Just in case anyone is wondering what I’ve been doing instead of blogging, I’ve started the college search for my sophomore son. Notice, I didn’t say “assisting” him or “guiding” him, I’m the one doing it. He has absolutely no interest at this point.
So why bother? Why not just let him reach the point on his own and start looking himself? One, the way the college application process works now at days means that waiting may also close off opportunities you waited too long to find out about.
Two, after spending a lot of time on a homeschool to college yahoo group and wondering why everyone elses kids seem to care and mine doesn’t, someone pointed out that it seems to be more boys in the “don’t care” category. The group consensus was that boys generally take longer to mature and this is one area in which it shows. (I hope anyway)
Three, if I go from the premise that he’s not really a self-starter, then I had better find a college where he won’t get lost in the crowd.
Four, we aren’t going to qualify for any need aid and while my son isn’t a self-starter, he’s smart enough to qualify for some merit aid somewhere. I just need to figure out somewhere.
So how do you start looking? I’ve read the Colleges that Change Lives and looked at the Princeton Review top 20 lists and it’s a start. But there are over 1500 schools out there and that only scratches the surface.
I’ll tell you my current, evolving method. I start out at http://www.collegeresults.org. I do an institutional search for the following:
Size: 750-2500 (I think he’s going to need to be in a small school where people care if he shows up to class)
Student Related Expenditures per FTE: greater than $15,000. The most spent per student at any state school in Texas is less than $12,000. There are only 25 public schools nationally that spend more than $15,000 per student. There are 290 private schools that do. I figure if I’m going to shell out tuition for a private school, I want to see some of the money spent on the students whether on student organizations, dorms, athletic facilities (the one thing he does care about) or classrooms.
Graduation Rate: Ideally, it should be over 70%. However, I’m currently working with a search between 50% and 70%. This generally lowers the requirements for qualifying for full tuition scholarships at the school. If he can get a scholarship and in their honors program with less than a 1200 SAT, I’ll take the chance.
After I generate my list, I then plug the school in the Princeton Review’s website for more info on it’s acceptance rate, percentage of students living on campus, percentage going to graduate school, and does it have baseball and football (because that’s important to my son, it may not be important to yours).
Then I hit the school’s website to look for information on it’s history department, (if ds can’t be general manager of a pro football team, he wants to be a history professor), scholarships, and honors program.
And that’s how I cam across Colby-Sawyer College in New Hampshire. The fact that it doesn’t have a football team is made up by it’s Honor Scholarship program. 1150 is worth a look.
Wesson Honors Scholarship Students with a 3.5 GPA and 1150 SAT (combined critical reading and math sections)/25 ACT score are eligible for the Wesson Honors Scholarship. This $12,000 scholarship includes direct admission into the Wesson Honors Program. It is renewable annually for four years of study dependent upon good academic standing in the Wesson Honors Program.
I’m not sure about the history department since it’s history department is actually “History, Society and Culture” which they do a nice job of explaining. It doesn’t seem particularly strong in the Civil War but okay in modern European history. On the plus side, it has developed an “Apprentice Historian Project.”
Other notables about the school is it’s co-curricular transcript, Pathway program, and use of portfolios.
I’m not sure I want ds in New Hampshire; I’m not sure he would even want to go. But it’s saved to the Princeton Review profile and on my “watch” list. It seems a promising alternative for someone who is not going to make into UT under the top 10 percent rule.