My list of schools, please advise





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Discus: What Are My Chances?: August 2004 Archive: My list of schools, please advise
By Emilia (Emilia) on Saturday, August 14, 2004 - 06:33 pm: Edit

Here's my list of schools that I will be applying to:

Top Three - I will go to one of these schools pending acceptance and financial feasibility:
1. Rice
2. Davidson
3. ------ (to be determined - Yale? Washington and Lee? Emory?)

Schools that I will apply to either as safeties or fallbacks; will only go if I get rejected from my top three or get no financial aid or merit from top three)
4. Yale
5. U. of Chicago
6. Princeton (?)

I'm basically looking at small, competitive schools (under 5000), preferably in the south, southeast, or east coast of the U.S. I know the Ivy Leagues aren't particularly small, but I'm not really expecting to get into either one I'm applying to.

My top choice has been Rice for quite a while, and my dilemna now (I already posted a topic about this in the Rice board, but since that board has low traffic and this has higher traffic, let me restate my problem here) is that I don't know whether to apply ED or ID to Rice. I really want to get accepted and go there, and I don't know if I'd be taking too great of a risk by applying ID instead so I can possibly choose somewhere else if Rice offers me nothing and another school that accepts me offers a better financial package.

I'll be applying regular decision everywhere else; there's no other school I'd consider on which I'd using my ED.

My stats, briefly:
-GPA 4.0 UW, 4.75 W, ranked 1/111
-SAT 1460 (790 V, 670 M)
-ACT 33
-To take SAT IIs (Writing, Math IIc, and probably Biology E) in October
-IB Diploma Candidate
-No sports, but fairly good ECs, including co-editor-and-chief of paper, captain of math team, member of NHS, SNHS, Quill and Scroll. Have also been in Language Mentors, Media Club (secretary), and two choirs at some point.
-Planning to major in chemistry, maybe double major or minor in English as well
-Italian-American
-250+ hours of volunteering in the past year
-Have won a lot of school awards and recognition for my volunteer services

So if there are people here who could evaluate my choices and advise me on whether to apply ED or ID, I would be very grateful. Thanks for your time.

By Emilia (Emilia) on Sunday, August 15, 2004 - 11:52 am: Edit

Anyone?

By 80drofnats (80drofnats) on Sunday, August 15, 2004 - 11:58 am: Edit

basically, you'd get into davidson or rice ED, and probably stand a good chance RD, and you need more safety type of schools, because princeton and yale are huge reaches, emory is a decent safety, i'd add some schools in that range and maybe a little below.

By Cangel (Cangel) on Sunday, August 15, 2004 - 01:31 pm: Edit

You should have a good chance at Rice or Davidson, look at Rhodes for possible merit money, maybe Swanee or Trinity Univ in Texas.
You need a safety, especially a financial safety. You need to have a serious talk with your parents about affordability, have them run the EFC, etc, maybe even talk to Finan Aid at Rice. ED will certainly help, but not if can't afford to pay for school. Your parents should help you decide if money is a real problem, if it is, you'll need to apply RD.

By Elizabeth22 (Elizabeth22) on Sunday, August 15, 2004 - 04:53 pm: Edit

What? I don't understand how Yale and Princeton can be "fallback" or "safety" schools- they're both far more competitive than Rice and Davidson. That doesn't make sense at all.

By Emilia (Emilia) on Monday, August 16, 2004 - 12:21 am: Edit

Thanks, 80drofnats and Cangel. I know it's probably for the best not to commit myself ED to Rice or Davidson because I want to the freedom of looking around at the amount of merit and financial aid each is willing to give me. I guess I just have to hope that Rice accepts me in interim decision and offers a somewhat good package, as it is really the school I want to go to.

Again, if anyone has any good statistics on my chances ED vs. Interim at Rice that would either assure me, scare me, or confuse me, I'd really appreciate your sharing them :).

