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 jvang 2018-06-10 15:25

Collage Plainning

I'll be posting what I do to prepare for college in this thread, such as research, essays, etc. For now I'm looking at where I'll be looking to apply. I'm thinking about a more affordable education, so an in-state college/university is looking pretty nice. I just can't figure out why there are so many colleges that seem like they are run by the state of Arkansas (for example, ASU, UALR, UA at Monticello, UA at Fayetteville). Just in this state alone there are so many colleges to look at that I'm barely sure what to be looking for.

 chalsall 2018-06-10 21:46

[QUOTE=jvang;489554]I'll be posting what I do to prepare for college in this thread, such as research, essays, etc.[/QUOTE]

Just putting this out there for consideration and discussion...

While I completed a couple of years of university (mathematics, physics and computer science) and got good grades, I never completed my undergraduate degree. I got more interested in actually getting things done than "having paper".

Admittedly not having a degree can be a hindrance when you're trying to get a job at a company which filters their HR hiring based on "paper" (Starbucks, for example).

Now, there are some professions where paper is absolutely required. A Medical doctor, or an Engineer, for example.

But, personally, I have found that many of those who spend a great deal of time in school don't have a clue how to solve real-world problems. I have worked with PhDs who performed worse than high-school drop-outs.

Perhaps consider attending a vocational school. Learn well a skill which is immediately profitable. Being a plumber or an electrician might not sound great, but just look at their hourly bill rate!

FWIW. YMMV.

 Nick 2018-06-11 13:40

OK, suppose we take the [URL="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_colleges_and_universities_in_Arkansas"]Wikipedia list [/URL]of colleges and universities in Arkansas as a starting point.
In the type column, you have the following hierarchy:
[LEFT][LEFT][LIST=1][*]Research university[*]Master's university[*]Baccalaureate college[*]Associate's college[/LIST](plus a few that only offer courses in 1 area, e.g. medical school or Bible college).

[/LEFT]
[/LEFT]
Ar a research university, for example, the professors tend to spend as much time on research as they do on education.
They are there to discover or invent new things themselves, just as much as to teach what is already known.
Some of your fellow students here would be planning to go on and do PhDs, so you could expect both staff and students to be highly intelligent.
A degree from a research university tends to get a lot of respect. It is also very hard work.
Just 2 of the colleges in the state of Arkansas are listed as research universities!

The ones listed as Master's university hardly have any PhD students but do have a lot of postgraduate students doing Master's degrees.
The Baccalaureate colleges focus on bachelor's degrees, not postgraduate education.
At an Associate's college, hardly anyone even does a full bachelor's degree (if I understand it correctly).

So working out which type of college from this list would suit you best is important.
After that, I would consider which majors they offer, how big they are, and also the restrictions such as entrance requirements and fees!

 jvang 2018-06-11 14:33

[QUOTE=chalsall;489577]But, personally, I have found that many of those who spend a great deal of time in school don't have a clue how to solve real-world problems. I have worked with PhDs who performed worse than high-school drop-outs.[/QUOTE]

Sometimes people just don't end up learning useful stuff. Some of those people go on and become philosophers and such, but most of the time they don't really know how to function. I'd probably want to avoid that kind of education, and from what I've heard a lot of ideas taught in colleges are more hands-on versus lectures than they used to be.

Now that I've looked over that list I've realized that there are even more Universities of Arkansas than I thought! :surprised:

A research university sounds good, although U of A @ Fayetteville and UALR are both pretty big campuses. I don't mind a large population, but that sometimes means that the classes are huge, 200+ person lecture halls instead of interactive, hands-on environments.

 jvang 2018-06-12 18:19

I learned a couple of pretty important things last night. Firstly, we have a program called the Academic Common Market which is really neat. Basically if Arkansas doesn't offer a major I'd like to study but one of the other 14 participating states does, I can attend one of their colleges for the in-state tuition price, saving me a lot should I need to go out-of-state. The only requirements are to be a resident of Arkansas and for my major to not be offered here. So that's neat!

The second thing is the Yellow Ribbon program. My mom says that we are eligible to use the benefits from it, which means that any money that a participating university contributes to my tuition as part of the Post-9/11 GI Bill, the government will match. I checked their numbers for a couple of the state universities, and this alone will cut the price of tuition by over $4000 per year at the least! :whee: Now I just need to see where my grades will let me go. I'm not sure how much my 3 F's will affect my chances of getting into some of our better colleges, does anyone know how that works? My ACT score is more than enough, so I just need to worry about GPA.  Xyzzy 2018-06-12 19:02 How do you know that your ACT score is "more than enough"? What do you think about living in a dorm? How will you motivate yourself without your family being close by?  CRGreathouse 2018-06-12 20:11 [QUOTE=jvang;489709]Now I just need to see where my grades will let me go. I'm not sure how much my 3 F's will affect my chances of getting into some of our better colleges, does anyone know how that works? My ACT score is more than enough, so I just need to worry about GPA.[/QUOTE] With three Fs you'll need a fantastic ACT and one heck of a great story to get in. Do you have a college counselor to talk to?  wombatman 2018-06-12 20:38 One other consideration is what field(s) you think you might want to get into (e.g., computer science, engineering [and if so, what subset of engineering], biology, art, and so on). That can determine what schools you want to consider more seriously.  Dubslow 2018-06-12 23:00 I somehow managed to get into the U of I with 4 F-type-thingies. I think that's because I had none my senior year of high school, so I was able to play up the "doing better" part in essays. I never took an ACT, only SAT. I got ~2100 (out of 2400) on the standard one, with 800 and 780 on Math and Physics subject tests.  jvang 2018-06-13 19:16 [QUOTE=Xyzzy;489715]What do you think about living in a dorm? How will you motivate yourself without your family being close by?[/QUOTE] I'll just have to do things. I don't know if I'll need any sort of motivation if I'm aware of the cost of college. [QUOTE=CRGreathouse;489725]With three Fs you'll need a fantastic ACT and one heck of a great story to get in. Do you have a college counselor to talk to?[/QUOTE] I'm at a 34 so far. I have yet to actually study ACT material to prepare for one, and now I don't really know what to work on to get a 36. Where would I find a college counselor? [QUOTE=wombatman;489728]One other consideration is what field(s) you think you might want to get into (e.g., computer science, engineering [and if so, what subset of engineering], biology, art, and so on). That can determine what schools you want to consider more seriously.[/QUOTE] Definitely leaning towards computer science, architecture, or one of the mechanical engineering fields. If I decide on engineering/architecture my choices narrow significantly, but just about every university in the state has a computer science program. I'm not really sure how to judge the quality of an individual program at a school. [QUOTE=Dubslow;489733]I somehow managed to get into the U of I with 4 F-type-thingies. I think that's because I had none my senior year of high school, so I was able to play up the "doing better" part in essays. I never took an ACT, only SAT. I got ~2100 (out of 2400) on the standard one, with 800 and 780 on Math and Physics subject tests.[/QUOTE] I guess I'll focus on doing well this year and write something like that. As for the tests, I've only taken the SAT once and it was the year that they changed the scoring system. If I go to a college in-state I've narrowed my choices to 5 that are worthwhile. University of Arkansas in Fayetteville is our best public school and pretty good all around. The other 4 are Hendrix College, John Brown University, Lyon College, and University of the Ozarks. They're all private and religiously-affiliated, and their curriculums don't seem to stand out, so I think U of A is the best choice. I'll definitely go there for Architecture since we have the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design, which is apparently really good. If I decide on Aerospace Engineering, Auburn University looks really nice; thanks to the Academic Common Market I'll be able to attend at the in-state tuition price, saving me about$20 grand!

