right arrow
GUEST STUDENT OF THE WEEK: ski_racer, a high-achiever in high school, was rejected by some of the elite schools she applied to. This rejection was the best thing that happened to her as she got to choose her own path. Learn how she fell in love with her safety school, ASK HER ANYTHING!
Make sure to check out our August Checklist for HS Seniors. Consult these quick resources to get you started on the process this month.
As we work to adjust to the current reality, make sure to check out these dedicated COVID-19 resources: our directory of virtual campus tours, our directory of extended deadlines, as well as the list of schools going test optional this fall.

Is my college list alright?

bella246bella246 53 replies13 threads Junior Member

I just finished my junior year of HS and have been working on a college list for some time. I would really appreciate some second opinions.

SAT: math: 800 / english/reading: 730 -- composite 1530 [essay 6/2/6]
ACT: english: 36 / reading: 36 / math: 33 / science: 30 -- composite 34 [essay 8]
*I plan on taking 3 SAT subject tests (Math II, Physics, Literature)

I don't know what my weighted GPA is yet, my school doesn't compute it until the end of junior year, but I have a 4.0 unweighted, and have taken 4 APs (physics, language and composition, US history (challenged), and world history), 3 honors (math classes), and 1 dual enrollment (American military history through Niagara University).

I live in NY so I've taken many Regents exams, and scored high enough on all of them to receive an advanced Regents diploma when I graduate.

I'm a founding member of my schools Girl Up! club (UN affiliate) and an officer (treasurer). I joined student council last year, and will be senior class treasurer next year (elections were in march). Additionally, I was a student coach for my schools Unified basketball team, which is a team where special education students and general education students play together, and last summer I worked with special needs campers at my summer camp - doing some tutoring in Hebrew (it was a Jewish summer camp) and helping choreograph and teach dances for the joint special needs campers and general campers play.

I have a varsity letter in ice hockey (2 years, and probably next year too - I skipped this year bc I tore my ACL)

I got the Rochester Institute of Technology Computing Award, which waves my application fee to RIT and offers a $7,000 a year scholarship [$28,000 total] if I go [not really that prestigious though, a few other people at my HS also got it, it's the kind of award they send to HS and the faculty selects who they see fit, though the winners do have to be approved by RIT].

I take Project Lead the Way Engineering courses, and have scored only 8s and 9s (9 point bell curve, 8-9 is an A) on the exams made by RIT professors to qualify HS students to purchase college credit. [note: I didn't actually buy the college credit, but I plan on listing this as an achievement].

I'm thinking about:

Duke Kunshan
University of Michigan
University at Buffalo

I know some of those are total reaches, but is this list ok? And does anyone have any other suggestions?
11 replies
· Reply · Share

Replies to: Is my college list alright?

  • privatebankerprivatebanker 6932 replies171 threads Senior Member
    edited June 2018
    One safety. If you like u buff and would be happy there and it’s affordable that’s all you need. But there may be a few others worth looking at to give you some optionality. Nyu and u mich are excellent target schools Columbia and duke low reach for you. MIT Stanford oxford are reach.

    Pretty good. But my d with almost the exact stats but slightly higher sat found out the hard way that some of the reaches are really that. If you are a solidly strong white female with no so called hooks.
    edited June 2018
    · Reply · Share
  • DadTwoGirlsDadTwoGirls 6643 replies2 threads Senior Member
    Four things come to mind:

    One question is have you run the NPC, or are you fine with full pay? You should make sure that you will have affordable options.

    A second question: Are you interested in playing hockey at the university level? If so then do you want to consider adding teams that have hockey at a level that makes sense for you? MIT did have a hockey team when I was there (a long time ago), but obviously not at the same level as BU, Harvard, or UVM. On the other hand, as an academically very strong student I could see that you might want to focus on academics rather than college sports.

    Third question: Have you thought about Cornell? It would also be a reach but seems like it might be possible.

