Deciding college for High School Graduate

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Deciding college for High School Graduate

Postby Ruby » Sun Feb 10, 2013 9:01 am

Hi

My daughter is a junior in Michigan High school. She is trying to decide which colleges to apply ?

She prefers to to in the science stream and potentially graduate from a medical school.

As a parent how did you help ? What I can help with ? Is there any web sites or books that will help navigate the pros and cons of each schools, within state out of state, etc.

Does any specific undergrad help her in her MCAT exam ?

Thanks
Ram
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Re: Deciding college for High School Graduate

Postby MarkBarb » Sun Feb 10, 2013 9:10 am

Mine aren't there yet, so my advice is from someone that doesn't have real-world experience yet.

One bit of advice I've been given that I think makes sense is to get your kids into schools where they are near the middle of the pack academically. If they are among the least qualified students admitted, they will have to struggle too hard to succeed and face a much greater risk of dropping to easier majors or dropping out. If they are among the best qualified, they won't be sufficiently challenged.

As a Boglehead, I would look at the return on your investment. There is a huge price disparity in schools. For some schools and some majors, the difference is justified by future earnings potential, but in many cases it is not. Pick a school that seems likely to give a good return on investment.

Pay attention to your child's support and cultural needs. The big state schools are often fantastic bargains, but for kids that are introverted and not self-motivated, they are easy places to get lost in. A smaller school (or even a smaller department at a big school) is more likely to keep you engaged. I've got one son that I think will thrive at any school and another that will probably need more personal attention and isn't as good of a candidate for Big State U.
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Re: Deciding college for High School Graduate

Postby Ruby » Sun Feb 10, 2013 9:21 am

Thanks MarkBarb,

Great takeawy from your post, such as "near the middle of the pack", "The big state schools are often fantastic bargains, but for kids that are introverted and not self-motivated".

I experience the same with two kids, one kid who is independent and know how to thrive in any situation and another kid who do need to focus, else will go with the flow, without much self desires.

Thanks,
Ram
Last edited by Ruby on Sun Feb 10, 2013 9:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Deciding college for High School Graduate

Postby livesoft » Sun Feb 10, 2013 9:29 am

This is always a tough decision especially if the child is not motivated. I have kids around the age of your daughter and have gone through this.

I suggest attending College Nights in the area and talking to teachers, guidance counselors, and other parents. In the end, you may be mystified about why a child chooses a university. There are also lots of books on the subject. I suggest having a book or two from the library on college choice sitting out on the coffee table all the time. The student will be receiving tons of mail from colleges, too.

In the end, she may go where her best friends go to school. Some common choices:

1. The State Flagship: University of Michigan
2. Michigan State
3. Some out-of-state private elite colleges including regional ones (U of Chicago, Northwestern, maybe Washington University) and further away
4. A 2nd tier private college that awarded scholarship money to make it cheaper than State Flagship

I see no reason to apply to another state's flagship university unless they are as cheap as in-State Flagship

I see no reason to apply to more than 7 schools although you will read about folks who apply to 20 or more.

Then you go visit some places, but don't visit places just on a whim. Make sure there is interest first.

Let me add: This introverted/extroverted stuff is a non-sequiter. If a kid is an introvert, what could be better than plunking them down in a big university where they can get out of their shell. Nobody says, "My extroverted child needs a small school in order to become more introverted."
It's all about short-term opportunistic rebalancing due to a short-term change in one's asset allocation, uh, I mean opportunistic rebalancing, uh I mean rebalancing, uh I mean market timing.
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Re: Deciding college for High School Graduate

Postby FedGuy » Sun Feb 10, 2013 10:18 am

livesoft wrote:I see no reason to apply to more than 7 schools although you will read about folks who apply to 20 or more.


Just a quick response to this point: it can make sense to apply to a lot of schools if you're aiming for a highly selective college. If you have the grades, test scores, and other attributes to be a credible candidate at the very best schools in the country, and your finances and priorities are such that your primary motivation is attending a "name-brand" school rather than, say, attending an affordable school or one that is good value for the money or one that has a particular specialty of interest, then applying to a lot of schools can make sense.

Unless you're a legacy or a top student athlete, even the most academically achieving students can't be assured admission to the very top schools. I remember an admissions officer at Harvard explain that Harvard could fill its freshman class several times over with valedictorians from Massachusetts with perfect SATs. At that level, your achievements earn you a chance of admission, not a guarantee. The majority of valedictorians from Massachusetts with perfect SATs get rejected by Harvard, and you can be sure that Yale isn't falling over themselves to scoop those kids up. Admission to colleges in that group becomes something of a numbers game: if Princeton rejects you but Stanford accepts you, you win, so apply to all the top schools and hope something comes through.

One of my best friends in high school applied to over 20 colleges, including every Ivy League college and pretty much every other "top" school you could name. He got into all but one, but the one he was rejected from was his top choice. Still, this was in the early 1990s; things are a lot more competitive today. And since today's applicants don't have to find a typewriter and spend hours using a technologically obsolete device that they've never previously used to fill out applications (like I did), and can easily apply online and can often use things like the Common Application, it's a lot easier to fill out multiple applications than it used to be. Which means more applications at all these schools, which makes them even more selective than they used to be.
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Re: Deciding college for High School Graduate

Postby livesoft » Sun Feb 10, 2013 10:44 am

^If one is going to one of the 1st tier private elite universities, then you had better act like you want to go to the one of your choice. That means you really want to apply Early Admission if they offer that. Also, if one's child is qualified to get into such a place, I suspect the parents won't be asking on this forum how to get in, since the student will not come to such qualifications out of the blue.

