College Search Cluelessness

<p>White Male
Location: California
High school: Competitive top tier public (high API score)
Grade: Senior
GPA: 3.31 with low course rigor, but an upward trend. (4.0 gpa last semester of junior year)
ACT: 32 (First try, no studying. Might retake)
Strong EC's (Sports, music, and art)
Got a 5 on the English Language and Comp test.</p>

<p>My ideal school would be small, with strong programs in both science and the humanities. Preferably located within, or relatively near to a large city. I have no problems with going out of state, but this would require a school that rewards a generous amount of financial aid. Not to mention the only states I would leave California for would be Washington, New York, and Massachusetts. </p>

<p>I'm looking to go on to either med school or pharmacy school after completion of my undergraduate studies. </p>

<p>Some colleges I've been looking at:
1. Marist College - Highly selective, but relatively cheap tuition for a private located only 2 hours outside of New York City. Strong academics.</p>

<li><p>University of San Francisco - Strong academics, not as selective as marist, but a bit more expensive. Two hours away from my home town.</p></li>
<li><p>Santa Clara University - I've only heard good things about this college from my friends that go here. Expensive, but with good financial aid (apparently).</p></li>
<li><p>University of California at Santa Cruz - A cheap, large school with a beautiful campus. Trying to avoid public at all costs, but looking here if financial aid for privates doesn't go my way.</p></li>
<li><p>Cal Poly SLO - Really strong school in a fantastic little college town. Cheap, but hard to get into. My interest in attending this school is about on par with that of UCSC.</p></li>
<li><p>San Francisco State - Safety, will transfer out after 2 years if forced to go here.</p></li>

<p>Looking for opinions, suggestions, anything. I've been using to explore my options, but I really have no clue where to go from here. Any help is sincerely appreciated.</p>



<p>Reason for this?</p>

<p>If you intend to go to medical school, pay close attention to minimizing undergraduate debt that you will incur. Medical school is expensive and will add more debt. Also, be sure to consider what your academic and professional interests are if you do not get into medical school (most pre-meds do not get into any medical school).</p>

<p>That sounded severe, sorry. Don't get me wrong, I am not completely against public university. It's just the horror stories that I have been hearing about competition for classes and housing at the public's here in California have been steadily driving me away from the idea. Not to mention the education cuts thrown down by the state lowering quality and driving up prices. From what I've researched private college is the way to go. They seem expensive on the surface, but financial aid is apparently so abundant that a lot of the time attendance ends up costing less, in total, than that of a public institution. Not to mention smaller class sizes, ect. Feel free to correct me if i'm wrong though.</p>

<p>The idea of not getting into professional school is definitely something I have considered, which is why I was looking for schools that had solid academics all around. If I end up doing a non-science major, which I probably will as job prospects seem slim in the sciences now-a-days, I want my med school prereq classes to be taken in a strong science department.</p>

<p>Thanks for the reply.</p>

<p>OP--for privates, a lot of times, the financial aid will bring the cost down to below out-of-state tuition. Publics will probably still be cheaper, unless the school offers extreme fin. aid (like Harvard, which expects only 10% of your income).<br>
I personally would recommend the UCs, but since you're not hot on public schools, I'm not sure. Competition is tough at the UCs, but they do have very solid academics all around. I really don't know many schools that would prepare for med school. St. John's College (not university) is really nice if you're looking for a broad, well-rounded education. They have a unique program that I really was attracted to, and I would have gone there if I had the money :(</p>



<p>Financial aid and net cost after non-loan financial aid depends a lot on which school -- you cannot generalize based on private versus public. The private schools with the most generous financial aid are super-reaches (for everyone) like Harvard and Stanford, who have huge endowments. Many other private schools are much less generous (e.g. New York University has a reputation of giving poor financial aid).</p>

<p>inneedofpencils- Ah. Makes sense. I'll look into your suggestions. The problem with the UC's is, as you said, stiff competition at the desirable campuses. My GPA is below average, which hurts my chances. </p>


<p>^ Don't get discouraged by the competition! You've got an upward trend, plus strong ECs. Davis and Irvine are both connected to hospitals, and may give good experience. UCSC is a nice school, too, and I think you've got a fighting chance. I'd recommend taking the SAT (and your SATIIs! I think some schools require them) soon.</p>

<p>ucbalumnus- That is one reason why I have been researching with financial aid in mind. The private schools that i'm looking into apping to are ones that are both in a desirable location and, from student testimonials, gave enough financial aid to make payment manageable. I'm looking more into UC's as a viable option now as well. </p>


<p>Would taking the SAT as well increase my chances by that much? I figured that one test would suffice.</p>

<p>I've been shying away from Davis because it is so close to home. But the hospital is definitely something that I forgot to account for. I figured Irvine was out of the question due to GPA, thanks for the encouraging words. I'll have to look into it.</p>

<p>What's your senior year schedule looking like?</p>

<p>AP biology is the only stand out class. I chose Band and Yearbook as my electives because I wanted to show some sort of commitment, as I have to drop my sports EC's this year in favor of a job.</p>

<p>So AP Bio is your only AP class for next year? How many total AP's are available at your school?</p>

<p>Many, a couple of which are unavailable to me due to grade level and scheduling conflicts. A lot of classes at our school are only offered for one period. The only other AP class that would have been available to me this year, with my schedule, would have been AP english 12, but I didn't sign up for it soon enough. AP economics, AP chem, and AP physics would require an elective slot.</p>

<p>The number of AP classes available vs the number I have taken looks really bad. I'm still kicking myself over being so lazy in 9th and 10th grade. But live and learn.</p>

<p>Lol I know how you feel. I can't get over the fact that I didn't take APUSH last year, even after consulting my counselor several times to switch me in there. By the end of high school I will have taken 6 out of the 7 available AP classes, although I wish I could've gone 7 for 7.</p>

<p>Try to get into AP English 12 if at all possible. In my opinion, it is THE most important AP class, along with AP English 11, and is almost a requirement. All other AP classes are just there to make you look impressive. Again, just my opinion.</p>

<p>The SAT I shouldn't really increase your chances, but it is a different testing experience from the ACT. I did better on the SAT than on the ACT, and the ACT actually gave advice that helped me on the SAT. SAT IIs, however, should be taken. I believe the UCs require two, and as do several private schools. </p>

<p>I also shied away from Davis because it was so close to home. I can sympathize with your reluctance, and it's a good idea in my mind to put a distance between you and home. Irvine does have rather high standards, and they are very strict on final grades. I think you have a chance, though, and it never hurts to try! :)</p>



<p>The band and yearbook will be viewed my many adcom's as much less than a rigorous courseload in senior year and will count them against you. Rigor of courses is one if the key metrics that many of the upper tier schools look at. They would rather have someone with a 3.6 and a lot of AP's and honors than a 3.9 with no rigorous classes. I would seriously re-visit the schedule for this coming school year.</p>

<p>for ny look at fordham. bard and new paltz. For mass look at clark, college of wooster and bu. I think Marist would be a low match for you,</p>