• Both of the cars we own are no longer in production (Honda Clarity and Honda Insight).  The Insight is really just a fancy Honda Civic Hybrid and they’re bringing back the Honda Civic Hybrid, so I don’t think it’s really so much of a change.  (They’ve done this before.)  I LOVE my Insight.  The Clarity is a bit big for me, but DH likes it.  Who knows what the car landscape will look like the next time we buy cars.
  • DH dropped the lid of our le Creuset on the tile floor and it cracked all the way through, both the ceramic *and* the metal!  Hard core.  We can’t get a new lid, but if we ship the entire thing back at our expense, they will ship us a new one at their expense.
  • My uni doesn’t have faculty brat scholarships (I have heard there’s a small one but like 1k or less and I can’t find any evidence of it online), but they do pay most of tuition for national merit fellows.
  • DC1 got rejected from Harvey Mudd.  :(
  • We’re hoping that the straight rejection (not deferral) from HMC doesn’t portend other things from other colleges that DC1 is interested in.  After all, they’re a weird little school that accepts very few people and gets a lot of applicants who are probably completely interchangeable with DC1.  That will be less the case at many of the schools on DC1’s list.
  • I am a tiny bit relieved because I did always feel like Mudders got a lot of breadth but no depth and they just take too many classes.  But also disappointed on hir behalf.  And have an underlying concern that if zie ends up at like Vanderbilt that zie will be unable to feed hirself and will end up stunting hir growth.  (I grew an inch in college because the food was good but the food at our boarding high school was literally prison grade.  I cannot go to jail ever.)
  • Grinnell has become surprisingly difficult to get into and surprisingly good for computer science.  (But, perhaps unsurprisingly in the current political climate, has been having racist incidents on campus…)
  • We’re also concerned that DC1 won’t get into the computer science program at the state school zie has applied to (and been accepted to the university for but not the college).  DC1 is aware of that possibility and says zie would rather spend a year there taking gen eds and then transfer elsewhere rather than going to a different state school and majoring in CS.  Deadlines have passed so no take-backs at this point.
  • Would DC1 be more attractive to colleges if zie had skipped fewer grades?  I do not know.
  • DC1 is rapidly maturing this year.  But I don’t know that it’s the age so much as it is the short time before leaving the house.
  • All the pages about gap years are like, don’t do a gap year if you didn’t get into your school of choice.  It’s better to do a year of academics and then transfer.  But DC1’s academics and test scores are good.  Zie can do school.  It’s the other parts of the application that are weak.  So I don’t know.

43 Responses to “RBOMoney”

  1. Chelsea Says:

    Sorry to hear about DC#1s Harvey Mudd rejection. It all sounds so stressful…

  2. Michael Nitabach Says:

    I’m sort of shocked that the creuset lid broke & not the tile floor…

  3. Maya Says:

    May the early disappointment about Mudd be the only one this season!

    I echo Michael’s astonishment about the integrity of your tile floor… ours is 50 years old and seems to crack just from us traversing it.

  4. bogart Says:

    Oh oof, I’m sorry to hear about the college application stuff, that sounds stressful. No words of wisdom (e.g. no clue on gap years), just empathy.

  5. yetanotherpfblog Says:

    Bummer about the HMC rejection. Fingers crossed for DC1 that the rest of application season goes well.

  6. Shannon Says:

    Bummer about HMC. College admissions post pandemic is just weird. Our kid did a gap year after graduating in 2021. Was really good for them. They did a mostly self planned gap year, but we found this book to be really helpful in thinking about and planning a gap year. https://www.amazon.com/Complete-Guide-Gap-Year-Between/dp/057860311X/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=complete+guide+gap+year&qid=1670863965&sr=8-1

  7. accm Says:

    Too bad about HMC! No wisdom, just sympathy. Hoping something else good works out.

  8. CG Says:

    Ah, I remember very well the feeling of not getting into my top choice college. Doesn’t feel great. I hope DC1 will get some good news soon.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I think I was happier at my second choice school.

      Right now I’m worried that DC1 may not have any school options at all, or at least none that don’t require hir to major in economics at the state school zie has already gotten into. Zie is driving me crazy right now with not having turned in multiple assignments for AP chemistry this quarter and not having a clue what is on the English final zie needs to ace in two days.

