How to choose a college

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novillero
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How to choose a college

Post by novillero » Sat Jan 27, 2018 5:23 pm

My daughter is of the age that she is receiving material in the mail from colleges. What are good resources for looking at colleges?

I see U.S. News, Forbes, WSJ all lost some sort of a ranking system. There is a site called niche that ranks schools. Are these good ways to judge a college? What else would you take into consideration? And how do you find that info?
Last edited by novillero on Sun Jan 28, 2018 7:39 am, edited 1 time in total.

livesoft
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Re: How yo choose a college

Post by livesoft » Sat Jan 27, 2018 5:43 pm

The internet has everything you want and more. The local library has books, too. Bogleheads.org is not the best place to start. google.com is a good place to start.

Here's what we did:

1. The default option is the state flagship university. Apply to this university if one's test scores are in the range to be admitted. If test scores are not good enough, then consider the next ranked state university, then the next. The high school and one's peers will know about all the rankings. The previous class of seniors went somewhere and your daughter has to know where many people already went.

2. Consider what one wants to study and get a degree in. Find the best schools for that course of study as per available rankings and discussions with guidance counselors, peers, where seniors went in past years. However, there is no point in going to another state flagship if one's own state flagship is already in play.

3. One can think about cost last I think. Other factors are: Where are friends going to school. Where is boyfriend going to school. Lots of students. Not a lot of students. Where do graduates of that college / university end up living and working.

4. Many people do visits of college campuses, but many families and students do not do visits. My son will graduate from college in May and I have never ever been to the city where his college is located.
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JBTX
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Re: How yo choose a college

Post by JBTX » Sat Jan 27, 2018 6:00 pm

We have a daughter who is a junior. There is much discussion of campus visits. What actually happens at campus visits? I’m skeptical of their utility in that young people can be heavily influenced by impressions. How the campus looks, how friendly people were in visit etc.

Sockpuppet
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Re: How yo choose a college

Post by Sockpuppet » Sat Jan 27, 2018 6:04 pm

JBTX wrote:
Sat Jan 27, 2018 6:00 pm
We have a daughter who is a junior. There is much discussion of campus visits. What actually happens at campus visits? I’m skeptical of their utility in that young people can be heavily influenced by impressions. How the campus looks, how friendly people were in visit etc.
It's like touring a club before you join. Mostly focused on lifestyle benefits rather than academics.

That said....she should visit campuses. Sorry.

sport
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Re: How you choose a college

Post by sport » Sat Jan 27, 2018 6:14 pm

JBTX wrote:
Sat Jan 27, 2018 6:00 pm
We have a daughter who is a junior. There is much discussion of campus visits. What actually happens at campus visits? I’m skeptical of their utility in that young people can be heavily influenced by impressions. How the campus looks, how friendly people were in visit etc.
If you know what subject your student wants to major in, an interview with a professor in that department can be enlightening. If you care about campus religious facilities for your religion, a stop there can be worthwhile. It is also interesting to speak with the admissions people who will answer your questions and tell you why you should come to their school.

We visited a small number of schools with each of our children. We felt the experience was worthwhile. Of course, the younger one got the benefit of both sets of visitations.

adamthesmythe
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Re: How yo choose a college

Post by adamthesmythe » Sat Jan 27, 2018 6:26 pm

The nature of your question suggests that you are not a tiger parent who has always planned for their daughter to go to Harvard.

Many state universities are very good but typically have lower graduation rates than the better private schools. The costs may not end up being very different when student aid is factored in. She should consider applying to both.

Likely major is an important factor that goes beyond the college ranking. Good places can have mediocre to bad departments. It is desirable to go a bit beyond the magazines, which tend to run like a beauty contest.* I don't think there are any good schools that get bad rankings, and vice versa, but the better school for her may not be the one with the highest ranking.

> If you know what subject your student wants to major in, an interview with a professor in that department can be enlightening

Good luck with that most places. MAYBE you will be able to do this at a purely undergrad school. When I was at a research-oriented school the only time I talked with undergrad applicants was with the children of friends.

* The rankings are a blend of factors, including: opinions of administrators at other schools; rejection rates; standard test scores; research funding; student/ faculty ratios,... If you look at the methodology (which is published) you may be more skeptical of the results. Some (many?) schools make strategic decisions in part based on their impact on ratings.

MARFEE
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Re: How yo choose a college

Post by MARFEE » Sat Jan 27, 2018 6:28 pm

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=194755

Of interest on this topic

livesoft
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Re: How yo choose a college

Post by livesoft » Sat Jan 27, 2018 6:29 pm

My daughter visited a few universities on her own to check them out. She experienced what it was like to travel from home to the school and back.

The first time my son set foot on his campus was when he moved into his dorm room. He had stayed in college dorms for sports and computer camps before, so I think he knew what college living might be like.

If the high schooler has never been to a college campus and/or her parents have not gone to college, then I would highly recommend at least one or two college visits.
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sunnywindy
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Re: How yo choose a college

Post by sunnywindy » Sat Jan 27, 2018 6:31 pm

Visit the campuses and go to the place that feels like a good fit. In my case, when I first arrived on the campus, it just felt 'right.' Then, in the interview, they asked me what book I was reading currently and I was reading the same book as the interviewer, so that was a good omen.

