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I have no idea where I want to go to college/what I want to study!

stressedgirl21stressedgirl21 Registered User Posts: 38 Junior Member
I'm going into senior year and I still have no idea what to do about my future and it's stressing me out. I go to an extremely small, poor and low ranking public school in NJ, but my family's income isn't that low so I won't get much help in financial aid, but I have two other college/near college aged siblings who my parents will also have to send to college at basically the same time as me so we don't have that much money to spend on a reall expensive school.

I am pretty smart compared to people in my school and stuff, but obviosuly I'm not perfect. Here is my info:

GPA: I actually don't know, but I've taken all honors classes and one ap so far (i'm taking 4 aps next year) and weighted its probably above 4, I've gotten all As and A-s
Rank: as of now 2nd/3rd out of 100
SAT: 1340 (720 reading/620 math) first sitting without studying, i want to bring this up to a 1400 or a 1450 in august with some studying
next year i'll take ap calc ab, ap lit, ap euro and either ap physics 1, ap physics c, or ap chem
(by the way I've taken/will be taking all of the ap classes that my school offers. I will be taking ap calc and ap phsyics etc. through an online program that my school lets us use for classes they don't offer)

cross country- varsity 4 years, captain senior year
FBLA, public relations officer senior year
spanish honor society
stage crew, hopefully stage manager senior year lol
band (jazz, concert, marching)
and I'm gettting a part time job (hostess) in november

I have no clue what to study because I am really passionate about instrumental music but I'm not good enough to get into a music program and I don't want to be a music teacher soooo that wouldn't work out. I really want to be a write of some sort because I'm good at/enjoy that but I don't really know if that would work out either. My physics teacher keeps telling me I should think about engineering because he says I would excel at that a lot, and I did really enjoy physics so I am considering engineering as well. I always thought about med school but I'm just not sure I want to do that. So basically I'll probably be entering college undecided (can you even do that??).

I'm also a girl so I know that applying for a science program would increase my chances of getting into a school.
I'm white though.

I live in NJ so I would probably prefer to stay on the east coast/in the new england area
I like the idea of a big university in a city, like boston. I looked at BU and Northeastern but their stats seem too good for me.
I want to go to a kind of selective school, but obviosuly I'm not good enough for MIT or anything. Which selective schools would I be able to have a chance at?
I don't even know how to properly choose the school i want to go to because i don't even know what i want to study. so for example some people would choose Rutgers for their business program, but if I don't even know then how an I even choose. I'm pretty stuck. I've also looked at Emerson if I decided to pursue anything writing related but I know that's hard to get into as well.

I hope to try to get some scholarships as well, but I don't know if I'm good enough. Thanks for the help! Sorry this is so long!

Replies to: I have no idea where I want to go to college/what I want to study!

  • twogirlstwogirls Registered User Posts: 5,905 Senior Member
    edited July 17
    Have your parents told you what they can spend on college? Have you considered your in-state public schools? It is very common to enter college undecided.
  • stressedgirl21stressedgirl21 Registered User Posts: 38 Junior Member
    Yes, I have looked at Montclair State, Rowan, Rutgers, TCNJ, NJIT, etc. as well. (by looked at i just mean visiting their webistes and reading through stuff). I guess my real problem is that I don't even know what I'm looking for in a college.

    My parents are strongly urging me to go to my local community college for two years first because with NJ STARS I can go for free. I don't really want to do this, but I will if necessary. They haven't really entertained my questions about going to a four year university right away because they don't want it to happen, but they also understand that it is my choice. So I'm assumming, the more inexpensive the better. But I would like to apply for scholarships and see what my options are.
  • twogirlstwogirls Registered User Posts: 5,905 Senior Member
    edited July 17
    Have they given you any idea as to what they will spend? Sit down with them and use the net price calculator for schools that meet full need, plus your state schools. See if the cost if realistic for them.

    Besides not knowing what you want, you also need a plan to cover the cost. Two years at a free CC may be a good idea.
  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 Registered User Posts: 31,915 Senior Member
    In most cases yes you can apply to college undecided.
    You can study science and physics without studying engineering. This would keep more colleges in play.
    You can also apply to engineering for those universities with a specific college of engineering. You can even switch out during your first year.

    What is your parents' income? Higher or lower than 45k? 75k? 125k?
    What is their EFC?

    If you get a 1400+ on your SAT and are from a low performing New Jersey school you should NOT go to community college: sure, it'd be free for two years, but then the next two years wouldn't, whereas a 1400+ may unlock a full tuition scholarship for FOUR years at Rutgers or TCNJ, and probably at Rowan (excellent engineering).

    Are you registered for the August SAT and actively studying through Khan academy and blue books?

    In addition, there aren't that many high performing students from NJ low performing schools. As such, you'd be interesting to quite a few private universities (including some where you could combine music and science).

    @newjerseygirl98 may have advice for you.
  • twogirlstwogirls Registered User Posts: 5,905 Senior Member
    edited July 17
    ^This is true about starting at a CC- you would miss out on scholarship money. It would only work if your parents were able to afford an in-state public following those 2 years.

    It would be easier to help you if we had some more information regarding income, EFC, what your parents can contribute ( if anything) etc.

    I think there can be a good and realistic list for you.... once we get the details sorted out.
  • AroundHereAroundHere Registered User Posts: 2,565 Senior Member
    Since your parents are expecting you to go to community college for free, look at your CC system carefully. Is there more than one campus in reasonable commuting distance? What about if you lived in a relative's spare room during the week?

