Not average-not elite

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Discus: Parents Forum: 2004 Archive - Part 2: Not average-not elite
By Tom1944 (Tom1944) on Monday, September 13, 2004 - 09:55 am: Edit

This site has been extremely informative- I have read about schools for the elite student and how competitive admissions are. I have also read the information for the average student and the many good schools for them. How about the student that falls between them. Here are the stats- SAT above 1200 below 1400. All or mostly Honor classes but a solid B average. EC's are fine no real leadership but solid participation. They are not URM, recruited athlete, legacy, first to college. The elite schools are out no change at IVY's, Stanford, MIT or Swarthmore, Amherst, Williams. What schools fit this academic resume- please include both LAC's and Research University's. I guess I should define elite= above 1400- all honors and AP's with a high GPA unbelievable EC's or something that really stands out . I would consider average SAT 1000-1100 mostly college prep class-limited honors and a B average, EC's limited

By Rhonda63 (Rhonda63) on Monday, September 13, 2004 - 10:02 am: Edit

Some of the so-called "second-tier" LACs might be an option. I say "second-tier" because some of them, I think, are excellent. Some of the midwestern LACs are a little easier to get into b/c of location -- Kenyon, Grinnell, Macalester.

Universities are harder -- most of the ones in the 5-7K are either extremely selective (like the ones you name) or not worth the cost over most State Us (IMO).

By Patient (Patient) on Monday, September 13, 2004 - 10:29 am: Edit

Any geographic preferences? LACs only? Are you including strong state schools in the question and if so, what is your residence state?

By Garland (Garland) on Monday, September 13, 2004 - 10:35 am: Edit

In the university range, some I would suggest off the top of my head U Rochester, Boston College, Bucknell, Colgate, Emory, Vanderbilt, Case Western. Your range is fairly large, of course. These would be definite matches for your type of student in the 1300+ range, maybe somewhat less so but certainly reasonable to try for the 1200 student.

I think once you drop out of the top twenty-five, there is room for these students in a lot of schools which are mostly, to me, superior to the "average" state school (though not the elite ones.)

By Emeraldkity4 (Emeraldkity4) on Monday, September 13, 2004 - 10:37 am: Edit

All schools have a range of students that do well at them. However even ( especially?) instate schools are getting much more competive for admissions.
For an average student ( and frankly, I would put scores of 1200 and B average to be an average college student- students with scores and stats below that don't usually even go to college), it can be hard to predict acceptance. Depending on state colleges which seem to go by index, private colleges spend more time on applications and are well worth considering. Need more info on rigor of school and interests though to give better recommendations
( edit) A lot depends on year, but I have known several kids with very good stats and scores who didn't get in to state university, and I just didnt want to be overly encouraging, backups are a very good thing, especially without really interesting "hooks". Unfortunately schools just don't have room for all that are qualified to attend, although there are many schools that I have never heard of. I was reading an article today about how a glacier in the North Cascades is disappearing and about the students from Nichols College in Dudley Mass who have been studying it.
( of course that doesn't mean much I never heard of Lewis and Clark until Monica)

By Dadx (Dadx) on Monday, September 13, 2004 - 11:45 am: Edit

Find out if your guidance office has an admission book. Usually they are set up with a page for each college that someone applied to, and the applicants GPA, SAT scores, and the result (accept, waitlisted, denied).

Our schools lists the applicants ranked by GPA. You can eyeball the GPA and quickly get a sense of who applies there, and how they do in the process. You need to look not only at who is accepted, but who is denied......that is more instructive from a realism standpoint. It doesn't mean you'll be rejected with similar or even lesser statistics, but it means you can't count on admission there and should regard it as a "reach" school.

By Tom1944 (Tom1944) on Monday, September 13, 2004 - 12:11 pm: Edit

Patient- looking in the Northeast or MidAtantic. Both LAC's and University's

By Garland (Garland) on Monday, September 13, 2004 - 12:27 pm: Edit

EK, not true that students with average SATs below 1200 don't go to college. I believe the average college-bound SAT is below that, though Ican't put my finger on it right now.

Most state colleges probably average closer to 1000 than 1200; at the school I work at, 1000 would put you in our top twenty-fifth percentile.

By Garland (Garland) on Monday, September 13, 2004 - 12:27 pm: Edit

EK, not true that students with average SATs below 1200 don't go to college. I believe the average college-bound SAT is below that, though Ican't put my finger on it right now.

Most state colleges probably average closer to 1000 than 1200; at the school I work at, 1000 would put you in our top twenty-fifth percentile.

