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Old 06-21-2007, 04:57 PM   #21
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Yes, I remember this process. Five years ago was my last college sojourn as my daughter just graduated from Villanova this year.

We went on two four-day trips: northern route and southern route

Make sure you have scheduled the tours and department personnel appts ahead of time. If sports are important, the coach can set up a weekend for your child and make appts for you with other departments, etc.

My daughter played Volleyball at Villanova and the coach was very helpful. On the other hand, my son wasn't going to play sports and we had to arrange everything ourselves ahead of time.

Good luck.
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Old 06-21-2007, 05:34 PM   #22
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USC - We had an appointment and they cancelled it! After we had already left home and started our trip! They decided to not have tours that day! We did our own and as it happened a friendly maintenance/landscape guy took us under his wing and toured us around - gave us the low down...had been there over thirty years...son went there (for free) so he knew some things not in the brochure...they have a first rate security department for example and for good reason.
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Old 06-21-2007, 06:02 PM   #23
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as it happened a friendly maintenance/landscape guy took us under his wing and toured us around - gave us the low down
...and this here's the best utility closet on campus. We used to have 15 drums of cleaner here, but now we keep the fertilizer on this shelf here. Now let's head over to the tractor shed...
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Old 06-22-2007, 12:03 AM   #24
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...and this here's the best utility closet on campus. We used to have 15 drums of cleaner here, but now we keep the fertilizer on this shelf here. Now let's head over to the tractor shed...
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Old 06-22-2007, 06:04 PM   #25
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Al - I took a picture of him - this is Carl Spackler our tour guide:
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Old 06-22-2007, 06:33 PM   #26
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Hey, we have fun here, don't we?
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Old 06-22-2007, 10:30 PM   #27
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Not totally on topic, but I dragged my wife from Seattle WA to Albany NY (close to RPI in Troy,) for a job. She did not like the smaller town atmosphere and when winter struck we were on the move South.

RPI is a great engineering school, fairly close to Vermont, NYC, Montreal, etc. I think the bigger
risk would be keeping her interested in the area and not wanting to come back home when things get rough.
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Old 06-23-2007, 08:38 AM   #28
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Not totally on topic, but I dragged my wife from Seattle WA to Albany NY (close to RPI in Troy,) for a job. She did not like the smaller town atmosphere and when winter struck we were on the move South.

RPI is a great engineering school, fairly close to Vermont, NYC, Montreal, etc. I think the bigger
risk would be keeping her interested in the area and not wanting to come back home when things get rough.
Rough for whom? She might fall in love with the area (or someone from the area) and want to stay there -- permanently. Then Nords and his wife will need to travel from the warm climate of Hawai'i to almost the Great White North for the holidays (BRRR... )
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Old 06-23-2007, 11:21 AM   #29
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Hey, we have fun here, don't we?
How's your daughter like Washington U.? We did that tour also, which was probably one of the better ones, (although the kid tour guide wasn't as informative as Carl)..even got a sit down with the Econ Dept head., nice campus.
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Old 06-23-2007, 11:22 AM   #30
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Rough for whom? She might fall in love with the area (or someone from the area) and want to stay there -- permanently. Then Nords and his wife will need to travel from the warm climate of Hawai'i to almost the Great White North for the holidays (BRRR... )
We've had that conversation. The answer is "No." Hudson River surfing sucks and the East River is just way too scary.

Besides she'll want to regularly visit the islands for Kona, macadamia, and li hing mui. She also gets rice withdrawal after a couple weeks. She really has a lot to learn about living on the Mainland, and for her personal growth I've agreed to stay here and let her maximize the intensity of the experience without parental interference...

I could travel to NY between June & September if I had to, but everywhere we go we get the same reaction, with various regional accents but similar pronunciation:
"Y'all live in Ha-why-ya and yer vacationin' HERE?!?" Even DisneyWorld.

Not looking forward to that for this trip, but at least we can claim to be researching colleges.
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Old 06-23-2007, 12:39 PM   #31
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If she knows she is joining the Navy, she should consider a civilian college to round out her education. If she graduates from the USNA, she will have had a Navy-influenced upbringing, a Navy college education, and then lots of Navy training during a Navy career. A civilian college education with NROTC thrown in might not be such a bad thing.
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Old 06-23-2007, 03:34 PM   #32
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If she knows she is joining the Navy, she should consider a civilian college to round out her education. If she graduates from the USNA, she will have had a Navy-influenced upbringing, a Navy college education, and then lots of Navy training during a Navy career. A civilian college education with NROTC thrown in might not be such a bad thing.
I hear you.

