College choices

User avatar
Chilidog
Posts: 8533
Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2012 11:36 am

College choices

#1

Post by Chilidog » Thu Jan 21, 2016 2:59 pm

So, the chilipup is entering his second semester as a high school junior and that means: SATs ACTs and trying to pick a college.

He's in the top percentile in his grades and test scores ("that's my boy!"), so he has his pick of 90% of the schools out there.

He wants to go into micro-biology and virology, but I expect that might change.

I don't want to be a helicopter parent, put I do want to make sure he gets the most bang for the buck, since I'll be paying for a big chunk of this.

As some of these schools send him mail and email, his head has gotten a bit big. That's ok. I want him to aim high.

He originally wanted to go to University of Minnesota in Duluth, just because they have a good rugby program. :?

Then he found out how good the biology program is at University of Chicago. :-D

I told him to focus on the top tier schools for now.



User avatar
Chilidog
Posts: 8533
Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2012 11:36 am

Re: College choices

#2

Post by Chilidog » Thu Jan 21, 2016 3:23 pm

Anyway, it's been amusing to watch him get excited about each different school in turn.

Some of his choices So far:

University of Minnesota twin cities
Unversity of Chicago
Washington University in St Louis
Purdue
Tulane
Furman
Kutztown (another rugby school).

I'm sure next week it will be all different.



User avatar
Sterngard Friegen
Posts: 43740
Joined: Wed Aug 05, 2009 12:32 am
Location: Over the drawbridge

Re: College choices

#3

Post by Sterngard Friegen » Thu Jan 21, 2016 3:29 pm

Williams College
Tulane (excellent pre med)
UVA
:ucla:
:trojans:



User avatar
Mikedunford
Posts: 9062
Joined: Mon Dec 06, 2010 9:42 pm

Re: College choices

#4

Post by Mikedunford » Thu Jan 21, 2016 3:35 pm

Is his long term plan (such that it is) to go for an MD or a PhD? If he's thinking the MD route, he might very well get more bang for his buck at a smaller school; if he's looking to go PhD, he might want to look at the schools that have good grad programs. While it's hard for undergrads to get good experience in the top labs, it's not impossible. (Particularly for someone willing to wash test tubes and do other menial tasks.)


I believe that each era finds a improvement in law each year brings something new for the benefit of mankind.

--Clarence Earl Gideon

User avatar
magdalen77
Posts: 5384
Joined: Fri Jan 04, 2013 1:43 pm
Location: Down in the cellar

Re: College choices

#5

Post by magdalen77 » Thu Jan 21, 2016 3:54 pm

Chilidog wrote:Anyway, it's been amusing to watch him get excited about each different school in turn.

Some of his choices So far:

University of Minnesota twin cities
Unversity of Chicago
Washington University in St Louis
Purdue
Tulane
Furman
Kutztown (another rugby school).

I'm sure next week it will be all different.
Kutztown is not too far from me. I went to Bloomsburg so I have a very good opinion of PA state universities (which Penn State is not. It's a land grant college).



User avatar
Dr. Blue
Posts: 855
Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2012 10:01 am
Occupation: Call the doctor!

Re: College choices

#6

Post by Dr. Blue » Thu Jan 21, 2016 6:27 pm

A lot of people don't think of small liberal arts schools for sciences, but they're missing a great option in my opinion. My daughter is at a selective liberal arts college now studying biochemistry (and lots of other things - another strength of such a place). She started out as a brand new freshman working closely with a faculty member on research projects, and will be on several published papers by the time she completes here B.S. - a huge plus for an end-goal of a top-tier grad school. Having been at comprehensive research universities my entire career I will tell you that at most of them, science faculty don't give undergrads the time of day - research is for their grad students (who also teach a lot of the undergraduate classes instead of faculty).

Cost is certainly an issue, but don't let the published "cost of attendance" scare you off. Some (a growing number every year) colleges with big endowments guarantee that if you can get accepted they will give you 100% of your financial need in scholarships. Their calculation of what you can reasonably be expected to pay will probably be different from what you think you can pay, but it's a fairly standard calculation based on FAFSA info. That's the situation we're in, and while the net cost is still expensive (and more than the top in-state school would have been even without any financial aid) and painful to pay, it is manageable. And it's a much more valuable experience in my opinion.