 wombatman 2018-06-13 20:12

For judging the quality of the program, you can check national rankings for some idea, though don't take them as the be-all-end-all. The other thing to consider is the specialties of the program--for instance, do you have any interest in doing scientific research? If so, the quality of the research done at the school should be considered too. Same for things like internships or public-private collaborations if you're thinking you want to head into private industry.

Lastly, if you can talk to some of the professors, do so. Most times, you can contact the department(s) you're interested in and inquire about meeting with some people when you visit. You can ask more detailed questions about the curriculum, post-undergrad opportunities, in-school opportunities, and so on.

 Uncwilly 2018-06-13 21:19

One thing that can help with the Uni's to make them overlook the F's, take Community College courses that either make up for the bad grades, or show that you are earnest. Many have programs that allow HS seniors to take some classes. Lots of CC's have summer and winter intersessions. If you still don't get in in the fall, double down on the CC's classes. Take a full load of general ed courses and starters in your major. You may wind up entering a Uni as a soph. I have heard of some folks taking GE courses in the summer session, in the fall, winter session, and spring (along with some courses in their major) and entering as a junior 1 year out of HS.

If it looks like it will be the CC as a starter, talk to a guidance counselor about which GE's are hard to get in the fall and take them in the summer.

Also, if you go to a CC, the units are cheaper and you can try out some areas of study. In addition to what wound up as my major, I took several CS and DP courses (which were different at this school and I didn't have the right grouping to get a degree in either [Fortran was a CS course and did not count toward DP, yet I dropped the BASIC class that I swapped into late*, that would have allowed me to get the DP degree {BASIC was too basic after the HS course and Fortran}]), an electronics course, a physics course, and some other random courses that fulfilled the GE requirements but were otherwise different (a laser optics math class to fulfill a math requirement.) I also took a 1 unit non-transfer class that helped me with something.

* I signed up for an "Early Education" course. Turned out it was for pre-school folks:max: That was not what I thought it was. I dropped it and signed up for the BASIC course ASAP (to keep a full set of units). Then dropped before it would show on my record, but after I was locked in as full time.

 jvang 2018-06-13 23:33

[QUOTE=Uncwilly;489784]One thing that can help with the Uni's to make them overlook the F's, take Community College courses that either make up for the bad grades, or show that you are earnest. Many have programs that allow HS seniors to take some classes.[/QUOTE]

I'm already a bit familiar with taking general classes at a CC and transferring the credits; in Arkansas there's a special standard that mandates something along these lines: any college in the state system has to accept all of your transferred credits as long as the CC or other institution you got the hours at is a part of the standard. Our high school is partnered with the local CC to provide credits as a part of the standard, and the classes I didn't get F's in at ASMSA fulfilled a special agreement with the University of Arkansas.

However, I am making up the classes that I failed during this next year. What are you suggesting regarding the CC classes and my bad grades? To supplement my transcript? :confused2:

 Uncwilly 2018-06-14 06:29

If you are doing classes at a CC that required GE classes while still in HS, the Uni's can see that you are serious and it can raise your standing outside of standardized testing (because it shows that you are earnest in your efforts [while it will also relieve pressure on their GE classes). If the F's are in classes that you are retaking, you may not complete them before applications are due. So they may not fully disappear. But any summer CC courses will be complete by the time that applications are due (and maybe fall classes). They will show that you are ready for college level work.

I live in the general area of 2 of the best CC's around (1 is a top ten national school, the other is the #1 in transfers to the state Uni system.) The stories of the benefit of CC's are all over in this area. There are several well known individuals that went to the CC that I went to. Some of them went on to Uni's and from there to great things. Also, it is close enough to a major institution, such that grad students from there would teach at the CC. We also got visits from Noble laureates that were just down the road at the big school.

TL;DR Use the CC's for all their worth, they are hidden gems of the education system.

 Dubslow 2018-06-14 07:03

In fact I am also making use of my local CC to fill in the remaining credits on my degree.

 CRGreathouse 2018-06-14 12:35

[QUOTE=Uncwilly;489784]Take a full load of general ed courses and starters in your major. You may wind up entering a Uni as a soph.[/QUOTE]

A lot of people do this just as a way to save money -- take basic classes at a community college, then take more advanced classes at the fancy university of your choosing. I can't vouch for the strategy personally but the basic idea is sound, especially in states (like Arkansas apparently) that guarantee transferability.

 jvang 2018-06-14 16:21

[QUOTE=Uncwilly;489797]If you are doing classes at a CC that required GE classes while still in HS, the Uni's can see that you are serious and it can raise your standing outside of standardized testing (because it shows that you are earnest in your efforts [while it will also relieve pressure on their GE classes). If the F's are in classes that you are retaking, you may not complete them before applications are due. So they may not fully disappear. But any summer CC courses will be complete by the time that applications are due (and maybe fall classes). They will show that you are ready for college level work.

I live in the general area of 2 of the best CC's around (1 is a top ten national school, the other is the #1 in transfers to the state Uni system.) The stories of the benefit of CC's are all over in this area. There are several well known individuals that went to the CC that I went to. Some of them went on to Uni's and from there to great things. Also, it is close enough to a major institution, such that grad students from there would teach at the CC. We also got visits from Noble laureates that were just down the road at the big school.[/QUOTE]

Sounds good enough! Though I wish our local CC was notable in any way, no one visits or anything like that :sad:

Just need to figure out what to major in, then I can make a more concrete choice of colleges. Any aerospace engineers, architects, or computer scientists/professional coders around here?

 CRGreathouse 2018-06-14 18:24

[QUOTE=jvang;489832]Just need to figure out what to major in, then I can make a more concrete choice of colleges. Any aerospace engineers, architects, or computer scientists/professional coders around here?[/QUOTE]

I was a programmer/analyst for many years.

 jvang 2018-06-14 22:50

Cool! Where'd you work and how did you like it?

