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Old 07-18-2007, 06:18 PM   #61
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Notre Dame-- wow.
Nords - I grew up less than 10 miles from campus. Took my SAT's there. Still, it was/is always a treat to visit.
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Old 07-19-2007, 09:55 PM   #62
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Notre Dame-- wow.
Yes, Dan, the few co-eds that are still on the campus are major babes. I was assured that the same was true of the guys.
Were you wearing your shades and keeping the spouse from smelling the testosterone reading your mind?
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Old 07-21-2007, 07:22 AM   #63
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Nords

We have gone through the college quest for two of our three kids so far. One school that surprised us was Georgia Tech, in particular for an Undecided engineering type. Our oldest daughter went to Cornell and is now at Michigan for a Phd. Middle son was interested in Carnagie Mellon, Michigan, Cornell, & Georgia Tech and although he was very impressed with the program and caliber of students a Carnagie Mellon, his overnight campus visits to both schools, caused GA Tech to go from last choice safety school to first choice. Most of Ga Techs engineering programs are in the top 5 in the Nation. Note, at least for school of computer science, Carnagie Mellon Average SAT math / verbal were above 1450 /1600 with better than half the students with 800 on the math side. Ga Tech / Notre Dame used to be closer to 1380 on average and RPI is a bit lower. Point being test scores can limit top tier choices even with strong GPA's. Also the lower the "tier" of the school, the higher the probability of merit based aid. Our middle kid would have been just an average enrollee at Carnagie Mellon and would have received zero merit based $. At schools where your child is in the top 5 or 10% of the applicants, non need based aid is much more probable. Our challenge with be with our youngest daughter (soon to be in 11th grade) who wants to be a musician. Her education costs will likely be economically "illogical", but it is hard to discourage a youngster from chasing their dream. The best I can hope for is to temper it with reality.

Good luck with the rest of the visits and a very exciting time in your daughters life.


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Old 07-21-2007, 04:10 PM   #64
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Carnegie-Mellon: pretty good.

CMUís campus is physically smaller than Notre Dame and in downtown Pittsburgh (population ~1.5 million) but it still has adequate green space and itís right next to Schenley Park. The architecture and the public art is just about as impressive as Notre Dame. CMU is also the nationís first wireless campus, with coverage of Schenley Park and an extension down to the Forbes Ave. Starbucks. Of course many campuses are wireless today, but CMU prides itself on its bootstrap computer geekiness almost as much as MIT. Maybe more, with a scrappy underdog street attitude.

The admissions staff opened their presentation on a Mac laptop with one of the smallest LCD projectors Iíve ever seen. The introduction was set to an orchestral version of Van Hagarís ďRight NowĒ whose opening chords immediately had our kid and me banging our ponytailed heads in unison (much to the audienceís amusement and my spouseís consternation). Very cool.

The campus isnít as well-funded as Notre Dame and the ďstadiumĒ is smaller than our kidís high school. However CMU does just fine from various Carnegies, Mellons, and other local titans of industry & philanthropy. The Gates Foundation also just dropped $20M for their new computer center where construction is proceeding briskly. The Electrical & Computer Engineering degree fills up so quickly that freshmen have to declare this major when they accept the schoolís enrollment.

Thereís plenty to be happy aboutógood degrees & profs, strong connection to local industry (both research & internships), very strong arts & drama programs to balance out the engineering geeks (I can only imagine the turbulence in the gene pool), and a nice urban community atmosphere. On a scale of 10, CMU is about a 9.8 and Notre Dame is maybe a 9.85.

The Pittsburgh ROTC unit is a little smaller than ND and itís spread out among CMU, Pitt, & Duquesne U. However its 23 graduating mids included seven nukes, two headed for medical school, and a civil engineer. This is an extremely high proportion of technical commissions straight out of an undergrad programóespecially considering that it also included four Marines. Our kid is really excited by the opportunities here, although NDís ROTC unit is better funded. The CMU unit is run by Gumbyís USNA classmate Keith Bowman (a submariner) and one of its lieutenants is another submariner. Iíve never seen so many nukes at ROTC units, and I certainly donít remember that happening when I was a junior officer.

