Finding a good match

<p>So I'm a junior having trouble finding a good match school. I have been spending a lot of time researching colleges, and the ones that appeal to me the most have been Stanford, Brown, University of Chicago, and Northwestern... all pretty much reach schools.</p>

<p>I take the hardest classes at my public school, which is in a very competitive suburb of Dallas, TX. I guess some stats would help</p>

<p>rank: 14 out of 1000
weighted gpa: 4.42
I'm actually not sure how to calculate an unweighted... I take the hardest classes in each subject, which for fresh and soph year meant all honors and this year I'm in AP Eng, APUSH, AP Music Theory, and AP Computer Science, along with honors pre-cal and honors physics.
All my grades, from freshman year to now, are in the 94-98 range.
PSAT: 232
SAT: CR 770 M 790 W 710 (didn't finish my essay :/)</p>

<p>my extracurriculars:
8 years of choir
student director of both choir and an auditioned vocal ensemble
5 years of private vocal study with various state awards
10 years of piano, various local awards
theatre... I've done a musical every year and I'm in International Thespian Society
I founded a club at my school that visits nursing homes, children hospitals, and the like in order to sing and read stories to them.
Peer Tutoring Society - I help teach SAT classes at my school and tutor three people individually
NHS and various volunteer stuff... </p>

<p>I don't really know what I want to be, career-wise... just nothing in the sciences. I might end up doing business/management type stuff. Since I'm undecided, I'd really like to go to a college that is strong in several areas.</p>

<p>I also like the idea of liberal arts colleges - Middlebury, Whitman, Oberlin, and Pomona stand out in my mind. The problem is that most of them are located in rural areas, and have rather small student bodies. I'd really like to go to a school located near, if not in, a city with lots to do. Plus I'd like a (co-ed!) student body of around 2,000-8,000.</p>

<p>Umm as far as location goes... I'd like to be away from the south. I like New England but I also love California and Chicago. </p>

<p>Any suggestions?</p>

<p>It seems that you prefer the "intellectual but laid-back" types of schools.</p>

<p>On similar note to Stanford and Northwestern -- try looking at Georgetown as a match. It seems to fit the mold, and is less selective. Carnegie Mellon could be a good match too. They're quite good for both business and music, and the school itself reminds me somewhat of UChicago. </p>

<p>Then for safeties and safe matches...neighboring Santa Clara has always reminded me of a smaller version of Stanford. </p>

<p>Then on the note of LACs, Pomona is not as isolated as you might think. It's actually right in the overlapping area of the LA and Riverside metropolitans. The immediate area is actually pretty developed. And if you're looking at business, also consider another in the consortium: Claremont McKenna.</p>

<p>I don't think anybody in their right mind would describe UChicago as "laid back"</p>

<p>If you're a girl you might be interested in Barnard College (in NYC)</p>

<p>You could also look at Haverford, which is in the Philadelphia suburbs and a quick train ride away from the city. It's laid back, at least in comparison to its fellow Philly suburb LAC Swarthmore...</p>

<p>Pomona would definitely be a good match for someone with your qualifications. They tend to focus on social sciences and political science, if that interests you. Also I think the small student population is a bit deceiving because there are 4 other Claremont colleges located right next to each other, so you can definitely socialize with people from other colleges. While Claremont is a a residential neighborhood, Los Angeles is somewhat "close"-30-45 minutes away.</p>

<p>Other good places might be:
Columbia (match/high match)
Georgetown (match)
Boston College (safety/match)
Cornell (match?)</p>

<p>I imagine you won't have much trouble reading up on good schools here on CC, as most people here are equally as qualified as you and have a possibly unhealthy obsession with the US News & World Rankings Top 20.</p>

<p>Good luck! I'm sure you'll find something you'll like.</p>

I don't think anybody in their right mind would describe UChicago as "laid back"


By laidback, I mean not too pretentious or "better than thou". </p>

<p>Kids at Chicago are serious intellectuals, but they seem pretty down-to-earth to me.</p>