Do not....rely on rankings (that is a completely meaningless metric), but do buy one of the big books that has all of the colleges so you can thumb through it and maybe see schools that you might not see on the internet.

Lastly, while you really want to make a good decision the first time, if the student doesn't like it, they can always transfer to another school.

Good luck!
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DavidW
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Re: How yo choose a college

Post by DavidW » Sat Jan 27, 2018 6:33 pm

I could be wrong but the purpose of a 4 year education is to ultimately land a job in a field you want to pursuit. I would start as one poster suggested by looking at what career your child would like to pursuit (unpaid internships is a great way to find out if they enjoy that work). From that, determine which schools would be good for those industries. Lot of employers go schools where they have good experience with a school due to its graduates &/or curriculum. You could also ask the deans of the specific schools as to which employers are actively recruiting from their program. As for references from those that have graduated and are employed in the field...

My kids are heading to college in a few years and I have told them that the first two years for most schools are General Education classes. You can accomplish the same thing at a JC for a fraction of the costs. It is not as prestige as having gone all 4 years but as hiring manager, that is a factor but not the deal killer.

I am curious as to what others think....

livesoft
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Re: How yo choose a college

Post by livesoft » Sat Jan 27, 2018 6:33 pm

sunnywindy wrote:
Sat Jan 27, 2018 6:31 pm
..., but do buy one of the big books that has all of the colleges so you can thumb through it and maybe see schools that you might not see on the internet.
Or get it from the library Even the high school library should have several copies of such books.
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Alexa9
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Re: How yo choose a college

Post by Alexa9 » Sat Jan 27, 2018 6:34 pm

What state/major? Update your OP if you want better advice.

Sockpuppet
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Re: How yo choose a college

Post by Sockpuppet » Sat Jan 27, 2018 6:36 pm

I applied to only one school, the local state college down the road. Looking back at it I can't believe how cavalier I was about such a major decision. But my family was hard pressed for money at the time and tuition was only $4,000 a year (1999). In my mind it was the only school I could afford.

When I applied to graduate school (eventually earned my Master's at Cornell), I was a little more serious about it.

Having both degrees from a little no name school and an ivy league school, I do think there is value in having a degree from a school that is nationally recognized. There are just some places that don't hire people from Chico State. And there are so many opportunities at a big school. Plus there is a difference in the education you recieve.

I think the advice to look at your state's big state school is good, but keep in mind that not all state schools are created equally. There is a huge difference between the UVA, Berkeley, Wisconsin...and the University of Alaska, North Dakota, and Vermont.

U.S. News rankings are partially rubbish, but they do generally track the prestige of the school as well as the success of the alumni.

I think any of the top 50 national or liberal arts schools will allow your daughter to succed in whatever she wants to do. But there is a point where you hit diminishing returns as you move down the list. There just aren't too many CEOs of Fortune 500 companies who earned their degrees at the California University of Pennsylvania.

Don't get me wrong, people from no name schools can succeed, but their alma maters didn't give them a leg up to start their careers.

livesoft
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Re: How yo choose a college

Post by livesoft » Sat Jan 27, 2018 6:39 pm

DavidW wrote:
Sat Jan 27, 2018 6:33 pm
I am curious as to what others think....
I worked every year while I was in college as a custodian about 20-23 hours a week. I also did undergraduate research and was a co-author on a couple of publications from that work. I would not have been able to do undergraduate research starting in the week after my 2nd year if I had spent time at a junior college. Every semester thereafter, I worked in a lab for course credit and in the summers for pay while I still had the custodian job.

So a junior college is not right for many students.
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JBTX
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Re: How yo choose a college

Post by JBTX » Sat Jan 27, 2018 7:02 pm

May be worth reading Malcolm Gladwell's book on college. He basically comes to conclusion (based on research, I think) that it is often better to be a "big fish in a small pond" at college than vice versa.

Having done a year at a community college, then transferring to a state university to get a degree, and then going to a well known named "top ranked" private graduate school, I tend to agree with him. While often the C suite of the biggest corporations, wall street and major consulting firms may be littered with lots of people from ivy league level schools, elsewhere I have seen all kinds of the most successful people come from all kinds of different colleges.

My hope for my daughter is that she goes to a local state school.

Silverado
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Re: How yo choose a college

Post by Silverado » Sat Jan 27, 2018 7:11 pm

One thing that I did know at the time was how focused some companies are in their recruiting efforts. It makes perfect sense that they would go with schools they know and have had success, but I had no clue. I got very lucky with my grad school choice after a few years in the military, happened to be a major feeder school for several engine and equipment manufacturers, which is what I wanted to do. Pure luck that I was able to get easy access.

So a tip would be if she has a very specific company / field of interest, research where those companies are hiring from. Look at where they have sponsorships, coop programs, where execs went to school, etc.

I see I am late with this, as DavidW already gave a similar tip. So +1 to his post.

