Welcome to College Confidential!

The leading college-bound community on the web

Sign Up For Free

Join for FREE, and start talking with other members, weighing in on community polls, and more.

Also, by registering and logging in you'll see fewer ads and pesky welcome messages (like this one!)

As a CC member, you can:

Economics-major, Introverted, picky - looking for intellectual safeties

AwfullyGoodAwfullyGood Posts: 16Registered User New Member
Long-time CC lurker, but had a question I could not solve for myself - so I created this account to ask the CC experts :)

11th grade, Female, Chinese (ESL, but English-educated)
American citizen, Mississippi resident, lived in Asia for last 10 years
Very competitive school (on scholarship)

SAT: 2300+, 700+ Math, 700+ Physics, 700+ Chemistry
GPA: Top 10%
Senior: Most rigorous (A Levels)
Self-study: Latin, Arabic, AP Psych (5), AP Comp Sci. (5), 7 edX courses, Great Books

Top 3 in international academic competition
Gold in Chemistry and Math olympiads, made USAMO
Science research awards
Other awards

Extensive volunteering: founded two programs, a non-profit
Published paper in journal
Paid writer
Student Government
Clubs and others

It would be ideal if a school fulfilled all the following criteria, but realistically I am looking for schools that satisfy most of it. I am also looking for schools with special features I can fall in love with :)

Academics:
- Very strong Economics w/ advanced quantitative courses; bonus: good Applied Math, Public Policy, Education, Business.
- Academic-bent and high admissions rate to top Economics and/or Public Policy Ph.D. programs.
- Strong Neuroscience, Cognitive Science and/or Psychology.
- Good Chemistry, Physics, History and Government; bonus: Engineering.
- Chinese for native speakers (advanced courses, independent studies, preceptorship).
- All-around decent liberal arts curriculum where double majoring is common; am fine with or without a core.
- Small class sizes, close student-faculty interactions.

Extracurricular:
- Great undergraduate research opportunities.
- Substantial social activism and volunteering.
- Am rather an overachiever, so would like many clubs where students actively participate.

Social and environment:
I am intellectually gifted, serious, and have a well-characterized introverted personality. Due to a combination of character traits and personal circumstances (e.g. chronic neurological condition), I have had anxiety issues and battled depression. I am coping very well and put the past behind me, but college is a significant change and in light of my inclinations, I am extremely picky about being in a suitable environment. I would like:

- Very intellectual environment
- Not big on sports, partying, or Greek life
- Bonded and friendly residential houses preferable
- Wary of schools known for depressive environments
- Racial and demographically diverse, students not overwhelmingly in-state

- Smaller school, less than ~ 7000 (arbitrary)
- More than ~ 2000 or part of consortium
- Looking at small universities, large LACs, consortiums
- Not single-sex unless part of consortium
- Not in major city, not rural - near urban city preferable

Financial:
Parents earn ~ $250k USD; they have saved and will be happy to pay for any school that would be best for me. Will not qualify for FA, but merit aid would be preferable for safeties.

Here is my current list:

Harvard University
Princeton University
Cambridge University
Brown University
Pomona College
Swarthmore College
University of Chicago
Wesleyan University
Wellesley College
Bryn Mawr College
Smith College
Kalamazoo College?
Hendrix College?

Is there any college here that does not fulfill most of my criteria?

Also, I am desperately looking for safety schools - perhaps due to my anxiety issues, I am extremely worried that one-and-a-half years later I will not be accepted to any school.

Any other comments (on chances or other things) and suggestions are also welcome :)

Thanks, and have a nice day! :)
Post edited by AwfullyGood on
«134

Replies to: Economics-major, Introverted, picky - looking for intellectual safeties

  • tk21769tk21769 Posts: 7,131Registered User Senior Member
    Wary of schools known for depressive environments

    Then think hard about the University of Chicago. In many respects it exactly fits what you say you want ... but then, there's that. Winters are long, cold, and often dreary. The buildings are gray. Some of the surrounding neighborhoods are bleak. The workload tends to be very heavy.

