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Colleges That Change Lives – Changing Lives. One Student At A Time. (ctcl.org)

There is a website. I assume it's based on the book?

I'm familiar personally with a few of these- Hillsdale, Earlham, I know a kid who went to St. Olaf. Anyone want to chime in on any of these?

These are all privates. Does anyone want to offer up a public that does a good job being a student centered, "beyond Ivy" type school?

Can you tell we're still trying to expand Dd's list of 2.5 schools to apply to, lol? Also, I was just discussing this with my boss at the university where I work. I had said I thought the book was out of date.

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I think finding a dept that student centered is both more and less complicated than thinking in terms of rankings or CTCLs.   I think the notion that higher ranked schools are UG focused and nurturing is false.  I think the notion that large publics treat students like a number is equally false.  It really is a school by school issue that has to be examined and maybe even dept by dept.

I can share that my kids have loved their experiences at their schools.  They have all attended publics.  2 very large publics, 2 very small publics.  Their depts have been incredibly supportive.  THey have had wonderful mentor professors, tons of opportunities, etc.  BUt, we interviewed depts.  We didn't make decisions based on hearsay perspectives.  For example, when we first started looking at schools for our ds, Bama was the absolute bottom of the list school.  He applied to it as a last resort back-up.  Several of the schools that had been recommended to us we thought would be amg his top couple of choices.  But, as we spent time in contact with the depts, they fell of his list completely.  For example, his 2 top priority filters were access to UG research and ability to take courses at his level.  One of the schools' deans told him he had more direct research experience as a high school student than most of their UGs since their focus was on grad students.  Knocked the school off the list.  I wrote about one disastrous dept visit here at a school that was highly recommended by others: eye opening dept visit .  Conversely, the dept visit at Bama, they spent time listening to his background and concerns.  The assistant dean spent an hr with him and told him that he sounded a lot like him as a high school student.  He talked to ds about his experiences as an UG at MIT and what ds could expect them to offer him in their dept. They had him sit in on a 300 level class, introduced profs that had open research opportunities, etc. They took him seriously and everything that was discussed during that meeting ended up being an accurate representation of what he experienced as a student.  

We did similar dept interviews for dd with RUssian and French depts.  Her mentoring Russian prof is someone whom I believe dd will stay in contact with long after she graduates.  She has a close relationship with her and attributes much of her success and access to opportunities to that prof.  (We also had to eliminate a lot of schools during her application process bc she was just beyond what many schools offered.)

Our current freshman is a painfully introverted introvert.  She is in her element at her small public U.  It is a geeks geek U.  She is majoring in atmospheric science and during storms her groupme goes crazy.  They are trained to launch weather balloons and all geek out together over the weather.  She has found her peeps.  

All that to say, there isn't a simple answer to your question.  You really need to dig deeper than superficial.  Finding a school where your student will be encouraged is way more than a name, campus size, or outside perception.

 

 

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We looked at several CTCL for my oldest. It actually led us to his ultimate school, which does not make the list. He was interested in playing baseball and we ultimately looked at other schools in the same conference as Rhodes/Hendrix/Birmingham Southern/Centre and threw a last minute application to Oglethorpe just because it was common app and free. 

It is a tiny school and quirky and I don't really even recommend it to others because it is such a niche school however, it changed HIS life! He went there super cheap because they gave him good aid and then allowed him to stack a large outside scholarship. Then they gave him two new scholarships for his senior year that covered his whole tuition and still gave him financial aid even though our need was no where near that extreme. Just being able to go so much cheaper than he would anywhere else was life changing. He had small classes and personal relationships. He ended up choosing accounting because that is really their top program and he was able to get great internships and ultimately a really good job offer in September of his senior year. He, at 22 yo, is out and running in a competitive career and has a solid network of friends and mentors. He just got a performance review and scored way at the top of cohort of first years who are all older and many have had grad school and all went to bigger more prestigious undergrads.  It is mind blowing that he has gotten where he is. We just aren't that professionally successful in our family. Haha. So, in terms of opportunity and upward mobility it was life changing for him

But I haven't tried to send my next two boys there. Their needs are different and I didn't think it would be good for either of them. So as life changing as it was for my ds (and many of his friends), it would just be meh to alot of people. 

