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Trying to cut down my list.

evanatchevanatch Registered User Posts: 175 Junior Member
edited September 2013 in College Search & Selection
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:
-Caltech
-MIT
-Stanford
-Rice
-Harvey Mudd
-Cornell
-Washington University in St. Louis
-Olin College of Engineering
-Carnegie Mellon
-RPI
-Case Western
-CU Boulder
-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?

Thanks in advance!
Post edited by evanatch on

Replies to: Trying to cut down my list.

  • CreeklandCreekland Registered User Posts: 5,429 Senior Member
    Why was U Rochester not on your list? Smaller research U with tons of opportunities... offers merit aid and meets need... tons of music lovers... it seems like it would fit you better than Case Western.

    Can't really assist with the cutting part. It's a nice list. I'd probably cut by fit, then see how the finances turn out.
  • whatisbusinesswhatisbusiness Registered User Posts: 59 Junior Member
    You could possibly get a scholarship to Georgia Tech...Your stats are among the most impressive I have seen. Kind of surprised you do not have Duke, Northwestern, USC or Johns Hopkins on your list. I am not an engineer nor know much about it, simply listing schools that friends have gone to for physics or engineering.
  • evanatchevanatch Registered User Posts: 175 Junior Member
    Wow, I hadn't really considered URochester but I looked it up and really like it. I guess that's another school to add to the list.

    I thought about Northwestern, but the huge frat presence on campus was a turn-off. I visited USC and it seemed like it was too much of a party/sports school to really be a good fit. I definitely need to consider Johns Hopkins, though. There are a lot of good schools I like but didn't bother to add to my list just because I don't won't to be applying to 20 schools. I'd still like to cut it down a bit.
  • CreeklandCreekland Registered User Posts: 5,429 Senior Member
    Case could be dropped... I really don't see them as good of a fit unless you wanted BME.
  • BrownParentBrownParent Registered User Posts: 12,776 Senior Member
    You gave good reasons to drop Olin, don't keep them just because of the money.
  • evanatchevanatch Registered User Posts: 175 Junior Member
    Thanks for the input, everyone! I probably will eliminate Olin from the list, I think. That kind of hurts since they sent me a nice hand-written letter encouraging me to apply, but it probably wouldn't really fit my needs.

    Creekland, why do you think Case Western wouldn't be a good fit? I thought it might be, but I haven't done a ton of research on the school either, so I'd definitely be interested to hear your take on it!
  • whatisbusinesswhatisbusiness Registered User Posts: 59 Junior Member
    "I thought about Northwestern, but the huge frat presence on campus was a turn-off. I visited USC and it seemed like it was too much of a party/sports school to really be a good fit. I definitely need to consider Johns Hopkins, though. There are a lot of good schools I like but didn't bother to add to my list just because I don't won't to be applying to 20 schools. I'd still like to cut it down a bit."

    Ahhh ok. I enjoy that rowdy scene because my high school experience. It was quite dull....

    Tufts might not be a bad option. Right near MIT but pretty prestigious as well. Its not Stanford/CalTech/MIT but it will get you places.
  • SkyebluedestinySkyebluedestiny Registered User Posts: 45 Junior Member
    Carnegie Mellon is really bad with financial aid
  • CreeklandCreekland Registered User Posts: 5,429 Senior Member
    If you like Case, keep them on your list as they could be a good merit aid school. I re-read your post checking to see what "flagged" them for me the first time and think I misread what you were looking for in regards to urban. Case is very urban. U Rochester is urban, but with its own "defined" campus. It made a difference for my guy in what he liked, but if you don't mind urban, then they could still be a good option. I do know students who go there and like it (others go/visit and don't care for the urban style). Generally it's considered a BME school around here though.
  • evanatchevanatch Registered User Posts: 175 Junior Member
    Thanks for explaining that further. I think I'll keep Case on the list for now, since its free to apply to and doesn't require supplements. I'd definitely need to visit to see if the urban campus is for me or not if I end up considering it. Thanks for the heads up!

    I think I'll take Carnegie Mellon off the list, since after running a net price calculator the cost could be twice what I'm really able to afford. That leaves a total of 13 schools after adding URochester and taking off Olin.
  • BeanTownGirlBeanTownGirl Registered User Posts: 2,731 Senior Member
    RPI and Case often give merit aid, but unlikely enough to bring the cost down to 10 or 15K. However, there is no way to predict it. If you are exceptional relative to the other candidates, you could get more than average.
    We liked Case a lot when we checked it out.
    Kiplinger's Best Values in Private Colleges-Kiplinger[]=ALL&id[]=none&sortby=ug_ft_nn_noneed_d&sortorder=DESC
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