 CRGreathouse 2018-06-15 13:33

[QUOTE=jvang;489850]Cool! Where'd you work and how did you like it?[/QUOTE]

A large research university. It's a fantastic job, although it doesn't pay particularly well compared to software jobs in the private sector.

 pinhodecarlos 2018-06-15 13:47

[QUOTE=CRGreathouse;489878]A large research university. It's a fantastic job, although it doesn't pay particularly well compared to software jobs in the private sector.[/QUOTE]

Sometimes it’s not all about the money. You need to do something that is not against your nature, something that makes you proud and happy.

 jvang 2018-06-15 15:29

[QUOTE=CRGreathouse;489878]A large research university. It's a fantastic job, although it doesn't pay particularly well compared to software jobs in the private sector.[/QUOTE]

Were you like a tenured professor doing your own research or something?

[QUOTE=pinhodecarlos;489879]Sometimes it’s not all about the money. You need to do something that is not against your nature, something that makes you proud and happy.[/QUOTE]

Yeah, I'm trying to find what I'll enjoy most. Just about every STEM field pays a decent salary, so that shouldn't be an issue.

Would a gap year program or something similar be in my interests? If I apply to colleges for the 2019 fall semester, the grades from my senior year won't be on my transcript yet and I won't have been able to make up my classes. I also have basically 0 extracurricular activities, so spending a couple months volunteering somewhere would look good on my resume or something. I'm guessing that, by delaying my schooling for a year, I'll have a better shot at better financial aid at better colleges. Any thoughts?

 CRGreathouse 2018-06-15 18:24

[QUOTE=jvang;489884]Were you like a tenured professor doing your own research or something?[/QUOTE]

My career plan had always been to study math in college to at least get a degree (because I was good at math and enjoyed it), but then work as a programmer (because I knew how to program, the pay looked good, and I didn't want to teach). When I graduated I decided that I was interested enough in math to stay active in the field as a hobby. The advantage is I get to do whatever I want, I don't have to teach, I don't have to write grants, and my schedule is infinitely flexible. :smile: The downside is that it's harder to force yourself to sit down and really learn technically challenging fields -- it's easier to coast along with the skills I already had.

[QUOTE=jvang;489884]Would a gap year program or something similar be in my interests?[/QUOTE]

The goal for a gap year is for it to be as non-detrimental as possible for your academics. If everything lines up perfectly it won't hurt you. I'm not recommending against it, mind you -- if there's something you want to do, do it, but don't do it with the idea that you will be better off for it academically. (Depending on what you do it might make you a better person or a better job prospect etc.)

Of course sometimes having a gap year isn't a choice -- you miss deadlines or get rejected. It's definitely not the end of the world, you have plenty of time to make the next cycle, whether you decide to enter next semester (sometimes possible to transfer in if you have community college credit) or next year.

[QUOTE=jvang;489884]I also have basically 0 extracurricular activities, so spending a couple months volunteering somewhere would look good on my resume or something. I'm guessing that, by delaying my schooling for a year, I'll have a better shot at better financial aid at better colleges. Any thoughts?[/QUOTE]

If the extra year lets you retake classes you failed and you can get good grades this time around that would, I think, be very meaningful and relevant to admissions, certainly more than extracurriculars. ("Sure, I failed English, Economics, and Geography in my senior year, but I had xyz going on. I took a gap year where I did abc and also took those three classes at my local community college, getting an A, a B, and an A+. So you can see that not only can I handle the subjects but I have dedication and...")

But yeah, extracurriculars will give you an extra few percent. The priority needs to be on doing well in the make-up classes -- really well, if you want to go to one of the "better colleges" -- but if you can do that, have time left over, and find an extracurricular that interests you, do it. (Definitely don't do it unless you are genuinely interested, it's not worth it.)

 Uncwilly 2018-06-15 19:05

:goodposting:.

 MooMoo2 2018-06-15 21:36

[QUOTE=Dubslow;489733]
I never took an ACT, only SAT. I got ~2100 (out of 2400) on the standard one, with 800 and 780 on Math and Physics subject tests.[/QUOTE]
Just out of curiosity, how many times did you take it? I scored a bit below 2100 on my first attempt, but I managed a 2240 or 2250 (don't remember) on my third and final attempt.

 The Carnivore 2018-06-15 21:55

[QUOTE=jvang;489884]
Would a gap year program or something similar be in my interests?[/QUOTE]
[QUOTE=CRGreathouse;489894]
The goal for a gap year is for it to be as non-detrimental as possible for your academics. If everything lines up perfectly it won't hurt you. I'm not recommending against it, mind you -- if there's something you want to do, do it, but don't do it with the idea that you will be better off for it academically. (Depending on what you do it might make you a better person or a better job prospect etc.)

Of course sometimes having a gap year isn't a choice -- you miss deadlines or get rejected. It's definitely not the end of the world, you have plenty of time to make the next cycle, whether you decide to enter next semester (sometimes possible to transfer in if you have community college credit) or next year.

If the extra year lets you retake classes you failed and you can get good grades this time around that would, I think, be very meaningful and relevant to admissions, certainly more than extracurriculars. ("Sure, I failed English, Economics, and Geography in my senior year, but I had xyz going on. I took a gap year where I did abc and also took those three classes at my local community college, getting an A, a B, and an A+. So you can see that not only can I handle the subjects but I have dedication and...")
[/QUOTE]
This is probably different than your situation, but I got a decent job not long after starting my M.S. in Engineering. I took a gap year to take the job, with the intention of finishing up my masters later on.

Well, guess what. That was 5 years ago, and although I have a different job now, I never went back to college. Heck, I wouldn't be surprised if most people who take gap years never return.

On another note, my only other advice would be to figure out a way to graduate during an economic boom. People with OK grades who graduated from a relatively unknown state college during a boom are often better off than those with good grades who graduated from an Ivy League college during a severe recession.

 jvang 2018-06-16 21:37

[QUOTE=CRGreathouse;489894]My career plan had always been to study math in college to at least get a degree (because I was good at math and enjoyed it), but then work as a programmer (because I knew how to program, the pay looked good, and I didn't want to teach). When I graduated I decided that I was interested enough in math to stay active in the field as a hobby. The advantage is I get to do whatever I want, I don't have to teach, I don't have to write grants, and my schedule is infinitely flexible. :smile: The downside is that it's harder to force yourself to sit down and really learn technically challenging fields -- it's easier to coast along with the skills I already had.[/QUOTE]

Wow, sounds nice!

The National Civilian Community Corps with AmeriCorps looks pretty good if I go with a gap year. Cost-free; I'll even be eligible for an award equal to the maximum Pell Grant to throw at my college expenses. The only requirement is to complete a year of full-time work with them, about 1700 hours of service. They'll cover transportation, housing, meals, etc.

[URL="https://www.nationalservice.gov/programs/americorps/americorps-nccc"]https://www.nationalservice.gov/programs/americorps/americorps-nccc[/URL]

@CRGreathouse: I might be (definitely am) missing something, but I don't really know what you ended up doing after college... :confused2:

 jvang 2018-06-18 19:26

I've got a few plans that I'm thinking up for college now, which mostly cover where I'll be applying and a backup in case I need to show colleges better grades (take a gap year/spend a bit of time at a CC). Other than what I'm actually interested in, what else should I think/worry about?

