Hi all! As the time to send applications draws nearer, I’d appreciate a bit of feedback on my college list.
(I’ll give a quick rundown of my stats for a reference point, not so much looking to be chanced: 4.53 GPA weighted, 4.0 UW, 34 ACT, 7 APs and 5 dual credit classes by the end of high school.
Extracurriculars aren’t super outstanding. Involved in chorus all four years of HS, science olympiad for two years with two regional medals. NHS w/executive council, freelance illustration, participated in a musical my junior year with 10 hours of rehearsal per week.)
So far I’ve got: Duke, Vandy, Emory, Cornell, UNC Chapel Hill (EA), NC State (EA), App State.
Currently considering University of Richmond. (Does anyone have any input?)
I’m thinking I’d like to add an extra “match” school or two to make sure I’ve got all my bases covered. My dad might want me to apply to the University of Tennessee or Liberty as well.
I’m located in NC and would like schools located on the east coast-ish. I love beautiful, green campuses with things to do nearby. I might like to try another school in the northeast?
I’m looking to major in Biology, but I would like schools with an emphasis on interdisciplinary education because I also really enjoy the humanities. I’d like to participate in some music/theater clubs if given the chance.
A strong Christian presence would be fabulous.
As for size, I’m not too sure. I wish I’d gotten the opportunity to tour some colleges first so I could get an idea of what I really like.
Good financial aid is really important. Obviously I haven’t filled out the FAFSA yet but my family probably makes around $65,000 a year with minimal assets, if that helps.
Does anyone have any extra recommendations? Does my list look proportionate, or are there too many “reaches” and not enough matches?
Tulane’s in the South but is a good fit if you like New Orleans (and the heat, but has amazing food from what I’ve heard.) The University of Rochester in NY might be a good fit as well. Reed College in Portland’s campus is extremely beautiful, and the entire PNW is gorgeous (not at all biased from living in the PNW lol.)
I’m obviously biased because I go here, but Brown’s a good fit because of the freedom of the Open Curriculum: it makes it extremely easy to pursue multiple interests, and ~20% of undergraduates double-concentrate (major.) It’s more of a reach than a match, however.
If you would like a Christian-environment, Baylor in Texas might be a good fit for you. I don’t know much about the religious aspect of the school, however.
Have you considered applying to the Questbridge program or the Posse scholars program? Both programs make it much more affordable to attend schools like Brown with high sticker costs. It’s also like applying ED (for every college but MIT IIRC) to up to 12 selective schools: you get to rank your choices and have if admitted via Questbridge, will receive an extremely generous financial aid package (basically a full ride IIRC.) However, Questbridge’s deadline is tomorrow, September 29th, so it’s definitely worth applying to if you can have everything filled out and submitted by then.
I’ve been curious about Brown in the past, actually! The campus is marvelous from what I’ve seen and the curriculum seems very curious. I was a little concerned about the political and social atmosphere of the school, however, as I feel like it has a super duper liberal reputation? Maybe I’m wrong. And there’s nothing wrong with that, of course, but it might not be the perfect fit for my inclinations if that’s the case.
But again, that is another reach school. :’)
I was considering Questbridge, but I was a little uncomfortable with the ED aspect, especially since I haven’t been able to tour practically any colleges at all in person. I’d hate to commit to an institution I don’t vibe with.
I went through this process last year with my son as a NC high schooler looking in the same general geographical area as you, and we were/are a family that needed a lot of Financial Aid to attend a private university. If you’re looking to go to college outside NC but not go too far, your best bets for finding an affordable destination will probably be private universities/colleges.
Very few out of state public universities within a few hours drive of NC will provide significant financial aid to make themselves affordable to out of state applicants. I think ** U Virginia ** does, but there aren’t many others.
App State is probably a lock for you and I’d be a surprised if you did not get accepted into NCSU. UNC is never really a guarantee, so you’ll just have to wait and see. The private universities on your initial list are all reaches for everyone because their acceptance rates are so low, but your stats put them in reach for you. No one should expect to be accepted at any of them, but with your stats you should apply and take your shot.
With your stats, I would definitely apply to U Richmond. We toured there twice. It’s a beautiful campus with a nice small lake (large pond?) in the middle. UR will meet its definition of your family’s financial aid need. That may or may not actually be enough for your family, but I suggest you apply. They have a couple of extra writing requests on their application, but nothing too long.
Consider Furman, Wake Forest and Elon. If accepted, ** Wake Forest **, like Richmond, will meet its determination of your family’s financial need. ** Furman ** and ** Elon ** don’t guarantee to meet all/most of your financial need, but they both have scholarships available to high stats students that might just close the financial gap for your family.
If you’re considering going to TN for college, consider ** Rhodes College.** It’s another LAC that is relatively pricey, but they also have scholarships available that might help.
Where else you apply to will decide on how many applications you (and your parents) think are too many, and how far you’re willing to go. You have Cornell on your list, so I assume you’re willing to go at least that far in pursuit of the school you feel is right for you. Here are a few other schools that may fit your wants and possibly (emphasis on possibly) meet your families financial need. We had different circumstances, but several of these schools offered significant FinAid to my son last year.
In Ohio, there are several respected LACs that might provide enough aid. ** Oberlin, Kenyon, Denison,** and ** Wooster ** are all fine schools. ** Haverford ** has a lower acceptance rate, but is a great school and they provide excellent FinAid for family who need it.
