Chance me - Need help deciding where to ED - Unique Marine Biology high school

Please help chance my Junior- he needs help deciding where to ED


Northeast white male, not first generation, no hooks

High School

Attends a well regarded public school and goes part time for his science courses and electives to a magnet school that focuses on marine biology, aquaculture and environmental science.

Intended Major/Interests

Marine Biology, Ecology/Evolution, Genetics, Biotech, maybe Environmental Science/Policy
Plans to go to business school or law school

GPA and Test Scores

4.08 weighted, School doesn’t rank 3.66 UW
ACT - 34 (may test again to try for 35)
SAT: one sitting 1480 (760 verbal, 720 math) Probably done testing


His magnet school doesn’t offer AP’s, they have duel enrollment with UCONN and University of Bridgeport. Most of his other classes were honors level.

UCONN Biology
University of Bridgeport Physics
University of Bridgeport Marine Biology
AP US History
AP Lang and Comp

Senior Year:

UCONN Environmental Science
UCONN Oceanography
H Intro to Engineering
H Origins of Aquaculture
H Survey and Analysis (Statistics)
Hasn’t decided on English level yet. (Could take AP Lit but would rather not)

He will also complete an Independent Scientific Research Project senior year (still deciding on his topic)

Summer Activities

Sea Turtle service trip to Costa Rica
Conservation service trip to Galapagos

This summer he’s taking Introduction to the Biology of Sharks, Skates & Rays through Cornell at the Shoals Marine Lab in New Hampshire.


Rower - he won’t be recruited for rowing
Various local volunteering - food banks, senior center, youth organizations
Future Farmers of America (Aquaculture focus)
Aquarium volunteer (horseshoe crab tagging)
Save the Sound (water quality study volunteer)


Full Pay/No cost constraints


ED1 – First Choice Northeastern - offers all of the majors he’s interested in, loves the Co-op, incredible Three Seas study abroad program and he would love to be in Boston

Other top choices for ED1 or ED2 -
University of Miami (incredible for Marine Bio) - Match/Reach
BU - Reach

Other schools on his list

University of Florida - Match/Reach
Tulane - Reach

He needs help adding some likely schools to his list and possibly some LACs

Eckerd, Roger Williams, Nova Southeastern, U Rhode Island, College of Charleston, U Delaware, U Conn


Definitely consider Eckerd in FL - it surprises me that they aren’t already on your list TBH because some years ago when I started asking people working in the field for recommendations for my guy (who wanted tropical marine Bio), Eckerd usually topped the list I was given. For Marine Science, etc, they’re a powerhouse and they have the added bonus that their lab is right on campus due to campus being right on the water. UM is a van ride away.

Another bonus for Eckerd is there are no grad students getting to do the “fun stuff.” It’s all undergrads. This is a biggie for many.

Check out their multiple Hollings Scholarship wins - and from a small campus that 104 is extremely impressive.

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Thank you, we will look into Eckerd. I think it didn’t make the first list because he may go the genetics/biotech route and wants options in case he doesn’t end up majoring in Marine Bio

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Stony Brook may be worth a look.

I know nothing about Marine biology…but I’m thinking being someplace with a warmer climate near the water year round might be better than the bitter cold northeast. I guess I’m wondering how much marine biology hands on work you can do in January in Boston.

Auburn and Coastal Carolina. Also Tampa and UNH.

I know it’s a big reach for him, but he might want to look into U Chicago because of their having acquired the Marine Biological Lab in Woods Hole nearly a decade ago. There should be lots of options for summer and during the year classes in marine biology at the MBL via U Chicago. He might also want to consider MBL classes for this summer - one doesn’t have to be a U Chicago student to apply for them.

I didn’t know Chicago had a Marine Lab. Thanks for sending! University of Chicago would be incredible but I don’t think he stands a chance of getting in. It was his dream school for Paleontology when he was younger, but he has changed his focus!

