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Janeway

Please recommend colleges to consider

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I am feeling clueless and realizing we started this a bit late. Son is end of junior year. He ranks quite well in his class at his classical education school. He has not taken the SAT yet. His PSAT index score was a 220. He wants to major in philosophy (top choice), classics, maybe is starting to consider something such as psychology. I understand he would like a career in academia. He is a very book smart kind of person. He loved UTD when we toured and liked Baylor. UTD is probably not the best choice for the majors he likes. We did not get to tour Hendrix or Rhodes (my car went kaput the weekend leading up to when we were supposed to go, hope to visit later). I am realizing we will need to open up our list of schools to look at to go further away from where we live. Oh yeah, he has always wanted to consider Hillsdale. And he will need financial aid. 

 

I am at a complete loss!!!! I do not even know where to start. Most my information is based on my own perceptions from decades ago when I went. Please advise schools for us to start researching. On search engines, putting in philosophy as a major seems to be too broad. It would be nice to have some schools for him to consider that would be more of reach schools too, as well as middle level ones. IF I still lived in the midwest, I might seriously consider Carleton, St Olaf, and Macalester. But I have a family member who currently works for Carleton so kind of thinking of just staying away from that direction. And I don't know as much about Macalester as I do about St Olaf and Carleton. I am in Texas but am not limiting to staying close anymore. Honestly, Baylor did not feel like that great of a fit, but will do if need be. It is clearly a fine school, just not quite what I think would fit the bill for him. 

 

Please help! Thank you so much!!!

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If you might qualify for financial aid, I would suggest looking first at the list of schools that meet full need. Almost all of these schools would be considered reaches for even the best students in the current admissions environment although some of them might be a match. Many of these are liberal art schools that would be likely to have pretty good philosophy and classics departments. Some of these schools may also provide merit aid for those ineligible for financial aid. However, generally the more selective the school,  the less likely they will offer merit.

If you think you will qualify for little to no financial aid, then I would look for schools with good merit.  Trinity University in San Antonio has a good reputation as a solid liberal arts univ. with good merit aid that would probably be a match. University of Dallas is a Catholic university which has a strong focus on the classics and philosophy - not sure about merit but I think this would be a match. St. Johns College (in Annapolis or Santa Fe) has a unique curriculum but might appeal. 

Further afield some smaller liberal arts schools that offer merit and would probably be matches:  In the midwest, Lawrence, Gustavus Adolphus, Denison, College of Wooster, Knox, On the east coast, St. Lawrence Univ, Hobart and William Smith are ones that do not meet full need but do offer some financial aid as well as merit. On the larger side (5000+), try University of Tulsa, University of Rochester, Case Western, Fordham, Wake Forest, St. Louis University.

 

 

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36 minutes ago, 3andme said:

If you might qualify for financial aid, I would suggest looking first at the list of schools that meet full need. Almost all of these schools would be considered reaches for even the best students in the current admissions environment although some of them might be a match. Many of these are liberal art schools that would be likely to have pretty good philosophy and classics departments. Some of these schools may also provide merit aid for those ineligible for financial aid. However, generally the more selective the school,  the less likely they will offer merit.

If you think you will qualify for little to no financial aid, then I would look for schools with good merit.  Trinity University in San Antonio has a good reputation as a solid liberal arts univ. with good merit aid that would probably be a match. University of Dallas is a Catholic university which has a strong focus on the classics and philosophy - not sure about merit but I think this would be a match. St. Johns College (in Annapolis or Santa Fe) has a unique curriculum but might appeal. 

Further afield some smaller liberal arts schools that offer merit and would probably be matches:  In the midwest, Lawrence, Gustavus Adolphus, Denison, College of Wooster, Knox, On the east coast, St. Lawrence Univ, Hobart and William Smith are ones that do not meet full need but do offer some financial aid as well as merit. On the larger side (5000+), try University of Tulsa, University of Rochester, Case Western, Fordham, Wake Forest, St. Louis University.