    In your safety zone (comparable to Hendrix), consider Earlham College. In your match zone, consider Macalester or Oberlin. These schools generate economics PhDs at relatively high rates. They satisfy many of your other criteria, too. Beloit (safety/match) is another possibility. Colorado College (match) offers a nice, sunny climate and a beautiful setting; it seems to have a pretty strong economics department (but you must be o.k. with its unusual one-course-at-a-time block plan).
  • naviancenaviance Posts: 141Registered User Junior Member
    Rice University
  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 Posts: 6,399Registered User Senior Member
    For a superlative Economics department with a strong quantitative component, look at MIT.
    Based on your background you'd be able to handle the first year science courses and it's really, really good (look up "Esther Duflo" for example).
  • ClassicRockerDadClassicRockerDad Posts: 3,601Registered User Senior Member
    You are a perfect fit for UChicago. I hope that know that already. I think that you'll get in. It's a much better place for introverts than Harvard or Princeton. Harvard and Princeton reek power, whereas UChicago reeks intellectualism, the Common Core will turn off many less intellectual folks. There is also no easy way through Chicago.

    Swarthmore is another intellectual school with a similar vibe, though it's really liberal whereas Chicago is more balanced. Reed should also be on your list at this point.

    In practice, most of the women's colleges are safeties if you show a modest amount of interest. Wellesley, which is at least a match, has produced more women economists than just about any other school. However, given your anxiety, I understand that a women's college is not really a good enough safety because you won't hear until late in your senior year. Because any small school can have unpredictable admissions decisions, you really can't use them as safeties even if they are. You need to get admissions decisions in the fall of your senior year while there is still time to apply to more schools.

    Apply to UChicago EA. You will find out mid December. Franky, I think that you have a great chance given that you are such a great fit.

    I would also apply to either the University of Wisconsin-Madison (or the University of Pittsburgh) as early as possible in September of your senior year. These applications are trivial, you are automatic, and with rolling admissions you will be admitted in October of your senior year. Being admitted to a university as fine as UWisconsin will ease some of your anxiety. I know it's large and not exactly what you want, but an admission in October will make you feel pretty good and will relieve a lot of stress especially right before the EA deadline.

    Finally, if it's not a lot of extra work, you might apply to Boston College or Kalamazoo EA also. It's hard to imagine you not getting into Kzoo and you'd have a LAC in the bag too.

    I would avoid applying SCEA to the ivies because it's so limiting and it doesn't increase your chances of admission.

    When you get to senior year, focus your attention on your top choices though. I think that's where you are going.
  • AwfullyGoodAwfullyGood Posts: 16Registered User New Member
    Thank you for the fast replies :)
    Then think hard about the University of Chicago. In many respects it exactly fits what you say you want ... but then, there's that. Winters are long, cold, and often dreary. The buildings are gray. Some of the surrounding neighborhoods are bleak. The workload tends to be very heavy.

    I've heard about the workload, but given that I have thrived in a hyper-competitive Asian school, I was not very worried about it.

    The harsh winters and bleak environment are concerns though - I am not sure if I should strike a brilliant school off the list just because I fear that I would relapse into depression there, but I will certainly reconsider this. Thanks for telling me about it :)
    In your safety zone (comparable to Hendrix), consider Earlham College. In your match zone, consider Macalester or Oberlin. These schools generate economics PhDs at relatively high rates. They satisfy many of your other criteria, too. Beloit (safety/match) is another possibility. Colorado College (match) offers a nice, sunny climate and a beautiful setting; it seems to have a pretty strong economics department (but you must be o.k. with its unusual one-course-at-a-time block plan).
    Rice University

    Will look into the schools mentioned :)
    For a superlative Economics department with a strong quantitative component, look at MIT.
    Based on your background you'd be able to handle the first year science courses and it's really, really good (look up "Esther Duflo" for example).

    I had never really considered Tech schools such as MIT, because I am currently drawn to social science disciplines that require a solid scientific and/or mathematical background rather than pure science or Engineering, which I feel MIT focuses on. Still, I'll look into it for the very strong Economics program, and given how young I am there is a pretty decent chance that I may change my mind about what I want to do anyway. Thanks for the suggestion :)
  • AwfullyGoodAwfullyGood Posts: 16Registered User New Member
    Reed should also be on your list at this point.

