Can I get some school suggestions?

So I believe I have put together a pretty decent college application list - MSU, U of I, UF, U of Alabama, U of Michigan, Dartmouth, Duke, Penn and possibly Vanderbilt - but I am curious to know if I am missing a school that could be great for me, or if one of these schools might not be a good fit, and I was looking for some input.
I’m from the Chicagoland area, and I am looking for a school in the Midwest or East (North or South). I want to be able to get a good education and still have a really good time. Frankly, I do want to go to a school where I will be able to party during the weekends. I do not want to sacrifice a fun college experience for going to a great school. I’d love to go to a school with vibrant Greek life as well.
I have a near perfect GPA and a 34 act with a 35 subscore. I have held leadership roles in student government and participate in lots of cultural extracurriculars in my community as well as politics-related activities. I am looking to major in Political Science.

Since there are definitely people in this forum who may know far better than I do, are these schools good fits? Are there any other schools I should consider that I may not have noticed yet? Are there recent changes in the schools I have listed that may affect the life I want to live at the school?
Thank you very much for any help, I appreciate all of it. Please refrain from telling me “it’s not all about the parties” - because I definitely know after having worked so hard all of high school. However, I would like the choice of having lots of fun at my school. Thank you!


Are you male or female? When you write “cultural extracurriculars” does that mean you are URM or English is not your first language? Switch out Penn for Cornell. I agree with @merc81 on Colgate but you seem to want bigger schools, so Cornell.

I am female, and no I mean I do lots of things pertaining to my Lithuanian culture, such as Lithuanian folk dance, Lithuanian choir, Lithuanian catholic youth groups, and work at a Lithuanian school. I didn’t know if it would be relevant enough to type out, so I apologize if I was unclear. For some reason I heard that cornell’s party life was dying and I was hesitant to apply - maybe it isn’t, I’ll have to take a better look. Thank you!

Also, why is penn the one I should switch out, in your opinion?

Dartmouth seems like the outlier here. It’s nothing like the others on your list. I agree with @Oregon2016. Penn is a bit of an outlier. It’s very preprofessional. Also, Penn takes an overwhelming percentage of its class via ED. You’d have to be really special to get in RD. Switch it out for Cornell.

Is MSU Michigan State? If so, the first four on your list should be relatively safe schools. Michigan might be a match, but you need more matches. The rest are reaches (for everyone).

Think about adding Tulane and American.

My rationale for Dartmouth was that it was an amazing school where kids still partied, but maybe it’s not the best fit. I considered Tulane, but wasn’t sure. I may have to look into it more.

Lehigh, UMiami, any top flagship (you have U Michigan but any Big10 would work Too) , Villanova, Boston College, Notre Dame, Elon, Colgate, Hamilton.

As a white girl from the suburbs without a hook (athletics or national/international recognitions in science or music) you face a tough time getting in to those reaches on your list. I second some of the schools in post #7- Lehigh and Colgate- but it seems to me that schools in warm weather climates offer more (or at least easier) ways to socialize than places knee deep in snow. Greek life usually is more robust too. How about Wake Forest?

Yeah I’m aware of that, but I’ve been having a hard time finding schools that are simply “matches” because my scores and grades line up with top schools that are extremely difficult to get into regardless. Thank you all for your help, I think I’m going to try and look into Villanova, Boston, Tulane, and more big 10s. I was afraid to apply to Notre Dame, because of the absence of Greek life - I’ve heard that undergraduate party life can be relatively tame bc students can’t get into the bars or anything like that of course. I could be wrong though - if anyone has any input on that I’d appreciate it

Consider Bucknell

I’d definitely keep Penn on your list. UVa might be a very good addition to your list.

Why do you think I should keep it if others say I shouldn’t? Sorry to ask I just want to know the rationale it’s so hard to choose far away schools you can’t know too much about

I would keep Penn and Dartmouth on your list: Penn because of its “social Ivy” rep and Dartmouth because of its popular Greek system and party rep.

You might also consider Washington & Lee – big Greek scene and top-notch academics.

You have an in-state match with the U of Illinois and many public and private safeties available to you. Michigan State, Florida and Alabama are OOS matches, one of which would likely reward you with a lot of merit money (Alabama) if that interests you.

Not sure what you are interested in studying. If you are thinking of a business related major, I would add Indiana University.

Why do you think I should keep it if others say I shouldn’t? Sorry to ask I just want to know the rationale it’s so hard to choose far away schools you can’t know too much about

My prediction regarding Colgate is that you will be waitlisted. They are very concerned about yield and admit a larger percentage of the class ED. They want to know that you are going to go there if you are admitted.

Have you visited any of these schools? You’ll be able to nail down your list better if you visit. It will also help your application with certain schools (like Colgate).

I’ve visited Penn, Georgetown, and U of I, hoping to visit Alabama and the Michigan schools soon. The rest of these are a tad of a shot in the dark because my family can’t afford lots of trips to visit schools.