Spouse and I are pretty sure that USNA instead of today's ROTC would be a mistake. But we could be seduced by the marketing, so when we get back we're gonna have a few pointed questions for our local Blue & Gold Officer and a friend at USNA. It'll be interesting to hear their rebuttals.

Admissions casually mentioned that tuition is $49K. Thatís nearly 10% more than Notre Dame, although CMU claims that their ďaverageĒ student aid is $23K. The staff used enough weasel words that if they gave the financial-aid data to this board then our auditors would soon shoot holes in it.

So today our kidís feeling like a CMU engineer, but there are no losers in this competition. Tomorrow we fly to RPI.

Boy does Mainland construction use a lot of bricks, granite, limestone, and sandstone.

Damn is it cold here. In the 50s in the middle of freakin' July!

I havenít seen a rice cooker or a decent grain of rice all week. But Iíve seen plenty of potato products... and gosh, a lot of us Americans are fat.

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Nords - I grew up less than 10 miles from campus. Took my SAT's there. Still, it was/is always a treat to visit.
I like ND's landscaping & amenities better than CMU. OTOH CMU is in the middle of it all, which may or may not be a good thing.

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Were you wearing your shades and keeping the spouse from smelling the testosterone reading your mind?
Ahem, speaking of amenities. Spouse & kid were almost as busy checking out the guys, and my discreet observations were frequently interrupted by their calling my attention to the competition... maybe there's something about that "Catholic school" mystique, or maybe it's because they're in the middle of the cornfields.

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Middle son was interested in Carnagie Mellon, Michigan, Cornell, & Georgia Tech and although he was very impressed with the program and caliber of students a Carnagie Mellon, his overnight campus visits to both schools, caused GA Tech to go from last choice safety school to first choice.
Thanks, we'll add GT to the list. The weather certainly can't be any colder than what we've seen so far.

We've decided that it's well worth the effort to invest the bucks in SAT prep courses and to take the tests at least twice. CMU requested several additional SAT supplements but so far both schools will take the highest of the math & verbal scores. So our kid's going to start early, test often, and game the process to the max.
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Old 07-21-2007, 08:27 PM   #65
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"We've decided that it's well worth the effort to invest the bucks in SAT prep courses and to take the tests at least twice. CMU requested several additional SAT supplements but so far both schools will take the highest of the math & verbal scores. So our kid's going to start early, test often, and game the process to the max.[/quote]

Note: Many of the top tier schools will require two or three SAT 2 (subject) exams. My kids found those easier (in terms of scoring) than the regular SAT. Commercially available test prep books from your local book store for $20 or $30 should be sufficient for prep if your daughter is a good tester and a self starter. If you haven't found the forum "collegeconfidential" online yet there is useful discussion there for student and parent.
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Old 07-22-2007, 02:48 AM   #66
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Nords, have you considered Caltech? Maybe not the first place one would think of for basketball or ROTC (though they do have a womens team, and have some kind of ROTC agreement with USC). But as far as engineering/science geekdom, it's world class, and the undergrad student body numbers under 1000. If applying, would definitely recommend a visit in person to check out the unique/intense student culture - it's rare to find such a concentration of brilliant, creatively subversive folks, and people generally love it or hate it, or both.
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Old 07-22-2007, 08:08 AM   #67
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Nords - no suggestion about schools, but I am curious about your kid(s). I remember you were out here a couple of years ago visiting the Academy. Was that the same daughter's first visit or does she have an older sister already enrolled?

