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Please help a rising senior expand their college list to include more safety and target schools

WontonsayshiWontonsayshi 3 replies2 threads New Member
I am trying to craft a balanced college list during this COVID-19 pandemic and am struggling to create a balanced college list. I am already planning to apply to Rice, WashU, Northeastern, UT Austin and Texas A&M, and possibly UC Berkley and UC San Diego. I don't have enough target or reach schools on my list and need some help with that. Any suggestions would be appreciated!

Some preferences I have about schools: more supportive rather than stress culture (why I don't want to go to Ivy league), in the city or suburbs. Doesn't matter if it is a public, private or liberal arts school. Colleges with less party-culture/greek life preferred. I would like some schools that would give a lot of merit scholarships (for someone with my stats and etc) and are well known for STEM. I don't care about the location (as long as it's not the Midwest- too cold or deep South).

Not sure yet, but I'm starting to look at schools in England, so any recommendations for that would be great.

Some info about me:

Background: Female Asian (Thai) student from a public school of 3500+ students in Central Texas.

Intended major: Biochemistry or Chemistry (still undecided between the two) on a premed track. Possible anthropology or music minor.

Career intentions: forensic pathologist

Stats: 1540 SAT (800 Math, 740 ERBW), 1490 PSAT (will qualify as National Merit Semifinalist), 4.0 unweighted GPA, 5.67 out of 6.00 weighted GPA. Planning to take SAT IIs in Chemistry and either Biology (molecular) or Math II.

Class rank: 12 out of 850+

Courseload: 10 APs and AP tests by the end of senior year, 7 honors courses, 4 years of orchestra

Honors: Texas Music Scholars (3 years in a row), National Merit Semifinalist at least (will qualify due to PSAT score), Highest ranking of 1 at State Solo and Ensemble Competition for viola solo and string quartet (9th and 10th grade- qualified this year, but event was canceled)

Extracurriculars: President of my high school orchestra. Member of NHS, Mu Alpha Theta, National Science Honor Society (will run for officer next year), Model UN and HOSA. Started a Viola Choir club at my school where I lead a group of violists to play music for competition and concerts and arrange music for the group to play. Planning to start a research project at home over the summer as well (still working out the data collection method).

Rec letters (haven't asked for them yet, but hopefully they will agree): AP chemistry teacher, orchestra director and Pre-ap Precalculus teacher.
edited June 25
21 replies
Post edited by CCEdit_Suraj on
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Replies to: Please help a rising senior expand their college list to include more safety and target schools

  • merc81merc81 11809 replies201 threads Senior Member
    edited May 24
    These sites should offer you ideas for schools to research as well an indication of affordability:

    https://www.newsweek.com/25-most-desirable-suburban-schools-71867

    https://www.newsweek.com/25-most-desirable-urban-schools-71889

    https://myintuition.org/

    As examples of colleges that would meet your stated criteria, look into Smith and Bryn Mawr. If need-based aid might be sufficient, consider Swarthmore.
    edited May 24
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  • Sam-I-AmSam-I-Am 670 replies25 threads Member
    Try Rhodes College in Memphis for merit based upon your stats and Vanderbilt in Nashville (search their signature scholarships which require additional essays).
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  • Techno13Techno13 340 replies13 threads Member
    edited May 24
    Aren't you guaranteed admissions to UT Austin with those stats?

    I'd consider Occidental College, Santa Clara Univ. as matches/likely. (Both expensive though). Also possibly Scripps College (women's college in the Claremont Consortia and has the Keck Science Institute which is amazing.) All three offer merit scholarships and you would be strong candidate.
    edited May 24
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  • Bill MarshBill Marsh 505 replies5 threads Member
    You already have a nice list of schools that meet your requirements. I’ll suggest adding the following:

    REACH

    Barnard
    Swarthmore
    UCLA

    TARGET

    Georgetown
    Maryland
    SUNY Stony Brook
    UCSD
    Vassar
    U of Washington
    Wellesley
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  • Twoin18Twoin18 2152 replies21 threads Senior Member
    Do you realize that most universities in the UK grade almost entirely on end of year exams? That’s not very conducive to a stress-free experience unless you enjoy high stakes exams. And you would be full pay, likely $40K-$50K per year depending on location (though that means 3 year courses in England can still be a relative bargain). That being said, if you have all 5s in your APs and study hard for the admissions tests then you might have a shot at Oxford and other top UK universities.

    In the US I think that as an auto admit instate applicant to UT there isn’t much point applying to schools that won’t offer you a full tuition scholarship (or better). Places like Oklahoma/Utah/Arizona/ASU would probably make sense if you aren’t keen on Alabama/Florida etc.
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  • chmcnmchmcnm 690 replies6 threads Member
    What's your budget? You would be full-pay OOS at the UC schools. Would be UT-Dallas be an option for a safety?
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  • Bill MarshBill Marsh 505 replies5 threads Member
    With her numbers, I think Texas A&M is her safety. Heckuva safety.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 83438 replies741 threads Senior Member
    edited May 24
    Class rank: 12 out of 850+

    A Texas resident with that class rank should be able to consider all Texas public universities to be admission safeties, unless the intended major is a competitive one. Check affordability of the Texas public universities to ensure that they are safe financially as well (particularly as a pre-med).

    Texas public medical schools are relatively inexpensive for Texas residents (still not cheap, though). Going to college in Texas can make it easier to get to medical school interviews at these Texas public medical schools.

    Medical school has some course requirements, but no specific major is required (though biology is popular because the major requirements overlap with pre-med course requirements).