By Patient (Patient) on Monday, September 13, 2004 - 12:29 pm: Edit

Thanks--that will help posters identify schools. I am in the West but our school sends lots of kids to the east coast so I have a few ideas listed below, which tend to be among the more popular with kids out here.

I think that if you buy one of the college guides (Fiske is my favorite but others prefer Princeton Review or Insiders Guide), you will actually find LOTS of wonderful schools that will fit this academic profile. Also, Colleges that Change Lives is another good guide. You can start to develop a list geared toward your child's interests and preferences, and then come back to this site and post here and in "College Search and Selection" with questions to have people compare different possible schools for a more first-person and finely tuned approach. At least, that's what I did when I first came to this site last year and it was so helpful.

Also, academic interests might weed some of these out, as some are stronger in some areas than others:

U. of Richmond
St. John's (Maryland)

You'll have fun reading about all the schools you'll start seeing listed here.

By Montmammoth (Montmammoth) on Monday, September 13, 2004 - 12:55 pm: Edit

It's just a reflection (and not a bad one either, this is not a flame) of this board that we would think that students with scores below 1200 rarely go to college. Look at any of the large mid-country State Universities.

UT Austin - about 35% of students score below 1200. U of Illinois and U of Wisconsin have average scores of about 1260, leaving a lot of room for those below 1200. At U of Iowa the average score is below 1200, all this according to the Universities' websites.

Lots of students with scores below 1200 go to college and develop themselves to the limits of their potential, they're just not the ones that post a lot on boards like these.

By Achat (Achat) on Monday, September 13, 2004 - 12:59 pm: Edit

Patient, just a minor quibble but Haverford is pretty hard to get into. I am not sure an SAT score less than 1400 and a B average would be sufficient. Haverford is rigorous as well..and a top LAC.

By Patient (Patient) on Monday, September 13, 2004 - 01:03 pm: Edit

Right, I would have put "reach" on that one if I were rating. But the OP said "between 1200 and 1400" and Haverford fits that range if in the upper ranges. I looked at the SAT range for all of these, and I don't think I would categorize any of them as safeties without knowing more. I was just trying to get some ideas started.

By Dstark (Dstark) on Monday, September 13, 2004 - 01:04 pm: Edit

The average SAT score is barely above 1,000. Most of the SAT testing kids are probably going to college so we can figure that the average is about 1,000. Except, there are many kids that never take the SAT and go to college. I bet these kids would have an average score below 1,000.
When looking at all colleges, I bet the average SAT score is below 1,000.
There are tons of well known schools you can get into with SAT scores below 1,000.

By Baybabe (Baybabe) on Monday, September 13, 2004 - 01:24 pm: Edit

The same old (yawn) schools keep coming up on this board but given your stats/background, you have lots of other great choices to chose from in the 1150-1400 SAT range that rarely get championed on this site for some perhaps not so obscure reason (am thinking perhaps their students are too busy doing college to be bothered keeping up with this site...)
ANYWAY, check out St Mary's College, Md., Trinity College, Ct., Dickinson College, Pa., Conn. College, Ct., Guilford, NC; Drew University, NJ, Hamilton and Union Colleges, NY, Skidmore... Also, get on - can be very informative as to the real picture at some of these elite or "hot" schools - you may be surprised...

By Achat (Achat) on Monday, September 13, 2004 - 01:35 pm: Edit

Also, Goucher College, Maryland.

By Emeraldkity4 (Emeraldkity4) on Monday, September 13, 2004 - 01:35 pm: Edit

There are tons of well known schools you can get into with SAT scores below 1,000.

Thats good to know. I have just experience with our area where it is difficult to get admittance to state universities. Historically students with 2 year degrees from community college have had automatic acceptance over 2.75 GPA, but no longer are they guareenteed a place.
The average GPA and SAT score at the UW is 3.67 and 1180, and at WSU which used to be known as the "party" school, it is 3.6 and 1130.
Since I doubt the state is going to increase funding, I anticpate that admissions will be getting even tougher as schools decide that they can't admit students that the state isn't comping them for.

By Dstark (Dstark) on Monday, September 13, 2004 - 01:49 pm: Edit

Emeraldkity, yes UW is tough.
Here is the Univ of Oregon...
I was surprised to see numbers so low.

By Emeraldkity4 (Emeraldkity4) on Monday, September 13, 2004 - 02:10 pm: Edit

Thanks for the info, I am having to keep less competitive schools in mind for my younger daughter.
I knew the UW was getting tougher but WSU blew me away! A 3.6? I knew people who got in with a 2., and they didnt' even play football!
I don't know how much grade inflation plays a role however, that might be tough to sort out.
We also still have WWU, CWU and EWU, but being that the UW and WWU are going to start requiring the ridiculous WASL test for admission, I bet applications to the other schools will pick up.