On our college tour DD showed no interest in the great state schools we visited all of which would garner a $10k/yr tuition offset from the DC government. Naturally, she fell in love with NYU - expensive and no offset. I was ready to retire to either Boulder or U of Vermont and enroll in classes. DD viewed them as tree hugging hippy schools.
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Old 07-22-2007, 05:55 PM   #68
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Nords, have you considered Caltech? Maybe not the first place one would think of for basketball or ROTC (though they do have a womens team, and have some kind of ROTC agreement with USC). But as far as engineering/science geekdom, it's world class, and the undergrad student body numbers under 1000. If applying, would definitely recommend a visit in person to check out the unique/intense student culture - it's rare to find such a concentration of brilliant, creatively subversive folks, and people generally love it or hate it, or both.
Thanks, we'll add it to the list for the next trip.

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Nords - no suggestion about schools, but I am curious about your kid(s). I remember you were out here a couple of years ago visiting the Academy. Was that the same daughter's first visit or does she have an older sister already enrolled?
On our college tour DD showed no interest in the great state schools we visited all of which would garner a $10k/yr tuition offset from the DC government. Naturally, she fell in love with NYU - expensive and no offset. I was ready to retire to either Boulder or U of Vermont and enroll in classes. DD viewed them as tree hugging hippy schools.
We only have the one kid, who visited USNA last July on our Wash DC trip, but we have lots of shipmates with their kids at USNA and an old friend is on the faculty. We also had dinner last night with a high school classmate whose oldest son just hit the halfway mark of plebe summer.

So our daughter's been hearing all the stories. She starts 10th grade next week and she'll go to USNA's Summer Seminar in two years to help her make her final decision. But so far she's looking at applying to Notre Dame, CMU, & USNA with the possible addition of RPI. We'll know more after tomorrow's RPI visit.

We're on our third rental car in a week. It's getting to the point where I just go to the parking lot, push the button on the key fob, and see what lights up...
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Old 07-23-2007, 07:41 PM   #69
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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (yes, that’s spelled correctly).

Not a bad school, but it’s our third in eight days and I’m getting a little punchy. (“It’s Monday so this must be New York.”) RPI is a small school in a small town in a very cold part of the state. (Notre Dame: big school, small town. CMU: small school, big town.) Last February RPI’s lake effect delivered over a foot of snow in two days. When A/C is not necessary in the dorms and the tour guide brags about how much salt goes on the sidewalks after the snowfall then it’s time to think about a warmer clime.

RPI is one of the "New Ivies". However Business Week just published an article about rotting university infrastructures at a time when donors want to build new facilities, not fix the old, and RPI is also the poster child for this problem. They just received an anonymous $360M donation for a new high-tech performing-arts center (with acoustically-perfect sound-mounted theaters) yet the student bookstore was flooded out after today’s rainfall. But RPI’s President, Shirley Ann Jackson, is a heavy hitter who’s going to boost this school even higher than it’s already come. I can’t even tell you who’s running CMU or ND.

Like the other two schools, competition is keen. The admissions speaker cheerfully admitted that he could switch out all 1300 of the freshman class with the waiting list—twice—and no one would notice the performance difference (except for their parents). RPI doesn’t crow about its engineering & computer accomplishments as much as CMU, but RPI has been around since 1824 and isn’t going to be fazed by 20th-century upstarts. Engineering reigns supreme among RPI’s degrees but they have a six-year BS-->MD program and an electronic arts department. There are still no losers in this competition.

Once again the NROTC staff is impressive. RPI’s NROTC gets their money from the Navy, not from Notre Dame’s grateful alumni, so RPI’s NROTC building is pushing 100 years and their cramped offices smell of old steam heat. However the staff has a lot of unit cohesion & pride and the CO/XO work out alongside the mids at every drill period. (Other unit’s CO/XOs are not so present in their leadership.) The CO is a USNA grad (like CMU) but five of us USNA/ROTC alums couldn’t come up with a significant advantage of USNA over ROTC. IMO there’s no longer a difference except for the fact that ROTC delivers the same benefits at a much lower cost.

