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  1. #1
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    Default College Ideas For Kid Who Wants To Ride At School (NOT EQUINE MAJOR)

    I have a student who is VERY scholastic (a high honor student in all honors and AP classes), but really has no idea what she might want to do in life (understandably). She is equally strong in math/science as she is in liberal arts, so she really isn't sure which avenue to pursue. Despite her fantastic academic record, she is a kid that is extremely quiet and has less confidence in her overall abilities than she really should. Now, parents are on her case to start thinking more seriously about where she might want to go to college. Parents are now demanding that she come up with some schools she wants to visit during vacation in April. She's at a bit of a loss as what to pick. Evidently her councilor at school suggessted Cornell and the kid was a bit intimidated thinking she could never get in to an Ivy League school. Her (almost) only criteria for narrowing things down is that she wants a school where she can continue to ride! Parents have made it very clear they will be selling her horse when the time comes, so she will be riding only through the school program, whatever that might be.

    The kid came to me hoping I could possibly point her in a direction because of the riding. This kid has a great brain and quite a lot of common sense. I would really like to see her go somewhere where she will use it and where she can gain more confidence in her abilities - she really underestimates herself. I told her that I would like her to not worry about the riding part and pick her school choices for every other reason. I was sure, in the geographic areas she was thinking of, there would be a place to ride reasonably nearby if not at the school itself.

    Her criteria is: NOT an all womens school and MUST be able to ride! Doesn't care if it's city or rural, large or small. She thinks she would like the Mid-Atlantic or the Northeast area, or perhaps Florida.

    I know there are TONS of schools out there, but I am hoping that the "Must be able to ride" criteria might allow folks here an opportunity to chime in! Anyone have any ideas to offer?



  2. #2
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    What type of riding does she want to do? Does she want to compete (with a competitive team), or mainly ride for fun?



  3. #3
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    I went to Goucher, in MD. Barn on campus

    But really, almost any school she finds where she feels comfortable could work- many have riding teams, but most even if they do have barns off campus. If the school doesn't have a team, there are very likely some barns near enough that she could make it work.

    (especially in MD, VA, or NC, I would think.)
    "smile a lot can let us ride happy,it is good thing"

    My CANTER blog.



  4. #4
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    You can find a half lease nearly anywhere...school wouldn't necessarily have to have an Eq team.

    If I were in her shoes and having to pay for college not knowing what I wanted to major in, I'd go to a good state school--in state.

    Although it sounds as if this kid would really benefit from getting WAY far away from mom and dad. eek!
    A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

    Might be a reason, never an excuse...



  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by LuvMyDressageQH View Post
    What type of riding does she want to do? Does she want to compete (with a competitive team), or mainly ride for fun?
    She would LOVE to be on a team. However, she is a kid who would be truly happy just to be able to ride for fun if there were no team. She simply wants to be able to ride. Teams are a plus, but I don't belive a requirement. IMO, she's not talented enough with her riding to be on a NCAA team - she's a solid 3' rider, but has no experience at 3'6".

    I probably should clarify that she wants to continue in the h/j discipline.



  6. #6
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    I was happier finding a good boarding hunter/jumper barn by my school and boarding and riding there. There were several students that boarded and showed there, so I still made a lot of barn friends. Maybe she could lease a horse - if she's just riding for fun lots of people have horses up for lease and 1/2 lease for good prices. Just enough to get your horse-fix.

    The college equestrian programs just weren't for me - I wanted to show, I wanted to ride my horses, and I wanted to be able to ride whenever I felt like it. Have her talk to a few colleges that have equestrian teams and see what she thinks. I was much happier doing the horse thing separate from the college.



  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by caffeinated View Post
    I went to Goucher, in MD. Barn on campus

    But really, almost any school she finds where she feels comfortable could work- many have riding teams, but most even if they do have barns off campus. If the school doesn't have a team, there are very likely some barns near enough that she could make it work.

    (especially in MD, VA, or NC, I would think.)
    I agree and told her so as well. But I don't think that helped her narrow things down at all!



  8. #8
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    How about looking into the IHSA schools?



  9. #9
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    Washington and Lee University in Lexington, VA

    www.wlu.edu

    Varsity riding team, but DIII so not as competitive. Competes only on the IHSA circuit, except for ODACs in May (the finals for the athletic conference--you take your own horses and 4 people get to compete). EXCELLENT academics in sciences, liberal arts, business/commerce. They get kids into top grad schools every year, and also (before this economy) got kids into top I-Banking firms in NYC, Charlotte, etc. We didn't have the top riding team, but we were a close bunch and had fun...and we competed against a lot of schools where riding was the main focus.

    UVA might also be worth a look.



  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by BuddyRoo View Post
    If I were in her shoes and having to pay for college not knowing what I wanted to major in, I'd go to a good state school--in state.

    Although it sounds as if this kid would really benefit from getting WAY far away from mom and dad. eek!