Her response to that tactic was "Well, I'll be retired with a COLA pension & cheap healthcare at age 41 and I can spend the rest of my life surfing learning about whatever I missed by being in the Navy."

Then she twisted the knife: "The Princeton Review says that the kids at that great liberal-arts college we saw two years ago, Eckerd, all smoke pot. I don't want to go to a school like that."

We retreated from the field in total parental disarray. That's why we're calling in the college tour guides now...

A fellow tae kwon do student just got her black belt and is planning to join the Marines. Another student, a blue belt, is reading Dick Couch's book on SEAL training and getting that speculative look in his eye that I know so well. I'm not sure how all this happened, but it seems to have snowballed byeond our control!
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Old 06-23-2007, 06:42 PM   #33
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Based on my 3 kids that were all different and reacted totally different to my attempts to get them to think rationally about what they want to be when they grow up.........

If she is interested in engineering get her to flush the concept of a "small school." She wants to find a highly rated and accredited school in whatever she wants to major in. The smaller school she goes to the fewer her alternatives will be if she decides to change majors. Tranfers out of engineering usually don't cost much but some schools have very limited choices such as RPI if she like the school or has a really, really good boyfriend there. Switching between universities usually results in major credit losses which cost her time and you mucho dinero.

A major university will have more alternatives and the overall student experience really centers on their major department. A "small university" is really in one's mind. Once she gets into her major she'll be in a "small university" within a larger city with all its opportunities around her.

For trips focus on majors. That's obvious but the overall campus tours are given by grad students and upper class students that happen to be trapped on campus. Dealing with the incoming is a great summer job. They may or may not be bitter, drug users/dealers, wacko-whatevers, etc....

Focus on the academic meetings and see how they react. My oldest daughter was treated like a number at UT but at TAMU she had a one on one with someone that talked with her about what she could expect and how her background fit in. No punches were pulled and she really decided to go there.

It's not an easy process. Lots of money is on the line. The decisions that are made now could easily change college costs by $100,000.

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Old 06-23-2007, 07:31 PM   #34
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I hear you.


Then she twisted the knife: "The Princeton Review says that the kids at that great liberal-arts college we saw two years ago, Eckerd, all smoke pot. I don't want to go to a school like that."

We retreated from the field in total parental disarray. That's why we're calling in the college tour guides now...
Except for schools like Brigham Young or other civilian colleges with strong conservative, religious roots, most civilian colleges will have some pot-smoking students as well as a lot of binge drinkers. Is this really a big problem for a student who has no proclivity to do drugs and will likely hang-out with a different crowd?

At USNA, we lock up students in an almost prison-like environment for the first two years, then gradually give them some freedom with liberty and leave (prison furloughs, if you ask me) and expect them not to engage in serious binge drinking during the time they have liberty or leave? Drinking is a serious problem at the academies -- serious enough for the last Supt to impose some severe breathalizer standards on the Brigade.

My son, the recent USNA 07 graduate, really thinks the ROTC-graduates are better equipped to make the transition from college to military and real world living than USNA graduates. There's great value at the service academies -- there are intangibles, as you know, that only service academies can provide, though some friendships and networking at some civilian colleges can approximate the "bonding" that one can get at the academies. I would re-orient your daughter to the two major goals of a college education: (1) to provide a first-rate learning environment that fits the student and (2) to promote an atmosphere where students will likely forge life-long friendships and relationships. Civilian colleges do this better than the service academies, which obviously have a broader mission to train students for military life.

My son would actually have been more in sync with the student campus and environment at Cornell, Duke, or UVa than USNA. He found a great niche of friends at USNA, got a quality education and had a lot of stripes on his sleeve as a Firstie -- so he actually was in the middle of Brigade life at USNA. However, when he had the chance to go out for leave, he frequently was at Uva, Georgetown, VaTech, and Penn to hang-out.
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Old 06-23-2007, 08:56 PM   #35
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I was an Air Force officer who became an officer by attending OTS at Lakland AFB. After high school, I graduated from a small liberal arts college (that had a high percentage of students from Hawaii) receiving my degrees in Mathematics and Economics (both BS degrees). I then joined the AF and my first assignment after Lackland was two years at ASU earning my BSEE.

I had no idea what I wanted to do when I graduated from high school and entered college and I think that was good. As we all know know, at 18 years old I didn't know squat about the world and definitely didn't have enough info to decide what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.

It's almost a problem that your daughter thinks she knows what she wants to do with her life for the next 25 years as she me be closing her self off to her true destiny. I never could have planned the route that I have taken (including early retirement with no pension) which included 10 years in the USAF.