  9. Alyce Says:

    I’m sorry to hear about Harvey Mudd. Regardless of how things turn out in the end, rejection sucks.

  10. spreckle Says:

    Bummer about HMC, sorry to hear it. Getting into CS at many schools has become dang near impossible, and some fill nearly their entire CS class with early admits.

    Has your kid thought about Case Western? It’s general admit with open majors and could be a good fit for them. Not the easiest school to get into (and far from the hardest), but a fantastic education and great nerdy student body. They do track demonstrated interest, so your kid should sign up for the mailing list, do some virtual sessions, and open every email that they send.

    Some other options are Rochester Inst of Tech, and Worcester Polytech Inst. I think your kid would get in to CS and I’ve heard wonderful things about both. We visited RIT and they are a bunch of weird nerds who embrace differences. Just one easy extra question on each app. I would have said Pitt too but they are basically first come first serve so probably too late for CS.

    Lots of publics are still options. Other possibilities for likely admits with good CS programs include St Olaf, Rose-Hulman, U of Dayton.

    Best of luck as y’all figure out the next steps. Gap year (as long as they’re working or doing some official program) is a great option too, if it all feels like too much for this year. I’m sure they’ll end up somewhere great.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Those are all good options, though some of them were crossed off the list because of terrible M/F ratios (women being canaries in engineering coal mines). I didn’t know that St. Olaf had a good CS program– given DC1’s interest in music zie should look into it a little more. And maybe it’s time to put USC back on the list (DC1 could apply to their music engineering program instead of CS).

      Right now we’re talking about whether DC1 needs to go back to the long list of 20 schools zie had before. Zie is really really slow at writing these college essays so for anything that has a question even a tiny bit different than one zie has already answered might not end up being possible. But some of them are literally just another application fee so there’s really no reason not to given that we can handle $75/pop pretty easily.

      DC1 decided it was better to go to the top public school in econ (where zie is already accepted because it has open admission) than it would be to apply another school where zie was sure to get into CS and that deadline has passed. We won’t find out about whether zie got into CS until February. The current back-up plan is to take gen-ed classes for a year and transfer, though I did just buy that book on gap years recommended above.

      DH’s undergrad still has legacy and DC1 can tell a really compelling story about it, and would be applying to BME instead of CS (they have some great joint programs) but it’s not a SLAC. The online calculators move it from a reach to a target if DC1 does ED2 there, but zie wants to do ED2 at a specific SLAC.

      ETA: Signed up for emails from Case Western.

      • spreckle Says:

        Glad to hear that St Olaf or Case might be interesting options.

        I dug in deeeep to college admissions this year because my kid (who wants to do engineering) needs big-time aid. I was shocked at how things have changed since spouse and I attended college.

        Engineering and CS are luckily amongst the most meritocratic fields so prestige matters less than in some fields. The name of the school isn’t too important but a strong program, good profs, and good resources is. Because of that, and because of the fact that profs could get other $$$ jobs, it is kind of hard to find small schools that excel in engineering and CS. Many of those have the skewed gender ratios. Our kid decided they were fine with the gender ratios and also did not want to apply to any super-selective schools (Case is the fanciest one on their list). They’ve gotten into half of them with the top merit aid awards so far, which has been a nice surprise (no rejections yet). Kid is a great student but not a superstar.

        Our kid would not have wanted to attend a school if they weren’t able to study whichever variety of engineering they choose, but that is highly variable by kid. If yours is really interested in other majors, sounds like you have some good options in the bag. If they really want CS, I’d encourage them to hold out for direct admission to a CS program rather than doing the transfer thing. Transfer could also be a good option, but since they’re young, perhaps a gap year would be fun and then they’ll have a nice freshman cohort — which is one of the big advantages of a smaller school. I think it would be not as fun to enter a SLAC as a sophomore, but that’s just my opinion.

        I do think Case could be a wonderful fit and I encourage them to put in some demonstrated interest via clicks and virtual sessions. Case likes to know applicants are actually interested, due to their reputation of being the fall-back for ivy-league rejects. The application has no supplements. They also offer ED2, which gives a big admissions boost. They are generous with merit aid, even though you don’t need it.

        I have colleagues with 2 kids who attended USC on full merit scholarships, 1 who only minored in computer programming and got an amazing CS job offer from their internship before their senior year even started. They loved it there. USC cares about NMF more than most schools.

