Having trouble narrowing down my college list

<p>Hello!</p>

<p>I'm a rising senior, trying to narrow down my college list by the fall so I will know where I want to apply. So far, I haven't had much time to visit colleges, but I have seen a few, and I was wondering if I could get some help from anyone with personal experience about narrowing down this list.</p>

<p>What I've found I didn't like was: really big student bodies (15,000+); really small student bodies (anything below 2,000 is pushing it); really strict curriculum requirements</p>

<p>What I've found I like was: medium sized student bodies (5-7,000 is perfect); open curriculum (although this is by no means a requirement at all); lots of school spirit and strong sports programs; some diversity without the school being all about diversity</p>

<p>The problem is, though, that none of these are make-or-break factors. For example, I saw one very small college that I loved because of other factors. The only thing that would really stop me from going to a school would be if it were downright ugly. Also, weather is totally not a factor for me. Also, for the sake of simplicity, let's not count cost.</p>

<p>Anyway, about me: I'm a top student, 4.0 GPA, 2200 SAT, etc. so I think I have an okay shot at getting into most good schools. My only problem is where to apply. Does anyone have any suggestions as to schools I should check out?</p>

<p>Any input would be really helpful! Thanks!</p>

<p>It is good that you are starting to make your list, but if you provide more info you might get more responses. For example:</p>

<p>How much per year can you or your parents afford?
What part of the country are you interested in? Cold/warm weather?
Urban or rural?
What major are you considering?</p>

<p>I talked to my parents and for now, price isn't really an object. They just want me to go somewhere where I will be happy.</p>

<p>Parts of the country is tough. Originally, I was only considering the south, but now that has expanded and I am looking in the Northeast and in California. However, I don't want to rule out any schools based on location. And distance from home isn't really an issue for me, I don't think. Also, weather isn't a factor. I can go for really cold, but also I could go for really warm.</p>

<p>I'm not sure if I like urban/rural/suburban. I know for one thing that I don't want a small, rural school (like Bates or Dartmouth). I am considering Notre Dame, because although it is definitely not in a big city, there is a lot to do on campus. As for urban schools, I like them as long as they actually have a campus (BC, Trinity), rather than just a group of buildings within the city. I guess my preference would be a school with a campus just outside a big city.</p>

<p>Currently, I'm undecided for my major, but I think I want to do premed (I've wanted to be a doctor since I was little, and I'm good with sciences), but definitely not a science major.</p>

<p>Thanks for any help!</p>

<p>Also, I don't know if this is helpful at all, but I tend to lean toward liberal. A conservative school wouldn't get dropped off my list because it is conservative, though.</p>

<p>Some medium-sized urban/suburban schools with open curriculum programs:</p>

<p>Wake Forest (open curriculum is an option there, I believe)
Wesleyan University
Brown University</p>

<p>Of these, my impression is that WF has the most sports-oriented "school spirit", but that the other two are more liberal.</p>

<p>WF, Wesleyan, and Brown are all on my list, thanks for the input!</p>

<p>Here are some others I have:
Vanderbilt
Duke
University of Miami
Emory
Claremont McKenna
Pomona
Stanford
Northeastern
NYU
Columbia
Yale
Tulane</p>

<p>Are there any there I should immediately eliminate?</p>

<p>Since you are all over the map, it's a little hard to discern what you are really looking for, therefore it is hard to suggest eliminating any. CMK has about 1200 students, NYU over 50,000. Big spread.</p>

<p>Have you visited any of these places?</p>

<p>You seem to have thought about the Claremont consortium but I wonder if you should think about Amherst and its consortium? it's only 1800ish students but has the benefit of the other schools and several small towns nearby. I could be wrong but I wouldn't think of Vanderbilt as liberal. Maybe you should think about Tufts or Wash. U? By the way, Dartmouth isn't that small.</p>

<p>I've visited a lot of schools in the northeast, figuring that I would not like some of them and like other ones. But the problem is that I liked a large variety of schools and could definitely see myself going to them.</p>

<p>I've visited:
Princeton (loved it)
BU (hated it)
BC (liked it)
Brown (loved it)
Trinity (liked it)
Holy Cross (hated it)
Bates (hated it)
UConn (liked it)
PC (hated it)
Harvard (liked it)</p>

<p>Thanks for all the help!</p>

<p>Sorry, after reading that last post I remembered that I visited Tufts, and didn't like it. I'm not sure what turned me off of it, but I really didn't like it. And I also forgot to mention that I visited Elon, and hated it.</p>

<p>I've also thought about Amherst and Williams, but I wasn't sure if they were too small.</p>

<p>P.S. I don't mean to offend anyone, I wouldn't have visited any schools if I didn't think they were good schools, they just weren't for me.</p>

<p>Edit: I also thought about WashU, but I'm definitely not going to visit it because it's nowhere near me or any other schools I want to visit, and I've heard it's much harder to get in if you don't visit. Is that true?</p>

<p>You seem more worried about potentially offending people than in finding the right spot for you. For this to work you're going to have to set down some parameters and then start chopping, once you've done that it'll be easier to help. Tell us why you did or didn't like particular schools on your list. For example, was the urban nature and lack of a traditional campus the turn off at BU? If so, then Columbia, NYU and Northeastern are going to be tough sells. </p>