Edit: Oh yeah, forgot about this very official-looking letter I got in the mail from the NSHSS, which looks suspiciously like the NHS, congratulating me on my "exemplary acheivement" this past year... they clearly didn't look at my report card :max: Their requirements are a 3.5 GPA [I]or[/I] a 26 on the ACT. In any case, it seems to be a honor society-wannabe focused on turning a profit; their membership fee is $75 compared to the NHS's ~$10. And even though they claim to award $2 million or so in scholarships, a bit of research on their membership numbers shows that they at least get$5-6 million from fees alone... :ermm:

 jvang 2018-06-20 00:22

Edward Blum is the figurehead of another lawsuit against affirmative action, this time against Harvard. Apparently they've been discriminating against Asian Americans in the admissions process :unsure:

A lot of people have widely differing views on race in admissions and affirmative action. I'm pretty sure it's more racist to give benefits to someone purely based on race; shouldn't everything be equally considered for everyone? :ermm:

[QUOTE=jvang;490153]Edward Blum is the figurehead of another lawsuit against affirmative action, this time against Harvard. Apparently they've been discriminating against Asian Americans in the admissions process :unsure:

A lot of people have widely differing views on race in admissions and affirmative action. I'm pretty sure it's more racist to give benefits to someone purely based on race; [U]shouldn't everything be equally considered for everyone?[/U] :ermm:[/QUOTE]
Yes. Should.
Equality is hard to determine following a long-standing system of favoritism, especially if that system is still partially in force.

 jvang 2018-06-20 18:38

Did some more research on the NSHSS to make sure it was a scam; not as scammy as other things I've seen, but it's for-profit. From what I read it's pretty much worthless unless you happen to get one of their (very) small scholarships, and not worth the hassle anyways. And they're not really prestigious in any way (huge membership), so at best it means nothing on your resume/college app :no:

 CRGreathouse 2018-06-20 20:08

[QUOTE=jvang;489963]@CRGreathouse: I might be (definitely am) missing something, but I don't really know what you ended up doing after college... :confused2:[/QUOTE]

I got a job as a programmer. :smile: I also started contributing to [url=http://oeis.org/]The On-Line Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences[/url] more seriously, eventually joining their Editorial Board.

 jvang 2018-06-20 20:40

[QUOTE=CRGreathouse;490193]I got a job as a programmer. :smile: I also started contributing to [url=http://oeis.org/]The On-Line Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences[/url] more seriously, eventually joining their Editorial Board.[/QUOTE]

Ohhhhhh ok :grin:

So did you program at a company? And was your programming kinda general or specific to some application?

 CRGreathouse 2018-06-20 21:17

[QUOTE=jvang;490194]So did you program at a company?[/QUOTE]

At a university.

[QUOTE=jvang;490194]And was your programming kinda general or specific to some application?[/QUOTE]

General. "Analyst/programmer" means "programming jack-of-all-trades". :smile:

 jvang 2018-06-21 15:26

So what did they have you do? And how did you get the job in the first place? Did they just happen to have an open spot?

 Dubslow 2018-06-21 19:08

[QUOTE=MooMoo2;489903]Just out of curiosity, how many times did you take it? I scored a bit below 2100 on my first attempt, but I managed a 2240 or 2250 (don't remember) on my third and final attempt.[/QUOTE]

Once as a freshman, to get into the 3 year selective high school known as IMSA, and once as a senior. I don't recall the specifics of the scores, other than that my writing score actually dropped. Doubtless I didn't give it my best shot senior year, but I didn't see the point in spending the money to take it the third time for... at most, a 200 point improvement (especially in light of the subject test scores).

 jvang 2018-06-21 20:47

[QUOTE=Dubslow;490263]Once as a freshman, to get into the 3 year selective high school known as IMSA[/QUOTE]

Oh, yours is 3 years? Here in Arkansas, ASMSA is only for junior-senior years.

 jvang 2018-06-27 00:54

I've pretty much determined which colleges to apply to. But I have a weird desire to apply to the University of Chicago, reasoning that it can't hurt to try :max: I also think other prestigious universities are cool, like Duke University, but UChicago is the one I'm most familiar with.

They have a solid curriculum whether I end up interested in science, engineering, and/or computer science, inspiring architecture, and a progressive atmosphere for students. I know there's really no chance of getting accepted with their single-digit acceptance rate and my lackluster resume, but I guess there's no negatives from throwing an application their way. Although if I do go with this gap year program I wonder how my application would compare to one I send in a couple months in their eyes... wishful thinking?

Should I contact some admissions officers from a couple of universities that I'm interested in (including the local ones that are actually feasible) and get better information? Would that be as simple as just emailing them?

 Xyzzy 2018-06-27 13:08

[QUOTE=jvang;490649]I've pretty much determined which colleges to apply to.[/QUOTE]Please share your list with us.

 jvang 2018-06-27 19:59

[QUOTE=jvang;489774]I think U of A is the best choice. I'll definitely go there for Architecture since we have the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design, which is apparently really good. If I decide on Aerospace Engineering, Auburn University looks really nice[/QUOTE]

Not sure for other engineering disciplines or computer science, but I've checked and a large majority of universities have such programs.

Now that I think about it, it'd be neat to get in contact with an admissions officer from some public schools to understand their acceptance rate. U of A has about a 70% acceptance rate, so I wonder what disqualifies the 30%.

 jvang 2018-06-28 23:02

I wonder if flagship public universities in other states are worth looking into, like UNC and Texas, which I have heard good things about. Still looking into the non-100% acceptance rate for a lot of public colleges. I'm assuming that it's A) lack of room for all applicants and/or B) people apply without meeting clear requirements for grades and whatnot.

Since I guess there's a chance that a good public college might reject my application, I should probably have a safety net of less-known public colleges. Henderson State University is a small public college somewhere around here, and they'll give me a couple thousand dollars for having a 2.5 GPA :mooc:

 wblipp 2018-06-29 04:29

People are usually advised to apply to one or two "stretch" schools and a safety school in addition to their reasonable matches.

 jvang 2018-07-02 18:13

Tulane University noticed some old academic achievement of mine (I'm guessing ACT score) and is offering me "priority consideration" which looks like a gimmick to get well-qualified applicants. It doesn't seem like much, but I guess I'll throw an application their way. They seem to have reputable academics, so it's worth a shot :whee:

 jvang 2018-07-04 01:35

Apparently July is the start of college admissions, with August being a common time to start accepting applications. Now I'm getting more flooded than usual with college booklets and whatnot trying to convince me to apply to them. Some seem to be sent out for publicity's sake (I got a big ol' booklet about Yale, nothing actually specific) or as a mass mailing, but some seem tailored to my interests.

