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If your son is interested in grad school right away, then a smaller school doesn't play as well for grad admission.

I'm sure you've looked into which schools have good co-op programs, but that is great experience for students.

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10 minutes ago, johnnycakes said:

Did you daughter ever get an offer off the waitlist with Harvard, Chet?  

She did some research and concluded that even if she cleared the waitlist, she wouldn't attend.  As a result, she didn't contact the AO to express her interest.  It's therefore overwhelmingly unlikely she will get an offer.

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On 5/16/2019 at 6:19 PM, bigbottom said:

Thanks for the feedback.  This is the big pull for Northeastern (despite not having big time sports). My son’s stated goal is to GET A JOB after graduation. The co-ops are huge in terms of real life experience. I hear that Georgia Tech is good in that regard as well. It’s also one of the reasons why he’s wary of schools in small out of the way college towns. Appears to be less opportunity for internships and co-ops. His mom and I would love for him to go to Notre Dame, but it’s lower on his list because he wants to be near a big city with the opportunities it provides. 

Another vote of confidence for Northeastern. When I was with The Firm, we hired interns from Northeastern all the time. The best ones got job offers. 

And BU is no slouch of a school. A buddy I grew up with went to BU undergrad in some sort of engineering. I think it was electrical. But he got a job with Bell Labs who paid for his masters degree at MIT. Dude is now retired and he’s several years short of 60. 

As for me, I went to BU’s Questrom School if Business,  though it was just called the School of Management back then.  Anyhow, BU is a great school  

 

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1 hour ago, The Z Machine said:

@bigbottom, I'm an engineer (BSME at Berkeley and MSME at Georgia Tech). In grad school I met students from all sorts of undergrad engineering schools. Plus, I've hired engineers in both California and in Maryland, so I know the regional schools as well.

If your son's goal is to get a job right out of school, I think that Cal Poly SLO is a great option. Georgia Tech makes good engineers, but I would not recommend it for undergrads. For grad school, sure but as an undergrad, the on campus culture is too southern good ol boy, tradition bound for my taste.

Clemson has a rapidly improving engineering school (focus on automotive), as does USC (focus on biotech).  Penn State is another one that might work for him. 

But if he is willing to go to a smaller school, there are excellent undergrad engineering schools like Bucknell, RIT, etc.

 

That is awesome insight! He’s visiting Georgia Tech in early June and he is decidedly not “good ol boy” (which is why A&M is lower on his wish list) so I’ll be curious to see his reaction. What are your thoughts on Northeastern?  If the others you mention, he’s already sold on USC, and has his Clemson visit in June. Going to have to do more research on SLO. 

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2 hours ago, stbugs said:

I'll keep you in the loop at Clemson. My son found a roomate (via all those facebook sites) that's his major at the Honors College so they got their room assigned at the Honors dorm so it feels a bit more real now. His roomate tried to get the rooms that had a view over the stadium (it's right behind the Honors College). He graduates June 10th and then we have a two day parent/kid orientation on campus and move in weekend is August 16-18. I think he's going to love it, but it'll be a big change. He's really independent already, pretty much did all his test prep for SAT/ACT/AP himself and I just reimbursed him.

He’s going into engineering?  Yes, please do keep the thread updated. I’ll be extremely interested to see what he thinks about his first year experience. More and more, Clemson feels like a good match. College Sports, non-snowy climate, good engineering program, small school within a big school with the honors college.

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2 hours ago, The_Man said:

Would probably be a safety for your son but maybe take a peek at Miami of Ohio. Good engineering, unbelievable campus, and kids I know who go there LOVE it. Kinda remote and not too many big time sports though there’s a lot of school spirit 

Will definitely do some research on it. There are seemingly 100s of great options to consider. It’s really hard just trying to narrow things down without becoming completely arbitrary in the criteria to apply. 

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2 hours ago, The Z Machine said:

If your son is interested in grad school right away, then a smaller school doesn't play as well for grad admission.

I'm sure you've looked into which schools have good co-op programs, but that is great experience for students.

Yes, co-op opportunities are definitely one of the factors. As for grad school, he hasn’t mentioned it. He has mentioned the possibility of going to law school at some point down the road and doing IP Law. But I think he’s just spitballing. 

 

1 hour ago, johnnycakes said:

Another vote of confidence for Northeastern. When I was with The Firm, we hired interns from Northeastern all the time. The best ones got job offers. 

