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The W - One Question... - How did you decide on your college?
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DrDirt
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Since: 8.10.03
From: flyover country

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#1 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.85
We are doing the college visit thing with our senior daughter. Just curious how the fellow W's decided where to go? For me it was easy. It was close, cheap and all i could afford.

Our daughter will be a performance music major in French Horn and piano. She is looking for the best horn teacher, period, and the most opportunities to perform. She's carrying a 4.0, super involved in leadership both in and out of school, very, very involved in 4-H, church, etc. and I believe a 27 on her ACT which she is retaking. All that is to say she can likely, with her success in musical competitions thrown in, go where ever she wants musically.

Music major or not, just curious how you all ended up where you did. And any advice for her (us).



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Leroy
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Since: 7.2.02

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#2 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.80
My path was a unique one, as I was not... the strongest student in high school, and, thus, spent a lot of time at the local community college undoing the damage of my high school career. I was much more suited for college, ironically enough.

I majored in music composition during my undergraduate years, and just happened to find a program at UC Santa Barbara that was separate from their music composition program in the "official" music department. I was looking at UCLA, Long Beach State, and UC Santa Barbara - and UCSB liked my work, so there I went.

My advice (advice you should probably know better than I, Doctor):

1) You don't take classes. You take professors.

2) The students' opinion on the program is often more important than the faculty's opinion (or staff's opinion).

3) She wants a school that will maximize her performance time while also being around other strong performers. The best french horn in a crappy orchestra is still in a crappy orchestra. On the other hand, she doesn't want to be in a program that has too many performers so she doesn't get performance time.

4) The best teachers aren't always the most "well-known" musicians.

Most of this I am sure you already know.

I am curious at which schools your daughter is looking. I once had aspirations to be a jazz guitarist (in another life) and used to date a soprano (Note: don't EVER date sopranos). At that time, it was University of Indiana, University of North Texas, and a few schools in New York - Manhattan School of Music springs to mind - that were the strongest of the performance schools. I am wondering if that's changed.

Edit: There is a bitter irony in this post having that many grammatical and spelling errors.

(edited by Leroy on 20.10.08 1618)


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Since: 20.6.02
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#3 Posted on | Instant Rating: 3.37
I picked four colleges, two of them denied my applications; however two said YES: Loyalist (which is out of town) and Centennial (which was nearby). I was all set to accept Loyalist, and had applied for a student loan for living expenses and stuff.

HOWEVER, the employees who porcessed loan requests went on strike, so my application was delayed. Unfortunately, by the time they resolved their grievances and returned to work, it was too late, and took on the local college instead.

It ended up being a bad idea; I hated that college and dropped out after one year.





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Since: 17.1.02
From: New F'n Jersey

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#4 Posted on | Instant Rating: 4.48
After doing two years of public community college, I wanted to get back to a private/Christian school. When I found out that Liberty University would accept almost all my credits from the community college, it was an easy choice.



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Since: 12.2.02
From: Cleveland, Ohio

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#5 Posted on | Instant Rating: 4.56
I wanted to go into engineering, so I applied to three colleges: Case Western Reserve, Syracuse, and Boston U. One was close to my Mom and where I grew up, the other near my Dad & his family, and the last was split in the middle. I got accepted into all three, but Case came thru with a full scholarship (God bless the ACT), so there I went.

Good luck and best wishes to your daughter on her search!




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DrDirt
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Since: 8.10.03
From: flyover country

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#6 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.85
    Originally posted by Leroy

    I am curious at which schools your daughter is looking. I once had aspirations to be a jazz guitarist (in another life) and used to date a soprano (Note: don't EVER date sopranos). At that time, it was University of Indiana, University of North Texas, and a few schools in New York - Manhattan School of Music springs to mind - that were the strongest of the performance schools. I am wondering if that's changed.
    (edited by Leroy on 20.10.08 1618)


Leroy, good stuff. Most of which I knd of felt but being in hard science vs. fine arts, you go with the school rep vs. best teachers (sounds kind of dumb but research rep doesn't equal good education in many cases)

She knows she doesn't in any way want to teach below the post-secondary level as she has never suffered fools gladly and her interests lean towards classical/jazz performance. She really wants to perform and work towards her doctorate after her undergrad.

Anyway schools have included Kansas University, K-State, Wichita State, Friends (small Quaker institution in Wichita), Southwestern in Winfield, KS with a strong music program but more geared towards education, and the conservatory of music in KCMO (way too pricy). Unfortunately she has no interest composition (actually I think she has convinced herself she can't do it and is afraid to try).

