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  1. #31
    NCGrandma is offline Emerald level (3000+ posts)
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    Quote Originally Posted by SnuggleBuggles View Post
    How can you be so certain that going away is all that? I think living on campus absolutely matters, even if they are in the same town. But, I live in a city with amazing universities of all sizes and many kids choose those schools because they are really good. And many have parents on faculty and staff so major discounts (the choice between student loan debt or not is obviously appealing). These kids are thriving. They might move away for grad school or a job. I know many of them had the ability to go to other schools (financial means, accepted at other great schools). There are so many paths to success and enrichment. Like study abroad, a summer internship out of state...Itís great that leaving was good for you but I know lots of other people who didnít and it was the right choice for them. Iím sure you would support your kids though if they had a compelling reason to choose a local school though. You seem like that kind of mom that would have a pro/con conversation and let them choose their path.


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    From a family member's experience, I agree that there are many paths and often the one that looks best may turn out to be a bad fit while others may work well. My family member started her freshman year at an out of state smallish college that looked really great for her. Several high school friends had gone there and loved it. By Thanksgiving, it was clear that it was definitely the wrong place for her. At her parents' encouragement, she stuck out the year but then dropped out and worked at a fast food place for a couple of years. When she was ready to go back, she went to a nearby large university and breezed through the rest of college and graduate school quickly. She has had a very successful academic career and is now a Dean at a top university.



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  2. #32
    PunkyBoo is offline Sapphire level (2000+ posts)
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    Quote Originally Posted by StantonHyde View Post
    Urban planning isnít much of an undergraduate degree so the idea is to have him explore in college. He really needs to leave the state for 4 years. Our localUis really the only in state school to consider and I am adamant that my kids go away. I went across the country and it was very good for me. He will be within a long days drive no matter where he goesóonly looking at western states. Then if he still wants urban planning he can come back for grad school
    I ALMOST switched my major from civil engineering to urban planning during my junior year. I'd taken a few classes that showed me how much I would like it, and my roommate was an UP major. The only reason I didn't was because I would have had to stay in school an additional year and I was ready to move on with my life. I have worked for cities for most of my career and so have a lot of contact with people with UP degrees. It's absolutely a good major. Yes, to progress in the field you need a graduate degree, but that's the case for many fields. If he takes UP undergrad, then he'd have broader options for graduate programs to hone in on where he wants to work: more UP, public administration, project management (either from an engineering standpoint or a business standpoint), environmental engineering/env studies, law, etc.

    ETA many public agencies will pay for some or all of graduate degrees if it would benefit the employee in their current or future career path at that agency. He wouldn't have to have the master's to get a job, there are lots of internship opportunities with cities/, public agencies for college kids, and that helps define the career goals and what Masters to get.
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    Last edited by PunkyBoo; 01-21-2021 at 12:58 PM.

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  3. #33
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    I would definitely check the requirements. If they say two years is required and three years of a foreign language is recommended, generally you should do the three years to be competitive. However, as you had mentioned, the schools he is applying to are not terribly competitive and your DS has a great GPA.

    Also, given his situation with the dyslexia, I think it might be worth reaching out to them and confirming that two years is ok since it ought to meet minimum requirements.
    He can also address it in the additional information section of the common app.

    I just looked at Santa Clara University, Which is probably the most competitive of the ones you had mentioned.

    Language Other Than English: 2 years required; 3 years recommended; 4 years preferred

    Like many liberal arts colleges, they do have a foreign language requirement in their core curriculum.
    My DD goes to a SLAC and she was able to place out of the core foreign language requirement via the placement test. This was after four years of taking high school Spanish. Honestly, itís probably easier to take foreign language in high school versus college.
    My DS didnít enjoy the Spanish classes at our high school because the teachers are pretty terrible (One of them was literally fired for bad behavior- you can imagine what it takes to fire a teacher and a large public high school with a strong teachers union), but I told him he needs to take four years so he can avoid it in college. He is applying to some very selective colleges 😬 He is taking the last year of spanish Online via UC scout on demand, but he loves self driven courses because he just does it on his own time.
    Regarding the UC capstone, if the main purpose is writing a research paper, hopefully he will have gained the skills elsewhere. As long as that is the case, I donít think that would be terribly valuable.
    As someone else said, the senior year classes are not weighed very heavily in the application, other than to make sure they are still challenging themselves. The first semester does count for most private colleges.

  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by PunkyBoo View Post
    I ALMOST switched my major from civil engineering to urban planning during my junior year. I'd taken a few classes that showed me how much I would like it, and my roommate was an UP major. The only reason I didn't was because I would have had to stay in school an additional year and I was ready to move on with my life. I have worked for cities for most of my career and so have a lot of contact with people with UP degrees. It's absolutely a good major. Yes, to progress in the field you need a graduate degree, but that's the case for many fields. If he takes UP undergrad, then he'd have broader options for graduate programs to hone in on where he wants to work: more UP, public administration, project management (either from an engineering standpoint or a business standpoint), environmental engineering/env studies, law, etc.

    ETA many public agencies will pay for some or all of graduate degrees if it would benefit the employee in their current or future career path at that agency. He wouldn't have to have the master's to get a job, there are lots of internship opportunities with cities/, public agencies for college kids, and that helps define the career goals and what Masters to get.
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    Thanks so much for this response! This is really interesting.
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    "The task of any religion is not to tell us who we are entitled to hate but to teach us who we are required to love."

