|By Rotarymom (Rotarymom) on Monday, October 04, 2004 - 10:51 pm: Edit|
Grab your coffee, this is going to be a long boring post.
I am the mom of an average student.
I have been reading here for months, and following Bxian's and Carolines search for colleges for the "average student with personality". I would like to thank them for their information, it has helped a great deal.
My DS is doing his senior year in Japan with the Rotary Youth Exchange program. (loving every minute of it-even though he had no Japanese language classes prior) He left in August and we did get a few campus tours in prior to hm leaving, but I will be solo touring and sending digital pictures to him with thoughts. He will return in July.
He is a B-/C student that excels in Literature (18 out of 18 on his ACT) Scored 1100 on his SAT, has not taken SAT2's. Struggles in math.
He is looking to major in International Relations/Affairs possibly Public Relations/Communications, wants to minor in East Asian Studies.
We have visited U of Scranton, Wittenberg, Slippery Rock, Kings, Wilkes, Marywood. He wants me to look at Goucher and Washington College. (he also said to look at Immaculata's Public relations since they are going co-ed, he would be a URM and the M-F ratio would be "nice")
He loved Slippery Rock, but they really don't seem to have what he is looking for. He liked Wittenburg, didn't love it. Didn't care for the others much at all.
Does anyone have any advice on where he may fit in?
|By Reidmc (Reidmc) on Tuesday, October 05, 2004 - 01:49 am: Edit|
I think that Iowa has the most underrated schools in the country, starting with Grinnell and the two state universities, and including several lesser-known LACs. You might investigate Coe College, which has an interesting public relations major that could be combined with political science. Check out the unique elements of their first- and second-year experiences. Cornell (IA) is another interesting school, though it does have that one-course-at-a-time calendar that freaks some people out.
A school that is closer to you and has always looked interesting to me is Hiram College. I know very little about it but I think it is written up in one of the Lauren Pope books. They have a unique academic calendar, too.
|By Bxian (Bxian) on Tuesday, October 05, 2004 - 10:05 am: Edit|
Rotarymom-Glad my earlier post helped. How about a look at Ursinus College in PA? I know they encourage study abroad and also have an East Asian Studies major (which is what my son wants). Other LAC's with East Asian studies majors include Dickinson, Franklin and Marshall, Gettysburg, Hobart and William Smith, Saint Lawrence, Clark, Skidmore and Union. Fairfield University has an Asian studies minor. Susquehanna U. is a very nice school with a beautiful campus-they do not have East Asian studies (although I do know that you can study abroad in China), but do have a good PR/Communications dept. D's grades/SAT's were in line with your son's (mid 1100 SAT's for her). She was accepted there and it was a close second choice. D ultimately decided to go to Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia, which she absolutely loves.
|By Carolyn (Carolyn) on Tuesday, October 05, 2004 - 01:05 pm: Edit|
Have you looked at Earlham in Indiana? It has a wonderful East Asian studies program, focusing on Japan. It has become a bit more selective the past two years due to increasing apps. but they would love your son's study abroad experience so I think you could safely consider it a match.
As you probably recall, my daughter fell in love with Goucher when we visited - she liked the feel of the campus - it feels like it is out in the country,yet it is very close to Baltimore.She was less impressed with Washington because she felt it was very remote. Both are good schools for average students, I think, although they seem to attract VERY different types of students (Washington's students seemed more preppy - Goucher had a higher share of artsy students). Goucher is more flexible about admitting men than women so his stats would be a fit there, I'd even say a safety. However, Goucher does NOT have an east asian studies program and does not even offer classes in JApanese (although it is possible to take them at another college in Baltimore) so it may not be a good fit). I'm also not too sure what Washington will offer in this regard, although their English department is quite good.
|By Icemaker (Icemaker) on Tuesday, October 05, 2004 - 01:12 pm: Edit|
It might be a reach in terms of getting in, but he may consider my alma mater, Beloit College. Beloit has a strong International Relations major and an Asian Studies minor. I think that Beloit has 5 different oversea study programs associated with their Asian Studies minor (a couple in Japan, one in Hong Kong, the first exchange programs in the nation with China at Fudan University, and one with a university in India). Though Beloit does not have a Communications major, they have a very strong English and Creative Writing programs.