I don't know much about microbiology in particular, but high quality science-oriented schools like I'm talking about include Williams (Stern mentioned Williams), Haverford, Swarthmore, and some others. Bottom line message is: don't rule out liberal arts colleges because they aren't science powerhouses with Nobel prize winners - an undergrad wouldn't see those people anyway.



User avatar
Sterngard Friegen
Posts: 43740
Joined: Wed Aug 05, 2009 12:32 am
Location: Over the drawbridge

Re: College choices

#7

Post by Sterngard Friegen » Thu Jan 21, 2016 6:50 pm

Williams also has a rugby team. Which is why it first came to mind.



User avatar
bob
Posts: 24021
Joined: Sat Dec 05, 2009 12:22 pm

Re: College choices

#8

Post by bob » Thu Jan 21, 2016 7:00 pm

Mikedunford wrote:Is his long term plan (such that it is) to go for an MD or a PhD?
A friend of mine was accepted to Brown's baccalaureate-MD program. So: Brown.

(And one can always transfer, or earn just the baccalaureate.)


Imagex6 Imagex2 Imagex4 Imagex2

User avatar
Dr. Blue
Posts: 855
Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2012 10:01 am
Occupation: Call the doctor!

Re: College choices

#9

Post by Dr. Blue » Thu Jan 21, 2016 8:11 pm

Sterngard Friegen wrote:Williams also has a rugby team. Which is why it first came to mind.
Yeah well... my daughter is on the Quidditch team at her school. You pick your sport, we nerds will pick ours... :-)



DragonWriter
Posts: 58
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2012 8:34 pm

Re: College choices

#10

Post by DragonWriter » Thu Jan 21, 2016 8:22 pm

Our dragonet was, like yours, high-scoring with plenty of choices. The first choice ended up being one of the 8 gazillion small, private, high$ colleges in the Boston area. But Boston turned out to be a bad fit for a dragonet. Too cold in many different ways for a kid from the west. We decided to haul our spawn back. Thawing required much sunshine and a steady supply of bean burritos and took nearly a full semester. After that we enrolled the dragonet in our local State University, which supplied plenty of opportunities in the required science field and ended up saving a ton of money. Which is good, because it was a five year double major.

Said dragonet has now started grad school, is back on the east coast and doing fine with a couple of papers (from undergrad) almost out.

I went through a similar process on my way to a science career. I think you make your opportunities where you are. Anybody willing to take on the dirty work in the lab, hang out incessantly with the grad students, and be a leech until a prof finally hires you can get a lot of very useful undergrad experience and have a nice full CV upon graduation.



User avatar
TollandRCR
Posts: 20205
Joined: Sun Mar 22, 2009 11:17 pm

Re: College choices

#11

Post by TollandRCR » Thu Jan 21, 2016 8:39 pm

I thoroughly agree that a large Comprehensive Research I university cannot provide the learning experience that a small private liberal arts college provides in terms of interaction with faculty, opportunities for guided research, or even personal social growth. Students can get lost even in a university of only 25,000 students.

However, most large universities have honors programs. Some of these are in separate honors colleges; others involve a slew of designated honors courses. Some are residential for at least part of the college career. They are not the exact equivalent of the small liberal arts colleges, but in some ways they are superior. For example, they often have lab equipment that is not found at most colleges. I did the honors program for my first two years at a large university, but dropped out for reasons that are no longer clear to me. One of the reasons was that by my junior year I was mostly in small classes anyway.

There are sometimes residential colleges within universities that are separate from their honors programs. Michigan has one of these programs. These are intended to provide some of the best of both a large university and a small college.

Small liberal arts colleges do differ in quality, and cost is not a perfect indicator. If one can take the cold, I would put Carleton College in Minnesota very high on my shopping list. It has a faculty that is active in research, which is not necessarily true in liberal arts colleges that devote themselves to teaching. It also has fine teachers. Reed College in Oregon is a remarkable institution.

I don't know the status of rugby at any institution. I only know basketball.


“The truth is, we know so little about life, we don’t really know what the good news is and what the bad news is.” Kurt Vonnegut

User avatar
RoadScholar
Posts: 6840
Joined: Wed Jan 26, 2011 10:25 am
Location: Baltimore
Occupation: Historic Restoration Woodworker
Contact:

Re: College choices

#12

Post by RoadScholar » Fri Jan 22, 2016 5:00 am

I don't know if it still is, but it used to be good advice to consider in-state tuition vs. out-of-state.