Cangel, I did the EFC with my parents today. Without going into detail, my parents do have enough assets at the moment and if they follow their current patterns to send me to Rice if I get nothing at all aid-wise. I'm just determined, even though I'm their only child, to do as much as I can to make college affordable. I've never seen a FAFSA, but does anyone know if there's room to explain on there if a parent will be retiring soon due to reasons other than age(but this is not evident on 2004 tax returns), and therefore gross income will be cut down drastically?

Still looking for more schools...I really like Emory, though it is a bit on the big side (about 11,000 total, 6,000 undergrads according to Princeton Review - I'm looking for 5,000 or less total). I read that Washington and Lee is big on Greek societies, which doesn't appeal to me, but I really like it otherwise. I'll look into Rhodes and the others you mentioned. I'm in Chicago, by the way, but I don't really want Illinois safety schools (other than U. of C, which is a match, not a safety) as my family will be moving south/southeast when I start college.

I know this is an odd question to be bringing up at this point in the admissions process, but is going to a competitive, prestigious school for undergrad really worth it? There are tons and tons of local schools that most of us seniors on CC could get into practically for free, but yet we all gravitate toward the most expensive with the most pinky value.

Elizabeth, Yale and Princeton aren't safeties...they are just schools that I plan to apply to but don't expect to get into and won't be going to unless some situation such as I get into one of them and rejected from Rice/Davidson and Yale/Princeton happens to offer me a very nice scholarship, etc. happens. I figure I might as well, as this is something I'll only get to do once or twice in my life.

By Bettina (Bettina) on Monday, August 16, 2004 - 04:20 am: Edit

"anyone has any good statistics on my chances ED vs. Interim at Rice" -- now how would anyone have any way to tell you this info?

Clearly you have stellar rank and GPA a very nice SAT. The IB will land you into honors programs at many schools and also qualify your for merit aid at many.

I feel that you need to do more research into schools that will suit you. You seem to be very level headed as to finding a good fit rather than going for prestige. However, you asked for schools in South or Southeast, yet you will apply in Texas to Chicago to New Haven. And your list is skimpy and inconsistent at this point.

There are tons of schools that will likely offer you good merit aid. If a parent's income and means will change drastically during your school year, I don't see why you can't discuss this with the school. If Rice is your choice, then write them about your interest and situation and see if someone gets in touch with you. But be careful if it is your dream only because of the lower tuition cost

I'm not familiar with Southern Uni's, but a geographically desirable U might be Washington U in St. Louis, Misouri, a stellar, highly selective U, that has many strong departments and a med school.

By Slipper2002 (Slipper2002) on Monday, August 16, 2004 - 09:50 am: Edit

You need to apply to Dartmouth!! Great fin. aid, 4000 people, east coast, etc.

By Cangel (Cangel) on Monday, August 16, 2004 - 10:15 am: Edit

Emilia, your parents should consider working with Rice financial aid. I know you have to resubmit financial aid forms each year, so that if their financial situation changes, the award may well change too. The big advantage to Rice is that it costs so much less to begin with compared to ah say - Yale. Hopefully, Jamimom, Carolyn and company may pick up on your post, they are very knowledgeable about all these issues. YOu might want to post your question on the Parents Forum.

Look into Vanderbilt as well as Emory; also there are other small colleges in Texas that I'm not too familiar with becase DD wasn't interested in Texas - Texas is so huge that if your parents relocate there, you can go instate and still be far away.
There are not as many small colleges in the South as you will see in the NE/Midwest, and Greeks are a big part of life at most Southern schools - but here goes a list of some of various sizes and selectivities -
Millsaps, B'ham-Southern, Furman, Wake Forest, Elon, Hendrix, Centre, Wofford, Guilford, College of Charleston, Univ of Richmond, Samford Univ, Loyola in NO, UNC-Asheville, Appalachian State and a whole laundry list of small schools in Virginia and NC, Goucher and St. Mary's College in Maryland. Hendrix and guilford are notable for being much more liberal than many Southern schools.

These are all over the map in terms of location, size, selectivity and probably quality, but look into a few of them.