The University of Southern Califonia, which I believe is rather selective (18% acceptance rate), has a special engineering college, the Viterbi School of Engineering. From what I can tell it has an internationally recognized curriculum, so I might throw an application their way if I lean towards engineering. Nice facilities too :jvang:

 jvang 2018-07-05 03:36

Pretty sure I should just stick to local universities; I did a bit of research and the general consensus is that applying to higher-ranked schools becomes more of a lottery once you reach the point where everyone is equal in qualification (perfect GPA, test scores, extracurriculars, etc.). Being a bit sub-par in any single category is pretty bad, and I'm lacking in both extracurriculars and GPA. So I'll focus my application to local/public colleges. A good friend of mine will be applying to the University of Arkansas too, and if we both get in we'll likely room together, which is more good than bad. He's a much more motivated guy than I am, so I'm sure some of it will overflow to me...

Unfortunately UArk is very large and its campus life shenanigans are crazy. Just on-campus housing is a nightmare; there's about 20 different residence halls and each is unique and geared towards certain students. And food is insane too; there's all sorts of meal passes and spending money privileges and recharges and all sorts of overly complicated mechanisms to get money for food :max:

 Uncwilly 2018-07-05 04:28

[QUOTE=jvang;491102]The University of Southern California, which I believe is rather selective (18% acceptance rate), has a special engineering college, the Viterbi School of Engineering. From what I can tell it has an internationally recognized curriculum, so I might throw an application their way if I lean towards engineering. Nice facilities too :jvang:[/QUOTE]I can tell you a few things that I know about this school. I know some alumni (various degrees) and some folks that have/do work there. There are a lot of folks going there getting substantial scholarships. (It is said that the average student there pays less money than the average student at UCLA). It is a strong school for engineering, film, music, and all sorts of other things.

I can talk to some of the folks that I know if you are serious about it. It is close to down town Los Angeles and on one of the metro lines. That one runs to walking distance from the beach (the end of Route 66). It is next the stadium that the football games are at. It is easy to get to the airport from there.

If you want to chat about it, I am lead to believe that someone on your block has my top sekret code number.

 wblipp 2018-07-05 04:41

[QUOTE=jvang;491164]the general consensus is that applying to higher-ranked schools becomes more of a lottery once you reach the point where everyone is equal in qualification (perfect GPA, test scores, extracurriculars, etc.). Being a bit sub-par in any single category is pretty bad,[/QUOTE]

These schools are looking to gather a diverse and interesting student body. Being from Arkansas probably gives you a leg up for geographic diversity. A good essay can boost the "interesting" score. So yes, it's a lottery, but the deck is not stacked as badly as most "non-perfect" students think.

 jvang 2018-07-08 15:40

New development: I’m probably going to college for free. We have a special scholarship here in Arkansas that pays for tuition, room, and food for 4 years at any public university in Arkansas as long as you are the child or spouse of a MIA/KIA service member or a 100% disabled veteran. So I don’t have much of a reason to go off and pay a bunch of money when college here will be free.

Basically all that’s left to do is to figure out my major (a double major sounds good though), do some paperwork, and fill out applications. Looking at double majoring between some STEM fields, but I still haven’t figured out what to study...

 henryzz 2018-07-08 18:08

[QUOTE=jvang;491321]New development: I’m probably going to college for free. We have a special scholarship here in Arkansas that pays for tuition, room, and food for 4 years at any public university in Arkansas as long as you are the child or spouse of a MIA/KIA service member or a 100% disabled veteran. So I don’t have much of a reason to go off and pay a bunch of money when college here will be free.

Basically all that’s left to do is to figure out my major (a double major sounds good though), do some paperwork, and fill out applications. Looking at double majoring between some STEM fields, but I still haven’t figured out what to study...[/QUOTE]

I thought you got to chose your major(s) a while after starting in the usa?

 jvang 2018-07-08 18:33

[QUOTE=henryzz;491324]I thought you got to chose your major(s) a while after starting in the usa?[/QUOTE]

Sometimes, but it’s good to have an idea of what you want to do before starting in case your college starts you on courses specific to your degree.

New new development: My mom wants to move to Oklahoma for a job promotion, which will mess with scholarships. As long as we can find a way to do the free college stuff then I’m ok with us moving, but otherwise we gotta stick around which screws over her job. I read a while back about some yellow ribbon post-9/11 bill that would help us out with that sort of thing but it was kinda vague. Anyone know about that or something similar that would help someone who’s recently moved?

 VBCurtis 2018-07-08 19:19

[QUOTE=jvang;491325]Sometimes, but it’s good to have an idea of what you want to do before starting in case your college starts you on courses specific to your degree.
[/QUOTE]
For freshman year, just choosing STEM is enough; you'll take calculus/physics/chemistry/English for most any STEM major during your frosh year.

Once those courses are complete, you'll be expected to choose engineering or science; though many schools admit students to the Engineering school or the science-major school from the outset, you can switch from one side to the other without too much trouble during your first year or two. If a school restricts enrolled students from changing into Engineering majors, that's a reason to apply into Engineering; it's not unusual for switching out of Engineering to be easier than switching in.

In highly-related fields, you can change your mind during your 3rd year; I switched from Physics to Math at the end of my 3rd year at a public university (University of California).

 Uncwilly 2018-07-09 05:09

[QUOTE=jvang;491325]My mom wants to move to Oklahoma for a job promotion, which will mess with scholarships.[/QUOTE]Do you have friends or family that you can stay with until the scholarship kicks in? If you can keep your personal residence in Arkansas will that qualify? Does a living vet have to stay in the state? Having the HS senior stay someplace other than "home" is common. I know people that have moved in with relatives (aunt and uncle) so that they can establish residency to get the "locals" price for tuition.

 CRGreathouse 2018-07-09 13:18

[QUOTE=jvang;491325]New new development: My mom wants to move to Oklahoma for a job promotion, which will mess with scholarships. As long as we can find a way to do the free college stuff then I’m ok with us moving, but otherwise we gotta stick around which screws over her job.[/QUOTE]

This seems to open up possibilities: maybe you can go to a school in Oklahoma, or maybe you can stay with someone in Arkansas and go to school there.

 jvang 2018-07-09 21:56

[QUOTE=CRGreathouse;491342]This seems to open up possibilities: maybe you can go to a school in Oklahoma, or maybe you can stay with someone in Arkansas and go to school there.[/QUOTE]

Fewer possibilities, since I'd have to be a resident of Oklahoma for a year or so to get in-state tuition costs, which reduce tuition by a factor of 2-3.

Basically in order to keep the scholarship we have to stick around in Arkansas. It renews each year so I'm not sure if my parents have to stick around afterwards. In any case, it's only valid for Arkansas residents; the federal government has a special program that would let me go to any school (public or private) for free, or something close to that. But my mom used up most of our allotted benefits from that for her bachelor's.

Oh well I still get free college :whee:

 jvang 2018-07-11 02:45

Figured I'd check out deadlines and start dates for college applications and the FAFSA. Gotta wait until October 1st for the FAFSA, but the UArk admissions open in less than a week.