She is leaning towards WSU as the horn professor has a national rep, great horn instructor, with opportunities galore relative to Lawrence or Manhattan. As a doctor of dirt I haven't a clue, but for a relatively small university in the heartland they seem to have a very good music dept. and great opportunities. Plus, I think it feels safer to her than an institution in a larger city.



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Since: 29.1.02
From: PA

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#7 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.55
    Originally posted by DrDirt
    Plus, I think it feels safer to her than an institution in a larger city.


This is absolutely key. She definitely has to feel comfortable, because she'll be living the next four or more years of her life at this school. That was the deciding factor for me. I started as a physical therapy major and was accepted to Ithaca, Boston U, and University of the Sciences in Philadelphia (at the time Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science). Ithaca provided no financial aid. I had a decent amount in grants and loans from BU, and a better offer at PCPS. I wasn't comfortable with the surrounding area at PCPS. BU was close enough to being part of the city but still had more of a campus atmosphere that I wanted, and that's where I wound up.

There are tons of scholarship/financial aid opportunities available with some digging. If she's interested in doctoral work, colleges that offer undergrads opportunities to do a work study/assistantship can provide both financial support as well as a way to get a foot in the door for later postgrad work. Good luck to her (and you!) in the process.



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Since: 22.2.04
From: Cambridge, MA

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#8 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.13
I went to college a year early due to a program offered by Clarkson University to enroll as a freshman while not yet having a high school diploma. They talk to your high school, see what you still need, and the proper college courses get worked into your schedule. I had planned to transfer to a bigger name school after that first year (MIT and Yale were my top choices), but I ended up making some kickass friends, loving the area, got almost a full ride from various scholarships, and decided to stay instead.

So, for me it came down to people, location, and money. The lesser rep school didn't hurt me much since I ended up graduating at the top of my class rather than being in the middle of the pack at a tougher school.



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Leroy
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Since: 7.2.02

Since last post: 10 days
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#9 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.80
    Originally posted by DrDirt
    She is leaning towards WSU as the horn professor has a national rep, great horn instructor, with opportunities galore relative to Lawrence or Manhattan.


That sounds great. Looking at the WSU website, they certainly seem to have a stronger performance department than UC Santa Barbara.

Again, as long as she's picking her classes based on the professor (which she sounds like she's already doing) and not just the subject, she'll be fine.

All I'll add is that I was always advised that your undergrad institution is not nearly as important as your graduate institution if your looking for a terminal degree. And auditions are usually more important than academics (not that the latter isn't important), but it doesn't sound like she'll have an issue with either. Again, stuff you probably already know.

    Originally posted by DrDirt
    Unfortunately she has no interest composition (actually I think she has convinced herself she can't do it and is afraid to try).


By that alone, she should take at least one composition class. ;)




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Since: 28.4.02
From: Pittsburgh, PA

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#10 Posted on | Instant Rating: 3.74
I went to the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. I seemingly arrived at the decision because I thought merely setting $100,000 on fire just wouldn't take long enough.
geemoney
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Since: 26.1.03
From: Naples, FL

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#11 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.23
I'm from a small town and didn't think I could survive in a big-school environment. I toured a couple colleges and it came down to a community college (Genesee Community College) and SUNY Brockport (now The College at Brockport). I loved everything about Brockport, except it was too big for me as far as going from high-school right to there. In that way, GCC was perfect for me, because it was a step up in terms of size from high-school, but not a huge population size jump.

After two years at GCC, I transferred to Brockport and loved it. My interests were radio and journalism...I remember touring both radio stations and both seemed strong in that area. I didn't do any real in-depth searches into those programs...it really just came down to which one I was most comfortable with.
bash91
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Since: 2.1.02
From: Plain Dealing, LA

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#12 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.18
My decision was easy, my parents bribed me.

My high school was essentially Purdue prep, with something like 240 of the 250 students in my class who attended college immediately after high school going to Purdue. As an aside, I seem to recall that a number of my final exams as a high school senior were tests for credit at Purdue. I was planning on attending Purdue, living on the 7th floor of Shreve Hall, and rooming with either Dan or Mark while majoring in Chemistry/pre-Pharmacy. Fortunately, a friend of mine was attending Wabash College (wabash.edu) and passed my name along to Admissions as a good candidate. After several months of 3-4 contacts a week and the eventual offer of a guaranteed 60% scholarship that would likely be upgraded to a full ride, I made the wise choice that I would enroll at Purdue and eschew the joys of an all male college with a reputation for being significantly more challenging than Purdue.