    If you have more than one choice, compare how well-maintained the campus is. See what the class offerings are. For example, our local community college is a regional center for health care jobs and has a brand new health sciences building. A different campus has a robotics lab. etc. Some CCs have honors programs or even a few bachelors degree options.

    Once you are at the community college, you can explore classes and take advantage of the advising and career centers.
  • stressedgirl21stressedgirl21 Registered User Posts: 38 Junior Member
    Only my dad works, and I don't know his exact income but I think it is around 100k or so, he is an engineer himself. I haven't started working yet (i will in november) so I can't contribute any. My parents do intend to help me as much as they can and pay for most of my college, as well as that of my siblings.

    I think the main money issue is that my sister is going into her second year of community college, so she will be starting at a university the same time i enter college. My little sister will be a junior this year, so she will start college the year after I do. I assume this is what will make paying difficult for my parents.

    I will try to talk to my parents about the costs and stuff and see what they consider to be reasonable. I have no idea about the EFC and stuff so I guess I will have to figure that stuff out.

    And yes, I am currently registered for the August SAT. I don't have books or anything but I will probably go online to do studying. I'm going to focus on math because I'm a natural writer/reader and my english score was significantly better than my math one. I'll probably mostly do Khan Acadamy stuff, do you think that is a good way to study? Or should I spend the money to get a study guide/practice book?
  • stressedgirl21stressedgirl21 Registered User Posts: 38 Junior Member
    My sister is currently going to the community college. Apparantly its one of the best community colleges around, I'm not sure if that's true or not. There is an Honors College program which is apparantly good, and it is a reasonable commuting distance. I'm not totally opposed to going there, but I do like the idea of a four year university as well. I just want to apply to some places and explore my options before right away deciding to go to the CC.
  • twogirlstwogirls Registered User Posts: 5,905 Senior Member
    I am glad that you are taking the August SAT- that may open up more options for you in terms of scholarships and acceptance to schools with good FA.

    Khan Academy is a good way to study, as are the practice books.

    What school is your sister considering following completion of her CC?

  • willcwillc Registered User Posts: 54 Junior Member
    Hey!!! My situation is somewhat different than yours but (I've done a lot of research and visited a lot of schools) here is my suggestion as far as jersey schools and cost. FIRST off is Rutgers: I don't recommend going there unless you want to spend lots of time riding buses. The campus stinks (my opinion) and you want to maximize your study and leisure time, not waste it riding on a bus. SECOND: forget private schools and out of state of public schools--- from what you say about your finances you won't be able to afford them and you will not get enough merit money to bring the cost in line with an in state NJ public. THIRD: your best bets for ANY merit (not need based) money are Rowan, Stockton, Ramapo and Montclair. TCNJ gives a maximum $6000 merit award. FOURTH: the top school on your list given your grades and scores should be TCNJ but you HAVE TO choose a major, you can't apply there undecided. Your math SAT is low for engineering but Rowan is the first choice there if you want to major in some area of engineering.FIFTH: if you don't major in engineering (Rowan, TCNJ---reaches because of your low math SAT--and NJIT are your targets for that major) this is my list ranked in order of quality and value for you to apply to: 1) TCNJ--you need to pick a major 2) Rowan and Ramapo are a tie 3)Stockton 4) Rutgers. 5) Montclair St.
    Good luck!
  • stressedgirl21stressedgirl21 Registered User Posts: 38 Junior Member
    @willc thank you so much for all of the information! I really will take all of this into account. I will be taking the SAT again and I definitely think I can raise my math score a decent amount (it wasn't so much that the math was difficult, but it was algebra 1/geometry based math that I learned in 8th/9th grade and forget how to do now lol) so maybe I can try for Rowan and TCNJ as reaches (that is if I decided to go for engineering). Hopefully my life comes together in the next few months and I realize what I want to do! Thanks and good luck to you too in everything!
  • stressedgirl21stressedgirl21 Registered User Posts: 38 Junior Member
    @twogirls honestly I don't think she has many ideas yet. She was speaking favorably about TCNJ a few months ago. She is studying science right now.
  • twogirlstwogirls Registered User Posts: 5,905 Senior Member
    @stressedgirl21 there are a few important things to focus on now:

    1. Study and Re-take the SAT in August.
    2. Once you get your score you will have a better sense of merit opportunities
    3. Please sit your parents down with the net price calculators for different schools that meet full need and see if the cost looks realistic.
    4. Find out what your parents expect you to do if you attend a free CC for 2 years. Will they pay for 2 years at a four-year university? Going this route means you will not get merit money ( there may be exceptions that I am not aware of).

    Best wishes to you!
  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 Registered User Posts: 31,915 Senior Member
    ^ That's not entirely true...in part because NJ public universities can be quite expensive but Rutgers may have special scholarships for graduates from low performing schools. And of course apply to the Honors colleges at all.
    On the other hand, many private colleges will offer nice scholarships and private colleges will allow you to apply undecided.

    Regarding your parents: explain to them that you could get two free years plus two full price years, or four years with a scholarship.
    If you do NJ Stars you may get $1,250 in scholarship off the $28,000 price tag. If you are in PTK and have a minimum 3.8 (really hard to do in college) you might get $8,000.
    4- year scholarships could cover $26,000 each year and honors college.
    Obviously you may have to pay more than that (just food and transportation would likely be $5,000 even if you lived at home) , but all in all, prep very hard and every day, because the higher your test scores the better and the more choices you'll have.
  • twogirlstwogirls Registered User Posts: 5,905 Senior Member
    edited July 17
    Can this student possibly receive enough merit to Rutgers or another in-state public with her current scores? I don't know the answer but if she can.... Great!
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