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“Nerd vibe” schools?


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DD is working on narrowing down her list, and what it seems to come down to is the “vibe”. The schools she likes best are the ones where it is obvious that there is a thriving nerd culture. So far, the schools she’s felt that at are University of Toronto and UA-Huntsville.  She does NOT like schools where sports is a major focus, especially football, and finds too much of the “sea of school color/mascot” effect a turnoff. This rules out most state flagships. My guess is that many of the schools on her list currently to check out may end up not having the “vibe” she wants. I suspect she can find Nerd culture anywhere, but she really wants a school where it is part of the overall culture. 

As an organismal biologist/psychologist most interested in animal cognition and behavior (especially of reptiles and amphibians), a lot of the more technically focused schools do not necessarily have the classes she wants. Georgia Tech, for example, has the nerd vibe, but not the right classes. 

Other things she needs is a campus/town where she does not need a car and fairly easy/accessible transportation back to Memphis. Air is fine-but there needs to be a way to get from campus to the airport without a lot of issues. 

She has pretty high stats, where most schools that are not a reach for everyone are likely to be a reasonable option. She is unlikely to qualify for much need based aid, so we’re looking for schools with good merit. Right now, almost all of the schools on her list are ones that have guaranteed or a significant amount of competitive merit aid available and where most search engines put them in the “safety” or “near Safety” categories, even with her middle school ACT scores. I actually would love to find one or two more “reach” schools other than Toronto, because I think she is aiming a bit low (although many of the schools do have honors programs that might provide the challenge she needs). 

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She wants to see that there are active organizations and groups on campus fairly publicly, just as our front as frats/sororities, sports, etc. At UAH, for example, there are gaming lounges in multiple buildings, both for video gaming and board/table gaming, signs up for Pokémon tournaments and cosplay clubs, and similar events. At UT, certain colleges had a similar feel. 

At UTK (one she didn’t like), everything revolves around football, and the whole feel is more...well..social, but social in more of a social climbing sense. The whole school spirit thing kind of annoys her. 

 

It’s not just 1-2 electives. It is that some schools have biology departments that are focused on humans, primarily medical biology, or on molecular or cellular level biology, and some are focused on whole organisms. Some psychology departments are focused on turning out therapists or people to work in human relations and similar fields, others focus more on animal behavior and research. Not having specific classes in animal behavior isn’t as important as not having anyone actually working in that field as their research specialization who would be able to work with her and the freedom to shape her program into what is needed to apply to graduate school, not medical school.In general, colleges with agricultural schools or veterinary medicine schools are a better fit-but many of those are also the large, state, sports, school spirit focused schools where she feels like she doesn’t belong. 

DD’s mentors have strongly advised her to pick an undergraduate school the way you normally pick a grad school-find the lab she wants to be in and the PI she wants to work with and the projects she wants to be on, and work backwards. 

 

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dmmetler, I puffy heart love you. "Nerd culture." That's it. That is EXACTLY what we need, but I hadn't articulated it. And, happily, I just checked out UAH -again- and found out that I was mistaken -they DO have Russian! YAY! It's now back on the list and on must-see status. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your post!!!  ***scurries off to find visit thread***

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5 minutes ago, JoJosMom said:

dmmetler, I puffy heart love you. "Nerd culture." That's it. That is EXACTLY what we need, but I hadn't articulated it. And, happily, I just checked out UAH -again- and found out that I was mistaken -they DO have Russian! YAY! It's now back on the list and on must-see status. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your post!!!  ***scurries off to find visit thread***

They do have Russian, but if your child is entering with a decently strong background, it may not be a very good fit. My Dd loved the vibe of the campus, but the foreign language dept was not strong enough to support her needs. The French dept actually came right out and told her not to attend bc they had nothing to offer her. But, I fully appreciated their honesty.(The Russian dept, otoh, was rather condescending toward her and dismissed that she could be entering with any level of proficiency bc she hadn't been abroad.)

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1 minute ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

They do have Russian, but if your child is entering with a decently strong background, it may not be a very good fit. My Dd loved the vibe of the campus, but the foreign language dept was not strong enough to support her needs. The French dept actually came right out and told her not to attend bc they had nothing to offer her. But, I fully appreciated their honesty.(The Russian dept, otoh, was rather condescending toward her and dismissed that she could be entering with any level of proficiency bc she hadn't been abroad.)