  5. #35
    PunkyBoo is offline Sapphire level (2000+ posts)
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    Quote Originally Posted by StantonHyde View Post
    Thanks so much for this response! This is really interesting.
    LMK if you or your DS have any questions about this. I'm also a west-coaster and can ask some planning friends if I'm uncertain how to answer you.
    I always recommend the Occupational Outlook Handbook online for kids that think they have an idea what they want to do but aren't certain.

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  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by SnuggleBuggles View Post
    I'm sure my comments made it sound like I'd just say close of the potential of some schools. But, I'm not. I'm saying that there is not enough rhyme or reason to the college selection process and trying to figure it out isn't how we chose to approach things. 3 years of language is great but only if he can be successful. What if he takes it and tanks his GPA in the process?

    Ultimately though this should be mostly driven by him. What if he wants to stay in state and go to a different school than you prefer? Mine made that decision. The school he chose is a big head scratcher to me. He could have gone to a much more prestigious school and it ticked all of his boxes- overall it would have been a perfect fit (size, location, academic programs...). He chose something very different than I would have picked for him. After a bumpy first 2 weeks he went on to make a great group of friends and finished the semester with a 3.8- even took the weed out engineering calc class. It's his journey. I don't mean to sound all smug and all knowing but I wanted to share that I had to let go and let him make decisions for himself. It's easy enough to transfer if you choose poorly too. I am very happy with the tuition savings from his choice so that's a good perk.

    I’m learning this lesson with a head strong sophomore. We are not far along on the college road, but she has made clear she is making her own choices in classes, sports, clubs etc. . . It’s not easy . .
    Last edited by westwoodmom04; 01-21-2021 at 09:04 PM.

  7. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by SnuggleBuggles View Post
    How can you be so certain that going away is all that? I think living on campus absolutely matters, even if they are in the same town. But, I live in a city with amazing universities of all sizes and many kids choose those schools because they are really good. And many have parents on faculty and staff so major discounts (the choice between student loan debt or not is obviously appealing). These kids are thriving. They might move away for grad school or a job. I know many of them had the ability to go to other schools (financial means, accepted at other great schools). There are so many paths to success and enrichment. Like study abroad, a summer internship out of state...It’s great that leaving was good for you but I know lots of other people who didn’t and it was the right choice for them. I’m sure you would support your kids though if they had a compelling reason to choose a local school though. You seem like that kind of mom that would have a pro/con conversation and let them choose their path.


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    I went to college in Pennsylvania-outside of Philadelphia. If I lived there, I could TOTALLY see my kid going to a variety of schools in state, within 1-2 hours of me, etc. I live in Utah. There are a several large public Universities--only one of which is any good. There is a large private University where DS would not fit. And one SLAC--not what he wants. By SLAC, I mean 1-2K students. He wants/needs 5-10K students. He has always gone to teeny, tiny schools and that gives him the attention he needs and it totally reduces his anxiety because it is not overwhelming.

    He will apply to the local, good University as a safety--with the hopes that he gets accepted into their honors program. If he had any interest at all in any healthcare field, he would be going there, no questions asked. That is a HUGE strength.

    But otherwise--go, experience something different. Move!!! I would argue to my last breath that the people I have found to be most provincial are those from New York City. Seriously. It is important to go out into the world. Sure he can transfer if he hates his first year wherever he goes. But he needs to try. I know my son. He needs to be prodded to try anything new. Sometimes he hates and sometimes he likes it. And that's the key.
    Last edited by StantonHyde; 01-21-2021 at 10:24 PM.
    Mom to:
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    "The task of any religion is not to tell us who we are entitled to hate but to teach us who we are required to love."

  8. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by PunkyBoo View Post
    LMK if you or your DS have any questions about this. I'm also a west-coaster and can ask some planning friends if I'm uncertain how to answer you.
    I always recommend the Occupational Outlook Handbook online for kids that think they have an idea what they want to do but aren't certain.

    Sent from my Pixel 3a XL using Tapatalk
    Thanks!! I found a really good publication from some "Society of Urban Planners" type organization that lists out all of the majors that you can take that "funnel" into an Urban Planning graduate degree and it lists all of the higher ed places that offer Urban planning degrees. Very few offered it as undergrad. For undergrad, they were looking at majors like: engineering, architecture, public administration, history, etc. So all different aspects from structures to sociology to administration, etc. I thought that was interesting.
    Mom to:
    DS '02
    DD '05
    Simon--the King Charles cutie
    RIP Andy, the furry first child, 1996-2012

    "The task of any religion is not to tell us who we are entitled to hate but to teach us who we are required to love."

  9. #39
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    My daughter is in year 2 of Capstone. It is a LOT of work and not for the faint at heart. There is a LOT of writing and a tremendous amount of research. There are maybe 10 kids left in the 2nd year class at her school and all are at least within the top 5% of their class, including the top 10. I'm not sure she would recommend it to everyone, their class t-shirt says "AP Capstone - Sleep Is For The Weak". But she has built amazing relationships through the 2 year cohort group of kids and is much more prepared for college research than students who did not take this class. It's been a wild year doing this in the middle of a pandemic.
    Last edited by jd11365; 01-21-2021 at 10:48 PM.

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