Getting in might be a stretch for your son. The average SAT is 1250 and the average GPA is 3.5. Additionally, Beloit just enrolled their largest freshman class ever and still had to delay admission until January for a number of admitted students.
On the positive side, the Admissions Office has always been more interested in looking at the entire body of a student's work -- not just their SAT scores and grades. Furthermore, Admissions LOVES students who spent time overseas. To Admissions, it shows a degree of risk-taking, independence, and an ability to learn through one's experiences. I think that if your son showed a real interest in attending Beloit and can express how he would contribute to the community and learning environment, he has a good shot of being admitted.
Your son's profile reminds me of my first roommate's profile. My roommate is a brilliant writer and a gifted poet. However, in high school he had no interest in science and math and, consequently, his grades suffered in those areas. I believe Beloit admitted him because they could see through his writing that he would contribute to the intellectual atmosphere and vitality of the community. He graduated (though he struggled getting through the math and science requirements) and is going to grad school in English.
I would urge you or your son to look at Beloit's website (www.beloit.edu) and Loren Pope's book "Colleges That Change Lives" and the accompanying website (www.ctcl.com) to get a flavor for Beloit. If it peaks your interest (or, more importantly, your son's interest), feel free to email me directly and I would be happy to answer any specific questions you may have.
P.S. My brother graduated from Earlham. We kid each other that we went to the same school -- the stats are remarkably similar to each other.
|By Carolyn (Carolyn) on Tuesday, October 05, 2004 - 01:18 pm: Edit|
Another school your son might want to check out is Beloit in Wisconsin. They have some excellent language programs and I believe they do have an asian studies program. They also have a very good English program. Small school with outstanding study abroad options and a very international student body which might be attractive to your son. IT would be a match for his stats.
My daughter has been looking into Lake Forest College near Chicago and likes what she sees in the academic side of things - they do have an asian studies program, as well as international relations. Very good academics and a beautiful campus about 30 minutes by train from downtown Chicago. We haven't visited yet and I don't really have a clear sense of what the student body is like but on paper it looks good (they have some top notch faculty for a small LAC). Looks like it would also be a match for your son.
And, in the PA/NJ area, also look at Susquehanna U (excellent communications program) and Drew University (excellent international relations program). Susquehanna would probably lean towards a safety while Drew would be a match.
|By Carolyn (Carolyn) on Tuesday, October 05, 2004 - 01:27 pm: Edit|
Icemaker - Our posts must have crossed in cyberspace! I think you and I have corresponded about Beloit in the past - my daughter has kept Beloit on her list and we're probably going to visit both Earlham and Beloit in the spring. DAughter's main concern is the surrounding area of both schools.
|By Rotarymom (Rotarymom) on Tuesday, October 05, 2004 - 01:54 pm: Edit|
He had mentioned Earlham, but with his stats thought it would be out of reach. Maybe he should look at it again. (He also felt that way with Gettysburg, Dickinson, Skidmore and Ursinus)
After reading here about SAT results averaging over 1400, I can see why he felt that way with getting 1100.
I would love for him to be able to take it again, but every counselor we spoke with said not to take them while in Japan. He is getting quite fluent and they said he would probably do worse. (Something about having the language conflict English->Japanese->English since he has started to dream in Japanese)
I would love to keep him in a few hour drive of the PA area for college though. But heck, even this continent will be good. He would like to go back and do his masters in Tokyo with the Rotary Program. I just tell him to let me get through this year first.
|By Carolyn (Carolyn) on Tuesday, October 05, 2004 - 02:01 pm: Edit|
I would say Dickinson and Skidmore would be high reaches. Gettysburg might be a realistic reach. I think he'd have a shot at Ursinus.
I do think he would have a good shot at Earlham.