 

Thank you for the heads up, 8. Honestly, it may still be okay, though, as math is her primary interest. She just wants to be able to continue her Russian and to study abroad there in college (mostly because she SO loves Julia Denne-many thanks to you for that!) Right now, ASU is our front-runner, based on course availability and affordability, but I really want her to have more options. We have family within driving distance of Huntsville, so that's a plus (we're WAAAY far away and there's no really good fit near us.) We need to visit some Texas schools in the fall, too, so I think we may have to squeeze in this one at the same time.

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9 minutes ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

They do have Russian, but if your child is entering with a decently strong background, it may not be a very good fit. My Dd loved the vibe of the campus, but the foreign language dept was not strong enough to support her needs. The French dept actually came right out and told her not to attend bc they had nothing to offer her. But, I fully appreciated their honesty.(The Russian dept, otoh, was rather condescending toward her and dismissed that she could be entering with any level of proficiency bc she hadn't been abroad.)

 

Question: How receptive was Admissions to homeschooled students, if you know?

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Seems fine. Several WTMers have kids who attend there or will be attending there next yr.. It is the only school my 17 yr old is planning on applying to. The do require course descriptions from homeschoolers, though. I am finishing up dd's today!

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1 minute ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

Seems fine. Several WTMers have kids who attend there or will be attending there next yr.. It is the only school my 17 yr old is planning on applying to. The do require course descriptions from homeschoolers, though. I am finishing up dd's today!

 

Oof. "Course descriptions and transcript" is my summer project while the short person is away at math camp. Oof. But I repeat myself. DD's surgery has us waaay behind schedule and I'm feeling the pressure. Oof. But I repeat myself...

What is your 17 year old looking to study?

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Just now, JoJosMom said:

 

Oof. "Course descriptions and transcript" is my summer project while the short person is away at math camp. Oof. But I repeat myself. DD's surgery has us waaay behind schedule and I'm feeling the pressure. Oof. But I repeat myself...

What is your 17 year old looking to study?

CS with minors in German and math. 

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Have you looked at UTD?   I don't know how they are on Biology, but they are definitely Science/Engineering focused, and very much a nerd culture.  DART, the city train goes to DFW, which is a hub.  

I don't know if this is still true, but they would give automatic full-rides to National Merit Scholars who listed them first. 
 

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2 minutes ago, shawthorne44 said:

 

Have you looked at UTD?   I don't know how they are on Biology, but they are definitely Science/Engineering focused, and very much a nerd culture.  DART, the city train goes to DFW, which is a hub.  

I don't know if this is still true, but they would give automatic full-rides to National Merit Scholars who listed them first. 
 

 

We have, but I don't believe that they offer Russian. I think I'd better check again, though, given that I was SURE that UAH didn't. 😳

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1 minute ago, JoJosMom said:

 

We have, but I don't believe that they offer Russian. I think I'd better check again, though, given that I was SURE that UAH didn't. 😳

Yes, you shouldn't discount UAH bc of my dd's perspective on the dept.  My dd is majoring in Russian and French, so her needs are definitely different from someone who isn't entering with that as their only focus.

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4 minutes ago, JoJosMom said:

 

We have, but I don't believe that they offer Russian. I think I'd better check again, though, given that I was SURE that UAH didn't. 😳


Also, SMU isn't far at all.  She'd likely need to drive.  Google maps says a 20 minute drive.  I'd be seriously surprised if they didn't have any language someone wanted to take.  She could get her nerd culture at UTD and Russian at SMU.  

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33 minutes ago, HeighHo said:

So...that's an internet search with the right key terms.  How many schools on that list?  Any one you would like comments about?   

It’s not, though. It’s kind of like the difference between a school that has a student organization for LGBQT+ on the website vs a campus where same sex couples feel just as accepted at holding hands and kissing before heading off to class as straight ones are. On a campus with a nerd culture, not everyone is a nerd, but no one is going to be surprised if you skip a football game to play D&D or read in the library (if there is a football team at all). 

Here’s her list from a couple of months ago. 

 

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27 minutes ago, shawthorne44 said:

 

Have you looked at UTD?   I don't know how they are on Biology, but they are definitely Science/Engineering focused, and very much a nerd culture.  DART, the city train goes to DFW, which is a hub.  

