Looking for LACs

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Discus: College Search and Selection: August 2004 Archive: Looking for LACs
By Zeppelin67 (Zeppelin67) on Saturday, August 07, 2004 - 10:44 am: Edit


Based on my stats,

What LACs do I match and which are not crapshoot reaches

Also, can anyone give me chances at vanderbilt, notre dame, duke and wake forest?

By Blaineko (Blaineko) on Saturday, August 07, 2004 - 10:56 am: Edit

Hey there...

Vandy and Wake Forest are match or a match/safety.

Other schools I'd recommend that are matches, match/safties or safeties are:

Connecticut C (CT)
Harvey Mudd
Colorado C
University of the South
Case Western

Several of these schools are matches because you enjoy a plus factor in admissions (due to geographic and/or gender imbalances at the colleges), while at others, you are at or above the 75% for SAT scores. The list above does not have any reaches because, usually, you (and everyone else) can think of a huge list of them, while the list for the other categories often are much shorter.

I hope this helps.

By Zeppelin67 (Zeppelin67) on Saturday, August 07, 2004 - 11:39 am: Edit

lol yo thanks man...i happen to love maine tho, and im looking at colby bates and bowdoin...what do u think my chances there are...colgate too sounds lovely...feel free to tack on ur input

By Interesteddad (Interesteddad) on Saturday, August 07, 2004 - 12:37 pm: Edit


Your SAT scores and stuff is pretty similar to my daughter, who was also interested in LACs (Early Decision at Swarthmore). She visited several colleges on your list

So much depends on class rank and how much identity you present in your application. You should give some thought to really emphasizing a key interest on your application -- perhaps the debate stuff. A strong identity is what makes you stand out from the crowd, especially at LACs where applications are given pretty thorough consideration. Also, it really helps to identify a great "fit" by learning a lot about the schools and finding one that really matches you.

Off the cuff, I would say that Bates and Colby are pretty reasonable bets for you. Bowdoin would be at the border of reach/match, although two kids from my daughter's school got in there this year. One was in the top 5 graduating kids (out of 225). The other was top 10%, but with a varsity football hook.

My daughter felt that Vanderbilt was a solid match for her and that Wake Forrest was at the border of match/safety.

She hated Duke when we visited so that was never a serious consideration. I felt that it would be one of the harder places for her to get into -- my sense (perhaps wrong) is that they are notably score-conscious.

If you have a particular interest in Southern schools, you should check out Davidson, about 20 minutes north of Charlotte, NC. It is a really wonderful tiny LAC that is hard as nails academically. It would be a match/reach for you, probably about like Bowdoin in terms of admissions difficulty, but you could have some advantage being a New Yorker.

If you are interested in LACs and finances allow, you should strongly consider Early Decision. It gives you your absolute best shot at admission, particularly if you are reaching a bit.

In general, I think your average white kid should be somewhere around the 75th percentile SAT scores at a top college to feel like it's a solid match.

Off topic: I saw Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, Jon Bonham, and John Paul Jones on their US tour right after Led Zeppelin II was released. I was junior in high school and we did an overnight road trip to see them at the Macon Coliseum in Georgia. One of my buddies who went to the concert with me (Steve Morse) went on to be a pretty good guitar player himself -- winning Guitar Player Magazine's Guitarist of the Year voting three years in a row. At the time, he was doing Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Pete Townsend, Eric Clapton, and Hendrix covers in a high school garage band.

By Zeppelin67 (Zeppelin67) on Saturday, August 07, 2004 - 12:47 pm: Edit

very impressive (both your knowledge of the schools im interested in and your zeppelin/morse connection)

Anyway I really appreciate the input. I also do quite a few Zeppelin covers in my own garage band playing lead guitar but we personally perfer Pink Floyd. Zeppelin happens to be my own personal favorite but tone-wise I sound more like Gilmour than anyone else.

Secondly, my e-mail address is ebernst4@optonline.com so if you can give me any specifics as to your daughters scores and rank it would be much appreciated. Swathmore is an excellent school, perhaps the best of the LACs, so her essays must have been impeccable. I'm very worried however as to what kind of future you can obtain at an LAC so simply drop an email or you or anyone else can tack on another post

By Slipper2002 (Slipper2002) on Saturday, August 07, 2004 - 02:03 pm: Edit

I highly recommend Dartmouth. You look like you could have a shot ED. All the benefits of a LAC (community, campus beauty, great social life) plus being slightly bigger and arguably more well known. All the LACs have tons of companies recruiting, especially at the top. And amazing grad school placement.