Keep in mind that many of these LACs have wildly skewed male-female ratios and are thus somewhat more likely to admit a male with stats below their average than they are a female below their average. Kind of like males are the new "under represented minority" I have compared the male-female acceptance rates at many of these schools and there is often a noticeable diffence. Take Goucher for instance - average overall GPA of accepted students is 3.2 - but when you drill down and look carefully, average for FEMALES is actually 3.4 and for males it's 2.9. I've found the same thing at places like Earlham, Beloit, even Dickinson. So, pay attention to those male-female ratios as well - if a school has anything above a 45-55 male-female ratio, I think it's a good bet that they will cut a male a bit of slack.
|By Dstark (Dstark) on Tuesday, October 05, 2004 - 02:21 pm: Edit|
These schools may be reaches but they probably have what you want. If you are a full payer, you have a better chance... Lewis and Clark, Willamette, and University of Puget Sound. Western Washington University might also be worth a look.
|By Mikemac (Mikemac) on Tuesday, October 05, 2004 - 03:26 pm: Edit|
how about taking a look at the book "colleges that change lives" by Loren Pope?
|By Carolyn (Carolyn) on Tuesday, October 05, 2004 - 03:43 pm: Edit|
By the way, I just noticed on Beloit's merit aid web site that they offer a $16,000 scholarship ($4,000 a year) to students who have participated in a Rotary or AFS study abroad program! Might be worth looking into!Here's the link:
|By Icemaker (Icemaker) on Tuesday, October 05, 2004 - 06:14 pm: Edit|
Nice to cross paths with you again, Carolyn. Lake Forest is a nice school -- very pretty campus, solid academics, and close to Chicago in a very exclusive North Shore Suburb. I have been to that campus probably a dozen times for various events. I think that she will find the students and the surrounding area at Lake Forest are quite different from the students and surrounding area at Beloit and Earlham. Obviously, she will be able to make a more informed decision after she visits all three schools.
Regarding Rotarymom's desire to have her son a bit closer to Pennsylvania, a school that is rarely mentioned but may be worth considering is Manhattanville College in Purchase, NY. I have a friend from high school who went there and he really liked it. I think that they have both International Relations and Asian Studies. Furthermore, it looks like it might be a closer fit with your son's academic profile.
Carolyn makes a good point regarding your son's numbers. If he applies to a LACs, he might get a bit of a break since there exists a growing chasm between males and females at many of these schools. Without personally knowing your son, I think that at most of these schools mentioned, he would have a reasonable shot at being accepted to some of them, even if his numbers are slightly below the norm. Like I mentioned previously, if he brings something dynamic to the table and there is a good reason why he desires to attend a certain liberal arts college, I think that many of the Admisssions counselors at these schools will look favorably toward such a potential student.
|By Carolyn (Carolyn) on Tuesday, October 05, 2004 - 06:24 pm: Edit|
Manhattanville is seldom mentioned here - but it's a nice little school within shouting distance of NYC. Decent academics and one of those schools where there is a definite male-female skew. A car would be a good thing to have there - not much in the immediate area and not much local transportation directly near campus - but otherwise, a nice all around school.
Icemaker - Am I correct in my read that Lake Forest tends to attract a preppier student body than Beloit or Earlham? My daughter wants a more quirky student body - not over the edge weird, just quirky, if that makes sense.
|By Rotarymom (Rotarymom) on Tuesday, October 05, 2004 - 09:59 pm: Edit|
Thank you all so much for all the suggestions! I am going to send him the links to a few of them and see what he wants me to go look at. This search by proxy is difficult.
Caroline-I understand what you mean by quirky, it describes my son.
Again, thank you from an average kid and his mom.
|By Rotarymom (Rotarymom) on Tuesday, October 05, 2004 - 10:06 pm: Edit|
Mikemac- I do have Lauren Pope's book and the book "Finding the College that's Right for You" that Caroline recommended. Both have been invaluable.
But ya'll here are a wealth of information too.
|By Icemaker (Icemaker) on Wednesday, October 06, 2004 - 12:25 am: Edit|
Your read of my previous post would be correct. I think that it is fair to say that Lake Forest has tended to attract more establishment, business-oriented students and that Beloit and Earlham have traditionally attracted more anti-establishment, artsy-oriented students.
My understanding is that the Lake Forest administration is attempting to diversify their student body. So maybe the old streotype about Lake Forest no longer applies. Obviously, even at small liberal arts colleges there are all types of students.
