquisto)

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She has lots of time for her test scores to be top percentiles. I think you are underselling her competiveness for top merit. I can definitely relate to the inability to apply to non-merit schools bc we fall in the exact same place. But, competitive merit is looking for kids with drive and initiative. Your Dd has that and with the bonus of an incredibly unique  interest and background. Having been through the competitive meriti process twice now, I am pretty sure your Dd will catch committees' attention. 

Edited by 8FillTheHeart
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My DD has been accepted at Smith. She is attracted to the school's social consciousness, the energy of the student population, house residential system, the opportunity to take classes in the 5 College Consortium, and the town of Northampton. Another women's college to look at is Mount Holyoke. It is also part of the 5 College Consortium. Our take is that it is not quite as socially conscious nor as academic but easier to get into.

Price-wise Smith came in for DD next to the bottom of the 100% need LACs while Mount Holyoke came in a couple K higher. DD has stats high enough to get her into these schools but she is not as high as your DD potentially could be. In addition, DD doesn't have the same drive just solid ECs. Finally we fall in the middle financially. This is our second time through the admissions cycle and found that though both of our DDs got scholarships at every school (LACs), they never got enough scholarship money to exceed our need. The only exceptions were our state public universities (we are in a state which highly subsidizes public universities) where the cost of attendance was less than our need; at those schools, scholarships made a significant difference in cost.

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My understanding is that Florida schools are offering great money for National Merit now. It used to be that the benefits were primarily for in-state students. I definitely think Florida when I think reptiles 🙂 Has she considered University of Florida?

Adding about Ga Tech...my daughter was chosen for Stamps there, and I think your daughter is way more interesting 🙂 That said, one thing I do know about Tech, via conversations with admissions staff there, is that they are loathe to lose admitted students to other schools, and they do practice some yield protection. So a very high stats student like your daughter needs to show a lot of interest if she wants admission.

Edited by GoodGrief1
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She’s considered UF, and knows people there. Having said that, UF’s program is heavily focused on control of invasive species, which does not appeal, and they don’t do much with behavior. She’s also likely to visit Florida International and University of Miami, both of which do have ethology labs (but mostly at the graduate level).

It would be more likely for her to be able to cheer at UF than at UCF (UF’s team is a game day team.)

Purdue, Auburn, and Texas A&M all come up frequently, but might be more of a financial stretch (and A&M is hard to get into as an out of state student). Purdue seems convinced DD is an engineer-she’s being recruited heavily, but by the wrong program. Penn State also comes up (and has the status of being the first school to recruit DD-their bio department put her on their prospective student list and started contacting her for events when she was 9.)

 

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6 hours ago, dmmetler said:

She’s considered UF, and knows people there. Having said that, UF’s program is heavily focused on control of invasive species, which does not appeal, and they don’t do much with behavior. She’s also likely to visit Florida International and University of Miami, both of which do have ethology labs (but mostly at the graduate level).

It would be more likely for her to be able to cheer at UF than at UCF (UF’s team is a game day team.)

Purdue, Auburn, and Texas A&M all come up frequently, but might be more of a financial stretch (and A&M is hard to get into as an out of state student). Purdue seems convinced DD is an engineer-she’s being recruited heavily, but by the wrong program. Penn State also comes up (and has the status of being the first school to recruit DD-their bio department put her on their prospective student list and started contacting her for events when she was 9.)

 

No school is really recruiting her for anything. Just ignore those sorts of contacts. They are nothing more than mass marketing materials that hold absolutely zero value.

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6 hours ago, dmmetler said:

She’s considered UF, and knows people there. Having said that, UF’s program is heavily focused on control of invasive species, which does not appeal, and they don’t do much with behavior. She’s also likely to visit Florida International and University of Miami, both of which do have ethology labs (but mostly at the graduate level).

It would be more likely for her to be able to cheer at UF than at UCF (UF’s team is a game day team.)

Purdue, Auburn, and Texas A&M all come up frequently, but might be more of a financial stretch (and A&M is hard to get into as an out of state student). Purdue seems convinced DD is an engineer-she’s being recruited heavily, but by the wrong program. Penn State also comes up (and has the status of being the first school to recruit DD-their bio department put her on their prospective student list and started contacting her for events when she was 9.)

 

TAMU has automatic admissions by test score too for an ACT 0f 30 (subsets of 27 in English and Math) or 1360 SAT. They'll give you in state tuition if you get at least $4000 in merit aid and they're fairly generous with their scholarships. If their herp program is appropriate, I'd give them a good look.

Edited by chiguirre

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Well, you know that I attended Reno in conservation biology, and I loved it!  Loved the department, the professors, the community, the classes, the students, the city.  I loved it all.  I did finish in 1992, but still happy to answer questions. 

Ruth in NZ

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10 hours ago, dmmetler said:

Purdue, Auburn, and Texas A&M all come up frequently, but might be more of a financial stretch (and A&M is hard to get into as an out of state student). Purdue seems convinced DD is an engineer-she’s being recruited heavily, but by the wrong program. Penn State also comes up (and has the status of being the first school to recruit DD-their bio department put her on their prospective student list and started contacting her for events when she was 9.)

 

 

I agree with others that your dd will likely be a strong candidate for competitive scholarships.

If she will qualify for National Merit, Texas A&M has a good scholarship for that, and some National Merit students are invited to interview for the Brown scholarship, which combines with the National Merit Scholarship to make a full ride. https://scholarships.tamu.edu/FRESHMEN/University-Scholarships#0-CraigandGalenBrownFoundationScholarship

A&M also has a new scholarship (this is the second year it has been offered) called the Brockman Scholarship and it is not just a full ride but full cost of attendance, including an MS in Business. But the MS is required, and I don't know if your dd is interested in business. https://brockmanfoundation.org/brockman-scholars-faqs/

 

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I'll add some things to consider from the opposite side. I'm assuming that with your dd's interests she'll move on to graduate level study, maybe PhD work - ignore if that doesn't apply and you may have already considered this. I don't know how her field is set up, but in history it's recommended that students attend different schools for undergrad and PhD work, even a third if they do a separate master's. If she has a faculty she'd love to work with but might be a stretch financially for undergrad, maybe look at where their grad students are coming from. 

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I am ABD for cognitive psychology and neuroscience. My speciality was originally language development and then Parkinson's disease (rats). I personally would recommend being a big fish in a smaller, interesting school for undergrad. I did undergrad at Bucknell University, which is usually ranked near or at the top for animal behavior for smaller schools. When I attended, it was primarily primates and rats. Duke has an amazing primate lab. I attended UT Austin for PhD and back then the neuro field was just starting to blossom! 

I recall your DD being more interested in herps, right? 

(I hate to admit it, but I, and most of my fellow grad students, ended up in corporate world because an emphasis on cognitive learning with UX took off about the same time.)

Edited by deerforest
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On 4/14/2019 at 8:46 AM, deerforest said:

 Duke has an amazing primate lab.

 

Duke also has full ride scholarships for leadership, which your dd has in spades.

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