My kids were not so focused on exactly what they wanted to do so we didn't zero in on specifics of departments (though that is a solid approach for students that are in that place). We did focus on finances because it is hard to change your life for the better when you are broke and in debt. We always stressed that finances were critical because they would have more freedom to do the life changing things if they weren't strapped for cash all the time. We also stressed that what you did when you were there was far more important than where you went. 

My second ds went to a huge school and never engaged to find his spot and take advantage of what was available to him there. It was available- he just didn't take advantage. My third ds is also going to a big state U and I expect him to dig in to everything available to him. I think he will get alot more out of college than kid #2. My point is that student engagement is the key. It has to be there and be available to them but it is going to be what the student makes of it. 

 

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Posted (edited)

 #8filltheheart I mean this kindly, so please take it that way. 

I love what you saying, but it really doesn't help me get more schools on dd's list. I'm not kidding about having two-and-a-half schools on her list. We have had departmental conversations at the few we've visited (and one went a bit like your linked thread).

How do you even know where to start? Please don't shut down my thread with a "there is something better out there than your list." Great! Help me build a better list.

I honestly don't see anything on this CTCL for my Dd. She's more of a math/ engineering/ global studies kid, but a conversation about real schools will help a lot of us, I think. We spend a lot of time speaking in code here (Big State U, Ivy, Small Private). I need names and strategies or this kiddo will go to the same big public university as her siblings, which was definitely a least-worst fit, but not the end of the world. :-)

Search engines are useless to us. ETA- try searching "math major" in the "midwest" and some level of selective. There doesn't seem to be a good filter for good math programs at "second tier" schools. I've tried them all. Everywhere has a math major.

I've asked here for lists of schools- and I've gotten some! Maybe I'm just asking for too much, or just don't quite know what we need. 

 

Edited by MamaSprout
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I know people who went to Reed and loved it for everything but weather. I know they have a great math department, and they seem to send kids to PHD programs at a high rate. I was told it isn’t a school that funnels kids to the industry, but more to grad schools. Academically excellent and tough. Now they don’t have merit aid. Only need based aid. 

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Rhodes offers a ton of merit aid. I don’t have a personal experience, but it’s a school we are considering. They apparently have an internship program with St. Jude for kids who are interested in premed. We have friends planning to visit this Spring. Hopefully I will know more. At this point - it looks like Hogwarts seems to be a good selling point around here. 🙂  

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4 hours ago, MamaSprout said:

Colleges That Change Lives – Changing Lives. One Student At A Time. (ctcl.org)

There is a website. I assume it's based on the book?

I'm familiar personally with a few of these- Hillsdale, Earlham, I know a kid who went to St. Olaf. Anyone want to chime in on any of these?

These are all privates. Does anyone want to offer up a public that does a good job being a student centered, "beyond Ivy" type school?

Can you tell we're still trying to expand Dd's list of 2.5 schools to apply to, lol? Also, I was just discussing this with my boss at the university where I work. I had said I thought the book was out of date.

The Evergreen State College. It’s known as the state college where type-A parents send their slightly lost offspring to find direction while still commanding respect. There are lots of interdisciplinary and customized programs of study available so a student who wants to pursue math could easily blend it with global studies.

Edited by Sneezyone
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You're going to have to list more specifics about her wants. What field in engineering? Does she want to pursue an engineering degree with a math double and a global studies minor? A math focus? A global studies focus? Or is it that she is exploring ideas and isnt quite sure?

How much does location matter? Types of dorms/bathrooms? Climate?

Do you have financial concerns?  Budget limits? Will travel costs impact those?

Does she have specific things she wants considered?