Maybe it is the leafy suburban setting, but the general vibe I got when I went to Lake Forest's campus is one of conformity. Conversely, the general vibe I got when I first visited both Beloit and Earlham was one of individuality. Given that, while there many, many students who apply to both Beloit and Earlham, I doubt that there are many students who apply to Lake Forest and then apply to either Beloit or Earlham. In fact, off the top of my head I can't think of anyone at Beloit who mentioned to me that they also were thinking of Lake Forest.
At Beloit, most of the people I know who were considering other schools considered and/or applied to Earlham, Lawrence, Macalester, Antioch and Grinnell in the Midwest. I have also heard East Coast types at Beloit mentioning that they considered and/or applied to Bard, Hampshire, Bates, Sarah Lawrence, Marlboro and Warren Wilson. My guess is that the students at Lake Forest have alot of cross applicants with places like Ripon College, Depauw University, Hanover and Denison. But that is just a guess on my part.
|By Ledyana (Ledyana) on Wednesday, October 06, 2004 - 03:32 am: Edit|
Hey I also want to apply to beloit college and I am an international student. Icemaker how is scholarship for international student? Are there lots of international student there? what do u do during weekend? how is the dorm / food? thx
|By Carolyn (Carolyn) on Wednesday, October 06, 2004 - 10:51 am: Edit|
Icemaker, Thanks for the confirmation. My daughter is definitely looking for the individual-artsy-quirky type of school. She doesn't do well around "career types" :LOL: We'll keep Earlham and Beloit on our visit list for next spring. Have you ever been to Knox?
|By Carolyn (Carolyn) on Wednesday, October 06, 2004 - 10:55 am: Edit|
LEydana, I'm sure Icemaker will also comment, but Beloit has one of the largest percentages of international students of any liberal arts school in the country. They do have financial aid available for internationals, but their web site says that typically the average package is limited to about 40-50% of total costs - no full rides.
|By Icemaker (Icemaker) on Wednesday, October 06, 2004 - 01:20 pm: Edit|
I actually emailed Ledyana directly (I didn't want to be seen as hijacking this thread). The only thing that I would add about Beloit is that they have some full rides for international students -- sometimes based upon what country the applicant comes from. For example, if I remember correctly, an alumnus recently endowed a scholarship to offer full rides each year to 2 students from South Africa.
Regarding Knox, the only thing that I really know about it is that historically, most professionals from Illinois have thought of it as the most prestigious LAC in that state. I also personally know one attorney who went there as an undergrad. In my opinion, he is one of the best trial attorneys currently practicing in Wisconsin.
Fairly or not, in my mind I tend to lump Knox with Coe College and Cornell College in Iowa -- good, friendly schools where the students tend to be bright and generally hard working, with solid reputations in the Midwest and among graduate schools, but are not really known by the general public. I think that Knox and Cornell are relatively isolated, while Coe is, I'm guessing, about 35 miles from Iowa City.
I think that all three of these schools tend to be attract small town, Midwestern students (though my guess is that Knox gets a larger share of their students from the Chicago suburbs) who were very good high school students, but not necessarily at the very top of their class and whose test scores may be skew lower than their true academic ability (given that it is harder to get professional help in prepping for the SAT if you are a high school student in Mount Vernon, Illinois or Oskaloosa, Iowa).
Though I believe that my biases are quite apparent and this should come as a surprise to absolutely nobody, I have a soft spot for small liberal arts colleges. I think that many of these schools take students who have raw academic talent but may have been handicapped by not being academically challenged in high school and/or first generation college students who, consequently, are initially ill-prepared for the rigors of a challenging college curriculum. By hiring talented professors focused on teaching and placing students in small, intimate classes, they are able to demand high academic achievement while providing individual students with the tools to achieve academic and professional success. At least that has been my personal experience.
The down side of being educated at a small liberal arts college is that given the focus on in-class discussions and writing, they tend to discuss their opinions in long, rambling posts that go on forever and they never tire of hearing themselves themselves talk or think. They also tend to quote The Simpsons at the most inappropriate moments in life (wait--maybe those are just my problems). That reminds me of a Simpsons where Grandpa Simpson was talking about wearing a bag of onions on his belt . . .
|By Rotarymom (Rotarymom) on Wednesday, October 06, 2004 - 02:55 pm: Edit|
Please do not worry about hijacking this thread. A.) I like the Simpson's and B.) I enjoy reading these posts.