The bitterest truth is healthier than the sweetest lie.
X3

User avatar
Northland10
Posts: 6596
Joined: Sat Jan 23, 2010 9:19 am
Location: Chicago area - North burbs

Re: College choices

#13

Post by Northland10 » Fri Jan 22, 2016 8:52 am

Case-Western?


North-land: of the family 10
UCC 1-106 Plural is Singular, Singular is Plural.

User avatar
Dr. Blue
Posts: 855
Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2012 10:01 am
Occupation: Call the doctor!

Re: College choices

#14

Post by Dr. Blue » Fri Jan 22, 2016 9:20 am

TollandRCR wrote:I thoroughly agree that a large Comprehensive Research I university cannot provide the learning experience that a small private liberal arts college provides in terms of interaction with faculty, opportunities for guided research, or even personal social growth. Students can get lost even in a university of only 25,000 students.
That's an excellent point. I mentioned my daughter above, and her "fallback option" was an honors program at a state school. It would have been a fine choice as well, although I think she made the right choice. My own university has both an honors program and residential colleges, although the RCs are only for the freshman and sophomore years. It does come down to, as someone pointed out above, what you make of it, and you can get a great education almost anywhere if you seek it out - you just have to be a little more energetic in seeking it out at some places. I think my own institution does a better job than most in faculty/student interaction, at least in the physical sciences getting undergrads in the labs working alongside the PhD students. Part of that is our tradition, and part of it is out of necessity - we're a 2nd tier ("high research productivity" rather than "very high research productivity" Carnegie classification) research institution, so don't have the resources to support the zillion grad students that the R1 places do. But even here, there are issues - for example, our residential colleges advertise close faculty/student interaction. If you're thinking that's our regular research faculty, you'd be wrong - those are people hired specifically to work with the RCs, and are typically non-tenure-track lecturers. Great with students, and they know their field, but the students are not working with the research faculty in the RCs.

I guess my main message about small liberal arts colleges is that you shouldn't rule them out because either you feel they aren't "sciencey" enough or you're scared by the cost. Most of the top ones have excellent research-active faculty who also love working with students (at a college! imagine that!), and have first-rate research labs. My daughter's school has an endowment in the billions, and she's in a science program that is very well-funded by the Howard Hughes Medical Center. As for being afraid of the cost, I mentioned the "100% support guarantee" that many places offer, but let me add one anecdote: my daughter convinced one of her best friends in high school to apply as well. She is from an immigrant family that has very little in the way of income and resources, and she never considered a place like that. She got accepted and got 100% support. Yes, they are paying her full tuition, room and board, and textbook costs. It's totally free, including basic living expenses. Her grades were good but not great, but she had a hell of a story to tell in her application essay.

You can probably tell that I'm pretty enthusiastic about the small liberal arts colleges - enthusiastic enough that I'd consider moving to a place like that to finish out my years until retirement. I have reached a point my life where I don't feel the need to produce more PhD graduates, and would love to be at a more collegial/friendly place with excellent undergrads. My daughter has told me in no uncertain terms that I can't pursue a position at her college until after she graduates, however.... :-)



User avatar
tek
Posts: 2245
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2012 6:02 pm
Location: Happy Valley, MA
Occupation: Damned if I know

Re: College choices

#15

Post by tek » Fri Jan 22, 2016 5:12 pm

One important thing to remember is that you want to pick a school where you'll stick it out and graduate from. And to want to be there.

Need to do a lot of visits.

Our daughter ended up choosing UVM for Chemistry (changed to Biochemistry mid-stream). Burlington is a town/city that felt kind of familiar to her, and in the winter she could go skiing and go to a sugar house in the spring.. UVM has a med school, and if you are certain majors you can do things like sign up to go on grand rounds..

Unfortunately, many other schools offered her a LOT more money.. luckily we had kinda planned it all out so the money was in the bank by the time the first bill showed up.. and she did get a great education there.. and bailing out was never on the horizon (though she did say at the end of her soph year that she wanted to become a poli sci major.. she had taken many minor courses in poli sci and even con law.. "writing those papers is so easy!" .. I told her I'd have them send the bills to her)

it is a bit different from when I went to college.. my parents had zero idea how college works, and had zero dollars to send me there..

Just MHO..