I think anything anyone shares without some qualifiers is just a random list. 

Eta: and reading roadrunner's post, is grad school a goal? A specific idea for what she sees herself doing?

Edited by 8filltheheart
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Sorry I didn’t realize you were asking for specific schools. I thought you were tossing out the concept of CTCL for discussion. I realize it wasn’t helpful or what you were looking for. I missed where you said what she was majoring in and what her goals were. 
 

I saw Rhodes mentioned and I know it is in CTCL. My oldest applied there EA and got deferred with a letter that said, basically, that he had to visit. He wasn’t that interested and never did and eventually got a rejection letter saying they wanted to admit him but he didn’t express interest. So back in 2015, demonstrated interest was big for Rhodes. My ds played baseball at many of those CTCL schools throughout the south. The only one he felt like he wished he’d have looked at a little more was Centre. He said the campus was beautiful and the people he met from there were clearly serious students. He did, however, say it was in the middle of no where and it was always cold when he was there. 

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Another one is Hendrix (not a state school tho). I’m not especially fond of the area but they do a fantastic job with their engineering majors. DH was never so happy as when he found one of their ENG grads working at Home Depot. He was my mother’s neighbor’s brother. The poor kid was gay and HATED being in Arkansas but he was positively thrilled about the Navy nuke program.  18 months later he was happy as a clam, very well paid, and all trained up. DH still has the thank you letter he received from that kid.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Roadrunner said:

 At this point - it looks like Hogwarts seems to be a good selling point around here. 🙂  

Yeah, looks like we're a mixed house here. One Gryffindor, one Hufflepuff, and a disputed Ravenclaw (Dd argues I'm really a Slytherin.) All her siblings are Gryffindors.

Edited by MamaSprout
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We know a kid who got into Rhodes with a good scholarship without visiting (in case anybody interested in this school is reading). Maybe because the visit required a flight and it’s a pandemic? We will never know.


I think the biggest no will be finding an engineering angle in CTCL (Hendrix being an exception?). Maybe I have missed something, but it looks to me one can find an excellent math/science departments (math at Reed for example), but these schools are liberal arts schools at heart. On the other extreme are the likes of Stevens Institute of Technology. We need a separate thread on those. I don’t have much of a feel for what they are like, but they look very hands on and engineering focused.  

Edited by Roadrunner
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5 hours ago, MamaSprout said:

Colleges That Change Lives – Changing Lives. One Student At A Time. (ctcl.org)

There is a website. I assume it's based on the book?

I'm familiar personally with a few of these- Hillsdale, Earlham, I know a kid who went to St. Olaf. Anyone want to chime in on any of these?

These are all privates. Does anyone want to offer up a public that does a good job being a student centered, "beyond Ivy" type school?

Can you tell we're still trying to expand Dd's list of 2.5 schools to apply to, lol? Also, I was just discussing this with my boss at the university where I work. I had said I thought the book was out of date.

The latest paper revision was a few years ago. The ebook is older. 

It is outdated in the sense that it isn't adding new colleges each year, nor does the CTCL organization, which is a consortium of the schools themselves. 

For other majors, I look at how many graduates are in the major, what the sample course plan is, if there is news of graduates earning advanced degrees or working in the field. I see what professors are working on. When I read an interesting announcement about research, I look to see where the researchers are associated with and when possible, where they earned their undergraduate degree. 

I'd suggest a thread outlining what you're looking for. That might get more replies with suggestions. 

 

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I came up with a random possibility this morning while I was reading about the Ever Given. How about naval architecture? Specifically, the Webb Institute is tuition free. It's on Long Island. If she likes the idea but doesn't like NY, there are schools that offer the degree in the Midwest but they charge tuition.

 

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A lot of scholarships do not allow for a superscore.   Test scores may limit her options if she doesn't have a decently high single sitting score.  I would see 32 as the ball park range for a good OOS scholarship.  (That will give you an idea if OOS schools' scholarships are viable options.)  