It seems that the not only are the average students underrepresented on these boards, but the small LAC's as well. This is great insight.
And yes, my son will be first generation college. His Father is military trained and I was Tech school with a full ride (only place I applied).
This is all so new to me.
|By Momoffour (Momoffour) on Wednesday, October 06, 2004 - 11:15 pm: Edit|
You might want to send videos from Collegiate Choice in NJ to your son to learn about the schools.
|By Reidmc (Reidmc) on Thursday, October 07, 2004 - 01:03 am: Edit|
Icemaker makes some great points about both the student and the teaching populations at midwestern LACs. Many of the kids do come from smaller towns where the economies have been traditionally based on agriculture and small manufacturing firms, and as a result the overall educational culture is not as intense as is found at many suburban or urban schools or at private college preps. Many of these schools do not offer much in the way of honors or AP courses, and often, their kids really blossom at small LACs. In addition, other talented urban and suburban kids end up at some of these schools due to church affiliations or a wish to study in what they (or their parents) believe to be a safe and controlled environment.
I've worked with many graduates of these schools. Two schools in particular (and two rarely if ever mentioned on this board), Luther College (IA) and Gustavus Adolphus College (MN) have turned out some extraordinary graduates - the result of both talent and good teaching. In my current organization, I can think of two employees in particular, both from Luther, that have easily outperformed grads from Middlebury, Stanford, University of Minnesota etc.. This limited comparison would not lead me to rate Luther a better school than Middlebury, but does indicate to me that they attract some talented kids and offer them an excellent educational experience.
All this said, Rotarymom's S is not a lock at the more selective schools suggested here, like Beloit and Earlham. However, along with the break a male may get at some of them, high overall acceptance rates bode well for a student with a well-developed application and something like S's Japan experience. At first glance a school like Allegheny College might look unlikely, as the 25th SAT percentile (2003) was 1090. But they accepted 82% of their applicants! A list of good schools representing a range of selectivity should yield some very good options.
Good luck with your research and your visits.
|By Carolyn (Carolyn) on Thursday, October 07, 2004 - 10:18 am: Edit|
Momoffour has a great suggestion - the Collegiate Choice video's would be terrific for your son - two guidance counselors visited various schools and simply video taped the actual walking tours given by the admissions offices. They are not fancy but give a good overview, especially for someone like your son who can't travel to see the various schools. Of course, that assumes that your son can get access to a US compatible video machine in Japan (They don't offer DVD's). They're relatively inexpensive. www.collegiatechoice.edu
|By Rotarymom (Rotarymom) on Thursday, October 07, 2004 - 10:37 am: Edit|
I never thought of the Video's! I remember looking at the link months ago when I saw it here, but that is a fantastic idea. I believe they use the same formatting as we do in Japan, I will have to ask him.
I have made an appointment with the guidance counselor at school today. Even she said that DS is a student who does not show well on paper, that to truly get a feel for him you must meet him. Without face to face interviews at some of these schools it will prove more difficult. He did very well with his interview at Wittenberg.
Once we narrow this list (currently at 12 prospective colleges) how many do you advise applying to?
|By Carolyn (Carolyn) on Thursday, October 07, 2004 - 12:49 pm: Edit|
The standard wisdom is to apply to 6 colleges: 2 "reaches," 2 "matches," and 2 "safeties." Of course, you can use any variation and even more schools - although I've seen research that suggests you can actually do worse by applying to too many schools (the conclusion being that applicants with multi-applications don't treat each application with the same amount of attention and it shows).
My own daughter will probably end up applying mostly to matches and safeties next year - so far, she's only found one real "reach" school that she's interested in. I don't think that's a problem as all of the schools she's interested in are good schools, even if they are not "reach" schools for her.
|By Carolyn (Carolyn) on Thursday, October 07, 2004 - 12:53 pm: Edit|
One more thing: even if your son can't interview, his personality and characteristics can still be conveyed through his essays and recommendations. I would think an essay about his experiences in Japan would go a long way to separate him from the pack.