And BU is no slouch of a school. A buddy I grew up with went to BU undergrad in some sort of engineering. I think it was electrical. But he got a job with Bell Labs who paid for his masters degree at MIT. Dude is now retired and he’s several years short of 60. 

As for me, I went to BU’s Questrom School if Business,  though it was just called the School of Management back then.  Anyhow, BU is a great school  

 

Thanks for the additional info. If he ends up not worrying about the college sports (football) thing or the snowy climate, I’m thinking Northeastern would be one of his top choices. He really liked his visit there. 

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6 hours ago, bigbottom said:

Would getting her own place and maybe you or her mom visiting during the week a couple times a month be a possibility?

She comes home every weekend.  She has not spent a single Saturday on campus in two years.

I pick her up after her last class on Fridays, and my wife brings her back on Sunday afternoon.

We don't visit during the week, but my wife facetimes with her at least twice a day.  She has no other human contact outside of just going to class and going right back to her room so that facetime contact is important.

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2 minutes ago, NewlyRetired said:

She comes home every weekend.  She has not spent a single Saturday on campus in two years.

I pick her up after her last class on Fridays, and my wife brings her back on Sunday afternoon.

We don't visit during the week, but my wife facetimes with her at least twice a day.  She has no other human contact outside of just going to class and going right back to her room so that facetime contact is important.

Has she talked about any plans post-graduation?  

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1 hour ago, NewlyRetired said:

She comes home every weekend.  She has not spent a single Saturday on campus in two years.

I pick her up after her last class on Fridays, and my wife brings her back on Sunday afternoon.

We don't visit during the week, but my wife facetimes with her at least twice a day.  She has no other human contact outside of just going to class and going right back to her room so that facetime contact is important.

Is it logistically possible for one of you to visit during the week a couple times a month?  Maybe even stay over on her couch?

Edited by bigbottom

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1 hour ago, bigbottom said:

He’s going into engineering?  Yes, please do keep the thread updated. I’ll be extremely interested to see what he thinks about his first year experience. More and more, Clemson feels like a good match. College Sports, non-snowy climate, good engineering program, small school within a big school with the honors college.

No. Biochemistry or something around that. He likes the sciences more than math/cs.

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4 hours ago, chet said:

Has she talked about any plans post-graduation?  

we are day to day with her.  We don't have the luxury of any long term thinking.

I am pretty sure she will never be able to hold an office type job.  She has mentioned being a free lance editor, which would allow her to do her work from home but that is a hard low paid field.  Although I don't care much about the pay.

We have planned since she was in high school that she will likely be with us for life.

 

Edited by NewlyRetired

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3 hours ago, bigbottom said:

Is it logistically possible for one of you to visit during the week a couple times a month?  Maybe even stay over on her couch?

her room is the size of a closet (singles are tiny).  So probably not possible.   Two more years to slug through.   She has the same room next year so the transition won't be as bad as normal after the summer (my daughter has a strong aversion to any change)

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14 hours ago, bigbottom said:

Thank you for the feedback. Cal Poly should be on our radar. It was actually my number 1 choice when I was applying to architecture school and I got rejected. Ended up attending Cal Poly Pomona and then dropped out of architecture after only a year.  How did your daughter enjoy her first year there?  What is campus life like?  Cal Poly Pomona was more of a commuter school with not so great campus life, but I imagine that SLO is different. 

My kid loves it, but is probably in over her head academically. She was a recruited athlete, so she had a lower bar for admission (your son's metrics sound like a safe bet.) The academic expectations are very high and everything moves along at a very fast pace, in part due to the quarter system. 

It's a decent sized school- 22K undergrad and growing. Lots of brand new dorms, a brand new dining complex about to open, great fitness center, etc. D1 sports across the board, but the campus doesn't go too crazy over them. The yearly rodeo gets way more attention than the football team, for instance. Significant greek life. Students all seem to share a love of hiking and surfing which makes sense given the geography. Concerts are big events. My kid is into EDM and there have been a number of shows in SLO, Avila, Paso Robles. She and a carload of friends are at EDC in Vegas right now. Might be an east coast/west coast thing, but she has been amazed at how friendly and easygoing everyone is in SLO. Downtown SLO is a big attraction and easily accessible from campus- has to be one of the best college towns in the country. There is also a surprisingly good airport in town and regular train service to LA. The alumni network seems particularly strong and I think a Poly degree carries good weight, even on the east coast, where we are from. 

