College selection and politics

by Finn

There is evidence that the 2016 presidential election has affected college selection decisions:

Political divide impacts Class of 2021 admissions

Is red/blue state/area something you and your kids will consider in the college selection process? Has the 2016 election changed the schools you and your kids will consider?

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150 thoughts on “College selection and politics

  1. It’s kind of silly, because most colleges are their own little worlds, and pretty insulated from the rest of the area. Jesse Helms used to suggest putting a fence around Chapel Hill and calling it the North Carolina State Zoo.

  2. That Trump won or why he won? Why he won is largely due to economic anxiety. If economic anxiety is rising liberal arts schools an hour northwest or Columbus in the middle of nowhere are going to feel the sting. I wonder if it’s similar to what happened to law schools of late?

  3. The University of Chicago is located in Hyde Park, a deep blue enclave of a blue city. If it lost applicants, it’s not because they feared encountering Trump supporters.

  4. Having a high school junior, I would say no. The things that are on her mind are: (1) do they offer what she wants (or at least thinks she wants) to study, (2) are they respected in that field, (3) is there flexiblity if she finds she wants to change majors/schools within the universtiy, (4) does she feel comfortable on the campus (plus dorms/dining hall), and (5) cost/availablity of aid. These are the higher level things.

    However, part of the “feel comfortable” does somewhat include people’s perspectives that can include politics. She has all her life gone to schools that have more conservative leanings than our family. She has a good sense of when voicing her “unaligned” views is OK vs when it will make her life harder. She has friends across the spectrum, but is more open with those who have similar views on those topics.

  5. To know if a decrease in applications is related to the election, you’d need to know how the number of applications changed overall and by school type. Lower applications overall could be either because people are applying to fewer schools (better data is available about where you’ll be admitted) or less intent to attend a private college among the demographic that used to more commonly attend private college.

    It will be interesting to see whether reduced applications translate into reduced admissions overall.

    Choice D, “Cannot be determined from the given information.”

  6. If it is really happening, it is too bad, because kids from families/communities on both sides of the political spectrum could really use exposure to other points of view and ways of life.

  7. “It will be interesting to see whether reduced applications translate into reduced admissions overall. ”

    At least from the data provided in the Kenyon article, no. Their acceptance RATE went up (to 33%) so that means ~1850 acceptances. Prior year (6400 applicants, 26.5% acceptance rate) there were 1700 acceptances. And this year they are expecting a yield of ~500 kids (27% of those accepted).

    To make this an economic discussion, the increasing acceptance rate is viewed poorly by ratings agencies (Moody’s, S&P) as it means Kenyon has to compete harder to fill its desired class size. If it also needs to increase the average/student and overall amount of merit aid it needs to offer (in the area that was ground-zero re the explosion of the merit-aid arms race), its financial model could come under pressure.

  8. We as a family of immigrants are just not that comfortable with the political activism (left and right) on certain campuses. I was surprised to see students in a library caught in some sort of protest and being surrounded by other students.
    In the home country campus political activism was a way to enter political parties and as such Totebaggy families stayed as far away from that scene as they could just wanting their kids to graduate on time.

  9. I can’t see the article, but I imagine geography would enter the picture for us more than red state/blue state. BITD when I was a kid, I do remember not really wanting to go to a Southern school because of what I imagined the culture was like.

  10. Rhett, I believe the recent reports on why he won–think that’s kind of obvious, but maybe not.

    As for college selection, I’m starting to figure out that “go to school. Do well in your classes. Get into a decent college. Do well in your classes” probably is not the best plan for my kid, so I’m trying to figure out a different path. That may or may not involve a university at some point.

  11. “The University of Chicago is located in Hyde Park, a deep blue enclave of a blue city. If it lost applicants, it’s not because they feared encountering Trump supporters.”

    Absolutely. And Iowa and Ohio are not “Red States”. They are “Purple” swing states and have been for years. If someone thinks that Oberlin and Grinnell are “conservative” because of their location, then I doubt their research on colleges has been very deep! I’m not sure that I buy the premise.

    That said, location and culture definitely play a role in college choice. I didn’t want to go far from home for school, and I wasn’t interested in certain schools because they were either too liberal, too religious, too full of commuters, etc.

  12. If my kid were to go to college, my guess is that he would select Liberty University just to spite me.

  13. To some extent, politics influenced my decision to leave Kentucky for college. I was just so sick of being surrounded by conservative evangelicals. And that was many years ago!

  14. We are not seeing any of this political activism on our campus. You can probably imagine, given our student demographics, that Trump was not too popular among the students. But largely, they don’t talk about it. I think many of our students are working long hours at menial jobs, and worry more about money than politics.

  15. I would not say due to the election in particular, no. But DD has specific ideas about places she does not want to go because of some of the cultural differences that create the red-blue state divide, e.g., the predominance of conservative Christianity.

    I of course want her to go someplace where people *are* different from where we live; it’s a whole big world out there, and assuming that all people in a certain area of who believe a certain thing are “good” or “bad” is a massive intellectual cop-out at best, and more likely tremendously damaging to civil discourse.

  16. I think in the college arms race several factors play a role in how many applicants a school receives.
    1. Fear of not getting in to school given the competitive nature of many of them. This means you apply more places in hopes of not being rejected by all of them.
    2. HS push to get as many kids accepted “somewhere” as possible, so they can say X% of our kids have been accepted. Again this many mean having kids apply more places to get accepted “somewhere”.
    3. Junior year push where the AP/dual credit/build your resume push means kids haven’t really “looked” at the college until after they applied and/or are accepted. I was surprised to hear some kids only visit before being accepted if they know it counts in the admissions process. I get that if the school is very far away and you have limited funds, but not as a general proposition. This may lead to more applications.
    4. As another parent told me it is really easy to submit to just one more place with the common app compared to filling out a lot of separate/unique forms. Couple this with the application fee waiver, you see increased applications.
    5. Realistic expectations – The more realistic the student is about what kind of school they should apply to, the number of applications submitted may go down. Realistic can mean grades, finances, location, etc.
    6. Need to be employable upon graduation – I see more students/families worried about being un or underemployed upon graduation, especially if there is high cost to the family or large loans. I think this is steering them away from some schools.

