Friday, August 15, 2014
College picking, part 2.
August 15, 2014
When we last met, Annie Walker from Covert Affairs was eating pickles. Oh, and we were trying to help CJ pick out a college. Fortunately, Annie wasn't helping him with the college visits while Beth and I ate pickles because she gets shot at an awful lot.
Miami University was the next college we visited. While a trip to Florida seems rather extreme, Beth and I are more than willing to do anything to make our son happy. No, not really. Not really Florida, yes really make him happy.
Miami of Ohio is in Oxford, Ohio and is about 1 hour from our home. I worked with many of their graduates and our nephew graduated from there and has a really good job. We had gotten something in the mail from Miami University and liked the curriculum it laid out for incoming freshmen in the field of Computer Science. It is still part of the College of Engineering and Computer Science, put it allows you to take more classes as a freshman in a variety of computer interests to help you gauge your interests and expertise. The tuition is a bit less than UC and OSU, so I didn't mind that aspect at all. So we spent a day in Oxford.
The campus is beautiful. At one point we did start to notice that most of the buildings look very similar and to tell someone to meet you by the brick building with the white pillars out front would not be helpful. Our tour guide was excellent even though she kept having to pull up her shirt so as to not expose her hoots. We weren't in a group of football recruits after all. It is a college town and would be very comfortable. The drawbacks, however, were the lack of a coop program (they cater more to internships) and that their college is better suited to those majoring in Business or Liberal Arts. That is not to say that you can't come out of there with a great education in engineering since I believe that is what my nephew has, but it didn't do much to sway CJ in their direction.
So back to UC. I was not able to tag along, but Beth and CJ were able to get an appointment to speak to someone there from admissions. A previous phone conversation with someone in admissions was not all that pleasant, but the person they spoke with this day made them come home and say that CJ was definitely going to UC. My questions as to why revealed that their coop program was as good as advertised and, even though the same situation existed as at OSU regarding computer science freshmen being herded through a year in engineering before being able to split off, CJ was comforted by the emphasis on mentoring and how there would always be plenty of help available in the form of tutors or learning groups.
Let me take this opportunity to explain the potential need for educational assistance. CJ is a smart kid. He has taken the SAT and ACT and scored well enough that acceptance at any of the colleges I have mentioned would not be an issue. He would probably even qualify for some small scholarships. I will be more specific about that in my next post. You'll see why. CJ's GPA after three years of high school is around a 3.7. Colleges don't look as closely at GPA as they used to since not every high school uses the same scale, some weigh the GPA if you take AP courses, and some don't use GPA at all. However, most colleges do look at your class rank. Even with a 3.7, CJ is not in the top 10% of his class. In fact, he is probably closer to the 40 or 50th percentile. There are only 100 kids in his class and a lot of them are brainiacs. His closest friend is one of those students who got a 35 on his ACT, has a 4.20 GPA (on a 4.0 scale)and is waiting to see which college offers him the most money. Many of the guys in his circle have scored between 33-36 on the ACT and have GPAs better than 3.90. (A perfect score on the ACT is a 36 if you were wondering. The average score to get into a good university is between 27-32.) Therefore, CJ has never felt like an idiot, but has certainly never felt like he was an above average student. A degree in engineering and the classes this entails is more worrisome to CJ's parents than it is to CJ so far. He does recognize the potential need for tutors though.
So as I leave you today, the University of Cincinnati is the front-runner. What could possibly happen to change this? Stay tuned.