I don't know if this is still true, but they would give automatic full-rides to National Merit Scholars who listed them first. 
 

 

Yes, dmmetler, have you looked at UTD yet? Where, oh where is your visit report on that one? <<insert toe-tappy guy here>> 😋 (And sorry for derailing your most excellent thread!)

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And the right one might be fine. Arkansas State felt OK, and it’s a flagship. But Texas A&M, which definitely has the programs she wants, has managed to turn her off just from their mailings. 

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Just now, JoJosMom said:

 

Yes, dmmetler, have you looked at UTD yet? Where, oh where is your visit report on that one? <<insert toe-tappy guy here>> 😋 (And sorry for derailing your most excellent thread!)

We haven’t visited yet,  but it sounds like one to check out :). 

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33 minutes ago, dmmetler said:

And the right one might be fine. Arkansas State felt OK, and it’s a flagship. But Texas A&M, which definitely has the programs she wants, has managed to turn her off just from their mailings. 


The Aggies are definitely focused on other stuff.  If she wanted to be a vet, then A&M would be answer and the other college stuff shouldn't matter.   If she doesn't want to be a vet, then don't bother.   My niece graduated from there. 

I was always happy that I went to a school without a football team. 

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5 hours ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

Seems fine. Several WTMers have kids who attend there or will be attending there next yr.. It is the only school my 17 yr old is planning on applying to. The do require course descriptions from homeschoolers, though. I am finishing up dd's today!

Thanks for pointing this out. My kids have never needed course descriptions but I expect my rising junior to strongly consider UAH. Thanks to this, I worked on his today. 🙂

 

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The University of Waterloo is about the nerdiest Canadian school there is.  So.Very.Nerdy.  Way nerdier than U of Toronto 🙂 (I have a bachelor's in biology from UW, and did my graduate degree at U of T).   UW has a reputation as more of a math/computer science/engineering school, but  don't be fooled,  it also has a very strong faculty of science.  The biology department is as far from pre-med as you can get, with minimal human biology focus. (There is a separate Applied Health Science faculty for the kinesiology/pre-med types).  Nerd culture was just normal.  I loved it.

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6 hours ago, JoJosMom said:

Question: How receptive was [UAH] Admissions to homeschooled students, if you know?

Very. Massively receptive. Like, no issues at all. Very welcoming.

1 hour ago, teachermom2834 said:

Thanks for pointing this out. My kids have never needed course descriptions but I expect my rising junior to strongly consider UAH. Thanks to this, I worked on his today. 🙂

I'll be honest. I don't think I sent course descriptions to UAH. The application DD did took about 25 minutes total (no essay) & I snail-mailed the transcript. I think I would have remembered sending a thick envelope & I don't.

Sports (esp. Football) hype was a huge turn-off for DD, too. She added a school to her list after hearing radio sports commentators commenting on how the student population of this huge university cared more about going to class & getting a degree (said with lots of scorn) than attending a football game.

Truman State in Missouri touts itself as having a nerd culture but DD didn't feel it there like she did at UAH.

I will caution that UAH is growing at a huge pace & feeling housing pains. They just dropped their on-campus requirement from 2 yrs to 1 (for those living more than 30 miles away). Their auto scholarships only gave 2 yrs of housing this year & you had to get a 36/1600 to get that (but NMF still gave 4 yrs) vs 4 yrs housing for a 34 ACT last year.

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1 hour ago, wathe said:

The University of Waterloo is about the nerdiest Canadian school there is.  So.Very.Nerdy. 

 

My husband did a semester as an exchange student there for electrical engineering in the 90s. We visited in late 2016 and the surrounding neighborhood has changed (more urban) and the campus is growing. The engineering school has so many Asians my kids blend right in when we were looking around at the labs. They are also very open to early entry though the visitor center staff did say they prefer at least 13 years old for early entrance.

ETA:

DS14 was 5’6” and DS13 was short then. Everyone was friendly and helpful. A student we asked directed us to the most convenient visitor parking for math department.

Edited by Arcadia
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25 minutes ago, RootAnn said:

Very. Massively receptive. Like, no issues at all. Very welcoming.

I'll be honest. I don't think I sent course descriptions to UAH. The application DD did took about 25 minutes total (no essay) & I snail-mailed the transcript. I think I would have remembered sending a thick envelope & I don't.