For more fun and anxiety, check out www.collegeconfidential.com and the New York Times special section The Choice: http://thechoice.blogs.nytimes.com
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Re: Deciding college for High School Graduate

Postby stemikger » Sun Feb 10, 2013 10:57 am

My daughter is a freshman in college and just entered her second term. Unfortunately, she had some issues in her junior year and did not put much effort into applying to colleges. That is the year most kids start looking. Her senior year is when she woke up and started to think about her future. Having said that she is now in college and doing pretty good. I don't believe in putting a kid in debt to attend college, so I'm all for public universities. This is especially true if your daughter has dreams of becoming a doctor.

My brother-in-law who is an OBGYN and is the head of the hospital he works in went to a state school and a state medical school. I don't think graduating ivy league matters as long as you pass your boards. The same goes for nursing. I know two young ladies. One graduated with a BS in nursing from a city university and the other graduated from Colombia. Guess what, they are both working at the same hospital make the same money, except the one that went to Columbia has a mountain of debt the other girl dosen't.

I know Dave Ramsey gives some bad advice, but when it comes to this issue he is right on. All four of his kids went to the local college. Also, if you can watch the documentary by Frontline called the High Cost of Tuition. If anything it will prevent you from taking out a loan of any kind for college. Having said that, from what you told me about your daughter it sounds like she will get awards and and/or scholarships so you are pretty set there, but please don't let her take out student loans.

Good Luck, these are exciting times. My daughter had a rough start, but she is loving college. It’s great to watch them blossom and come into their own at this time of their lives.

P.S. I know I didn't answer your question, but I feel so strongly about not putting kids in debt for college I had to post this.
Stay the Course!
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Re: Deciding college for High School Graduate

Postby bigspender » Sun Feb 10, 2013 11:43 am

Being a physician here is my advice. If your daughter truly wants to go to medical school, it will not matter what college she goes to. I know plenty of people who went to harvard undergraduate who could not get into a us medical school. Why? Because they could not score over 30 on the mcat and achieve a gpa of 3.5. If you don't get over a 3.5 gpa and a 30 or above on the mcat, you will not get into a us medical school. I say go to the least expensive college where you know you will thrive. Feel free to pm me if you have questions.
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Re: Deciding college for High School Graduate

Postby Ruby » Sun Feb 10, 2013 11:51 am

Thanks stemikger.

I liked the statement "I feel so strongly about not putting kids in debt for college".

Great thought.

Thanks
Ram
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Re: Deciding college for High School Graduate

Postby gatorking » Sun Feb 10, 2013 12:08 pm

My recommendation: blog and book
http://www.thecollegesolution.com/
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Re: Deciding college for High School Graduate

Postby R2 » Sun Feb 10, 2013 12:24 pm

My second daughter starts next fall, so I've been through this process a couple of times.

I read the book associated with this website and found it helpful: http://www.thecollegesolution.com/

Finances played a significant role in the college decision for both of my daughters, so it was important that I determined how much I could support each financially and make them aware of this early on. That being said, it is difficult to know and/or predict how much each college will cost in the end. Your personal financial situation will impact the expected family contribution, so you might want to use one of the calculators available online to not be surprised.

Here was our application strategy. We live in the Midwest and have a strong state flagship university.

Apply to:
1) State flagship university
2) Neighboring state flagship university (which has tuition reciprocity).
3) Less expensive back-up university.
4) Desirable private university or two, independent of cost.
5) Another school where your child is above average.

In our case, the out-of-pocket for my second daughter at the private university was less than the state flagship, as she got substantial "merit aid". She has not yet decided where to go to school.

Be sure to visit the schools early (summer). You might reject some schools based on those visits.
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Re: Deciding college for High School Graduate

Postby ks289 » Sun Feb 10, 2013 12:42 pm

I agree that finances should be a consideration when deciding upon colleges, and I do not disagree with the impact that student loan debt can have on one's finances.

That being said, the competitiveness/reputation of one's undergraduate institution is a factor in medical school admissions. There are many state schools which rank with the top national universities and others that do not.

If it didn't matter, then nobody would care which schools to apply to and which they got into.
Clearly the reputation is only one factor and not sufficient by itself to guarantee anything.
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Re: Deciding college for High School Graduate

Postby TomatoTomahto » Sun Feb 10, 2013 2:16 pm

FedGuy wrote:
livesoft wrote:I see no reason to apply to more than 7 schools although you will read about folks who apply to 20 or more.


Just a quick response to this point: it can make sense to apply to a lot of schools if you're aiming for a highly selective college. If you have the grades, test scores, and other attributes to be a credible candidate at the very best schools in the country, and your finances and priorities are such that your primary motivation is attending a "name-brand" school rather than, say, attending an affordable school or one that is good value for the money or one that has a particular specialty of interest, then applying to a lot of schools can make sense.

Unless you're a legacy or a top student athlete, even the most academically achieving students can't be assured admission to the very top schools. I remember an admissions officer at Harvard explain that Harvard could fill its freshman class several times over with valedictorians from Massachusetts with perfect SATs. At that level, your achievements earn you a chance of admission, not a guarantee. The majority of valedictorians from Massachusetts with perfect SATs get rejected by Harvard, and you can be sure that Yale isn't falling over themselves to scoop those kids up. Admission to colleges in that group becomes something of a numbers game: if Princeton rejects you but Stanford accepts you, you win, so apply to all the top schools and hope something comes through.

