How do you find the best actuarial programs?

I decided to go look at the top 100 National Universities according to US News and World Report.

These are the ones that have actuarial programs.

5. University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School of Business (You have to get a degree in Economics, but you can emphasize actuarial science.)

These guys receive 5,500 applicants and have a freshman class of 500.

[W]e evaluate high school academic performance, standardized testing, recommendations, non-scholastic achievements, leadership, and personal maturity. The university Admissions Committee looks for individuals who will be future leaders.

Hmm. I wonder if they would count him. He’s done some volunteer work and been good with it, but…

Early admit Nov 1
Notification for early admit Dec 13

Must have taken calculus for Wharton. They look at types and level of courses taken. Most students are in the top 5% of their class. (Okay, that’s probably not him. Wait. Does that count the college? He’s in Phi Theta Kappa.)

Recommendations are necessary. They are needed to be in your area. So he needs a recommendation letter from VM (need to get that before they leave for Prague) and from the calculus teacher.

Dual credit courses are accepted.
Regular Decisions Jan 1

23. University of Virginia

E is not going to the UVa.

You may not use dual enrollment courses to meet the first or second writing requirement or the foreign language requirement.

and UVa is not a Tier 1 Homeschool university.

While we do not require that home-schooled applicants take any special steps in our admission process, we do recommend that they try as best they can to help us see their academic performance in the clearest possible context. In recent years successful home-schooled applicants have chosen one (and usually several) of the following methods: taking courses in a local college; joining organizations in their community; providing samples of academic projects (e.g., essays, research papers, articles) they have completed; sending multiple recommendations from non-family-members who know them well; taking more SAT II Subject Tests than we encourage of all candidates.

They don’t require it, but if you don’t have it, you are hosed.

25. University of Michigan: Ann Arbor

27,000 applicants with 5600 accepted. (That includes all three campuses, but Ann Arbor is the main one.)

He’s spot on with the entire class: SAT Total of 1920–2180.

But he’s under in grades. Unweighted high school GPA of 3.7–4.0. 53% had a 3.9 or better. Don’t think he’s going to get in there.

Their FAQ sucks. There is nothing on homeschooling or on dual credit.

28. University of North Carolina: Chapel Hill (Only 1 of every 11 out-of-state students is accepted.)

November 3
Notification Jan 15

Must have a teacher recommendation.

34. New York University

They require two SAT subject tests.

For homeschoolers:

Detailed performance evaluations are helpful, but not required. While courses do not have to be named in traditional terms, a brief summary of course content is required. Other materials, such as course bibliographies or syllabi, may be submitted, but are not required. If homeschooling has been supplemented by formal coursework either at the secondary school or post-secondary level, official transcripts from the school(s) or college(s) are required.

Not exactly a Tier I either, but not egregious.

38. University of Illinois: Urbana-Champaign

Application for admission is available September 1.

They want the ACT Writing section, but only use SAT I, not II.

The middle 50% in E’s college have SATs of 1850-2120. Now this is the Liberal Arts and Sciences section, so it is possible that they are harder for the LA part. But maybe not. The highest SAT scores are from Engineering.

When a home school teacher submits a high school transcript, what else might prove helpful for review?
We would like the traditional information such a course titles, grades, credits, dates of completion, and test scores. In addition, it would be extremely helpful to have a course description, textbook list, and some idea of the amount of writing or laboratory time required of the student.

For this one I’d have to go back and look at all that stuff. Do I have textbook lists? Could I get them?

Not a requirement, but if they won’t accept you without it, it’s a pain.

Obviously not what I would consider a Tier I.

This would be a major pain in the behind. I don’t think they would really care a lot though, because by the time he gets there he’ll have 83 college hours. (He has 47 now.) It’s not like that won’t show what he can do.

Can I make a change to my senior schedule after being admitted?
Your admission was, in part, based on your senior year schedule. Therefore, we will only approve drops in your schedule for medical reasons or extenuating circumstances. You can change your schedule, but the change must be to a comparable level course, e.g. AP for AP, honors for honors, etc. Any request for a schedule change must be submitted in writing to the Office of Admissions.
When we review final transcripts in the summer, we check final grades as well as schedule changes. An unauthorized schedule change could jeopardize your admission.

This is an issue because I was planning on having E take Physics next summer, but he has to take a calculus class as well. I’ll need to really be careful about what I say he is taking.

What percentage of undergraduates are from out-of-state?
Approximately 10 percent of our undergraduates are nonresidents. Out-of-state students are evaluated against the same criteria used for in-state students.

That’s good. Because, clearly, we are out-of-state.

44. University of Texas: Austin

January 15

They look at academic achievement and personal achievement. Think he’s going to have a problem with that second one.

They do not use the SAT II for anything useful for E. They just give college credit. He’s got plenty of that.

Average SAT score (Reading and Math only): 1235

August 21 at 2:30 is an in Houston meeting

If you’re outside of the top 10%, the overall quality of your application is particularly important. We carefully review everything you submit when making admission decisions.

Can I count as a non-ranking school?

To help us make decisions about students from non-ranking schools, we ask counselors to send us information about their school’s grading system, the size of their graduating class, coursework required for graduation and other information. Admission decisions are made based on this information along with the same factors used to make decisions for non-top 10% graduates.