99% sure that I'll stick to colleges in Arkansas. I don't think going out-of-state for a [I]chance[/I] (however big or small/unlikely) at being accepted is worth the tradeoff of over $100k-200k of loan debt. Not that applying out-of-state excludes in-state options (unless I were to do a legally-binding early decision/action application which would be complicated), but any college out-of-state that I would be confident in being accepted to is not worth$100k in my opinion, and writing a bunch of difficult, abstract essays for really good universities is too much work :max:

 jvang 2018-07-14 22:44

To further my knowledge on jobs and what I'm considering as a major (also because this forum should have it), I started a thread in the Lounge. [URL="http://www.mersenneforum.org/showthread.php?t=23507"]Career Development Thread[/URL]

I really hope aerospace/aeronautical engineering isn't as cool as it looks, since Arkansas doesn't have a single program for it. I don't know if the Academic Common Market would let me keep my full-ride scholarship, so I likely won't be able to go out-of-state to major in it :jvang:

 Nick 2018-07-15 09:04

Have you looked into trying MOOCs to see what you enjoy and what you don't?
For example:
[URL="https://www.edx.org/course/subject/architecture"]Architecture[/URL]

[URL="https://www.edx.org/course/subject/computer-science"]Computer science[/URL]

[URL="https://www.edx.org/course/introduction-to-aeronautical-engineering"]Introduction to aeronautical engineering[/URL]

 jvang 2018-07-16 01:39

[QUOTE=Nick;491841]Have you looked into trying MOOCs to see what you enjoy and what you don't?
For example:
[URL="https://www.edx.org/course/subject/architecture"]Architecture[/URL]

[URL="https://www.edx.org/course/subject/computer-science"]Computer science[/URL]

[URL="https://www.edx.org/course/introduction-to-aeronautical-engineering"]Introduction to aeronautical engineering[/URL][/QUOTE]

Hmm, those do look interesting. I wonder how in-depth they get; I did a Python for Informatics class on Coursera that was pretty decent, but I don't know how detailed an online class on engineering or architecture could be.

 jvang 2018-07-30 00:49

I was thinking about going overseas to a university in a European country. I'd have to look into the specifics (read: cost) but that seems like it'd be cool. State-sponsored education exists in places like Germany, so that would be interesting. Going to read up on that and see how it works...

 Uncwilly 2018-07-30 01:08

Yes, some places do have 'state sponsored' education or re-education. Be careful what you wish for, "[FONT="Book Antiqua"][SIZE="3"]there are always consequences[/SIZE][/FONT]".
[url]https://thenightgallery.wordpress.com/2017/10/10/the-man-in-the-bottle-easy-wishes-hard-lessons/[/url]

:jail:

 jvang 2018-07-30 01:35

[QUOTE=Uncwilly;492748]Yes, some places do have 'state sponsored' education or re-education. Be careful what you wish for, "[FONT="Book Antiqua"][SIZE="3"]there are always consequences[/SIZE][/FONT]".
[url]https://thenightgallery.wordpress.com/2017/10/10/the-man-in-the-bottle-easy-wishes-hard-lessons/[/url]

:jail:[/QUOTE]

I guess "state-sponsored" has a negative connotation, and "state-funded" or "free public tuition" is more correcter :whee:

 Nick 2018-07-30 06:19

[QUOTE=jvang;492746]I was thinking about going overseas to a university in a European country. I'd have to look into the specifics (read: cost) but that seems like it'd be cool. State-sponsored education exists in places like Germany, so that would be interesting. Going to read up on that and see how it works...[/QUOTE]
In general, universities in European countries tend to have one rule for citizens of European Union countries and a different rule for people from the rest of the world (with much higher tuition fees).
You would also have to deal with the immigration rules of the country you choose.
Most bachelor degrees are given in the local language so for Germany, for example, I think you would need to be fluent in German.
Bachelor degrees at European universities usually take 3 years and you start on your major immediately.
In some countries, students face a tough selection process.
In others, anyone who has passed the relevant end-of-school exams is admitted (as long as not too many people apply), but less able students are then weeded out during the first year.

Another option is to go to a university in the US which can arrange for you to spend part of your time at a European university.

 jvang 2018-07-31 02:12

[QUOTE=Nick;492756]In general, universities in European countries tend to have one rule for citizens of European Union countries and a different rule for people from the rest of the world (with much higher tuition fees).
You would also have to deal with the immigration rules of the country you choose.
Most bachelor degrees are given in the local language so for Germany, for example, I think you would need to be fluent in German.
Bachelor degrees at European universities usually take 3 years and you start on your major immediately.
In some countries, students face a tough selection process.
In others, anyone who has passed the relevant end-of-school exams is admitted (as long as not too many people apply), but less able students are then weeded out during the first year.

Another option is to go to a university in the US which can arrange for you to spend part of your time at a European university.[/QUOTE]

You’re right, many countries in the EU offer low/free tuition to students from member countries, but hike it up for international students. But a couple do offer free tuition to international students. I do need to look more into the specifics and requirements, and as always, free isn’t really free. The cost of living in many of these places (Norway comes to mind) is very high, so room/board would be pretty expensive, and you’d need to learn the official language (although I did hear about some fully English curriculums...).

 jvang 2018-08-25 20:12

I've had my UArk application sitting around for a month already. I don't have a transcript to send with it. The counselors at my high school said that they'll have it ready around the middle of September, which is barely before a lot of early decision deadlines and priority scholarship/honors considerations deadlines :rant:

That is my main application; in the very unlikely case that I'm not admitted I can apply to somewhere like Henderson State that is even more guaranteed. However, my dad wants me to fill out an application to the University of Chicago. It's the only elite college he is reasonably aware of because I get a bunch of promotional mail from them. I think my chances of being considered by them are lower than the difference between [$]0.\overline{9}[/$] and [$]1[/$] :ermm:

I'm pretty sure spending the time on their essays and whatnot is a waste of time. He thinks that the "experience" will be worth something, but I'm basically paying $80 and several days' worth of my time to get a rejection letter like those in the [URL="http://www.mersenneforum.org/showthread.php?t=23599"]Lounge[/URL]. It's not like they're going to review it and give me personalized advice to write a better essay. He also said that "you never know! You could get lucky!" even though there are about 30,000 other, much more qualified applicants to UChicago. I feel he is being unreasonable in asking me to apply there; I'd love to think that I could go somewhere cool like that, but if I felt like my resume was worth a try I wouldn't even apply to UChicago. Caltech or MIT would be more suitable (from what I can tell UChicago is more liberal-artsy or something). What do you guys think? I'm not against applying out-of-state, but trying somewhere like UChicago is delusional in my opinion. Especially with a full tuition scholarship as long as I stay in-state, trying for an elite college is pointless.  chalsall 2018-08-25 20:38 [QUOTE=jvang;494695]What do you guys think?[/QUOTE] If you know how to learn, a degree isn't needed. Please see [URL="https://qz.com/work/1367191/apple-ibm-and-google-dont-require-a-college-degree/"]this[/URL] and [URL="https://www.inc.com/sujan-patel/7-reasons-you-dont-need-a-college-degree-to-earn-b.html"]this[/URL]. To share, I never got a degree, and yet ended up hiring many people. Those who were high school drop-outs were often better than those with PhDs. From my experience, those who get advanced degrees are really good at writing lots of language, but not so good at actually solving problems presented to them. YMMV.  jvang 2018-09-14 00:08 I finally got my transcript for high school; 3.1 GPA (not including this or next semester) and 40th out of 198 for class rank. So about 75% of our school is doing worse than me and my 3 F's! :ttu: Thus I am finally able to apply to the University of Arkansas. I sent off my application (and$40) today. You're allowed to change your major for the first year or two, so I put "Computer Engineering" (Undeclared major is not an option) since I'm interested in engineering and/or computer science, so this is probably the best of both worlds until I can really figure out what's up.