I agree with you, but I believe that the admissions officer at Harvard might have been exaggerating. I read somewhere that there are only 400 perfect SATs (2400) per year. For all practical purposes, a 750 is as good as an 800, but ...

My HS junior is a strong candidate, but after sports admissions, developmental admissions (I.e., here's some money for a new wing on the library), legacy admissions, and diversity admissions, there are not that many spots open for a bright, motivated, and hard-working student. IMHO, it's not "the American way," but it is what it is. Based on PSATs, we expect that he will score around 2250-2350 on SAT, he has a weighted GPA of 4.2, he will be an AP scholar, is a Yale Global Scholar, attends Columbia Science Honors program on Saturdays, will receive an IB diploma, is a National Merit Scholarship finalist, will have excellent recommendations and essays, does not require financial aid, and is truly motivated. I optimistically put his chances as 20% at any individual Ivy.

My son will probably apply to a dozen schools.
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Re: Deciding college for High School Graduate

Postby stemikger » Sun Feb 10, 2013 2:24 pm

bigspender wrote:Being a physician here is my advice. If your daughter truly wants to go to medical school, it will not matter what college she goes to. I know plenty of people who went to harvard undergraduate who could not get into a us medical school. Why? Because they could not score over 30 on the mcat and achieve a gpa of 3.5. If you don't get over a 3.5 gpa and a 30 or above on the mcat, you will not get into a us medical school. I say go to the least expensive college where you know you will thrive. Feel free to pm me if you have questions.


+1

That is exactly what my brother-in-law and sister-in-law (both physicians) and they have wonderful careers. Like I said in a previous post he is the top dog at the hospital where he works (OBGYN) and she is in similar situation at another hospital, her specialty is in infectious diseases.
Stay the Course!
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Re: Deciding college for High School Graduate

Postby stemikger » Sun Feb 10, 2013 2:25 pm

Ruby wrote:Thanks stemikger.

I liked the statement "I feel so strongly about not putting kids in debt for college".

Great thought.

Thanks
Ram


Your welcome! :happy
Stay the Course!
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Re: Deciding college for High School Graduate

Postby Ruby » Sun Feb 10, 2013 6:29 pm

bigspender wrote:Being a physician here is my advice. If your daughter truly wants to go to medical school, it will not matter what college she goes to. I know plenty of people who went to harvard undergraduate who could not get into a us medical school. Why? Because they could not score over 30 on the mcat and achieve a gpa of 3.5. If you don't get over a 3.5 gpa and a 30 or above on the mcat, you will not get into a us medical school. I say go to the least expensive college where you know you will thrive. Feel free to pm me if you have questions.


Thanks Bigspender. Great sharing of information. Gives us some pointers to think about. For sure need focus and dedication from the student.

Thanks
Ram
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Re: Deciding college for High School Graduate

Postby StormShadow » Sun Feb 10, 2013 8:17 pm

livesoft wrote:1. The State Flagship: University of Michigan
2. Michigan State

Also a physician here and I likewise highly recommend Ann Arbor if she can get in.

Getting into medical school is first and foremost about academic performance. GPA and MCAT trump everything else, though she should try to shadow a physician and/or volunteer at a hospital. Partly because this is a good extracurricular activity, but mostly to see if a career in medicine is what she really wants to do. Choice of major doesn't matter, since she'll be required to take the same pre-requisites to getting into medical school (biology, chemistry, physics, organic chemistry and usually biochemistry). Some have argued that it may help to major in a non-science field since it makes you look well rounded.

http://forums.studentdoctor.net/ is a popular online forum for prospective medical students (as well as medical students and residents already in training). Keep in mind that posters are mostly anonymous and so YMMV with advice. There are sections dedicated to test preparation for both the MCAT as well as USMLE (medical school board exams), which I think are very helpful.
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Re: Deciding college for High School Graduate

Postby FredCouples » Sun Feb 10, 2013 9:06 pm

As a high school Govt/Economics teacher for 16 years I see senior students struggle with this decision.

In my opinion too much emphasis is put on the college they attend and not enough is put on the biggest factor in how successful they will be, which is the student.

A self-motivated, student with a work ethic will do fine at any school.

Also in my opinion, colleges don't sell education.

They sell a brand, prestige or rankings. Education is secondary to making a ranking or appearing in US News and World Report .

Think of many college pamphlets/brochures as just like the Financial Services Industry Pornography.

Only thing you learn on a campus tour is that the attractive students at the school can walk backwards and talk at the same time.

I have much more advice I would give but two books I would recommend will open your child's eyes:

http://www.amazon.com/Debt-Free-Outstanding-Education-Scholarships-Mooching/dp/1591842980

http://www.amazon.com/Richer-Smarter-Better-Looking-Than-Parents/dp/1591845440

Both books are very Boglehead-ish and hilarious to read.

I take about 3 classes explaining the college process to my classes and numerous handouts, videos, etc...

PM me your email if you would like more info.

Robert
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Re: Deciding college for High School Graduate

Postby William4u » Sun Feb 10, 2013 9:15 pm

I have seen many students originally intend to be medical doctors, engineers, etc. Relatively few freshmen end up in their chosen field 10 years later. Many realize that they don't want to do it, they hate the classes, etc. I'd say only about 1 in 20 college freshmen who want to become a doctor actually become one. But everyone thinks that they are the exception to the rule. If she actually does become a doctor, it doesn't matter where she goes. If she doesn't become a doctor, it could matter.
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Re: Deciding college for High School Graduate

Postby FredCouples » Sun Feb 10, 2013 9:19 pm

Sorry forgot a couple of other links:

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2011/02/14/110214fa_fact_gladwell?currentPage=all

http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=1719827701

http://www.bankrate.com/calculators/smart-spending/college-student-budget-calculator.aspx

One other thing that students never think about is risk or life happening.