RPI wants $49K/year for all tuition, room & board, and fees. Scholarship money seems to be about $15K/year on merit but many weasel words were spoken. Unlike other units, RPI’s ROTC scholarship covers room & board as well as tuition. I didn’t know there was a difference and we’re going to have to dig into that question with ND & CMU. Not a major issue.

Our kid is going to change her mind two dozen times over the next 30 months but her new priority is 1) Notre Dame, 2) RPI, 3) CMU, and 4) USNA. Everyone wins, although she’ll be filling out four applications and taking 2-3 math/verbal SATs plus some special-subject SATs.

For you parents wondering about the written-essay section of the new 2400-point SAT, all three schools have admitted that they have no idea what to do with it. They focus on the math & verbal sections. CMU wants additional science tests of the SAT which I had no idea existed. All three schools will use the highest math/verbal scores from all tests, as RPI explained they wanted to see their applicants show their best game. However RPI also cautioned that taking more than three SATs was probably an indication that a student could make better use of their time.

One gutsy high-school rising senior wore a t-shirt proclaiming “MIT” in a huge font on his chest. When the RPI admissions staff started teasing him about it, he turned around so that they could read “... because not everyone can go to CalTech!” on the back. They know his name now, but there will be no RPI scholarship money for this candidate.

Next time I visit the northeast in July I’m bringing more long pants, hooded sweatshirts, a windbreaker, and an umbrella!
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Old 07-24-2007, 05:31 PM   #70
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Nords,

I just have to comment on all this. I think you're definitely going the distance with this but I'll make a few comments (and forever hold my peace).
  • You don't know what your daughter is going to get on the SAT (unless I missed something) and I would definitely recommend her not going anywhere where she wasn't "above average."
  • Is she wanting a navy career or an engineering career? I would think the USNA would have a higher percentage of admirals than any other program. Academy engineering degrees don't get much respect in industry from what I've seen.
  • Engineering salaries are very slightly impacted by the school attended but all of this disappears in 2 years. Texas A&M has a ROTC that would rival any torture administered by the USNA and would cost about $14K per year. If your daughter can breathe she'll get a $1K to $10K scholarship from the Corps plus be granted in-state tuition. It's mostly warm but cold enough to make her want to visit you over Christmas. My comments are meant to encourage you to look at state schools and not just TAMU.
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Old 07-24-2007, 06:06 PM   #71
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Nords -15 sounds about right and with the exception of a week or two last winter the last few years have been fairly mild. Webzter found the cold weather up in Marquette (NMU).
Notre Dame is fairly tame on the party scene as colleges go.
$46,000 a year sounds painful.
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Old 07-24-2007, 09:52 PM   #72
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Webzter found the cold weather up in Marquette (NMU).
The price of admission to God's country is pretty low... just a few short months of cold.

True story (thread hijack alert), in the ten years that I lived there, I personally saw it snow every month except August. I know this sounds like a horrible lie, but our fourth of July fireworks were cancelled once due to snow. Mother's Day that year rang in 30" of snowfall in one weekend. Mother's Day for crying out loud; that's summertime for most people.

The thing is, it never feels that cold there. Cold air comes down from Canada and hits Lake Superior. The water warms the air up, which causes the air to draw moisture out of the lake (warmer air holds more moisture). The air then hits the land, cools off, and dumps that moisture as snow. The one time that it was really horrible was the year the lake froze completely over. The frost went down 11' that year and busted mains all over. That was the year with -100F windchills.

And, through it all, we just said "Glad I'm not living up in Houghton!" I guess you always want to feel someone is in more severe conditions than you.
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Old 07-25-2007, 08:29 AM   #73
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The price of admission to God's country is pretty low... just a few short months of cold.

True story (thread hijack alert), in the ten years that I lived there, I personally saw it snow every month except August. I know this sounds like a horrible lie, but our fourth of July fireworks were cancelled once due to snow. Mother's Day that year rang in 30" of snowfall in one weekend. Mother's Day for crying out loud; that's summertime for most people.