    I don't disagree with you at all! However, Dad would NEVER accept that without her first applying and being denied to a bunch of other schools. Dad is big on what he percieves as the "prestige" of the school. Knowing he did not go to such a school, I think he is living vicariosly through his children. And, IMO, it's Dad she needs to get away from - Mom is wonderful - but Dad rules the roost. She was a bystander all last year while she saw this same scenario play out with an older sibling now a Freshman in college. Which is a big part of why, I belive, she has put thinking about it all off for as long as she can get away with.



  11. #11
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    Cornell is my alma mater. She can CERTAINLY ride there!!! Gorgeous campus, terrific academic program. Because there are sub schools (I was an Aggie - but there's Arts & Sciences, Ag & Life Sci, Labor Relations, Architecture, etc etc) there is a "small school" feel within the very large campus.

    And of course, the vet school is there. Just sayin.'
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by caffeinated View Post
    But really, almost any school she finds where she feels comfortable could work- many have riding teams, but most even if they do have barns off campus. If the school doesn't have a team, there are very likely some barns near enough that she could make it work.

    (especially in MD, VA, or NC, I would think.)

    Agreed - I went to the University of Richmond in VA, they have an IHSA team and I learned a lot (coming from total dressage background). I rode on the team for three years and competed against Mt. St. Mary's, Goucher, UMD, etc... Senior year I tried and failed to get interest in an IDA team so decided to take private dressage lessons for the year, in preparation for starting work with my gelding back home.

    It was great to be able to have my choice of major - UofR has many different schools as well as a Business School, Law School, and School of Leadership Studies. I also got involved in TONS of other activities like the radio station, lots of clubs, and worked on campus in their museums and in a cafe. Definitely recommend the VA/ MD/ NC area



  13. #13
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    Advise her to look near cities that are known for having riding. That way, even if she doesn't like the school's riding program (or there isn't one), she can ride.

    Also, a piece of unsolicited advice to take or leave. Please, please encourage her to look at other factours. As a student going through the transfer process, it is a long road back to happiness at school when a student uses the wrong criteria (what criteria is wrong is up for debate). I chose my college thinking that I "could" be satisfied anywhere. That's true to a certain extent, but if she has the chance to attend a school that is a good match for her, she should TAKE it! I might not be able to ride this fall, who knows- but I know that, even as a horse woman, I will be MUCH happier, even leaving a school that makes it so I follow the season of my sport. Being able to ride all year is great, but it does not replace a wonderful school life (IMHO as someone in this situation right now).

    Again, I don't know her or the situation. But because this is so real to me right now (just chose my new school one week ago) I wanted to chime in.

    ETA: This is what I would recommend to help her. She has narrowed it down to a general region, which is great. I would encourage her to take a close look at what the students have to say about their quality of life, especially considering the retention rate (big mistake of mine first time around). Also, I recommend taking a GOOD look at the non-horse related campus activities! I came here in large part to ride all year round (school in south FL). At the beginning of this semester, I got a BAD injury to my peroneal tendons on one foot. Less than two weeks later... similar and worse injury to the other foot. I'm not going to be have a riding season... and I chose a school with hardly any activities now that I can't ride. You never know what will happen with riding, so making sure there are other activities that can be enjoyed is a must.

    Horses are great, but IME, they do not make up for an otherwise miserable college experience.
    <><



  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by PinkPonies View Post
    I was happier finding a good boarding hunter/jumper barn by my school and boarding and riding there. There were several students that boarded and showed there, so I still made a lot of barn friends. Maybe she could lease a horse - if she's just riding for fun lots of people have horses up for lease and 1/2 lease for good prices. Just enough to get your horse-fix.

    The college equestrian programs just weren't for me - I wanted to show, I wanted to ride my horses, and I wanted to be able to ride whenever I felt like it. Have her talk to a few colleges that have equestrian teams and see what she thinks. I was much happier doing the horse thing separate from the college.

    No doubt that she would prefer to keep her horse off campus in a show stable and continue to show the USEF circuit. However, parents have made it clear that the horse will be sold (or at least for sale - who knows what the market will do) when she goes to school. That was their criteria for agreeing to spend what they did for this horse.



  15. #15
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    In trying to think of Northeast schools that were not Ivy League (as the kid seems to be intimidated by the idea) I thought of Boston College and Tufts. I don't know anything about riding there, but figured there are so many barns in the area that there must be someplace she could find to ride. What about Stonehill?

    Just thinking of schools I know people have gone to that I think might work!



  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by RoyalTRider View Post
    Advise her to look near cities that are known for having riding. That way, even if she doesn't like the school's riding program (or there isn't one), she can ride.

    Also, a piece of unsolicited advice to take or leave. Please, please encourage her to look at other factours. As a student going through the transfer process, it is a long road back to happiness at school when a student uses the wrong criteria (what criteria is wrong is up for debate). I chose my college thinking that I "could" be satisfied anywhere. That's true to a certain extent, but if she has the chance to attend a school that is a good match for her, she should TAKE it! I might not be able to ride this fall, who knows- but I know that, even as a horse woman, I will be MUCH happier, even leaving a school that makes it so I follow the season of my sport. Being able to ride all year is great, but it does not replace a wonderful school life (IMHO as someone in this situation right now).

    Again, I don't know her or the situation. But because this is so real to me right now (just chose my new school one week ago) I wanted to chime in.