At that point, my parents stepped in and offered me a choice: I could give Wabash a try, with the proviso that I could transfer out after my freshman year if it wasn't the place for me, and they would cover all costs not covered by my scholarship or I could go to Purdue and pay my own way. With that in mind, I decided that I was off to Crawfordsville for a year before I came back to Purdue and all my high school friends. Four years later, I received my degree, written in a dead language on the hide of a dead animal, from Wabash and never regretted the bribe choice my parents offered.

Tim



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Since: 2.1.02

Since last post: 74 days
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#13 Posted on | Instant Rating: 2.58
    Originally posted by DrDirt
    We are doing the college visit thing with our senior daughter. Just curious how the fellow W's decided where to go? For me it was easy. It was close, cheap and all i could afford.

    Our daughter will be a performance music major in French Horn and piano. She is looking for the best horn teacher, period, and the most opportunities to perform. She's carrying a 4.0, super involved in leadership both in and out of school, very, very involved in 4-H, church, etc. and I believe a 27 on her ACT which she is retaking. All that is to say she can likely, with her success in musical competitions thrown in, go where ever she wants musically.

    Music major or not, just curious how you all ended up where you did. And any advice for her (us).


My choices were dictated entirely by the quality of the universities' student-run newspapers and the political/social activity on the campus. My choices were the University of Florida, South Florida, Georgia or Missouri. All four accepted me, but I chose USF because it was a daily student newspaper at a huge, huge campus and was in a mild state of turmoil over its status as "Terrorist U."

I think most college degrees are absolutely useless. I have a journalism degree, and it couldn't have been a bigger waste of time and money. I didn't learn to be a good reporter in a classroom, I learned it in a newsroom. This is exactly why the newspapers were my deciding factor. Your daughter's situation is different in that music is absolutely something that can be learned in a classroom. But I think the same principle applies: It is largely resources outside the classroom that separate one university from the next.
Nuclear Winter
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Since: 9.11.03
From: Bedford, Michigan

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#14 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.51
First of all, I needed a school that had my major (film/video production, rather than film studies). If possible, I wanted to stay close to home. And the more money they would throw at me the better.

As it turns out, both Bowling Green and the University Of Toledo offered me full-rides. My first college visit was to BG with a good friend of mine planning on going there. It looked nice enough, and I always just kinda figured I'd be going there.

I scheduled a visit to UT, just to be sure. I had absolutely no plans to go there, it was just sort of a routine thing. But their presentation blew me away. Their film facilities (while a far reach from something you'd find at USC) were way above the hole-in-the-wall crap BG had. I got to meet with some of the film professors. It was just all-around a better showing.

A couple weeks later, I got an invitation to meet with Dr. Dyrk Ashton, one of the film professor's, and sit in on a class. Upon arriving on campus, I was shown to Dyrk's office. He told me that he'd canceled the class I was supposed to sit in on to give the students time to work on their final, so instead he took my mom and I down to the student union, bought us drinks, and talked to us for 30 minutes. That pretty much sealed the deal.

Also, as a footnote, it turns out that Dyrk had a small part as a zombie in the Night Of The Living Dead remake, so as far as I'm concerned he's the best teacher ever.



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Since: 22.4.02
From: Long Island

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#15 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.54
You wanted the best, you got... Out of Context Quote of the Week.

"Two men enter. One man leaves...with groceries." (SchippeWreck)


At first, I was thinking of going to Brandeis for psychology, in part because my grandmother's a school psychologist. Am I ever glad she talked me out of it.

Since I didn't exactly have the credentials of my brother (who went to Yale after Duke and Georgetown wait-listed him), my choices were a bit different. I ended up visiting Boston College, then Quinnipiac, then--oh, wait, that's it. As soon as I got to Quinnipiac and looked at their school of communications, I knew that's where I wanted to go. Didn't hurt that my class placement (one of 17 in the top 10, figure THAT out) and SAT scores (1460 back before they reworked the test) were enough to get a partial scholarship, so when Quinnipiac accepted me and BC wait-listed me, that made the decision even easier.



AWArulz
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Since: 28.1.02
From: Louisville, KY

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#16 Posted on | Instant Rating: 3.71
My path is not going to be helpful to your daughter as I did a stretch in the Army first, then, when I decided being a policeman was not for me, literally threw a dart at a newsweek cover that had a dartboard of jobs and hit "electronics". I then went to the local electronic school and eventually went to Dodge, where I graduated. Dodge was tougher than the one I started at. Plus, you fine taxpayers were paying, thanks to the GI Bill.