Sports (esp. Football) hype was a huge turn-off for DD, too. She added a school to her list after hearing radio sports commentators commenting on how the student population of this huge university cared more about going to class & getting a degree (said with lots of scorn) than attending a football game.

Truman State in Missouri touts itself as having a nerd culture but DD didn't feel it there like she did at UAH.

I will caution that UAH is growing at a huge pace & feeling housing pains. They just dropped their on-campus requirement from 2 yrs to 1 (for those living more than 30 miles away). Their auto scholarships only gave 2 yrs of housing this year & you had to get a 36/1600 to get that (but NMF still gave 4 yrs) vs 4 yrs housing for a 34 ACT last year.

Wow, I wish I had heard you say that before I just spent the last couple of days creating them for dd.  (I didn't think she was going to need them.)  I created them b/c this is what they have under homeschool applicants on their website:

Quote

In addition to an official transcript including the student’s academic record beginning with grade nine, additional documentation is required. Descriptions of each course completed and textbooks used should also be submitted. The teaching credentials of the home school teacher may be included if desired.

All official transcripts must be signed by an administrator.

I took that at face value and went with it.  Oh well.  I can't hurt! (Not that I am concerned that dd won't be accepted. Maybe it will help with scholarship $$ then.)

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21 minutes ago, RootAnn said:

Very. Massively receptive. Like, no issues at all. Very welcoming.

I'll be honest. I don't think I sent course descriptions to UAH. The application DD did took about 25 minutes total (no essay) & I snail-mailed the transcript. I think I would have remembered sending a thick envelope & I don't.

Sports (esp. Football) hype was a huge turn-off for DD, too. She added a school to her list after hearing radio sports commentators commenting on how the student population of this huge university cared more about going to class & getting a degree (said with lots of scorn) than attending a football game.

Truman State in Missouri touts itself as having a nerd culture but DD didn't feel it there like she did at UAH.

I will caution that UAH is growing at a huge pace & feeling housing pains. They just dropped their on-campus requirement from 2 yrs to 1 (for those living more than 30 miles away). Their auto scholarships only gave 2 yrs of housing this year & you had to get a 36/1600 to get that (but NMF still gave 4 yrs) vs 4 yrs housing for a 34 ACT last year.

I am worried about UAH becoming even more popular and offering less merit between now and the time ds would go. We'll have to see how that goes. However, they could reduce merit substantially and it would probably be a good option still. We are only two hours from there and it might be a good fit for some other reasons besides cost. 

UAH is the leader in my mind for this ds, but my kids have a track record of NOT choosing my favorite. So I'll keep that to myself. He did take the initiative to schedule a visit for next month. So he is at least interested enough to visit. 

Was very surprised about the course description requirement and actually figured I would not worry myself too much about how awesome my descriptions are. I can't imagine with the test scores, etc, he has to back up his transcript it would be a big issue at a school that is not that difficult to get into. 

 

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9 hours ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

They do have Russian, but if your child is entering with a decently strong background, it may not be a very good fit. My Dd loved the vibe of the campus, but the foreign language dept was not strong enough to support her needs. The French dept actually came right out and told her not to attend bc they had nothing to offer her.  

i agree that the French department is not strong. dd attends UAH and French is part of one of her majors, but she went in a more business/economics direction and it wasn't enough to cross them off the list for her. 

8 hours ago, JoJosMom said:

Question: How receptive was Admissions to homeschooled students, if you know?

Very, as is the Honors College. 

8 hours ago, HeighHo said:

that's why I am wondering why you are cutting out state flagships.  The state flagship here doesn't have the capacity to hold the entire student body in the stadium, even if the students were rich enough to pay for the football tickets for the season.  The football culture is a small fraction of the student body; comic-con draws just as big a student crowd - the student body is so diverse there is something for everyone without any one group being dominant. No one is going to comment on what any particular person chooses to do. Many students will try out new things.

The term here is 'gamer culture', by the way.  A nerd is a kid who stays in the dorm room and doesn't mingle in real life. 

