Which colleges have very rigorous academic programs?

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Discus: College Search and Selection: September 2003 Archive: Which colleges have very rigorous academic programs?
By Blessed1985 (Blessed1985) on Saturday, September 20, 2003 - 05:16 pm: Edit

My name is Nicole Clyne and I'm currently a freshman at Temple University. I feel as though I've shortchanged myself and I want a challenge. I won't say I'm a genius but I do pretty well in school. I'm from St.Lucia and there I got the highest grades in my CXC examinations and was one of the top 25 for my A levels. (I hope that helped to give some measure of my intelligence)
I want to transfer to a school where my mind can definitely be put to the test. Do you have any suggestions? I was thinking about Cornell.

Thanks in advance

By Mstee (Mstee) on Saturday, September 20, 2003 - 05:43 pm: Edit

University of Chicago.

By Spiffybrownboy (Spiffybrownboy) on Saturday, September 20, 2003 - 06:39 pm: Edit

Cornell and Chicago definitely work their students hard, as do JHU, MIT, Tufts, just to name a few.

By Sac (Sac) on Saturday, September 20, 2003 - 07:02 pm: Edit


By Perry (Perry) on Saturday, September 20, 2003 - 07:44 pm: Edit

There are many, many schools that offer a highly challenging education. Aside from the ivies and Swarthmore, consider Amherst, Williams, Wellesley, Bowdoin, Haveford, Reed, Washington University, etc. You also may want to consider some of the honors programs that Universities offer to high performing students. If you haven't already, go to the public Library or your local bookstore and look through some of the college guidebooks. Good luck to you.

By Blessed1985 (Blessed1985) on Saturday, September 20, 2003 - 07:55 pm: Edit

Thanks to all those you have replied so far. My SAT score was only 1430 and money is an issue for me. I really don't want to take out huge student loans. The real reason I'm going to Temple right now is because it's affordable. Based on this, can you please make some new suggestions?

By Chasgoose (Chasgoose) on Saturday, September 20, 2003 - 09:07 pm: Edit


By Carolyn (Carolyn) on Saturday, September 20, 2003 - 10:19 pm: Edit

Carleton, Grinnell, Whitman, Rhodes College, the College of Wooster, Bates, UMichigan-Ann Arbor, Oberlin, Kenyon.

By Stanfordhopeful (Stanfordhopeful) on Saturday, September 20, 2003 - 10:38 pm: Edit

NO college in America is as rigorous as Caltech. They take hardcore to a whole new level.

By Ksolo (Ksolo) on Sunday, September 21, 2003 - 11:07 am: Edit

There are many institutions that are very challenging academically. The entire Top 40 in the US News Best Colleges are tough. Much more difficult than Temple.

By Xyz155 (Xyz155) on Sunday, September 21, 2003 - 03:14 pm: Edit

go to Penn State, geez with great SATs like yours you could have got tons of financial aid for much better schools. You might even be able to get into the honors program at PSU and you get aid if you get into that.

By Jamimom (Jamimom) on Sunday, September 21, 2003 - 06:25 pm: Edit

Since you are already in a Pa state school, why not consider transferring to an honors program at Penn State or Pitt. The tuiton would be comparable. Also any state school with an honors program would offer challenging program at relatively the same price. UVA, Wm &Mary, UNC-Chapel Hill, U of Wisconsin, U of Michigan are just a few state schools that are selective. Rice is good private school choice at a good price. Unfortunately, transfers often do not get much if any financial aid so if you are looking at private colleges you should e-mail an inquiry to financial aid asking what each college's policy is for transfer students regarding both financial aid and merit awards. Good luck to you

By Blessed1985 (Blessed1985) on Sunday, September 21, 2003 - 08:20 pm: Edit

I was thinking that the private schools like Amherst, Williams and Swarthmore would give more aid than the state schools. Also, do you think I have a chance at transferring to an Ivy League school and will it be worth doing so?

By Ksolo (Ksolo) on Sunday, September 21, 2003 - 11:35 pm: Edit

Privates like Amherst, Williams, and Swarthmore, depending on the student, does give more financial aid than state schools. This is heavily dependent on the student's family income, and partially based upon academic merit. With students who transfer, less financial aid is given. Institutions are much less concerned with offering transferring students money. But they do offer some. Just don't expect a whole lot.

If you have high grades, and put together a great application, than yes, you may have a chance at transferring into an Ivy League school. It would be worth transferring into an Ivy League school not so much because it's an Ivy, but because your present institution is not providing you with the challenge you would like. And I think you can tell that academically, the school is just not good enough for you.

Try to figure out what else you want for your college experience. Look into the location of the schools, the social life, availability of faculty, student population, etc. Small or large school? By the way, the small liberal arts schools like Amherst, Swarthmore, Williams, etc, are more likely to offer you decent financial aid than any of the Ivies. The Ivies definitely won't give you much to begin with, even if you weren't transferring!

There's quite a bit to consider when selecting which colleges transfer to. So think hard and long about it. Be patient. And be humble. Don't think for a second that any of these institutions won't reject you! At the same time, you have nothing to lose, so go for it.

By Jamimom (Jamimom) on Monday, September 22, 2003 - 10:08 am: Edit

Ksolo is absolutely right. Many ivies just don't have transfers as priorites for financial aid so you would have to talk to them about that aspect. If money is a real issue, the honors programs at state schools are your best bet for a more challenging curriculum at your current cost level. But, by all means go ahead and check out the ivies. They tend to be really interested in transfers like you who are changing schools due to a desire for more rigor rather than someone from Cornell who wants to transfer to Harvard. It is just the cost angle that I am addressing but it may be worth it to you to take out loans for the difference if you get in and the schools will not make up the gap.

By Chasgoose (Chasgoose) on Monday, September 22, 2003 - 08:31 pm: Edit

I mentioned Rice before and I still think that would be a great school. It is very rigorous and they are also great with aid because they have this huge endowment. Also because of this huge endowment, their tuition is about $17,000-18,000 a year. Still a lot, but significantly better than any private school and close to the out-of-state tuition at any state school that has the same academic rigor and reputation.

By Haon (Haon) on Tuesday, September 23, 2003 - 03:23 pm: Edit

Amherst, Williams and Swarthmore meet 100% of all student's designated need...IE, if you need the money, you will get it from these schools.

However, none of these schools give academic (merit-based) aid so don't depend on much aid if you're well off.

All three have rigorous, excellent programs. All three are extremely hard to transfer into (but it's worth a try).

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