Sockpuppet
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Re: How yo choose a college

Post by Sockpuppet » Sat Jan 27, 2018 7:19 pm

Silverado wrote:
Sat Jan 27, 2018 7:11 pm
One thing that I did know at the time was how focused some companies are in their recruiting efforts. It makes perfect sense that they would go with schools they know and have had success, but I had no clue. I got very lucky with my grad school choice after a few years in the military, happened to be a major feeder school for several engine and equipment manufacturers, which is what I wanted to do. Pure luck that I was able to get easy access.

So a tip would be if she has a very specific company / field of interest, research where those companies are hiring from. Look at where they have sponsorships, coop programs, where execs went to school, etc.

I see I am late with this, as DavidW already gave a similar tip. So +1 to his post.
But as 75% of students change majors this might not be the best advice.

This is why I think it’s best to attend a nationally known school as chances are that everyone will be recruiting there anyway.

Bacchus01
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Re: How yo choose a college

Post by Bacchus01 » Sat Jan 27, 2018 7:26 pm

Great topic and good responses already. I too have a JR that is working through this process.

When I went to college back in 1992, my parents had zero involvement in the process. It’s not that they didn’t want to, they just didn’t know what to do. My father never graduated HS. They are not dumb people, but college was not something they knew the first thing about. I scheduled all my tests (paid for by me with working money) and file a bazillion scholarship applications. I never visited a single campus and my guidance counselor was about as helpful as a frog.

I graduated 3rd in my class of 375 with a 4.0 and a 33 (back when that was actually very rare).

I knew I wanted business school, so went to the local college that has a great regional program and skipped the flagship university (University of Wisconsin). I ended up at the flagship school for my last two years anyway.

With my son, I’m trying to be more active than my parents, but ironically the more active I get, the less he gets. He wants Engineering. We are fortunate that there are some great Engineering schools in Wisconsin. UW-Madison, UW-Platteville, UW-Milwaukee and MSOE are all quite good. I’m having a hard time even talking to him about OOS options when these are so good, so close and reasonably priced. The one caveat is that he might want to play soccer in college and that may drive his decision including looking OOS. But he has to decide pretty quick and I can’t really get him to put it alll down.

OP, good luck on the process. For us, it’s pretty hard not to encourage him to go to UW-Madison. His grades and 32 ACT should get him in. But, I wonder if going away might be good for him too. Ugh.

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Re: How yo choose a college

Post by tibbitts » Sat Jan 27, 2018 7:38 pm

novillero wrote:
Sat Jan 27, 2018 5:23 pm
My daughter is of the age that she is receiving material in the mail from colleges. What are good resources for looking at colleges?

I see U.S. News, Forbes, WSJ all lost some sort of a ranking system. There is a site called niche that ranks schools. Are these good ways to judge a college? What else would you take into consideration? And how do you find that info?
I'm sure you meant "How do you choose a college".

I chose the one I actually got into.

golfCaddy
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Re: How yo choose a college

Post by golfCaddy » Sat Jan 27, 2018 7:42 pm

I would suggest looking at college confidential. That site will be more college focused than bogleheads. For most people, going OOS or to a private college is an unaffordable luxury unless they can get significant aid.

livesoft
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Re: How to choose a college

Post by livesoft » Sat Jan 27, 2018 7:44 pm

tibbitts wrote:
Sat Jan 27, 2018 7:38 pm
I'm sure you meant "How do you choose a college".
I was thinking "How to choose a college"
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Watty
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Re: How yo choose a college

Post by Watty » Sat Jan 27, 2018 7:45 pm

By far the best thing I read when I was going through this was something like, "Picking a college is not about picking a the best college, it is about picking the college which is the best fit for your kid."

Even if a college is not a top rated school if it is a solid choice and an excellent fit for her she should do well.

A couple of common mistakes;

1) Not having open and honest discussions with your kid early in the process about how much financial support you can give. Not doing this can backfire in several ways.
a) If you will only be able to provide modest financial support and your kid focuses their search on expensive universities that could either not be workable or that could leave them with huge unnecessary student loans.
b) If you have ample means and are willing to pay a lot of the college expenses but your kid does not know that so they focus of budget choice schools because they are worried about the money.
c) If the kid knows that they will need scholarships to go to their dream school then the earlier they know this the earlier they can start working on hustling scholarships or figuring out some way to make that school work.

2) Using college rankings. Even if the college rankings were accurate most of them are next to worthless. The reason is that even if the university is well ranked your daughter might be getting a chemistry degree and the chemistry department could be very weak. If your daughter knows what she wants to major in then focus on the schools with strong programs in that field.

3) Not looking closely at retention and graduation rates. You may need to dig to find the statistics but some colleges have very poor graduation rates. My son was stubborn and decided to go to a regional state university instead of one of the better regarded state flagship universities. The regional state university had a graduation rate of only about 50% so I talked this over with him and showed him the statistics but he wanted to go there anyway. He at least knew about this an we talked about not letting the other kids study habits and how much they partied to cause him fall behind because that seemed normal. After the Christmas break of his freshman year he even commented about how many students in his dorm did not return for even their second semester and that was more of an eye opener than anything I could have said.