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DS applied to Hope College which is in Holland, Michigan and is a CTCL school.  It has a ABET accredited general Engineering Program with concentrations.  Seems to have a decent Physics program and research opportunities.   On top of their merit scholarships, they give scholarships based on the area of the country the student is from, probably to increase geographical diversity.  Fine arts scholarships are available for non-majors/minors.   DS's total cost to attend there will be super duper affordable - we just aren't sure this young adult should be a plane flight away.  We also really want to visit before committing and we are running out of time.  

DH and I have been super impressed with Hope's outreach and communication- a different department from the major he applied to sent a letter and referenced his essay.  We've received handwritten notes from current students, parents, and alumni.  

 

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Agnes Scott, where my 16 yr old is going next fall is a CTCL, but I hadn't realized it until after we'd actually visited and I was looking at the website for student clubs, etc. I know they have a program with Ga Tech for students who want both the LAC and the top engineering school. 

 

Here's the thread I made after the visit 

 

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Off the top of my head, 

Colorado School of Mines (not sure about aid)

University of Alabama in Huntsville 

University of Cincinnati  (not a lot of aid, but students in engineering do several paid coops as part if the curriculum) 

Rose-Hulman (not sure on aid)

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I found CTCL helpful in finding safeties and relative safeties for my kid who is mathy and was mostly interested in smaller liberal arts colleges with good need based financial aid. We all really liked Hendrix, but it wasn't the best match for a kid who was a likely math major--at least not when he applied. St. Olaf is excellent for math; he looked seriously at it and probably would have been quite happy there, although he ended up elsewhere. ETA: I do recommend taking another look at St. Olaf if you're looking for a "second tier" school for a kid who's into math. My FIL is a retired math professor and speaks very highly of St. Olaf. They have good merit aid, too, if that's a concern. 

Edited by kokotg
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I would take a look at Goucher as well. They're a CTCL school. While I don't have any personal experience, my former boss got her math degree there and loved it. They also are known to have an emphasis on global studies/travel abroad.

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@MamaSprout, have you managed to expand your list a little? I really second that there are lots of math/engineering/global studies kids at CTCL schools so it's possible you're not looking at the right things when looking at them. Also that a few of the schools are state schools. And that you can also look at state public LAC's if you want to add to that list. But keep in mind that financial aid packages at out of state schools are often inferior to privates, so that can depend a lot. A private can end up being cheaper than an OOS public. It totally depends.

Adding that WPI and RPI are two that I'd say look at for engineering kids. But there are many, many others.

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Posted (edited)
18 hours ago, Farrar said:

@MamaSprout, have you managed to expand your list a little? I really second that there are lots of math/engineering/global studies kids at CTCL schools so it's possible you're not looking at the right things when looking at them. Also that a few of the schools are state schools. And that you can also look at state public LAC's if you want to add to that list. But keep in mind that financial aid packages at out of state schools are often inferior to privates, so that can depend a lot. A private can end up being cheaper than an OOS public. It totally depends.

Adding that WPI and RPI are two that I'd say look at for engineering kids. But there are many, many others.

 

No, I haven't really gotten any others on her list, although we might check out Hope College. She's our youngest, so she's been on the campus of something like 16-18 different schools and is with me at small university most days. We've travelled a lot with this kid, so she has strong opinions about geography and universities. I think we're going to let her apply for next year as a Junior and see what falls out. 

She's our last kid at home and most of her friends have gone to college or will be seniors next year. 

She doesn't want to go to school in NY/ MA (unless it's MIT, lol). Colorado School of Mines fell off the list for some reason. She would need a good single SAT to look at OOS publics. She has (and has always had) all the scores. Really good scores. Just never all at the same time. We never pushed testing, and maybe I should have a bit more. 

So I'm rambling. She's stopped looking at any of the single-admit schools. She's just not willing to play the game. 