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University has sent me an email saying that they'll accept my application without a fee, so I may throw one their way. A decent amount of universities have waived their fees for me, so I'll look into doing some of those for variety. Some are clearly desperate for anyone to come by (University of Memphis?) but others like Tulane University seem respectable (top 50 in the US and some other nice rankings for them).

 CRGreathouse 2018-09-14 18:57

[QUOTE=jvang;494695](from what I can tell UChicago is more liberal-artsy or something)[/QUOTE]

It's arguably the most highly-respected university in the world for economics & econometrics, which isn't exactly navel-gazing. :smile:

 jvang 2018-09-14 23:07

[QUOTE=CRGreathouse;496084]It's arguably the most highly-respected university in the world for economics & econometrics, which isn't exactly navel-gazing. :smile:[/QUOTE]

Hm, I'm pretty sure I find economics uninteresting. I'd rather make money than learn about it :jvang:

 CRGreathouse 2018-09-15 01:26

[QUOTE=jvang;496105]Hm, I'm pretty sure I find economics uninteresting. I'd rather make money than learn about it :jvang:[/QUOTE]

Personally I don't consider economics particularly related to money, but then again it was only my minor. :smile:

 jvang 2018-09-15 02:11

[QUOTE=CRGreathouse;496111]Personally I don't consider economics particularly related to money, but then again it was only my minor. :smile:[/QUOTE]

Hmm, here's a short Wikipedia definition:

[QUOTE]Economics... is the social science that studies the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. Economics focuses on the behaviour and interactions of economic agents and how economies work.[/QUOTE]

So... basically money! :devil: [SIZE="1"]and how everyone wants to get more of it...[/SIZE]

These "social sciences" seem interesting. I'm not sure that I'd want to take a college-level course over them, but the study of human relationships on large scales is pretty cool.

Did you happen to major in Computer Science? I've heard that majoring in CS and minoring in Economics is a very common pairing.

 jvang 2018-09-25 23:23

[QUOTE]Congratulations on your admission to the University of Arkansas. We are excited to welcome you to the Razorback community!
[/QUOTE]

:ttu:

[SIZE="1"]Of course, now I have to do a bunch of online paperwork and sign up for some orientation thingy and fill out the FAFSA and...[/SIZE]

 Uncwilly 2018-09-26 01:07

:party:

 Nick 2018-09-26 08:27

[QUOTE=jvang;496761]"Congratulations on your admission to the University of Arkansas. We are excited to welcome you to the Razorback community! "[/QUOTE]
Congratulations! Have you looked at their main areas of research in Computer Engineering?
[URL]https://computer-science-and-computer-engineering.uark.edu/research/index.php[/URL]

 jvang 2018-09-26 21:31

[QUOTE=Nick;496795]Congratulations! Have you looked at their main areas of research in Computer Engineering?
[URL]https://computer-science-and-computer-engineering.uark.edu/research/index.php[/URL][/QUOTE]

Ooh, that looks neat! I'll have to read up on all those links, maybe computer science and engineering is cooler than it looks...

 jvang 2018-10-06 00:45

[QUOTE=jvang;496856]Ooh, that looks neat! I'll have to read up on all those links, maybe computer science and engineering is cooler than it looks...[/QUOTE]

Most of the links have not been updated in a while or are tiny blurbs providing very little information. However, one thing that was interesting is the Arkansas High Performance Computing Center, which has hosted supercomputers that appeared in the Top500 list of most powerful supercomputers in the world. Red Diamond and Star of Arkansas were the two first computers, and the 2 current supercomputers are Razor and Trestles, the latter of which was transferred from the University of California, San Diego.

There's not much documentation that I could find, but at the time of Trestles's installation in 2015, it had "256 servers, 16.4 terabytes of memory and a processing speed of 79 teraflops," in addition to 8,192 CPU cores. The supercomputers have hundreds of nodes for UofA researchers to access and submit jobs for processing. Each of Trestles's nodes has 32 2.4 GHz cores and 64 GB of RAM. Razor's nodes have only 12-16 cores apiece and 24-32 GB of memory, but each individual core is faster than those of Trestles, making Trestles's nodes better for parallel code implementations. Also, Trestles's node have 100 GB of temporary storage space on flash drives, while Razor's have between 900 and 1800 GB on dedicated hard drives. Razor's OS is CentOS 6.5, but Trestles's was not indicated. What (obviously Linux) OS/distro uses filepaths such as [C]/storage/$USER/home[/C] and [C]/local_scratch/$PBS_JOBID[/C]? It seems that the computers have a direct way of transferring files, so they must be reasonably similar.

Perhaps I may be able to convince someone important to run GIMPS on these supercomputers! :w00t:

 jvang 2018-10-12 23:40

Now I'm doing a bunch of paperwork that has to do with financial aid and college stuff; I have the FAFSA, some federal benefits (lots of chapters or something), a housing contract, an Arkansas Department for Higher Education application for the state grant/scholarship, and a Social Security thingy that's giving me some free money. I've done one of them so far, and it was so simple that I submitted it by accident before proofreading it :davieddy: Unfortunately, the FAFSA is much longer. I'm going to have to figure out how to read my parents' tax returns! :jvang:

 jvang 2018-10-16 23:57

[QUOTE=jvang;497968]Unfortunately, the FAFSA is much longer. I'm going to have to figure out how to read my parents' tax returns! :jvang:[/QUOTE]

Whew, that one was crazy. In addition to trying to read their tax returns, we had to dig up some other financial paperwork and check the current balances of all our bank accounts, and decipher the weird wording of the questions! :max:

I've started a to-do list of college stuff. There's so much that I would definitely get lost trying to keep track of it mentally. Here's some of those tasks:
[LIST][*]Finish up Housing Agreement for U of A, send deposit ($240!!!)[*]Figure out how to withdraw funds from our/my 529 account (from what I can tell it's a college savings account for your kids), since I won't be needing most of the money that is in there[*]Apply on the website for the Arkansas Department of Higher Education, since the scholarship thingy I'm getting is through them and the state of Arkansas[*]Apply for the scholarship after getting the ADHE thingy taken care of[*]Fill out an immunization form for the U of A since they didn't get allt he paperwork they needed from the high school counselors[*]Send in some signatures for my FAFSA since my parents didn't feel like making a special account to sign it electronically[/LIST]And it keeps growing every day!  Uncwilly 2018-10-17 20:07 [QUOTE=jvang;498159][LIST][*]Figure out how to withdraw funds from our/my 529 account (from what I can tell it's a college savings account for your kids), since I won't be needing most of the money that is in there[/LIST][/QUOTE]Consult an expert. You may want to hang on to that money in the account. If you decide to get a more advanced degree, you should be able to draw on the money. (Don't know if your scholarship covers >4 years.) Also, look at all expenses you might have that are not covered by the scholarship, but might be considered to be related to the schooling (transport to and from, food, study materials other than books, fees for online database access, etc.). These little sneaky ones can slowly add up. You might be able to use the 529 to pay for them. I have some family members that I wish would start some 529's, so I could give them money to put in.  jvang 2018-10-19 00:56 [QUOTE=Uncwilly;498208]Consult an expert. You may want to hang on to that money in the account. If you decide to get a more advanced degree, you should be able to draw on the money. (Don't know if your scholarship covers >4 years.) Also, look at all expenses you might have that are not covered by the scholarship, but might be considered to be related to the schooling (transport to and from, food, study materials other than books, fees for online database access, etc.). These little sneaky ones can slowly add up. You might be able to use the 529 to pay for them. I have some family members that I wish would start some 529's, so I could give them money to put in.[/QUOTE] I haven’t really considered college past 4 years, since most engineering programs are bachelor’s degrees. But you make a good point! I don’t think that I meant that we were going to take all of it out (maybe I did :whee:). The scholarship covers 4 years of tuition, room/board, a meal plan, and basically everything else except books. So if I don’t find any book scholarships then that’ll come out of the 529. I’ll look into what else could apply, because it seems that they would love to nickel-and-dime me for a bunch of money ($240 deposit to sign my U of A housing contract?!).

 jvang 2018-10-20 01:02

They had every senior apply to the local community college today. The best thing was that they had preprinted acceptance letters for everyone after their application was done! :max:

It looks like more than a couple people from my school will be going to the U of A, one of my friends recently got accepted. On the plus side, I know quite a few people from ASMSA will be there; the university has a special fellowship that gives out up to 90 scholarships for full tuition, room/board, etc. 4 or 5 of my senior friends from last year got it this summer and are attending there now.

 The Carnivore 2018-10-20 21:41

[QUOTE=jvang;491164]I did a bit of research and the general consensus is that applying to higher-ranked schools becomes more of a lottery once you reach the point where everyone is equal in qualification (perfect GPA, test scores, extracurriculars, etc.).[/QUOTE]
The key to getting into one of those places is to have something that's different from the pack. You do need good grades and test scores, but it doesn't matter past a certain point - a 3.8 unweighted GPA and 1500 SAT is just as good as a perfect 4.0 unweighted GPA and 1600 SAT.

You can stand out from the pack by being a nationally ranked football star, but a more realistic option for us mortals is to have a unique set of interests. Don't be one of those dime-in-a dozen, sleep-deprived zombies that drag themselves to zero-period music or debate because they think it makes them look good on their college apps or because their parents forced them to.

Think outside the box and show admission officers what your unique passions are and how you overcame obstacles to achieve them. Maybe you're the kid whose parents were too poor or busy to take you places, but you've always wanted to explore the country, find out what's behind those mountain ranges, and wonder what the view would be like from the top. Did you take things into your own hands and earn money doing side gigs during summers and weekends? Did you take it further and use that money to build an ultralight aircraft, learn to fly it, and realize your dreams? If so, that's one heck of a story and a much better use of your time than trying to raise your ACT from an already good 34 to a perfect 36. And even if you're rejected, you'll remember that experience a lot more fondly for the rest of your life than going through the grind to get a perfect grade in a subject you have little interest in but are required to take.

Or perhaps you're the kid who always loved snowboarding but lived in a warm climate with plenty of sand and no snow. Did you make the best of your situation, build your own boards, and try sandboarding instead? Did you like it, get good at it, and maybe even try out for the sandboarding world championship? In the process, what lessons did you learn in determination, perseverance, and dealing with failure? While you may not get as many points as a high school swimmer who made it to the Olympics, it certainly beats doing something conventional like joining the tennis team for a few years and being just a regular player.

 chalsall 2018-10-20 23:18

[QUOTE=The Carnivore;498386]While you may not get as many points as a high school swimmer who made it to the Olympics, it certainly beats doing something conventional like joining the tennis team for a few years and being just a regular player.[/QUOTE]

Just putting this out there for consideration...

Getting a degree doesn't guarantee you a good job. Particularly an undergraduate degree.

And if you don't "win" a scholarship, the costs associated with a degree could hinder you for many, many years.

Consider vocational. Electricians, for example, tend to earn serious coin.

 Uncwilly 2018-10-23 01:22

[QUOTE=chalsall;498388]Consider vocational. Electricians, for example, tend to earn serious coin.[/QUOTE]Electrical linemen, plumbers, and other "trade school" jobs also make good money.

 MooMoo2 2018-10-24 04:08

[QUOTE=jvang;491102]
The University of Southern Califonia, which I believe is rather selective (18% acceptance rate), has a special engineering college, the Viterbi School of Engineering. From what I can tell it has an internationally recognized curriculum, so I might throw an application their way if I lean towards engineering. Nice facilities too :jvang:[/QUOTE]
The cost of going to USC is insanely high, but I was lucky enough to graduate from Viterbi a few years ago without taking a single student loan. I did it though a combination of financial aid, scholarships, work study, and various tricks such as living off campus and using old editions of textbooks. You might be able to do the same for other colleges you're interested in that have a high sticker price.

 Nick 2018-10-25 08:19

[QUOTE=jvang;498316]It looks like more than a couple people from my school will be going to the U of A, one of my friends recently got accepted. On the plus side,...[/QUOTE]
You make it sound as if you don't want your school friends at university with you!

 jvang 2018-11-23 15:30

The Arkansas Department of Higher Education requires you to fill out a big form to get many in-state grants and scholarships. I went ahead and filled it out, and in addition to the scholarship that’ll get me free tuition, it signed me up for 2 grants that I’m probably eligible for. One is a “first come, first served” grant for students getting degrees in high-demand fields (engineering is included), and the other is some silly lottery sort of thing. It doesn’t matter whether I actually get either one; the MDS scholarship subtracts any other scholarships you get from what it gives you, so if I get a $10,000 grant/scholarship, I get$10,000 less from the MDS...

Now I have to send them a bunch of documents to be fully eligible, but I have 8 months to do it :jvang:

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