Things like: someone getting pregnant, academic failure, college isn't for them, failure to manage independence with study habits and find something else they would rather do.

No one goes to college intending to drop out but 50% do.
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Re: Deciding college for High School Graduate

Postby wilked » Sun Feb 10, 2013 9:29 pm

I read this, and found it very enlightening
http://www.amazon.com/The-College-Solut ... B001ANYF3E

Some really good advice in there. I got it for free on a short-term promo.
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Re: Deciding college for High School Graduate

Postby wilked » Sun Feb 10, 2013 9:34 pm

stemikger wrote:. Also, if you can watch the documentary by Frontline called the High Cost of Tuition. .



http://video.pbs.org/video/1485280975/

this one?
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Re: Deciding college for High School Graduate

Postby Mudpuppy » Sun Feb 10, 2013 11:18 pm

StormShadow wrote:Getting into medical school is first and foremost about academic performance. GPA and MCAT trump everything else, though she should try to shadow a physician and/or volunteer at a hospital. Partly because this is a good extracurricular activity, but mostly to see if a career in medicine is what she really wants to do. Choice of major doesn't matter, since she'll be required to take the same pre-requisites to getting into medical school (biology, chemistry, physics, organic chemistry and usually biochemistry). Some have argued that it may help to major in a non-science field since it makes you look well rounded.

One should be careful when choosing both the university and major to pay mind to the number of courses one would need to take that would encompass the university requirements (e.g. general education), the major requirements, and the prerequisite courses needed to apply to med school. For example, some California State Universities (CSUs) have a very tailored general education package so the student has more "time" to take major courses, electives, and courses they might need for professional school or graduate school. At such a school, it would be relatively easy, time-wise at least, to major in a non-science major and still take all of the required science courses for med school. Other CSUs have more than 50% of the total degree units devoted to general education, which would make it very difficult to take the med school prerequisite courses along with a non-science major. This is something I don't see many parents or high school students consider, yet it is very vital to the educational process, particularly if one wants to graduate in a timely manor.

Another tip is to check if the local state university or community college has a program where high school seniors can take college level classes for a reduced price. The courses should be selected so that they are eligible to transfer for credit to any other university. Besides the college credit, this also gives the high school student a taste of college-level expectations, so they don't experience complete culture shock during their first term as a college freshman. In some cases, the experience is far more valuable than any number of college credits, and is not something one can get from an AP test.
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Re: Deciding college for High School Graduate

Postby zebrafish » Mon Feb 11, 2013 12:23 am

I'm also an MD. I agree with previous advice that particular school doesn't matter as much as GPA and MCAT scores. I think the college/university you attend does make a difference for the top notch medical schools, but not so much for state schools. A good college will not salvage a poor GPA and MCAT. Best situation is top level university/college, top GPA, and top MCAT 8-)

As far as choosing a particular college or major, I don't think any one college or university will prepare someone for med school much better than anywhere else. What you are learning in college really has little application to medical school or being a physician (sadly). In my school, most of us were science majors, but sometimes having a non-science major can help you stand out as an applicant (as long as MCAT and GPA are good).
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Re: Deciding college for High School Graduate

Postby ram » Mon Feb 11, 2013 1:51 am

I am an MD with 2 kids in college and the older gave her MCAT exam last week.

Both kids applied for about 10 schools. They had ACT scores of 35 and 36 and both applied to the flagship state school and the flagship neighboring state school (same tuition) as their safe bets. They then applied (mostly) to 2nd rung brand name schools hoping to get some merit scholarships.

Daughter had the option of attending Duke or Johns Hopkins for full tuition or state school on a scholarship and opted for the state school.

Son is attending Vanderbilt on merit scholarship which makes it cheaper than the state school.

We avoided the Ivy schools as they do not give merit scholarships. As others have said it is probably not a good idea to get into large debts for undergrad education. There is plenty of opportunity to do that while in med school.
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Re: Deciding college for High School Graduate

Postby celia » Mon Feb 11, 2013 3:48 am

Ruby wrote:As a parent how did you help ? What I can help with ?


When our oldest was about 14, we would go to local college fairs and stop and visit colleges whenever we went on vacation. We took all the kids, so they could learn from the experience. We would go on the tours and I would ask the tour guide all kinds of questions (even if I already knew the answer). After a while they started to get embarrassed standing next to me, so I told them they could stand elsewhere within the group. :D (Later they told be they appreciated all the questions since they didn't even know what to ask or look for.)

I went to college, had been a teacher, and kept up with changing college admissions criteria. Sometimes I felt like they didn't believe my answer regarding how to get into college so I told them to visit their HS counselor after school. I would listen as they relayed what the counselor said, that reinforced what I was telling them. :D

The youngest was the biggest challenge, in a way, since everything was easy for him in high school and I often had to find other things to challenge him. (He studied for several AP exams on his own without taking the classes). But he was also the only one who knew in HS what field he wanted to go into. So together we researched colleges that were known to be the best in that field (as reported in the college comparison guidebooks at the library) and started comparing them against criteria that were important to him, putting everything relevant into a chart. When he was a junior in high school, we spent the entire Easter vacation checking out suitable colleges on the other side of the country.

