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Are these schools realistic/ any recommendations of others too look at?

circusgirl1circusgirl1 19 replies8 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 27 Junior Member
I am a junior from California and I have a very vague list of colleges that are pretty much all reach schools. I'm not even sure where to start with researching colleges and I wanted help with finding some good match and safety schools.

My stats: 4.3GPA weighted/ 3.91 non wirghted,
SAT: 1460 (700 M) (760 Reading) will retake
AP Chem: 4
AP Euro: 5
Junior Courses (1st Semester Grades)
AP English Language (A-)
AP US History (A)
AP Biology (A)
AP Calculus (A)
Honors Physics (B+)

Extracurriculars:
Professional Circus Troupe: I've preformed internationally and nationally mostly for charity events. While I dont have an official leadership position (they don't exist) I do a lot of stage manageing and organizeing shows. I've preformed with this troupe since 8th grade
Cross Country: 3 years
MESA: 3 years
JPL Invention Challenge: 2 years, finalist this year
Research Internship Program: develop an independent research project pertaining to the local ecology. In addition to presenting research and writing a paper, this program focuses on community outreach and getting citizens involved in nature (2 Years)
CJSHS: another research presentation competition (1 year)
Junior Southern California Science Academy Research Training Program: I use my research project from my internship, but this program gives more oppurtunity to present and publish and potentially attend the national confrence.

College List:
UCSD
UCSB
UCD
Berkeley
Tufts
MIT
Brown
University of Chicago

There are so many colleges I don't even know where to begin looking other than the big name schools. I'm not really picky about location, but nothing too rural. I live in the LA area, so no schools super close to home. I'm interested in genetics and biology and want to do research/one day be an astronaut. Open to any suggestions! :)
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Replies to: Are these schools realistic/ any recommendations of others too look at?

  • acron611acron611 381 replies2 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 383 Member
    @circusgirl1 I'm not that great at college stuff like this, but I do see that you are lacking "safety" schools on this list. You should really apply to a state school or some school that you believe you have a very strong shot at getting in (75th percentile). all of the schools that you listed are very competitive.
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  • TTGTTG 1662 replies14 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,676 Senior Member
    Maybe, Wake Forest. It's just opened Wake Downtown, a biotech research center linked to the med school in downtown Winston-Salem. You might research that. Weather is very nice. William and Mary is another national university with a strong biology program. It is a smaller community, but nice with good weather. Maybe Boston College if you are interested in Tufts/MIT and will be visiting Boston or are interested in the city. Both could be expensive options. Case Western is in a nice area of Cleveland with lots of cultural institutions in the neighborhood. School gives good merit aid. Winters are obviously very harsh relative to LA. You might check into honors programs at some of the larger state universities, if there is a state where you might want to live. Good luck!
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  • Glorfindel1Glorfindel1 85 replies17 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 102 Junior Member
    Any ideas on what you would like to major in? What can your parents pay for your education?
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  • hibiscus99hibiscus99 17 replies3 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 20 New Member
    UC Santa Cruz has a good astronomy/astrophysics program and has done some significant genomics research, it might be a good safety for you
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  • philbegasphilbegas 2924 replies73 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 2,997 Senior Member
    John Hopkins has some interesting BME tracks you might like
    http://www.bme.jhu.edu/undergraduate/degree-requirements