  17. It’s hard to tell if the recent election had any impact, but politics and culture continue to be a factor for many if not most students. When my son was considering a college in Texas, some of his peers and their parents thought he was crazy to want to live in such a backward location. The counter argument was that Houston was the only big city with a homosexual mayor and I recently saw it was considered one of the most diverse big cities in the country.

    I doubt anyone from our high school has attended a TX college in years. Part of it is distance, and part of it is politics/culture.

    I don’t disagree that for some kids the shock of moving to a place different from where they grew up is not a good idea, considering all the other adjustments involved in starting college.

  18. I grew up in a very red area and then went to college at a pretty liberal state school. I was so happy to escape the redness of where I grew up, although that wasn’t something that I considered when choosing a school. Also, even at my school, there were many conservative people. That is part of why I am a big fan of big schools. Something for everyone if you can handle not getting lost in the shuffle.

  19. I think schools like Kenyon are highly vulnerable – small schools in less desirable parts of the country. I don’t know how tuition dependent Kenyon is. Having a big endowment is certainly protection. Also, being located in a desirable area, being bigger, and having robust graduate programs are protective. I know we are making a big effort to get away from being dependent on traditional age students. We are also largish, and in an area that is very attractive to international students. A small school in a rural area is going to have a hard time. Look at what happened to Sweetbriar

  20. CoC, I think it is just distance. Kids from our HS don’t go very far in general. Yours may have gone just about the furthest in quite some time. Your kid also went to a school of a calibre which is not that typical for our HS.
    There are a suprisingly high number of conservatives in our town. They tend to be culturally quite different, though, from the evangelicals of the South/Midwest or the hardcore libertarians of the Southwest. Mainly they are traditional Catholics, those same small business owners that we have discussed before. Their kids tend to go to local private colleges: Fordham, Iona, Manhattanville, or else a nearby SUNY (though I think the closest SUNY is too artsy for these families). Texas just isn’t on the radar for lots of reasons, but I suspect politics is the least of it.

  21. I think that this article was a massive CYA effort to blame political and geographic factors for the fact that Kenyon, like other similar schools, may be selling a product that doesn’t attract enough paying customers. Seriously, lumping Kenyon and U of Chicago together? It’s absurd. All based on anecdotal evidence too.

  22. I agree w/Scarlett – just think they are trying to make a connection that isn’t there. On the other side of things, I saw an article on FB about how University of Missouri applications were down precipitously and the article was trying to connect it to the administration’s alignment with the BLM movement. I went to a SLAC in the middle of nowhere and loved it but definitely know that is not for everyone. I did not look at schools south of Pennsylvania but that has more to do with family tradition of going to SLACs than anything else. We were a “red” family that had lived in blue states for a few generations so that wouldn’t cross my mind as a consideration in looking at a college (but would like for a college not to swing one way or the other).

  23. Do Totebaggers think that College Confidential has been influential in promoting certain smaller colleges ? At one point when I used to read it so many unfamiliar colleges kept piping up. Then after reading for a while you would think droves of students must be applying there.

  24. What do internships and job hunting look like at a place like Kenyon? When I was in school I couldn’t do an internship during the summer because I had to work but could do one when I didn’t have class because I could take the T everywhere and Boston’s a fairly decent sized city. Kenyon’s an hour from Columbus – what do kids do?

  25. My liberal, big city snowflake is going to a conservative, small town university. I’m sure he will find “his people”.

    That said, it makes me sad to see how liberal people can be prejudiced against culture and colleges in Texas and the South.

  26. @Rhett-

    BITD, I went to a SLAC about an hour outside of Minneapolis-St Paul. People did internships in town at local businesses, local banks, with the city/county government, etc. Or they did them in MSP over the summer. Or commuted PT to the suburbs of MSP.

    There are fewer jobs, but there are also fewer people competing for those jobs compared to a city like Boston with so many universities (plus the kids who come home for the summer).

    I happened to do a couple of internships at smallish local businesses, but I also did an internship with a very large multinational company that had a local manufacturing plant. (the one by the elk farm that I mentioned before) That turned into a FT job at a unit HQ in CT, and lots of opportunity. I got lucky, but I also had far less competition for that internship than I would have in a big city.

  27. Rhett,
    My impression is that most kids at selective schools are neither working for pay nor doing internships during the academic year. Dartmouth is an instant example, but plenty of good SLACs are in rural or small metro areas.

  28. My friends just did internships during the summer. One of my best friends worked for a congressman in DC one summer. I never did one – had to work in the summer for my spending $.

  29. My colleagues kids did their internships here in the city. They went to the state flagship and a state school in the mountains. During the school year one of them had a part time job, the other was was more academic and did unpaid internships. She got a good opportunity for a summer program in LA but her father was grumbling that she had to pay for the privilege.

  30. My impression is that most kids at selective schools are neither working for pay nor doing internships during the academic year.

    Which is fine is parents are willing and able to subsidize a summer internship. My examples are somewhat out of date but 15 years ago many selective school grads were surprised to find out how unemployable they were compared to Directional State U accounting grads.

  31. Houston said “That said, it makes me sad to see how liberal people can be prejudiced against culture and colleges in Texas and the South.”