 I agree that large schools have something to offer everyone and that most people don't care what others are doing. Having said that, I would disagree that no one group is dominant. At athletically competitive flagships, sports are dominant. The football culture is so strong at some schools that it is hard to avoid. Roll Tide! is an actual greeting, lol. Geaux Tigers! is on every bumper sticker and fast food sign. Some people don't notice one way or the other, which is great, but my dd is another one who was annoyed by it and really just did not want to be surrounded by it. Our life would be much easier if she were at LSU or even UA (2 hours closer plus a train station), but such is life.  

I don't think ddmettler's dd is actually a heavy gamer, I think she was just referencing that as an example. We say nerd vibe and nerd culture, and nerd means people with unusual or uncool interests, people who show wild enthusiasm rather than playing it cool, people who are a bit obsessive about slightly weird topics, that kind of thing. My kids are not part of gamer culture but they are definitely nerds. Raised by nerds, lol. 

Edited by katilac
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10 hours ago, dmmetler said:

 She does NOT like schools where sports is a major focus, especially football, and finds too much of the “sea of school color/mascot” effect a turnoff.  

Yep. This definitely plays into the 'hard to avoid' annoyance aspect for my dd. 

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Duke has the merit full-ride Robinson scholarship for leadership, which your dd has in spades. Don't know about nerd culture, but being a very academic school, it very well could.  The bio department is strong, but I'm not sure about your dd's specific field of interest. 

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14 minutes ago, katilac said:

i agree that the French department is not strong. dd attends UAH and French is part of one of her majors, but she went in a more business/economics direction and it wasn't enough to cross them off the list for her. 

Very, as is the Honors College. 

 I agree that large schools have something to offer everyone and that most people don't care what others are doing. Having said that, I would disagree that no one group is dominant. At athletically competitive flagships, sports are dominant. The football culture is so strong at some schools that it is hard to avoid. Roll Tide! is an actual greeting, lol. Geaux Tigers! is on every bumper sticker and fast food sign. Some people don't notice one way or the other, which is great, but my dd is another one who was annoyed by it and really just did not want to be surrounded by it. Our life would be much easier if she were at LSU or even UA (2 hours closer plus a train station), but such is life.  

I don't think ddmettler's dd is actually a heavy gamer, I think she was just referencing that as an example. We say nerd vibe and nerd culture, and nerd means people with unusual or uncool interests, people who show wild enthusiasm rather than playing it cool, people who are a bit obsessive about slightly weird topics, that kind of thing. My kids are not part of gamer culture but they are definitely nerds. Raised by nerds, lol. 

I wonder if that is an SEC football thing? Most of the schools that have turned off DD are SEC schools, or SEC adjacent that really want to be SEC schools. Maybe farther North it is less an issue?  

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1 minute ago, dmmetler said:

I wonder if that is an SEC football thing? Most of the schools that have turned off DD are SEC schools, or SEC adjacent that really want to be SEC schools. Maybe farther North it is less an issue?  

I do think football is less of a religion in the north. 

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We also toured CMU and really liked it.  It has a merit leadership scholarship which is full tuition (not full ride). Once again, high end school so could be nerdy, but I don't personally know about nerd culture or bio focus.  Just another one to consider. 

 

Edited by lewelma
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Just now, lewelma said:

We also toured CMU and really liked it.  It has a merit leadership scholarship which is full tuition (not full ride). Once again, high end school, but I don't personally know about nerd culture or bio focus.  Just another one to consider. 

 

I liked CMU (started in their early college program, but transferred to a school that gave me a free ride-they were pricey even in the 1980’s). I can’t say that I have ever seen anything from them at the conferences or in the journals  DD follows, though. I suspect they would be a lot like GA tech-nice vibe, but not the best fit otherwise. They also are very, very picky on age. 

 

6 minutes ago, whitestavern said:

University of Rochester has a pretty nerdy vibe 🙂 Not sure if they have the desired classes, but it's worth checking.

We visited Rochester for the JMIH last year. Since it took two plane changes to actually fly there (it was faster to drive to Toronto and get a direct flight to Memphis, which is why we spent several days in Toronto and visited UofT and YorkU), I don’t know that it would meet DD’s requirements. It’s definitely a nerdy school, though, and obviously does herp work, since you don’t put in to host the conference without local hosts. Although I think they were mostly focused on phylogenetics.  

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I'm going to third Waterloo.  We toured there too and it was wonderful. Wonderful! However, their acceptance date and scholarship date is AFTER you have to agree to the American school offers.  This took them completely out for ds. 