    As far as "stress culture", that is inherent to being a pre-med, since a very high college GPA is necessary to even have a chance of medical school admission. Then there are the MCAT, pre-med extracurriculars, essays, interviews, ... only about 40% of applicants to medical schools in the US get admitted to any (usually only one out of dozens of applications).
    edited May 24
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  • CollegeMamb0CollegeMamb0 83 replies1 threads Junior Member
    What is your budget? How much can you family afford to pay?

    If you are planning on professional grad school (medicine, law etc) then you may want to save $$ for that.

    UK universities will be full pay, but its for three years so can save money.
    The UCs with $65k+ per year
    Run the Net Price Calculator on the other private schools

    There is no point having a list of schools you /your family cannot afford
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  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 7900 replies84 threads Senior Member
    edited May 25
    UK for pre-med is not a good plan- it would require a post-bac in the US to take all the pre-req classes (even on material you have already covered at a higher level!).

    OP, you don’t need safeties, so focus on matches that would make you happy. Building on @CollegeMamb0’s point about money, figure out your in-state costs, and set that as a bar. Then look at the suggestions above and figure out their likely cost for you. For places like Vandy that have big scholarships do it each way. That can be a pool of academic match/financial reach that you go to only if you get the right merit money. If you are serious about med school finishing undergrad debt-free should be a high priority.

    Congrats on all you have done to start from a strong place & to think ahead!
    edited May 25
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 24821 replies20 threads Senior Member
    U of Miami. You'd get the benacquisto scholarship plus anything Miami awards.

    You'd get a better financial deal at any of the Florida public schools, but most of them do have big party/Greek reputations.
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  • WontonsayshiWontonsayshi 3 replies2 threads New Member
    edited May 25
    Thanks for all the replies! I will definitely look into some of these options. I agree, perhaps UK schools may not be right for me as a premed student, so I shouldn't waste my time researching it.

    To those of you who asked, my budget is at most 60k a year for college, but I am hoping that some of the more expensive schools I apply to will offer some kind of merit aid.

    I was not aware that I'd have to pay full price at UCs. I was hoping that some may offer merit aid, but I guess I will have to continue researching.

    Yeah, I know I am guaranteed admission to UT Austin; however I am not guaranteed a major. I don't think chemistry/biochemistry are as competitive as a major (well, when compared to business and engineering) at UT, but I still want to make sure that I am able to gain admission to my desired major
    edited May 25
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 83438 replies741 threads Senior Member
    edited May 25
    Texas public universities appear to be about $27-31k per year for Texas residents. So about $124k total for four years before scholarships.

    Texas public medical schools appear to be about $50-55k per year for Texas residents. So about $220k total for four years (versus about $400k total for other medial schools).

    If you go to a Texas public university and a Texas public medical school, your total cost would be about $344k. If your parents are offering $240k toward your education, then your debt at the end of medical school would be about $104k.

    If you earn a full ride merit scholarship somewhere for college and then go to a Texas public medical school, your parents' money could cover the cost of medical school, leaving you to graduate medical school with no debt. You will have much greater freedom in your career and life choices without debt (e.g. if you want to go into a lower paid medical specialty, you can without worrying as much about how to pay off a large amount of debt).

    If you go to a college that costs $60k per year (using up your parents' money), then your debt will be about $220k if you go to a Texas public medical school or about $400k if you go to some other medical school.

    Of course, college and medical school costs do increase, so these estimates are probably too low compared to what you will actually see.
    edited May 25
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  • DadTwoGirlsDadTwoGirls 6543 replies1 threads Senior Member
    "Rice, ... UT Austin and Texas A&M"

    You have exceptionally strong universities in Texas. I have no idea whether Rice offers merit scholarships. However, these two public schools in Texas are great. Does your guidance counselor consider these safeties for you or are you auto-admit given your great stats? If so then this sets you with two great and affordable safeties, which is always the right place to start.

    "on a premed track"

    I think that you should stick with the US or Canada in that case. However, the best known and highest ranked universities in Canada are considered to have significant grade deflation, which to me makes them look like poor choices for premed. Also, my understanding is that being in-state in Texas might give you an edge for public medical schools in Texas, which might be a reason to stay in Texas for undergrad.

    Perhaps I am just being a stick in the mud today, but your in-state choices look really good to me.
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  • NCKrisNCKris 279 replies1 threads Junior Member
    If you are serious about Premed, then remove UCs, UW and UK colleges.
    How about Vanderbilt, Emory, Richmond, Wake Forest, UNC ?
    I am not sure why Northeastern is on the list for premed? Are u looking for merit or NMS schoalrships?
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  • CaliMexCaliMex 2248 replies35 threads Senior Member
    Rhodes with merit!
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  • WontonsayshiWontonsayshi 3 replies2 threads New Member
    @NCKris I have not done much research on Northeastern yet, but so far I really liked their co-op program and scholarship opportunities. Is it not a good school for premed or science majors?
    @DadTwoGirls Yes, I am auto-admit to both UT Austin and Texas A&M and I consider them safeties :)
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  • baeriabaeria 57 replies1 threads Junior Member
    I third Rhodes. Some other LACs with good merit aid in the northeast include Dickinson, Ursinus and Muhlenberg.
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  • Peruna1998Peruna1998 137 replies4 threads Junior Member
    Y'all, Rhodes is in Memphis. It is in the South. She said she wasn't interested in the South.
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  • Bill MarshBill Marsh 505 replies5 threads Member
    With her numbers, I think Texas A&M is her safety. Heckuva safety.
    @NCKris I have not done much research on Northeastern yet, but so far I really liked their co-op program and scholarship opportunities. Is it not a good school for premed or science majors?

    Northeastern is strong in science. Almost 200 Northeastern seniors applied to med school this year, so their pre-med track must be doing something right.
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