That's one of the reasons why schools like Earlham and Beloit are good for "average" candidates who have "hidden" merit - they don't use the standard essay questions but rather give a bit more flexibility so that candidates who play it right can convey who they are. Earlham, in particular, has a very unique application - they even ask for a parent recommendation! (You can look at the applications for schools on line by the way - it is often interesting to do this, in my opinion, because in some cases you can kind of get a sense of the overall philosophy of the school and what they are looking for based on how they structure their application, their essays and even their recommendation forms.)
|By Rotarymom (Rotarymom) on Thursday, October 07, 2004 - 02:28 pm: Edit|
I think he too will end up with only one reach school which may be Earlham. His favorite so far is Slippery Rock, and that would definitely be a safety. (Communications-Public Relations with E Asian Minor)
Question about The Teacher recommendations. Should he send the required recommendations from his teachers here and then include one from his school in Japan written in Japanese? He is thinking this will make his application stand out.
|By Carolyn (Carolyn) on Thursday, October 07, 2004 - 03:50 pm: Edit|
Will he be including a translation? I don't think many adcoms read Japanese, thus it would be a wasted recommendation if they can't read it! With a translation attached, I guess it would be OK. Not sure how much it would make his application stand out though. Anyone else have any thoughts on this?
|By Dadofsam (Dadofsam) on Thursday, October 07, 2004 - 03:55 pm: Edit|
Rotarymom: been enjoying reading this thread.
However, if I were an admissions officer receiving that, my reaction would be along the lines of "Now what the @#$%^&*+ am I supposed to do with THIS!! (Ok, maybe that's a little exagerated, but only a little)
If it's important enough to send with the application, I would have it written by the school in English in the first place, even if the English is not of the best quality.
|By Rotarymom (Rotarymom) on Thursday, October 07, 2004 - 04:18 pm: Edit|
I have to tell you that was my thought too. HIs answer was "if they have an East Asian studies program, there should be someone there to read Japanese!"
Think I will tell him to just stick with English. His mid-year grades will come from Japan, and when listing courses for 12th grade Shodo, hiragana, and katakana with EC's being Momotaro Coaching aide, Kendo, and volunteer at the undokai I think they will get the idea.
|By Thekev (Thekev) on Friday, October 08, 2004 - 12:06 am: Edit|
Look at Benedictine College(KS), Truman State U(small but exceptional gem according to national magazines, counselors, students, and educators)and look at U of Dallas.
|By Reidmc (Reidmc) on Friday, October 08, 2004 - 12:08 am: Edit|
Given the senior year in Japan, limited visits, et al. . I would advise applying to more than six schools. That might mean a heavier essay load, but a variety of essays may give him more of an opportunity to express himself and find a good fit.
With Slippery Rock as a solid safety, I would expand the list in the match and reach (but not too reach-y) areas.
|By Carolyn (Carolyn) on Friday, October 08, 2004 - 09:25 am: Edit|
Reid, I think you have a good point about adding a few extra schools because of the unique circumstances.
Rotarymom - Had to laugh at your son's answer - sounds just like something MY daughter would say.
Just remind him that adcoms are usually not the ones who speak Japanese. (Although I did read an interesting tidbit on the Earlham site a few months ago about a French teacher who was returning from a semester doing research in Japan! I had to wonder about THAT juxtaposition!)
I'd also suggest that you and your son (assuming he has computer access) do a search on livejournal.com under "interest" for each of the potential colleges. Many colleges have "discussion" groups that will answer questions from prospective students and also talk about campus life. It's a good way to get first hand information and a sense for what students and daily life is like. Both Beloit and Earlham have livejournal communities.
|By Adwzz11 (Adwzz11) on Friday, October 08, 2004 - 09:34 am: Edit|
A few weekends ago I visited schools in the Chicago area. I saw Northwestern, U. Chicago and Beloit. Beloit College I must say was the ugliest campuse I have ever seen in my life!!! I'm not just comparing it to U of C and Northwestern either. Everything is dead there....the trees, the grass, there are no flowers....it looks like a ghost town too!!! There were beer bottles everywhere and the kids did not look like they were interested in learning in the least. If it were up to my, I wouldn't even consider going to Beloit even if I had a full boat!!!!
|By Momoffour (Momoffour) on Friday, October 08, 2004 - 02:27 pm: Edit|
Could your son write the last paragraph of his essay in japanese with a translation in parathesis afterwards to be unique?
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