What's wrong with this situation?

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Discus: College Admissions: March 2004 Archive: What's wrong with this situation?
By Rena (Rena) on Tuesday, March 02, 2004 - 08:59 pm: Edit

I've been accepted to Carleton College and I've been telling people. However, everyone that I have spoken to doesn't know about the college. Just a few days ago I spoke to a student who was attending college here in MA. She was originally from Minnesota, and she had not even heard of the college. How is this going to affect me when I enter the work field or go to grad school?

By Chardonnay (Chardonnay) on Tuesday, March 02, 2004 - 09:32 pm: Edit

i've heard of carleton, most people (employers) here in the midwest know that it is a good school, in fact, it's the dream school of many high schoolers. so don't worry about it, carleton's great, be happy that you got in!

By Meow (Meow) on Tuesday, March 02, 2004 - 09:38 pm: Edit

It's usually ranked as one of the top 10 lib arts schools in the country, isn't it? I've heard great things about carleton academically.

A lot of this stuff is regional. You might be surprised which eastern schools are no-names in other parts of the country.

By Dads2kids (Dads2kids) on Tuesday, March 02, 2004 - 10:03 pm: Edit

Were you admitted ED or EA? Or admitted early as a regular decision applicant? I'm interested because my son applied regular decision there and he has not heard yet. We have heard good things about Carleton and he applied there based on a "good sciences" reputation.

By Rena (Rena) on Tuesday, March 02, 2004 - 10:45 pm: Edit

Thanks everyone. Dads2kids I applied early decision. I think regular decision candidates get the college's response around late March or early April.

By Reidmc (Reidmc) on Tuesday, March 02, 2004 - 11:08 pm: Edit

Keep in mind that there are many great people, places and things that lack universal recognition.

Employers (and particularly)grad schools know about Carleton. It is an outstanding college.

By Piglette (Piglette) on Wednesday, March 03, 2004 - 01:29 pm: Edit

Some East Coast "big name" schools elicit a blank "Huh?" in other parts of the country. I can tell you from personal experience (as a midwesterner) that DePauw Univesity gets a bigger "ahhhh, cool!" in much of Indiana than does "Williams." And try to find people who have any notion of how good Swarthmore is, or Macalester, or Grinnell... Out "East," many people assume that "Pomona" is some regional college with a name that sounds vaguely like "Pasadena."

Carleton is a fabulous little gem of a school. Among those who "get it" about higher education, it is extremely prestigious. (Enrolls more National Merit Finalists than any other small liberal arts college -- not just higher percentage, if I recall correctly, but the highest number of actual Finalists -- and the classes are only 400 or so each year.)

BTW -- My son has applied to Carleton RD. (1550 SAT / 800/800/800 / 5's on all APs / 3rd in his class / first-chair clarinet / Habitat for Humanity / captain of varsity track team / Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute scholarship winner as school's top math/science student.) (Obviously, I'm proud of my son -- but I also add his stats here to point out that he is no slouch.)

Good luck.

-- Piglette

By Gianscolere (Gianscolere) on Wednesday, March 03, 2004 - 01:36 pm: Edit

if this person from minnesota hasn't heard of carleton, minnesota's most prestigious college, then what in-state colleges has she heard of? her knowledge, *not* carleton's reputation, is lacking.

By Mstee (Mstee) on Wednesday, March 03, 2004 - 01:58 pm: Edit

I wouldn't worry at all. I get blank looks from most Californians when I mention that my son applied to Harvey Mudd, which is a very good school in California. Most people just don't know that much about good colleges, even those in their own back yard.

By Ohio_Mom (Ohio_Mom) on Wednesday, March 03, 2004 - 02:29 pm: Edit

Ah, but the graduate schools have heard of Carleton and Harvey Mudd. Carleton is on our list to visit.

By Ariesathena (Ariesathena) on Wednesday, March 03, 2004 - 02:58 pm: Edit

A few years ago (like twenty), "Duke" would get you blank stares... now it (though still pretty much the same school) has a wonderful national reputation. Name recognition means very little about a university.

If you want name recongition, go Ivy or MIT, CalTech, Stanford, Duke. If you want a great undergraduate-focused education, small school, it would be hard to beat Carleton.

By Iflyjets (Iflyjets) on Wednesday, March 03, 2004 - 03:06 pm: Edit

Ditto what Ohio Mom said: the name may not impress everyone, but that's not why you picked Carlton anyway, right? You picked it because you really liked what the school had to offer, and just because people don't know about Carleton, doesn't take away anything from what it has to offer you. Good for you for applying to such a terrific school and for recognizing that you would be a good fit there; Carleton obviously agreed, congratulations!!

When I mention the name of a school that no one seems to recognize (especially the LACs), if I am irked by the reaction, I might casually add, "yes, it's a small college in (blank: location) that is ranked as #X among US colleges, and accepted students average around XXXX on the SAT." That seems to put it in perspective for most people. The reputation of a school really is important only to you, a graduate admissions committee, and a potential employer (where, if the employer is not familiar with the shcool, a polite form of the above quoted statement can help).