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59 minutes ago, Lawyer&Mom said:

UC Davis would be such a great fit.  Not quite as nerdy as Berkeley, but smaller and more friendly.  Plus amazing science.

Just don’t see how the funding would work. 

Davis was what came to my mind as well.

Others that come to mind (though I have no idea about finances):

Cornell

Penn

Tufts

University of Minnesota

Oregon State

University of Delaware

 

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Definitely check out UT Dallas. It has a very strong nerd culture. There is a good bus system. There is NO football team! That was a huge selling feature for my kids.

Both of my older kids got full tuition scholarships there.

They want your transcript. They don't want course descriptions. We had no problems getting in as hsers.

All of my kids were hsed K-12 (except for 6th and 7th grades for my oldest). They all did dual credit in high school. Only my middle dd did an AP test and she only did AP Physics B and got a 3.

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11 hours ago, AngieW in Texas said:

Definitely check out UT Dallas. It has a very strong nerd culture. There is a good bus system. There is NO football team! That was a huge selling feature for my kids.

Both of my older kids got full tuition scholarships there.

 

 

Did your kids end up attending UT Dallas?  We just visited there a few weeks ago and it's dd's top choice now.  We live in OH so I'm nervous about the distance (1200 miles).  And the school is getting much more popular and seems like it is admitting more students than there is room for.  But I like the school a lot and feel like it's a good fit for my dd.

Edited by Kassia
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Both of my older girls went to UT Dallas. My oldest went for 2.5 years and then decided that she was done with college. She did a reverse transfer to community college and is actually finishing up the last class she needs for an AS degree this summer after a very long break. My youngest just got her AS degree in May, so that prompted her to finally go back and take the last class she needed to graduate. My middle dd completed her BS in Speech Pathology and Early Childhood Learning and Development at UT Dallas.

I thought UT Dallas was awesome. My oldest had to withdraw from school one week into her 2nd semester due to medical issues and they held her scholarship for her so she still had it when she returned the next semester.

The dorms there are fantastic. My middle dd was in the dorms the entire time she was there and loved it. The dorms are very quiet.

My oldest was in an on-campus apartment and loved it. The apartments were really quiet too.

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My kid is going to a Big 10 state flagship this fall that get TONS of attention for school spirit and sports.  It makes every top 10 list in that regard.  LOL.   He definitely was NOT looking for that.  He felt most at home at schools with quirky high achieving student bodies.  Schools like UChicago, Carnegie Mellon, and Oberlin were at the top of his list just based on tours.  

But at the end of the day for us the money does matter.   We do not qualify for need based aid.  But we also cannot afford to be full pay at private schools based on our cost of living, approaching retirement, and another kid to send to college.  He did get into some "nerdier" schools that were also anywhere from 10K-50K more expensive.  He also got surprise merit at the final school of choice.  Which is a school where everyone said we'd get nothing.  He also got the most personal faculty attention from this school during his decision making process.  

The low ball price had us dig in more.  There's an honors program and live in learning communities, first year interest groups.  A women in science learning community is very popular for high stat females.  There are advantages to having access to grad students.  And 25% of the student body at this school is at or higher than an ACT32.  That number alone is a bigger high stat population at a large university than many elite programs.  There is definitely a nerd culture there to be found.  These schools get a huge range of students with a huge range of interests.  The sports scene may get attention but it often isn't the full picture.  10% of students are involved in Greek life - not overwhelming.  He has ZERO interest in that scene.  The other kids he knows locally heading to this school are actually all the super high stat over achieving type that needed an affordable undergrad option.  

So at the end of the day, I think when you're out touring it's so easy for teens to create a caricature in their mind of the typical student experience somewhere.   Especially if the finances are important, I'd cast a wide net and dig deep into these schools that have a good program and good faculty of interest if it will likely lean toward affordable by you.  Anyway - not trying to sell you on any particular school.  I'm just glad we cast a wide net and I pushed hard for the kid to keep an open mind throughout the process and just see where things land and how things look after that 2nd or 3rd visit/communication with faculty/student interaction/further research, etc.  

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On 6/13/2019 at 9:47 AM, dmmetler said:

At UTK (one she didn’t like), everything revolves around football, and the whole feel is more...well..social, but social in more of a social climbing sense. The whole school spirit thing kind of annoys her. 