By Irishbird (Irishbird) on Monday, September 13, 2004 - 02:24 pm: Edit

Consider some of these: Alleghany, Pittsburgh, Bucknell, Gettysburg, Ursinus, Muhlenburg, Villanova, St. Joseph's, Arcadia (all PA), Rider, College of New Jersey, Drew, (NJ), U of Delaware, Uof MD, Loyola(MD); Providence(RI), Fairfield(CT), Fordham(NY)
Some of these will offer merit aid if the SAT is closer to the 1300/1400 end. Mid-Atlantic offers a huge # of colleges/unis. It's best to have a grasp on the setting the student would prefer i.e. city, suburban, rural- that will help to finetune a list of PA/NJ/MD schools.

By Carolyn (Carolyn) on Monday, September 13, 2004 - 02:39 pm: Edit

Also add: Dickinson, Boston U, Goucher, Loyola Marymount,
Washington College (give $10,000 automatically if you are in National Honors Society), University of MAryland, SUNY Binghamton, SUNY Geneseo, St. Mary's College of Maryland (a public school with a liberal arts feel), Mary Washington College (ditto), Franklin & Marshall, Hobart & William Smith, Hamilton, Hartwick, Skidmore (if you are male, this ups your chances here), University of Rochester, Union College, Connecticut College (ditto to what I said about Skidmore), Temple U, Syracuse, Ithaca College and possibly Bates or Colby.

By Carolyn (Carolyn) on Monday, September 13, 2004 - 02:40 pm: Edit

Almost forgot: Wheaton in Mass.

By Dke (Dke) on Monday, September 13, 2004 - 05:36 pm: Edit

thanks for the mention of Wheaton,(mass.) carolyn....I was class of ' thing I ever did was decide to go there....

By Patient (Patient) on Monday, September 13, 2004 - 08:31 pm: Edit

I too thought of Goucher (Carolyn) but thought that I heard not such good things about it fairly recently on this site?

By Jenniferpa (Jenniferpa) on Monday, September 13, 2004 - 09:22 pm: Edit

Not Carolyn, but a promotor of Goucher - my daughter very nearly attended. We both liked the school and the location a lot. The only problem she had was her specific major, combined with required classes would have taken five years, which was what put it out of the running. For the most part it has small classes (d sat in on an art appreciation class that had 4 students (5 including her)). I haven't heard anything bad about it here or elsewhere.

By Bellevueteen (Bellevueteen) on Monday, September 13, 2004 - 09:34 pm: Edit

UW is requiring the WASL for admission?!?!

That test is evil...I wouldn't have gotten into the UW then

By Reidmc (Reidmc) on Tuesday, September 14, 2004 - 02:03 am: Edit

Tom -

I just went through the application/admission process with my nephew, who would be at the top of the pool you outline, with no real hooks. He applied RD to several northeast and mid-atlantic LACs - rejected at Colgate, waitlisted at Bates and Bowdoin, in at Dickinson, Franklin & Marshall and (though mideast) Kenyon.

From this experience, and tracking two years of results from others, I've found the selectivity ranking in the US News Guide to be pretty darn accurate. Also, in this mid-range of schools, I think ED is a pretty powerful tool. I'm quite sure that my nephew would have gotten into Bates ED, as they and other LACs in your area fill a surprisingly large portion of their classes that way.

By Alan5 (Alan5) on Tuesday, September 14, 2004 - 11:27 am: Edit

Good schools for people with SATs in the 1200s:

Boston University
George Washington

By Digmedia (Digmedia) on Tuesday, September 14, 2004 - 05:23 pm: Edit

Yeah, echoing Alan. Would you believe that TWO-THIRDS of the US News "Top Colleges" have 75th percentile scores of 1400 and LOWER. Schools like GWU, UCSD, Boston Collelge, UNC-Chapel Hill and on and on....

If you are a premium subscriber to US News (well worth the $15 - sign up on line), get the list of the Top Schools and re-sort on the SAT scores.

By Thumper1 (Thumper1) on Tuesday, September 14, 2004 - 05:45 pm: Edit

UMD College Park has become a bit competitive for out of state students. It was the only school DS did not get accepted to with his 1320 SAT (730 verbal, 590 math). He is going to Boston University with a decent merit aid package. We couldn't quite figure out why he did not get accepted at Maryland.

