Anyone got opinions for or against any colleges

My eldest is planning to graduate college next spring (in one year) and has her heart set on getting her medical degree, she wants to work with Drs without Borders.
she will be just barely 17 when she starts College, and with her history I would prefer she go someplace with a strict drug policy, and not a major party scene.
she gave me this HUGE list of colleges (37) and told me she was not REALLY interested in all of them, but since then i have added half as many as i have taken off in doing my research.

so now I M looking for peoples own experiences with colleges


Hmmm…the first thing she’s going to have to do is her undergraduate work. Why not have her go someplace close to home where you can monitor her? After her pre-med program, she’ll have to apply to medical school, and to get in, she’ll have to have kept her nose clean…get good recommendations from professors, etc.

Where are you looking and how far away? When I was looking at schools, my parents’ only restriction on location was that it had to be in driving distance. Which, considering I live in Pennsylvania, still left me with so many options.

It’ll be harder (but in no way impossible) to find a school with a small party scene. Big state schools tend to be all about parties, and small liberal arts schools often attract rich kids whose allowance from Mommy and Daddy lets them spend all their money on drugs and alcohol. But, there are definitely schools with a happy medium. Schools with a large amount of commuter students have less of a party scene because many people leave campus on the weekends. And, there are smaller schools where partying has less of a presence, like schools without a huge greek life.

As a person who has a 17 year old daughter graduating this year and a 16 year old son who will graduate next year I understand where you’re coming from. I agree with auburnchick about colleges close to home. Or at least a few hours driving distance. It will wind up better for both of you both psychologically & financially. She’ll probably wind up in less trouble that first crucial year if she knows home is not too far away. (As an aside - I would really like to know what the ratio is for kids dropping out of college or getting in trouble the first year who have moved a large distance to attend school as opposed to those who attend school relatively close to home.) Good luck to the both of you! :slight_smile:

I think the best thing you can do is have her narrow the list according to program evaluation, start visiting those campuses WITH her, see if you can talk to some alums or parents… maybe you could go visit on a parent day or something.

ok, im gonna add to the input honestly as a current college student. I think your primary concern shouldnt be whether or not its a party school, i think you need to look at other details first. How much support is there when she starts struggling? (not meant to make her sound like she wont succeed, but i man has tutoring and the learning center on campus saved my butt for a few classes! that plus i can talk to counselors anytime i need about anything i want if i so feel the need to, its nice knowing the resources i have access too.) How well are the advisors at placing students and generally helping them during school? what are the costs? how safe is the school, ie what kind of programs do they run to prevent as much crime as possible. what kind of reputation for prestige will the diploma have? how many classes are taught by TA’s versus profs. how good do the profs tend to be? how many students are in classes. (i currently have a 600 person lecture and a 30 person lecture, they are soooo different)
imo, party school or not if your kid is gonna party they will find a way.Basically you have to send her out the door and just hope you raised her right. I go to michigan state university, and boy do you want to talk about a party school reputation :stuck_out_tongue: we are known for inventing creative drinking games and having riots on campus(not really anymore, there were a few famous ones though) people here say not just go green, but you say “go green burn couches!” and believe me people do. But set all that aside, hmmm last time i drank alcohol and partied was last summer, and wait that was only because i was in london studying abroad so it was legal (im only 19). those that want to drink will find a way, and those that dont wont. plain and simple, and i dont think peer pressure is a huge problem either. I can go to parties and stay sober just fine, everybody respects that. so i would put non party school a little lower on the priority list if it were me, but thats all just my two cents, and feel free to pm me if you want some more input from a current college gal(sophmore currently)

Definitely go visit the colleges. Start as soon as you can and keep a notebook of your feelings about a school as well as any info you can get.

Don’t rely entirely on any one method of evaluation… listen to what people here have to say, read lots of info and do check the library or bookstore for books on colleges.