My son knew what he wanted to do and went to a number of college fairs and spoke at some length to the people there and narrowed it down to 5 places. We ended up visiting 3 of those 5 places, talking to profs and students, and he additionally spent a lot of facebook time talking to students at the school. He chose one of them (Lincoln Christian - and by the way, one of the 5 was Manhattan Christian) and seems very happy with his choice.



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DrDirt
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Since: 8.10.03
From: flyover country

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#17 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.85
    Originally posted by AWArulz
    My path is not going to be helpful to your daughter as I did a stretch in the Army first, then, when I decided being a policeman was not for me, literally threw a dart at a newsweek cover that had a dartboard of jobs and hit "electronics". I then went to the local electronic school and eventually went to Dodge, where I graduated. Dodge was tougher than the one I started at. Plus, you fine taxpayers were paying, thanks to the GI Bill.




Although her mother wasn't happy with me, I actually suggested going to recruiters and talking with them re the military and military bands. Wasn't pushing it but thought it might help her mature a tad more and give her a wealth of experiences plus discipline. It wasn't well received.



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Since: 2.1.02
From: Seattle, WA

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#18 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.40
    Originally posted by DrDirt
    Although her mother wasn't happy with me, I actually suggested going to recruiters and talking with them re the military and military bands. Wasn't pushing it but thought it might help her mature a tad more and give her a wealth of experiences plus discipline. It wasn't well received.


I just went to the school that was local, via the community college-route, but I would definitely say the smartest thing *I* did was work a couple of years before I went back. It really improved my attitude toward "school" in that I had experience the responsibility and accountability of being in an office, as opposed to it just being "high school part deux". Possibly the same effect you were thinking she would get from the Army if she had gone that route.




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Since: 1.10.05
From: Mesa, Arizona

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#19 Posted on | Instant Rating: 4.88
After a stint in the Army I went to a community college which was a feeder school of sorts to Cal State Northridge. I received my MA at another Cal State in Long Beach, but honestly because it was the only school I got into. I was accepted by UCLA, Brandeis and Arizona State for my Ph.D. and decided on ASU, mainly because there was a specific professor I wanted to work with and the other schools wanted me to do things I didn't really want to do.

Dr. Dirt, I am not sure how much your daughter would have received from a military band (besides the GI Bill). It seems as if she has a head on her shoulders and knows what she wants to do which so many of us didn't at her age. Good luck to her (and you).




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Since: 11.12.01

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#20 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.42
Through a program called "Running Start" (It still exists, it's just called something else now) in Washington State, I graduated from HS with a year of college credit through the local Community Colleges. So this put me in the strange position of being a transfer student more than an incomming freshman. I also already had 5 years of video production experience. I decided I really wanted to go to film school, but I wasn't willing to relocate to California (ironic, I know). So I decided on either the University of British Columbia, or the Vancouver Film School both in Vancouver, BC Canada. For good or for bad, I became very vested in this idea of going to Canada, and I'd worked out the math, and with the exchange rate it was going to be just a tad bit more expensive to go to school there than going to a State School. So I went up and visited both places (road trip with friends, left my parents at home) and was informed by both institutions that not only did I have to pay the tuition in my home currency, but I would have to provide proof of 6 months of living and health care expenses to the Canadian Government before I would be allowed to get a student visa.

I was crushed and decided to take a "year off" since I had the credit already to come up with an alternative plan. I actually ended up really really sick that next year and probably would have had to drop out anyway, so maybe that's a good thing. So I worked as a Video Game Host, started and closed my own video production company after discovering I really hate the people you have to work for in that kind of job, Seafood Inspection Clean-up, retail, did my federally mandated dotcom job, relocated to California, went back to Community College had two really awesome Anthropology Professors, transferred to SDSU and 10 years after I graduated from High School I ended up with an Anthropology Degree with a minor in Religious Studies.

Now I work in a museum and my boss is also a chaplain and working on her Master's of Divinity.

Things work out despite our best intentions.

Don't let your daughter get too worked up over this. This is not the be all end all decision that people make it out to be. If she's comfortable and enjoys the majority of her classes it's the right choice. If she isn't enjoying it she can always transfer. Best of luck to her, and it sounds like she's got a very supportive and loving family to back her up. That helps more than a lot of things.
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Quinnipiac University, BA in communications. Might go back to finish a double major in poli sci.
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