Great question, and point. Many of these schools not only are strong on their own but offer Honors Programs that your son might be eligible for. In terms of the College Fair, we invite schools that continually respond and attend. If a school isn’t represented, it is likely that they had never attended before and we moved on to invite other schools who wish to attend, or that they declined our invitation this year. Several Big 10 schools were invited this year, but not all. We will be sure to invite all Big 10 schools next year!
We do our best to suggest a variety of schools to our students, but there is always room for growth and we’ll make an effort to continue to provide our students with greater access and information. Last year, our students sent 59 applications to 10 different Big 10 schools, (not counting Northwestern). At least 22 (probably more) were admitted to eight different universities, and seven students matriculated: five to Michigan, one to Purdue, one to Ohio State. What this tells us is that many students are sending applications, and our students are regularly admitted but many choose not to matriculate for some reason.
I see two barriers to our students. First, Big 10 schools are mostly not members of the Common Application. It’s another separate application to fill out, and the boys don’t want to take on any more than they already are. When Michigan went to the common application, our applications rose from a total of 11 in the combined prior three years to 19 that year. Second, our boys gravitate to the West Coast and to the East Coast, but less often to the Midwest.
Our suggestions sometimes often fall on deaf ears because to many, “The Midwest” may as well be Jupiter, it is such an unfamiliar place. Consider planning a college trip to Iowa, Ohio, Indiana, Pennslvania, Wisconsin, etc. Combine a Big 10 visit with another Jesuit, State or Private school in the area. It’s hard for them to envision these places and apply without being there because they really don’t even know what “Midwest” means—I think some of them are still picturing the Oregon Trail!