    Reed was on and off my list for a while, but I had read too many comments on how the student body is rather druggie and depressed that I begun worrying that I may relapse into depression 10k miles away from home.

    I realize that I do need to stop worrying about this one day, but currently I feel that going off to college is too great a decision not to be cautious. I will definitely reconsider Reed though :)
    In practice, most of the women's colleges are safeties if you show a modest amount of interest. Wellesley, which is at least a match, has produced more women economists than just about any other school. However, given your anxiety, I understand that a women's college is not really a good enough safety because you won't hear until late in your senior year. Because any small school can have unpredictable admissions decisions, you really can't use them as safeties even if they are. You need to get admissions decisions in the fall of your senior year while there is still time to apply to more schools.

    While I ordered the list of colleges by selectivity to show the reach/match/safety categories (therefore Wellesley is in the lower half), Wellesley is actually one of my favorites. I've also really liked what I've heard about Bryn Mawr and Smith, and they are really great admissions bargains. I think I have a pretty good chance of being accepted, but nothing definite of course - that's where Kalamazoo and Hendrix come in.
    Apply to UChicago EA. You will find out mid December. Franky, I think that you have a great chance given that you are such a great fit.
    Finally, if it's not a lot of extra work, you might apply to Boston College or Kalamazoo EA also. It's hard to imagine you not getting into Kzoo and you'd have a LAC in the bag too.

    Just wondering - does EA give a significant admissions boost? I would prefer not to apply EA/ED anywhere as the deadlines will be right in the middle of my A Levels exam period. I would prefer not to have to concentrate on both - too stressful, and hard to do a good job.
    I would also apply to either the University of Wisconsin-Madison (or the University of Pittsburgh) as early as possible in September of your senior year. These applications are trivial, you are automatic, and with rolling admissions you will be admitted in October of your senior year. Being admitted to a university as fine as UWisconsin will ease some of your anxiety. I know it's large and not exactly what you want, but an admission in October will make you feel pretty good and will relieve a lot of stress especially right before the EA deadline.

    I toyed with the idea of applying to a few state schools (including top ones like Michigan, as well as Alabama where I will probably be guaranteed Honors + Full ride), but I never liked the idea of going to such a large school. I will revisit the idea again though, research more and try to find some great programs at the schools to fall in love with :)
    When you get to senior year, focus your attention on your top choices though. I think that's where you are going.

    I would hope so, but I've heard too many horror stories not to be worried.
  • happymomof1happymomof1 Posts: 18,813Registered User Senior Member
    You haven't mentioned what your family is ready, willing, and able to pay. Get that figure from your parents. By the time you get here, the full Cost of Attendance including your travel will almost certainly be above USD 60,000 for all the places on your current list.

    Re-read the information in the Financial Aid Forum, so that you understand what you may be up against financially.

    I'd vote for BMC as a good academic fit for you. But if memory serves, it did rain an awful lot through the fall and winter the four years was there. If your depression is affected by weather, you may want to look further south, or for a drier climate.

    Wishing you all the best!
  • happymomof1happymomof1 Posts: 18,813Registered User Senior Member
    Forgot to ask: which of your parents is living in Mississippi? If you are basing your state of residence for college tuition and fees on your family's last residence in the US, and your family has been out of the US for 10 years, you probably are not a resident for tuition and fees. Do check the policies at the colleges and universities there, perhaps you are.

    When you turn 18, you can register to vote in the last state where you (or your US citizen parent) lived. However voter's registration has little to do with in-state residency for public colleges and universities. Normally a parent would need to be living there and paying taxes to that state.
  • AwfullyGoodAwfullyGood Posts: 16Registered User New Member
    You haven't mentioned what your family is ready, willing, and able to pay. Get that figure from your parents. By the time you get here, the full Cost of Attendance including your travel will almost certainly be above USD 60,000 for all the places on your current list.

    Re-read the information in the Financial Aid Forum, so that you understand what you may be up against financially.

    I have read some information in the Fin Aid Forum, and feel that I will probably be alright.

