College List

Hi! I’m a rising junior and looking into starting my application process early, since we have so much time with quarantine to get a head start. I am attempting to compile a list of schools I might be interested in and starting my college essay.

Background:

White, Female, I am not a first-generation student
Currently living on Long Island in New York.

Stats:

GPA: 3.68 W
Class rank: N/A
Courseload/Exam Scores: AP Seminar: 3
Junior year I will be taking AP Language and AP psychology
SAT Subject tests: none
SAT/ACT: took PSAT and got a 1100, expecting to take ACT.

Extracurriculars:

Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) : 2 years (plan on continuing senior year for a 3rd year)
Coding Club: 3 years and served as recording secretary and plan to run senior year for president.
Foreign Culture Club: 3years, plan on participating senior year.

Varsity softball: 2 years but plan on playing senior year so 3 years (would’ve been 4 years but the season was cancelled due to covid-19). I was involved in a lot more middle school sports and intramural sports but i’m unsure how to list those.

A part of Teens as Leaders (TAL) at my local Jewish Community Center for 3 years so far but I plan on continuing senior year. I completed over 150 hours of community service with TAL, averaging to about 50 hours, give or take, per year. I was also involved in an international Jewish leadership organization known as BBYO for 3 years so far but plan on continuing senior year.

Work Experience: Child Care Worker: I worked after school at my local elementary school’s aftercare program for 3 years of high school but plan on continuing senior year, averaging about 10-11 hours a week. In addition, I often babysat on the weekends about twice a month.

Summer Program: Movement Makers
In the summer of 2020 I attended a virtual leadership conference known as Movement Makers through my Jewish youth group, BBYO. In its entirety, I spent 20 hours on zoom calls building leadership skills and recruitment abilities to carry with me throughout my high school experience.

Summer Program: Camp. I attended sleepaway camp from the summers of 2012-2021 (I plan on returning again as a counselor in 2021 and 2022). I attended as a camper up until 2019 and then worked there as a staff member in 2020 for 7 weeks every year.

Awards: I have lots of regents diplomas and ap diplomas but I am unsure how to list those.

Essay:
N/A (I’m only a rising junior).

Letters of rec:
N/A (I’m only a rising junior).

Given all of the information shared above, I am beginning to compile a list of schools I want to apply to. Although there are lots of deficits due to covid-19, it is giving me the opportunity to begin college and ACT prep in advance to take stress off of my junior year. This was written with the expectation that I am continuing my activities going into junior year. With that being said I am currently interested in Tulane University and University of Maryland the most (I know they’re reaches). If anybody has any suggestions for schools I may be interested in, please let me know!

Major? Budget? Geographic location? What are you looking for in a school/what is important to you?

Ithaca College & Goucher (Maryland) & Skidmore College might be of interest to you.

I don’t think that college confidential is the right place to ask for advice for your college list. It all depends on what you want to get out of a school. A good place to start is U.S. News and World Report rankings for National Universities as well as for your major. Niche is also a reliable source for rankings. You want to look accumulate a list from those rankings with about 30-50 schools. Then consider the school size, location, competition, the student culture, and other factors. I started looking at schools even before I started high school just because it’s such a long process, so since you only have a semester before you need to really start thinking about applications, you want to spend a lot of time now thinking about potential schools by yourself.

I would take those lists with a bucket or three of salt. Most of what these rankings show is A, wealth of college, B, wealth of the students who attend the college, C, wealth of college alumni, and D, the skill of the college at marketing.

You should, instead, use of of the many college search engines, like those which are attached to your school’s Naviance, and select colleges based on criteria which you use, things like size, location, cost, etc.

Using the college rankings will leave you with the perception, which is shared by many of College Confidential, that there are only 100 colleges in the USA, and only 50 are capable of providing a meaningful education to any graduating high school student.

An important thing for you to remember is that you are a rising junior, and a lot usually happens in junior year, from EC awards to a substantial increase or decrease in GPA.

At this point in high school, you should figure out what things are important for you that a college should have.

That is also important for you to realize - you are not looking primarily for a college which would be willing to accept you, you are looking for a college which would be able to provide you with what you will need from the college. So your overarching question should NOT be “will this college take me?”, but instead “is this college willing and able to provide me with what I need?”.

Looking through college rankings sets up a situation in which you are always a supplicant, since you will get into the mindset that you “must” attend the highest ranking college possible. That will inevitably end up with you romanticizing low acceptance rates and popular colleges. Those are not the factors which will determine whether you succeed and thrive in a college.

PS. while the rankings of Niche are worthless, their other information, which is based on student opinions, is somewhat better. So long as you accept that there is a strong bias in who responds to these surveys, they will help you a bit with a feel for the atmosphere and “feel” of the campus.

I most likely want to major in business or communications, nothing very specific yet. I have no geographic preference or budget. It is very important to me that the school has lots of spirit, greek life, sports, and a large student body.

Take a look at Syracuse University.

OP: Are you aware of the Hillel Guide To Colleges ? Might be of interest to you.

Ohio State’s School of Communication https://comm.osu.edu/ or Fisher https://fisher.osu.edu/undergraduate/

Nice campus, big student body, sports, great spirit, sororities, Hillel, https://www.osuhillel.org/

Check out Tennessee and Auburn - we have toured both of these schools with our D21 whom is looking for something similar in terms of school spirit and sports (she actually would prefer a more medium size rather than large student body, and isn’t interested at this time in greek life). While D21 is not interested in business, we were very impressed with the business school at Tennessee in particular. I’m not sure how competitive your GPA will be as Haslam is one of the harder colleges to get into at UTK (along with nursing, education, and I believe some majors within the engineering college) but you have some time to improve it so focus on that for junior year.