Chance/Match me for hopeful rising junior for business

Hi! I am looking for advice and suggestions for likely and match schools because my list is definitely reach heavy right now. I would like the school to be in a large city (nyc, la, dc, philly) or a big suburb on the east/west coast. If you guys think there would be good schools in the midwest/south that I could be interested in, I can look more into them (trying to keep my options open). Thanks!


  • US citizen
  • State/Location of residency: MD
  • Type of high school: public, title 1 school, STEM magnet program
  • Gender/Race/Ethnicity: female, asian, chinese/viet
  • legacy to NJIT if that matters

Intended Major(s)
Business Administration/Econ and Statistics

GPA, Rank, and Test Scores

  • Unweighted HS GPA: 4.0
  • Weighted HS GPA: 4.76/5
  • Class Rank: 5/346
  • ACT/SAT Scores: 1520 (720 reading, 800 math)

by the end of senior year will have 12 AP classes

  • APES (4)


  • World (4)
  • Bio (4)
  • Stat (5)


  • Calc AB (TBD)
  • Physics C: Mech (TBD - will probably drop score)
  • Lang (TBD)


  • Lit
  • Calc BC
  • Comp Sci A
  • Psych
    Math: 4 years (have taken linear algebra and math logic electives)
    English: 4 years
    Science: 3 years
    Foreign Lang: French 4 years
    Doing an independent research project at a nearby army base through school (will probably be engineering related?)


  • AIME x2 qualifier (2020, 2021)
  • UMD high school math competition part 2 qualifier (2021)
  • FBLA national qualifier (personal finance - 2022, business calculations - 2021)
  • All County Orchestra (2022)
  • Honor roll (all quarters)


  • FBLA (soph, junior, senior): nationals qualifier, club VP, maybe pres. next year?
  • Key Club: (freshman, soph, junior, senior): 50+ volunteer hours, treasurer (junior), president (senior)
  • Swim (freshman, soph, junior, senior): varsity all years
  • Orchestra (freshman, soph, junior, senior): school, youth group, all county (all high chair)
  • Part-time job: over a year
  • Math Honor Society (soph, junior, senior): VP (senior)
  • French Honor Society (soph, junior, senior)
  • Online math tutor for middle school math
  • UMD AI residential camp (for URM)
  • BOLD@Olin: summer camp at WashU for women interested in business


  • Essays: TBD


  • AP Bio teacher (8/10): was the only one who participated in online school and the only student to come physically into class, I still talk to her whenever I see her, wrote me a letter of rec for a selective-ish summer camp and will attend this summer
  • APUSH teacher (7.5/10): participate regularly in class, I have a feeling that he likes me
    *Counselor (5/10): not counting on it, I have interacted with her a few times, but idk

Cost Constraints / Budget
Would like total cost to be ~ 50k, parents are willing to pay if its a top school. I also want to save up for an MBA and not drown in debt (please recommend any schools with good merit aid you think I would qualify for)

(List of colleges by your initial chance estimate; designate if applying ED/EA/RD; if a scholarship is necessary for affordability, indicate that you are aiming for a scholarship and use the scholarship chance to estimate it into the appropriate group below)

-UMD (most kids in magnet program usually get in) (EA)

-USC (dream school - WBB program)
-Trinity/Columbia dual ba (will probably major in mathematics)

-WashU (got accepted to a summer program there, i want to see if i like it)
-London School of Economics (need to see my ap scores for this year)

If you like USC WBB, you might also like Tulane’s Altman program And New Orleans is a pretty great city. The Atlanta schools might also be of interest - both Emory (which is strong both for undergrad business and for Quantitative Sciences… and there’s a major that combines the two: Business Administration and Quantitative Sciences Major ) and Georgia Tech, which has an International Business major among other possibilities.

University of Denver is probably a safety for you, but the business school (which has an International Business major) is one of their greatest strengths, and International Affairs is strong too. Another great option for top students is the Pioneer Leadership Program, which is a cohort honors program for students in all majors. You could expect significant merit, I would think. Denver, while obviously not coastal is still a great city, and DU is in a good location for accessing the city on public transit. The music school is the other great strength of DU, so you’d have opportunities on that front too.