Edited by MamaSprout
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Posted (edited)
17 hours ago, Farrar said:

Maybe applying and not getting the options she wants because she limited herself will give her a wakeup call to expand for the next go around. That's tough with a kid who is super stubborn.

.

Edited by MamaSprout
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18 hours ago, Farrar said:

Maybe applying and not getting the options she wants because she limited herself will give her a wakeup call to expand for the next go around. That's tough with a kid who is super stubborn.

To be fair, it isn't maybe all her. When she looks at the smaller schools with engineering, they all fall into two categories: those that look like Rose Hulman and those that look like where I work. Everyone is ABET accredited. Dd has done the classes for most of freshman year for those schools already as a tenth grader. I haven't maybe pushed her to look at many of these because I know the inner-workings of the Division III schools in my region. The VP at the school where I work is a terrible gossip, lol. He gives me the dirt on everyone, and many are not financially healthy, although the schools with engineering and/ or nursing seem to be doing better than the straight up liberal arts schools.

Our closest OOS public options are; one that has Chicago between there and here, one where she would have to drive through her in-state choice to get to it (and doesn't give meaningful OOS merit), one that is a single-digit admit that also doesn't give OOS aid worth mentioning, and one that is scary huge. So that does give her one in the state north of us to look at, so we could + 1 more to look at and apply to there.

Our regional single-digit schools are mostly the Chicagoland ones. Of those, Northwestern and Notre Dame have engineering. Northwestern is not homeschool friendly. She did have a lot of interest in Northwestern, but has read a lot of reviews about unhappy students there and I think this is where she decided not to apply to any single-digit admits. "Why would I go into debt to be unhappy when I can be unhappy at big state U with no debt?"

She has interacted with Notre Dame quite a bit and even though it's a really great fit on paper, her interactions with them have not always been good. The left hand doesn't always seem to know what the right hand is doing there. Neither are schools that give much merit for families like us, anyhow. Carnegie Mellon would be a good fit on paper, but again, there wouldn't be much merit discounting there, even if she applied after another year of high school.

I used to live/ work/ go to school on the east coast. There are a lot of schools there, but the cost of living is much higher than here, that even with good merit, a school would need to offer up something special. We haven't found anything there that's really worth driving across Pennsylvania for, I guess.  

Our best option in the upper south is UAH. It's on the list. I haven't really come up with many others south, but she said her biggest strike against UAH wasn't anything to do with the school, she didn't feel like she fit in with the students that she met. She mostly liked the professors she met and the campus is nice.

So I do get where she's coming from. If she wanted to major in a hard science, two more years of high school would make her more attractive. In fact she says she'd like that extra summer for internships and other opportunities, but her options for the academic year diminish quickly after next school year, especially for a kid who has never done as well in online classes as live ones.

Can she self-study or research something? Sure, but she does a lot of that already, and it's a lonely endeavor when you don't have mentors and are home alone. Opportunities like that are thin on the ground here. Can she work? Sure, but she's done that in some capacity since she was 13. Her friend group has always skewed older. She's in the second year of leadership for her main extracurricular and will likely be in a leadership role for her other one next year. 

We've talked about study abroad, which is typically a junior-year thing (I can't imagine applying to college from across the globe), and that isn't happening this year. The universities she wants to apply to have study abroad options that she can afford, though. 

So yeah, she's stubborn, but I think maybe she's also being a little pragmatic.

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If she's got two solid options that she'd be happy with and that are safeties, that really is enough. You only need to find one school that you'd like to attend, will be accepted at and can afford. 

If you want to have more options, she can always apply to a few that offer free applications/no essays on the Common App and see what shakes out.

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It sounds like the real question for her is whether she wants to push herself to do the kinds of things that would make her attractive to top schools or whether she wants to graduate early and go to one of her affordable safeties. Given what you're saying about the coursework she's done already, I think it sounds like she could potentially be an attractive candidate to some of those top schools which give generous aid. They're always a long shot though. And if it is going to be a joyless process she has no interest in, then... I think you have your answer.