They all went to different types of colleges and in different states. I had always told them that their job was to be the best student they could be and to do well so they could earn scholarships, which they did. I told them they were responsible for finding out what was required and doing it to get into the colleges they were interested in, while I would be in charge of filing all the papers for financial aid (since they would have no idea of what numbers to enter or where to get them).
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Re: Deciding college for High School Graduate

Postby Ruby » Mon Feb 11, 2013 6:08 am

FredCouples wrote:As a high school Govt/Economics teacher for 16 years I see senior students struggle with this decision.

In my opinion too much emphasis is put on the college they attend and not enough is put on the biggest factor in how successful they will be, which is the student.

Robert



Thanks Robert. Sure your point gives the correct and a different prespective to consider.
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Re: Deciding college for High School Graduate

Postby Rodc » Tue Feb 12, 2013 9:11 am

As a parent I did as my parents did. I said here is the budget. Pick some schools. You take care of applying.

If they can't do this on their own, are they ready for college?
We live a world with knowledge of the future markets has less than one significant figure. And people will still and always demand answers to three significant digits.
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Re: Deciding college for High School Graduate

Postby stemikger » Tue Feb 12, 2013 10:45 am

wilked wrote:
stemikger wrote:. Also, if you can watch the documentary by Frontline called the High Cost of Tuition. .



http://video.pbs.org/video/1485280975/

this one?


My apologies, I got my documentaries mixed up.

Sorry about the mix up it is not Frontline, but CNBC.

I did see the one you posted which I also liked, but I was talking about this one:

CNBC Originals: Price of Admission: America's College Debt Crisis
Stay the Course!
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Re: Deciding college for High School Graduate

Postby MathWizard » Tue Feb 12, 2013 12:08 pm

I agree with letting her know how much you can contribute, and let her apply and budget.
My son is a senior, and we encouraged him to apply to multiple schools, and agreed to
pay all the application costs. He chose only one school that he was guaranteed to get into.

Since this is her junior year, next year will be the base year for the Financial aid for the
freshman year, you might want to take some financial moves this year rather than next year.

E.g. I had been saving for 10 years in a taxable account for college for my children.
Taking that out in their senior year of HS or while they were in college would increase
my income in those years, decreasing the amount of Financial aid my son could get.
I closed the account in the HS Junior year of my oldest child, being careful not to push family
assets above the protection limit. This avoided the artificial spike in income.
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Re: Deciding college for High School Graduate

Postby suming » Tue Feb 12, 2013 12:52 pm

being careful not to push family assets above the protection limit.


I am wondering what you mean by 'not to push family assets above the protection limit'? I have one in college and two more to go.
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Re: Deciding college for High School Graduate

Postby TomatoTomahto » Tue Feb 12, 2013 12:57 pm

MathWizard wrote:I agree with letting her know how much you can contribute, and let her apply and budget.
My son is a senior, and we encouraged him to apply to multiple schools, and agreed to
pay all the application costs. He chose only one school that he was guaranteed to get into.

Since this is her junior year, next year will be the base year for the Financial aid for the
freshman year, you might want to take some financial moves this year rather than next year.

E.g. I had been saving for 10 years in a taxable account for college for my children.
Taking that out in their senior year of HS or while they were in college would increase
my income in those years, decreasing the amount of Financial aid my son could get.
I closed the account in the HS Junior year of my oldest child, being careful not to push family
assets above the protection limit. This avoided the artificial spike in income.

I'm not clear on this. Why would taking funds out of a taxable account increase your income? Did you mean to say that you had been saving for 10 years in a tax-deferred account?
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Re: Deciding college for High School Graduate

Postby MathWizard » Tue Feb 12, 2013 1:19 pm

TomatoTomahto wrote:
MathWizard wrote:I agree with letting her know how much you can contribute, and let her apply and budget.
My son is a senior, and we encouraged him to apply to multiple schools, and agreed to
pay all the application costs. He chose only one school that he was guaranteed to get into.

Since this is her junior year, next year will be the base year for the Financial aid for the
freshman year, you might want to take some financial moves this year rather than next year.

E.g. I had been saving for 10 years in a taxable account for college for my children.
Taking that out in their senior year of HS or while they were in college would increase
my income in those years, decreasing the amount of Financial aid my son could get.
I closed the account in the HS Junior year of my oldest child, being careful not to push family
assets above the protection limit. This avoided the artificial spike in income.

I'm not clear on this. Why would taking funds out of a taxable account increase your income? Did you mean to say that you had been saving for 10 years in a tax-deferred account?


I was also saving in tax-deferred accounts, but did not touch those or my ROTH contributions which was my backup.

The income went up due to Capital Gains on the stocks.
The capital gains appear as income in the year the stocks are sold.

This is item #7 in the list of strategies a the following URL:

http://www.finaid.org/fafsa/maximize.phtml

You are right that taking money out of a tax deferred account would also trigger income in that year.
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Re: Deciding college for High School Graduate

Postby MathWizard » Tue Feb 12, 2013 1:27 pm

suming wrote:
being careful not to push family assets above the protection limit.


I am wondering what you mean by 'not to push family assets above the protection limit'? I have one in college and two more to go.