The Raikes School at UNL is a highly selective honors program whose core curriculum offers a blend of business, computer science, and design. Within that context, students choose a major from the business school, or the schools of arts & sciences or engineering. So International Business, Math, Informatics, Global Studies, and many other major options are available. Lincoln receives high praise as a great small city for students. Maybe not the kind of option that has been on your radar, but it’s a great interdisciplinary program for students like you with wide-ranging interests and strengths. (And you would get a ton of merit money here, off of an already-affordable OOS COA.)

If you like Trinity + Columbia, you might also consider St. Andrews + William & Mary. The list of major options is more limited, but econ and international relations are both options.St Andrews William & Mary Joint Degree Programme | William & Mary

Are you considering UMich Ross? Could be a great school for you as well.

I’m sure you’ll have a lot of great options! I know you’re already reach-heavy, but have you considered taking your shot at MIT? The very quantitative undergrad business majors at Sloan might appeal to you, and getting in wouldn’t be out of the question.


You are likely for UMD - but no longer is it a safety. If you are good with UMBC or NJIT, then no issues - but they are very different.

Some of your schools don’t give need aid - so while your parents only want to pay $50K, if you won’t qualify for aid, you can remove Brown, Columbia, and Gtown. Sure, you said they’re willing to pay - but are they really? You can take out UVA too. Schools like USC have merit but it’s not easy. Same with WUSTL and Rice…worth a shot, but have enough options should they not come through (they likely won’t).

So if it were me, in addition to UMD and I wanted city and to stay within budget, I’d look at U of SC (top in Intl Bus and Top Honors in the country), Pitt (rolling admission - you get an early answer), Babson, Bentley, Ohio State, NC State, and Florida State. I’d throw in for Arizona State and their top Honors College too - their strength is supply chain. My daughter is at College of Charleston - you’d be a superstar there - but she’s in the fellows program and her scholarship is worth more than tuition - so there’s a trade off - cost vs. pedigree. The city is very urban.

I’d also look at Indiana - it’s not urban or even close. However, it will meet budget and it’s near elite. And if you’re open to Texas, you can get great deals at both SMU and TCU - both fine schools in the DFW area.

Your two “cheapest” schools will be Arizona (mentioned as it’s in Tucson) and Alabama which I didn’t mention as it’s not urban or suburban - Manderson at Bama is excellent and you’ll be under $20K at both. Florida State will be cheap too.

In the end, when you have a budget, no point in applying to schools that won’t meet the budget no matter how badly you want to go. If you want merit, you have to chase schools that award it. You won’t be the only smart kid - that I promise - many chase merit.

Good luck.

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All of these would be targets or likelies for you:

U. of Minnesota in the Twin Cities has been noted for its business and data/analytics programs and Minneapolis is a big metropolitan area and increasingly popular. It would be in-budget at sticker prices, and I strongly suspect that you’d get merit aid here.

Case Western is in Cleveland, OH and offers more generous merit aid than many of its competitors.

Fordham in New York is also noted for its business program, and I suspect you would receive sufficient merit aid to bring this in budget.

If you’re interested in Philadelphia, I’d look at Drexel (and possibly Temple, too).

I’d take a look at DePaul and Loyola in Chicago, as well.


If you like business and math maybe Industrial Engineering would be a better fit.

Look at Georgia Tech’s ISyE program and the concentrations it offers. GT also has a very good International Business program.

The University of South Carolina has consistently been the top rated International Business program. It’s very good (I did an MBA there many years ago).

Fordham mentioned earlier would be an excellent choice. I think they have an International program at Lincoln Center campus. S20 loved Fordham.

I would look at Boston schools. Great college city.


For business and merit, I would second adding IU Kelley even though it isn’t on the coast. Great program and you’d be auto admit with your scores so it would be another safety.

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I looked into the Tulane and Emory programs and both look really intriguing right now. Do you know if they offer any merit scholarships that I could try and apply for? I don’t think my parents would be willing to pay for those schools, even though both are amazing.

I have considered UMich and MIT, but I think that my stats are ehh compared to a lot of the accepted applicants.

Tulane has a feature on its website to provide an estimate of your likely merit aid. I do suspect that if admitted, you would get a good merit aid package.