 

 

We should qualify. For example, when I did the Princeton University net price calculator, it said family contribution (but broke down in to student and parent) was less than $5000. I am sure Princeton, which is next to impossible to get in to, probably has the best aid of all. I feel like if a school is more selective, it will probably have better financial aid. Meanwhile, at Baylor, where he would easily get in and get in to the honors program, the aid would be mostly limited to scholarships. And when we spoke to them, they said when scholarships are awarded, they reduce the need based aid, even if need had not been met. 

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One option is to start by look at where philosophy and classics profs at current schools on his list attended undergrad. Some colleges will have this in their course catalog. Others may have it on department websites. Since getting a tenure track job in academia is so competitive, especially in certain fields, going to a top grad program is pretty important in order to increase job prospects. Many of the small LACs have very strong track records of getting students into excellent PhD programs. I’ve seen ranked lists out there before, but not by major.

In the Midwest, Grinnell and Oberlin would be at about the same level as Carleton and Macalester.

Edited by Frances
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Check out Rice. They give out great need based aid. I have a family member who earned a Philosophy degree from there. 

Trinity in San Antonio is another wonderful school. They are very generous with merit aid. 

Edited by Christina78
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I graduated from Hendrix in 2007 cum laude as a Hays Scholar (tuition, room and board 4 year scholarship) with a double major in Spanish and International Relations, and think it sounds like a good fit for your child. If he's interested in applying, and being considered for the Hays, I'm allowed to recommend students for consideration each year and would be happy to pass his name along. DM if you'd like to discuss this further.

Dr. Campolo and Dr. Resinski were the Philosophy and Classics professors, respectively, in the Classics department that developed a cult following on campus while I was there. While Hendrix is a smaller school, it is a school that offers amazing research opportunities in the form of the Odyssey project, study abroad options, and the option to create independent studies for courses that smaller schools like Hendrix may not be able to offer on the regular. If your son would like to talk to those professors, let me know.

I am in regular contact with my professors from all those years ago. I made life-long friends. There's no Greek system, which has created a wonderful social scene of inclusion. It's finally got the football team that seems so important in the South, but when I was there, the Flying Squirrels ultimate frisbee team had a bigger following. I think it does an amazing job of taking solid kids but who aren't Ivy League students, and turning them around in 4 years such that they can compete with the best of them for grad school. Hendrix students hold their own because we've benefitted from the personal attention of our professors (like my Spanish major capstone had an essay section for each of us that was unique, because the faculty knew exactly what kind of question would challenge us as individuals), small classes with genuine, cooperative classmates, and enrichment studies that may be available in name only in larger schools (the risk of studying abroad, credits not transferring, graduating in 5 years is very real at many of the schools my friends from high school decided on). 

As you can see, I'm still so happy with the decision I made all those years ago, and think Hendrix is a school that so many others can say the same about.

Edited by heres_a_llama
more specific pronoun
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12 hours ago, Christina78 said:

Check out Rice. They give out great need based aid. I have a family member who earned a Philosophy degree from there. 

Trinity in San Antonio is another wonderful school. They are very generous with merit aid. 

 

+1   The wonderful Need-based Financial Aid that Rice University has available is probably why their Acceptance Rate this time was  8.7%

The following list of schools does not include Rice or Duke, but both schools should be included in the list of schools considered:

https://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/paying-for-college/articles/2018-09-18/18-schools-that-meet-full-financial-need-with-no-loans

UNC and UVA also have a lot of need-based aid available.

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You need to start by figuring out your budget. Having some numbers for the cost calculators on the school websites will be helpful/important.

For each school of interest, take a look at their automatic scholarships for academic achievement, and see where your son stands there. If National Merit is a possiblity, look to see what the school offers for merit.

If you are willing to pay full price anywhere, well, that opens up lots of options :-)

When I think of schools that offer great aid, Carleton/Macalester/St Olaf do not come to mind. One thing I would highly recommend is heading over to the financial aid forum at College Confidential and look at some of the pinned threads.

UTD does offer some great aid, and has a reputation for being a good place for intellectuals. I certainly wouldn't discount it.

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1 hour ago, GoodGrief1 said:

You need to start by figuring out your budget. Having some numbers for the cost calculators on the school websites will be helpful/important.

For each school of interest, take a look at their automatic scholarships for academic achievement, and see where your son stands there. If National Merit is a possiblity, look to see what the school offers for merit.