My advisor for my PhD graduated from Carleton and speaks so highly of it. Also, my brother-in-law graduated from Carleton and went on to make the Harvard Law review (top 5% at Harvard law school), and he credits Carleton for much of his success. It sounds like you have made a wonderful choice!

By Piglette (Piglette) on Wednesday, March 03, 2004 - 03:09 pm: Edit

Mstee & Ohio Mom --

Interesting -- My son applied to both Carleton and Harvey Mudd ! (Both schools get blank stares, unless the hearer knows about the schools, in which case the reaction is usually: "fabulous school!")

By Mini (Mini) on Wednesday, March 03, 2004 - 04:17 pm: Edit

I'm a graduate of Williams, living out in the Pacific Northwest. When I tell people where I went, 99 out of 100 people think I said "Whitman". (I don't try to disabuse them -- out here, Whitman has a good reputation, even if Williams has none.)

Around here, if you want a name with "recognition", you say "Gonzaga".

By Sascha (Sascha) on Wednesday, March 03, 2004 - 04:55 pm: Edit

Rena--I graduated from Carleton, and will be thrilled if my daughter chooses to apply next year. It's a great school. In terms of name-recognition, I've found that anyone familiar with higher education has enormous respect for Carleton. And whenever I meet someone from Minnesota I mention that I went to Carleton and they are invariably impressed -- the person you met was out of touch. A Carleton degree will only help you in terms of graduate school. But it's true that most people won't know Carleton, so if this is a big concern for you it may not be the best choice for you.

By Mike2008 (Mike2008) on Wednesday, March 03, 2004 - 05:29 pm: Edit

How about Olin College of Engineering?

Not many people know about Olin?

I plan to continue the graduate study in 2009.


By Usunkmyb_Ship (Usunkmyb_Ship) on Wednesday, March 03, 2004 - 05:53 pm: Edit

There were a lot of colleges I didn't know about. Like this year this girl was obsessed with going to Georgetown and I've never heard of it. Or like UPenn, just sounds like a normal state university, I didn't know it was ivy. And this goes with any more of these so called top 10 LACs and top 25 colleges.
And this particular school I've never heard of:/ It must suck to work so hard to get into a notely prestigious school and when you get in you feel like bragging about it and everyone's like "good for you..." heh. Anyways employers and grad school officials know better.

By Slayer (Slayer) on Wednesday, March 03, 2004 - 06:03 pm: Edit

I live in NC and I've heard of Carleton. I guess LAC's just don't carry the same weight outside of their area... Like Davidson College is an amazing school, but I don't think it's very well nationally known..

By Rena (Rena) on Sunday, March 07, 2004 - 09:54 am: Edit

Thanks everyone for the supportive advice.

By Marite (Marite) on Sunday, March 07, 2004 - 10:22 am: Edit

Olin is too new to have built a name recognition or track record (it still needs to graduate its first class). That does not mean that it is not excellent.

Carleton, however, has a fabulous reputation in higher education circles. A former dean of students at Carleton went on to become president of Pomona. He retired last summer.

By Bluebins (Bluebins) on Sunday, March 07, 2004 - 02:06 pm: Edit

It's a pretty cool school that can turn out the likes of Barry Osbourne, Lord of the Rings producer and Carleton graduate.

By Bluebins (Bluebins) on Sunday, March 07, 2004 - 02:08 pm: Edit

Mini, what do you know about Whitman?

By Meow (Meow) on Sunday, March 07, 2004 - 11:12 pm: Edit

"I guess LAC's just don't carry the same weight outside of their area..."

I think this is it.

I know in my area, everyone knows about Carleton - but Middlebury, Barnard, Mt.Holyoak, etc, draw blank looks.

By Charlez (Charlez) on Monday, March 08, 2004 - 06:32 pm: Edit

From my experience, most of the people who have knowledge about colleges (my tutors, teachers, counselors, friends that went thru the college app process) know the top LACs

i applied to
pomona college
harvey mudd

and the responses i got were either
"o wow those are some pretty prestigous schools!"
"you're applying to where?"

By Innsayneidiot (Innsayneidiot) on Tuesday, March 09, 2004 - 03:25 am: Edit

conversation with friend who wants to be a doctor:
friend: i want to go to harvard
me: what major?
friend: pre-med
me: are you also considering john hopkins, then?
friend: what's that?

i live in california and some people at my school think caltech is a CSU, but that berkeley is god.

By Pattykk (Pattykk) on Wednesday, March 10, 2004 - 09:29 am: Edit

I have a comeback you can use. The columnist and author Dave Barry went to Haverford. He had the same problem. He would say he went to Haverford, and people would say, "Never heard of it." His response was a cheery, "That's okay. They have never heard of you either."

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