Depending on your son's sensitivities, he may find Poly to be too white and conservative. They are working on ways to get more minorities in their stem programs. The agriculture students are pretty hardcore conservative, mostly coming from wealthy farming families or Orange County. And the stupid frats can't seem to go a month without some sort of racist/hazing/hate crime. However, I'm a fairly typical Massachusetts liberal, so my perception could just be out of whack. And, to be honest, the demographics of the school don't look to be an issue at all for the students there.

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17 hours ago, chet said:

My daughter's friend appealed her rejection from USC and they accepted her!  

Another friend was waitlisted at Brown and got an offer yesterday.

Since USC is my son’s first choice, do you happen to know what her scores/GPA were, and what was the basis of her appeal?

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6 hours ago, bigbottom said:

Since USC is my son’s first choice, do you happen to know what her scores/GPA were, and what was the basis of her appeal?

She goes to a French school so GPA doesn't apply but she has good grades.  I think her ACT was 33-34.  My understanding is that USC doesn't have a waitlist so if you're rejected, you can appeal their decision with a letter that includes any new info etc. 

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7 minutes ago, cashman88 said:

Any thoughts on the new adversity score being used by the SAT board?

Link

There are a couple separate threads on the topic. My initial take without fully understanding the methodology is that if additional data can provide relevant context for scores, that’s generally a good thing.

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On 5/16/2019 at 6:34 PM, bigbottom said:

Private boys school with lots of really smart kids. 285 kids in his class,  so he’d need to have one of the top 17 GPA’s to qualify for top 6%. My guess is he is somewhere in the mid to high 20s.

And I’m not so sure about having his choice of non-Ivy schools. My sense is that most of the schools he is looking at will be difficult to get into given that he’s not a legacy, not an athlete and not an underrepresented minority. Heck, getting into UT Engineering is going to be a long shot I think. But if you’re seeing something I’m not, please share. Thanks!

Worth checking - I think the top 6% rule now has a top 6% that actually expands as people go to other schools. I am explaining information that was explained to me this past week during a session for a non-profit client of ours. I was told that the Texas 6% rule (was top 10% when I was in HS lol) would act as such: Say there are 100 students. The top 6 are auto admit. But if some of those 6 don't apply or go elsewhere, apparently it should go down another person for each one who opts not to go to a Texas state school.

 

Again, idk the truth of it, but the person telling me was very certain and works for TFA. FWIW, worth asking someone who actually knows maybe?

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Interesting article from the Chronicle for Higher Education - it's password-protected so I've cut and pasted some of it below

Quote

 

Enrollment Shortfalls Spread to More Colleges

A broad swath of private colleges across the Northeast and mid-Atlantic regions are expected to miss their enrollment goals for the fall semester. That growing trend now includes some institutions that have rarely, if ever, had to worry about filling classes.

Bucknell University, for example, expects that its freshman class this fall will be about 2 percent smaller than planned, or a total of roughly 960 students, said William T. Conley, its vice president for enrollment management.

That’s not a death sentence for the Pennsylvania institution, which admits just 30 percent of applicants. But it could be the proverbial canary in the coal mine for a segment of higher education that has, so far, been buffered by an abundance of students willing to pay a high price for an exclusive educational experience. …

Ithaca College, which enrolls nearly 5,500 undergraduates, is larger and less selective than Bucknell, admitting about 70 percent of its undergraduate applicants. But the college, in upstate New York, will have some 175 fewer freshmen and $4.6 million less in tuition revenue than planned, said its president, Shirley M. Collado.

The reasons for the enrollment shortfalls, said Massa and others, are complex and tied to several factors. Those include the declining number of high-school students across the regions, families’ increasing sensitivity to tuition and other costs, questions about the overall value of a college degree, and the ease with which students can apply to and consider multiple colleges.

Such forces have spurred a different kind of competition in higher education, in which students increasingly choose price over a preferred campus experience.

...

The pressures that Bucknell and other colleges are experiencing have already taken a toll on a number of smaller and lesser known institutions in the Northeast. Many have been trapped in a vicious cycle, seeking to counter declining enrollment by increasing the amount of institutional aid that they provide.

On average, private colleges now discount tuition by more than 50 percent for freshmen, according to the latest annual figures in a report from the National Association of College and University Business Officers.

But there’s a limit to that business model. Even if they attract more students, most colleges are getting less tuition money, the report said. In the 2017-18 academic year, net tuition revenue from freshmen fell 3.6 percent compared with the previous year.

