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Where should I apply to?

HaileyShi41HaileyShi41 3 replies1 postsRegistered User New Member
Hi! I'm about to go into my senior year of high school, but I'm having a hard time deciding what colleges I should apply to. Currently, my plan is majoring in Biomedical Engineering (and possibly minoring in a computer science degree) for my undergraduate major. Then, I will decide if I should go to medical school or not. If not, I will probably go to graduate school. So, here is my problem with finding which schools to apply to. Considering the large number of schools that I could apply to, I'm kind of getting overwhelmed. So far, I have searched up things like this: "Top biomedical engineering undergraduate schools" and "Top Schools in USA." But to be honest, even then, I'm not really sure which schools to apply to. My main consideration is quality teachers/education, particularly in the STEM area. Location isn't a huge priority. Based on my searches, here are the schools I am considering: UMichigan, Duke University, MIT, Purdue, CalTech, University of California San Diego, Boston University.

Some questions: Are there other schools I should be considering? Do I have too many "reach schools"? How can I decide which schools to apply (should I read student reviews online?)?

Stats:
ACT: 33
AP: Chinese (5), Statistics (5), World History (5), Calculus BC (5), Mechanics C (5), Chemistry (5), Microeconomics (4), Computer Science A (3)
GPA: I'm not sure what my GPA is, but I have gotten all A's, except for Organic Chemistry II, in which I got a B.

Notable Courses that I took: Organic Chemistry I & II, Multivariate Calculus, Differential Calculus, Data Structures I
Notable Courses that I will take in my Senior Year: Linear Algebra, Biochemistry, Data Structures II

Outside School Activities:
Paid Tutoring (3 years): English/Writing, Math, Debate [For elementary and middle school students)
Competitive Speech and Debate: Qualified for State and NSDA Nationals (I was devoted to debate for my freshman and sophomore year. In my junior year, I transferred to a more math-and-science oriented high school. I still went to a few tournaments, but I was unfortunately no longer completely devoted.)
Art: Been drawing since I was young. In the past few years, I have gotten more involved in painting.
Writing: I have won a few awards - though I don't think they mean much.
Research: The summer before my senior year, I am helping with neurology/biomedical engineering research at a nearby university.

My current high school is residential and focuses on the math and science fields.
edited July 17
12 replies
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Replies to: Where should I apply to?

  • GumbymomGumbymom 27431 replies143 postsForum Champion UC Forum Champion
    What is your college budget? If your plan is to apply to Medical school, you do not need to attend a Top school. You need to find an affordable school where can keep Undergrad costs low, able to maintain a High GPA and access to Medically related EC’s. If you are not in-state for UCSD, you will be paying full fees at around $65K/year to attend.
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  • merc81merc81 10167 replies151 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    If you've researched schools with respect to biomedical engineering, then you should have encountered Bucknell: https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges/rankings/engineering-biological-biomedical.
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  • BellaMorganBellaMorgan 87 replies1 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    Do you personally have a preferred school to attend college?
    How much are your tuition budget?
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  • HippobirdyHippobirdy 279 replies1 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    UMBC. Honors program and great undergrad teaching. See example of this student for biomedical engineering, research.
    https://my3.my.umbc.edu/groups/coeit/posts/68065
    "
    Seas was one of three exceptional UMBC students to receive the prestigious Barry Goldwater Scholarship in 2016. He is a Meyerhoff Scholar, MARC U*STAR Scholar, and recipient of a NASA scholarship, and has also completed research with biomedical and surgical faculty at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. His research on the mechanics of the femoral artery and the pathology of peripheral arterial disease led him to publish five peer-reviewed articles and submit seven abstracts to notable professional conferences. "
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  • MWolfMWolf 1287 replies8 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    You entire list are reaches for engineering and CS, so you need matches/safeties. A school which often flies under the radar, but which has an excellent bioengineering/biomedical program, is UIC. Aside from a very good engineering college which is on the rise, it also works with U of I's main medical school.
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  • happymomof1happymomof1 29492 replies170 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    "My current high school is residential and focuses on the math and science fields."

    Then your first stop is not here. It is in your own guidance office. The people there know where students from your school with grades and ECs like yours have been accepted, and where they have been successful students.