So dont worry about that at all

By Interesteddad (Interesteddad) on Saturday, August 07, 2004 - 02:05 pm: Edit

Hah! I also have a Pink Floyd memory. Saw them in Chapin Hall at Williams College -- must have been December 1971 or January 1972 because the snow was several feet deep. It was pre-Dark Side and they were playing all the super-spacy stuff from Ummagumma (Careful with that Ax Eugene, etc.) The interior of Chapin Hall is solid mahogany -- floors, walls, ceiling, church pews. Floyd had a quadraphonic sound system with speaker stacks on the stage and at the rear of the hall. They played most of the set in total darkness, the only visible lighting being the power indicator lights on their WEM amplifiers. Unbelievable show.

As for college, my daughter's stats were very similar to yours. She only took the SATs one time (snowed out of TWO test dates) - 680V/760M. Her SATIIs ranged from 690 to 760. She was second in her class at an average public high school and had all the curriculum stuff they like to see (six years of languages, all the sciences, math through calculus, etc.) although not many APs (3) because her school didn't offer them. She was pretty much 75th percentile at places like Vandy, Emory, Vassar, etc. Midpack for Swarthmore (which we viewed as a big reach).

The key, IMO, was that she had a very tightly focused application -- everything supported math and science, including a fairly intense community service expereince teaching math classes in innner-city summer camps. Early decision probably helped a bunch, as did a significant amount of contact with several departments at the school. Her particular "thing" (the community service) was also a really, really good "fit" for Swarthmore.

These colleges really want to see a "spark" or an "interest" instead of just another "grind out the A's and ace the SATs" applicant. For example, if you eat, breath, and sleep guitar, then you might want to consider emphasizing that passion through your essays. They'd rather have a 4.0 GPA guitar shredder than yet another yearbook editor because, frankly, it's more interesting and they get plenty of yearbook editors.

What the interest is doesn't matter as much as the fact that you have one and will contribute to campus life inside and outside of the classroom. To the extent that your interest is a good fit with the school, so much the better. To the extent that you can tie the interest into your academic strengths, so much the better. To the extent that you can bring your interest to life through your essays, so much the better.

I recommend sitting down (perhaps even with your parents) and writing down all of your strengths. What are you good at? What do you enjoy? Narrow down that list to come up with your "identity" and then hammer that identity in the application like a three-chord rock n' roll riff. Give them a person they can "get to know and like" rather than a list of ECs.

As for liberal arts colleges, people really have a mistaken view. Except for certain specific fields (architecture, engineering, etc.), the undergraduate schools at virtually every university teach a liberal arts curriculum. The idea is to teach you how to learn, question, research, discuss, form opinions, and express yourself. That is true at a liberal arts college or the University of Michigan. You learn exactly the same stuff at Williams and Harvard. The real distinction between an LAC and a Univeristy for most undergrads is the size of the college, the amount of personal instruction, and the emphasis placed on undergrad education.

Depending on the particular student, a large university or a small LAC may be more suitable. For the average motivated student, the pure academics will probably be better at an LAC, simply because the entire emphasis of the school is teaching undergrads and the extreme amount of personal interaction between students and faculty. For example, it looks like three of my daughter's eight courses during her freshman year may be seminars with 12 students that meet once a week (maybe at a professor's house) for 3 hours at night. Not many freshmen get that much small-group education at larger universities.

By Bettina (Bettina) on Saturday, August 07, 2004 - 02:27 pm: Edit

"I'm very worried however as to what kind of future you can obtain at an LAC"

Most any kind of future you choose really. LAC's have great admit rates to law schools and other grad programs. I just had a couple here last weekend who were Colby grads. She went because of the high accept rate to Medical school; she is now a Neonatologist doctor. He is a writer. They both had a good experience at Colby and got to do some very high level work (scientific research; editing a Pulitzer prize-winner) with their professors.

By Collegeparent (Collegeparent) on Saturday, August 07, 2004 - 03:54 pm: Edit

Some of these may be repeats of earlier postings, but here are some LACs where, IMHO, you probably have a good chance - or better:

Connecticut College

BTW, what happened with football? And why no other sports on your resume?

As for the unis you mentioned, Vandy & Wake Forest should be okay for you.

By Reidmc (Reidmc) on Saturday, August 07, 2004 - 11:59 pm: Edit

Zep -

Any specific academic or career interests? That might help posters.

By Zeppelin67 (Zeppelin67) on Sunday, August 08, 2004 - 12:39 am: Edit

i dunno,
im very interested in business
hoping to make some $$ day trading and drop into real estate

but i need a good starting job to get me some captial
can an lac help me with that or do i need a business degree

By Collegeparent (Collegeparent) on Tuesday, August 10, 2004 - 12:12 pm: Edit

For business & business-related courses (i.e., economics, IR, poly sci), of the list I posted above, look at Bates, Colby, Colgate, Hamilton, Haverford & Middlebury. An LAC through its alumni network will get you that first job; it's up to you if you want to go on for an MBA a couple of years later. You can also look at large universities offering undergraduate business degrees. Other business undergraduate schools you can look at at Babson, Bentley and Bryant.

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