As for your other question about is it worth it? That's the $160,000 question for us, too. I think the answer is probably not, definitely not for most people (Boy, I'll get flamed for that). I guess my strongest most certain belief is that no young person should leave college with more than $20000-30000 in debt. I think that most of the benefits of a prestigious school, especially over a good,but not prestigious 2nd tier school, are intangible and unmeasureable, therefore the worry and heartache that a big debt will give you, will for most of us, outweigh the intangible benefits of going to such a school. There are many wonderful, truly caring people/parents that post here (including I hope, me), many who attended these schools (not me), but I think that honestly we may be too wrapped up in the process, to be completely objective about the process.

Good Luck - you are going to have an excellent outcome, there are just a few uncertainties and hurdles on the way.

By Jamimom (Jamimom) on Monday, August 16, 2004 - 11:25 am: Edit

Emilia, Cangel's advice is excellent. As you probably know, you are a great candidate for the schools you have picked and certainly have as good of a chance as any for the merit aid. But the numbers are staggering when it comes to getting money from these tops schools, it's tough to even get into some of them. My son was friendly with a young lady with stats like yours, great ECs, community service, gifted in theatre and art and very strong in all academics, salutatorian of a tough school. She did not get into her top choices, and though she did get into BC, she did not get one of their scholarships. The parents were bewildered--who the heck is getting those awards if she did not? She was something like #40 for the awards which are given to the top 25, and they are not necessarily the top 25 statistically, but the top 25 wanted by the college which means that academics was just one factor they used.

The FAFSA is set up with retirement in mind in that the scale is adjusted for parents' ages. But bear in mind that this is not a very generous scale. I suggest you look at sample form and run some estimates based on your family finances to see what your EFC is going to be. I encourage everyone to apply, but not to expect any huge windfalls, as my experience has been that it does not happen.

You have a nice list of schools to start, and if you decide that finances are crucial enough that you cannot commit to a school without getting all of your financial options, you should apply ID to Rice. I would also send a cover letter with the application letting them know that Rice is your first choice but you have financial considerations that make ED a poor choice for you. You may want to emphasize this to your guidance counselor and ask if she can mention it just on the rec that goes to Rice so that the situation is truly upfront to all concerned.

Some other southern schools with great scholarship/low sticker prices are Wake Forest, Tulane, Mary Washington, U of Miami, New College of Fl.

By Jamimom (Jamimom) on Monday, August 16, 2004 - 11:25 am: Edit

Emilia, Cangel's advice is excellent. As you probably know, you are a great candidate for the schools you have picked and certainly have as good of a chance as any for the merit aid. But the numbers are staggering when it comes to getting money from these tops schools, it's tough to even get into some of them. My son was friendly with a young lady with stats like yours, great ECs, community service, gifted in theatre and art and very strong in all academics, salutatorian of a tough school. She did not get into her top choices, and though she did get into BC, she did not get one of their scholarships. The parents were bewildered--who the heck is getting those awards if she did not? She was something like #40 for the awards which are given to the top 25, and they are not necessarily the top 25 statistically, but the top 25 wanted by the college which means that academics was just one factor they used.

The FAFSA is set up with retirement in mind in that the scale is adjusted for parents' ages. But bear in mind that this is not a very generous scale. I suggest you look at sample form and run some estimates based on your family finances to see what your EFC is going to be. I encourage everyone to apply, but not to expect any huge windfalls, as my experience has been that it does not happen.

You have a nice list of schools to start, and if you decide that finances are crucial enough that you cannot commit to a school without getting all of your financial options, you should apply ID to Rice. I would also send a cover letter with the application letting them know that Rice is your first choice but you have financial considerations that make ED a poor choice for you. You may want to emphasize this to your guidance counselor and ask if she can mention it just on the rec that goes to Rice so that the situation is truly upfront to all concerned.

Some other southern schools with great scholarship/low sticker prices are Wake Forest, Tulane, Mary Washington, U of Miami, New College of Fl.