If you are willing to pay full price anywhere, well, that opens up lots of options 🙂

When I think of schools that offer great aid, Carleton/Macalester/St Olaf do not come to mind. One thing I would highly recommend is heading over to the financial aid forum at College Confidential and look at some of the pinned threads.

UTD does offer some great aid, and has a reputation for being a good place for intellectuals. I certainly wouldn't discount it.

He wants to major in philosophy and teach some day. Classics is a very close second choice and would make it so he could teach at the high school level (there is a Latin teaching certificate option in this state). UTD does not offer Latin at all, so no chance for any sort of teaching certificate there. They do sort of have a philosophy department, but on College navigator, it does not even list philosophy as a major there. UTD website does list that they have a major and from the visit, they apparently have a major, technically.  It is still on the list for places for him to apply. 

Edited by Janeway

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Be aware, Princeton basically gives the best need-based aid of any college/university in the country. Expect to pay more everywhere else.

I am going to throw out Boston College as a suggestion. Bias note -- I have a kiddo there now. Jesuit/Catholic if that works for you. Philosophy there is strong. every student has t take 2 courses in it as part of the core and it is one of the most popular minors they have..Also has a classical studies major. Lots of outreach in Boston. Has the big time sports, but no Greek life. Note, with regards to financial aid, they meet full need bu they do take home equity in to consideration and for some people that will make it too expensive.

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14 hours ago, GoodGrief1 said:

 

When I think of schools that offer great aid, Carleton/Macalester/St Olaf do not come to mind. One thing I would highly recommend is heading over to the financial aid forum at College Confidential and look at some of the pinned threads.

 

My son got excellent merit and need based aid at Macalester and St. Olaf (somewhat better at Macalester than St. Olaf), and all three are 100% needs met (definitely Carleton and Macalester; I've seen St. Olaf on lists of needs met schools and also seen it reported that it meets an average of 98% of need. It came in middle of the pack amongst our packages from needs-met schools).

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If UTD is on your radar, I'd look carefully at U of Houston. They have a philosophy department and offer Latin and Ancient Greek. They have a strong honors college with a minor called Phronesis that might be a good fit for your son. They have a similar scholarship structure to UTD and give large amounts of merit aid.

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On 4/7/2019 at 7:54 PM, 8FillTheHeart said:

If he is interested in a smaller school in Texas, University of Dallas could be a good match for philosophy/classics.  They have a strong core and most students spend a semester of their sophomore year on their Rome campus (with a two-week trip to Greece) with special integration in the core curriculum

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20 hours ago, kokotg said:

My son got excellent merit and need based aid at Macalester and St. Olaf (somewhat better at Macalester than St. Olaf), and all three are 100% needs met (definitely Carleton and Macalester; I've seen St. Olaf on lists of needs met schools and also seen it reported that it meets an average of 98% of need. It came in middle of the pack amongst our packages from needs-met schools).

I think the problem may come in defining great aid. 100% need met is not terribly meaningful for the typical middle class person for whom the FAFSA declares they can pay $40,000/year per kid for college. A $25,000 scholarship sounds amazing on paper but when you look at the amount left to pay, it’s just not enough for many people. 

Also many schools package significant loans into a full need met offer.

When I think great aid, I’m thinking full tuition at minimum. But different people will define it differently, of course. We personally couldn’t afford some schools even with full tuition covered, because room and housing was so high.

Edited by GoodGrief1
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43 minutes ago, GoodGrief1 said:

We personally couldn’t afford some schools even with full tuition covered, because room and housing was so high.

This. Plus, fees at some places are significant and not covered by a "full tuition" scholarship.

Edited by RootAnn
Decided not to share as much. Left generic.

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3 hours ago, GoodGrief1 said:

I think the problem may come in defining great aid. 100% need met is not terribly meaningful for the typical middle class person for whom the FAFSA declares they can pay $40,000/year per kid for college. A $25,000 scholarship sounds amazing on paper but when you look at the amount left to pay, it’s just not enough for many people. 

Also many schools package significant loans into a full need met offer.

When I think great aid, I’m thinking full tuition at minimum. But different people will define it differently, of course. We personally couldn’t afford some schools even with full tuition covered, because room and housing was so high.

