(TLDR at bottom)
I wanted to ask for advice on which U.S. universities I should apply to. I’ve done some research & came up with this list (no particular order):
- Stanford University
- University of California, Berkeley
- Carnegie Mellon University
- Yale University
- Brown University
- Harvard University
I also looked at the following schools, but decided against applying mainly because I didn’t think I’d fit in with the competitive culture &/or the social scene &/or the location wasn’t somewhere I saw myself living (no particular order):
- Princeton University
- Dartmouth College
- Columbia University
- Cornell University
- New York University
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- University of Michigan
- Boston University
I’d like to narrow down my list even more (2 schools max) so I can focus all my time & energy on a couple of applications. My questions are:
• Which 2 universities out of my list do you think I’d be best suited for?
• Are there any universities on my “decided against” list that you think would be better to apply to instead? (I’m asking because I’ve never visited any of the campuses. All my info about school culture/atmosphere has come from online posts, which obviously may be inaccurate. Unfortunately, it’s all I have access to with COVID-19 & being an international student).
Here’s some info about me:
• Currently on a gap year before attending university (took a year off partly because I wasn’t sure what I wanted to study).
• As such, universities that accept undecided majors, or are esteemed regardless of one’s major are preferred.
• Main interests include business (management, marketing, entrepreneurship, NOT finance), psychology & the creative side of technology (have recently been considering a career in product design, though I’m not 100% set on anything).
• Have not taken any standardized tests, so I will only be applying to schools that have waived SAT/ACT requirements for the upcoming application cycle.
• My high school didn’t have class rank or GPA, but my Grade 12 marks were all high-90s. Grades 9-11 were low to mid-90s (except for 2 IB math courses which I failed due to not writing the exam worth 80% of my grade. This was due to a personal problem that completely downturned my second semester. I have since taken the non-IB equivalents of both courses & received high-90s.)
• My school only had IB classes (no AP or honours). After the personal situation, I opted to only take 2 IB courses as opposed to the full IB Diploma Programme.
Here’s some info about what I’m looking for in a school:
• I like the idea of having a close-knit community.
• I’d also prefer to have the opportunity to foster one-on-one relationships with both professors & students.
• I like more of a suburban area. Not directly in a large, bustling city, but still has options for stores, restaurants, places to socialize etc.
• I’m an introvert. I’m not big on partying & would much prefer to spend time with a small group of friends, so I’m more than okay not going to a “party” school or a school with Greek life as a selling point. With that being said, I’m hoping I can get out of my shell a bit in university. Having lots of options for clubs would definitely help be a plus, especially non-exclusive ones.
• I work significantly better in a quiet environment. I don’t know if that’s possible living on campus, but if there are any major differences among schools in terms of their residences, it’s something to consider.
• I understand that going to a prestigious school comes with at least some competitiveness & rigorous academics, but I’d like to be in a community that’s more collaborative & uplifting rather than stressful, cutthroat, or full of elitism. I’ve sacrificed my mental health for my academics before & I’ve learned my lesson – I’m definitely not willing to do that again lol.
• Cultural diversity is a plus as I’m a minority.
I’m only planning to leave my current country (Canada) to study in the U.S. if I get into a top school. I understand that my profile isn’t necessarily ground-breaking, but I figured with SAT/ACTs no longer being required, there’s no harm in applying.
Any insight would be greatly appreciated, thank you in advance!
TLDR: Made a list of potential U.S. universities to apply to – want to narrow it down to 2. Main interests are business (management, marketing, entrepreneurship, NOT finance), psychology & the creative side of technology (considering a career in product design). I’m a cultural minority from Canada, introvert, like the idea of having a close-knit community & mental health is very important to me (would prob choose a school ranked higher in student happiness over prestige).