In retrospect the regional state university turned out to be a very good fit for him and he graduated and is doing well in his field now. If he had gone to one of the flagship universities there is a very good chance that he would not have graduated since he would not have fit in as well there.
Last edited by Watty on Sat Jan 27, 2018 9:41 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Sockpuppet
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Re: How yo choose a college

Post by Sockpuppet » Sat Jan 27, 2018 7:49 pm

Bacchus01 wrote:
Sat Jan 27, 2018 7:26 pm
Great topic and good responses already. I too have a JR that is working through this process.

When I went to college back in 1992, my parents had zero involvement in the process. It’s not that they didn’t want to, they just didn’t know what to do. My father never graduated HS. They are not dumb people, but college was not something they knew the first thing about. I scheduled all my tests (paid for by me with working money) and file a bazillion scholarship applications. I never visited a single campus and my guidance counselor was about as helpful as a frog.

I graduated 3rd in my class of 375 with a 4.0 and a 33 (back when that was actually very rare).

I knew I wanted business school, so went to the local college that has a great regional program and skipped the flagship university (University of Wisconsin). I ended up at the flagship school for my last two years anyway.

With my son, I’m trying to be more active than my parents, but ironically the more active I get, the less he gets. He wants Engineering. We are fortunate that there are some great Engineering schools in Wisconsin. UW-Madison, UW-Platteville, UW-Milwaukee and MSOE are all quite good. I’m having a hard time even talking to him about OOS options when these are so good, so close and reasonably priced. The one caveat is that he might want to play soccer in college and that may drive his decision including looking OOS. But he has to decide pretty quick and I can’t really get him to put it alll down.

OP, good luck on the process. For us, it’s pretty hard not to encourage him to go to UW-Madison. His grades and 32 ACT should get him in. But, I wonder if going away might be good for him too. Ugh.
To have such a great school with such affordable prices in your backyard, it seems like a waste to not take advantage.
Last edited by Sockpuppet on Sat Jan 27, 2018 7:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

A-Commoner
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Re: How yo choose a college

Post by A-Commoner » Sat Jan 27, 2018 7:54 pm

Facile as this may sound, but it boils down to what your child wants to be when she grows up, and whether the resources (i.e her personal aptitude/skills and the family's financial resources) are realistically available to get her to goal.

Once you have that figured out, you then need to approach the college picking process like you create an investment portfolio: Don't put all your eggs in one basket.

Make a list of schools. Group these schools into 3 tiers:

Tier 1: Reach schools = dream schools that are tough but not impossible to get into. Chances are low of getting accepted (almost like playing the lottery) but you'll never know until you try.

Tier 2: Match schools = schools where your child will have a better than 50% chance of getting accepted; your daughter's stats (GPA, ACT/SAT scores, etc) should be within the 25th-75th percentiles of the stats of accepted students.

Tier 3: Safety schools = schools where your child's stats are above the 75th percentile of accepted students. Your child should be willing to attend the school as well.

You will know the stats of accepted students by looking at the Common Data Sets of the schools.

Big Dog
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Re: How yo choose a college

Post by Big Dog » Sat Jan 27, 2018 8:06 pm

I could be wrong but the purpose of a 4 year education is to ultimately land a job in a field you want to pursuit.
Depends on your perspective. :P

Sure, colleges have plenty of so-called vocational majors (business, engineering, nursing, education and the like) but colleges also offer lotsa majors which may never lead to a job in that field. (they are called liberal arts!) My son was a Russian Lit major who is now making bank on Wall Street. (unrelated to anything Russian.)

OP: I highly recommend College Confidential as a resource for all things college, including financial aid.

JeepDaze
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Re: How yo choose a college

Post by JeepDaze » Sat Jan 27, 2018 8:08 pm

novillero wrote:
Sat Jan 27, 2018 5:23 pm
My daughter is of the age that she is receiving material in the mail from colleges. What are good resources for looking at colleges?

I see U.S. News, Forbes, WSJ all lost some sort of a ranking system. There is a site called niche that ranks schools. Are these good ways to judge a college? What else would you take into consideration? And how do you find that info?
I always liked reading through the Fiske College Guide.

A-Commoner
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Re: How yo choose a college

Post by A-Commoner » Sat Jan 27, 2018 9:35 pm

We just went through this process last year with my daughter. I can tell you how it happened.

My daughter applied to 11 schools. 6 schools were Tier 1 (reach schools), 3 were Tier 2 (match schools), and 2 were Tier 3 (safety schools).

She got accepted by all her Tier 3 schools (safeties), accepted by 2 and rejected by 1 Tier 2 school (match). She was accepted at 2 reach schools (University of Notre Dame, UCLA), waitlisted by University of Chicago and Wash U in St. Louis, rejected by Northwestern and Claremont Mckenna.

She would have been happy to attend any of the schools that accepted her, but of course had her top choices in UCLA and Notre Dame. Since we lived in the rural Midwest and had been thinking for years of leaving the area, the choice became clear: UCLA.

She is considered an OOS student at UCLA paying OOS tuition. That's okay. We saved for it and we can afford it.
Last edited by A-Commoner on Sat Jan 27, 2018 9:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

FraggleRock
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Re: “ yo “

Post by FraggleRock » Sat Jan 27, 2018 9:56 pm

Interesting question due to “yo”.
1. “Yo” means you. For me, it was trivial. I was conceived in Troy, NY. My father was an engineer. I was good at math, therefore I was going to RPI. I did. It was great for me.
2. “Yo” means to.
A. For our daughter, we (parents) looked at 2 factors:
i. Typical SAT score of entering students.
ii. Brand value of school.
B. For her.
She fell in love with the “Core” offered at Columbia.

