Help- I'm not sure how to pick match schools!

<p>So I've wanted to go to Columbia since 7th grade and have visited it several times, done a bunch of programs there, etc. But every year it looks like it's getting harder to get accepted there from my high school. I'm a well rounded student and I take a bunch of AP classes/get almost all As and stuff, but I'm still not really "up there" with those kids that get into ivy league schools like Columbia.
This only occurred to me recently because, I swear, when I was in middle school, Columbia wasn't THAT hard to get into and I really thought I could do it.
My problem now is that I have no match schools that I <em>really</em> want to go to. I'm still applying ED to Columbia, obviously, but I'm finding it really hard to single out 4/5 schools that are easier to get accepted to but won't make me feel disappointed when I go there because I got rejected from Columbia.
I know I shouldn't have been so fixated on that one school; I realize now that it was a huge mistake. Please, any suggestions to help me break out of this ridiculous mental obsession and move on? And how exactly do you decide what your top 10/12 choices are for RD?</p>

<p>Well one good match/safety for you if you like Columbia so much is NYU. They're both in NYC, which I'm assuming is one of the reasons you love Columbia because it really is only that and its core curriculum that make Columbia drastically different from all other Ivies/top schools.</p>

<p>For a notch down from Columbia... common schools are Duke, Vanderbilt, Johns Hopkins, WashU in St. Louis, Northwestern and Tufts. Also maybe consider some slightly less selective LACs (Middlebury, Wesleyan)?</p>

<p>We need to know your stats though to give you really good matches. Also, what is it that you love so much about Columbia?</p>

<p>Also, once you get that acceptance letter from another school (if you don't get into Columbia ED), you really do learn to love your other schools. Yes, I'm still a bit bitter about getting deferred and then rejected from Brown, but I love WashU and it has everything I was looking for in a school.</p>

<p>Okay thanks a lot! I love the core curriculum AND the location, the campus is awesome, and the size (# of students) is perfect. ... I know.</p>

<p>I'm not too sure how the stat-posting works but I'll copy one I saw somewhere:
GPA: 96W, 93UW (my school doesn't do 4.0 scale)
School doesn't rank, I'm probably borderline top 10%</p>

<p>SAT Reasoning: haven't taken yet but get around 2250 on practice tests
SAT Subject Math IIC: 780
SAT Subject Chem: 780</p>

<p>AP classes I'll have taken by senior year:
Chemistry (3), Biology (5), Physics B, Calc AB, English Language, AP USH (4)
(senior year planning to take: Calc BC, Physics C, English Lit, Comp Sci, Economics)</p>

<p>EC: Regionals Choir, NHS, NAHS (I have a leadership position), dance (but not for school), science program at Columbia, Model UN, Student Council
Volunteer/Jobs: hospital volunteer, EMT volunteer, library volunteer, tutoring job (5th/6th graders), babysitting job (this is probably so common I shouldn't even mention it)
I also got Honorable Mention for this Scholastic Art and Writing contest and I'm going to try again this year for a Silver/Gold Key (which is a lot better)</p>

<p>Hooks: None. I think this is the main reason why Columbia is a super high reach for me. but I'm working on an Intel project so maybe it would "up" my position substantially if I was a semifinalist but obviously that is unlikely to happen</p>

<p>Sorry if I did that wrong- I've never done it before and I copied the format straight out of a random post</p>