    I actually lived for much of my childhood in the South and Texas (including the city that correponds to your moniker).And I have family in Kentucky and visit often enough. I would not call myself prejudiced so much as knowledgable. And so I ask you, why are people in the South so prejudiced against the Northeast in particular?

  32. I have a friend who was one year ahead of me in HS who went to Kenyon. He is now headmaster at an elite private school in Florida.

  33. Rhett – I may be wrong but I think selective SLAC grads may be looking to get additional degrees or go into law or medicine so immediate employment upon graduation is not so urgent.

  34. I think kids at selective liberal arts colleges tend to do academic internships, the kind that don’t pay but carry credit. Those kids can afford to do that, bankrolled by their parents, during the summer. A lot of those internships are very prestigious and lead to prestigious job offers. On the other hand, accounting and STEM majors at the directional state u’s and the tech schools are more likely to be doing paid internships. Those lead to good jobs too, of course.

    Internships have a lot to do with the relationships that the faculty cultivate with employers.

    And Grinnell is famous for its funded undergraduate research projects. Many of their students go on to PhD programs in the sciences.

  35. Louise is correct. When my DH taught at a selective SLAC, most of the math majors were heading to medical school, graduate school, or if they were heading for immediate employment, to the major consulting firms like Deloitte Touche

  36. “Which is fine is parents are willing and able to subsidize a summer internship.”

    Are you kidding? Keep in mind that many, probably most, kids at selective schools are from Totebag families who will actively encourage unpaid internships over menial summer jobs.

  37. MM – I think many from my state know that the COL in the northeast is much higher than here. Subsidizing a kid in a higher COL on your lower salary can be a reach. I also think since the distance across my state is so large that many parents think 3-6 hours away (by car) is far enough away. But in other locales, that may be 4 states over.

  38. The “3 hr rule” that Mooshi mentioned for Com Sci programs that would interest her son made me smile, because that means my sons would have only one or maybe two choices, depending on one’s “quality” bar.

  39. Kenyon, Oberlin and even less selective schools like the University of Kentucky have their own cultures, in a bubble that doesn’t necessarily have much connection to the rest of the place (ie town/gown divide) If you grew up in one of those places, it might be hard to cross the divide, but people coming to the U probably experience the place in a very different way than you did.

    Rhett, I doubt kids who chose a selective liberal arts college would have your uber-pragmatic gotta network with business contacts approach, so would be open to a much broader range of positions. If someone insisted on working in a large corp, they could drive to New Albany, but as I mentioned last week, part of the point/appeal of a college like that is its retreat-like environment, where students are focused on the college, not the day to day scramble in the big city. The SLAC my nephew went to was not as selective as Kenyon or Oberlin, but there were profs with research grants who could hire research assistants. I assume those more prestigious schools have the same. Idk what a business would say to that kind of experience, but as my nephew was considering med school at the time, the chem lab was perfect. Now that he’s in seminary there, he’s doing home renovation/addition type projects. I doubt either of those would satisfy your requirements. That’s why “fit” matters. If you want to be in the city, a school in the middle of green, green countryside is not for you.

    It looks like the average financial aid at Kenyon pays about 60% of expenses, so some people get more than that. https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges/kenyon-college-3065/paying

  40. AustinMom, schools up here cost pretty much the same as in the South. I just think that to a kid in Alabama or Kentucky, the Northeast simply seems foreign and scary.

    My university actually gets a certain number of students from Texas, but almost no one from the deep South. We also get a fair number from the Southwest and California. What is the common denominator? They are virtually all Asian or Hispanic. We get a lot of Hispanic kids from Texas and California.

  41. S&M, UK is a bubble, especially in its graduate programs and among the faculty. The undergrads are quite a bit different, since they hail from the conservative parts of the state. Plus the university is very dominated by Greek life and a certain heavy drinking culture. But the town is quite different from the perspective of a townie, and was more so back in the old days. I think Toyota changed some of the town culture. Once you get out of Lexington, though, man, things change fast, fast, fast.

  42. I doubt kids who chose a selective liberal arts college would have your uber-pragmatic gotta network with business contacts approach, so would be open to a much broader range of positions.

    It seems like the problem is that kids aren’t choosing those schools anymore.

  43. Keep in mind that many, probably most, kids at selective schools are from Totebag families

    Mostly totebag? No, many of those high income families are more sales douche $270k a year vs. the STEM path many totebaggers took.

  44. Once you get out of Lexington, though, man, things change fast, fast, fast.

    Yes! Even just a long bike ride. But within walking distance of campus, there was an Indian restaurant, a Thai place, for a while the Mediterranean place my friends ran, that New Orleans quick serve place, a few bars…. Jo Beth was nearby, and around Transy there was a whole other cluster. So instead of going far away to get away from townie culture, you could’ve just ducked into the bubble

  45. A lot of southern kids want to go to the big southern universities because they’re good. Also the football thing seems like it would be fun.

  46. to a kid in Alabama or Kentucky, the Northeast simply seems foreign and scary

    It certainly does to my Midwestern family, especially my dad! Even the Big City of Cleveland. When my sister moved to a suburb, I told her that a friend in Shaker Heights had commented that sis was just one or two exits away from all the great ethnic grocery stores. Sister said “ew, no! Why would I want to go there? We’ve got a nice Giant Eagle”. That grocery store has since expanded. I think of it like a commissary, with everyone on base/in town getting the same things, based on what’s in stock that week. She is absolutely fine with that.

    The response that people around the country had to the attacks on 9/11 really surprised me, because I had always heard what an awful, ugly, scary place NYC was, that it wasn’t really part of “us”–but suddenly, everybody loved New York.

  47. MM/Austin, schools in the NE and the South might have similar costs, but isn’t col very different?

  48. From what I can see private school students are more likely to apply to universities further away. The parents have the money, the exposure and many have themselves gone to school or lived or travel for work to other parts of the country. This is true for Totebaggy families at the good public schools as well.