If you are willing to go all across the country, Western Washington U has a marine science program that is pretty cool!

Marine Science Scholars Program | Western Washington University.

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These are some schools I would give consideration to:

  • Cal State – Monterey Bay: Has about 6700 undergrads and offers majors in environmental science, environmental studies, marine biology and biological oceanography, marine sciences, and water, wetlands, as well as a business major.

  • College of Charleston (SC): Has about 10,000 undergrads and offers majors in environmental studies, marine biology and biological oceanography, sustainability studies, and assortment of business majors.

  • Eckerd (FL): Has about 2000 undergrads and offers majors in environmental studies, marine biology and biological oceanography, marine sciences, and in business.

  • Florida Institute of Technology: Has about 3200 undergrads and offers majors in aquaculture, biotechnology, conservation biology, ecology, environmental science, genome sciences/genomics, marine biology and biological oceanography, ocean engineering, oceanography – chemical and physical, and water, wetlands and marine resources management, and an assortment of business majors.

  • Roger Williams (RI): Has about 4100 undergrads and offers majors in environmental health, environmental science, marine biology and biological oceanography, and an assortment of business majors

  • U. of Tampa: Has about 10,000 undergrads and offers majors in environmental studies, marine biology and biological oceanography, and an assortment of business majors

  • U. of Maine: Has about 8900 undergrads and offers majors in agricultural business & management, agricultural economics, agrocecology & sustainable agriculture, environmental science, marine biology & biological oceanography; marine sciences; molecular biology; oceanography: chemical & physical; water, wetlands, and marine resources management; wildlife, fish, and wildlands science & management, and an assortment of business majors.

  • U. of New England (ME): Has about 2200 undergrads and offers majors in aquaculture; environmental science; environmental studies; fishing & fisheries sciences and management; marine biology and biological oceanography; maritime studies; sustainability studies; and various business and health majors.

  • U. of New Haven (CT): Has about 5,000 undergrads and offers majors in environmental science; environmental/natural resources management and policy; genome sciences/genomics; marine biology & biological oceanography; and various business majors.

  • UNC – Wilimington: Has about 14,000 undergrads and offers majors in environmental science; environmental studies; marine biology and biological oceanography; oceanography: chemical and physical; water, wetlands and marine resources management; and assorted business majors.

  • U. of San Diego (CA): Has about 5600 undergrads and offers majors in environmental science, marine biology and biological oceanography, and various business majors, as well as biophysics.

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UNH partners with Cornell to run the Shoals Mari be lab. The coast is about 15 minutes from campus.

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You’re actually not far from it. The Marine Biological Lab (MBL) is in Woods Hole, MA - it’s been around for over 100 years. Big marine research center, along with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOI) and the National Fisheries and NOAA - they’re all in Woods Hole. There are classes run year round, but a lot in the summer. Check it out. Might be just the thing for your summer researcher!

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Hi! My kid with similar/slightly lower stats and full pay just went through this, although final goal is PhD. This is what we learned:

Many good marine bio programs tends to be large and/or public bc they were able to establish pricey coastal real estate before anyone valued it so there will be some school that aren’t well known. Some of these larger schools understand that some of their students only want a BS/BA while others will go on to grad school in MB. Not many school have a BS in Marine Bio (combo of expensive program and not super popular like CS)

This is where we toured (some were easy to get to and used to determine feel/size desired, not for MB). Also, for those schools that were being considered for MB, we made the effort to tour their marine campus (not possible for UW bc we did not have time). Good number were self guided bc of Covid.
Claremont McKenna
UMiami - self guided bc of Covid and no RSMSS tour possible
Occidental (did not tour MB outpost)
Oregon St U
Cal St MB
Wanted to tour Cal St LB but ran out of energy. I feel like there are a couple I am forgetting. Also ran out of time for Humbolt State.

