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Is it okay to just apply to one school?


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DD and I keep looking at schools, but one just keeps winning out over the others.  We are in the middle of the country,  so there aren't a lot of schools available.   We think there are 3 main contenders- they are 2-3 hours away, each in a totally different directions. DD has good scores 4.0 , lots of college hours (ACT 31, but hasn't taken since 10th grade- hoping to get a 32+ in Feb). No idea about additional scholarships.

1.   Our top choice- we have toured it this summer and the program DD is interested in is very nice.  We talked to several teachers and the Dean of this department.   All were very nice.  The facility was nice, great tech, international program (DD wants to travel abroad), and they talked like all students would get at least one extra scholarship from local businesses.  It seems well funded and like businesses recruit a lot out of this college.  DD is attending the local campus for this college,  so all credits will transfer as the exact same credit/class.  She will have 50+ credits from Jr and Sr year.  I have asked, and merit aid is good for 4 years and can be used for a Masters program.  She will most likely finish her bachelor in 2- 2.5 years.  Another big plus- her grandparents will most likely be living in this town,  as well as some of DH family- several have gone to this college.  Aunt and Uncle will visit her, too.  I think a few 2nd cousins will be attending with her, too.  No one will go to the other places often.  In this town, someone will most likely take her out to eat 1-2x per week.  It is 3 hours from home, but closer to other family. 

2.  This one is the same distance away- opposite direction,  they have the degree program but the school is much smaller and doesn't seem as well funded.  We have not toured it, and not sure if we need to go or not.  Scholarships run out after the bachelor degree, which just knocks this one out for me.  The pros are smaller campus and nicer dorms.  Cons are the scholarships, we normally go to town 1 and family are in town 1.  She wont know anyone here.  I'm pretty sure all her credits will transfer.   Pretty sure this one will just be a waste of my time in going, applying, ect.

3.  This one is the closest, less than 2 hours away.  Nice size, I dont think the degree program is as good as school 1, but its decent- not quite as techy as school 1.   We have been on campus, but haven't taken an official tour.  Dorms are nicer, we know lots of kids going here.  The town is smaller, easy to navigate,  people are friendliest of the 3 options.  She could probably come home as often as she likes, we know kids going back and forth every week.  She will also know more kids in attendance here than the other 2 schools. Big con- merit scholarship is only until Bachelor degree, and this is in another state so she wont be able to use the in-state scholarship shes earned from her ACT score- about $3k per year- that she will get from schools 1 and 2.   

 

So- school 1 wins in Financial Aid (as of now most of her tuition will be covered from scholarships shes already earned), best degree program and facility, it isn't closest, but she will have a lot of family nearby if she needs something and she will have frequent visitors.   The only con is that its further away from us than school 3.  The dorms are also the worst of the 3 schools, but still nice enough IMO.   We will probably try for the ones without community bathrooms.   

 

So- back to my question- should we just apply to school 1 and forget even putting in the effort for schools 2 and 3?  Shes pretty much in already, since shes currently an enrolled student on their smaller campus.  We could focus efforts on scholarships just within that school and degree program.  Less work for me!  

 

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Several people on the board have posted about being fine with one and done, but it makes me nervous.  I would probably take one more look to see if there's another decent fit with good financials. If nothing fresh pops up, I'd likely apply to at least #3 and possibly #2 as well (pending application cost and level of work), simply bc you just never know what will happen. Sometimes unexpected health issues or injuries occur, and they need to be closer or at a certain type of campus (no hills, or whatever). And I just like to have choices, lol.

You might widen your search to campuses that are farther away but with excellent airports for going back and forth. 

Other than family, I wouldn't take how many people she will know on campus into consideration. 

Edited by katilac
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Does the first choice school have rolling admissions or EA/ED? Assuming she's applying next fall for enrollment in fall 2021 (not applying this spring for enrollment in fall 2020), I would go ahead and apply to #1 as soon as applications open, and then if she gets in, she can be one-&-done. If they don't have rolling/EA/ED, and she'd be waiting until March for a decision, then I would probably go ahead and apply to #3 as well, just to have backup. 

Edited by Corraleno
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It is probably fine. My current junior knows where he wants to go and it is doable but I will have him apply a couple other places (also safeties with easy applications). My reasoning is:

1) I have two ds in college right now. Both changed what they thought they wanted to do / go in winter of senior year. Neither really made a decision until March of senior year and I never could have predicted either outcome in fall of senior year. So I do consider that my current junior could change his mind even though he seems very decisive right now.

2)My oldest ds had a personal situation arise that took the localish school out of play. He had to go elsewhere. Don’t want to get into too many details but it was akin to having to get away from a stalker. He wasn’t at fault but had another person messing with his life and he could not have attended a school that he was seriously considering. So, it was an oddball situation that just made me feel like I wanted our kids to have alternatives even if they didn’t think they needed them. Sounds dramatic but going off was an escape for my ds 😞
 

So now even though we think the choice is clear for my current junior he will apply to a couple other safety schools. I call it the “you never know...a tornado could wipe out campus” strategy.

That said, one school probably is fine. And if a tornado did wipe out the intended campus, community college or the local U that takes students right up until the first day of class are options. 

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I'm not following what her intended major is. Is it one where she would be accepted into a combined BA/MA program.  It's common for students to go to a different college for graduate degrees, so I'm not sure if the issue of scholarships for bachelors only is that compelling. 

Does the masters program she is looking at take students automatically from the same college or is the grad school a competitive entry program? 