Conley, the vice president for enrollment at Bucknell, said for now it appeared that inadequate spending on student aid could account for his university’s enrollment shortfall. Bucknell, where the full cost of attendance is nearly $70,000 a year, had a discount rate of about 31 percent and underspent its financial-aid budget by about $1.2 million.

But its peer competitors, including Colgate University, Lafayette College, and Lehigh University, had an average discount rate of closer to 40 percent, he said. “We got pinched by colleges with a higher discount rate,” he said. “It would have cost us more than $3.5 million to compete with a stronger financial peer group.”

The declining pool of traditional-age college students in some parts of the country is also changing which colleges Bucknell and other institutions compete with.

In the past a typical Bucknell applicant would apply to seven private colleges and just two public ones, Conley said. Now that student is applying to a dozen or more colleges, and just half are private.

As a result, Bucknell’s biggest competitor for students has become Pennsylvania State University, Conley said. More surprising, he said, the University of Delaware is one of the top five competitors, probably because it has a more-affordable engineering program.

Tessier agreed. “It’s not just about students’ ability to pay,” she said, “but their willingness to pay. A smaller population has greater choices.”

“The nature of competition has changed and continues to change,” she said. “It used to be that students looked in a ‘category,’ but not anymore. They look across categories.”

 

This absolutely reflects what I've been seeing. People in Maryland, where I live, aren't seeing the value in a school like Bucknell over the U of Maryland when the full-pay difference over is nearing $180,000 ($70 k per year vs. $25k in-state = $45k x 4 years). The ultra-premium schools will always be able to generate huge demand, but the private schools on the next tier are going to have to compete on price or see more and more kids go public.

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Fascinating. This has been happening in Texas for years, but I figured the Northeast was still the land where elite private schools ruled the roost. 

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16 hours ago, The_Man said:

Interesting article from the Chronicle for Higher Education - it's password-protected so I've cut and pasted some of it below

This absolutely reflects what I've been seeing. People in Maryland, where I live, aren't seeing the value in a school like Bucknell over the U of Maryland when the full-pay difference over is nearing $180,000 ($70 k per year vs. $25k in-state = $45k x 4 years). The ultra-premium schools will always be able to generate huge demand, but the private schools on the next tier are going to have to compete on price or see more and more kids go public.

My BA is from a SLAC.  Obviously my doctorate is from an R1.  Having experienced both worlds, I would absolutely go the SLAC route again.  It was perfect for me. 

That said, I would probably not have paid an extra $180K to send my own kid to a school like Bucknell (say) over a high-quality public university.  Of course I understand that full-pay figures are misleading and that the Bucknells of the world do way more discounting than the U of Marylands of the world.  But I think your reasoning is dead on.  If somebody like me -- who is very sympathetic to private liberal arts colleges -- blanches at the price difference, they're not even going to be on the same playing field for your average family.

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Gents/Ladies, my oldest is wrapping up 10th grade.  He just got his Pre-ACT test results back and got a comprehensive score of 35.  I haven't spent too much time in here, but I'm wondering if anybody has tips or suggestions on what steps we should be taking with him now to help him find the right fit for college.  I was going to order the Princeton Review on Amazon for him to use, but would love to hear some feedback before making the purchase.  Is that the best book?  Are books outdated now?  

Money is going to be tough for us.  5 kids, one income.  We've been saving for him since he was little in 529s, but there's not nearly enough in there to cover his college, even if he goes to a state school.  Pretty daunting and the cause of stress for me.

Would it be beneficial for me to start on page 1 in here and read forward?  TIA for any help.

Edited by General Malaise

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26 minutes ago, General Malaise said:

Gents/Ladies, my oldest is wrapping up 10th grade.  He just got his Pre-ACT test results back and got a comprehensive score of 35.  I haven't spent too much time in here, but I'm wondering if anybody has tips or suggestions on what steps we should be taking with him now to help him find the right fit for college.  I was going to order the Princeton Review on Amazon for him to use, but would love to hear some feedback before making the purchase.  Is that the best book?  Are books outdated now?  

Money is going to be tough for us.  5 kids, one income.  We've been saving for him since he was little in 529s, but there's not nearly enough in there to cover his college, even if he goes to a state school.  Pretty daunting and the cause of stress for me.

Would it be beneficial for me to start on page 1 in here and read forward?  TIA for any help.

Hi, GM.

Congrats on that amazing score! I don't know if you need to go all the way back to the beginning, maybe just go back 10 or 15 pages. I'll give a brief summary of the conventional wisdom from this thread.

