Sunday, September 24, 2006

College Profiles: Introduction

As Dear Daughter finds colleges that she is interested in, I am doing my own research in order to learn about the schools myself and I will post my impressions here. I probably won’t bother writing much about the Ivies, since (1) anyone reading this blog has already heard of Yale and the like, and (2) I think it’s unlikely that DD will end up at one of those schools anyway. Apart from the fact that even straight A students have no guarantee of being accepted, she seems to be more interested in attending a small liberal arts college. Recently, DD has begun saying that, much as she appreciates the phenomenal education she is getting at Elite Private School, she really thinks she wants to go to college somewhere that isn’t populated by the same type of student. What do I mean by “the same type of student?” Affluent; spoiled; sophisticated yet provincial in that Manhattan kind of way; groomed for a future in law or investment banking.

Some of DD’s best summer experiences have been on challenging outdoor programs with kids from other parts of the country. She also has a strong interest in art and art history, although she has not really been able to pursue this much in high school. She is also athletic, mildly political, studious but also very social. Though she’s popular and spends a lot of time as part of the Manhattan-private-school-teenager social scene, she does not want to go to a “party school.” For all of these reasons, she is intrigued by the idea of going to a small liberal arts school that attracts smart, studious kids who are also artsy or outdoorsy. Ideally, she would also like to go to school in or near a large city rather than a small town, though she recognizes that most liberal arts colleges are more remotely located. Though she is very much a city girl, and claims that she will end up back in New York City for the long term, she is hoping to find a school that will expose her to a broader demographic than the one in which she has grown up.

So what schools has she expressed an interest in so far? Reach Schools: Yale, Brown, Penn, Williams, Amherst. Good Match Schools: Bard, Oberlin, Macalester, Reed, Vassar, Sarah Lawrence, Middlebury, Wesleyan. Safety Schools: University of Vermont [we clearly need to expand this list]. Wild Card School: University of St. Andrews, Scotland. I will profile these and other schools in the weeks to come.


At Wed Sep 27, 02:51:00 PM 2006, Anonymous Sam Jackson said...

Expand it in terms of balance, perhaps... but to epand it in terms of size is to further fuel the terrible problems of modern day college admissions for no particular reason. 13 is a high number to begin with; add add add for numbers' sake makes no sense.

best of luck to your daughter in finding a good fit and collegiate happiness

At Wed Sep 27, 04:27:00 PM 2006, Blogger College Parent said...

You're absolutely right, and I didn't mean to suggest that I think she should add more schools to the ultimate list of schools to which she will apply. Rather, I think she needs to have a couple of more "safety" schools on her list. At this point, it's early in the game, and I think it's fine that she's begun to read enough about different colleges to recognize that there are LOTS of great colleges out there where she might be happy. As it happens, her high school basically limits students to applying to 10 schools -- and even that would be overwhelming but for the fact that most schools accept the common application, so it doesn't really require that she prepare 10 individual applications.

At Wed Sep 27, 05:39:00 PM 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm no college expert, but among her "good match schools," two of these are not like the others. Wesleyan in CT and Middlebury in VT are (at least in my neck of the woods) viewed as among the most competitive liberal arts colleges in the country. Are they really good matches for even the best students?

At Thu Sep 28, 11:13:00 AM 2006, Blogger College Parent said...

Thanks for your comment. One issue with being the parent in this process is that my own views of colleges are about 30 years out of date. This is why DD has to drive this process, with guidance from her school's college advisor. I'm just here to provide appropriate parental support. In my day, both Wesleyan and Middlebury were safety schools for many of my peers, but clearly that has changed. DD's advisor will know what I may not, which is how the schools stack up today, and which are good matches for her. Again, thanks for the tip.

At Mon Nov 27, 01:57:00 PM 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wandering on through (from a link off, and spotted St Andrews being mentioned, thought it might help to point you at the St Andrews LiveJournal community at - there are previous posts about Americans thinking about coming to St Andrews that may prove helpful.

Generally though, St Andrews I would say is going downhill. The university is swamped with applications (not entirely sure why, at this point, but nevermind), and there's basically more students than there is space in the town, meaning accommodation is fairly seriously expensive. On top of that, a lot of the smaller quirkier shops that help give the town it's character are closing down, presumably because their rents keep going up.

I'd suggest Edinburgh, as being quite like St Andrews (and the accomodation won't be any cheaper, but at least you're living in a capital city install of a town of 20,000 people). It's where I'm heading next year, anyway :)

At Mon Jan 19, 03:13:00 PM 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Author of comment above blatantly got rejected

St. Andrews is unbelievable

At Sat Feb 28, 05:04:00 PM 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd definitely move Vassar, Wesleyan, and Middlebury up to the "reach" level (just because they are selectivity-wise more on-par with the other schools you listed as reaches).
You may find College Confidential to be helpful resource.
Good luck!!
-High school senior

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