HK, I am not sure if I said this earlier (I think I did), but Harvey Mudd is where my daughter is headed. I personally think the fit is better for her than MIT would be -- with some focus still on the humanities, a little bit smaller school, but plenty of smart kids there. She did run into a couple of students from THINK at accepted student days at Mudd -- they are accepting a pretty bright crew of kids, I think. Another thing she liked about Mudd was the strong presence of women on the faculty and in the student body. She did plenty of "male heavy" activities in high school - Robotics, Quiz Bowl, engineering camp - so she is used to that environment. But she liked the idea of a tech college where about half the population are women. She also really liked a couple of the women physics professors she met there (something one could barely find, as there are so few, at U of Chicago...). She figured Mudd gave her all these things -- strong physics program with a great track record of PhD program acceptance, opportunity to still pursue her humanities interests (particularly visual arts), the benefit of the Claremont consortium for social and other course opportunities, a pool of other smart kids (with the bonus of some humanities-smart kids at Pomona), a Quiz Bowl team and a fencing club, more women in her classes and as professors/mentors, and the opportunity to set fires for fun. smile Do not underestimate the power of the last item...

She went to accepted student stays at Swarthmore and U of Chicago, and has spent a lot of time at Carleton (we live nearby). And in the end after those visits she decided on Mudd, and she is solid on her decision and is very confident it is right for her. My pocketbook is not as happy -- but we can do it. And it is the right fit for her. You gotta tune out the "prestige" voices (your H needs to do that, I think, but it is very hard for some people). Your D is going to shine ANYPLACE. So do your best to find places that feel good to her so she has a happy and fulfilling four years. It may not be Mudd if she isn't sure about the STEM path. But setting aside that "branding" criteria can really help clear the path.

I will also say that top colleges are looking for students who aren't all about the branding. I am sure one reason my D had great success in admissions is because that was the last thing on her mind. I think her "Why College X" essays were well considered and devoid of any gushing about the general reputation of College X (except when she compared some of them favorably to THINK). smile

Last edited by intparent; 07/22/13 09:27 AM.