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45 minutes ago, Corraleno said:

Does the first choice school have rolling admissions or EA/ED? Assuming she's applying next fall for enrollment in fall 2021 (not applying this spring for enrollment in fall 2020), I would go ahead and apply to #1 as soon as applications open, and then if she gets in, she can be one-&-done. If they don't have rolling/EA/ED, and she'd be waiting until March for a decision, then I would probably go ahead and apply to #3 as well, just to have backup. 

This.

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You didn't say anything about the school's stats. Hers sound excellent. Also, you didn't say anything about any of the schools' admissions timetables or whether they have EA/ED. All of that makes a difference.

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Posted (edited)

She is interested in several different degrees- at the moment, in order of preference:

MBA in Finance- possible minor in International Studies, possibly 2 different Bachelors like Finance and Info Management Cyber Security- she really doesn't know, but either a Masters in some Business topic, with a minor, 2 Bacholors- she has no idea.

Next is Biology- her favorite topic!  Possibly BioChem and work in Genetics- again, she has no idea.

I have tried to only look at schools that offer both and have decent programs for both.  

 

All these schools are state schools, I have no idea how to compare them?  

Shes a Junior- so we have plenty of time to look, but i am trying to schedule that into our already busy spring!  Admissions start in June at all 3 schools.  I think she is supposed to decide by Dec. 1, with some scholarship deadlines before that- particularly if she goes into the Business college.

Edited by BusyMom5
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We are doing 'One and Done' for my younger.  It is good in his major.  We have toured and he loved it. It is close which he wants. It is reasonably priced, and it has guaranteed admission for exam scores which ds will have.  So so much easier that the trauma of older ds. 

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One and done is fine, though in your case I'd be tempted to apply to the other two schools if the process wasn't too onerous. Sometimes you think you have a good understanding of the financials but then it plays out a little differently than you anticipated. Not a bad idea to have a couple of backup options.

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We have applied to 2 for both times so far, however for dd she just applied to the 2nd one for the heck of it.  She was already in where she wanted to be.

It seems like choices #1 and #3 are worth the effort to apply.    The effort for some college applications is quite steep on top of everything else so it is a consideration. 

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My youngest is a senior in high school now and only applied to one even though I strongly advised her against it.  It's a safety school academically and financially but it's 1200 miles away and I never ever thought she'd consider being far away from home due to her personality.  So far she's fine with it but it still makes me nervous.  It did make application season super easy and inexpensive, though!  

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My oldest changed his mind completely about his college trajectory between his junior and senior years, so only applying to one school would not be my preference.   Even now, he's a senior and has been accepted to 5 schools, still waiting on several others to release decisions.   His top 3 choices are 2 in-state schools and one in-state private school that has a VERY different focus from the others.   His choice of potential majors has waffled even during his senior year, so we wanted him to have options for any of his potential choices (when he does finally figure out what he wants to do).

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My son took a 180 shortly after senior year started. And now, just now, he is starting to work with computer programming. We are hoping he considers that direction, sort of. Anyway, thank goodness he applied to a variety of schools. Plus, we know that despite scholarships, some might have better financial aid in the end. I toyed with putting money down on his top choice, but I know we could lose it if things change.

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Why "one-and-done" worked for us -- twice -- was transfer from community college.

 DS#1 started at the community college which has an articulation agreement with the universities in our state. The first time, DS got all his gen. ed. credits out of the way, then seamlessly transferred to a small/medium LAC 2 hours a way and only needed 2 years to finish his BA. Then DS#1 decided he did not want to work in that field and wanted to go into engineering. This time around, he again started at the community college then transferred last spring to the in-our-city university as he works on finishing up his BS in Engineering. Again, a seamless transition, because of the articulation agreement.

Edited by Lori D.
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“One and done” worked for my dd, but she applied early decision, and had a backup plan ready to go if that had fallen through. If both early and regular decision had fallen through, there was always the option of admission through the college's  guaranteed admission agreement with the state community colleges. 
 

My advice regarding grad school and grad school funding is to cross that bridge when you get there! It sounds like your dd has several different fields of interest, so wait until her undergrad major has been decided upon firmly before even beginning to think about that. There are many, many graduate assistantships available to help cover those costs, and as a pp mentioned, many students don’t stay at one school for undergrad and grad degrees, so don’t let the lack of available graduate student funding influence her undergraduate school decision.

Good luck to your dd whatever path she chooses!

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Just FWIW...Honestly, I would not want a slew of visitors at college, although having family nearby can be reassuring. Meeting new people is part of college, so not knowing anyone is actually a good thing, imo. 

 

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21 minutes ago, Chris in VA said:

Meeting new people is part of college, so not knowing anyone is actually a good thing, imo. 

I would adapt this to be, "having a couple possibilities for nearby assistance.." is a good thing. I'm glad my DD has a couple of families near her to call upon/stay with if she needed help in an emergency. I agree that the availability of extended family isn't always the best situation.

DD now has friends/suitemates that live within a couple hours of her college that she can stay with over breaks if she wants. But not everyone makes friends that fast or who has friends that live that close.

That said, if I had a very close family & a kid who was likely to be very homesick at first and who was also going far away for college, then this would be on my list. 

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Thank you all for the advice- I think we will nix school 2 from the list,  and apply to 1 and 3.  I've found another out of state option that is 4-4.5 hours away.  I'll try to get more info about it, but right now shes saying too far.  We are a big  close knit family and I do think she will get homesick a bit.  Having family close enough in case of emergency or a meal out will be good.  

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