By Dix (Dix) on Tuesday, September 14, 2004 - 10:28 pm: Edit

I agree that UmdCP is more selective. If you look at the stats for National Merit Scholarships you will see that Maryland had one of the highest qualifying scores (222) in the nation. Thousands of students in MD were National Merit Commended Scholars this year. The state offers great scholarships to their best students and many choose to go there for the highly ranked engineering programs.

By Wnydancemom (Wnydancemom) on Wednesday, September 15, 2004 - 10:10 am: Edit

This is a great thread! It's hard to read all the IVY posts and top of the line LAC boards when you're not in that ballpark.

I've always thought that my kids should apply to schools where they are at the top of the applicant pool, so they could get merit money (we haven't qualified for fin aid, but next year --- who knows? there will be 2 in college at the same time) As it turned out, D. number 2 did get significant money at Goucher, but chose to go to UMich at out of state prices. Too bad :( but really, the absolute best choice for her dance.

D. number 3 is more in line with this thread: 1350 SAT, 700 writing, 660 chem, 670 math IIC; GPA 4.0 weighted with 5 AP's and other honors courses; average EC's; no leadership positions; essay COULD be weak.She doesn't really want to apply to many of the schools listed here.

Our list so far: (no particular order - needs to be cut down!)

Northwestern (major reach - legacy)
Tufts (reach - legacy)
Claremont - sister lives in California, so we are letting her look there
Mary Washington
Case Western
American U.
U of Vermont
U of Rochester (says it's too close to home!)
Tulane (if it doesn't sink - yikes!)

She wants a coed, medium university (definitely not huge for her) or a slightly larger LAC (like, not Sarah Lawrence - too small) that is liberal, with good academics but not psycho-hard, not "too nerdy" (Brandeis, Case?), not too sorority/fraternity based (?Tulane), with access to a good college town or a city. Also, needs to have at least a few active Jewish people there and/or a Hillel, etc

Comments, suggestions, additions?
Thanks, Judy

By Cangel (Cangel) on Wednesday, September 15, 2004 - 10:19 am: Edit

Judy, it may be a reach, I'm not sure of the spread, but what about Emory? It fulfills all your criteria

By Wjb (Wjb) on Wednesday, September 15, 2004 - 11:02 am: Edit

Have you taken a look at GW? Looks as though it meets many of your criteria (right size, neat city campus in DC, solid Jewish community) although I don't know anything about the Greek scene there.

By Garland (Garland) on Wednesday, September 15, 2004 - 11:45 am: Edit

This is might be a reach, but Wesleyan fits your description perfectly, Judy. At 2800, it's very large for an LAC. (and very similar to Vassar, also a large LAC.)

By Ohio_Mom (Ohio_Mom) on Wednesday, September 15, 2004 - 12:21 pm: Edit

Brandeis is livelier socially and politically than Case, for what its worth. Macalester might also be appealing - my son will be visiting in October.

By Dadofsam (Dadofsam) on Wednesday, September 15, 2004 - 01:02 pm: Edit

Judy: our S just started at Brandeis. Sounds like it could be just right for your D. Half an hour out of Boston with transportation to the city on weekends. The size is right, and it seems to be a mix with all kinds of students including some nerds, but there also is a fine liberal arts program. Relatively low level of Greek life. Any level of Jewish involvement you would like (the school is about 60% Jewish, so Hillel itself is simply a suite of offices rather than a separate building). We will know more about it in a few months.

Rochester is also a possibility, with a very active Hillel heavily involved in community service. Many negative comments about the city, though, from students who come from elsewhere, but living where you do, you must know a lot about it.

Tufts is a bit of a reach all right, not impossible, but does not give merit aid. I don't think that Pitzer does, either.

By Wnydancemom (Wnydancemom) on Wednesday, September 15, 2004 - 03:27 pm: Edit

Ohio mom and DadofSam:
Yes, Brandeis is very appealing to me; I know there's no merit aid at many of these schools, but we might actually qualify for need aid with 2 kids in college one year apart. Macalester is a nice school; not very diverse though, with respect to Jewish kids.

My daughter visited u of Rochester with a friend and liked it, and wants to go back to check out the area. Rochester is even smaller than Buffalo, so I'm not sure she'll like it very much.

Cangel, wjb and garland: thanks for your suggestions as well! I think she knocked GW off the list due to lack of a "real" (in her eyes) campus. She perceives Emory as "too southern:" I hadn't thought of Wesleyan -- perhaps I see it as more of a reach, but it's a great school! What sort of college town is it in?