    Would molecular biology be something you're interested in then?
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  • circusgirl1circusgirl1 19 replies8 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 27 Junior Member
    @Glorfindel1 I'd like to major in something science related, most likely biology or chemistry side of things but I don't really know more specific then that. Money is not really and issue, I will be looking into applying for merit scholarships but if I get into a school that is a good fit my parents will pay for it.
    @philbegas yes! But as I said above I don't really know that specifically what I'm into.
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  • Glorfindel1Glorfindel1 85 replies17 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 102 Junior Member
    Check out https://ctcl.org/ for some great suggestions. You can look into LACs as well. Many have great science programs and they are all undergraduate focused as well as good for if you are somewhat undecided. Try to come up with a list of things you want in a college (size, majors, selectivity, location, culture) and then research some of these suggestions and see how they stack up on your list.
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  • mattlax27mattlax27 48 replies15 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 63 Junior Member
    All out of reach
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  • boudersbouders 2424 replies168 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 2,592 Senior Member
    OP's list is not out of reach.
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  • my2caligirlsmy2caligirls 926 replies10 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 936 Member
    ^ Agree - absolutely not out of reach!
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  • CorbettCorbett 3434 replies4 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 3,438 Senior Member
    edited March 2017
    UC Santa Cruz has a good astronomy/astrophysics program and has done some significant genomics research, it might be a good safety for you
    I've heard that one of the most common strategic mistakes that UC applicants make is ignoring UCSC.

    A lot of people apply to Berkeley or UCLA as "reach" schools, then confidently assume that UCD, UCI, UCSB, or UCSD will be "matches". OK, but in that case, what's your "safety"? If you only apply to the most competitive campuses, then by default you are declaring UC Merced as your safety. That's where the UC system puts applicants who meet UC criteria, but don't get into any of their preferred schools.

    So if you get bad news from those "reach" and "match" UCs -- and they have all become increasingly competitive in recent years -- then you may suddenly discover that Merced is your one and only UC option. I've known people in that situation, and they weren't super happy about it.

    UCSC is (in my opinion) underrated, and a more appealing "safety" option than Merced. But UCSC can't act as a safety unless you specifically apply there.

    edited March 2017
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  • circusgirl1circusgirl1 19 replies8 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 27 Junior Member
    @corbett A lot of graduates from my high school go to UCSC (out of the UCs) and I would rather have something a little further removed from high school as my safety. I am planning to apply to at least a couple CSUs as safety's.
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  • circusgirl1circusgirl1 19 replies8 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 27 Junior Member
    ^that said UCSC is not a definite no, I will definetly look into it more. But I want to learn more about colleges in other states as I've had a lot of exposure to the UC system and school
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  • circusgirl1circusgirl1 19 replies8 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 27 Junior Member
    boost
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  • mjr2013mjr2013 443 replies32 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 475 Member
    It's been answered pretty extensively, but if you want one more opinion (saying what's been said), your stats makes you competitive everywhere you listed, but everywhere you listed is very competitive in general.

    Find a safety school (many MANY resources on this site to help), and apply to all if you have the time and money for the applications.
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  • CorbettCorbett 3434 replies4 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 3,438 Senior Member
    There are so many colleges I don't even know where to begin looking other than the big name schools.
    There are indeed lots of colleges out there, and many would be prepared to accept you -- so many that it's difficult to advise you. Your criteria for a college are simply too vague at this time. It's like someone saying, "Hey, I'm going to be in the LA area next year and I want to eat in a restaurant. Any suggestions?"

    Maybe give some more thought to the kind of environment where you might like to spend four years. For example, women's college, or coed? Religious school, or secular? Pre-corporate atmosphere, or hip and artsy? Tens of thousands of other students, or smaller than your high school? Exciting big city or cute friendly small town? Do sports matter; if so, which ones? Is there weather that you like or dislike?

    The most distinctive thing that you've posted is that you work with a circus troupe, which is cool. If there were circus-oriented colleges, people would latch onto that and give you suggestions. Unfortunately there don't seem to be any, so that doesn't really help.

    If you don't have an exact field of study in mind, then you might want to consider a liberal arts college. LACs typically expect students to explore a wide range of courses early in their college careers; they don't usually require students to declare a specific major until the end of sophomore year. However, you don't have any LACs on your preliminary list; in fact, many of your schools are large universities which will expect you to have a specific major in mind when you enroll. LACs are much less prominent on the West Coast than they are in the Northeast, and California students often overlook them.
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