The thing is, it never feels that cold there. Cold air comes down from Canada and hits Lake Superior. The water warms the air up, which causes the air to draw moisture out of the lake (warmer air holds more moisture). The air then hits the land, cools off, and dumps that moisture as snow. The one time that it was really horrible was the year the lake froze completely over. The frost went down 11' that year and busted mains all over. That was the year with -100F windchills.

And, through it all, we just said "Glad I'm not living up in Houghton!" I guess you always want to feel someone is in more severe conditions than you.
The UP is a beautiful place..get to drive through it whenever I visit my people in Traverse City..I stop for a pasty at just about every shop along the road....UPers are great people and it sure is beautiful there (only been in summer )...we now return you to the college thread!
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Old 07-25-2007, 10:16 PM   #74
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I think you're definitely going the distance with this but I'll make a few comments (and forever hold my peace).
No, no, these are all good points and that's why I put this thread up.

Talking about distance, we did over 10,000 miles... we got back today (Wednesday afternoon). On one hand we probably would've done better with visiting just one or two colleges, but OTOH it takes five hours to fly to the Mainland. I've about had my fill of airplanes with hyperactive screaming children and their blissfully ignorant parents.

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You don't know what your daughter is going to get on the SAT (unless I missed something) and I would definitely recommend her not going anywhere where she wasn't "above average."
True, but we do know that this whole trip has been a hypothetical waste of time if she doesn't score at least a 1400. 1500+ would be better. We have the typical SAT prep software and she's been working with it on the usual "20 minutes a day" regime.

I think getting your doors blown off in college can be a beneficial experience. I loafed through a small high school with a high class rank and was shocked by USNA. They preach "Excellence without arrogance" and I arrived as "arrogance without excellence". It took me four years to claw my way back up the rankings, which turned out to be a useful experience when I reported to the submarine force and found myself at the bottom of a pile of smart nukes.

So I'd rather see her struggle at college than afterwards.

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Is she wanting a navy career or an engineering career? I would think the USNA would have a higher percentage of admirals than any other program. Academy engineering degrees don't get much respect in industry from what I've seen.
Not a clue. Right now she knows she wants an engineering degree and a Navy commission but at her age it'll change at least monthly. She's looking for a BS and a 4-5-year obligation and then she'll make a new decision about a graduate degree and a Navy career.

USNA's "flag advantage" started to disappear in the 1970s and is believed to be non-existent today, but I can't quote a study.

I don't know how her engineering degree would translate to a civilian job. A lot of Navy officers take the transition as an opportunity to do things other than engineering... usually some sort of management track but maybe back to school for a master's in their engineering field or a MBA.

I only know one officer who sought an engineering job in his undergraduate field, and he finished his MSEE in Pearl Harbor (distance-learning from U of W) before getting a job with an Oregon EE firm. They got him to sign by agreeing to pay for his EE PhD, and he's the kind of guy who five years later is deliriously happy with how it all turned out.

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Engineering salaries are very slightly impacted by the school attended but all of this disappears in 2 years.
Same with the commission, only the "USNA advantage" has been quoted as short as six months. About the only USNA advantage I've seen has been the ability to remain cool, calm, & focused while being screamed at, and I've seen a few USNA grads who lacked that advantage too.

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Texas A&M has a ROTC that would rival any torture administered by the USNA and would cost about $14K per year. If your daughter can breathe she'll get a $1K to $10K scholarship from the Corps plus be granted in-state tuition. It's mostly warm but cold enough to make her want to visit you over Christmas. My comments are meant to encourage you to look at state schools and not just TAMU.
Agreed, although she's focused on small schools with engineering degrees, NROTC, and women's basketball. Public or private is irrelevant to her.