Our oldest started out at an out of state university (SMU) and it became obvious that it wasn’t really a good fit for her so she came home, finished the first two years at a good local community college, then transferred to UCSD in San Diego with a degree in molecular biology. She recently got her masters at UMich. Don’t discount community colleges if you feel it would be a better fit for a few years.

I love Wesleyan College in Macon, GA ( It is an all female college. I have all ready decided this is where my 3 year-old will go when she is ready for college. I want to go back there and finish getting my degree, but I will have to wait until after children grow up and husband gets out of the Navy.

What’s on your list so far?

I don’t know much about Maine’s state university/college system, but if it’s decent and well-priced I highly recommend doing that for undergrad. In the grand scheme of things, where you did your undergrad isn’t terribly important. What matters is how well you did and what opportunities you took advantage of–which gets you into a good graduate/medical school (which I think matters more).

So if Maine’s state schools are reliably funded, have programs to help students get internships and get into graduate school, etc. I would definitely push for that. Save the outrageous debt for the post-undergrad work (cuz believe me she’ll have lots!!)

[B]Caveat:[/B] This is all coming from someone who went to a top tier private college for undergrad and I’m now heading to grad school. I loved my college experience and I got an education I could NOT have received in any my state’s schools (not to mention UMass is getting nearly as expensive as a private school these days!)…

However, in retrospect I kinda wish my parents had done more to “encourage” me to head to a cheaper school. I have undergrad loans and because of that I didn’t even apply to some of the better graduate schools in my field because they’re prohibitively expensive and my field is low paying. If I were free of the undergrad debt I wouldn’t have felt so nervous about taking on the debt for the better grad schools…

I graduated from 3 different universities, and so as my boyfriend. The two of us together are alumni of 5 different universities (we met in graduate school), in 3 Canadian provinces, so we know a lot about students! We were undergrads a long long time ago, :teehee: but in grad school we became TAs and worked with them every day. And I must say, princess has a very good point. Party school or not, students are all the same everywhere. Some will party all the time, others won’t. The school has little to do with it in my opinion. Who she hangs out with and her own behavior is the only thing you can rely on and you have little control over that!

If you’re worried, find a place where she can stay at home while she studies. I’ve seen some residences turn into party lounges pretty much every night (yup, even girls-only residences). Yes when you visit they will tell you they have very strict rules. But believe me, kids will find ways to go around them no matter how strict they are! :shrug:

What’s important is that she feels motivated and excited about going to college. If she likes what she’s studying and has a lot of work, she probably won’t have too much time to party. If it’s too hard, if she doesn’t like it, or if it’s too easy, then yes it can be harder to get her to focus on her studies. And yes, look at the library, and the ratio of students/profs/TAs. :thumbsup: Good luck!

If she’s just dying to get far away, take a look at Mississippi State Univertsity. They are well known for both their undergrad and grad programs for medicine. And it’s in Starkville, which is a little town in the middle of nowhere. Hard to go clubbing when there’s no clubs.

If your daughter is looking for a smaller supportive school look at - you’ll see a LOT of good schools there in all areas of the country. I attended one of them (Wooster - I was almost 17 when I enrolled) and know and respect a number of others (Juniata or Allegheny for sciences, Kalamazoo for study abroad, Hope or Wheaton for more conservative values, Marlboro is more liberal, etc.). These are places which will take care of the students, while still letting them grow up. Note: These are NOT the place for a student who wants a big-school experience. You won’t find it at any of these schools.

I work in higher education research, and spend a lot of time looking at other schools. Feel free to PM me with specific questions and I’ll see what I can dig up. I can find just about anything. In my opinion, one of the key indicators of a GOOD school where students are happy with the education and the services is the Retention Rate, which is shown on most statistics-based resources. Anything over 85% is really good (keep in mind, some students flunk out). And listen to what everyone said about the campus visit - you can really get a feel for a campus through a visit/interview.