They gave a decent amount of financial aid, so The Big Apple it was.

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BolderBoy
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Re: How yo choose a college

Post by BolderBoy » Sat Jan 27, 2018 11:40 pm

DavidW wrote:
Sat Jan 27, 2018 6:33 pm
I could be wrong but the purpose of a 4 year education is to ultimately land a job in a field you want to pursuit. I would start as one poster suggested by looking at what career your child would like to pursuit (unpaid internships is a great way to find out if they enjoy that work). From that, determine which schools would be good for those industries. Lot of employers go schools where they have good experience with a school due to its graduates &/or curriculum. You could also ask the deans of the specific schools as to which employers are actively recruiting from their program. As for references from those that have graduated and are employed in the field...

My kids are heading to college in a few years and I have told them that the first two years for most schools are General Education classes. You can accomplish the same thing at a JC for a fraction of the costs. It is not as prestige as having gone all 4 years but as hiring manager, that is a factor but not the deal killer.

I am curious as to what others think....
I think this is a splendid outline!
"Never underestimate one's capacity to overestimate one's abilities" - The Dunning-Kruger Effect

tibbitts
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Re: How to choose a college

Post by tibbitts » Sun Jan 28, 2018 12:06 am

livesoft wrote:
Sat Jan 27, 2018 7:44 pm
tibbitts wrote:
Sat Jan 27, 2018 7:38 pm
I'm sure you meant "How do you choose a college".
I was thinking "How to choose a college"
That would work too.

luckybamboo
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Re: How yo choose a college

Post by luckybamboo » Sun Jan 28, 2018 1:48 am

DavidW wrote:
Sat Jan 27, 2018 6:33 pm

My kids are heading to college in a few years and I have told them that the first two years for most schools are General Education classes. You can accomplish the same thing at a JC for a fraction of the costs. It is not as prestige as having gone all 4 years but as hiring manager, that is a factor but not the deal killer.

I am curious as to what others think....
Our daughter just got admission for Fall 2018 into a college which is a reputable state university and is pretty close to our home- a commutable distance. She will be staying on campus even though technically she could commute. We were debating our options to chose a community college for the first two years and then transfer later. But we went against that decision for following reasons.
1. Quality of courses at community college isn't the best you could ask for. DD is taking a college credit class in senior year and the teacher from the community college is worse than the school teacher for the same course. I have heard that the faculty at the university is really good.
2. Good universities have a cohesive curriculum for the major you chose. So, you can satisfy some of the major requirements while meeting the core credits. And even for the core curriculum (for first two years) you can have many choices there vs community college. For e.g. community college in our county offers only one course for satisfying History credit, whereas university offered 4 different courses that interested my daughter a lot.
3. The students attending community college do not always have long term education (bachelors/masters) in mind. They are satisfied with associate degrees many times. So, unless the child is self-motivated to succeed, he/she can get negatively influenced by friends at the community college.

So, unless parents cannot absolutely afford the 4 year college financially or if they don't qualify for aid /loans I wouldn't recommend sending the child to a community college.

inbox788
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Re: How yo choose a college

Post by inbox788 » Sun Jan 28, 2018 2:49 am

A-Commoner wrote:
Sat Jan 27, 2018 9:35 pm
She is considered an OOS student at UCLA paying OOS tuition. That's okay. We saved for it and we can afford it.
UC used to prefer in-state students, and OOS students needed higher grades and test scores, but with all the budget problems, the reverse is now true. OOS students are being accepted with lower grades and test scores. Let's see how long that effect lasts, but in the mean time, if you're OOS, your chances are better than ever right now.

DrGoogle2017
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Re: How yo choose a college

Post by DrGoogle2017 » Sun Jan 28, 2018 4:04 am

JBTX wrote:
Sat Jan 27, 2018 6:00 pm
We have a daughter who is a junior. There is much discussion of campus visits. What actually happens at campus visits? I’m skeptical of their utility in that young people can be heavily influenced by impressions. How the campus looks, how friendly people were in visit etc.
Both my daughters toured and liked their campuses before they were accepted. I think just get a general feeling.

denovo
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Re: How yo choose a college

Post by denovo » Sun Jan 28, 2018 5:22 am

Big Dog wrote:
Sat Jan 27, 2018 8:06 pm
I could be wrong but the purpose of a 4 year education is to ultimately land a job in a field you want to pursuit.
Depends on your perspective. :P

Sure, colleges have plenty of so-called vocational majors (business, engineering, nursing, education and the like) but colleges also offer lotsa majors which may never lead to a job in that field. (they are called liberal arts!) My son was a Russian Lit major who is now making bank on Wall Street. (unrelated to anything Russian.)

