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College Tour from DC to RI

Old Mar 4th, 2016, 09:15 PM
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College Tour from DC to RI

Hi! I am taking my teenage daughter on a college tour from Washington DC (American U) to Rhode Island (Brown). I'm trying to consider as many schools as I can going up the 95 corridor, any suggestions? I plan on hitting University of Pennsylvania, Lehigh, NYU, Tufts, and whatever else I can find. I guess it will be a zig zag line!
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Old Mar 5th, 2016, 01:56 AM
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Choose quality (of visits) over quantity. There are hundreds of colleges along that route - you can't see them all. Teenage girls generally like to shop - so she will try to convince you to see an unreasonably large number.

First I would look at how competitive a college she is likely to be accepted to AND (more important) she would be comfortable at. The most competitive college is not necessarily the best match. There are various programs (guidance dept may have one they rec) that help narrow it down.

Then look at other criteria - public versus private, large-med-small, urban-suburban-rural. See a mix of types. Rule out any that have deal-killers (my daughter, strangely, wanted only colleges with D1 football teams, since she was really into that sort of weekend spectator activity).

See no more than 2 colleges in a day. Go on the admissions tour. Drive around the area. You will see more libraries, dorms, classrooms, common buildings in the tour than you can stomach. Unless a college is right along a route, a drive-by is pointless.

Enjoy the trip - it is a rite of passage and bittersweet. And when you get home, be prepared for your daughter to say "I just heard about X University. Can we go see that?" - and have her spend 4 years there.
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Old Mar 5th, 2016, 02:50 AM
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Princeton is on that route, if not on her list.
Rutgers.
Maryland.
Columbia.
UConn
UMass
URI
Swarthmore
and so on


Asking for a list of colleges along that route like asking for a list of rest stops along that route.
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Old Mar 5th, 2016, 04:34 AM
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Yikes.

Gail makes some good suggestions. I would take a realistic assessment of her chances of getting into a certain level of schools and go from there. There are literally hundreds of 4 year schools from DC to RI and you are just south of one of the great college areas in the country, Boston and environs.
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Old Mar 5th, 2016, 04:49 AM
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Strongly agree to confine your touring to schools that:

have strong departments in the major she is interested in (our DDs both knew what they wanted by junior year high school) or even the general area (does she want liberal arts, math, science, fine arts, engineering?)

she has a good chance of getting in. of course all students should apply to 1 or 2 "reach" schools, but when our kids were touring we heard of a number of parents who ONLY took their kids to ivies when realistically they were poor candidates for being admitted (and would have been over their heads if they were admitted).

One thing parents seem to forget is that especially freshman year many kids are challenged academically more than they have ever been before as well as having to make the adjustment living away from home and managing the temptations of college life (esp if they are somewhat naive). I'm not suggesting that kids only try for easy schools - but you must have an idea if your kids will thrive on a major challenge or may be overwhelmed and unhappy. One key is how much work they are doing in high school rather than just their grades. If they are already spending a lot of time on schoolwork they will find it much harder to rev up to another level than if they are getting strong grades without spending huge amounts of time on schoolwork - and will find it easy to increase their efforts to a much higher level.

One schoolmate of elder DDs somehow was admitted to Yale and was devastated in her freshman year when she found the academics were just beyond her no matter how much time she put in. In her case it was also partly that she was disorganized/not happy being away from her parents who had really prodded her into excelling by spending massive amounts of time with her - and even getting her tutors while in high school.

If unsure definitely speak with your kids counselor before picking out a lot of schools.
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Old Mar 5th, 2016, 06:03 AM
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Agree with everyone here, your list includes all schools that are very tough to get in to. Make sure you understand what the entrance requirements are and if it is realistic.
I'm going through the same thing right now and understand how hard it is to narrow it down, but like NYUTraveler says, it's critical to pinpoint her interests and be sure the departments at the schools you choose are strong in that area.
Also, consider size of school, class size and the feel of a school. Read up on student reviews. My daughter for example wants a city school but many of her friends prefer a more suburban campus feel. Also, it's impossible to visit more than two schools in one day and the two would have to be close to each other. Most tours start at 10 or 2 or something like that so you need to really look at the schedules and factor that in. Good luck!
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Old Mar 5th, 2016, 06:04 AM
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sorry, NYTraveler, that was me just having NYU on the brain. Ha!
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Old Mar 5th, 2016, 12:00 PM
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You have gotten a lot of good advice here, though I didn't figure out what I wanted to do until I was 32.