        I have another colleague whose kid did music and CS at St Olaf and loved it. Don’t get freaked out by the religion thing — the school is progressive.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        … I wasn’t freaked out by the religious thing? (Originally from the Midwest, so my strong priors with St Olaf is that it’s good for music and close to Carleton).

        How has your kid applied so many places and why is mine so slow??? We missed the merit aid deadline at USC because DC1 took it off hir list because its academics weren’t as strong as zie wanted.

        I suspect we could work with admissions and residence at a SLAC to get DC1 put in a freshman dorm if zie transfers in as a 17 year old. But we can worry about that later if necessary!

        I’m feeling a little more optimistic about CS at the top state school after seeing that they might weight class rank and SAT more heavily that I’d thought before (their honors program still wants everything else) and the combo 1590/top 10% puts hir with a quadrant with a lot of green dots. (I wish zie had put 4.0 PE off until this year. And there’s nothing to be done about the 4.0 orchestra years—even the all state freshman is getting 4.0 for that class.)

      • Lisa Says:

        FWIW, I taught at USC for several years and was really impressed with the quality of the undergrads and faculty in STEM fields (I didn’t interact much with CS majors/faculty). It’s expensive and has a reputation, but I really enjoyed being part of the “Trojan family” and didn’t feel that their reputation for catering to spoiled rich kids was warranted (Varsity Blues notwithstanding). A good number of local kids from less advantaged backgrounds got great aid packages to attend.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Yeah I’ve heard that it’s gotten a lot better at academics since I was in college. I’ve got a *lot* of friends who work there.

      • Lisa Says:

        Perhaps I should specify that I’m talking about the University of Southern California, not the University of South Carolina. We don’t need to get into a fight about which is the “real” USC :)

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        ROFL. Yes! The one with all the ties to working in The Industry on sound engineering.

      • spreckle Says:

        Oh forgot to add that RIT’s extra essay is super short and easy: give a course description for a class you’d like to see taught on campus. My kid did a fun cultural one that was easy since it’s related to one of their hobbies.

        And while their sex ratio is skewed, we really got a different vibe from them than some of the other schools we visited. They have the National Technical Institute of the Deaf there, and they seem to really truly embrace diversity — not just tolerate it. Our virtual sessions and our on-campus tour were all led by gay/trans kids who vouched for the openness of the school. That’s important to my kid. Lots of artsy kids on campus too. The vibe was fantastic and I wouldn’t have a second thought about sending my very weird kid there. Our kid is not interested in dating and they have good friends of all genders, so the gender thing is just kind of noise to them. I know it’s very important for some kids, however. We have friends who are alums and adored it there (that’s how they met).

        Just some more info to consider as you’re revisiting the lists.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        DC1 already wrote that essay for HMC.

        I hope zie can find hir long list of 20 otherwise it may take too long to remake it.

      • spreckle Says:

        Oh I just mentioned the St Olaf religion thing because it freaks some people out. Glad you’re unphased!

        My kid applied to lots of schools because they’re going for the “Tuition Exchange” scholarship at most of the schools (a parental employer perk). You have to cast a wide net for that because it’s unpredictable. My kid is paying for all their college expenses themself, so we put a lot of work as a family into developing a good list to help them out. But all the decisions are 100% up to them — other than deadlines. They applied to some honors programs and not others, and have already decided against a few schools now that the offers are coming in.

        They applied to 14 schools (would have been 11 except for some parent employment wackiness). We did virtual visits to all, and in-person visits to nearly all of them in spring/summer, without breaking the bank/schedule. That was helpful for our kid (facilities are important for engineering). Many dropped off the list after virtual visits, and a couple after in-person visits. Your kid may or may not find visits helpful.

        The kind of offers our kid needs favor the early bird, so we told them they had to have every app in by first week of Oct, even the RD apps. They made it by mid-Oct, which is fine because we knew they’d procrastinate so we budgeted for that. They obviously don’t have money for ED, so did EA or rolling which was available at all schools but 2.