    Talk with your parents. Find out how they expect you to pay for college - and eventually for medical school. When you know more about the money side, you will know how deep and far you need to dig in order to identify places that are not just safe for admissions, but also affordable.
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  • HaileyShi41HaileyShi41 3 replies1 postsRegistered User New Member
    I don't have a set college budget, but I'm hoping it will be from $20k to $40k (with - hopefully - financial aid or scholarships). I don't have a preferred school, which is why I'm unsure of where I should apply to.
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  • HaileyShi41HaileyShi41 3 replies1 postsRegistered User New Member
    Thank you! I will visit the guidance counselor. The issue I have with the financial side is that I don't know how easy it is to get scholarships and financial aid at each college. I've heard that top colleges, such as MIT and Princeton, are much more willing to provide scholarships than mid-high tier schools. Colleges like MIT and Princeton are a reach for me, so I'm not counting on it. But my general issue is how do I know if a college is more willing or generous to provide financial aid?
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  • HaileyShi41HaileyShi41 3 replies1 postsRegistered User New Member
    I appreciate your help and recommendation! I made this post mainly because I had a hard time finding middle/match schools. Since my google searches mainly yielded top/reach schools, I had difficulty discovering the "under the radar" schools. Do you have other recommendations other than UIC?
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  • austinmshauriaustinmshauri 8745 replies321 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Run the net price calculator for each school. They each should have one on their financial aid page.

    When people ask about your budget they mean how much can your parents pay. You can take the $5500/year federal student loan and if you work in the summer you can probably earn $3k. That gives you a budget of $8k/year. If your parents can't/won't pay much but their EFC is high then you need to look for schools that offer guaranteed merit for your stats. The Univ. of AL may be an option.
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 28776 replies56 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Your budget will be fixed by set formulas in terms of your parents’ AGI on their 1040s and their assets as far as financial aid goes. Also, it’s time you talk to your parents on what they are willing and able to pay. They may, like you and like so many other people be assuming that scholarships and aid are going to take care of things. It doesn’t automatically or always work that way. Need is determined by formula and is not an easy process.

    Start working with your parents with a FAFSA estimator to get your Expected Family Contribution. Then run those number and more, Through individual school websites run NPCs to find out what is expected in terms of money at a school.

    A lot of state schools do not give financial aid to OOS applicants, and don’t have much in the way of merit awards. It’s also very difficult to gain entry into some of their programs, and yours is a tough go. You can’t rely on admissions average statistics when you are applying to certain programs.

    The schools most generous with financial aid, tend to be the most difficult to gain admissions, and they don’t tend to give any or much merit money. They also tend to cost $70-80k a year.

    None of your schools are safety or even matches if you need money. Go right on ahead and apply to them, if it’s even possible that they could be affordable If your NPC for schools like Caltech, MIT, Etc show you don’t qualify for enough financial aid, there are NO scholarships they give. You need to apply to schools where there is at least a possibility that it can be affordable.

    But even more important is finding schools you KNOW will accept you and that you KNOW are affordable. It’s so easy to find those lottery ticket school. Not so easy to find the ones that are sure things. You are done now with yourvreach school hunt— time to look for the rare birds that will come up with money for you so you are not caught with just unaffordable schools or no acceptances at the end of this cycle.
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  • Mwfan1921Mwfan1921 2011 replies28 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited August 1
    First step is getting a handle on the financial side of things, and understanding the difference between need-based and merit-based financial aid. Do the fafsa4caster here to get an estimate of your family's EFC, and that will help you understand if any need-based aid may be in the picture. https://fafsa.ed.gov/spa/fafsa4c/?locale=en_US#/landing Then run each school's NPC.

    For merit aid, some schools have automatic merit awards based on stats, like U Alabama, others have competitive merit awards.....to get the competitive awards look for schools where your stats are above the 75% of test scores and GPA...find this information in each school's common data set and/or the incoming class profile typically found on the school's website.

    Agree that your GC should be able to help you categorize schools in reach/match/safety. You could also use Naviance to for this, if you have access to it. All the schools you have listed are reaches......some of them (MIT, CalTech) require SAT subject tests....have you taken those?

    If you give us more info on the type of school you want beyond a BME major (size, geography, setting, etc.) posters can better offer recommendations. But you have some good ideas so far, U Alabama-both Tuscaloosa and Huntsville, UIC, UMBC. Lastly, BME is a challenging major to keep your GPA for purposes of med school acceptance, so make sure you understand that going in. Good luck.

    edited August 1
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