Well, this question might be a bit presumptuous as I haven't been accepted anywhere yet but I don't feel like doing my homework so here I am...
Having applied to nine schools as a senior in high school, I have begun trying to decide where I'd most like to go. Currently, my top choices are three ivies (Dartmouth, Princeton and Penn) and U of R. UoR is there because I hope to get around $17k from them yearly, based on my national merit finalist status. As my name suggests, very tentatively, I'm considering majoring in physics in college. The other three schools seem to clearly be a level above UoR, especially Princeton with one of the top physics programs in the country.
My situation seems to be unique in that my parents have given me ~$200k for college but anything I don't spend I keep, so I don't just want to chose the best school necessarily. After four years in high school with relatively easy classes (AP calc BC was the one I hoped would be challenging but really hasn't been...) in college I'd really like to challenge myself and learn a ton. While I don't discount the difficulty of UoR, I don't think it would present the same level of academics of my other possibilities (or hopefully possibilities). If I went to UoR, I'd probably try to double major in physics and comp sci because of the flexibility of their curriculum and my interest in both areas.
So, am I a complete fool to consider throwing away $70,000 or dumb to not go to the best school I can? I don't really view college as a way to maximize my potential earnings, so you can leave that out of the discussion, but as a time to grow a lot as a person and learn a lot of interesting stuff. Any opinions or comments on my situation would be appreciated.
Here are my academic stats, in case that's helpful or someone would like to comment on how theirs are higher (there are some incredibly smart people on this website):
SAT2s: Math2 800, US history 780, chem 800, bio 780 (as freshman)
GPA: 4.18 (5.24 weighted, gotta love scales that go above 4)
APs: Calc BC, Physics C, US History, Chemistry, Comp SCi A (5 total)
P.S. I've rowed that last three years and really enjoy it, but I'm not sure if I'm fast/strong enough to row in college, I would like the option though (UoR only has a club team).
Thank you, I know this website has many knowledgeable people who contribute and hopefully I can make a better decision with your help.