    ETA: This is what I would recommend to help her. She has narrowed it down to a general region, which is great. I would encourage her to take a close look at what the students have to say about their quality of life, especially considering the retention rate (big mistake of mine first time around). Also, I recommend taking a GOOD look at the non-horse related campus activities! I came here in large part to ride all year round (school in south FL). At the beginning of this semester, I got a BAD injury to my peroneal tendons on one foot. Less than two weeks later... similar and worse injury to the other foot. I'm not going to be have a riding season... and I chose a school with hardly any activities now that I can't ride. You never know what will happen with riding, so making sure there are other activities that can be enjoyed is a must.

    Horses are great, but IME, they do not make up for an otherwise miserable college experience.

    Great advice to pass along.



  17. #17
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    RoyalTRider is so right on.

    I loved my Goucher experience- but other people didn't. Finding the right "fit" is so important, and academics/social life/activities are a much more important thing than riding. At least, you're going to spend more time doing school stuff than riding, and so much of those non-academic school-related things are really going to shape a person.

    Most of what made my experience a good one, despite being very involved in riding and the barn, was non-horse related stuff. The other activities, the general "vibe" of campus, and the location (close to several major cities so lots of opportunities for fantastic things to do and also jobs).

    Her best course of action to start with is probably picking some schools to go visit. It can even be at random. But admissions will arrange all that stuff, and even for her to stay overnight to get a feel for the schools, usually. But once she's visited a few, it will probably help her narrow down what she likes and doesn't, outside of riding and academics.
    "smile a lot can let us ride happy,it is good thing"

    My CANTER blog.



  18. #18
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    What about Amherst College? Co-ed offers the prestige that daddy wants, in a huge college area (five to be exact) and Amherst is a great town! I went to UMASS Amherst, but it sounds like that would be looked down on by daddy. Ofcourse, they could look at it on their school trip.

    There is also Dartmouth, Bowdoin, & Williams -all good schools with riding. Lastly, Skidmore, but I have a feeling that it might be a school you want to own your own horse if you ride? Not that they don't have nice horses, but because of the type of student they attract- I could be wrong though and it would be worth looking into- Saratoga is a great town!



  19. #19
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    Another vote for W&L. Beautiful campus, tough academics, small enough to not get lost, beautiful part of the country, almost in the VA Horse Center's back yard , great climate, IHSA and event teams, foxhunting available. Good retention rate, very unique with A SERIOUS honor code governed by the students. rated one of the best for return on the investment. (her Dad should like that)



  20. #20
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    Tell her to get her hands on this book ASAP. It is, in my opinion, the only college guide that tells the honest truth about the ENVIRONMENT on campuses, and I have found it to be dead on at every school I've ever attended or visited (and that's a lot between my undergrad, master's, and PhD searches):
    http://www.amazon.com/Insiders-Guide.../dp/0312366892

    This book will tell her the stuff she REALLY wants to know, like whether the students are very high-pressure and cut-throat with each other or whether it's a supportive environment, whether the dorm food tastes good, what students are usually doing on Saturday at 8 pm and what they're doing on Sunday at 2 pm, etc. A lot of schools that look very similar on paper--for example, Bates College in Maine/Kenyon College in Ohio/Claremont Mckenna in California--are clearly differentiated in Insider's Guide. Seriously, tell her to order it ASAP. It is way better than the standard Princeton Review "best colleges" guides that just spit out a bunch of numerical statistics. If she's a good enough student that Cornell is on her counselor's radar, she shouldn't be spending much time poring over average GPA's or SAT scores--she can get in almost anywhere she wants. It's quality of life that matters.

    Other things to have her look at if she's serious about riding in college:

    --Tell her to have The Big Financial Discussion with the parents. If staying in-state to lower tuition would allow them to consider keeping her horse, then maybe that's something to consider. Similarly, if she goes to an expensive private school out of state, will that leave any monetary support from mom and dad to lease or half lease a horse, or will that mean she has to bust her own butt trading chores for lessons or getting a part-time job to pay for her riding? Obviously the financial discussion should not dissuade her from applying to prestigious private schools, but if money is an issue, she can alert her counselor, who in turn can steer her to the private institutions that are most likely to grant her a big fat scholarship.

    --Have her research car storage options on campus. Some schools either don't allow freshmen to have cars or make it very difficult to access the car, often by putting the car in Bum-eff-aroo in some storage lot.

    --Consider weather. Obviously high-quality barns are going to be expensive everywhere, but if I were looking for cheap riding as a college student, I'd be going to a temperate climate with a ton of horses. Somewhere like North Carolina, Florida, Virginia, you get the idea. Riding here in Michigan as a poor student is a PITA and hard to find since everyone who's got a "serious horse" here has to pay for an indoor arena, and that means they're putting out big $$, and that in turn means they usually expect the student to pay for the riding. It's also unpleasant to ride in the extreme cold, and even the most hardcore riders here in Michigan often find themselves NOT riding from January to March, and that's a tough thing for some college students to adapt to.
    Head Geek at The Saddle Geek Blog http://www.thesaddlegeek.com/



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