1. Despite that great pre-ACT score, he should still do at least some test prep before taking it for real. Since $ is tight, you don't need to pay for a prep course (especially since he's starting from a good place) but online and/or books are still a good idea. 

2. I find the Fisk Guide to be the best book for researching schools. No need to buy the 2019 version - you can get it from your local library or get last year's version for super-cheap. It doesn't change much from year to year.

3. A helpful way to begin the search is to consider very broad categories. Is there a particular part of the country/region he wants to be in? A particular setting - like urban, or college town, or rural, or whatever. What size - big university with DI sports, or liberal arts, etc? And also field of study - is he definitely engineering/science, or business, or humanities, or undecided? Doing that exercise will begin to bring a manageable range of schools into view.

As you're doing that, try to visit at least one school from each bucket that's of interest to him - e.g., big state, small liberal arts, mid-size urban. I recommend starting close to home and even at a school/schools he's not very interested in. That way it becomes like a practice visit that you can use to inform your "real" visits. And you're not wasting tons of travel time if it turns out - like my kid - that small liberal arts colleges repulse him. 

4. You're probably anecdotally aware of this, but competition at the highly selective schools is insane. More insane than you can actually bring yourself to believe. We've got parents of kids here who rocked 4.0 GPA, 35 and 36 ACTs, #1 or 2 in their class, completed high level research, etc. and were shut out not just of Harvard and Stanford, but also non-Ivy schools (like Vanderbilt, Pomona, etc, etc). But also realize that those schools, despite attracting the vast majority of the attention, are a tiny percentage of all schools. In 2017, 17 schools had admit rates of less than 10%. 29 admitted between 10 and 20 percent. However those schools accounted for just 4.1% of student enrollment that year. Meanwhile, more than half the schools in the country admitted two-thirds or more of their applicants. 

I bring up the highly competitive schools because with a 35, your son might be considering some of them. But keep in mind, grades and the rigor of your kid's curriculum are more important than test scores. 

 

5. MONEY. The very top schools don't give much, if any, merit aid. But they are generous with the need-based aid. Once you target some schools, go to their websites and find the Net Price Calculator (NPC). If you have your most recent tax return in hand, you can fill out the NPC in about 10 minutes and get a preliminary but surprisingly accurate ballpark figure of how much need-based aid each individual school will give you. Sometimes the most expensive schools are also some of the most generous with aid, so don't be scared off by the sticker price.

Merit aid (commonly known as scholarships) are essentially discounts that lower-ranked schools will award to highly qualified students in order to entice them to enroll. For example, Vanderbilt knows that all things being equal, every kid they admit who also gets into Harvard will go to Harvard - so they might offer a kid $30,000 in merit aid and now suddenly Vanderbilt is a much more desirable destination. If your son gets a 35 on the ACT (and has grades to match), he will be a target for some significant merit aid. But remember, the higher you go in the rankings, the less merit aid they have to offer. The lower you go, the more generous schools will be.

As your son builds his list, he needs to have not just a safety school - a school you absolutely know will admit him that he can see himself attending - but also a financial safety school: a school he'll get into, that he doesn't hate, and that you can afford. And it's ok to have that discussion with him. I find kids today are very aware of and understanding about financial constraints. My kid really didn't like his financial safety, but he understood the need to have at least one place on our list that we could afford to send him to if all else failed. Luckily it didn't come to that, but it gave me peace of mind.

Finally, the forums on the College Confidential website are a great source of information - though you have to spend some time there to get a sense of who has authoritative knowledge and who's a goofy high school kid. A lot of the parents there are anti-loan zealots, but there is a message board about literally every college in the U.S. and you will find reliable sources for every one. The Parents, Financial Aid, and College Admissions forums all have a lot of good info (along with a lot of noise).

I think this is a really good thread and people are happy to help.

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Thank you, The_Man!  This is a really big help and I appreciate the time you took to write it up.  My son is pretty realistic and doesn't seem to have the desire to strive for a Stanford (for example) and also doesn't want to take on student debt to attend a school like Reed (local, very good, VERY expensive).  But I also don't want him thinking he can't reach because of finances.  We will find a way to help him no matter what, but he's going to have to help too.  

One other question - when filling out the FAFSA, would it be in our best interest to use JUST his mom's financial info?  We've been divorced since 2008 and split custody, but she makes a lot less than I do (LAM!!).  

Again, thank you very much for the time and I'll start looking back in here for ideas. 