And the men who spurred us on
Sit in judgement of all wrong
They decide and the shotgun sings the song

User avatar
Sterngard Friegen
Posts: 43740
Joined: Wed Aug 05, 2009 12:32 am
Location: Over the drawbridge

Re: College choices

#16

Post by Sterngard Friegen » Fri Jan 22, 2016 5:33 pm

Something we have all forgotten. The school has to be a good fit for the student.

(Like Taft Law Skool was such a good fit for the Chaleria. But that's one we can forget.)



User avatar
Slartibartfast
Posts: 6983
Joined: Mon Aug 10, 2009 2:52 pm

Re: College choices

#17

Post by Slartibartfast » Sun Jan 24, 2016 12:42 pm

Sorry to be so late to weigh in, but you've already got a bunch of excellent advice so I'll just throw my tuppence in...

I think having a good fit is extremely important. He's not choosing the "right" school, he's choosing the right school for him. The more uncertain he is about his field, the better a big school would probably be. Too also, to add to what Dr. Blue said about small schools, if you are planning on grad school then the only necessary criterion for your undergrad is to get into (and be prepared to succeed it) the grad program you want. Being in a major university is great if you can get access to the research (even if only by, as someone already pointed out, washing bottles), but a small college degree might prepare you just as well (or better) than a big (or a B1G :towel: ) school.

Now my biases:

Michigan State, especially if you can get into the Honors College, is a great undergrad university. The professors are more accessible than the norm and if you do really well on your Honors College exam you can get a professorial assistantship and help with actual research right from the start (I was baking high-TC superconductors and designing, building and running diabolical apparatii my freshman year at State). Don't know about the rugby opportunities.

Duke is a great place for grad school. It's microbiology departments (and med school!) are top-notch. There's even a fresh Nobel on the shelf. It is also very strong in Mathematical biology and, as Dr. Blue can attest, computer science. Mathematical biology and data science are going to unlock some amazing things in microbiology in the next couple of decades (my expert opinion). I think that if he's going to go into research, the more math he knows and the more he understands how mathematical tools can help, the better.

There is (or was when I was there) an active rugby club at Duke. A friend of mine (grad student) was an enthusiastic participant. I went to some of their parties. At least there are some blurry spots in my memory that I vaguely recall being rugby team parties.

Hope that helps!


"Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat."
---Sun Tzu (quoting Thomas Jefferson)
nam-myoho-renge-kyo---Thomas Jefferson (quoting Slartibartfast)

User avatar
Chilidog
Posts: 8533
Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2012 11:36 am

Re: College choices

#18

Post by Chilidog » Mon Jan 25, 2016 10:12 am

Thanks for all the feedback, everyone.

We are still very early in the process and ultimately it will be the chilpup's decision. I passed along some of your suggestions, but he is feeling a bit overwhelmed at this point, so we are going to let things percolate for a while. He still has to take the SAT later this spring.

After doing well on the PSAT test, over the last two weeks, he has been bombarded by letters from colleges, all roughly the same.
Dear Chilpup,
We are really impressed by you. Falstaff Falls University would like to hear more from you.

To answer a quick question on how you research colleges, go to http://www.Falstafffalls.org/reply and log in with your user name Cpup, password 2212334.

As a thank you we will send you a free copy of our guide "demystifying the college interview." yada yada yada.
it seems that some marketing firm has sold all these schools the same bill of goods.



User avatar
Chilidog
Posts: 8533
Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2012 11:36 am

Re: College choices

#19

Post by Chilidog » Mon Jan 25, 2016 10:19 am

Sterngard Friegen wrote:Something we have all forgotten. The school has to be a good fit for the student.

(Like Taft Law Skool was such a good fit for the Chaleria. But that's one we can forget.)
That is a good point.

We are planning to do some visits to some of the area colleges this spring and summer to try and narrow the field a bit.

(Notre Dame, UoC, and maybe up in Minnesota)



User avatar
Chilidog
Posts: 8533
Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2012 11:36 am

Re: College choices

#20

Post by Chilidog » Mon Jan 25, 2016 10:22 am

RoadScholar wrote:I don't know if it still is, but it used to be good advice to consider in-state tuition vs. out-of-state.
For public universities, yes.. there is often a huge difference in rates.