I lived at Williams AFB while attending ASU so any trip to the Officer's Club included lots of contact with Air Force academy graduates who were in pilot training. We always laughed at them and said they went in to the academy at 18 and came out 4 years later at 18 1/2. They may have been well-schooled but they were incredibly immature. No doubt they could drink like fish which we assumed they learned at the academy.
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Old 06-23-2007, 09:04 PM   #36
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Based on my 3 kids that were all different and reacted totally different to my attempts to get them to think rationally about what they want to be when they grow up.........
Well, that's our first problem right there-- asking a teenager to engage her amygdala in rational thought.

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If she is interested in engineering get her to flush the concept of a "small school." She wants to find a highly rated and accredited school in whatever she wants to major in. The smaller school she goes to the fewer her alternatives will be if she decides to change majors. Tranfers out of engineering usually don't cost much but some schools have very limited choices such as RPI if she like the school or has a really, really good boyfriend there. Switching between universities usually results in major credit losses which cost her time and you mucho dinero.
A major university will have more alternatives and the overall student experience really centers on their major department. A "small university" is really in one's mind. Once she gets into her major she'll be in a "small university" within a larger city with all its opportunities around her.
Good points highlighting a flaw. I don't see us handling all contingencies on this one. A highly-rated & accredited school could also lead to a huge research center (like Harvard) or a megaplex (like U of Maryland) where the classrooms are 500-seat auditoriums, the TAs wear headset microphones, and there's no professor within hundreds of yards.

General advantages of small schools include more contact with real profs, more chances for students to get involved in research projects, and more opportunities for sports. Perhaps there are more opportunities to set up for success. I wouldn't necessarily recommend a small school over one with better ratings & accreditation, but I'd certainly support her decision to stay at the one making her subjectively happier. And if she doesn't care for engineering then finding an alternative is her problem. Judging from 9th grade, however, she seems to have inherited the geeky nuclear engineering gene. Must have come from my spouse.

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It's not an easy process. Lots of money is on the line. The decisions that are made now could easily change college costs by $100,000.
Oh, she's not at all concerned about that!

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At USNA, we lock up students in an almost prison-like environment for the first two years, then gradually give them some freedom with liberty and leave (prison furloughs, if you ask me) and expect them not to engage in serious binge drinking during the time they have liberty or leave? Drinking is a serious problem at the academies -- serious enough for the last Supt to impose some severe breathalizer standards on the Brigade.
It's also referred to as "Taking away all your God-given rights and awarding them one at a time as privileges".

Your post may give the impression that this is a new problem, but I was successfully smuggling beer-binge six-packs into Bancroft Hall in 1979. (I've been meaning to ask someone to check the suspended ceiling above Room 3208.) From what I've read about other schools, though, I think it's endemic to a certain small minority at every college environment-- just given a lot more publicity at USNA. Sports team at State U gets drunk and misogynistic: local news, maybe film at 11. Same thing at USNA: courts-martials and serious implications for the military-industrial complex! Superintendent fears for his career!! Washington Post gives national coverage!!!

Can you imagine breathalyzers at Berkeley or TAMU or Clemson or Yale?

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However, when he had the chance to go out for leave, he frequently was at Uva, Georgetown, VaTech, and Penn to hang-out.
That's 'cause USNA is a great place to be from. Your son has to answer this question for himself, though: If USNA sucked so badly, why did it take him four years to figure that out? If he was so happy at other schools, why did he keep coming back from leave & liberty?!? I quit hundreds of times but somehow I never quite got the paperwork routed up the chain of command. It wasn't because I was enjoying myself, it was because of illegitimi non carborundum. Maybe not a good basis for a continuing relationship, but one that apparently worked for 24 years.

Hanging out with your friends at USNA is like staying late at the office to kick back with the guys. It's unrealistic to expect that your boss won't drop by to have you take care of a thing or two, or at least to ask you to turn down that godawful music and clean up the mess...

As for the camaraderie, it'll be interesting to see how that plays out over the years. I stay in touch with far more shipmates & classmates than I do neighbors or civilian co-workers or even some relatives. I think the shared trauma & misery bonds forged at USNA really do last a lifetime. Hopefully it's the same with civilian colleges.

I guess I keep looping back around to the same issue. The main purpose of this trip is to give our kid more ways to drive herself nuts about her USNA infatuation. I'm not realistically expecting her to change her obsession mind as much as I want her to be making an informed decision and develop a Plan "B". If she still feels that she has to settle her "What if?" question, then she needs to apply to USNA. And if USNA seems more appealing than any of these other places, then it's her own darn fault!
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Old 06-23-2007, 10:18 PM   #37
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I didn't see Rice University in Houston mentioned in this thread.