<p>Other schools you might want to consider:</p>

<p>Wesleyan (CT)
USC (Southern Cal) - population is on the large side but feels smaller when you're there
Rice
William & Mary - though the OOS admit rate is pretty tough</p>

<p>What are you thinking about in terms of majors? Looking for schools that are strong in your program is a really good idea.</p>

<p>Also, do you have some lower-level colleges on your list for safeties already?</p>

<p>I'm not sure what it was about BU that turned me off, but I think it was just too big, combined with not really having a campus. I'm planning on visiting Columbia, NYU, and Northeastern because I have the same concerns. I think I'm going to take NYU off my list, though.</p>

<p>Wesleyan and USC are on my list. The same problem arises with Rice as with WashU--I don't think I'm going to visit, and I'm not sure if I want to apply somewhere I've never been (I've never even been to Texas).</p>

<p>For majors, I think I want to do premed, but I don't want a bio/chem major, so any school that will make that work for me is good. I'm looking into environmental science or economics, but I feel as though I'm going to change my mind once I get to college, so I don't want to go somewhere just because it has a good program in something.</p>

<p>I do have some safeties: Trinity College, UConn, Hamilton, and Tulane. NYU and Northeastern were also there as safeties, but they are on the brink of being taken off my list, now that I'm thinking about it more.</p>

<p>Yeah, since you want a real campus, NYU and Northeastern should definitely come off the list. Columbia has a campus, though. Also you are smart to not base your decision on some major you may or may not end up doing. Besides, most of these schools are plenty strong in all departments, especially at the undergrad level.</p>

<p>I would point out to you that Tulane has a very specific program for premeds that want to major in non-science areas. It is called the Creative Premedical Scholars Program Tulane</a> University - Pre-Health Programs You apply late in your sophomore year, you find out that June, and if accepted you are guaranteed a spot at Tulane Med, without having to take the MCAT. It frees you up both in terms of pressure and being able to go abroad junior year, since the MCAT and all the prep that goes with it isn't an issue. As far as regular admission, with your record so far, you would almost certainly get offered a $25,000/year merit scholarship, and invited into the Honors Program. You would have an outside shot at the full tuition scholarship (Deans Honor Scholarship) which requires an additional application. Your SAT is a little lower than most winners of this, but not out of the question. But since money doesn't seem to be the main issue, if you could save even the $100,000 that could be very useful for med school later.</p>

<p>Ok, enough of my selling Tulane to you. Otherwise your list is pretty complete, and you will likely get in to at least half those schools, likely more. Clogging it up with more choices doesn't seem to have much point, you really seem to have hit the major ones for your general criteria and academic ability. Some have nicer campuses, some are more urban that others, that kind of thing, but I would think you could find what you want among that list. The only others that immediately come to mind that I did not see are Northwestern and Chicago, but they are pretty bad for weather.</p>

<p>Fallenchemist, I really appreciate your help! I will definitely check out Tulane's medical scholars program, I didn't realize they had that.</p>

<p>My main problem, though, is that I don't want to be stuck applying to 20+ schools. I want to try and cut down my list, but I'm having a really tough time doing so, and I can't figure out why!</p>

<p>If anyone has any input at all, I'd love to hear it!
Here's my list/some comments:</p>

<p>Reaches:
Columbia (not sure, because I can't tell if I'm attracted to the school or just NYC)
Duke
UPenn (I'm not sure about this one, I don't really like Pennsylvania)
Princeton
Stanford
Wesleyan (too small?)
Yale
Brown
CMC
Pomona</p>

<p>Matches:
BC
Notre Dame (might be too conservative/strict?)
Emory (too preprofessional/not enough school spirit?)
Vanderbilt
Vassar
WF
WashU (I'm definitely not visiting there, will this be a problem?)</p>

<p>Safeties:
Hamilton (too small?)
Trinity (CT)
Tulane
UMiami
USC
UConn</p>

<p>Oh, and also, if this is helpful:
I want a real college experience, so I don't want to go somewhere where people spend all their time studying and it's not fun. Honestly, I would rather go somewhere that was considered a party school than somewhere where no one does anything fun. I'm a pretty outgoing and gregarious person, so I want somewhere with a lot of other outgoing, fun people.</p>

<p>I think you just might LOVE Northwestern. Medium student body. And its got the whole,
"im gonna study from 10 am to 6 pm and party from 7 - 3" very balanced in terms of people and personality...And maybe you'll like WUSTL and Vanderbilt and UChicago, all though with its core its not very open...
As far as your list goes, i really think you could get in any of those with powerful essays, strong extracurriculurs ,and nice recommendations. because honestly, there are a lot of other applicants with 3.8 - 4.0 GPAs and 2100 - 2400 SATS and 30-36 ACTS. After awhile, its about YOU. Not the numbers.</p>

<p>squashgirl -not exactly on topic, but- Wash U has a much better campus than you would suspect (or at least better than I suspected), awesome dorms, good community, nice area, etc. A visit would only increase your chance of applying</p>

<p>I completely agree with Washington Univ in St. Louis being a good choice for you. My son will be going there in the fall. Undergrad student body of 6000, gorgeous campus, tops for pre-med and one of the happiest student bodies. Also, what about Rice?</p>

<p>Northwestern is now on my list. I had been under the (mistaken) impression that it was a lot like UChicago, which is why I was hesitant.</p>

<p>As for Rice, is it as conservative as its location would imply?</p>