User avatar
Gnarly Goat
Posts: 2020
Joined: Fri Feb 03, 2012 5:19 pm

Re: College choices

#21

Post by Gnarly Goat » Mon Jan 25, 2016 10:24 am

Chilidog wrote:
RoadScholar wrote:I don't know if it still is, but it used to be good advice to consider in-state tuition vs. out-of-state.
For public universities, yes.. there is often a huge difference in rates.
When the oldest went of to school the year before last I learned the two most beautiful words in the English language are "in state".


"Don't waste time mourning. Organize." - Joe Hill

User avatar
Chilidog
Posts: 8533
Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2012 11:36 am

Re: College choices

#22

Post by Chilidog » Mon Jan 25, 2016 10:26 am

Mikedunford wrote:Is his long term plan (such that it is) to go for an MD or a PhD? If he's thinking the MD route, he might very well get more bang for his buck at a smaller school; if he's looking to go PhD, he might want to look at the schools that have good grad programs. While it's hard for undergrads to get good experience in the top labs, it's not impossible. (Particularly for someone willing to wash test tubes and do other menial tasks.)

That's a bit of an issue.

His long term plan is that he wants to go into virology, epidemiology and such, doing field work, (but he doesn't want to have to touch sick people. LOL)

He also wants to join the army. :shock: (which, actually, if he is serious about a medical oriented career, is not a bad idea, as far as having your college costs paid for)



User avatar
Chilidog
Posts: 8533
Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2012 11:36 am

Re: College choices

#23

Post by Chilidog » Mon Jan 25, 2016 10:32 am

Gnarly Goat wrote:
Chilidog wrote:
RoadScholar wrote:I don't know if it still is, but it used to be good advice to consider in-state tuition vs. out-of-state.
For public universities, yes.. there is often a huge difference in rates.
When the oldest went of to school the year before last I learned the two most beautiful words in the English language are "in state".

We have some money in a couple 529 accounts for him. One of which is about 5 semesters worth of the college Illinois program.

fortunately for Chilpup, he can get his money out of that while there is still cash left in it.

However, they still apply those costs to out of state or private schools at the about $13,500 per year. so the out of state / in state break is really only significant for the large public schools.

and for some reason, chilpup has developed an aversion to in state public schools. probably because he knows a bunch of kids going to those schools that have way worse grades them him.



User avatar
Dr. Blue
Posts: 855
Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2012 10:01 am
Occupation: Call the doctor!

Re: College choices

#24

Post by Dr. Blue » Mon Jan 25, 2016 10:52 am

Chilidog wrote: :snippity:
We have some money in a couple 529 accounts for him. One of which is about 5 semesters worth of the college Illinois program.

fortunately for Chilpup, he can get his money out of that while there is still cash left in it.
A quick word of warning: We were completely unprepared for the whole financial aid / FAFSA thing - we sock money away, but "thinking about money" is about my least favorite thing in the world, so it was not planned out very well. It turns out that how that money is kept and how it is pulled out makes a huge, HUGE difference, and we scrambled for a while "reconfiguring accounts" so we didn't get screwed.

Specifically, 529s matter a lot. I wouldn't dream of giving financial advice, but make sure you look into this as much as possible. In particular, it is really NOT the right thing for the student to "get his money out" of the 529 - if the money comes from the 529 to the student and then the student pays the tuition, it counts against your financial aid calculation much worse than if the parents (assuming they are custodians of the account) withdraw the money and pay the tuition. You also don't want money held by grandparents or other family members in a 529. Just be careful, and arrange things well at least a year before the freshman year.



User avatar
Chilidog
Posts: 8533
Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2012 11:36 am

Re: College choices

#25

Post by Chilidog » Sat Apr 02, 2016 4:35 pm

To catch up.

The pup has started the college visit process. A couple weeks back, his Rugby team made a road trip to play a couple games in Louisville. The coaches arranged for a tour of the college. The pup enjoyed it and was impressed enough to include Louisville in his college lists.

Two weeks ago, we were supposed to go to an open house at Augustana College in Rock Island. Bad weather postponed that trip.

Yesterday the pup and I went to an open house at the University of Chicago.

The pup was very impressed with the school, it really is a beautiful campus.

The athletics program there is nothing special, though I think that the Pup is finally realizing that college should be about the education, rather than the sports, and that he is never going to be a professional athlete.

The good thing is, as a DIII school, he actually has a chance at making the football team if he wants to.



Post Reply

Return to “American Culture & Current Events”