From http://www.finaid.org/fafsa/maximize.phtml :

Most need analysis formulas shelter $35,000 to $60,000 of the parents' assets, depending on the age of the older parent. For most families of college-age children the asset protection allowance (APA) will be around $45,000 to $50,000. (The median age of parents with college-age children is 48. The asset protection allowance for a family with two parents where the older parent is 48 years old is $47,700 using 2006-2007 need analysis tables. The amount fluctuates up and down from year to year, depending on complex factors involving the consumer price index.) As a result, only about 10% of families have any contribution from the parent assets. Even when parent assets exceed this threshold, they have a negligible impact on the family's expected family contribution. A $10,000 decrease in parent assets, for example, will yield only about a 560 decrease in the EFC. (Also, the Federal Methodology's Simplified Needs Test will ignore assets altogether when the parents' income is less than $50,000 and all family members are eligible to file an IRS Form 1040A or 1040EZ or aren't required to file an income tax return.) Thus parent assets do not have as much of an impact as is normally assumed by most parents.


The above webpage gives you some strategies for increasing financial aid for your student.

Students have no asset protection allowance, so it makes sense to spend student assets first.
Assets in retirement accounts and in your home are not counted as assets. Most of my assets are in my retirement accounts.
This is a reason for using a 2 tier emergency fund. I have about $20K-$30K in the bank/CDs as the first tier
the rest is in a ROTH as contributions.

Unfortunately, for us, almost all financial aid was in the form of loans, with some small scholarships thrown in.
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Re: Deciding college for High School Graduate

Postby MathWizard » Tue Feb 12, 2013 1:33 pm

ram wrote:I am an MD with 2 kids in college and the older gave her MCAT exam last week.

Both kids applied for about 10 schools. They had ACT scores of 35 and 36 and both applied to the flagship state school and the flagship neighboring state school (same tuition) as their safe bets. They then applied (mostly) to 2nd rung brand name schools hoping to get some merit scholarships.

Daughter had the option of attending Duke or Johns Hopkins for full tuition or state school on a scholarship and opted for the state school.

Son is attending Vanderbilt on merit scholarship which makes it cheaper than the state school.

We avoided the Ivy schools as they do not give merit scholarships. As others have said it is probably not a good idea to get into large debts for undergrad education. There is plenty of opportunity to do that while in med school.


Wow, congratulations on the success of your children.

If I may ask, what was the reason your daughter declined Johns Hopkins. I thought that was among the elite of medical schools.
My son (HS senior, National Merit Finalist) is thinking of grad school someplace like that in bio-mechanics after a Mechanical Eng.
undergrad, with bio-mechanics emphasis.
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Re: Deciding college for High School Graduate

Postby bottomfisher » Tue Feb 12, 2013 1:59 pm

I also suggest a state college, especially if planning on obtaining an advanced degree. In regards to preparing for the MCAT - biology is a very common major and good preparation for the MCAT since she's interested in science. Regardless of the degree, its important to score good grades in her upper level (3rd, 4th year college level) science courses. MCAT score is very important, but proficiency in these courses is also essential.
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Re: Deciding college for High School Graduate

Postby beachplum » Tue Feb 12, 2013 2:18 pm

FedGuy wrote:
livesoft wrote:I see no reason to apply to more than 7 schools although you will read about folks who apply to 20 or more.


Unless you're a legacy or a top student athlete, even the most academically achieving students can't be assured admission to the very top schools. I remember an admissions officer at Harvard explain that Harvard could fill its freshman class several times over with valedictorians from Massachusetts with perfect SATs. At that level, your achievements earn you a chance of admission, not a guarantee. The majority of valedictorians from Massachusetts with perfect SATs get rejected by Harvard, and you can be sure that Yale isn't falling over themselves to scoop those kids up. Admission to colleges in that group becomes something of a numbers game: if Princeton rejects you but Stanford accepts you, you win, so apply to all the top schools and hope something comes through.
.


[color=#00BF00]Funny you say this because my daughter graduated in 2004 from a public school in Massachusetts and that year 4 of her classmates were accepted to Harvard. Oh and her school got rid of class rank/valedictorians thankfully.

To the poster who stated not to apply to another state's flag ship college because it won't be worth the extra expense I disagree. It all depends on the individual and what one can afford. Both my daughters attended out of state flagship state universities over UMASS Amherst because the other state's school was a much better fit--not to mention half the size.
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Re: Deciding college for High School Graduate

Postby Ruby » Tue Feb 12, 2013 2:19 pm

MathWizard wrote: My son (HS senior, National Merit Finalist) is thinking of grad school someplace like that in bio-mechanics after a Mechanical Eng.undergrad, with bio-mechanics emphasis.


Great suggestion on the undergrad. This weekend my daughter attended the "Perry Initiative" which had a goal to get female students interested in orthopaedic surgeons and doctoral-level engineers.
"Fewer than 7% of all practicing orthopaedic surgeons and doctoral-level engineers are female, but you wouldn't have thought that by the way these students dove right in! "
Hence this week, she was looking into colleges that provide Bio Engineering related undergrad.

Thanks
Ram
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Re: Deciding college for High School Graduate

Postby beachplum » Tue Feb 12, 2013 2:26 pm

Rodc wrote:As a parent I did as my parents did. I said here is the budget. Pick some schools. You take care of applying.

If they can't do this on their own, are they ready for college?



I gave my kids help with the college process, and it paid off. And yes they were ready for college.
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Re: Deciding college for High School Graduate

Postby Rodc » Tue Feb 12, 2013 3:18 pm

beachplum wrote:
Rodc wrote:As a parent I did as my parents did. I said here is the budget. Pick some schools. You take care of applying.

If they can't do this on their own, are they ready for college?



I gave my kids help with the college process, and it paid off. And yes they were ready for college.