LSE wants 5 APs with a score of 5 as a minimum, and it does not appear that you will have that. It is at least as hard an admit for a US student as Oxford (which looks out of reach for you). Also, LSE is better for grad than undergrad.

Some rankings put St Andrews ahead of LSE for UG Econ and you would be very likely to get an offer there. Also in the UK, Durham is collegiate (like Oxford and Cambridge), and if you can get a 5 on Calc and Lang or USHx you would be likely to get an offer. Trinity College Dublin has a very strong Econ program and you would be very likely to get an offer there as well.

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Both Emory and Tulane do have merit opportunities.
Emory’s sound somewhat similar to USC’s, but I don’t know what the odds of getting these scholarships look like. Certainly you’d be in the running.

Tulane has possibilities too. It’s just a tricky process all around. They really want people to apply ED (often “inviting” EA applicants to switch to ED2), but that’s a dicey proposition if a student needs merit to make it an affordable first choice. (Although, if the NPC does project merit, as Dadto2NY suggests, then one could always decline an ED offer if the aid received didn’t match the projection.) Even beyond the merit question, though, the Altman program doesn’t make decisions until the RD cycle. So all told, it likely doesn’t work as an ED school, and you might get yield-protected in the EA/RD cycle, but it is probably still worth an application!

I could see you potentially getting into MIT, and certainly Michigan. Sure, your stats don’t stand out in MIT’s pool, but nobody’s do - everybody is up against a ceiling effect there. You have AIME and other distinctions; I don’t see why you wouldn’t be as much in the running as any other qualified candidate. (And with better odds as a woman than if you were a guy.) But neither MIT nor Michigan is likely to be within your budget, so there’s that. If your budget is a matter of willingness to pay vs. ability, and MIT would move the needle in terms of what your folks think is worth paying, then apply EA and see what happens! If paying what the NPC shows for MIT would be a true hardship, then forget it and stick with your other excellent options.

If you do go to see Emory, by any chance, I’d give GT a look also. You might get an Honors offer there, and that’s a great program. OOS COA is under 50K/year (albeit barely!) and there are some scholarship possibilities too. Institutional Scholarships | Financial Aid

Both Tulane and Emory have merit.

What you want to do is - any school of even slight interest - get on their interest list. Tulane is a HUGE demonstrated interest school.

It doesn’t matter if you apply - start large, let them mail and email the heck out of you, and then as you eliminate schools you can remove them. We started with 100 and only applied to 22. As soon as say, U of MN came off, then we just unsubscribed. I recommend setting up a gmail that’s only for your colleges…and use that. Such as or in my daughter’s case - her HS nicknamefirstname21 (her grad year) @ gmail.

Emory also has merit.

As for Michigan and MIT - you don’t say - my stats are ehhhh. You just know they are likely rejections up front and that’s why you have a list of reach, targets, and safeties. If you’re good with UMBC and NJIT and I’m sure you are likely UMD - the rest of the list - go crazy. You have 20 common app spots. So apply.

But where you don’t apply is - if mom/dad aren’t going to pay $80K+ a year (and growing and college costs more than they list) - if this is the case, don’t apply to those schools - the Gtowns, Browns, etc…unless when you fill out the NPC it shows you’ll get money.

But with your background, there’s not a school in the country that is off limits to your application. You can respectfully apply anywhere but yes, in your essays, tell your unique story.

Just know as you set up your schools - and make sure all can fit in your budget - you have your auto merits - these have tables and you can see up front how much you’ll get. I mentioned some in the previous note. You have your gonna get merit - don’t know how much - that’s your U of SC, your Denver (someone mentioned), Bentley, Indiana, etc. and your - they have merit - but it’s unpredictable and even unlikely - your Emory, USC, WUSTL, Rice, etc.

So you want to build a list to ensure that you will get into a school you’d love and can afford (UMD), others that you know will be cheap and within budget but you don’t know how much merit (U of SC, Ohio State, etc.) and then those that you’d love and have merit - but are reaches in admission and getting $.

Then you have all angles covered.

The discussion with your parents about an MIT is - MIT now lists at $80K (before inflation) and there are of course other costs - I tell people to estimate $3-$5K - things like pizza, uber, travel, you’re in boston - so events, etc.

