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Cut down on high reaches

caralhomancaralhoman 62 replies18 threads Junior Member
Hi, I was wondering what your opinion would be on which reaches I should keep and which I should remove. Currently, I narrowed my reaches down to Stanford, CalTech, MIT, Harvard, Princeton, JHU, and Cornell. However, I believe this is way too many reaches and I would like to cut more out. I plan to take mechanical engineering. I really can't decide which to keep as they all are so great.
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Replies to: Cut down on high reaches

  • patattypatatty 145 replies1 threads Junior Member
    What kind of environment are you looking for? There are huge differences between many of these schools in terms of size, environment, weather, etc. I don't think Harvard is known for mechanical engineering so I would probably drop that one.My daughter is a MechE at Cornell and loves it but she always wanted a cold weather, rural environment. One of the great things there is the availablilty of a large number of student led project teams (29 at last count), which give real hands-on engineering experience right away. As a freshman, she is already trained in CAD drawing, welding, machine shop and several other areas, and she loves being part of the team. All of her friends are on different teams and they enjoy trading ideas and stories. If this is something you are interested in, you should look into the availability of these activites at each of the schools. The smaller schools may have fewer opportunities for this. My son is a prospective MechE major as well and the availability of project teams is a big factor for him.
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  • caralhomancaralhoman 62 replies18 threads Junior Member
    @patatty Thank you for the advice! The info about your daughter's experience in Cornell was really helpful too. To be honest, I do not really have preferences on the weather or size of the school. However, I do not really would like to go to the South or places that are a little conservative. I also might prefer urban/suburban, like Columbia, but I think I still want to apply to Cornell.
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  • DadTwoGirlsDadTwoGirls 6424 replies1 threads Senior Member
    Have you taken a close look at the actual mechanical engineering department offerings at each of these schools?

    As two examples: I did take a few mechanical engineering courses at MIT and I know that their department is very strong (although a reach for the strongest students and out of reach for everyone else). I have not heard anything about mechanical engineering at Harvard and would be surprised if a lot of people go there specifically for ME.
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  • suzy100suzy100 5695 replies58 threads Senior Member
    Have you run the net price calculators at all of those schools? Are they all affordable?
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 82800 replies738 threads Senior Member
    More important is to have an affordable safety.
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  • naviancenaviance 601 replies8 threads Member
    Cornell and Hopkins are going to a teeny bit easier to get into (if you have the grades) so maybe leave those and pick what every super duper reaches you prefer.
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  • preppedparentpreppedparent 3341 replies10 threads Senior Member
    agree with @naviance. Harvard Stanford and Princeton are all super reaches. Maybe just pick the one that appeals to you most or appears to be the best fit.
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  • naviancenaviance 601 replies8 threads Member
    I looked at your other posts and it seems that you have a budget of $10,000. Hopefully, you applied to lots of affordable options that might give full tuition. For super duper reaches, you may want to apply to the schools that have a NPC that is affordable to you. Cornell and JHU are going to be a bit easier to get into but if you cannot afford them then maybe look elsewhere.
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  • caralhomancaralhoman 62 replies18 threads Junior Member
    Thanks to everyone for replying!

    @ucbalumnus @suzy100 I am almost done applying to some affordable safeties and I am looking for more right now. Also, I think all those schools meet 100% need.

    @DadTwoGirls Thanks for the advice, I think I need to start looking more at the engineering programs.

    @naviance @preppedparent Thanks, I will probably choose one between the super reaches then. I also have other affordable options, and I am currently looking for more.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 82800 replies738 threads Senior Member
    caralhoman wrote:
    Also, I think all those schools meet 100% need.

    Have you checked their net price calculators to see what their financial aid offers may be like for you? Their definitions of "need" may differ from each other, or what you think you need.
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  • caralhomancaralhoman 62 replies18 threads Junior Member
    @ucbalumnus Not yet, I will check them out now then.
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  • theloniusmonktheloniusmonk 2894 replies5 threads Senior Member
    As others have said, I'd remove Harvard for MechE, I'd lean slightly to Cal Tech over MIT, Cornell over JHU and probably Princeton over Stanford because as shockingly as this may sound, Princeton is easier to get into for engineering.
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  • ClassicRockerDadClassicRockerDad 6202 replies163 threads Senior Member
    1) Rank YOUR preference of the schools.
    2) Calculate your probability of admission to each school using Naviance if you have it.
    3) Although correlated, conditioning on GPA and SAT takes out a good part of the correlation, so assuming independence, calculate your probability of attending each school. Under independence, the probability of you attending your 5th choice is the product of (1-prob(admission)) for the first 4 times prob(admission5).

    When you do the math, I expect that you will see that the chances of attending your 5th choice or 6th choice school from among these is infinitesmal. If it isn't then you should apply to all of them.
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  • caralhomancaralhoman 62 replies18 threads Junior Member
    @theloniusmonk Thank you for the reply!

    @ClassicRockerDad Sorry, but I am not sure how to check the probability of admission on Naviance. I was also not exactly sure about what you meant by "Although correlated, conditioning on GPA and SAT takes out a good part of the correlation, so assuming independence...". Thanks for the response!
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 82800 replies738 threads Senior Member
    When looking at a Naviance plot for a college, do your stats fall into a bunch of admit dots, a bunch of reject dots, or a mix? Of course, a lot of other factors besides stats matter, though many of them are difficult to assess and observe by applicants and others outside the college's admission office.

    Have you checked the net price calculators? If any are obviously too expensive, they can be candidates for removal from your list.
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  • caralhomancaralhoman 62 replies18 threads Junior Member
    @ucbalumnus The scatter plots at my school are useless. My high school is really small (around 100 students total) so there is not enough information to really make a scatter plot. And since our Naviance only has data from 2016, basically nobody has been accepted into an Ivy League or any other top school.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 82800 replies738 threads Senior Member
    Have you run the net price calculators to check affordability?

    Any that are clearly unaffordable can be obvious candidates for removal from your list.
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  • caralhomancaralhoman 62 replies18 threads Junior Member
    @ucbalumnus Not yet, but I will make sure to do it soon.
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  • tk21769tk21769 10710 replies27 threads Senior Member
    edited December 2017
    They all at least claim to meet 100% of demonstrated need. Yes, they will differ in how they define "need", and yes, the net prices will vary. Here are some net price estimates I get for a median income (~$60K/year) family in ~centrally located Michigan.

    $5300 ..... Cornell
    $5632 ..... MIT
    $11377 ... Michigan-AA (in-state)
    $11445 ... JHU

    YMMV. Even the rank order may differ for another income bracket.
    Typically, hyper-selective schools like Harvard, Princeton, and Stanford do give the best aid ... but first you have to get in. I agree with others who suggest dropping Harvard for engineering.

    What about your own in-state flagship? Is it on the list already? Some of these schools have excellent engineering programs as well as competitive in-state prices. Consider dropping any private "reach" schools if their net prices are higher than the state flagship's and their engineering programs are not clearly superior.
    edited December 2017
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  • caralhomancaralhoman 62 replies18 threads Junior Member
    @tk21769 Thanks for the reply! The problem I face is that I am an American citizen living abroad, so that means I am not a resident of any state, and therefore, there are no colleges that I can go for in-state prices (excluding special cases)...
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