  49. “A lot of southern kids want to go to the big southern universities because they’re good. Also the football thing seems like it would be fun.”

    I can totally see that. Plus their friends/relatives.neighbors go there, the weather is what they are used to, and there are plenty of contacts for jobs. But I would hate to have to get dressed to the nines to go to class. I have some confirmation that this is a true stereotype for at least some of the big Southern schools. I enjoyed rolling out of bed & going to class in PJ pants, as was acceptable on my campus. :)

    FWIW, all the internships that I did were paid. But I was doing mostly Finance/Business-y internships. And I had no intention of going to grad school. I’m sure in some ways I would have been better served going to State Flagship than a small LAC with where I ended up, but my point was just that there are still opportunities around somewhat rural campuses for internships and job searches.

  50. “But within walking distance of campus, there was an Indian restaurant, a Thai place, for a while the Mediterranean place my friends ran, that New Orleans quick serve place, a few bars…. Jo Beth was nearby, and around Transy there was a whole other cluster. ”
    None of that existed back in the day. There was Squacial Media (sp?), the UK bookstore, and Alfalfas. No Indian, no Thai, no JoBeths (didn’t it go bankrupt anyway?) and the only Chinese food in town was Wing’s Teahouse which was a chopsuey joint. There were tar paper shacks under that bridge on Versailles Road. In my HS English class, the teacher organized a debate on abortion, and only me and one other kid dared to be on the pro-choice side. Teachers were not allowed to mention birth control in our 8th grade birds and bees presentation. The junior high bio teacher told us she only taught evolution because she had to, and she personallyd did not believe in it. The 7th grade social studies teacher constantly told us she was sure the Commies were going to take over and if they did, she would get the gun out from under her bed. I was really glad to get out of there.

  51. Ivy, back in the day, the UK sorority girls used to iron their hair ribbons before class. Seriously! But kids up here dress to the nines for class too, just a different look. Well except for the jocks, who do come to class in their sweats.

    I don’t think COL is a big factor for undergrads, whose expenses are mainly prepaid. It did not affect me very much when I headed to the NE – I was as poor there as I would have been if I had ended up at Michigan. Airfare is of course a problem, but that is the same problem for NE kids who might head to Texas.

  52. Mooshi, face it, it’s been a really long time since you lived in Kentucky.

  53. True that, but I visit most years, and have relatives there who fill me in. And yes, Lexington has changed a lot, but not where my sister lives. That is like a time warp. Plus, you can’t get past the fact that even today, Kentucky is one of the poorest, least healthy, and least educated places in the country. Some things haven’t changed.

  54. “to a kid in Alabama or Kentucky, the Northeast simply seems foreign and scary”

    And Texas seemed foreign and scary to many kids around here. At least that was what I saw. From what I can tell some of it is ignorant prejudice and some of it is knowledgeable understanding of differences.

  55. I’ve actually heard several comments about kids pulling out of Penn State or dropping interest for next year due to the restrictions on greek life. Some parents are also horrified by what happened at Penn State and actively discouraging their kids from applying there next year. I haven’t heard of anything related to the election, but I hear a decent amount about Penn State.

    We did have some kids from my HS apply to UT this year, and one kid is going to attend next year. Another kid is going to Rice, and a few always go to Tulane and Alabama. I think that most people around here still think that the schools or surrounding communities are different than the state. I do not think that anyone is withdrawing an application to Duke, UNC, Wake Forest, Elon (very popular schools around here) just because they don’t like the politics of how bathrooms are handled in North Carolina. Another really popular school is Indiana and that is also in a conservative state, but I know of plenty of people that just went to visit Indiana with their HS juniors during the April break.

    I have not heard anyone expressing a concern about dropping a school until the whole Penn State thing happened in March. Some people were scrambling to get out of their commitment to attend for 2017-18, or drop for their consideration for 2018-19. Some kids do not want to be attend a school that they perceive to be dry, or different than they expected. So many kids are not NMSF or future rocket scientists. They just want a solid education, and to have a good time.

  56. Kentucky is one of the poorest, least healthy, and least educated places in the country. Some things haven’t changed.

    Except for W Virginia, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas (some of those things).

    I knew you were older than me, but didn’t realize it was that much. You stay in good shape! When I moved there in my late 20s in 92, there was a Thai place on the lower level at the corner of Rose & Euclid. It closed and another one opened up in the same place. The Indian place opened up near Squecial Media (which I would’ve mentioned if I’d remembered the name) in the mid-90s. Mediterranean Delights was in the same building on Limestone as the Dutch Mill and The Wheel liquor store in the early 90s. When they closed it, they started working at Natasha’s, which is still there, according to Woodsongs and my friend whose hand plays there. The first place I ever heard of etouffe was that Cajun place by Lynaughs. I thought both of those establishments, and Atomic Cafe, had been there forever. There was also that Vietnamese greasy spoon down the hill from Patterson. And after we got married in the courthouse, we went to dinner at a nearby place I thought was very sophisticated because it had mango chutney. Something or other Moon. It closed a few years later. There was a bar on High St that we occasionally went to (High on Rose?), and Fazolis opened up in the early 90s. I wish we had one here. I wasn’t crazy about the food co-op, but it was there. Just one of everything, but I think a grad students World was very different from life outside of New Circle.

  57. I am somewhat conditioned to hate Penn State just because it is Penn State, but I was recently horrified to learn that they put Joe Paterno’s son on the Board of Trustees. That seems, um, not cool.

  58. the whole Penn State thing happened in March.

    What? I missed it. Last thing I heard from there was about Paterno. Had not heard his was on the board now. I suppose he shouldn’t be punished for the sins of his fathers, but elevating him because of a pedo’s supposed greatness–ick.