<p>what about tufts</p>

<p>Carleton, Grinnell and Oberlin in the midwest. Ok, they're not so big but loaded with activities. Macalester also is in a city. Lewis & Clark and Goucher were my son's safeties, both near great cities, again a little small for you. Tufts might be the best suggestion here.</p>

<p>I don't really think Chicago is a reach for you if you can use the essays to your advantage.</p>

<p>I always recommend the Jesuit schools. They offer a wide range of majors (including business) and have small classes and caring teachers. They tend to be located in cities or large suburbs. There is a list at <a href=""&gt;;/a>. Everyone I know who goes to one is happy there. Georgetown and Santa Clara have already been mentioned. Consider also Loyola Marymount, Boston College, Holy Cross. Other Catholic schools you might like include Fordham and Villanova. Also on this website is a list of urban schools that I referenced in a recent post where someone asked about urban schools. Go down the list and see if any appeal to you.</p>

<p>For Chicago, I would never use the word "laid-back," but rather "low-key." Comparing students from my elite high school to students at college, I would say that Chicago kids tend to be less anxious about performance by objective standards (for example, I had to explain to a bunch of my friends what Goldman Sachs was and why people would want jobs there, and I had to explain to another friend what sorts of connotations some attached to "Ivy League" regarding alcohol and parties-- both sets of friends were from the US, mind you) and don't discuss things like grades with each other. Students who wear expensive or brand-name clothing are in the distinct minority-- for guys and for gals, a pair of jeans and a sweatshirt seems to be the fashion rule. Some gals do dress really nicely, but many do it on a shoestring budget, and care about fashion for the sake of fashion rather than buying a specific brand.</p>

<p>However, I think that Chicago kids are more self-conscious and more uptight, less "fun" than the typical college student... while a bunch of my housemates were watching the Super Bowl game and making barbs, another bunch came in and out, with the "I'd love to watch, but I really should be doing homework." A lot of my friends strictly limit their partying to one night a week, spending the other night on something non-alcohol related so they can wake up the next morning. A lot of my friends do embody a certain kind of laid-back-ness, though, that comes through in their sense of humor and their approach to schoolwork (do it because it's fun for you, not because it will get graded). It's just a different emphasis from most schools.</p>

<p>I think you have a pretty good shot at Wesleyan. It's in Middletown, CT, not too far away from NYC. Student body is around a little less than 3000. Although Wes is really strong in the sciences, their other departments are not in any way weaker (Econ comes to mind.. and they have a strong ethnomusicology dept too, how cool is that). I can't really give you more in-depth information 'cause I'm just a senior applying there, but you should hop over to the Wes board to get a pretty good idea of what the school is like.</p>

Carleton, Grinnell and Oberlin in the midwest.


I actually wouldn't recommend these 3. The OP wants to be in or on the outskirts of a major city, and all 3 are pretty isolated. </p>

<p>Lewis & Clark is a good idea though. Portland is an awesome city.</p>

<p>I think a lot of the options so far seem good. Some more thoughts:</p>

<p>--I third Tufts, sounds like a great option for you. Macalester is another good one (it's only JUST under 2,000 students, and is one of those rare LACs in a city).</p>

<p>--Occidental College in LA is a tiny bit smaller than you want (1,864 students according to princeton review), but is located IN LA, which is pretty cool.</p>

<p>--I think you should def. check out Wesleyan and, Vassar too, but you might think they are too remote (Wesleyan is about 1/2 hour from New Haven and Hartford, 2 from NYU and Bosoton. Vassar is a bit closer to NYU). </p>

<p>--Also look into Skidmore. Again, maybe a bit too far from the city (but pretty close to NYU), but people l know there LOVE Saratoga Springs, and it's a LAC with 2,700 students.</p>

<p>--Some other ideas: Rice, Washington University in St. Louis, U Rochester, Johns Hopkins (it is good in things other than sciences!), American</p>