Really good advice so far, I just wanted to add that a school in the middle of nowhere might be actually more conducive to partying. Because the kids have nowhere to go or nothing to do at night, many will probably stay on campus drinking and partying. Take PennState. Talk about being in the middle of nowhere. The university is basically the town (aptly named State College). And yet, they don’t call it Happy Valley for nothing.

(Of course, there are probably exceptions to this rule that I haven’t heard of.)

Hey my school is on that list too, neat! I’m familiar with lots of the others too and they’re great.

I work at West Chester University in PA. It’s a state school. Very good pre-med program.

We’re also in the new Kiplinger Report as a “Best Buy” school.

Tuition is reasonable, there isn’t a huge party scene, and West Chester is a cool little town , close enough to Philly Airport in case she needs to get home quickly.
(Or, when Mom and Dad need a “kid fix” and want to come visit)

Just my two cents, but I don’t think choosing based upon whether or not it’s a “party school” is the best criteria. Cost vs academic reputation, available programs and resources, and how well the school fills her needs based upon her future goals are far better ways to decide upon a school.

As already mentioned, she can do her first couple of years at just about any school and spend that time evaluating med schools. I think a well rounded school that fits in your financial and logistics abilities would fit her needs just fine.

Also keep in mind that in state tuitions are far less expensive than out of state. If you can buy just as good a widget for half the money why buy the more expensive one?

You will have to watch out for what the school’s math and science teachers are like. Your daughter will need a first class premed program, not just the credits but also the knowledge. I learned more from the small colleges I went to in general terms, but I did notice they had some clunkers in the math and science departments.

This has been my experience and observation. There is good and bad at every college. Even the most strict religious institutes have their problems. I could tell you stories about the Christian College in my town that are absolutely shocking! I live in a college town. We have a junior college, 2 Christian colleges, and a state university. What I have observed is that people make choices. And those choices are based both on how they were raised, what they saw of their parents and how they percieve themselves. Many kids who go off to college are tasting freedom for the first time. Some can handle that freedom and make mature decisions. Others make poor decisions. There are drinkers and partiers at every college. It all depends on who you decide to make friends with.

You might find the best college with the lowest alcohol/drug incident rate and your daughter will still find the 1% that party or you may decide on a college that has lots to offer and your daughter will associate herself with people who are working hard to make good grades and gain something from their college experience other than a good party. If you have given your daughter some independence, taught her the values that are important to you and have good communication with your daughter you can only hope that she will make informed decisions as she faces the life before her.

In so far as applying to medical school, where you go undergrad does matter. My older son went to the University of Penn. About 90% of the pre meds there got into medical school. He got into all but two he applied to. The daughter of a friend of ours had exactly the same GPA with a slightly worse score on the MCAT. She went to a well rated state school in New York and got rejected by all of her choices but one and was wait listed at that one. If she is serious about med school keep that in mind.

My younger son goes to Washington University in St.Louis and I cannot say enough good things about the place. They are wonderful to deal with and are generous in giving financial aid. The campus is set at the edge of Forrest Park which is bigger than Central Park in New York and has more to offer. The setting, although its in St. Louis, is suburban. They are very service oriented. One example is the fact that every single day they have a dean on call. Any student at all can walk into that office without an appointment and present their problem. My son has had his problems there but they have stuck with him 100% of the way.
Their medical school is almost always either number 1 or 2 in the country.

I would highly recommend looking at competitve schools in the midwest. Because schools prize geographical diversity, she will get into a much better school than if she stuck with the east coast schools.

I would also take a very close look at Canadian colleges. Even for for foreign students, the tuition rate is dramatically lower than American colleges. Macleans Magazine ranks colleges the same way that US News and World Report does.

Finally, I would go along with all those who recommend going to the colleges themselves. Some colleges which look good on paper just send off the wrong vibe in person. The colleges look on it as a positive in terms of admission if you’ve actually made the effort to come before applying.