        Once you get to the levels of the ridiculously high stats of your kid, the numbers become less important (except in some state schools that go purely on stats). The rest of the application will be much more important, as will things your kid has no control over, like balancing the incoming class (Band needs baritone players? French majors?) Most every school says they evaluate applications holistically, and I think that’s actually true. When you clear the achievement bars for the ultra selective schools (which is very high, and your kid has done), it’s pretty much a lottery. Kind of like applying for an NIH/NSF grant LOL. You just can’t predict who will get in to the fancy colleges anymore, no matter how accomplished the candidate.

        It stings to get the rejections. I’m sure your kid will get into CS at lots of great places if they can get some RD apps in. But they do need at least one true safety on the list: a place they can afford, can study the major they want, would be excited to attend, and are basically guaranteed admission (NO highly selective schools are in this category). Perhaps that’s your state school, but there might be another safety that they like better. Best of luck! I’m sure it will work out but it might be a bit of a rollercoaster.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Kudos to your kid for getting everything done and that sounds like a great job perk! My uni secretly gives $1k if our kid attends here according to my colleagues with kids who attend here (it’s not listed online anywhere) which is pretty lousy. Stanford, otoh gives Berkeley tuition anywhere in the country. But alas, I am not at Stanford.

        Interesting. We’ve found virtual visits to be really unhelpful because all the schools have a sameness to them and any differences (Claremont McKenna, American) are also pretty clear in the Fiske guide. That probably just speaks well of the fiske guide.

        When we started out I didn’t realize how hard it was to get into CS in the state school so we were all much calmer and treated the application as practice applying directly instead of using the common app and not including the optional items, which in retrospect maybe wasn’t a great idea. So DC1 is admitted but only to the school of liberal arts so far because the CS major is a completely separate process.

        Thank you for your insight!

    • CG Says:

      I know several kids who are at Case and love it. Also, this is not helpful to DC1, I’m sure, but I did a choir/orchestra camp one year at St. Olaf and everyone there was lovely and friendly and Northfield was cute. Thanks to @spreckle for putting those ideas out there.

  11. Cloud Says:

    I am not looking forward to the college application process! It all seems so different and somehow even more stressful than when I did it. I am sure everything will work out for DC1 – I hope it works out soon and with as little stress as possible!

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      So much more stressful! Though I think a little of this is the pandemic deferrals still working their way through. And a big part is computer science becoming an insanely popular major. But DC1 really is a natural programmer. And early decision is extra stressful.

  12. nicoleandmaggie Says:

    DH found DC1’s long list on the coffee table just now. He thinks it was on the ottoman and fell off and someone picked it up.

    Case Western was on there, but got crossed off because its enrollment is over 10K. Ditto Rochester. Interestingly, also Tufts and Wash U in St. Louis. Vanderbilt and Northwestern were crossed off initially but zie got politely bullied into putting them back on by family members, though I’m not sure if they will stick.

    There’s a number of other SLACs on this list that DC1 decided against, but no indication why. I assume because of worries about getting enough CS classes.

    • spreckle Says:

      That’s good that the list was located. Most of the schools you’ve mentioned that your kid is interested in are all highly selective and practice holistic admissions. They are in the “reach” category for everyone, meaning that it’s too unpredictable no matter the applicant. Most have lots of supplemental app materials. And depending on the school, getting into CS can be far more competitive than other majors. If your kid applied to all reaches, they’d likely get into at least one, but you know how statistics work and that more apps with a tiny chance doesn’t provide guarantees ;-)

      If your kid is happy to attend your in-state option, then they may not feel compelled to diversify their list. But if they’d rather not go there, or really want to study CS, they should add more match/target schools and at least one safety.

      Unfortunately the scattergrams that show your kid’s dot within a sea of green dots tend to be overly optimistic, especially at fancy schools and/or for engineering and CS. That was a rude awakening for us. Everyone going test optional for covid has also borked the metrics.

      Don’t know your state, but the UC schools are a beast all of their own, and your kid’s ultra high SAT doesn’t benefit them there since UC is test blind. Just years 10-11 grades, grade 12 schedule, class rank, extracurriculars, and essays.

      As you have suspected, “optional” application items are not truly optional at highly selective schools.

      They’ll get into good schools, but they should consider dropping down a level of prestige for their likelies (schools like Case, RIT, WPI, St Olaf are good examples — need admit rates above 25%), and dropping down a couple levels for a safety (shoot for acceptance rate above 50%). Publics can be weird, but sounds like your kid isn’t going for those. For example, Purdue acceptance rate is high (60%) but getting into CS is WAY harder and they fill the entire class with early action – Purdue CS is a reach for everyone.

