Help finding colleges - Class of 2022

Hii, this is my first time posting but I’ve been reading the “Chances” threads for the past hour lol.
But anyway, I am a senior in high school right now and I’ve been having a tough time figuring out which colleges to apply to. My parents don’t know much about the modern college applicant atmosphere, so they think that I can make it into most good schools (I’ve been in a seminar program since elementary school - which is a program for gifted students - so I think they view me as being very above average). My mom is from Africa and my dad went to UPenn as a transfer student; this, coupled with their relative isolation from other competitive parents, has made for some pretty ill-informed opinions on college.
But I have a feeling that, with my stats, I don’t have that much of a chance for the top schools I really like. I didn’t really start thinking about doing things that would help my college application until sometime last year (because of a lack of push from my parents - and my friends, since I tend not to hang out with people from my AP/seminar classes), so I haven’t had much time to make my resume nice with extracurriculars (such as research opportunities, awards in competitions, etc.). Not to say that my resume isn’t good, it just isn’t at the level that I’ve been seeing here - with the hundreds of volunteer hours, prizes for science fairs, being good at sports (because I’m a band/orchestra kid [yes, both]), you know.
This is getting pretty long lol because I could keep going on and on. But basically! I’ve been thinking of CMU, Johns Hopkins, UCLA, and UC Berkely as my reach schools, but, other than NYU, I have no clue where to start for my moderate/safety schools! This is probably an ego thing, but when I see schools with acceptance rates like 50% or something, I feel like that would be too easy and kind of embarrassing to go to. Ok, it’s definitely an ego thing hahaha. But I have older friends that go to WashU and Boston College, and friends of friends who go to UChicago and UC Berkely (latter on a track scholarship). So I want to go to a good school like this too because I think I can handle it and I know I have a lot to offer - but I don’t know where to apply! The schools I like seem too difficult or too easy. Do you have any recommendations for in-between schools? Or any advice for me in general haha anything is appreciated ( :

tl;dr I don’t know where to look for moderate/reach schools :confused:

I’m planning on majoring in neuroscience by the way, but I plan on becoming a psychiatrist so I’ll be pre-med as well. I also really want to go to the Northeast US coast, Canada or Northern California.

Well you sort of have to provide your stats to get an idea of where you might consider - and picking a school based on acceptance rate is kind of silly.

Plenty of really smart people go to a U of Arizona or Purdue or PItt.

Check out their acceptance rates.


I loved reading your thought process (even if it’s a little flawed😏) but in order for people to give you some ideas you need to give some more concrete information, GPA, course rigor etc. Also a VERY important factor in your college search is the finances. What can your family afford. Have you run the Net Price Calculator for any of the colleges you mentioned? That’s the best place to start.

Also, UCLA is in Southern California not Northern California. Great school, just doesn’t fit your preference for Northern California (and if you’re out of state the UCs are too expensive in my opinion).


@koolz2151 : Definitely post your stats. The UC’s have their own GPA calculator and they will consider all 3 UC GPA’s: Unweighted, Capped weighted and Fully weighted. GPA Calculator for the University of California – RogerHub

If you are an Out of State (OOS) applicant then only AP/IB or UC Transferable DE courses will count for the extra weighting in the calculation, no HS designated Honors. You will also need 1 year of a Visual/Performing arts HS course to apply which is a UC requirement.

Home State? Budget? HS course Rigor?

Again, if you are OOS, the UC’s will cost $67K/year with no need-based financial aid and little merit aid which is highly competitive. The UC’s are also test blind, so SAT/ACT scores will not be considered.

Once you have posted all relevant information, then CC posters can help with college suggestions.


NYU is not going to be a safety school; depending on your GPA and test scores, it may not be a match, either.

Start with looking at the Common Data Sets for schools that you are interested in; Sections C7 (which gives the academic and non-academic admissions factors considered by a school, and the weight given to them) and Sections C9-C11 (which contain objective data for matriculating freshman students) will contain information that can be helpful in estimating your chances for admission.

As the other posters have mentioned, more information specific to you will be helpful in suggesting schools for your to consider.