    Finally, I am wondering whether you should add a second safety. Think about how you would feel if Buffalo is the only school that you get into. Would you be unhappy that you didn't apply to any other schools? Possible safeties if you are in upstate New York would seem to be other SUNY's, U.Mass Amherst, UVM, or something across the border in Canada.
    · Reply · Share
  • aquaptaquapt 2450 replies51 threads Senior Member
    What are you hoping to study? (Especially, do you want to consider only schools with strong engineering programs, or not necessarily?) Do you want to prioritize schools with women's hockey programs? And as asked above, do you need financial aid, or merit aid, or neither?
    · Reply · Share
  • bella246bella246 53 replies13 threads Junior Member
    OP here! I am not planning on playing hockey in college, unless there happens to be a club team or something. I want to major in physics and maybe minor in business. Additionally, my parents are both surgeons- so I don't really qualify for financial aid, but I have two younger sisters, so I hope to win some merit aid. Also, 3 out of 4 of my grandparents are white, but my maternal grandmother is African American (and was born in Jamaica).
    · Reply · Share
  • ColoradomamaColoradomama 2779 replies32 threads Senior Member
    If you want more matches, and less reaches, add Case Western Reserve U, Its got a strong physics program and business programs are very strong. Its easy to double major at CWRU in physics and math or physics and business, as well, and still will prepare you for grad school in physics, if thats a possibility.

    Are you considering premedical ? CWRU is also great for clinical experiences.

    I might look at U of Toronto for physics. and SUNY Stonybrook on Long Island is very strong in physics, the Brookhaven national lab is nearby, Cornell is stronger in physics than Duke, and NYU but harder to get in for a New York State resident. NYU Courant is the top applied math program, if that interests you.

    Perhaps add Berkeley if you want to land on the west coast. . Berkeley has an outstanding physics program,
    and easier to get in compared to Stanford, if you want to be in northern CA. Look at Caltech as well, in southern CA.

    Do you want to be in the middle of Manhattan, at at Columbia or NYU or could you stand to be in Ithaca NY or Buffalo, both upstate locations? Think about that a little bit, to refine your list.

    If you can stand to be in upstate--
    I might add RPI, in Troy NY, its super super strong in physics too, run by an African American woman physicist in fact,
    Shirley Jackson. (MIT grad in physics ).

    RPI is a bit easier than Case Western for admission lately, and because you are a girl, saying you want to major in physics, will really help you in admissions at the medium ranked schools like RPI and Case Western.

    MIT, Stanford are wild cards for everyone. Columbia, slightly more likely. Columbia likes students of color,
    , if you identify as African American, may be an advantage at Columbia.

    Finally if you identify as African American be sure to check that box. I think you can check two race boxes, as well.
    URM is a hook at MIT and some of your other choices. Physics for girls is a hook, use it!
    · Reply · Share
  • ColoradomamaColoradomama 2779 replies32 threads Senior Member
    RIT Its an interesting school with strong photography, computer science, and optics programs. If you have a special interest in optics, though I would add U of Rochester and leave off RIT, given your stats, your physics interest and the fact that you have cash for college, do not need merit. U of Rochester is strong in physics, especially optical sciences. SUNY Stonybrook is more on the nuclear science, given Brookhaven National Labs.

    I do not think of SUNY Buffalo as a physics school, but i know the investment in engineering is really really strong so leave that one on there, unless you add another safety school.
    · Reply · Share
  • aquaptaquapt 2450 replies51 threads Senior Member
    For starters...

    In terms of California, I would also recommend a close look at Harvey Mudd. It's a phenomenal STEM school with a tippy-top physics program that seems like potentially a good fit. HMC students can cross-register freely at the other Claremont Colleges (Pomona, Scripps, Claremont McKenna & Pitzer), which moderates the STEM-centric-ness in a way that you wouldn't get at Caltech. (Although Caltech could also be a great choice if its distinctive culture appeals.)

    Reed, in Portland OR, is also an amazing physics school (and equally strong in liberal arts) which is the #4 producer of future physics PhD's, after Caltech, Mudd, and MIT. Highly intellectual place, and Portland is a wonderful city for students. Reed could be a great low-match/safety for you.

