Hi, I'm a senior and I have quite an extensive list of colleges I'd like to apply to, but feel that I should try to reduce it to save some time and money applying. I thought the good people of CC might be able to help with this. Here's information about myself:
-4.0 UW GPA, ~4.4 W (my school does not weight honors classes, however).
-Full IB Diploma candidate.
-35 ACT composite, 36 ACT superscore, 2240 SAT, 800 SAT II Math 2. I still need to take the physics subject test in October, but I'm studying hard and hoping for a 770+.
-Class rank of 2/265. I'm the only student in my class taking IB Math HL this year.
-Likely NMF (PSAT is well above the normal cutoff for my state)
-Strong involvement in robotics (founding an FRC team and coaching 2 FLL teams), knowledge bowl, luthery (building guitars), and some music as well. Not extraordinary ECs I suppose, but I think I've taken advantage of the opportunities I've had and even created some new ones.
-I'm interested in studying either engineering or physics. If I went the engineering route, I'd probably want to focus on aerospace engineering. I really love physics as well though, so I'm keeping my options open for now. Engineering physics or applied physics is a great option as well.
-Whatever I study, I plan to get a PhD, so good opportunities for research at the undergraduate level is a must.
-For college to be affordable with no debt, I'll either need significant merit aid or significant need aid. After running financial aid calculators, schools that meet 100% of need will be affordable. My main financial safety is the University of Arizona, which offers 30K/year for NMFs.
Here's the list I've got right now:
-Washington University in St. Louis
-Olin College of Engineering
-Colorado School of Mines
-University of Arizona
I really like small schools with big research opportunities, or at least schools with programs that allow for some kind of small school feel. I don't have any strong preference for location, although suburban or urban might be nice, as I've lived in a smaller town/city for all my life.
Schools I'm thinking about eliminating:
-Carnegie Mellon - I'm thinking I won't get enough need-based aid for CMU for it to be affordable, and it seems unlikely I'll get any merit aid.
-RPI/Case Western - I'm conflicted on these. I really don't know how much merit aid I'll get at these schools, and that would be the deciding factor. Could I realistically get enough merit aid to bring costs down to $10-15k, or is it not really worth applying?
-Olin College of Engineering - I like Olin. I'm concerned though, because they only offer engineering, so I'd be out of luck if I decided I wanted to do physics. I'm also not sure how the research opportunities would be either, since it is very small, has no graduate school, and is very project-focused.
What are your opinions on these schools? Are there other schools on my list that should be eliminated? Dare I ask, is there anywhere else I should consider?