OP indicated an EFC of less than $5,000 when she ran the NPC for Princeton. That doesn't sound like someone with a FAFSA EFC of $40,000 (as noted, Princeton is very generous with financial aid, but in my experience their NPCs were not THAT far off what we were offered at needs met schools). It's very similar to my own situation, in fact, and my son was awarded financial aid at Macalester and St. Olaf that make them affordable for us. The vast majority of needs met schools do include the federal loans in their packages (I haven't encountered any that include anything beyond the federal loans while claiming to meet need), which I think is reasonable (although not ideal). So my post was directed specifically to the OPs situation, which sounds like my own; for us, the financial aid packages at needs met schools generally make them cheaper than virtually any other school, no matter what merit aid they award. 

Edited by kokotg
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4 hours ago, kokotg said:

OP indicated an EFC of less than $5,000 when she ran the NPC for Princeton. That doesn't sound like someone with a FAFSA EFC of $40,000 (as noted, Princeton is very generous with financial aid, but in my experience their NPCs were not THAT far off what we were offered at needs met schools). 

 

We are one of those $40,000 families at the vast majority of schools 🙂, and my daughter’s first year at Princeton was well under $10,000...$6500, if I recall correctly. Got many many financial aid packages (18 for second daughter) and ran tons of calculators between my own two daughters (for us, $15,000/year was pushing the limits of affordability) and the young man I was helping last year (who needed an EFC under $2500.) Carleton was on my oldest daughter’s list, though she was not accepted so we never got so far as receiving a package 🙂 We do have friends with kids at both Mac and St Olaf. All that to say, that’s where my impressions come from. It sounds like you got an amazing deal, though I’m not clear on whether our family could have afforded your package.

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7 minutes ago, GoodGrief1 said:

 

We are one of those $40,000 families at the vast majority of schools 🙂, and my daughter’s first year at Princeton was well under $10,000...$6500, if I recall correctly. Got many many financial aid packages (18 for second daughter) and ran tons of calculators between my own two daughters (for us, $15,000/year was pushing the limits of affordability) and the young man I was helping last year (who needed an EFC under $2500.) Carleton was on my oldest daughter’s list, though she was not accepted so we never got so far as receiving a package 🙂 We do have friends with kids at both Mac and St Olaf. All that to say, that’s where my impressions come from. It sounds like you got an amazing deal, though I’m not clear on whether our family could have afforded your package.

DS didn't apply to Princeton (and didn't get in to Harvard, where he did apply), but the NPCs I ran for both showed EFCs similar to our FAFSA EFC (which is under $5000)....DS's package at Macalester is pretty closely in line with our FAFSA EFC as well; St. Olaf is somewhat higher, but not by a lot. Waitlisted at Carleton, so their financial aid remains a mystery for us as well--I'll just pretend it would have been terrible so I won't feel as bad about DS not getting in 😉 

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7 minutes ago, kokotg said:

DS didn't apply to Princeton (and didn't get in to Harvard, where he did apply), but the NPCs I ran for both showed EFCs similar to our FAFSA EFC (which is under $5000)....DS's package at Macalester is pretty closely in line with our FAFSA EFC as well; St. Olaf is somewhat higher, but not by a lot. Waitlisted at Carleton, so their financial aid remains a mystery for us as well--I'll just pretend it would have been terrible so I won't feel as bad about DS not getting in 😉 

Haha, I can relate. 🙂 Very cool it worked out for your young man, and exciting as he figures out the last decision. Hopefully Janeway’s son finds just the right place too.

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On 4/8/2019 at 8:30 AM, kokotg said:

My son got excellent merit and need based aid at Macalester and St. Olaf (somewhat better at Macalester than St. Olaf), and all three are 100% needs met  

 

But Macalester at least is not need-blind for admission

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8 hours ago, katilac said:

 

But Macalester at least is not need-blind for admission

 

no. very few needs met schools are these days. FWIW, we couldn't discern a pattern in where my son was admitted and not based on which schools were need blind and need aware.....which is certainly not to say it wasn't a factor at the schools where he was rejected (I have no idea if it was or not). 

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