The most important thing that I do as a college admissions advisor is help students make their college lists. I try to recommend schools that should be the best fit academically, financially and socially.
Some of these schools get on the final college lists, others don’t. Here’s four that I wish students and parents would consider more often.
New York has four flagship state universities, and this one is the best. Binghamton has made my Public Ivy list every year. Unless you care about a football team, Binghamton checks many boxes for families seeking an affordable education in business, engineering, liberal arts and nursing. It is quite residential for a state school with a residential college system like Yale, with a smaller enrollment (14,000 undergrads) than most other flagships (not to mention Cornell and Syracuse). Admissions are far more achievable than they are at schools such as UVa. or UNC-Chapel Hill. There are over 44,000 alumni in the New York metro area versus 40,000 Syracuse alumni. Who should look at this school? Anyone who is looking at Rutgers or Penn State as well as Syracuse or Cornell, who wants an affordable option with a less intimidating campus setting.
Virginia has several excellent public and private schools. Christopher Newport is one of the newest. First founded as a campus of the College of William & Mary, it did not become a university until 1992. However, this public liberal arts school with just over 4,000 undergrads graduates over 70 percent of its freshmen on-time. It also offers stackable leadership and academic merit awards and houses most of its students on campus. Who should look at this school? To me anyone who likes the University of Richmond or William & Mary should put it on their lists. You can get a solid liberal arts education and make good connections into Washington DC. Christopher Newport made my Public Ivy list for the first time this year.
I scratch my head wondering why a school that has a huge alumni network (even on the West Coast), Big Ten sports and easy train connections to New York City doesn’t attract more non residents than Penn State, which is three hours from Philadelphia or Pittsburgh. Rutgers has 2,000 students in its Honors College; the freshmen live in one of the nicest residence halls (pictured above) you’ll find anywhere. Penn State has 1,200 and their freshmen live in one of the oldest halls on campus. If you want to be near New York and simply cannot afford NYU, Rutgers is the most sensible residential alternative. There’s over 160,000 Scarlet Knights in the New York area. Rutgers is a very big state university with a very good four-year grad rate (67 percent) with more achievable admissions than schools such as UC-Berkeley, UCLA or Michigan.
Want an inexpensive place to study architecture, art or engineering–in New York City? This is your school.
Founded by industrialist/philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, the Union has fewer than 900 undergrads. It’s exceptionally selective, but also extremely affordable. During the last admissions cycle, less than a fifth of all applicants were admitted. However, the effort to get in is worth it. Each accepted student who deposits receives a half-tuition scholarship, currently valued at $22,500 and keeps that award for the duration of their undergraduate education. Students who graduated last year who took out loans owed, on average, less than $17,000. That’s $10,000 less than the maximum that they could borrow through the Federal Student Loan Program. Not to mention that Cooper Union has connections comparable to those you would make if you went to MIT.
I’ve always believed that you should look at a school for how it might help you to do what you believe you want to do. Rankings in a magazine don’t mean much, since the ranker decides the criteria for the ranking. If I was to include, for example, football attendance as part of a ranking of national research universities Notre Dame would top the list for sure.
Need help on the journey to college? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 609-406-0062.
Want to know more about me? Check out these podcasts!
Listen to my talk, College Is A Learning AND Living Community, hosted by Dr. Cynthia Colon from Destination YOUniversity on Voice of America Radio!
Listen to my talk, What Exactly Is a Good College? hosted by test-prep experts Amy Seeley and Mike Bergin on Tests And The Rest!
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