Partly my comment is triggered by so many parents I know, like the one who showed up at the high school where my wife works who did all the applications for her son. Good grief.

Some guidance is fine, sure.

In days past an 18 year could take over the farm, take over or at least play a major role in running the family business, whatever, be a more or less functioning adult. When I was 16 I laid out a plan and executed it to build a camper and travel for a year after high school, on money I earned while in high school, no help from my parents, though I did borrow dad's circular saw. Then I did the college thing. Today we treat our kids like babies. We give them too little credit. We are afraid to let them be independent. We don't allow them honest success. Ok, ok, I'm on a soapbox and over generalizing. But the basic idea is sound.

But everyone with teenagers ought to step back, detach a little and really think about the question of whether or not you are over coddling your kids. Many if they are honest, IMHO, will say yeah, maybe I should give my kid more credit.

I have a daughter who graduated from collage a couple of years ago. Severely dyslexic, did not learn to read until she was 13. Graduated with decent grades in four years from the state flagship U. She is the kind of kid you might naturally coddle. We were supportive, but she decided where to go, figured out how to get in, did her own applications. Did well and decided to do a year abroad. Worked it all out on her own. Got there, looked at the exchange rate and said this is not good, and three days later had a job. She is an average kid. Your kids can do this too.

Parents who do too much do their kids no favor. IMHO.
We live a world with knowledge of the future markets has less than one significant figure. And people will still and always demand answers to three significant digits.
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Re: Deciding college for High School Graduate

Postby DAK » Tue Feb 12, 2013 4:18 pm

I went to University of Michigan for undergrad and got into med school. That being said I'm sure if I had the same grades and MCAT score I probably would have gotten in to med school whether I went to Michigan State, Alma, Albion, etc.
That being said if you like smaller classes, more individual attention, etc...you need to be self motivated to succeed at Michigan. The premed weeder classes like Organic Chem are very large--150 students or so in lecture hall, three for four times on M, W, F. ie 600+ students in the same "class"
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Re: Deciding college for High School Graduate

Postby Ruby » Wed Feb 13, 2013 8:59 am

DAK wrote:I went to University of Michigan for undergrad and got into med school. That being said I'm sure if I had the same grades and MCAT score I probably would have gotten in to med school whether I went to Michigan State, Alma, Albion, etc.
That being said if you like smaller classes, more individual attention, etc...you need to be self motivated to succeed at Michigan. The premed weeder classes like Organic Chem are very large--150 students or so in lecture hall, three for four times on M, W, F. ie 600+ students in the same "class"



Thannks DAK for the note. Quite interesting to see your viewpoint. It helps us very much. -- Ram
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Re: Deciding college for High School Graduate

Postby Jerilynn » Fri Feb 15, 2013 10:23 pm

Ruby wrote:Hi

My daughter is a junior in Michigan High school. She is trying to decide which colleges to apply ?

She prefers to to in the science stream and potentially graduate from a medical school.

As a parent how did you help ? What I can help with ? Is there any web sites or books that will help navigate the pros and cons of each schools, within state out of state, etc.

Does any specific undergrad help her in her MCAT exam ?

Thanks
Ram


Typically, the school doesn't matter. GPA and MCAT is much more important. If I lived in Mich, my pre-medical kids would go to Michigan or Mich State.
Cordially, Jeri . . . 100% all natural asset allocation. (no supernatural methods used)
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Re: Deciding college for High School Graduate

Postby ram » Sat Feb 16, 2013 12:16 am

MathWizard wrote:
ram wrote:I am an MD with 2 kids in college and the older gave her MCAT exam last week.

Both kids applied for about 10 schools. They had ACT scores of 35 and 36 and both applied to the flagship state school and the flagship neighboring state school (same tuition) as their safe bets. They then applied (mostly) to 2nd rung brand name schools hoping to get some merit scholarships.

Daughter had the option of attending Duke or Johns Hopkins for full tuition or state school on a scholarship and opted for the state school.

Son is attending Vanderbilt on merit scholarship which makes it cheaper than the state school.

We avoided the Ivy schools as they do not give merit scholarships. As others have said it is probably not a good idea to get into large debts for undergrad education. There is plenty of opportunity to do that while in med school.


Wow, congratulations on the success of your children.

If I may ask, what was the reason your daughter declined Johns Hopkins. I thought that was among the elite of medical schools.
My son (HS senior, National Merit Finalist) is thinking of grad school someplace like that in bio-mechanics after a Mechanical Eng.
undergrad, with bio-mechanics emphasis.


Johns Hopkins is indeed an elite med school and she will likely not refuse admission to its med school if she is offered admission.
She graduated from High School in 2010 and declined undergrad admission at Hopkins. The reason was purely financial. It would cost upward of 220,000 for 4 yrs of undergrad education at Hopkins (tuition + living expenses). It looks like she will be completing her BS (Biology) with a minor in Global Health at the state flagship Univ in 3.5 yrs at a net cost of about 60K. She will apply to med schools this June and Johns Hopkins will be one of them. She has thus saved >160K which should cover at least 2.5 yrs of med school education.

Best luck to your son. My son was also a National Merit finalist and is getting some scholarship from Vanderbilt for that reason. There was at least one university (? Oklahoma) which was willing to waive all the tuition for 4 yrs for any National Merit scholar.
Ram
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Re: Deciding college for High School Graduate

Postby ram » Sat Feb 16, 2013 12:32 am

Ruby wrote:Hi

Is there any web sites or books that will help navigate the pros and cons of each schools, within state out of state, etc.