By Jamimom (Jamimom) on Monday, August 16, 2004 - 11:25 am: Edit

Emilia, Cangel's advice is excellent. As you probably know, you are a great candidate for the schools you have picked and certainly have as good of a chance as any for the merit aid. But the numbers are staggering when it comes to getting money from these tops schools, it's tough to even get into some of them. My son was friendly with a young lady with stats like yours, great ECs, community service, gifted in theatre and art and very strong in all academics, salutatorian of a tough school. She did not get into her top choices, and though she did get into BC, she did not get one of their scholarships. The parents were bewildered--who the heck is getting those awards if she did not? She was something like #40 for the awards which are given to the top 25, and they are not necessarily the top 25 statistically, but the top 25 wanted by the college which means that academics was just one factor they used.

The FAFSA is set up with retirement in mind in that the scale is adjusted for parents' ages. But bear in mind that this is not a very generous scale. I suggest you look at sample form and run some estimates based on your family finances to see what your EFC is going to be. I encourage everyone to apply, but not to expect any huge windfalls, as my experience has been that it does not happen.

You have a nice list of schools to start, and if you decide that finances are crucial enough that you cannot commit to a school without getting all of your financial options, you should apply ID to Rice. I would also send a cover letter with the application letting them know that Rice is your first choice but you have financial considerations that make ED a poor choice for you. You may want to emphasize this to your guidance counselor and ask if she can mention it just on the rec that goes to Rice so that the situation is truly upfront to all concerned.

Some other southern schools with great scholarship/low sticker prices are Wake Forest, Tulane, Mary Washington, U of Miami, New College of Fl.

By Emilia (Emilia) on Tuesday, August 17, 2004 - 02:37 am: Edit

Thanks for responding, Bettina, Slipper, Cangel, and Jamimom :D.

Bettina:
I guess I meant Texas when I was saying I wanted schools in the South...perhaps it's more southwest than I thought. The only reason I'm applying to a Chicago school is that I live in Chicago, and I've been told by counselors and parents that I should apply to at least one instate school in case other plans fall through. I suppose I'm having delusions of grandeur when considering the Ivies in the Northeast. Perhaps by the time this is all over, I will emerge much less vain, haha.

I was turned on to Rice freshman year by a relative who knows me and my aspirations well and who did college surveying back in the 70's. This is also the one who turned me on to Davidson and suggests Emory, etc. Rice isn't my top school at all because of the price; I have done my research in both going to an information session at the beginning of junior year and convincing my parents to spend our yearly vacation in Texas so I could visit the campus. Other than the heat, I practically loved everything about the school. I have also visited Davidson, where I was treated on a much more personal level, and it also made a good impression on me. My top schools are my top schools for a reason, not because they sound good in a brochure.

The next step at least in financing my education is to get my parents to calm down and think rationally for a change after yesterday; these important matters get them a bit riled. I don't know what they're willing to do about costs - yes, they have the money if need be, and have saved a lot as well, but have kept insisting that I apply wherever I want, and then when I get in, we'll discuss the price. My recent concern about ED or ID has been totally self-imposed.

Funny you should mention Washington U. - they were the first school to start mailing me, in freshman year I believe. What has previously turned me off is the size - 6,000+, the location (St. Louis isn't that far from where my family and I are, and we're looking for a warmer climate when we move), and I guess the tuition (about 30K annually and rising). I'll look a bit more into it, though.

Thanks for replying, Slipper. According to the Counselor-o-matic diagnosis I took at Princeton Review, Dartmouth is supposed to be a good match and good fit, and it would be except for its location. :(

Cangel:
I probably will wander to the Parents board one of these days, as my parents certainly never will. I'm again very inexperienced at financial aid and its forms, but the fact that I can resubmit the forms on an annual basis is comforting. The actual impending situation is that my father, aged 50, has worked a job of hard physical labor since age 14, is unhappy with his current work environment, and keeps talking about retirement. He is the primary breadwinner for the family, and so I don't want to unfairly partake of my family's savings if our gross income suddenly drops. Working with Rice's financial aid seems like a great idea - I just have to get my parents in sync with this all, as they are just assuming at this point that they can handle everything after I'm accepted to colleges and see what they offer me aidwise and meritwise.

