Using M’s criteria (and expanding on it) my original list of schools to consider contained 45 schools. We eliminated some schools because the Princeton Review surveys indicated they wouldn’t be a good fit socially. We eliminated some schools because when we visited, they didn’t feel right. We eliminated some schools because M’s ACT scores were higher or lower than their typically admitted student.
You should consider many schools and then trim your list. Remember our goal is to find 7 schools to which M would like to apply (8/1/13). And now, just before application season, we are down to 12. We have visited 8 of these 12 and we will visit the remaining 4 this month. So we will have a list of between 8 and 12 schools that M has visited and liked. She has her favorites and I have mine. One similarity between our lists is that the harder it is to get into, the more we like the school – but that is not why they are our favorites. Here are the key stats for me…
|Schools||Acceptance||ACT^||Cost*||Return||6yr Grad Rate||US News@||Forbes|
|2 Univ.||8 – 15%||33||14K – 21K||96% - 98%||93% - 96%||1, 14||3, 57|
|4 Lib Arts||34% - 37%||30||18K – 20K||91% - 95%||87% - 88%||17 - 36||48 - 82|
|4 Lib Arts||60% - 78%||28||21K – 25K||88% - 91%||76% - 82%||59- 82||167-296|
|1 Public L.A.||74%||27||16K||89%||70%||Region 10||359|
|1 Lib Arts||70%||24||23K||81%||63%||Region 11||358|
*- Expected annual costs, according to collegedata.com using M’s real data (grades, gpa, parental income)
@-US News has separate rankings for “national universities,” “national liberal arts schools,” and “regional (midwest) schools.”
So the top schools (by rankings) get better students (by ACT scores) and have higher percentages of their freshman returning for their sophomore years – and higher graduation rates. They also tend to have better financial aid, so they actually cost less. The down side is that they are popular schools to apply to, so they have the lowest acceptance rates.
M’s high school career has been very good. Her numbers; GPA, ACT, class rank are better than mine ever were, as is her extra-curricular resume (plays, sports, clubs, leadership positions.) That said, I consider the national universities to be a “reach” for her, and the last liberal arts school listed above to be a “safety school.” Collegedata.com calls that safety school a “good bet” and lists all of the other schools as “maybes.”
In a month we should have the list down to the 7 or 8 schools to which she will apply.