 

UTK needs to rethink their marketing. We are a sports family. Saturdays are generally devoted to college football. Oldest ds is a college athlete and second ds works for a professional sports organization, has worked at his college athletic department and is pursuing a career in sports. Yet, both boys were totally turned off touring UTK. On separate occasions they toured and the emphasis was on sports and frats. They both walked away saying they weren’t picking a school based on sports and frats. (Oldest actually is president of his frat at his small private school 😂). So even kids that would enjoy that aspect of student life are looking for more substance in their education. Oldest did a tour of UTK at a 4-H event that was academically focused and he was much more impressed. 

Third ds is looking there and he is my nerdiest. It is weird but he is the one I am most comfortable with attending there. My older two might have found their friends among the football party crowd. But my nerdier one won’t get distracted by that (even though he will enjoy it). He is more likely to find his tribe in nerdier activities and for that reason I actually feel better about it as a choice for him. 

UTK has more to offer than football (hello...their football has been bad for a long time). We know lots of nerdy kids that go there. They definitely push that image though. Plus, my second ds toured on a July afternoon and was never even offered a water. They just have been really unimpressive in the general recruiting. There are some really strong departments there but you have to get past the SEC stuff and the poorly executed tours.

Not saying your ds should consider UTK. Just making a general statement about our experience.

Edited by teachermom2834
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Georgia Tech has been mentioned a couple of times as having the right nerd vibe, but, as an alum and a yellow jacket mom, I thought I would mention...

Georgia Tech has a huge football culture. HUGE! I sent my oldest there having attended two high school football games (he went to PS in the South where football is king) and got him back as a stark raving mad lunatic football fan. This child rushed the field after a huge win and FaceTimed me while doing it so I could join in the mania. THWG!!  GT has a lot of southern football tradition. My shy uninvolved kid also joined a fraternity. Greek life is thriving on the GT campus. 

All that said, there is tons to do that doesn’t involve football. 

So while there is a nerd vibe, there are also all of those things that go along with a major university in the South. And I am so excited that my second kid is going to start his journey to being a Hell of an Engineer. 

And P.S. My GT grad son has a great job as a mechanical engineer. He travels all over the US and Europe designing and installing vision systems on manufacturing lines. However, I agree that it is not the school for the OP’s dd because they don’t have the classes she needs. Those would be more likely to be at UGA I would guess. 

 

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I would focus more on the school having the academics that she wants. Most larger schools will have the “nerd” crowd, but she may have to work a bit to find it.

My DD found it in an unusual way on her first move in day. She happened to be wearing a baseball cap that was of the same design that Ash Cetchem wears in the Pokémon tv show (or wore in the earlier years). Only people familiar with Pokémon had any idea about that hat and it helped her make connections right away. 

Now, if she wants a total “nerd” school, one of my DSs friends is about to graduate from Neumont University in Utah, but its focus is on computer fields. When my DS was interested, I remember reading that it is something like 90% male and has no team sports at all.

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On 6/13/2019 at 10:17 AM, dmmetler said:

And the right one might be fine. Arkansas State felt OK, and it’s a flagship. But Texas A&M, which definitely has the programs she wants, has managed to turn her off just from their mailings. 

If you have a chance, I'd visit anyway. The actual Aggies that I know aren't very rah-rah, beer and frat types at all. Almost all of the Sea Scout leaders and graduated scouts are Aggies and they are a fairly nerdy crew (although they're nerdy about boats not cosplay...). I know Aggies who work in wild animal rescue, elephant keeping (really, truly), preschool special ed, NASA, accounting and management consulting. It's such a huge school that there's a bit of everything. 

They automatically admit students who graduate in the top 10% of their class (UT Austin is top 6%, the kids who are the top 7-10% tend to head to TAMU) so there is a rich vein of nerdiness to mine. 

The major downside to TAMU is that they aren't as generous with merit aid as UTD or UAH. But if your dd can wrangle $5000 in departmental scholarships, she'll get in state tuition. NMF get full tuition scholarships.

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On 6/14/2019 at 11:11 AM, City Mouse said:

I would focus more on the school having the academics that she wants. Most larger schools will have the “nerd” crowd, but she may have to work a bit to find it.

 Agreed. Focus on the program (and the money, if affordability is an issue.) Plenty of all sorts of people at those schools.

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