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4 minutes ago, General Malaise said:

Thank you, The_Man!  This is a really big help and I appreciate the time you took to write it up.  My son is pretty realistic and doesn't seem to have the desire to strive for a Stanford (for example) and also doesn't want to take on student debt to attend a school like Reed (local, very good, VERY expensive).  But I also don't want him thinking he can't reach because of finances.  We will find a way to help him no matter what, but he's going to have to help too.  

One other question - when filling out the FAFSA, would it be in our best interest to use JUST his mom's financial info?  We've been divorced since 2008 and split custody, but she makes a lot less than I do (LAM!!).  

Again, thank you very much for the time and I'll start looking back in here for ideas. 

That particular question about divorced parents and the FAFSA is exactly the kind of question that the College Confidential forum on Financial Aid is good for. I think FAFSA needs to be filled out by the custodial parent (generally whichever parents claims him as a dependent?) and it also takes non-custodial parental support into account.

Now that I think about it, here's something potentially very significant -- financial aid is not based on your prior year's income, but your prior-prior year's (two years previous). Which means for a kid currently in 10th grade, this year (2019) is the one that his freshman year of college financial aid will be based on. So if there is a FAFSA advantage for your kid to be considered a dependent of your ex-wife, you need to make sure that happens this year.

I'm not an expert in this, but I would definitely take it up on the Financial Aid forum at CC.

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Welcome GM.

The_Man is aptly named, for sure. He is one of several thread studs that dole out great info here. 

I'm glad you're determined not to let finances be an impediment to your son's dream. The good news is many of the most selective schools are also the most generous with their need based financial aid. However, to obtain this aid, most of these schools require you to fill out the College Board's CSS (College Scholarship Service) Profile in addition to FAFSA. And, now that I think about it, the non-custodial parent's profile (in addition to the custodial parent's) will probably have to be included. In your case, it might make it tougher to qualify for this aid but it definitely bears investigating.  

 

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6 hours ago, General Malaise said:

Gents/Ladies, my oldest is wrapping up 10th grade.  He just got his Pre-ACT test results back and got a comprehensive score of 35.  I haven't spent too much time in here, but I'm wondering if anybody has tips or suggestions on what steps we should be taking with him now to help him find the right fit for college.  I was going to order the Princeton Review on Amazon for him to use, but would love to hear some feedback before making the purchase.  Is that the best book?  Are books outdated now?  

Money is going to be tough for us.  5 kids, one income.  We've been saving for him since he was little in 529s, but there's not nearly enough in there to cover his college, even if he goes to a state school.  Pretty daunting and the cause of stress for me.

Would it be beneficial for me to start on page 1 in here and read forward?  TIA for any help.

The best ACT Prep book is this one:  https://www.amazon.com/Official-Guide-2018-19-Online-Content/dp/1119508061/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=official+act+prep+book&qid=1559865226&s=gateway&sr=8-1

It's the official book from the test creators and the newest edition has five full practice exams I believe.  Save those full practice exams for when he is in full blown test prep mode.  And when he is getting ready for the real thing, have him take the full practice exams under testing conditions (timed).  ACT is about speed, so those simulated tests are super important. 

 

And there is a ton of great info in this thread from The Man, Newly Retired and many, many others.  Give it a read.

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And, GM, you may already be well aware of this, but on the grades front, to be the most competitive, your son needs to not only get good grades, but be taking a rigorous course load ("max rigor" is a common, but unfortunate phrase).  That means loading up on honors and AP classes, forgoing free periods, etc.

Of course, that can be a recipe for a sucky high school experience.  It can also backfire if the academic burden negatively affects performance.  You'll have to make sure that your son pursues a path that is right for him.  He's obviously extremely bright, but that doesn't necessarily mean that loading him up with every AP class imaginable is what's best for him.  Just be assured that he's going to do great and be fine.  Resist getting caught up in the arms race of college admissions that often creates misery for both the kids and their parents.

Edited by bigbottom
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2 hours ago, matuski said:

When do I need to really be on top of this.. starting 9th grade?  Before that?

Educating yourself early does not hurt but there is no rush.   If your child has a really good idea what they want to do, you can start visiting schools sophomore year to lower some of the stress.

Probably the best thing you can do is understand your own finances and make sure you have a good fix on what you can afford and what you can't so that you can guide some of the choices.

Edited by NewlyRetired
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We don't push the kid at all. He pushes himself but also sleeps in, has an active social life, works, involved with drama, etc.  I'd be tickled pink if he went to Southern Oregon or Portland State.  He's going to be fine no matter what.  Just a little surprised to see a kid with my DNA score something like that. I'm a moron! ;)

Thanks for all the feedback. Lots to chew on in here.  This helps a lot. 