OP: I highly recommend College Confidential as a resource for all things college, including financial aid.
I take it son went to an Ivy League School.
"Don't trust everything you read on the Internet"- Abraham Lincoln

A-Commoner
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Re: How yo choose a college

Post by A-Commoner » Sun Jan 28, 2018 5:43 am

inbox788 wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2018 2:49 am

UC used to prefer in-state students, and OOS students needed higher grades and test scores, but with all the budget problems, the reverse is now true. OOS students are being accepted with lower grades and test scores. Let's see how long that effect lasts, but in the mean time, if you're OOS, your chances are better than ever right now.
For Class 2021, UCLA's overall acceptance rate was 16.1%. In-state applicants had an acceptance rate of 14% while out-of-staters (OOS) had an acceptance rate of 22%. The ACT scores of the 25th-75th percentile of admitted students were 30-34, while the GPA was 4.13-4.31. See here http://admission.universityofcalifornia ... n-profile/ This doesn't break down the scoring profiles of in-state vs out of state but for class 2020, the breakdown goes like this:

ACT range of admitted in-state students: 27-34
GPA (weighted) range of admitted in state students: 4.29-4.58

ACT range of admitted OOS: 32-34
GPA (weighted) range of admitted OOS: 4.38 to 4.80

http://www.admission.ucla.edu/Prospect/ ... Prof16.htm

So, out-of-state students have higher acceptance rates compared to in-staters, but the out-of-staters also had to have higher ACT scores and grades than the in-staters.

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novillero
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Re: How yo choose a college

Post by novillero » Sun Jan 28, 2018 7:41 am

Alexa9 wrote:
Sat Jan 27, 2018 6:34 pm
What state/major? Update your OP if you want better advice.
Part of the point was that she had no field that was of particular interest.

Bacchus01
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Re: How yo choose a college

Post by Bacchus01 » Sun Jan 28, 2018 7:57 am

Sockpuppet wrote:
Sat Jan 27, 2018 7:49 pm
Bacchus01 wrote:
Sat Jan 27, 2018 7:26 pm
Great topic and good responses already. I too have a JR that is working through this process.

When I went to college back in 1992, my parents had zero involvement in the process. It’s not that they didn’t want to, they just didn’t know what to do. My father never graduated HS. They are not dumb people, but college was not something they knew the first thing about. I scheduled all my tests (paid for by me with working money) and file a bazillion scholarship applications. I never visited a single campus and my guidance counselor was about as helpful as a frog.

I graduated 3rd in my class of 375 with a 4.0 and a 33 (back when that was actually very rare).

I knew I wanted business school, so went to the local college that has a great regional program and skipped the flagship university (University of Wisconsin). I ended up at the flagship school for my last two years anyway.

With my son, I’m trying to be more active than my parents, but ironically the more active I get, the less he gets. He wants Engineering. We are fortunate that there are some great Engineering schools in Wisconsin. UW-Madison, UW-Platteville, UW-Milwaukee and MSOE are all quite good. I’m having a hard time even talking to him about OOS options when these are so good, so close and reasonably priced. The one caveat is that he might want to play soccer in college and that may drive his decision including looking OOS. But he has to decide pretty quick and I can’t really get him to put it alll down.

OP, good luck on the process. For us, it’s pretty hard not to encourage him to go to UW-Madison. His grades and 32 ACT should get him in. But, I wonder if going away might be good for him too. Ugh.
To have such a great school with such affordable prices in your backyard, it seems like a waste to not take advantage.
I know. And with UW Madison or any UW system school, there isn’t really many majors you could select and not get an excellent education.

But there are advantages to other areas. He’ll get more exposure to future jobs outside the area, if that’s important, if he goes outside the area. Weather here can be brutal and the quality of life somewhere more southern might be improved. Etc.

But I think he ends up at Madison and I’ll be damn excit d.

multiham
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Re: How to choose a college

Post by multiham » Sun Jan 28, 2018 8:55 am

My opinion of College Confidential is that about 50%+ of what you read is upset students/parents posting because they either didn't get accepted to a certain school or significantly inflating what scores/grades they received. I had to stop reading it with my son (Junior in High School) as we both couldn't take anymore posts from people who have a 5.0 weighted GPA and 1400+ on their SAT, yet they were not accepted to there local state college.

My parents did not go to college so when it was my time to apply, I knew nothing about the process and simply applied to 2 local colleges. I got accepted to one and went there. Would not recommend that approach!

Here is what my wife and I are doing with our son (our oldest child)

1. Spending time with him as he researches the schools on-line. Providing him with our pro's/cons for each school that he looks at. Cost is not part of the pro's/cons. This is to really help everyone understand what is important to him.
2. Using Naviance to understand his chance of acceptance given his SAT scores, GPA, and previous applicants from his High School. Not sure if every High School in the country uses this software, but it is really great in given you a realistic picture of your chances at getting accepted. Love that your grades, SAT, and ACT scores are automatically loaded into software.
3. Based on research and Naviance, developed a list of Reach schools (less than 30% chance of acceptance), Target Schools (his favorites with 60%+ chance of getting accepted), and Safety Schools (Schools he would attend and has a 75% or greater chance of acceptance). Also asked his guidance counselor to provide him with the contact information for at least one student from his high school that is willing to talk and is currently attending the school he wants to go to. Great to hear the insider information from someone who had the same type of high school education, lived in the same community, etc. We also try to get a list of companies that recruit at the schools he is interested in. If he has a desire to work at a certain company, it is key to understand their college recruitment process.
4. Scheduling tours at his top 3 schools. We are doing this now as he wants to see the schools while the students are there versus summer when the schools are basically empty. We have scheduled each of the tours on days he has off from school (Spring Break, Presidents day, etc.) Right now, his top choices are all out of state public universities in the South. We live in PA. Makes the trips much more difficult, but we view it almost as a mini vacation.
5. I have had conversations with him on how much money I can afford. He has known this and it goes into the consideration set, but is not the first criteria. He knows that he will be responsible for the difference and is prepared to ask the school how does he go about covering this difference (aid, loans, work, etc.)
6.Enjoy the process instead of stressing.