      I don’t know much about CS at SLACs since my kid wanted nice engineering facilities, which aren’t super common at SLACs. Bucknell, Lafayette, Lehigh, Clarkson, Union are all highly regarded with good engineering programs — probably good in CS too. They are admissions targets for your kid but may not be a cultural fit. Colgate & Smith might be targets. In the west, what about U of San Diego? Lewis & Clark? Whitman? Those are all likelies. There’s plenty of small school CS reaches, but your kid has probably already discovered those (Grinnell, Colby, CMU, etc)

      Obviously they can only attend one school, and only need to get into one good fit. But once you get out of the ED phase, it helps to have a balanced list of choices so they won’t feel stuck no matter the outcome. Or if it all feels like too much, gap year is great!

      I’ll add that Case seems to have a strong spring admissions dealio going on. They sometimes offer spring admissions to students who get rejected for fall. I don’t think your kid will get rejected, since they accept tons of students in RD. However, spring admit may be a proactive choice for some kids looking for a middle ground between fall admit and gap year. Just an option to consider, and I’m sure an admissions officer would be happy to discuss if there’s interest.

      Hope the list gets figured out soon — good luck!

      • spreckle Says:

        Oh should add that Case is weird because it’s half undergrad, half grad. I think undergrad is under 6K enrollment.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Union was also on the long list along with a bunch of SLACs. All the online calculators (where you put in extra curriculars, AP classes, major, etc.) say that there’s like a 74% chance zie will get into Macalester, so that’s potentially a good second backup. I’m pretty sure we would not be willing to pay for Whitman or USD (the Catholic one) over a year at our state university. We basically said it has to have at least 4 academic pencils in the Fiske guide to make it worth us paying private tuition. (USC only has 3.5 pencils, but I think it’s been getting better, especially since the scandal, and it is extremely good in anything related to the entertainment industry, so we might suggest that as an exception.)

        That’s good to know about Case Western.

        The scattergram I was looking at was from a consultant in our state who used to work for admissions and it turns out getting into the CS major is not very holistic (although the honors program, where DC1 probably won’t get in is very holistic). Less holistic is good because DC1’s GPA and class rank are strong (one B in first semester English, assuming zie doesn’t have zeroes on the English assignments that haven’t been graded yet) and hir SAT is 1590 without superscoring. If that’s what they’re looking for DC1 is likely to get in with some wiggle room. They also want evidence of already knowing CS, and DC1 has 2 years in high school, a 5 on the AP, 1 C++ summer class at American University, and a summer internship at a funded start-up. And those things are in the application.

        If they want proof of excellence at the State or National level, stellar recs (DC1 didn’t submit any because zie didn’t have anyone to ask yet and they weren’t required), and amazing essays (DC1 answered the one essay prompt with a story about how zie has tried to become more organized– the college essay lady wasn’t impressed and said not to use it anywhere else), then that’s a problem. But if they’re not weighing those fuzzy measures, I’m back to being much less worried.

  13. nicoleandmaggie Says:

    online calculator says union college is a safety (84%), case western is a target (55%), rochester target (73%) … interestingly Wesleyan University is 50%. So many of these are either under 30% (most of DC1’s list) or over 70% it’s weird when some are actually close to even odds.

    We will see if DC1 is willing to apply to any of these on the long list. I’m thinking if they don’t require new essays then zie might as well. Anything requiring a new essay, who knows. There’s not a ton of time left.

  14. First Gen American Says:

    Sorry about Mudd. It seemed like nothing but a suffer fest when we visited and too small, so it was not a fit for us. Like the above poster, we also applied to WPI, Rit, Virginia tech, cal poly among others. So hopefully the schools Dc1 does get accepted to are a better fit. We already heard back from our state school and my kid got in and received decent merit aid so we know he’s at least can go to college now, so that’s one big box checked.

    Good luck to DC1. It’s such a stressful time.

  15. Grumpy Rumblings 2022 Year in Blogging | Grumpy Rumblings (of the formerly untenured) Says:

    […] recent RBOMoney about DC1 not getting into hir early decision […]

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