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29 minutes ago, Farrar said:

It sounds like the real question for her is whether she wants to push herself to do the kinds of things that would make her attractive to top schools or whether she wants to graduate early and go to one of her affordable safeties. Given what you're saying about the coursework she's done already, I think it sounds like she could potentially be an attractive candidate to some of those top schools which give generous aid. They're always a long shot though. And if it is going to be a joyless process she has no interest in, then... I think you have your answer.

Thanks Farrar. I love that we have a place here to parse some of that. I guess I don't know how those top schools work financially. When I run their calculators, they are still double what our in-state tuition would be. At that price she has to make choices about things like debt and study abroad. Do these school have another pot of money that would offer to a middle income white kid from the Midwest?

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3 minutes ago, MamaSprout said:

Thanks Farrar. I love that we have a place here to parse some of that. I guess I don't know how those top schools work financially. When I run their calculators, they are still double what our in-state tuition would be. At that price she has to make choices about things like debt and study abroad. Do these school have another pot of money that would offer to a middle income white kid from the Midwest?

Sometimes? If she's stellar enough. But the NPC's are going to give you a decent ballpark figure. If it's telling you that's it, then that very well may be it, especially if it's a school that emphasizes need based aid, which is the case for a lot of top schools.

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Posted (edited)
19 hours ago, Farrar said:

Sometimes? If she's stellar enough. But the NPC's are going to give you a decent ballpark figure. If it's telling you that's it, then that very well may be it, especially if it's a school that emphasizes need based aid, which is the case for a lot of top schools.

Thanks. We do qualify for some need-based aid, but it would all depend on how they count things. Unless a school is really short of female STEM students, I don't see any unknowns.

I don't think anything she could do in the next two years is going to make a difference vs. one more year. 

I'm not trying be snarky. She doesn't fit in around here. She's "more" than a lot of her peers, for sure, but I'm not sure that translates into being competitive with the kids who come out of the coastal rat races. It's just a different world here. If she can get into one of her top choices she could be a good student at those choices. They are schools that NASA and the 3-letter agencies recruit from. And she could do that without debt. 

So please, do tell me if I'm overlooking something! I don't want to shortchange her, but I also don't want cause undo stress in our lives for the same end result.

Edited by MamaSprout
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It sounds like she has a great path ahead of her and a lot of potential. I do think it sounds like she could potentially compete with some of the rat race kids if she actually wanted to. But I doubt it would yield enough money in the process to make it worth it and she doesn't want to, so... don't. I don't think you're overlooking anything. You should feel good that you explored what else is out there and then take a breath and let her life unfold the way it's meant to and is going to anyway. You didn't close any doors.

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We are seriously looking at Georgia Tech. I don’t know what differences there are between Purdue and Georgia Tech, and if any of those schools are worth it, but that’s probably the path we will take. I have a similar kid to yours. 

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Posted (edited)
On 4/12/2021 at 7:45 AM, chiguirre said:

If she's got two solid options that she'd be happy with and that are safeties, that really is enough. You only need to find one school that you'd like to attend, will be accepted at and can afford. 

If you want to have more options, she can always apply to a few that offer free applications/no essays on the Common App and see what shakes out.

Following this idea of adding some schools that have no application fee and are on the Common App, I found another really good safety that checks a lot of her boxes and three other regional schools that have either good undergraduate teaching or good undergraduate engineering (Kettering, Kenyon, and Grinnell).

This brings her total (if she applies after Junior year) to: two big in-state schools, two good-match privates, two really good safeties (not counting where I work), a solid but not exciting OOS public, and three good "while we're at it" options. ETA The only ones I think we will need to visit before applying are the in-state schools. The others mostly could be a long weekend visit next fall if they move up the ladder. ETA as of May, she's nixed most of the options after scoping them out online.... So we are back to 2 in-state unis (neither of which is a great fit), 1.5 private schools with engineering, and two safeties.

Edited by MamaSprout
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