We talked a lot about how to choose a school before she started sorting for those criterial. It was hard enough to get her to stop obsessing over whether the school would be better with Div I sports instead of Div III. Or whether they had a Hawaii club. Or whether she'd be able to study architecture in Rome, have to go to Catholic mass, or be downtown. Hey, she's making decisions like a 14-year-old.

The important results of this trip are that she's learned what to look for and she's able to see herself going to any of those schools.

From what the ROTC staffs indicated, if she can get into her chosen schools then the tuition will be covered. RPI's ROTC program might also cover room & board, although in retrospect that seems too good to be true.

Blue skies, sunshine, no pollution or even haze, 82 degrees and 15-knot trades with tonight's low in the low 70s. Surf forecast includes south shore 2-4. Once again when we saw the Ko'olau from the aircraft window we knew we'd returned home!
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Old 07-25-2007, 11:18 PM   #75
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Nords - It sure seems like you have a sharp kid (what with the genes I'm betting the DW is smarter than you too) and will probably do really well on the SATs ( take them often, ours started freshman year) no ACTs needed?....and stating I'm sure the obvious - class rank, grade point, extracurricular activities, references, essay (especially if she can come up with a heartwarming story like overcoming growing up with a father that doesn't work and surfs (waves and internet) all day) and coming from an under-representative area or ethnic group, etc. It will probably also help if you make a big donation like for a building... For USNA - does she get a legacy or do you need a Senator/Representative to nominate her? It won't be long and you'll be at the graduation ceremony!
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Old 07-25-2007, 11:47 PM   #76
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My daughter attended a Jesuit university and was not pushed to attend mass (we are not RC). The student body was diverse in all aspects. Frankly Jesuits are among the most independent thinkers in Roman Catholicism, they doubtless give the Vatican heartburn.

What she did learn is that the calling of Jesuits to higher education is worthy, that they are not only great educators but effective administrators. The school educated the whole person.

What she experienced that is not common is public universities is a mission to serve others who are not as fortunate. She was encouraged to think beyond her own self interest. The development of the ability to consider the point of view of others has actually served her well as she works with executives and managers in high level positions.
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Old 07-25-2007, 11:55 PM   #77
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... and coming from an under-representative area or ethnic group, etc.
Women from Hawaii. We know people who transferred here just so their kids didn't have to apply to college as residents of CA, VA, MD, or DC.

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It will probably also help if you make a big donation like for a building...
We're just gonna have to take our chances on that. Maybe many years from now, but not anytime soon. Too many homeless shelters, foodbanks, and literacy programs need our money now, and the college students will have to take care of themselves for a while longre.

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For USNA - does she get a legacy or do you need a Senator/Representative to nominate her?
There is a legacy program for children of retirees, but I don't remember how many or whether it's the President's or the VP's. She'll apply to everything that strikes her fancy and let the selection process help with the decision.
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Old 07-26-2007, 01:08 AM   #78
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Originally Posted by Brat View Post
My daughter attended a Jesuit university and was not pushed to attend mass (we are not RC). The student body was diverse in all aspects. Frankly Jesuits are among the most independent thinkers in Roman Catholicism, they doubtless give the Vatican heartburn.

What she did learn is that the calling of Jesuits to higher education is worthy, that they are not only great educators but effective administrators. The school educated the whole person.

What she experienced that is not common is public universities is a mission to serve others who are not as fortunate. She was encouraged to think beyond her own self interest. The development of the ability to consider the point of view of others has actually served her well as she works with executives and managers in high level positions.
We aren't Catholic either, yet we have had 3 kids that have gone to Cathoilc colleges .. Univeristy Of St..Thomas, College of St. Benedict and Univeriisity St. Johns....they made a point of not attending mass..they were raise as Quakers....Jesuit education is a good one. I've been friends with guys that survived the Jesuits and came out with a great sense of humor...actually I think the funniest people I've know are either Jewish or Jesuits that survived their high school or college..
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