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She's seeking smaller campuses with engineering degrees, NROTC units, and women's basketball teams. Environmental engineering is the flavor of the month but she's also interested in civil, aero, & mechanical. ....
I think Rice meets all the criteria in spades. The Rice grads that I know are exceptionally well-rounded, smart, unpretentious and good people. Check it out.
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Old 06-23-2007, 10:19 PM   #38
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Nords - Right now all my retirement money is on USNA for your daughter (recall staying there as a scout for a few days during summer 1964 - 4 or was it 6 to a room and being instructed to eat like a plebe at the family-style dining hall - fun for a few days!)...

For anyone else with college coming up and with the good fortune to be able to manage sending their kid(s) off to school - I recommend a school where every class is taught full time by a professor. When we went to the big prestigious schools it became apparent that TAs or GAs did most of the teaching in breakout classes with an occasional appearance by the prof at a big lecture hall get together... usually smaller schools with no graduate school have only profs teaching...that was the big selling point for our kids finally, although they were tempted to go to schools with big football traditions (Notre Dame, Michigan & USC)...those football teams I think are a big selling point for schools.
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Old 06-23-2007, 11:27 PM   #39
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Your post may give the impression that this is a new problem, but I was successfully smuggling beer-binge six-packs into Bancroft Hall in 1979. (I've been meaning to ask someone to check the suspended ceiling above Room 3208.) From what I've read about other schools, though, I think it's endemic to a certain small minority at every college environment-- just given a lot more publicity at USNA. Sports team at State U gets drunk and misogynistic: local news, maybe film at 11. Same thing at USNA: courts-martials and serious implications for the military-industrial complex! Superintendent fears for his career!! Washington Post gives national coverage!!!

Can you imagine breathalyzers at Berkeley or TAMU or Clemson or Yale?


That's 'cause USNA is a great place to be from. Your son has to answer this question for himself, though: If USNA sucked so badly, why did it take him four years to figure that out? If he was so happy at other schools, why did he keep coming back from leave & liberty?!? I quit hundreds of times but somehow I never quite got the paperwork routed up the chain of command. It wasn't because I was enjoying myself, it was because of illegitimi non carborundum. Maybe not a good basis for a continuing relationship, but one that apparently worked for 24 years.
I didn't intend to convey the drinking as a new problem at USNA; I did hope to convey the impression, however, that it is qualitatively different than at most schools, including places like Virginia Tech, UVa or University of Md; maybe I'm wrong about that but I think the percentage of major binge drinking is much higher at USNA than at big State Universities or even small selective private colleges, despite the media attention that the problem gets at USNA. I just was pointing out that it's a bit misdirected to be concerned about pot-smoking students at Eckerd when contrasted with the drinking at the service academies.

USNA was a good fit for my son; it has a lot of flaws but for him it was the best place for him; he revisited the issue at every major point of his years at USNA and felt that the alternative wasn't right for him.

With civilian colleges, I think you forge equally close relationships with your fellow classmates; it really depends a lot on the school, the atmosphere and commitments you make at school. Some of my wife's best friends are her college classmates from her civilian college (class of '73); she went to a large private college in isolated upstate NY, where you can study and party hard; on the other hand, I don't have a single college friend from my days at school in NYC. I do however, believe that you're more likely to bond and forge better relationships with classmates at USNA than other schools simply because you are more exposed to them during your time at USNA: students stay with their Company for most of their years, live at Bancroft and in the same Company area for 4 years, and engage in common critical activities during their time.

Good luck in rounding out your daughter's views.
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Old 06-24-2007, 02:05 AM   #40
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I didn't see Rice University in Houston mentioned in this thread. I think Rice meets all the criteria in spades. The Rice grads that I know are exceptionally well-rounded, smart, unpretentious and good people. Check it out.
Thanks, we'll add it to the list.

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I didn't intend to convey the drinking as a new problem at USNA; I did hope to convey the impression, however, that it is qualitatively different than at most schools, including places like Virginia Tech, UVa or University of Md; maybe I'm wrong about that but I think the percentage of major binge drinking is much higher at USNA than at big State Universities or even small selective private colleges, despite the media attention that the problem gets at USNA. I just was pointing out that it's a bit misdirected to be concerned about pot-smoking students at Eckerd when contrasted with the drinking at the service academies.
Good luck in rounding out your daughter's views.
I don't know the binge numbers. There's a few topics that DoD has always been reluctant to dig into, and I can't recall any national alcohol studies that included the service academies. They'd make an interesting read! For a real scare on college binge drinking, try Alexandra Robbins' "Pledged".

I think DARE has caused the drug attitudes of the younger teens to be slightly to the right of the John Birch society. They seem to grow out of it, though...
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