  59. S & M, The story at Penn State is tragic and there are a lot of lessons to be learned about our culture and mob mentality. This type of behavior could happen in many places, or schools. It is very sad.

  60. I don’t think his son should be punished for the sins of his father, but the only reason he was picked is because of his father. Which is pretty gross. He should go do his own thing.

  61. Lauren, I’d still like to know what you are talking about. Guess I can go google “Penn state March 2017 ick” & see what comes up.

  62. Elon – that hot ? People here like UVA or William and Mary. I don’t know if they prefer those to the state flagship or what the deal is.

  63. S&M – they had this really terrible incident at a fraternity hazing event. One of the pledges drank too much, fell down a flight of stairs and was really injured. No one did much to help him over the course of 12+ hours and some did things to hurt him. And it was all captured on video tape. Really appalling behavior. The kid died the next morning.

  64. “a few always go to Tulane and Alabama.”

    Are these top kids influenced by generous merit aid?

  65. “most colleges are their own little worlds, and pretty insulated from the rest of the area.”

    In the parent forums at CC that I read, it’s pretty common for parents to ask about the areas surrounding the schools. Kids may spend most of their time in the campus bubbles, but they often do need or want to venture outside those bubbles. I know DS is looking forward to exploring much of the northeastern US.

    Parents of LGBTQ and minority kids, and with kids with SOs of different race/ethnicities seem to be particularly concerned.

  66. Finn, Tulane is popular for a number of reasons. It is perceived as a fun school, but it is also a private school with name recognition. They do tend to give a decent amount of merit aid to kids that could probably go to a slightly more selective school. There is a high percentage of kids that attend from the northeast and mid atlantic so parents from this area are familiar with the school.

    I was just as surprised about Elon when I heard about how hard it is to even get an appointment for a tour. Some kids just want to go south because they want to be in a better climate for four years. To my point about politics, they are more interested in a beautiful campus, good weather, and whether it is a “fit”. Some kids wants the big schools, greek life, parties etc. Other kids are looking for smaller SLACs.

    There is only one UT for kids applying from this part of the country, and that is UT Austin.

  67. Oh lord, High on Rose, That place has been there at least since the 60’s. My parents used to go there when I was a little kid. Very grad student/faculty.

  68. Houston, thanks for asking. It was pretty hectic for him, but I think it made it clear what the best choice would be for him, which was pretty much what he and I had discussed multiple times since last summer.

    It pretty much came down to two schools, and at the second admitted student event he attended, he found that most of the kids with whom he connected were also considering the same two schools, and most of them chose the other school, which is what he ended up doing also.

    I announced it here in a somewhat indirect way a couple days after he made it official, but it’s the school that was most commonly recommended here when I asked for suggestions.

    Is your DS1 going to the same school as the DD of another totebagger?

  69. Can we just name universities? I know everyone wants to remain anon, but there are thousands or tens of thousands of other kids there.

    Mooshi, most weeks we went to Two Keys, which I think opened in the 90s.

    I just noticed that David’s Bridal has closed. Does that mean the outrageous prices for dresses and weddings were a bubble, and that it’s over now?

  70. There were always kids from my high school in Mass going to Elon (this was 20 years ago). I remember a bunch of guys going there to play baseball.

  71. Finn: I need another hint. I have no clue where your DS is going.

    Yes, I believe DS is going to the same university as the child of another regular. I have told COC that she is welcome to share my contact info if that person reaches out.

  72. Houston, if we’re doing the hints thing, can you drop a couple about where your kiddo is headed?

  73. I wouldn’t send my child to Penn State – no way no how. That place has a history of failing their students in a massive, massive way. The Paterno boy on the board shows how completely tone deaf they are.

  74. Penn State is not much different from other flagship state universities. There are 40,000 undergraduates on the University Park campus, the vast majority of whom aren’t involved in fraternity hazing or the sodomizing of young boys in the locker rooms.

  75. SM: Here is your hint.

    “In order to be equal, in order to be liberated, some white people might have to die,”

  76. Scarlett,

    The only thing that gives me pause about Penn State is that both the Paterno thing and the frat thing have the same root cause: they didn’t just call 911 because they were worried about getting in trouble. Is Penn State’s culture at issue?

  77. Thanks to all here who provided suggestions for DS, the most popular of which he will attend.

    Over the weekend I did ask for some advice on driving and lodging in the greater Boston area.

    On that subject, we’re looking for a place to spend the night near JFK before catching a morning flight out, somewhere on the way from the greater Boston area. Any town/city along I-95 that we should avoid? Just looking at the map has us looking at someplace like Stamford or Greenwich.

  78. I don’t think it’s just Penn State culture. A bunch of boys from Baruch were involved in a different incident, but ended the same way. I attend lots of lectures about the teenage brain and it’s still not fully developed at 18 or 19. Throw in that much alcohol, and piper decision making becomes very difficult for some young people.

  79. I do think college aged adults can be stupid (and often boys are more stupid than girls), but the way PSU has handled all of the crap over the last few years has really made me question the adults. They are doing something wrong.

  80. I attend lots of lectures about the teenage brain and it’s still not fully developed at 18 or 19. Throw in that much alcohol, and piper decision making becomes very difficult for some young people.

    A teen I know well made an ill-conceived decision to roll down an unexpectedly steep hill and wrapped himself (no car, just himself) around a tree. That was without any alcohol involved. (Friends and a celebration did play a role.) He is very sore today and didn’t appreciate my saying that if he made that decision sober, imagine what might seem like a good idea after drinking a few beers.

  81. Since it’s late in the day, I’d like to ask Ada how the homeschooling is going.

  82. I was just talking to DS about the frat incident. Turns out he saw it on TV. When we talk about colleges, DS ever the jokester tells me that he would love to attend ITT Technical Institute.