Schools not applied to, but wish kid had:
Carleton and Pitzer (this caused several “discussions”, but kid was adamant about studying marine bio asap)
Possibly western Washington, but did not look into it
UW - kid did not like seattle/campus for some reason
Occidental - I think this school got lost in the shuffle and also a little too underpowered wrt high powered research

Did not consider SUNY, although they have some good programs.

Bowdoin - denied (looking back this is obvious, they are not looking for the kind of student my son is). Kid liked sense of community at Bowdoin
UCSD - denial (kid was very sad about this at the time). I was ok with it since I felt it tends to skew grad heavy
UCLA and UCSB - just added these since it’s easy enough on UC app - denied but wasn’t too sad
UCSC - this campus was amazingly beautiful and good for kids who don’t care about football, faux gothic buildings or quads. Also great for science and undergrad research - accepted and attending
Nova SE and Eckerd - accepted. Nova SE has impressive MB facilities and run by UMaine alum. Eckerd looked a little run down when we were there during Covid, but I’m sure all schools’ upkeep suffered during the pandemic.
Dalhousie and UO/Clark Honors - accepted and it came down to these schools and UCSC
UMiami - WL This was a very sad outcome for kid for a couple of weeks, but who would have anticipated how wildly popular they became this year. You will have to apply EDI for a good chance. My kid remains hopeful, but knows the odds and is happy enough with UCSC.

I can’t say enough about some of the MB heads we met along the way. Dr. Ellis at UMaine esp was very kind, funny, honest and helpful and it’s useful to make this effort bc it’s helpful to meet people and see a variety of programs. Both he and URI basically asked us “what is your goal with MB degree” since they take a different long view with kids who have different end goals (not something I had even known about prior to this question). Some teachers can become mentors and some schools may be grad school options so even if you don’t apply, it’s useful to tour and make appts to speak with MB depts. Since your kid plans to go onto BSchool or Law, the schools listed might be too MB intense for them. I’d suggest Bowdoin, Colby, Oxy, UMiami, basically places where they can get a solid MB basis, but also have a chance to be immersed in an intimate community. All schools now a days have to have support for internships, research and study abroad, which could approximate the NE co-op program, although of course some are better than others. Brown was a school that we talked about, but ultimately decided not MB strong enough. CMC might be a good option if considering b-school after. You could cobble together some MB classes within the Claremont consortium if your kid is ok not doing an intensive MB program.

NB: both UMiami and UCSC are struggling with housing all their students so if that is an issue, it’s good to know up front.

I hope this helps! We expended a lot of effort in our search and it would feel less so if others could benefit.


You have lots of great suggestions here and he has some cool interests with the possible end game of business or law school which does not always come after these other interests, but certainly can.

Your original post was about EDing, I am not sure he needs to ED anywhere if he is not 100% on that school and the offerings. If you do not think he will get into top elite schools, the pressure to ED may not be needed. Just because that is the conversation among your peers or his -EDing somewhere is not required.

Early Action sounds far more appropriate and he can do that at many of the colleges listed and is recommended/required at many for admissions into honors programs or other opportunities. He can then take time next Spring to consider all options.

To highlight a few previously mentioned where he can EA, non-binding:

UMiami allows for dual majors easier than most colleges, so that may be on interest to him in addition to the excellent marine bio opportunities. Apply EA (or ED) for access to merit, etc…

UNH is Cornell’s partner at the Isle of Shoals and has received millions in ocean and marine research in recent years. They have several undergrad programs that are very unique in his areas of interest including Ocean Engineering and have a minor in marine/fisheries policy. They have EA which gives a decision by January and access to some additional scholarships.

College of Charleston has an excellent undergrad Marine Bio program with research partnerships with the state and federal labs. They also have a Geoinformatics minor that is cross-curricular and includes a lot of hands-on course work. Applying EA is needed to get into honors programs and other opportunities.


University of Hawaii - either the Manoa or Hilo campus- should be a safety.

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We are following this thread and wondering where he decided to attend? My son is also attending Sharks and Rays at Shoals this summer!

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