There are several good LACs in PA as well. A NC friend of my son’s ended up at ** Muhlenberg ** and thinks it’s a great fit for him. Another NC friend is graduating this year and is considering ** Lafayette ** very heavily. ** Allegheny** and ** Ursinus ** both offered my son fantastic FinAid that was guaranteed for all 4 years. With your stats, you should also check out schools like ** Franklin & Marshall ** and ** Bucknell.**
I don’t suggest you apply to all these schools, because it’s a lot of work (and possibly expense) to apply to 20 or more schools. But it is a good list to start investigating for yourself. Once you find a few schools that you decide are an academic and personal fit, run the NPC (Net Price Calculator) at each school’s website and see if they might come close to meeting your family’s financial need.
There are several other schools in that PA/OH to GA zone that might end up being what you are looking for. OTOH, if you get accepted to UNC or NCSU, you may decide you don’t want to look any further. If you’re 100% satisfied with NCSU or ASU, apply EA and see what they say. If you are 100% satisfied with only UNC and not quite 100% satisfied with NCSU/ASU, choose a few other options and take a shot.
Congratulations on putting in the hard work to get those great stats, and Good luck to you.
Rhodes, Elon and Furman would be safeties for you. Furman has more of the strong Christian presence. It is small. Given your preference for Christian presence, I suggest you check out the Jesuit schools. https://www.ajcunet.edu/institutions
Most of them (except Georgetown and Boston College) would be matches to safeties, and would have that well-rounded focus/humanities exploration that you are looking for. Loyola MD in particular for your East Cost preference. Or Holy Cross, which is a step up from Loyola MD in terms of admissions but wouldn’t necessarily be a reach for you.
Richmond is a beautiful, pristine, woodsy, upscale-camp looking campus. RIchmond itself is about 20 min drive away, so not walkable. Great academic reputation and strong in preprofessional. Has a “Richmond Guarantee” which is a stipend that all students get for an internship.
I realize I am not including info on costs and aid so you would have to look into that. My son with way lower stats than you got decent merit to Elon, Furman and Loyola MD. I agree that since your stats are high and your net is pretty wide, look for schools that meet full need.
I’ve also heard great things about Davidson in NC but it is a harder acceptance so might not help if you are trying only to add matches/safeties at this point.
More so than toward an interdisciplinary approach to education (as in majors such as biochemistry and geoarcheology), your interests seem to call for an academically flexible college. Though they’d represent additional reaches, Amherst and Hamilton offer curricula that are notably flexible and accessible — i.e., few restrictions other than a requirement to fulfill a major appear, and most courses are open to most students, irrespective of major. Additionally, they do not have internal academic divisions (often known as “schools” or “colleges”), which can serve to hamper students who have diverse academic interests. You might also consider that these schools are purely focused on undergraduates, an aspect that appears to be lacking within your current list. A drawback to these suggestions might be difficulty of admission, though they’d be within range of most of your current selections.
With respect to less challenging admits, the University of Richmond could represent a nice addition to your application list.
You sound so much like my daughter! She’s a junior with similar stats and interests, also from NC. We are building a list also but haven’t officially toured anywhere yet. One I haven’t seen mentioned is William & Mary. My understanding is that it too would be a reach because of acceptance rates. Not sure if you’re interested in Florida but Rollins might be a good safety. My daughter wasn’t interested based on what she saw on their website, but we drove around campus when we were in the area and she LOVED what she saw. Beautiful, small campus with a really nice shopping area directly adjacent. Lipscomb in Nashville is another one that we’re interested in checking out. It would also be a safety. Unfortunately I’m not sure about need-based aid at these schools - we are likely full pay so I primarily research merit. My daughter doesn’t see herself at a huge school like UNC-CH or NCSU but she’s very conservative financially so she may take a hard look once she realizes what great values they are for in-state students. I’m not pushing that but don’t want her to close those doors until she offically tours. FWIW - I graduated from Brown and I don’t see my daughter there. Good luck! I’ll be interested to follow your story so please continue to share!
Also, one thing I do in addition to all of the college-site research is “walk” around the area on google maps. Since we can’t travel everywhere, and many schools are closed to tours anyway, this at least gives us a feel of the area/neighborhood.
As an opinion, I think you will qualify as a de facto auto-admit at your North Carolina public university choices. For this reason I think you should seek well-funded private colleges that would represent high matches or reasonable reaches in your additional selections.
Thanks so much y’all! I’ll definitely have a look at some of the colleges you’ve mentioned. I appreciate all the help and effort!
@merc81, I’m glad you think so! I might add a couple more reaches to my list, because my dad did indeed want me to list a few more colleges that I think I could get in with little issue. I’d honestly be extremely content to go to UNC, but I’d be over the moon to attend an institution like Duke, Vandy, or Cornell. I think I’ll try to follow your advice and broaden my high matches/reaches.
@PickleParent , I’ve definitely been doing a LOT of the walking around on google maps, haha! Thanks for the suggestions! I wish your daughter the best of luck and I’d be happy to let you know where I turn up at the end of the year.
@EconPop, thanks for spending time on such a comprehensive list! I’ll definitely do some investigation.
@TS0104, thanks for the help! Richmond sounds nice, but I’m a little concerned about the smaller size. I honestly have no idea if that would be my vibe or not, and it’s so hard to tell without the opportunity to tour.
In general, the area of high matches and realistic reaches seems to be the one most overlooked by college applicants. For further context, one reason I recommended certain colleges is because they’d slot into your current list to form a gradual slope with respect to statistical attributes. For example, if considered by ACT middle-range profiles, these hypothetical schools would overlap with each other before you reached your public university choices:
I’m not suggesting this list as a hierarchy in terms of your own final selection, however. If you got into both Amherst and Vanderbilt, for example, I’d be inclined to recommend Amherst — but that’s far from your immediate concern right now.
Your list is great! Although I would probably add more match schools. Definitely consider Boston University, Case Western and Tulane. They’re all private schools, but they can be very generous with financial aid.
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