Where does my socially inept daughter go to college?

All I can offer is a niece who is graduating from Wash U this year. She loves it and is getting a fantastic education, but DAMN is it pricey. HEr folks are quite well off, but they even comment on how expensive it is - especially comapred to their other kids at U of I. Their daughter went to Wash U because she was interested in a very specialized field - biophysics/genetic engineering, at which Wash U is supposed to be tops. But for pre-med, I’d have to imagine there were less pricey alternatives.

I’m biased so I would recommend Mizzou…

I never understood why we call it MU when it is not Missouri University, but rather the University of Missouri. ( More specifically, University of Missouri-Columbia )

I don’t know anything about it but I’m guessing it’s probably because there are so many Universities of M___ already.

Anecdote ahead:

The sister of a good friend of mine graduated from high school at age 16, playing with dolls and no friends. She went straight into med school (it works differently in Venezuela). She aced the whole thing, is now practicing while she gets her specialization, has plenty of friends and is perfectly well adjusted, even if she is still a bit shy and introverted.

People grow and mature. She might surprise you once she steps out of your sphere of direct influence.

I agree with that. How she is acting in high school has few direct implications on how she will develop in college. Many kids don’t react well to high school (for good reasons) and college is not like high school at all. Her basic personality traits will stay the same but expect a big shift in how they are expressed once the educational and social environment is completely shifted. The choice of college will influence that however and it is possible to get a personality mismatch between student and college so keep that in mind as well.

Wow, the latter is my brother in a nutshell (he was too busy partying). Wash U was his safety school and he got offered a good bit of money to go there. He did end up at an Ivy but only because he was a legacy (same with me).

I’ll chime in from the medical student side of things. I am proof that someone coming from a state school with an intermediate reputation can get into a good medical school.

The reputation of the school is probably not in the top 5 things that a medical school looks at when deciding whether to admit a student. MCAT score, grades, letters of recommendation, extracurricular activities, and research are considered more important than the undergraduate institution. Reputation of the school is considered, but more as a way to compare relatively equal candidates (a 3.8 from Wash U would be considered more highly than a 3.8 from SLU for example).

The individual candidate is by far the most important factor. We have students in my medical school class who attended all 3 of the schools on your daughter’s list.

Has your daughter visited all of the schools she is considering? The most important factor for her should be where she will be happy for 4 years. That will make it much easier for her to keep her grades where they need to be to be competitive for medical school admissions.

Another point to keep in mind is that most people entering undergrad identifying as premed do not enter medical school. According to this article, up to 30% of people entering some schools identify as premed. Only about 1/3rd of those apply to medical school, and in any one year only 50% of people applying to medical school are accepted. Of course encourage your daughter to pursue medicine if that is her dream, but keep in mind that it is likely that her interest could change before it comes time to apply.

As a reply to someone else’s remark about going to grad school with a stipend… It doesn’t work that way in professional schools. People either get scholarships or loans. The stipends available for graduate students are not offered to medical students. The best bet for your daughter would be to enter medical school with no undergraduate debt, to keep the loans low (because she will probably need to take out loans for medical school).

As for the comment about shyness… It may take a few years, but how shy she is in high school is not completely reflective of how she will be as an adult in a different environment. Little voice of experience talking. :slight_smile:

Slight hijack - please don’t stomp us too badly this weekend, and please beat the snot out of KU (which is the University of Kansas, FWIW) at Arrowhead.


Kat (K-State alum)

I came in to say this too…

Not that I have any experience with med school or tuitions or loans or anything, but I was/am “socially awkward” and I went to the school that best suited me emotionally. Close enough to home, people that were like me (a little more liberal) and not all seriously cut-throat. Oh, and my 2 best friends went there too (totally different majors, and they did not live on campus). I got a perfectly good education and graduated with honors.

I would assume that most schools have as part of their admissions ways for prospective students to come visit, meet with other students, see the campus and sit in on classes. This is a great, albeit terse, way for her to know if she likes the atmosphere.

If it’ll be stressful for her to be away from home, stressful to be without her boyfriend, stressful to be at a “party school” or stressful to be at a school where everyone is trying to out-do eachother, she’s not going to do well no matter how good the school is.

I feel that a student who feels emotionally secure at her place of learning is just going to be far better off than a stressed-out or depressed student at an ivy league school.

This is why I am a member of this message board. Thank you all for the replies so far. I am so worried about her.
All of your responses have been really helpful, and appreciated.

More advice is always welcome!

As far as costs go, I just wanted to share my story.

I was choosing between 3 schools

  1. An In-state good with a decent reputation
  2. A State School from another state where I was not a resident with a better reputation
  3. A small private liberal arts school (cost 3X as much as the other two) about the same as #2.

The truth is, at the end of the day the costs were a wash. I recieved a generous aid package from the small liberal arts school, and enough in merit grants from the not-my-State school to more or less match the cost of instate tuition in my state. It was a tough call (the three were very different) but I went with the not-my-State school.

As it turns out, this particular school has grown greatly in national reputation since I graduated from it, which is always a nifty bonus.

My parents own their own business and made too much to qualify for need-based aid other than loans. I had some college savings but not enough to pay may way through at a top shool. At the end of the day, I paid 1/3, my parents paid 1/3 and the school paid 1/3.

As a final anecdote, this school which I ended up attending, was not even on my radar until I did a campus stayover. Another school, which I had been very excited about, I actually decided not to even apply to after my campus stayover (the people were vile).

Your daughter should definitely stay on campus before she decides.