While they don’t require anything else, they do indicate that homeschool students should send in more things.

Some indicators of academic competitiveness are SAT or ACT scores and SAT Subject Test scores, the curriculum used in the home-school environment, awards and honors you may have won in competition with traditionally schooled students, grades you earned in college courses taken in conjunction with home schooling, and other information that you submit to us.

48. Pennsylvania State University: University Park

30% out-of-state students
student:faculty ratio of 17:1
Those sound good.


Middle 50% numbers here:
GPA: 3.57-3.97
SAT: 1740-1980

E is right in the middle there. He has a 3.6666667 average at the college and got a 1960 on his SAT. He is going to take the ACT in September and take the SAT again in October.

The reputation of this school, however, is not as clear down here. Yes, it’s in the top, but would anyone down here know it? Will E stay in the Northeast if he goes there?

62. Texas A&M (not a degree, but an emphasis, like Wharton)

Opening Sept 15
Ending January 15

Will accept dual credit.

Wants 3.5 years of math, 3 years of science, and recommends 2 years of foreign language.

There is a guaranteed admit, but since E didn’t go to public school, he would be in the review process. That, they write, is competitive.

The guaranteed admit want top quarter of class and 1300 combined Reading-Math SAT (E’s is 1340).

They recommend that you visit campus and tell them that you did on your application, in Essay A at least.

Examples of academic association include official visits to campus such as attending Aggieland Saturday, attending college night programs, meeting with a Texas A&M University admissions counselor, visiting any Prospective Student Center, attending a Texas A&M University application workshop or participating in a University sponsored program such as SLOT, SEAL, ExCEL, etc

Aggieland Saturday doesn’t happen again until February.

BUT Game Day Workshops are on Sept 27, Oct 18, and Nov 8. We ought to be able to go to one of those.

Also, we could schedule a tour. We’ve driven by and walked around, but that would probably be a good idea too. August 5-30 the tours are M-F 9, 11, 1, and 2.

I need to find out if E wants to go here. If he does, then we should do both of these.

There’s also a two day program on campus Nov 7-9 which you go online and sign up for on Sept 8th at 8 am.

Submit the app first, before December 1, and then send in your other required documents.

Also do Essay C. It is highly recommended.

They are a Tier 1 school.

If your school does not rank, a school profile from your high school must be provided as part of the application file. Students who are still in high school (including home-schooled students) must submit an official transcript listing courses, units of credit per course, and grade per course at least through the junior year.

57. Boston University (which actually has a Department of Actuarial Science)

They say submitting early doesn’t get you accepted early. That’s easier for E.

Even though this is ranked lower than Penn State: University Park, their Middle 50% is higher.

SAT: 1850-2080
Top 15% of high school

And they want two to FOUR years of a language.

Another one bites the dust.

57. University of Ohio: Columbus (They can tie. Then they skip whatever the next number is. So the numbers go 96 to 107.)

Their deadline is November 3.

Their science expectations are low with 3 recommended and 2 required. Those are the same requirements for social sciences and foreign language. Their math is more reasonable (I wouldn’t have gotten in.) with 4 recommended and 3 required.

E will have 5 science, already has 7 social science, will have 2 foreign language, and will have 5.5 for math. Obviously he isn’t strong in foreign language, but he dunks the rest.

64. Purdue University (My alma mater.)

Application deadline:
Recommended fall of senior year, with other priority deadlines given as November 15.
Required March 1.

It matters to Purdue when you apply. That’s weighted in your admissions. So, apply early. If you apply early, acceptance can be decided by Dec. 5.

Indiana students are given preference, just like UNC.

For 2007 first-time freshman, the middle 50% SAT was 1500-1860. That puts E right there.

Middle grades were 3.1 to 3.8. They don’t weight grades (which would give E about a 4.5 on a 4 scale), but they do consider the rigor of the courses. He’s right there with this too.

Grades for dual credits do not transfer. I guess that’s like starting over with a clean slate. The credits transfer, just not the grades.

64. University of Connecticut.

Storrs Campus is the one with actuarial science.

Deadline dates:
Early action December 1
Regular February 1
Other campus July 1

Average SAT scores are 1195. (I would assume they are a little higher for Storrs because of the earlier deadline.)

Out-of-state tuition and fees is averaging $33K a year. Hmmm. That’s a lot.

75. Baylor

E won’t go there. The only schools he for sure doesn’t want to go to are those that require Bible classes.

91. University of Nebraska: Lincoln

Online application available September 1.

Only 66 hours of transfer credit is allowed. (I don’t yet know if that includes dual credit.)

Definitely not a Tier 1 Homeschool university.

If you want to see all the extra hoops, including a description of the course and a list of the textbooks being REQUIRED, see their info page. The worst thing is they want the students to take a GED. I am not letting my son take a GED. Do you know what kind of bad reaction that gets from people? Yes, it proves you can read and write, but folks don’t respect it. It means you weren’t able to get a high school education.

By the way, there is nothing at UN’s site about dual credit for homeschoolers and that being a way to show competency.

Not going there.

One thought on “How do you find the best actuarial programs?

  1. hey u rock!
    this was so helpful and its a real opinion from someone not like school saying “yes come here we’ll screw u over but we’re a great school” type of thing.

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