Keep those cards and letters coming,

By Garland (Garland) on Wednesday, September 15, 2004 - 03:42 pm: Edit

Middletown, Ct is a medium sized New England town, a bit down on its luck, not a classic NE village. However, it's got a charming Main Street section with a number of excellent restaurants, a growing number of cool stores, etc. My D was a big fan of it while she was there. However, as far as entertainment, most stuff to do is on campus, which has a vibrant arts/performance environment. It's about half an hour from New Haven, and about 1 1/2 to 2 hours from NY and Boston.

By Reidmc (Reidmc) on Wednesday, September 15, 2004 - 11:17 pm: Edit

If your D visits Pitzer and Scripps, which I think are good choices, I'd suggest a visit to Occidental. Great school - not big for an LAC but not small either.

By Northstarmom (Northstarmom) on Wednesday, September 15, 2004 - 11:44 pm: Edit

What about Syracuse, Rhodes, University of the South, University of Minnesota, Michigan State, Marquette, Fordham, Florida State, Lawrence?

By Mwlgal (Mwlgal) on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 12:02 am: Edit

Can this profile (Tom1944) get into Carleton? Went there last weekend with s and he's hooked. I'm guessing that it's a major reach, but would love to hear opinions.

By Monydad (Monydad) on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 01:58 am: Edit


I think at Rochester students tend not to go off campus much, so the city isn't too big an issue either way. Or at least this was reported to me to have been the case 30 years ago. They were good with financial aid back then. People I know who went there really liked it.

Binghamton was already mentioned. Is this too big?

By Arizonamom (Arizonamom) on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 04:16 pm: Edit

Carelton is pretty difficult to get into, need mid 1400 I would think but McCallister is similar to Carelton , in fact some of my S's friends liked it better and it is a great school. Know 2 freshman who just went who are thrilled so far.

By Achat (Achat) on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 06:11 pm: Edit

Yes, I'd recommend people who are putting Haverford, Carleton, Macalester etc in the list to check the Princeton review site for selectivity. Haverford is 99 which is on par with most other very selective schools. It is virtually impossible to get into with an SAT score between 1200 to below 1400 and a B average unless you have some special hook. Check out the Haverford forum on this board.

Haverford's SAT averages are:
Verbal (25% - 75%) - 640 to 730.
Math (25% - 75%) - 650 to 720.

Therefore the 25% - 75% range composite is 1290-1450. 84% of the class is in the top 10%.

Carleton's composite SAT range is 1300-1480.
Macalester's composite SAT range is 1270-1430.

These are not easy colleges to get into these days!

By Achat (Achat) on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 06:21 pm: Edit

Here is Haverford's Common Data Set for last year. 50% of the class had SAT scores above 1400. They accepted 32.4% of those who applied.

I just think one should apply but be realistic about their chances.

By Nitebirdmom (Nitebirdmom) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 03:18 am: Edit

My older son (Union '04) had stats just in the range of the OP's post. He also was admitted to U of Rochester, Goucher, Muhlenberg, American, Drew, SUNY Albany, Binghamton and Geneseo, and probably a few others I can't recall. Younger son is now a soph at Brandeis, also with the same stats. He was also admitted to Connecticut College, Skidmore, Muhlenberg, F&M, Wheaton (MA), Dickinson, American, Drew, SUNY Albany and Binghamton. We thought Brandeis and Conn were reaches - his SAT was 1280, average about 3.3 in mostly (but not all) honors classes, and he even got a C in math junior year, which distressed me no end, but apparently didn't affect college admissions too badly. His extracurriculars were good but nothing outstanding. I believe his truly original essay and excellent teacher and counselor recommendations made the difference (both boys went to a small private school where the teachers knew the kids very well).

There are plenty of options for kids in this range. Both kids applied to a large number of schools, 12-15 if I remember correctly, since we all felt their stats were "iffy" and they wanted choices in the spring. We were pleasantly surprised with the range of choices my younger son had, but I felt all along with his stats things could go either way. Fortunately, they mostly went in the right direction for him, but of course there is no way to predict that. Good luck!

By Backhandgrip (Backhandgrip) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 07:40 am: Edit

Great help and comments.
I just want to add it may be important to discuss seriously the direction student may want to go in like liberal arts or research U., urban or rural, where his strengths lie, etc. My one son would fit well in a liberal arts college and another, with math and science strengths wouldn't be caught dead in one.It's good to have a basic direction and draw a list from there.

By Anxiousmom (Anxiousmom) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 01:31 pm: Edit

We loved Carleton after visiting. One thing you might want to consider is that their ED acceptance rate is much higher than their RD rate. If truly interested, (and you are comfortable with financial aid offered) you would want to apply ED.

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