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Alexa9
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Re: How yo choose a college

Post by Alexa9 » Sun Jan 28, 2018 10:12 am

novillero wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2018 7:41 am
Alexa9 wrote:
Sat Jan 27, 2018 6:34 pm
What state/major? Update your OP if you want better advice.
Part of the point was that she had no field that was of particular interest.
What state and what is her SAT/ACT/GPA? I'd suggest community college until she figures it out. The "college experience" is overrated IMO. Binge drinking and football games are not culturally enriching. Cheaper, even free with grants and scholarships. If she can hack all the chemistry, physics, and calculus she has a good chance of doing well in engineering/medicine. A year off of working is not a bad idea either.
The goal is to get a job eventually so you want a career path and a backup plan or two.
If she's good at math/chemistry/physics then engineering/medicine.
If she's an average student, teaching or social work.
If she's an above average student, finance or nursing.
The best public school in state as possible unless you're doing engineering then you want the best engineering school you can get into.
Last edited by Alexa9 on Sun Jan 28, 2018 10:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

livesoft
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Re: How to choose a college

Post by livesoft » Sun Jan 28, 2018 10:14 am

Uh, American Football is culture. At least in America.
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Alexa9
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Re: How to choose a college

Post by Alexa9 » Sun Jan 28, 2018 10:16 am

livesoft wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2018 10:14 am
Uh, American Football is culture. At least in America.
Highly overrated IMO especially at a learning institution. It's a distraction from reality I suppose.

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Pajamas
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Re: How yo choose a college

Post by Pajamas » Sun Jan 28, 2018 10:24 am

novillero wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2018 7:41 am
Part of the point was that she had no field that was of particular interest.
If she doesn't even know if she leans in a direction like STEM or liberal arts, then she should consider doing something like taking core classes at a community college, backpacking around the world, getting a job, joining the military, etc. or some combination of things like that. She might also meet with a counselor for testing and discussion to help her clarify what she is interested in. There is not much point for her to have her parents pay tons of money for her to go off to live away from home and attend an expensive school so she can figure out what she wants to do. Been there, done that.

Sounds like she is in high school so counseling is probably worth a try. Discussing this with a few trusted teachers who know her relatively well might help her.

Eventually she should be able to choose a college that will provide what she wants and needs. Otherwise, she is putting the cart before the horse trying to figure out where to go.

livesoft
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Re: How to choose a college

Post by livesoft » Sun Jan 28, 2018 10:30 am

I agree with what Pajamas just posted. I have seen many young adults that need more maturity before they go to college. And by maturity, I mean they need more experience about themselves and their place in the world. There are ways to get that experience before going to college although some would comment that going to college can also provide that experience.

Another thing is that the parent(s) can talk about what they were doing at the same age: Their dreams, their experiences, their decisions.
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Y.A.Tittle
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Re: How to choose a college

Post by Y.A.Tittle » Sun Jan 28, 2018 10:55 am

There is no one correct method to choose. That said, I would add:
- Campus visits (more than one) are useful. You get to see and compare in person. Books and the internet are simply not enough.
- A gap year between high school and college is an interesting idea. I didn't do it nor did my child, but if the year is spent doing something productive, even if it is just having an everyday job, it should bring perspective. Kids do have fear of losing a year, though.
- A name brand school is often expensive, but when it comes time to find a job it has value. Name brand schools often have better job placement services, also.
- I would advise against the local, small college if that is an option. College is a chance to reinvent yourself and reset your view of the world. I know people who made the easy choice of staying close to home and they said that college became an extension of high school.
- The rankings in magazines and elsewheres are of dubious value, but they get noticed. Unfortunately, colleges are gaming the system to improve their ranking. For example, encouraging more applicants but not increasing acceptances to appear more selective.
- "College Confidential" is amusing but hardly scientific. Read it for fun if you like reading complaints, but not for making any decision.
- Ask hard questions about who really teaches freshman and sophomore classes. If it done by T/As in large lecture halls and you want personal attention, be advised.
- Look into the living/social environment. At some colleges life revolves around the Greek system, and all the good and bad things that entails. Others do not. Understand what you want and if the school can support it.