So at $85K - are your parents willing to shell out for MIT - $340K and maybe a bit more with inflation - over 4 years. If yes, then it can be on the consideration set. If no, then you know - remove all the schools I mentioned that have no merit aid.

Hope that makes sense.

Get on info lists…let people email and mail you. Click on links of the privates like Tulane or Case Western - they track interest. American and GW are others.

Good luck

OP please see below. All three schools provide “need” aid based on the specific financial circumstances of the applicant. These schools don’t provide “merit” aid.

It sounds, if I am reading this correctly, like you have had very direct and honest conversations with your parents about financial parameters and their willingness to pay in full for “top” schools. Have you specifically discussed Gtown, Brown and Columbia? I would suggest you focus the financial discussion with your parents who have the greatest awareness and insight.

In terms of your actual question I would echo Fordham and look at BC, Villanova, Fairfield and Holly Cross all of which have solid business related alum networks in the north east and span the selectivity spectrum. Good luck.

For Brown, Columbia, and Gtown, my parents are willing to pay full for them and I’m very fortunate for that. We’re pretty well off and they have been saving up for college for a long time, so I believe that they have that ability. NPCs usually say that I don’t qualify for need-based aid. I don’t know the exact budget they had in mind, so I just put 50k per yr total, but getting some merit would be nice.

Based on everyone’s replies, I’ll definitely check out UofSC and IU Kelley. I forgot to mention that I want to minor in Chinese if possible, so I like what USC WBB, UPenn Huntsman, Tulane Altman programs have to offer, or the dual BA programs like Trinity/Columbia or WM/St. Andrews.

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For an outside-the-box option that could be a great academic fit, you might look into Trinity Univ in San Antonio. Our tour guide there had come from some far-off state b/c Trinity integrates a top-notch Chinese program with the business curriculum in a way that is apparently unusual. He was hoping to increase his fluency in Chinese with the goal of working in China for a US or European company. It’s a nice small campus within 10 minutes of the downtown/entertainment district in an interesting and culturally diverse city, and you’d likely get great merit. Just a thought.

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My error. Some don’t give ‘merit’ aid. I explained it right. But obviously mixed up the terms. Sorry about that .

My AP scores have made me hesitant about applying to any UK schools lol, but the cost is so much better than a lot of American schools. Do you think St. Andrews or Trinity look at APs the same way Oxbridge or other UK universities do? I think I’m going to get a 5 in calc, 4/5 for lang and apush, and I’ll probably going to omit the score anyways for physics, since it was a requirement and I’m not going into engineering.

IU has the well respected Hamilton Lugar school. Most schools likely offer Chinese but IU would fit well. Good luck.

If you’re willing to forgo IU’s lack of urbanness, a similar school which would likely come in budget is the UGA Terry School…in Athens an hour 15 from Atlanta but 30 mins from the burbs. Big college town. In addition to being strong in business, it’s strong in IR. IU ranked higher in business (UGA higher ranked overall) but UGA is well reputed as well.

My dad really wants me to apply to Sloane, but in the very small chance that I get accepted, I don’t really see myself going there. Honestly, I don’t really like the cold after living in MD for my whole life, so Boston schools aren’t really being considered, but maybe I’ll have a change of heart when applying.

I visited Emory and GT a few years ago and I like both of the campuses, especially GT’s location in midtown. Someone mentioned GT’s ISyE program and it sounds intriguing, so I will definitely look into it more.


Don’t forget you can apply to however many but only go to one. The common app has 20 slots this year. Even UT Austin got on board with common app.

Not saying you need to apply to 20 but if you need to pacify a parent, you can apply to MIT. Highly likely you don’t get in. That will solve the issue. Call it Sloane and not Sloan (none) and you’ll definitely get turned down :slight_smile:

If you do get in (and why not you??), you can explain why such and such school is a better fit.

In the end, you can only go to one no matter how many you get into. And it should be where you feel the best fit.

Kids every year have this issue.

Your dad will realize this is your life.

And in 10 years when you are kicking butt in life, he’ll realize that the cream rises….no matter where it did it’s undergrad.

To get on info lists, do I just sign up for mailing lists on each college’s website?