    If you would consider a women's college, Smith has very strong STEM.
    And since you're not set on an engineering major per se, consider, Barnard, which part of Columbia but a slightly less steep admit https://barnard.edu/stem and Wellesley, where you could cross-register at MIT http://www.wellesley.edu/registrar/registration/cross_reg/mit and even apply to an MIT double-degree program http://www.wellesley.edu/advising/classdeans/engineering/dd

    You seem not to be considering campuses in the southern half of the country. If you're just not a fan of the big-Southern-university vibe (i.e. prominence of Greek life and big sports, and so on), you still might consider Rice (#6 on the aforementioned list of schools producing future physics PhD's), which is not like that at all - top-notch STEM programs, a somewhat "nerdy" student population, extensive research opportunities both through Rice itself and through the huge Houston Medical Center complex in the same neighborhood, and a Residential College system that promotes a wonderful quality of life for students (sort of "Oxford meets Texas," lol), set in a diverse and progressive city.

    Definitely check two racial-category boxes wherever possible, particularly if you have the "lived experience" of being perceived by others as African-American. (If you completely "pass" as white, then I guess I might hesitate to play that card... but often it doesn't take much to get sorted as non-white in terms of perceptions, so... your call on that one!)
    · Reply · Share
  • ColoradomamaColoradomama 2779 replies32 threads Senior Member
    I love Harvey Mudd's physics but OP also wants business which may be lacking at HMC? She could go over to Claremont McKenna, but it depends on what she means by "business". Case Western has an actual accounting program and strong entrepreneurial Think Box, an incubator and offers an engineering physics program too.

    Harvey Mudd is strong if she wants a PhD in physics, its got a great reputation to prepare physics students. My son studied math, economics and physics at Case its possible there, harder to do at some of her other schools. Maybe impossible at Harvey Mudd, because its not a business focused place, its more of an academic prep school for those that want a PhD later. Harvey Mudd is great for girls and has a lot of girls in physics.

    Reed College, it is really strong in chemistry and physics, and a possible good choice if she wants an LAC.

    OP may want to think more about what her interest in business entails, classes in accounting, marketing, finance or an entrepreneurial interest would all lead to different choices. . And is she interested in engineering physics, that would eliminate the LAC choices.
    · Reply · Share
  • aquaptaquapt 2450 replies51 threads Senior Member
    The MIT cross-registration at Wellesley could include Sloan classes, fwiw, in addition to STEM classes and undergraduate research. But a full business minor wouldn't be an option, true. Econ minors would be possible at all of the LAC's, but of course that's not quite the same.

    Rice has an undergrad business minor in its b-school, available to undergrads in any major. If a business minor is important, then Rice would be second only to MIT as a fit among the top physics schools.

    Agree that Case sounds like a good choice too.
    And maybe USC and Northwestern would be worth a look.

    Also as mentioned above, the UC schools could be worth considering if the OOS cost is tolerable. In addition to the "usual suspects" of UCLA and Berkeley, the physics major in the College for Creative Studies at UCSB is a unique, best-of-both-worlds option - a small research-focused program (with an additional layer of competitive admissions) within the larger university. https://www.ccs.ucsb.edu/majors/physics ( plus https://tmp.ucsb.edu/academic-programs/undergraduate-certificate )
    · Reply · Share
  • gardenstategalgardenstategal 6711 replies10 threads Senior Member
    I wonder if you might like Tufts. Your ECS look like a great fit for them. Tough to get into but easier than most of your list.
    · Reply · Share
  • DHCDHC 32 replies1 threads Junior Member
    Have you considered University of Rochester? My son is a freshman at UB right now for physics but got into RPI and U of Rochester - all three are strong in physics. If you tour UB, make sure you make an appointment with someone in the physics dept. My son did that and during the Honors College Accepted Student Day, he had a great talk that really sealed the deal for UB (plus the pricing... lots of merit aid for him).
    · Reply · Share
This discussion has been closed.

Recent Activity