  83. DS ever the jokester tells me that he would love to attend ITT Technical Institute.

    Did you point out to him that it went out of business?

  84. I agree with you Kate. I don’t think the kids at Penn State are any better or worse than anywhere else. I know people who have kids there but the administration just can’t seem to help themselves. Trust me, they knew this kind of stuff was going on and chose to turn a blind eye.

  85. Thanks Rocky!

    I know some people around here enjoyed Greek organizations, but that doesn’t change the fact that while the use of that much alcohol is not exclusive to frats and sororities in that age group, there is difference; it is approved, expected, and supported by adults involved with Greek organizations, whereas kids in most other circumstances aren’t encouraged to get trashed by the adults in their lives.

  86. HM, my excuse for not drinking is that I can act stupid all by myself just fine, no chemical additives required. Sounds like your son is in that club too.

  87. Can we just name universities? I know everyone wants to remain anon, but there are thousands or tens of thousands of other kids there.

    I don’t understand what the difference is between naming a school and giving enough hints so everyone can figure out what it is. If there are people trying to figure out who posters are, it’s giving them the exact same information.

  88. Denver “many people, especially those who follow sports” is not the same thing as “everyone”. It would be a problem irl, so why isn’t it here? I don’t know what your last sentence is saying. Can you phrase it differently, please?

  89. Rhett, this is the report I was referring to this morning when I disagreed with you on the reasons he won.

    https://www.theatlantic.com/video/index/526566/why-the-white-working-class-voted-for-trump/

    They also made an animated version. https://www.prri.org/research/white-working-class-attitudes-economy-trade-immigration-election-donald-trump/

    And they have it in WaPo and MSNBC

    I think this can include the economic anxiety; people are much more upset about “them”, the Other, taking their job than about Joe next door, whomlooks just like them. I don’t understand that, but it’s pretty clear to me that it is that way.

  90. Once upon a time, I was on a professional forum. I searched the whole forum for the name of my school and found someone else posting from there. It was just a click and a hop to figure out who it was. If the person had used some kind of euphemism, “The Harvard of Nebraska”, “the one with the corny mascot” – I would have never found him.

    So, most people are willing to give the information, they just want to be less discoverable by search (or that is how I interpret it).

  91. Finn, I can understand why it looks like Greenwich/Stamford would be a good place to spend the night. There are several hotels that are close to 95, and parking will be much cheaper than anything that is closer to NYC. It is safe, and the hotels in both of those locations are located near many stores and restaurants. I just want to warn you that it will probably be at least an hour to an hour and 1/2 to drive to JFK from Stamford during rush hour. Also, check with the rental car company to see if your car has EZ Pass. If you do not have EZ pass, you may be stuck in a very long line to pay the toll to get to Queens. There are also tolls on the Mass Pike, and the NY state EZ pass is accepted on the Mass Pike.

  92. The NYT just published this article about the Baruch hazing. This stuff happens in many schools across the country.

  93. Lauren, it popped up on my FB about two hrs ago. Parents are suing school for negligence (basically, though I’m sure the lawyers on here would use some other, more precise term)

  94. It is approved, expected, and supported by adults involved with Greek organizations”

    No, SM, it’s not. You seem to make statements about Greek organizations based on decades old stereotypes. The adults involved with Greek letter organizations absolutely do not encourage drinking. They can’t police a bunch of 20 year olds, but alcohol is not only not provided at sorority parties, it’s not allowed in. It is not allowed in the chapter houses at the southern schools I am familiar with, even when alums stay there in the summer for reunions and no college kids are around. The national corporations are well aware of what can happen when alcohol use gets out of hand and don’t want to leave themselves open to lawsuits. Without having to Google it, I can tell you the national organization revoked the charter of that house immediately, just like has happened in every other incident. There are definitely fraternity alums who will provide a place for their members to have drinking parties since they can no longer have it in the house, and many students drink. But your characterization is not accurate. And correlation is not causation. The students that join a Greek organization may be drinkers who are attracted to Greek life because they view it as more social, but would be binge drinkers regardless of housing choice.

  95. Also, some schools have dry fraternities – it doesn’t mean the guys don’t drink, they just don’t at the fraternity house. I would assume it is to remove the pressure and temptation to overindulge.

  96. And it’s not like the rules against alcohol actually kept alcohol out of the dorms.

  97. Having been part of the Greek system in college, I am a hell no to letting my boys join a fraternity. The things that I saw were pretty appalling. I would be fine with my daughter joining a sorority if I could keep her out of the fraternity houses.

  98. “Having been part of the Greek system in college, I am a hell no to letting my boys join a fraternity.”

    My DH says the exact same thing.

  99. There were some specific incidents at Missouri that contributed to the enrollment decline. The mention of BLM is in direct reference to those. I do think when things like that happen it can make parents think twice about where they are sending their kids, especially if it’s very far from home.

  100. “Trust me, they knew this kind of stuff was going on and chose to turn a blind eye.”

    Perhaps. But, again, this stuff unfortunately happens everywhere, and administrators at other schools have also been accused of ignoring the problem. And it’s not just at fraternities — a student died after a hazing incident with the marching band at Florida A&M. https://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/01/us/florida-am-band-member-is-convicted-in-hazing-death.html

    Marching band is supposed to be the safe activity for music geeks.

  101. There are also tolls on the Mass Pike,

    But no tool booths – they have all been torn down. If you don’t have a transponder they mail you a bill.

  102. Denver “many people, especially those who follow sports” is not the same thing as “everyone”. It would be a problem irl, so why isn’t it here? I don’t know what your last sentence is saying. Can you phrase it differently, please?

    What are you talking about? Where did this quote come from?