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46 minutes ago, General Malaise said:

We don't push the kid at all. He pushes himself but also sleeps in, has an active social life, works, involved with drama, etc.  I'd be tickled pink if he went to Southern Oregon or Portland State.  He's going to be fine no matter what.  Just a little surprised to see a kid with my DNA score something like that. I'm a moron! ;)

Thanks for all the feedback. Lots to chew on in here.  This helps a lot. 

You know what?  Maybe you shouldn’t read the thread. Sounds like you both are in a pretty good headspace!

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11 hours ago, bigbottom said:

You know what?  Maybe you shouldn’t read the thread. Sounds like you both are in a pretty good headspace!

:goodposting: There is definitely a lot of useful info in this thread(and many of these kids are on an amazing track) but a lot is geared towards people targeting the ultra competitive schools. My situation was similar to GMs, we had a much more casual lower pressure search with smaller schools in mind.

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21 hours ago, General Malaise said:

Thank you, The_Man!  This is a really big help and I appreciate the time you took to write it up.  My son is pretty realistic and doesn't seem to have the desire to strive for a Stanford (for example) and also doesn't want to take on student debt to attend a school like Reed (local, very good, VERY expensive).  But I also don't want him thinking he can't reach because of finances.  We will find a way to help him no matter what, but he's going to have to help too.  

One other question - when filling out the FAFSA, would it be in our best interest to use JUST his mom's financial info?  We've been divorced since 2008 and split custody, but she makes a lot less than I do (LAM!!).  

Again, thank you very much for the time and I'll start looking back in here for ideas. 

Hypothetically speaking, if the feds were to flag your son's account for additional information would your ex be a pain in the ### about submitting the information they demand?  @The_Man covered the rest pretty thoroughly, but you'd need to feel comfortable with this variable before asking her to be on the fafsa.  It's more likely his fafsa would get flagged in this situation, but as long as she complies with their requests for info it won't impact him.  It only becomes a (major) issue if she withholds info for any reason.

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Depending on what exactly her take-home/situation is it could be anywhere between a material impact on how much out-of-pocket he owes - or nothing at all.  But as long as she's trustworthy the only thing you're potentially losing by having her do it is time.  And that time may not necessarily be yours.

Edited by MAC_32

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13 hours ago, bigbottom said:

You know what?  Maybe you shouldn’t read the thread. Sounds like you both are in a pretty good headspace!

:lmao:

Always sagacious advice from you, GB. 

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1 hour ago, MAC_32 said:

Hypothetically speaking, if the feds were to flag your son's account for additional information would your ex be a pain in the ### about submitting the information they demand?  @The_Man covered the rest pretty thoroughly, but you'd need to feel comfortable with this variable before asking her to be on the fafsa.  It's more likely his fafsa would get flagged in this situation, but as long as she complies with their requests for info it won't impact him.  It only becomes a (major) issue if she withholds info for any reason.

Nah, we weren't a good married couple, but we are a great divorced couple.  We get along today better than we ever did in our 10 year relationship.  She's got my back, I've got her's and we put our two kids first.  Good looking out, though. :thumbup:

 

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Don't know if it has been mentioned in here, but with my 3 just graduating, I realize I probably should've helped them develop good credit while they were in school. I wish I had taken out a gas card and a credit card or even put a utility in their names and used them and paid the bills. They come out of college and will need credit. Especially if they want to refinance loans, the better the credit the better the rates.

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34 minutes ago, ffjunk said:

Don't know if it has been mentioned in here, but with my 3 just graduating, I realize I probably should've helped them develop good credit while they were in school. I wish I had taken out a gas card and a credit card or even put a utility in their names and used them and paid the bills. They come out of college and will need credit. Especially if they want to refinance loans, the better the credit the better the rates.

Add them as authorized users to your cards.

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1 hour ago, ffjunk said:

Don't know if it has been mentioned in here, but with my 3 just graduating, I realize I probably should've helped them develop good credit while they were in school. I wish I had taken out a gas card and a credit card or even put a utility in their names and used them and paid the bills. They come out of college and will need credit. Especially if they want to refinance loans, the better the credit the better the rates.