Vanderbilt is a "good match, OK fit" on my counselor-o-matic list. The location is great, though it's a bit big as well (about 6,400). I will add that to my look-at-this-school list. I'll also look into that bigger list that you rattled off - I've heard of some of those schools, but not most.

It seems like I keep whining about size...my high school is small, only about 500, and I really liked some of the classes I had junior year with only six and nine people in them. I guess I should also be looking for various universities' TA policies.

I feel sort of the same way as you, Cangel, about high cost, high prestige schools like the Ivies and most of the other competitive schools. Ah, for the days when Rice offered free tuition, or college was generally cheap! I value competiveness primarily, as that will hopefully result in a student body that is motivated, talented, creative, and just the right mix of seriousness and quirkiness, but prestige is still of some importance as at least I think the name attracts influential people (on the news tonight, Nelson Mandela visits Devry University...) and impresses potential employees or graduate schools. My dad's one of those people who believes a lot that he hears, and he'd be fine with me going to community college for the first two years, then transferring to a regular school. Luckily, my mom won't let that happen.

I find it a bit funny how presitigious schools are so anxious to display long lists of famous graduates, but they're not the only ones to educate the great among us. I know of a girl who went to Yale, majored in English, couldn't find a job, and worked as a postal carrier.

Jamimom, Jamimom, and Jamimom:
I do have a bad feeling that I'll be passed over by seeming too unbalanced as far as academics versus other hobbies. I guess I'll just have to play the odds and hope for some luck so what I've worked for all these years will pay off other than in self-satisfaction. I don't know what lies ahead; I may get rejected from all the schools I apply to except safeties I didn't want to go to in the first place, and then be really stuck. I'm afraid I'll become that girl that you know; I know a few people like that as well, and there are way too many of them.

I did do a sample FAFSA with my parents either yesterday or the day before (mind you, it's in the wee hours of the morning now) and on the more generous plan, we'd get only about a few thousand dollars. I am trying madly to apply for scholarships, though. It would be terrific to net a few thousand dollars in that way.

I like the idea of applying ID to Rice but enclosing a sincere letter about my financial situation and hoping for the best. It would be wonderful to get merit scholarships from any of the schools I apply to - I'm just a tad afraid of getting a really big scholarship at a school I don't really want to go to so that my parents will force me to go. That happened to someone I know.

At first glance, Wake Forest looks good ("Good match, OK fit), Tulane is a bit big but good location. Will look at the rest later as I'm really tired now.

Feel free to comment some more :).

By Jamimom (Jamimom) on Tuesday, August 17, 2004 - 06:57 am: Edit

I think you are way a head of the crowd in your choices and thinking. Rice and Davidson look realistic to me for you. The merit aid is just a tough go, and it is so hard to realistically predict acceptance, much less money. But you have a good start on your list and if you throw a good safety school (financial as well as in selectivity) you can go to town and focus on your choices. I would assume that IU_UC is a good back up for you since it is your state school. Keep us posted on how things go.

By Cangel (Cangel) on Tuesday, August 17, 2004 - 08:57 am: Edit

Emilia, your "voice" is so much like my daughter's that it scares me. You two also have very similar college lists, although your favorites are headed in opposite directions, but both of you like Davidson (send me an E-mail, and I'll get her to E-mail you, if you feel comfortable doing that, you really seem to have a lot in common). I agree completely with Jamimom's last post, I also like the idea of applying to Rice and enclosing the letter.

By Emilia (Emilia) on Wednesday, August 18, 2004 - 01:50 am: Edit

Thanks, Jamimom and Cangel. Jamimom, I was just planning to apply to U. of Chicago as my Illinois school, but I should probably apply as well to somewhere like a U. of I. or U. of I. in Champaigne-Urbana...there's also Northern, IIT (which seems to have the worst possible rankings in everything on the Princeton Review site, lol), Loyala, DePaul, etc.

Cangel, I'll send you an email - the email address in my profile isn't one that I want to use that much nowadays so I'll send my current one. If your daughter wants to talk, that'd be great :D. It's always great to meet people in similar situations.


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