    My point is that if someone is trying to figure out who Finn is, to use him as an example, it doesn’t matter if he posts the actual name of the school is son is going to, or just posts enough info so people can figure out what school it is. We all know which school it is, so the information is out there.

    Once upon a time, I was on a professional forum. I searched the whole forum for the name of my school and found someone else posting from there. It was just a click and a hop to figure out who it was. If the person had used some kind of euphemism, “The Harvard of Nebraska”, “the one with the corny mascot” – I would have never found him.

    So, most people are willing to give the information, they just want to be less discoverable by search (or that is how I interpret it).

    The difference is you weren’t trying to figure out who the person was from the information he posted, you were just searching for people from your school. If you happened to randomly run across his posts and wanted to figure out who he was, it wouldn’t have made any difference if he used the school name or the euphemism, you still would have had the information.

    The anonymity concern that I see here, and everyone please correct me if I am wrong, is that people reading this forum will be able to figure out posters’ real identities. It’s not that people who know us in person will be able to track us to this forum.

    If I post that I went to “a flagship state U roughly equidistant from Chicago, St. Louis, and Indianapolis” rather than just saying I went to Illinois, it’s giving the exact same information to anyone trying to figure out who I am. On the other side, if someone who knows me in person is trying to find stuff about me online, I don’t see how saying I went to Illinois is going to make me any easier to find here. Even if they somehow stumble across this site, they’d still have to go through a lot of posts to gather enough information to confirm it’s me.

  103. Anonymous – Many of us, including some who express a lot of concern about privacy, have posted sufficient information for a two or three google click easy identification or have inadvertently or momentarily had an identifiable email handle pop up. In that case a real life name might become part of the record, at least in the elephantine memories of some. But when it comes to our kids, young or adult, we want to be a bit more circumspect. I think that it is no more than that.

  104. Denver, it’s not a quote. You, and others who use oblique references to things you know about think everyone knows or should know those things and should be able to figure out the school easily. Because it is obvious to you what school someone is talking about, you say that you have practically announced the name of the school when you have actually just left people not in the know scratching their heads.

  105. I’ve also stumbled across people I know or know about, and I’m not very good at this type of stuff. There are all sorts of scenarios where a poster’s anonymity could be compromised, so I can understand the preference to avoid specific school names or similar direct clues.

  106. Meme, I get that people don’t want to “out” their kids, but find it unlikely that someone at University X who meets jo student from y location will be able to pin down their identity as the offspring of someone here. For someone who reads about a kid here and decides to track them down, the brain teasers that are obvious to Denver are unlikely to stop them. But I don’t want to die on that hill. If people want to continue using puzzlers, it’s up to them.

  107. @Scarlett – of course this happens in lots of places but you are forgetting the whole Sandusky situation which is absolutely unforgivable. The fact that they put Paterno’s son on the Board of Trustees should be a pretty good indicator of what they learned from that and where their priorities lie.

  108. Well, nothing is unforgivable, at least for a Christian, and I agree that the Sandusky affair was an absolute disgrace, but can’t agree that Penn State is somehow sui generis when it comes to student safety or administrative malfeasance. Consider Baylor, to take just one example. http://ftw.usatoday.com/2016/05/a-comprehensive-timeline-of-scandal-cover-ups-and-failure-at-baylor

    Alumni vote for the Board of Trustees, by the way, and the younger Paterno had overwhelming support, even as an incumbent trustee critical of the Paterno firing who had commented that “he was running out of sympathy” for Sandusky’s victims was forced to withdraw his bid for re-election. http://www.pennlive.com/news/2017/05/jay_paterno_elected_by_alumni.html. So not sure that this election reveals anything about the administration.

  109. SM, where did you see anything about David’s Bridal? I don’t see anything in the news about the company. Also, David’s is on the low end of wedding dress pricing – when I was looking 13 years ago, David’s was about 500-1000 for a dress and the ‘regular’ dresses at the bridal shops were more like 3000-5000. I didn’t look at David’s since they only had polyester.

  110. Meme, I was the anon there, in case it wasn’t obvious.

    S&M, most of the “oblique references” are very easy to figure out if you spend 30 seconds with this thing called Google. For example, someone referred to “the school where fun goes to die” instead of using the school name. I was totally unfamiliar with that expression being used for that school, but I was able to figure it out very quickly.

    Does anyone here not know where Finn Jr. is going to college?

  111. L, I just meant the one in our location. I know they’re low end, but isn’t one reason for their success the fact that prices for high end (or even middling) dresses and everything else wedding related is so high?

  112. Does anyone here not know where Finn Jr. is going to college?

    Where Meme went, right?

  113. RMS – DS may know that the college is out of business and is taking the joke to the next level.
    I think I have guessed all the colleges posters kids are attending. Anyway, if I guessed wrong, I will just imagine them being happy on the wrong campus.
    Someone asked about which UT campus. To my mind as a very out of state person, I would immediately think UT Austin.

  114. “most of the “oblique references” are very easy to figure out if you spend 30 seconds with this thing called Google.”

    Someone recently told me they prefer to ask people in a group like this because it’s more “social”. Each to his own, but if I asked every time I didn’t get the reference I would be posting questions here all the time. :)

  115. For us the two state colleges worth a mention are UNC Chapel Hill and NC State for engineering, math, science. Then there is Appalachian State which is quite a decent Directional State U. Lots of business majors graduate from there with solid jobs.
    Of course there are the private universities and the rest of the UNC system.

  116. FWIW – I like the college guessing game. I vote we play it one Friday for fun like twenty questions.

  117. L, I wasn’t sure if I was just noticing wedding stuff more often because we have an upcoming family wedding, or if there was a proliferation of wedding-specific stuff. Anthropologie now has a wedding division, there’s a Vera Wang gown at Nordstrom Rack, and for really low brow, you can register at Pizza Hut and get married at Taco Bell!