  1. I was a shy high school student - and realized when I got to college that if I didn’t make myself open my mouth and speak, no one was going to speak for me. It was far easier IMO to do this in a residential college where I couldn’t pick up and go home every evening - if I’d been a commuter student a the university near my parents house, college would probably have been HS all over again for me.

I don’t know the schools she’s applied to, so I don’t know how big they are, but does either one have an honors college she might be interested in? That can be a smaller group of students within the university that might raise her comfort level - or she might really do well in the bigger university.
2)I don’t know how much my parents made when I was in college, but the FAFSA should be filled out - IIRC from my grad school apps, the school can’t consider her for scholarships, grants or loans without that filled out.

should be a fun a fun game, If we lose you deserve the win

Current Wash U premed here, in my sophomore year. (And yep, I’ve lurked here for ages, but signed up for this…)

If your daughter is honestly interested in the premed track, then this is a great school for that. As Lightray mentioned, there are definitely a lot of kids here on the research path, but plenty interested in just the clinical side of medicine, as I am, and gobs of opportunities for us, too (mentoring programs, shadowing and volunteer opportunities at Barnes Jewish, and so on). I know Wash U really talks up the undergrad research opportunities, and something like 80% of the undergrad population participates in research, but that doesn’t just mean working in a bio lab.

Thus if your daughter wants to be a doctor but has other academic interests, Wash U might also be a good fit. They encourage students to explore other interests, almost to the point of being overbearing about it: “You want to major in biology? Are you sure? No, you can’t really want to major in just that - find your passion! Why don’t you try an art class?” I’m double majoring in biology and anthropology with a minor in writing; plenty of premeds major in engineering, dance, French, psychology, etc., though the majority are probably bio or chem majors.

However, I also have to warn you that while Wash U is great at churning out premeds, it produces even more ex-premeds. I’m not saying that organic chemistry is going to be a breeze anywhere else, but the first two years are very, very rigorous. On the bright side, if you can survive Wash U premed, you can probably survive medical school. I’d rather find out sooner than later if I’m not cut out for this. There is zero grade inflation. I have heard conflicting things about how med schools will treat a Wash U GPA vs. a state school GPA, but for my sake, I’m really hoping they cut me some slack!

All in all, I’m very happy here. The school is a great fit for my personality; I love the Midwest, and the attitude here is pretty relaxed, more cooperative than competitive - nothing like the stories of cutthroat science programs I hear from my friends at Ivies. By all means, send her here for a visit! If she comes on an official weekend, she might end up staying with me.

Also (she said defensively), I wouldn’t say that the school is filled with kids not smart or hard-working enough for the Ivy Leagues. But then, I avoided didn’t-get-into-an-Ivy syndrome by only applying here and to a safety school. There are plenty of bitter Harvard rejects wandering the campus, sure, but that’s just one more way this school deflates our tiny little egos. :wink:

And a quick word on Reed: one of my best friends is there studying linguistics, and she loves it. However, she also tells me that it’s not your best bet if you’re really set on med school. Their science program is hyper-rigorous and grades looow, and it’s extremely difficult to get a GPA good enough to get you into med school.

Finally, my family’s situation isn’t far off from yours, and we’re getting a very nice chunk of financial aid - mostly grants with some subsidized loans, plus work study money. And that’s all need-based; I also get a little for National Merit. They give out a few full-tuition merit-based scholarships, but those have to be applied for separately and are very competitive. I’ll have loans at the end of it, but nothing huge - and NOTHING compared to what I’ll rack up during medical school. Eek. And I have no delusions of Hopkins; if all goes according to plan, I’ll be at a state med school. Anyway, it’s your family’s decision to make, of course… but it can be done.

Randy, great post. You said a lot of what I was going to say.

I would just interject that there are a number of programs that allow for deferral, or outright forgiveness of students loans. Usually it involves serving in an underresourced area. If the OP’s daughter does indeed become a doctor, a stint working in one of these communities can count towards loan forgiveness. But it also applies to teachers as well.

Some nonprofits are offering loan repayment as an option as well.

Also, check with your state higher education board to see if they offer loan forgiveness for residents of your state that return to work after their degree. This might be another way of getting loan burdens reduced.

This might also be of interest.

What school does your daughter like?

After all- expensive, cheap, good rep, bad rep- it’s all the same if you drop out. A huge percentage of undergrads drop out, mostly because they went to a college that wasn’t a good fit for them. It’s worth whatever it takes to go to the school with a culture that you are most comfortable in.

A couple posters have described Washington University in St. Louis as a safety school. It may have been a safety in the past, but that is no longer the case. It is rated # 12 in the U.S. News & World Report National Universities list, with a 21% acceptance rate for the 2006-2007 school year.

It’s a notorious safety for Ivy-League caliber kids, which have 10% or lower acceptance rates from more or less the same pool. In fact, since yield (% of accepted kids that actually attend) is a big part of the ratings system, Wash U has taken to wait-listing or rejected the kids that are very obvious examples of this. We had a student last year get into six Ivy’s, Stanford, MIT . . .she was waitlisted at Wash U.

What ratings system do you mean? I asked because when it comes to the USNews ranking, yield was removed from the formula five years back.

Yield is reported in USNews, that’s true, and some schools consider it an important measure (and may use it when making their case for bond ratings and the like) but it will not affect that one particular ranking.

As for the OP, it is my advice to young people with strong (and realistic) ambitions for law or med school that they avoid taking out undergrad loans if at all possible. There is a high likelihood that they will accumulate loans in professional school, possibly a quite sizable sum. That said, the other advice here about not ruling out a school until you have a financial aid package in hand is very sound. Assumptions about aid can be wrong.