Skip to comments.Vanity - College Choice of a Previously-Homeschooled Student - Opinions Solicited
Posted on 04/06/2012 6:23:00 AM PDT by sitetest
I don't engage in vanities very often, but I thought this one might be interesting to some folks, and I wouldn't mind a little (courteous) input.
Some of you may remember that we homeschooled our two sons through eighth grade and then sent 'em off to a local Catholic high school. The older guy, who is registered here as swotsonofsitetest, graduates in June and will be off to college in the fall.
We're now coming to the end of the college application and admission process and it's decision time. I'm interested in folks opinions about that decision.
After eight years of homeschooling, he did very well in high school, received very high scores on the SAT and his SAT subject tests, may or may not be valedictorian this year, and has pretty good (although somewhat run-of-the-mill and not-terribly-exciting, it turns out) extracurriculars. Thus, he applied to some top schools and met with some success.
He applied to Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Johns Hopkins, Washington Univ in St. Louis, Univ of Virginia, Notre Dame and the Univ of Maryland, College Park. He plans to double-major in civil engineering (where the school has civil engineering, otherwise mechanical engineering) and classics.
He is quite the classicist, more of a language guy than a math and science guy, but that's only a relative measure. He's very, very good at math and science, just off the charts in language stuff.
After months of application process, filling out FAFSAs, Common Apps, IDOCs, etc., it comes down to: Waitlisted at Washington Univ in St. Louis; rejected outright at Yale and Princeton; accepted to UVA; Notre Dame; Univ of MD; Hopkins and Harvard.
Although UVA is a nice school, it doesn't quite light his fire. We don't expect much by way of financial aid (we live next door in Maryland, and UVA is kinda tight with aid to out-of-state residents). He visited Notre Dame and prefers not to go to a pseudo-Catholic school.
So, it's down to Maryland, Hopkins and Harvard.
Hopkins had been his favorite through the process. Great engineering school, great classics program, great campus feel for him (lots of nerdy kids having a blast studying their hearts out). He met one of the classics professors there and they quickly hit it off.
Maryland had been his "safe school." I hesitate to call it that, because Maryland is not the school it was when I was young (party school that took most folks with a pulse and respiration). Today, the median CR + M SAT of incoming freshmen is over 1300, much higher for their Honors College and school of engineering (to both of which he was accepted). So, I will say it is his safe school in a whisper.
Maryland has a great school of engineering. Their classics program is pretty good, but nowhere near what it is at Hopkins and Harvard.
Harvard, too, was a bit of a dark horse, for reasons with which many posters here would be familiar. But they have a decent engineering school and one of the top classics programs in the country. Plus, it's Harvard. As well, the folks just exude a happy, pleasant, non-bureaucratic competence. And have made him feel welcome and wanted. Which is something Hopkins has not done. However, they only have mechanical engineering, not civil.
Anyway, the money aspect is worth mentioning here. Hopkins is coming in with a decent financial aid package, but it leaves $22K to me to pay per year. Ouch. The loans that my son would need to take out are very modest - a total of $5K over four years. This all includes a modest amount of work study during the school year for my son.
Harvard came up with a substantially-better package - $16K per year to me. Which is nearly affordable, LOL. It includes no loans (unless I want to borrow what I'd owe them) and modest work study.
Maryland is offering a full merit scholarship including full tuition, room and board, books, and a small stipend for educational endeavors such as research, travel, conferences, etc.
So, what do you think? His original first choice with great engineering and classics for $22K per year with modest loans? Harvard (can't beat the brand name with a stick) with good, but not great engineering, phenomenal classics for $16K per year with no loans? Or Maryland, with great engineering, decent classics and, did I mention, absolutely FREE?
Ping to some folks who may be interested, especially a homeschool ping. I’m interested in your views.
GA Tech. Save yourself some $$$$.
Do some research as to what engineering grads from the 3 colleges earn 10 or 20 years in to their career.
What is his preference at this point in the process?
Maryland sounds like the no-brainer because of the money saved and the great engineering program.
But if he wants to go somewhere outside of his home state...
Congratulations to you!
I’d recommend Maryland, can’t beat a free ride plus
lots and lots of large programs to get involved in on campus plus lots of intern opportunities in govt and private contractors around the Beltway
FWIW, CIA and DIA would love to have kids like this and would pay for his Master’s+ and he would have a great time and really be serving our future
Otherwise save YOUR money and the Ivy Leagues for his master’s degree and PhD, which is where they really matter to employers
MIT or GA Tech.
LOL - Too late. Anyway, flagship state schools aren't very generous with out-of-staters. As well, Georgia Tech is a great engineering school, but doesn't do classics.
I'm not sure that there are breakdowns by school for civil engineering majors. As well, a complicating factor is that at both Hopkins and Maryland, he can do a 5-year bachelors/masters, which is the plan if he goes to either, and data on that result is even sparser.
If you can afford Hopkins, I would think that would be the way to go. Also, if money is a concern, a kid could take the MARC up to Camden from Muirkirk (or doesn't the Penn Line run within spitting distance of where you live?) and the subway over to the campus -- so commuting could be a viable option in that case. Even with gas prices the way they are (The same applies to UMCP, as well)
Just my opinion, though.
Oops...skipped over the part that his fav is Johns Hopkins...which is also in your home state.
If he loves it, he probably should go there.
Getting U of M for free would be an amazing thing, though.
He really loved Hopkins initially, but both Maryland and Harvard have come on strong. We visited the financial aid folks at Hopkins yesterday, and they very much had a “take it or leave it” attitude about the financial package offered. He's not getting warm and fuzzies. Hopkins, right now, is pretty much on life-support.
I think he'd be happy at any of the three. We're visiting Harvard next Friday. I want him to get at least a very little bit of a sense of the place before making a final pick.
No classics programs at either school. Besides - too late - we’re down to Hopkins, Harvard or Maryland.
Check out Grove City College (PA) a small, very affordable, well thought of Christian college. (BTW, he should still be able to apply even now.)
While it only has mech and elec engineering, both are VERY well recognized.
As far as the classics go...
how about a college that actually still VALUES them.
Yes, Maryland appears to do a great job of integrating academic stuff with making contacts in business in government, at least in the school of engineering. He's in the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Living/Learning Community, which directly connects to a lot of academic/industry joint project-type stuff. Maryland has a great five-year bachelors/masters program, and we spoke to them about it. They indicate that most folks accepted to it wind up getting the fifth year paid-for through research work in the department.
“Maryland, with great engineering, decent classics and, did I mention, absolutely FREE?”
I would advocate this one based on the cost alone. What a student would get from their education depends on them, and in some of the other cases you are paying for the prestige of the name, and the connections made there, not necessarily the academic content. (Which might be something to consider, actually- if he were going into management or something where networking is a big part.) Anyway, my 2 cents worth.
I graduated from a no-name school and have worked next to Harvard grads making the same money.
If he wants to live in the NE then the name brand will count for more. Elsewhere most people only seem to care that you have a degree and can do the job.
“Grove City College” - Not on the radar, not going to make it onto the radar.