Does any specific undergrad help her in her MCAT exam ?

Thanks
Ram


We used a book called "Best 247 colleges' by Princeton review. It was one of the many similar books at Barnes and Noble and I picked that up after flipping thru a few of them for 10 minutes.
Gives concise information on many colleges and then you can gather more info from each Univ website. I let the kids do this and then asked them to present to me what they thought were the relative benefits and disadvantages of each institution. They were also given a budget for their 'total' education. If they spent more on undergrad then less would be available for med school/ grad school.
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Re: Deciding college for High School Graduate

Postby StormShadow » Sat Feb 16, 2013 1:47 am

bottomfisher wrote:Regardless of the degree, its important to score good grades in her upper level (3rd, 4th year college level) science courses. MCAT score is very important, but proficiency in these courses is also essential.

Sorry, but I don't think this is entirely accurate.

Grades in introductory science courses (e.g. biology, chemistry, orgo, physics...) matter the most. In fact, applicants are required to enter in a separate basic sciences GPA in addition to their combined GPA when applying to med school. This is mainly because it is one of the few objective measures (outside of the MCAT) that med school admissions committees can directly compare the academic performance of their applicants. Every applicant has to have already completed these courses to even apply to medical school, and they are usually taken during freshman/sophomore year. Of course, you don't want to do poorly in junior year (or any year for that matter), but junior year performance is mostly helpful when there is a positive trajectory in grade performance from a poor freshman/sophomore year (but at that point, getting into med school would be an uphill climb).

I'd argue that second semester senior year classes don't matter much at all (well, unless you fail and put yourself in danger of not graduating on time), since students will have already received their acceptance letters to medical school far in advance to receiving their second semester grades. The only time senior year grades/classes make a difference is if you don't get accepted to medical school and have to re-apply at a future application season.
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Re: Deciding college for High School Graduate

Postby gtwhitegold » Sat Feb 16, 2013 3:15 am

There are two things that aren't being considered in this conversation. One is that a majority of the large and/or expensive universities have compensation packages for people of lower incomes so that they will attract the brightest students regardless of how rich their families are. If your child is a candidate for a reputable university, then this is definitely something that needs to be addressed during the application process. Just most people don't know to ask about it. The other is that a 2 year college may be better for many students to start out with before transferring to a larger university, especially if they are in the same school system. I know that in Georgia, all state colleges and universities have the same basic requirements, so that makes it very easy to transfer from a 2 year college to a 4 year college in the University System of Georgia. So, if I met all requirements for block A, all of those credits will transfer to the 4 year university. Also, in California, 2 year colleges have course recommendations for people who wish to transfer to the CSU and the UC system. That being said, the student should still plan out their course load at the 2 year college to meet the requirements of his/her desired major at the 4 year university. For students who require more support or those who in lower income families, this may be the best decision in order to minimize student loans and other out of pocket expenses.

Allen
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Re: Deciding college for High School Graduate

Postby ks289 » Sat Feb 16, 2013 7:16 am

gtwhitegold wrote:There are two things that aren't being considered in this conversation. One is that a majority of the large and/or expensive universities have compensation packages for people of lower incomes so that they will attract the brightest students regardless of how rich their families are. If your child is a candidate for a reputable university, then this is definitely something that needs to be addressed during the application process. Just most people don't know to ask about it. The other is that a 2 year college may be better for many students to start out with before transferring to a larger university, especially if they are in the same school system. I know that in Georgia, all state colleges and universities have the same basic requirements, so that makes it very easy to transfer from a 2 year college to a 4 year college in the University System of Georgia. So, if I met all requirements for block A, all of those credits will transfer to the 4 year university. Also, in California, 2 year colleges have course recommendations for people who wish to transfer to the CSU and the UC system. That being said, the student should still plan out their course load at the 2 year college to meet the requirements of his/her desired major at the 4 year university. For students who require more support or those who in lower income families, this may be the best decision in order to minimize student loans and other out of pocket expenses.

Allen


These are good points.
I will disagree that community college credits, particularly for premed requirements, would be viewed equally by medical school admissions and make these candidates competitive with those who fulfill all of their requirements at four year colleges.
Just as the level of rigor/competition of the course selection for high school (AP courses) is weighed during college admissions when looking at a GPA, this is also a consideration when comparing medical school candidates from a variety of institutions.
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Re: Deciding college for High School Graduate

Postby Ruby » Sat Feb 16, 2013 9:19 am

ram wrote:
Ruby wrote:Hi

Is there any web sites or books that will help navigate the pros and cons of each schools, within state out of state, etc.

Does any specific undergrad help her in her MCAT exam ?

Thanks
Ram


We used a book called "Best 247 colleges' by Princeton review. It was one of the many similar books at Barnes and Noble and I picked that up after flipping thru a few of them for 10 minutes.
Gives concise information on many colleges and then you can gather more info from each Univ website. I let the kids do this and then asked them to present to me what they thought were the relative benefits and disadvantages of each institution. They were also given a budget for their 'total' education. If they spent more on undergrad then less would be available for med school/ grad school.



Great practical pointers to consider.

Thanks
Ram
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Re: Deciding college for High School Graduate

Postby fsperling » Sat Feb 16, 2013 9:57 am

It's a shame to think about college as only a means to an end, in this case admission to medical school. The four years of college can be truly transformative.

As for finances, many of the best colleges use a need-blind process process for admissions and award financial aid (in some cases exclusively grants as opposed to loans) on a need-based basis.
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