Help appease my parents: A good IR/linguistics school?

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Discus: College Search and Selection: August 2004 Archive: Help appease my parents: A good IR/linguistics school?
By Katherine56 (Katherine56) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 06:33 pm: Edit

I've been reading this board for awhile, and I've finally decided to ask for some advice, since apparently, according to my parents, I have "decisions" to make. [long time listener...first time caller]

I'm a white female from Iowa, and I attend a fairly competitive public high school.

And it feels odd doing this, but here are my "stats":
1510 SAT (800v/710m)
35 ACT
4.0 GPA (I've taken 4 AP classes [ab calc, bio, gov, euro] with 5s on the tests)
1 out of 420 (our school doesn't weight grades)

ECs: -I'm very active in speech and debate. I've won the state title in domestic extemp, and was a finalist at NFL nationals in extemp. [Which means little to those outside the debate cult...] I also qualified to TOC in Lincoln Douglas debate, and did some policy debate this year.
- I also have been a three year member of the student senate, and am active on the volunteer committee.
- I play the saxophone (not very well...) and am in marching and pep bands.
- Starting junior year, I have volunteered with the ESL program at my school as a tutor. (And received a human rights award from my city)

Then comes the tough stuff--what schools I'm applying to.

I would like a definite college campus feel (and a medium sized student population), but hopefully in a big enough town or city where there are things to do off campus. However, I'm not particularly city savvy--I blame my Iowa upbringing--so somewhere navigable is preferable. I'm also not a huge partier, so a campus where other activities are available(and the atmosphere isn't just about drinking)would be great.

I'm interested in linguistics and IR--currently fighting the academia vs. real world battle.

Money isn't a huge deal, but some good merit based aid helps. The region the college is located in doesn't long as it isn't "too southern" or "too-anything", really.

All in all, I'm looking for a good school with down to earth people (ie, not a school full of people too far to either side of a spectrum) who are interested in academics, but also can relax and have fun--not *extremely* nerdy. Professors who research (and not just teach) would be nice too.


By Mini (Mini) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 07:22 pm: Edit

The whole Claremont system (Pomona, Scripps, Claremont-McKenna, Pitzer, Harvey Mudd) looks like a pretty perfect match. Campus feel - actually 5 campuses all linked together. Each of them small (800-1,600), but together over 5,000. Located in a smallish town, but a train just off campus and in 50 minutes you are in downtown L.A. Access to mountains, and to the ocean. Claremont-McKenna is especially known for IR. Scripps is the headquarters of the Institute on the European Union. Scripps and Pomona have loads of languages, and both Pomona and Pitzer have linguistics. Some merit aid at all but Pomona, I think - but not a lot. It is "southern" - California.

And being from Iowa will give you a great leg up in admissions.

By Alexandre (Alexandre) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 07:39 pm: Edit

University of Pennsylvania. I would always recommend the school that produced Noam Chomsky! They are also pretty good in IR.

University of Chicago. Excellent and serious university, tops in Linguistics and Political Science.

Obviously, MIT. They are tops in Linguistics, Political Science and IR and they are really trying to attact women to their school, so you have a great chance.

Cornell University is also pretty good.

By Reidmc (Reidmc) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 08:00 pm: Edit

Investigate Johns Hopkins, though Linguistics is available as a minor only. Two other thoughts are Swarthmore and Macalester.

By Liek0806 (Liek0806) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 08:04 pm: Edit

Even though this school would be kinda a safety for you I say Occidental and I always recommend USC, because i'm being bias.

By Cangel (Cangel) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 08:28 pm: Edit

Emory is good size wise, not "too Southern" despite being in Atlanta, and gives good merit aid especially to out of area - I don't know about majors, suggesting based on size. What about Tufts?

By Palomino (Palomino) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 11:35 pm: Edit

Look at Middlebury in Vermont.

By Dg5052 (Dg5052) on Friday, August 13, 2004 - 09:50 pm: Edit

Are you planning on debating in college? If so, you must know that NOrthwestern and Dartmouth are tops.

By Rmerolachc (Rmerolachc) on Saturday, August 14, 2004 - 02:41 am: Edit

(Before I begin, all three of these schools have good linguistics departments)

Take a good look at Columbia. It's reputation for graduate school work in IR precedes it (And it ain't too shabby for the undergrads). Now, you are applying for undergraduate admissions, however, you should also look to what schools have the best advanced degree programs for the undergraduate field in which you are interested (Hence, Columbia) so you can partake in graduate studies at these universities while still an undergraduate. Or you should also look into what schools can offer you the chance to take courses in the best IR or Linguistics graduate schools, while not attending the Ivy/pseudo-Ivy universities, which leads into my next recommendation.

Especially for this notion you have of the possible real world experience, and less nerdy people who can relax, puruse your chances at acceptance to urban, non-Ivy colleges across the country with honors programs (with your qualifications, these chances are near absolute for most places). For instance, CUNY (City University of New York) is pioneering its own honors program (CUNY Honors College) that provides you with a financially worry free undergraduate career while offering you the urban environment and a residency. It has connections to top name businesses in the city and offers opportunity to motivated students. Hunter College's CUNY Honors College chapter also offers its students the chance to apply for more than one fellowship which has landed its students in the UN for real-world experience more often than not. Hunter is in the process of acquiring at least one professor who is a rising star in her field of linguistics and will be looking for students to aid in research.

Another option is to assess the less urban, non-Ivy, public univeristies, such as The College of New Jersey, whose honors program exceeds most expectations with the myriad of courses it offers students as well as a beautiful campus and superb faculty.

My recommendation: Look into Columbia or CUNY Honors if you're up for urban environments with academia and real-world situations. Both would provide it and both would help you with your IR and linguistics pursuits.

By Trojan1444 (Trojan1444) on Saturday, August 14, 2004 - 11:22 am: Edit

Georgeotwn is the best school in the country for IR.

By Alexandre (Alexandre) on Saturday, August 14, 2004 - 11:57 am: Edit

Trojan, I think Tufts, PRinceton and Johns Hopkins would contest your claim. Georgetown is certainly one of the top 3 or 4 IR programs, but given the competition at the top, I'd say there is no clear cut favorite.

By A2a2 (A2a2) on Saturday, August 14, 2004 - 01:48 pm: Edit

The only problem with some of these recommendations is OP's interest in merit aid. The ivys and many of the top schools have moved to all need-based aid. So that's the first decision you need to make - and maybe your parents can make it for you (since they're pressuring you, it only seems fair!) You could probably qualify for merit aid at Macalester and Carleton. I'm not sure what Tufts, Georgetown, Johns Hopkins have to offer - but it's easy enough to find out.

By A2a2 (A2a2) on Saturday, August 14, 2004 - 02:00 pm: Edit

So check this site on foreign affairs which lists grad programs in IR:

By Slipper2002 (Slipper2002) on Sunday, August 15, 2004 - 04:00 pm: Edit

Dartmouth rocks and has a great poly sci program with the Rockefeller center providing great internships and an awesome relationship with LSE. Its also a great campus feel, and you won't get bored since there's always stuff going on. It sounds perfect for you. IR wise Georgetown is great.

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