Sockpuppet
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Re: How yo choose a college

Post by Sockpuppet » Sun Jan 28, 2018 11:14 am

Alexa9 wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2018 10:12 am
novillero wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2018 7:41 am
Alexa9 wrote:
Sat Jan 27, 2018 6:34 pm
What state/major? Update your OP if you want better advice.
Part of the point was that she had no field that was of particular interest.
What state and what is her SAT/ACT/GPA? I'd suggest community college until she figures it out. The "college experience" is overrated IMO. Binge drinking and football games are not culturally enriching. Cheaper, even free with grants and scholarships. If she can hack all the chemistry, physics, and calculus she has a good chance of doing well in engineering/medicine. A year off of working is not a bad idea either.
The goal is to get a job eventually so you want a career path and a backup plan or two.
If she's good at math/chemistry/physics then engineering/medicine.
If she's an average student, teaching or social work.
If she's an above average student, finance or nursing.
The best public school in state as possible unless you're doing engineering then you want the best engineering school you can get into.
My experience is that the community college route works best for highly motivated people who are 100% sure what they want to do.

More often then not, I see folks go to community college and for whatever reason then lose interest ( is it because they’re not challenged or the attitude of everyone else rubs off on them?)

Then if they do get to the point where they are going to transfer it turns out most of their credits won’t transfer and they’ve wasted the past 2 years. Usually at this point they call it quits.

I just think you get better results when you’re on a campus where everyone is much more motivated rather than not sure if this college thing is for them.

Sockpuppet
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Re: How to choose a college

Post by Sockpuppet » Sun Jan 28, 2018 11:20 am

Y.A.Tittle wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2018 10:55 am
- A gap year between high school and college is an interesting idea. I didn't do it nor did my child, but if the year is spent doing something productive, even if it is just having an everyday job, it should bring perspective. Kids do have fear of losing a year, though.
My experience is that most people who take a gap year just never go to college. Maybe it’s different if you’re from a wealthy family and spend the year traveling the world. But for most people I think it’s too easy put off for another year and then another and then another...

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Wildebeest
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Re: How to choose a college

Post by Wildebeest » Sun Jan 28, 2018 11:47 am

How I chose a college:
I first determined my career goals at age 13 and per our encyclopedia ( pre Internet days) determined what would get me out the fastest with the most worthwhile degree and at the time it was Electric engineering ( no computers yet). It would get me a degree in 2 1/2 years after HS and be out in the workforce before 20 (I completely disregarded any parental or counselor guidance). Then I tried to figure out if I would fit in with the profession and decided against it.

I was taken in by the idea of becoming a research professor. I did not figure out till 13 years later ( indolence on my part) that I was poorly suited for that: I hated research and academics and changed fields.

How our child chose a college:
We told our child we would support him and tried to give him every benefit as long as he had passing grades. He picked the colleges (changed twice) and changed majors multiple times but got out in 4 years. We were along for the ride.

He made choices I would not have ( not that he asked us). On the other hand it all worked out and the choices I made for my career were not that hot looking back.
The Golden Rule: One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself.

bigdav160
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Re: How to choose a college

Post by bigdav160 » Sun Jan 28, 2018 12:18 pm

I cannot add much other than I am going through the same thing with my oldest daughter.
The difference might be my daugher is a National Merit Honor Society runner up (high SAT scores), highly motivated in and out of school individual (involved with the Church, works and plays/sings in a band) and will graduate HS with an AA from the local Community College (where I teach).

I think she could be admitted to any University she applied to.

In my case, she only has interest in one school. And it's where a couple of her friends will be attending. In my household I hold a minority vote so UNT it is.

I apologize for gloating in the OP's thread. I grew up with very modest means and was expected to get a job and leave the house after graduating high school. Post secondary education was never mentioned. Here she is with Houston's Mayor and other NMHS winners.

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DrGoogle2017
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Re: How yo choose a college

Post by DrGoogle2017 » Sun Jan 28, 2018 12:20 pm

Big Dog wrote:
Sat Jan 27, 2018 8:06 pm
I could be wrong but the purpose of a 4 year education is to ultimately land a job in a field you want to pursuit.
Depends on your perspective. :P

Sure, colleges have plenty of so-called vocational majors (business, engineering, nursing, education and the like) but colleges also offer lotsa majors which may never lead to a job in that field. (they are called liberal arts!) My son was a Russian Lit major who is now making bank on Wall Street. (unrelated to anything Russian.)

OP: I highly recommend College Confidential as a resource for all things college, including financial aid.
This sort of attitude is really annoying to read. Calling people who major in engineering and business as vocational majors. My engineering kids read a lot of liberal arts stuff, I know it since I sold lots of her book, took lots of math classes also, last time I checked math was also a liberal art major, let’s leave the holier than thou attitude about other majors.
At least the last crisis in this country was created by some very smart people from Wall Street, they were so smart, they created CDOs and synthetic CDOs that they were unable to ravel, according to Tim Geithner. At least many not so smart vocational major kids were too dumb to create that fiasco in the first place. Maybe you can take that as credit for their contributions to society.
Last edited by DrGoogle2017 on Sun Jan 28, 2018 12:45 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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Wildebeest
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Re: How to choose a college

Post by Wildebeest » Sun Jan 28, 2018 12:29 pm

Interesting perspective on value of college education:

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/ar ... or/546590/
The Golden Rule: One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself.

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