A liberal arts major and a comprehensive university fit that a lot better than a specialized major and a small college.

If you live in/near Washington, your life is going to be infinitely easier if she goes to a college near AMTRAK or an airline hub or both.

To be crass, it is silly to go to an expensive private university to major in something that will never repay its costs. Harvard, for example, has a forestry school. There are lots of reasons to go to Harvard, but there are less expensive places to study forestry. What is the cost-benefit ratio of a university over a lifetime?

Most kids make their choices on the basis of who was nicest on the tour and who had the most students who look like the person they aspire to be. This is why you have to go during the week, not on spring break when there is no one around. It is not an irrational way to choose a college in that about 40% of people marry someone they met in college.

A lot of parents fall into the trap of trying to make their kid's college choice a way of feeding their own ego. This is a recipe for much grief on all sides.

When you see things that they might miss, feel free to nudge them with questions. A lot of kids have never thought about having to go outside in rain and snow to eat and go to class. When they are stunned by the gym facilities in a cool new dorm, just ask about whether the form is in the most convenient location.

It is a rite of passage, and it is bittersweet. Let it blossom. I thought my daughter should go to Mt. Holyoke, and I knew she would get in. After our campus tour, she gave me a withering look because she had picked up on the kind of stuff I wrote about above. I learned more about her that day than you could imagine.
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Old Mar 5th, 2016, 12:14 PM
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Thank you for your amazing guidance!
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Old Mar 5th, 2016, 06:51 PM
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You list some top schools, so I'll have to assume your kid is a great student. I would ask what she wants to study and what sort of school she is looking for.

On the one hand, I'd encourage you to narrow your list, but I also have a laundry list of schools. For example, if you are hitting Lehigh, check out Lafayette too. Similarly, if you are considering Tufts, you may consider BC, Brandeis, or even Harvard or MIT. Wellesley would be worth a look too. And why American, but not Georgetown?

A couple of schools worth a look would be Trinity and Wesleyan in Connecticut.

But I'd ask again what your daughter wants. If you could give some more clarity on that, I could offer better advice.

be crass, it is silly to go to an expensive private university to major in something that will never repay its costs. Harvard, for example, has a forestry school. There are lots of reasons to go to Harvard, but there are less expensive places to study forestry. What is the cost-benefit ratio of a university over a lifetime?

This is hopelessly outdated advice that doesn't account for Harvard's financial aid situation. Harvard is, quite possibly, the best value in education in the world.
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Old Mar 6th, 2016, 03:54 AM
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tg: Agree. Not only that, but a degree from Harvard in **any** field gives one a leg up on reaching the top of the field. People who graduate from Harvard with a forestry degree don't end up stomping around forests checking for bark beetles. They end up running the resources programs at places like Weyerhaeuser.

You could apply that to just about any major.
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Old Mar 6th, 2016, 08:37 AM
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Channeling my mother the guidance counselor here....yes to all of the above especially the 2 schools a day and getting your daughter and her guidance counselor involved in paring down list and scheduling tours and interviews.

Re: NYC. My oldest repeat visit tour client has come to NYC with each grandchild when they turned 11, with wife and daughter and son-in-law on a separate trip and a few years ago....

One grandson (#1 in class in Idaho - wants to be an engineer and play college baseball) was going into senior year. The mother of his cousin (wants to be in theater but doesn't believe in grades (when she came to NYC at 11, I suggested a (now) Road Scholar intergenerational Broadway program and saw them during free time) was going into Sophomore year. Over a week we saw Steven's Institute in Hoboken, Wagner College in SI, Juilliard, NYU, and Columbia. Grandson also saw Brooklyn Tech which was transitioning to NYU. To be continued.....
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Old Mar 6th, 2016, 08:38 AM
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You were advised above to pick a college with a strong department in the student's presumed major, and that is true, but it is also wise to pick a school which offers a broad range of strong departments. Many (most?) students will change their majors before graduating.
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Old Mar 6th, 2016, 08:43 AM
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The grand daughter got into a summer musical theater institute the following year and I had another extended family tour with them.

The grandson ultimately started college on the West Coast and may (or may not) be transferring to an East Coast school soon.

The grand daughter has gotten into Pace and Marymount and am not sure where else.

The important thing for NYC visits is to ditch the car and take public transportation. Visit the campus neighborhoods and see the dorm room. Every tour/lecture I attended focused on likelihood of getting employment after graduation and campus and neighborhood security.

Enjoy your trip. It is a GREAT way to see this part of the country!

A Guide Named Sue
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