You can't necessarily count on starting with a secured credit card, where you put down a cash security deposit equal to your credit limit. Daughter got an offer from Cap One for one of these and so I thought it was a no brainer, with little/no risk for the bank. $250 deposit for a $250 limit. They REJECTED her application saying she had no credit history. Duh. Ticked me off as the only thing on her credit record now is this rejection. Fortunately, she also got a preapproved Discover offer at the same time. She applied, was accepted, and given a $1250 limit. Unsecured.  :loco: 

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Oh, man. I have a preliminary phone interview tomorrow for what is probably my literal dream job at this point of my career - overseeing the admissions brand messaging and communications for a major university. Let's be honest, it shouldn't be too hard to guess which one, but I don't want to jinx anything so I won't mention names at this early stage of the process. Will keep the thread here posted on how it goes. In the meantime, positive thoughts and mojo will be met with a 100% acceptance rate.

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5 minutes ago, The_Man said:

Oh, man. I have a preliminary phone interview tomorrow for what is probably my literal dream job at this point of my career - overseeing the admissions brand messaging and communications for a major university. Let's be honest, it shouldn't be too hard to guess which one, but I don't want to jinx anything so I won't mention names at this early stage of the process. Will keep the thread here posted on how it goes. In the meantime, positive thoughts and mojo will be met with a 100% acceptance rate.

Slam dunk. You should list anyone who follows this thread as a reference. Best of luck.

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41 minutes ago, The_Man said:

Oh, man. I have a preliminary phone interview tomorrow for what is probably my literal dream job at this point of my career - overseeing the admissions brand messaging and communications for a major university. Let's be honest, it shouldn't be too hard to guess which one, but I don't want to jinx anything so I won't mention names at this early stage of the process. Will keep the thread here posted on how it goes. In the meantime, positive thoughts and mojo will be met with a 100% acceptance rate.

Good luck!

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44 minutes ago, The_Man said:

Oh, man. I have a preliminary phone interview tomorrow for what is probably my literal dream job at this point of my career - overseeing the admissions brand messaging and communications for a major university. Let's be honest, it shouldn't be too hard to guess which one, but I don't want to jinx anything so I won't mention names at this early stage of the process. Will keep the thread here posted on how it goes. In the meantime, positive thoughts and mojo will be met with a 100% acceptance rate.

best of luck to you!!!

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1 hour ago, The_Man said:

Oh, man. I have a preliminary phone interview tomorrow for what is probably my literal dream job at this point of my career - overseeing the admissions brand messaging and communications for a major university. Let's be honest, it shouldn't be too hard to guess which one, but I don't want to jinx anything so I won't mention names at this early stage of the process. Will keep the thread here posted on how it goes. In the meantime, positive thoughts and mojo will be met with a 100% acceptance rate.

That's awesome!  Best of luck!

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Kid really liked his visits at Clemson and Georgia Tech (he’s pursuing engineering). Purdue has been added to the school visit list. 

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29 minutes ago, bigbottom said:

Kid really liked his visits at Clemson and Georgia Tech (he’s pursuing engineering). Purdue has been added to the school visit list. 

I was just about to look back and find our discussion. We were at Clemson last week for orientation. It’s really a beautiful campus but my son did mention how much nicer the honors college dorms were than where he stayed. The honors area is brand new. There were way more girls than boys in our session so not sure if that’s a changing trend or just our group. Before anyone thinks I’m creepy, it was such a difference that it was noticeable. My son is definitely looking forward to it and met a bunch of other students. I’m looking forward to going to some real college games. I will say that a guy I knew from engineering at my alma mater did play in the NFL for years (was even a starting QB), but we were 1-AA and nowhere close to this level.

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4 hours ago, Fear The Turtle said:

You can't necessarily count on starting with a secured credit card, where you put down a cash security deposit equal to your credit limit. Daughter got an offer from Cap One for one of these and so I thought it was a no brainer, with little/no risk for the bank. $250 deposit for a $250 limit. They REJECTED her application saying she had no credit history. Duh. Ticked me off as the only thing on her credit record now is this rejection. Fortunately, she also got a preapproved Discover offer at the same time. She applied, was accepted, and given a $1250 limit. Unsecured.  :loco: 

Discover is very generous to students. 

I set both my daughters up on Discover when they turned 18.  Both had to send their college acceptance letter and it was a matter of days and they received the cards.  Granted, the bills still get sent to mommy/daddy to pay, but at least they have a card in their own name and are building their credit score. 20 years old and a 771 FICO is a decent start. 

Plus they get either a $25 or $50 statement credit annually for a good student discount. 

Now she's starting to enlist her college friends and get the $50 referral for herself and her referral.  Teach these kids young how "free" money works. 

 

 

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