Chance me - ED BU, WashU, and Case Western

Demographics - White male in small town South Dakota - first generation college student - small public school - low income family that needs a lot of need based aid

Intended major: Data Science

ACT: 35 Composite
35 Reading
35 English
33/34 Math (depending on superscore)
35 Science

GPA and Rank - 4.0 GPA (unweighted - school doesn’t have weighted)
Class rank of 1/35 - likely to be valedictorian

Coursework - School doesn’t offer Honors or AP classes - will have taken 4 dual enrollment college classes by the time I graduate, however, including Calc I

Essays - Maybe 6/10 for both essays and recommendations? I’m not great at estimating this!
LOR come from my golf coach, my English teacher of 2 years/ Newspaper (coach? Supervisor?), and my Math teacher of two years/ quiz bowl coach/ math club coach

Extracurriculars:

Quiz Bowl - 9-12 - Team Captain - 2nd place in Radio Quiz Bowl competition of 32 teams and 1st place in another smaller competition. Both in 11th grade

Math Club - 9-12 - 2nd place in my state in the International Mathematics Association of America Math Competition in 10th grade

Golf - 9-12 - Varsity 11 and 12 - Most Improved Player Award in 11th

Oral Interpretation - 11-12 - 6th place in Big East Conference Competition in 11th grade

Newspaper - 9th and 11-12 - world events writer

Spring Play - 11th - 2 act play with major acting role which was all memorized

National Honor Society - 9-12

Yardworker at Lumber Company - 2019- present

Other Awards -
Character on Track, 2019
Algebra I outstanding student, 2018

Schools:
ED Boston University
RD Washington University in St. Louis
EA Case Western Reserve University
(Also, are there any other schools that might be a good match for me and my financial situation and major?)

Being from S Dakota and a first gen is great. Not having rigor isn’t great but the fact it was not offered helps. It will be hard to determine where you’ll fit decision wise. The ACT obviously strong.

You’ll want to crush the essay. Get feedback from some teachers.

Here’s the list of meets need school.

A Washington and Lee, Lehigh, Emory, Franklin & Marshall, Oberlin, Rochester and Skidmore might be good adds. I added a few with lesser selectivity. To me, Rochester and maybe Emory match the list best. I’d take a shot at Rice. Really anywhere that meets need and has something related to data science.

Some schools are need aware meaning if you need too much you can get hit.

Have you looked at Questbridge to see if you qualify?

If you like BU, consider Northeastern too. The Khoury College of Computer Sciences offers both a Data Science BS, and a wide array of combined majors where you can blend Data Science with another area of interest. NEU meets full need; run the NPC and see whether their formula is favorable for your situation.

If you like blended majors, also look at Emory’s QSS program which is top-notch. Emory meets full need and has two different entry options - the main campus, and the Oxford campus which offers a small LAC experience for the first two years. The level of competitiveness is similar and you can apply to either or both.

CWRU seems like a great target. Also in Ohio, take a look at Denison University meets full need and has a great Data Analytics major. URochester is also popular with students who like CWRU, and has the Goergen Institute for Data Science.

Let me add, because I’m unsure on all the top schools and you should run Net Price Calculators on the schools of interest but you should also add great auto merit schools including Arizona, Alabama, UAH, ASU, Arkansas, MS State and more. Or your state schools.

Just to be safe. For each of those you can determine your scholarship. Adding FSU where you would pay in state. Arizona is probably most aggressive but you may qualify for aid above.

While all these are bigger than those on your list they have Honors Colleges. Just suggesting you apply to one as a just in case.

If cost of applying an issue speak to your school. They can get you a waiver. Also get on each schools info list. Some schools send out free apps.

Others that don’t charge a fee including Tulane and Carlton.

Google no application colleges + niche for a full list. It won’t let you attach the list. If you have 20 common app spots you can use a few more. You never know.

Thank you for all of the help! I’ll investigate the resources and colleges you provided and apply to a couple more to be more safe as you suggested. I did forget to add that I am applying to the University of Iowa as a safety school as well! I think I will still apply early decision to BU though since it is the school I most want to attend. I was thinking about maybe founding a debate team and chess club at my school this month as well. Do you think doing that and adding that to my application would measurably boost my chances for acceptance into BU? Also I’d say I have a 6-7/10 for my personal essay, and probably an 8-9/10 for my BU supplemental essay after further consideration and talking with others.

I think you should do things that are meaningful to you. It’s senior year and they can tell if you are gaming. So I don’t think trying to build the list matters at this point. They want to see tenure, depth, leadership. It’s quantity, not quality. If you like BU you might lije NYU and GW although neither meets full need.

Make sure your folks run the BU Net Price Calculator before you apply. This is critical. It is binding and you don’t want to get paying more than you can afford. BU is one of the most urban schools in the country - what about it appeals to you ?

If your family makes under $65k consider Questbridge which gives you a total free ride. Check their website.

If tuition is an issue at Iowa, look at AZ and UAH for smaller school size. Will be much less. At AZ your tuition would be $3 or $4k. Doesn’t look like Iowa and South Dakota have reciprocity so you’d be OOS. Have you looked at Iowa State? Not suggestions you change…I just know most on the CC recommend it when discussing engineering and other quant majors like yours over Iowa.

Back to your essays…why is it a 6-7? If you know it is, take the time now to improve it. Hopefully it’s additive, sharing something about you not conveyed in the application.

https://www.questbridge.org/

Since you’re in a WUE state, also look at schools where you’d get WUE reciprocity and merit money. You might not need institutional need-based aid at all, if you get enough of a discount, plus’Pell and work-study. Examples: U of Nevada Reno, U of Utah. Boise State, U of New Mexico. These are all in cities, and have Honors opportunities.

You want to ED to BU. Did you run the NPC? Have you visited Boston? It’s a great college town but very expensive. It didn’t seem like much of a campus.

Did you run the NPC on your safeties and are they affordable? I would think at least one in-state school should be on your list. Are you a NMSF for your state? Geographic location and 1st gen might get you a bump at some schools.

You don’t need a degree specifically in data science to become a data scientist. In fact, it could be a hindrance. It’s a relatively new degree not known by all companies. Everyone has heard of degrees in math, CS, or economics. Look at the job listings for data scientist on Linkedin. You’ll see math, CS, or engineering a lot.

Any combination of math, CS, and business will get you there. Something like a double major in Econ/Math or Marketing/Stats will do. The best programs I looked at with S20 were housed in the Business School at most colleges but it could also be other departments with different names.

Also look at Industrial Engineering. Take a look at Georgia Tech’s ISyE program for an example.

It could also fall under Applied or Computational math at some schools.

Do you want to be in a city or is rural/suburban OK? What about school size?

If you need FA then look at schools that meet all need. I would think Rice. If you want something smaller maybe Grinnell or one of the Minnesota schools like Carleton.

Travel costs add-up quickly. If you go far from ND being in a city with direct flights would help although not sure how many direct flights go out of ND.

Good luck.