    I am an only child. My parents earn ~ $250k USD, and have both gotten their tenures. We do not have other significant liabilities, and are well-covered by both health and disability insurance. My parents have property and retirement funds. They have saved since I was born (they had both lived off meagre scholarships and vowed that their child would not face the hardship they had). I have gotten them to look at the prices, and they have told me that they have saved enough. If the prices increase, their salaries should be sufficient to cover the remaining amounts. I am also not intending to go to Law or Medical school, and PhD programs should mostly be funded. All in all, I think I am in a very fortunate position financially.
    Forgot to ask: which of your parents is living in Mississippi? If you are basing your state of residence for college tuition and fees on your family's last residence in the US, and your family has been out of the US for 10 years, you probably are not a resident for tuition and fees. Do check the policies at the colleges and universities there, perhaps you are.

    When you turn 18, you can register to vote in the last state where you (or your US citizen parent) lived. However voter's registration has little to do with in-state residency for public colleges and universities. Normally a parent would need to be living there and paying taxes to that state.

    I admit that I do not understand the laws well, though I have always considered myself a Mississippi resident as my parents own property there, have drivers' license registered there, etc. Mississippi was our last state of residence before leaving the country, and we have no ties to any other state.

    I have never intended to attend any of Mississippi's public institutions so this point would probably be moot, though you are right to say that I will probably not be considered an in-state resident for college purposes.

    Therefore, I suppose I technically have no state where I am considered in-state, and I will also be considered international at public universities where I reside am due to my American citizenship.

    It is very fortunate that my parents can afford to be full expensive college fees.
  • HarvestMoon1HarvestMoon1 Posts: 1,312Registered User Senior Member
    Think ClassicRocker is right, University of Chicago is a perfect fit in many ways. But what tk21769 says is also very true - those winters can be long and depressing. I like the idea of Rice as the atmosphere is more upbeat and it is certainly a very serious school. Any idea where you intend to live after graduation? I am told that the heavy recruiting from Rice is confined mainly in the South.

    Another serious school that I think is often overlooked is William and Mary in Virginia. Think it might be worth exploring.
  • AwfullyGoodAwfullyGood Posts: 16Registered User New Member
    I like the idea of Rice as the atmosphere is more upbeat and it is certainly a very serious school.

    Will definitely look into Rice - the environment there sounds like a great fit, though I have an impression that they focus on Engineering, Architecture and Music more than Economics. Just wondering - how important is strength of intended major in deciding the school, given that I am not 100% certain and will still be exploring?
    Any idea where you intend to live after graduation? I am told that the heavy recruiting from Rice is confined mainly in the South.

    Have not really thought about this because it seems so far away, and so much could change between now and then. As of now, though, I have no preference for geography. I have also considered pursuing a PhD so post-grad employment may not be as relevant, but it is all very hypothetical at this moment.
  • BeanTownGirlBeanTownGirl Posts: 2,724Registered User Senior Member
    Tufts......
  • SoCalDad2SoCalDad2 Posts: 713Registered User Member
    Will definitely look into Rice - the environment there sounds like a great fit, though I have an impression that they focus on Engineering, Architecture and Music more than Economics.

    According to College Navigator - National Center for Education Statistics, 9% of the grads at Rice major in either Econometrics and Quantitative Economics (39 majors) or in General Economics (43 majors).

    If you depression issues are worsened by dreary winter weather, most of the schools on your list are not attractive.
  • timetodecide12timetodecide12 Posts: 640Registered User Member
    Davidson may be a match
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Posts: 32,156Registered User Senior Member
    Stanford? (but it is not anything close to a safety)

    Finding safeties can be difficult within your criteria, since most of the schools with math-heavy economics departments are either highly selective private schools (too selective to be safeties) or highly selective state flagships (which are larger than 7,000 undergraduates).

    You can go to the economics department web sites of the various school and look for:
    * Intermediate microeconomics and econometrics courses with math prerequisites higher than frosh single variable calculus.
    * Advanced mathematical economics courses.
    to see how suitable they are for your interest. Of course, you can also look at the math and statistics offerings (real analysis, proof-oriented linear algebra, and in-depth probability and statistics are typical courses to support mathematical economics).
«134
Sign In or Register to comment.