<p>^yea, don't be afraid to check out, Wesleying, the student-run blog, if you can't visit Middletown (it's one of the best):
<a href=""&gt;;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>DePaul in Chicago is an excellent school all around, completely in an urban setting and has a stellar theatre program (although not a MUSICAL theatre program too). With grades and rankings like yours, Northwestern is an option, especially if your folks have inherited wealth. It has a great drama and MT program.</p>

<p>wow thanks to everyone for really great information.</p>

<p>haha it was nice to hear all the different interpretations of UChicago. though unalove, I'm not quite sure what you mean when you relate Ivy League parties with objective performance.</p>

<p>The whole consortium with Pomona and Claremont McKenna sounds just about perfect, location and all. Plus a lot of the other LACs that I had never heard of sound amazing... are there any of these particularily generous with merid aid?</p>

<p>It's funny that Rice was mentioned... it's pretty much got everything I'm looking for except location. I really can't imagine living in Houston for four years, but Rice definitely seems like the most reasonable choice as a cheaper and geographically close school. Does location really matter as much as I seem to think it does?</p>

<p>Yeah, I reread my post... let me try to rephrase what I was saying.</p>

<p>I showed the infamous Dartmouth youtube video "Drinking Time" to one of my friends at Chicago, partly because I was amused by it and partly because one of my good friends from childhood plays a prominent role in it. (The video pokes fun at Dartmouth's reputation for being a drinking school.... if I explain the video any further, it loses its charm, it's worth youtubing and watching).</p>

<p>My friend was confused with the premise of the video and what it was making fun of. "...Isn't Dartmouth an Ivy League school?" he asked me.</p>

<p>"Yeah," I responded.</p>

<p>"So why would Dartmouth kids do a prank about drinking? Aren't Ivy League schools known to be all about academics all the time?"</p>


<p>Upon reflection, I have no idea what point I was trying to communicate with that anecdote, besides that many of my friends at Chicago as well as the people I run into are relatively clueless with regards to items and reputations of status. Most kids at Chicago aren't about Longchamp and Tori Burch as much as they're about Old Navy, Kohl's, and Target. This might be how the vast majority of the United States operates... it's a welcome and refreshing change from the kind of atmosphere I was surrounded by in high school.</p>

It's funny that Rice was mentioned... it's pretty much got everything I'm looking for except location. I really can't imagine living in Houston for four years, but Rice definitely seems like the most reasonable choice as a cheaper and geographically close school. Does location really matter as much as I seem to think it does?


The location isn't actually that bad. I know a few people there; they were turned off by the location at first, but once they got to the school, they ended up loving the experience (including the city of Houston). The campus is really pretty, and centrally located. Right by the zoo and lots of museums, and not too far from downtown. </p>

<p>As far as other LACs...have you looked at Occidental at all? It reminds me of the Claremont colleges, but more centrally located in the heart of LA.</p>

<p>unalove, I think my high school may be like yours - I walk into class each morning to a room full of ugg boots, lacoste polos, juicy jackets, and all things coach. UChicago sounds like a wonderful escape.</p>

<p>The more I learn about Rice, the more I seem to like it... the last time I visited the campus there, I was in eighth grade, so I guess I should give it a second chance. Plus, I don't think any kind of building would look appealing while standing around in the Texas summer sun. Would it be presumptuous to say that Rice is a match?</p>

<p>Occidental is definitely on my list of colleges to consider. Actually, the more suburban location of the Claremont colleges is really a benefit to me - I own a car, and I'm not sure I have the capacity to brave the LA streets day after day. Although... it's not as bad as driving in Boston.</p>

<p>Add Duke to the list of colleges on your list worth checking out. It definitely has that laidback feel and the student body, while intelligent and accomplished, definitely is extremely fun-loving and down-to-earth. I know you're concerned about living in the South but Duke definitely has a Northern feel since a sizeable amount of the students are from Chicago, New York, Boston, etc. The academics, school spirit and quality of life are all top-notch. It's currently 70 degrees here and kids are playing frisbee on the quad while students in Ivy League schools and UChicago are proably holed up in their dorms because its freezing outside.;)</p>