  118. L, I suppose that if it’s a knock off of the dress a maid of honor wore in a royal wedding, then it’s fair to call that one a bridesmaid dress. (But I thought it looked like Pippa wanted to get married)

  119. Does anyone here not know where Finn Jr. is going to college?

    I don’t. Hanging my head in totebag shame. I haven’t read very closely the last few days. I also don’t know the college in Texas people keep referring, although I have a few ideas. But I haven’t spent time Googling to figure it out.

    Congrats to Finn Jr. and all the other high school seniors on their choices!

  120. DS3 is going to the college DD has mentioned in reference to his young relative. DS is excited. Assuming he does well enough academically to keep his scholarship and he graduates in 4 years, he’ll be fine. (His senior year grades — he’s done except for the grad ceremony — are better than any other year and his last marking period was his best ever, so I guess whatever he took to avoid senioritis worked.)

  121. Fred – congrats to your DS3 on a great ending to HS!

    My DS has decided to leave his program, so if anyone made the guess about him a couple of years ago, it’s out of date now.

    DD will attend in the fall a very small school that even I missed when I was looking for schools on one of those sites where you put in the desired features and it spits out a list. The way her program is administered seems to make it overlooked by those lists. So, she’s a needle in a haystack, for sure.

  122. “I do think college aged adults can be stupid (and often boys are more stupid than girls), but the way PSU has handled all of the crap over the last few years has really made me question the adults. They are doing something wrong.”

    I agree – the Sandusky situation, how it was handled, and the reaction of some members of the administration was particularly shocking. I would also say that it has a major reputation as a serious “party school”. It wouldn’t be high on my list for DS, that’s for sure.

    And I don’t think it matters that other colleges are doing something wrong. I also would find it especially troubling if I was a Pennsylvania resident since it is a state school.

  123. Congrats to all the graduating seniors!

    I think the guessing game is kind of fun too, and I do understand the searchability thing to a point. I do generally have to google the non-Midwestern schools though.

    (and now I tell my 9 year old that he is not allowed to keep growing up!)

  124. DS2 goes to a college in flyover country that has quite the reputation as a party school. We get the annual letters about the alcohol/drinking policy (one at the beginning of the year and then one leading up to the national drinking holiday in March when the school’s policy is no <21 visitors are allowed to be guests in college housing on either of the weekends surrounding the holiday).

    To Rocky's point, the drinking age in CA has always been 21 and (1) I never had trouble buying beer in Oakland or Berkeley from about the time I was 16, i.e. when I could drive there; (2) that age didn't stop anyone from drinking in the dorms.

  125. I think PSU has a cultural problem. The school still celebrates Paterno. The alumni voted in his son as a member of the board. I know many PSU alumni who either defend or ignore how he was involved in a child sex scandal. I know JoePa was a legend at PSU and learning that our heroes really messed up is difficult, but support for the Paterno family at Penn State is really, really disgusting and cannot be defended. I can see how a culture that supports the above also encourages the sort of behavior that occurred at that fraternity house.

  126. I should clarify. I am not against “party schools”. Saying that PSU would not be high on my list for DS was related to the first part of my post. But PSU is well-known “party school” with a history of very, very bad choices by people in powerful positions. That combo makes me leery. Our state flagship & lots of the Big Ten schools are known for being party schools, and I would send DS to a good number of them. But I have reservations about Penn State, specifically.

  127. There is also a trend of buying wedding dresses online. I had a good friend (40+) buy a dress online from China. She says she spent more getting it altered than it actually cost. She was more interested in spending money on the party.

  128. Many of us, including some who express a lot of concern about privacy, have posted sufficient information for a two or three google click easy identification or have inadvertently or momentarily had an identifiable email handle pop up.

    Ugh, I hope this is not me. My specific privacy concern is that I work with clients all over the country, and I would never, ever share the personal information with clients that I share here. I would not want to be identified – for all I know, some of you or your spouses, or your organizations are clients.

    Also, when I have parenting questions, I do want to protect the privacy of my kiddos as well.

  129. My husband and I were both part of the Greek system in college and it was an important part of our college experience. Dh is on the alumni board at our school and he was on a call this a.m. where he said they are basically trying to dismantle the Greek system because of all the bad press from Penn State. They aren’t saying that they are closing it down but what they’re suggesting will have that effect. I’m actually less likely to support the school now and think they’re shooting themselves in the foot. It’s a rural school with not a lot to do outside of the Greek system.

  130. Kate, look at today’s topic. I predict either new handles or a series of numbered anons.

  131. “It’s not that people who know us in person will be able to track us to this forum.”

    That is a concern. After all, for many of us, this forum is where we come to discuss things we would not discuss IRL, so we wouldn’t want those folks with whom we wouldn’t discuss what we discuss here to discover what we wouldn’t discuss with them.

  132. Assuming you’re not using your real name, it’s pretty much impossible for people to find you here. That’s why I don’t see that as a concern. Just for kicks, I tried to see if I could get to this forum by googling myself and information I’ve posted here. Even searching for “Denver Dad” doesn’t get to here. It does get to links on flights from Da Neng to Denver, though. I have to include “totebag” in the search to get here. So I’m quite confident that people can’t find me here unless they already know this site exists and that I post here.

  133. Building on DD’s comment I searched my handle + totebag and the first 3 pages of the results were about the actor. I’m reasonably confident of the amount of cover I have here. There are clues scattered about, mostly I think in back-and-forths with Ada, over some months that might allow someone to figure out our town, my kids’ school, if they have enough personal knowledge of our area. But not me or us directly.

    Maybe the 5 or so regulars with whom I’ve emailed over time can pick out more details if you felt like looking.

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