Help me pick out some colleges! I've never done this before D:

<p>Hi. Uhmm just a little background- I'm a rising senior and I attended a different high school my freshman and sophomore years. My new high school is significantly more competitive than my last, and that along with a pretty heavy course load caused my grades to drop slightly. Well, a bit more than slightly but I can't really do anything about that now D: </p>

<p>I've always taken the highest level classes available, and took 2 classes during summers. I have a 3.79/4.0 unweighted GPA and I have no idea what my class rank is. It's probably low actually :c we usually have 20+ people tied for 1st with a 4.0 and loads of students have higher GPAs than me. My weighted GPA is currently unknown but was 4.86/5.0 at my old school and 4.11/5.0 as of sophomore year in my new school. The drop was due to the fact that I didn't receive "quality points" for the many of honors courses I took in my old school since many of them weren't offered here (only the ones with the EXACT same name in this school's course catalogue were given points). Sadface. My guidance counselor is being nice though and she's gonna calculate what my weighted GPA would be if I were at this school for all 4 years, so that'll be a more accurate representation of my weighted GPA. Hooray.</p>

<p>SAT scores aren't great. I'm retaking SAT I in October, hoping for AT LEAST a 2200.
SAT I: 2100 (660CR, 770M, 680W) I usually do better in writing >_> and I'm hoping for at least a 700 in CR next time. GRRRR I should've studied more D: NEVER CRAM FOR SATs!
SAT IIs: Math 2- 790 and Bio E- 740. Not super amazing either but I procrastinated all my testing until the end of the school year so I'm kind of.. not able to retake or take more SAT IIs if I want to apply early. </p>

<p>I took 1 AP course sophomore year, 4 AP & 1 GT junior year, and am signed up for 5 AP & 1 GT senior year. The rest are honors leveled. Except for health and gym and stuff lawl</p>

<p>Most of my classes are focused around math and science. I took honors bio freshman year, honors chem the summer after that, & honors physics sophomore year. Junior year, I took AP Physics Mechanics (bad choice, I didn't know calculus and it was a calculus based course. I got a B in that class but managed a 5 on the AP somehow. Phew), AP Bio, AP Statistics, and GT Precalc (WORST CLASS OF MY LIFE, BY THE WAY. That class has been deemed the "Killer of GPAs" in my school and the hardest math course. Yes, we do have both AP Calcs. It made me dislike math :c)
Anyway uh. Senior year I'll be taking AP Chem and AP Enviromental Science and AP Calculus AB. </p>

<p>As you can see, I like science haha. I've also been on the Science Olympiad and Physics Olympics teams in my old school, which is known for its olympiad team (state champions for last 13 years or something ridic like that, past national champions, blahblah). In my new school, I've joined the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) club and recruited people for the new Science Olympiad team. I was VP last year and hopefully will be President this upcoming school year. I'm also involved in a good amount of community service and other clubs & I'm on the volleyball team. A lot of the community service I do is in hospitals and pharmacies. I'm treasurer of a service club for children in hospitals. I like art too. </p>

<p>O dang I wrote a lot :c SORRY. I meant to make this short and sweet but that kind of failed. I'm not done either LOL I haven't even gotten to the colleges yet. Please bear with me >.<. I won't be surprised if you didn't read through all this lol, it's all k. </p>

<p>SO BASICALLY, I'm looking for a school with great social ...vibe, good science programs in general (not just engineering, I'm still not sure what I want to pursue yet), good food, good personality, great faculty, and preferably in the west or east coast. </p>

<p>I currently live in Maryland and would get free tuition to University of Maryland since my dad works there, but I'm looking for a school a bit higher in the rankings >.< </p>

<p>Johns Hopkins has always been one of my top choices since it's close and awesome at science and whatnot. I'm thinking about applying there early, but idk yet D:. I've heard it isn't amazing social life -wise. And also, my friend who went there said he could count a total of 24 gunshots heard from his dorm. THAT'S SLIGHTLY FRIGHTENING. </p>

<p>My pseudo-dream schools are Caltech and **MIT<a href="pseudo%20because%20I%20actually%20haven't%20researched%20thaaaaaat%20much%20into%20them,%20but%20I've%20visited%20MIT%20and%20Caltech%20is%20in%20California%20lol">/b</a></p>

<p>I've also always wanted to go to school in California. Just because. :D
Though it seems slightly frightening to go off to the other side of the country by myself, but it's also super exciting at the same time and I love meeting new people anyway.)
The Cali schools I'm thinking about applying to are: **Berkeley, UCLA, USC, Caltech<a href="worth%20a%20try%20I%20guess%20lol">/b</a>. I'm not gonna even try for Stanford lol. </p>

<p>On the east coast, I'm thinking about, in addition to the 2 I mentioned above, MIT<a href="again,%20worth%20a%20try...?">/b</a>, **Columbia<a href="I%20also%20really%20like%20New%20York">/b</a>, **Cornell, Carnegie Mellon, Tufts, NYU. </p>

<p>Also, I know this is rare in top schools but I'd like to go to a school that's not super cutthroat academics-wise. I'd like a more.. chill environment, which is sort of why the Cali schools appeal to me. Still though, I'd like to keep my options open and will research more into schools. </p>

<p>Please help me polish up a college list! Any suggestions would be helpful, and I'll provide any more information--just ask! (: </p>

<p>Here are the colleges again: </p>

<p>University of Maryland
Johns Hopkins (ED)
Carnegie Mellon</p>

Caltech (EA)</p>

<p>ALSO, should I apply to Hopkins early? Or should I apply to Caltech and MIT (EA) and Hopkins regular. I have a better chance of getting into Hopkins, and they're ED.
Does applying ED to Hopkins really make that much of a difference? </p>

<p>Please help by letting me know about other schools that are well suited to my preferences as well as bashing (if needed) any that I've picked out so far. </p>

<p>I'm basically looking for an overall fun and memorable college experience in a school that offers a great education without giving me premature white hairs. </p>

<p>I know my grades and test scores aren't perfect, but I'm going to try to make up for that in my essays and other supplements by letting these colleges get to know me. </p>

<p>Thanks in advance for your help! And APOLOGIES again for this insanely long post!</p>

<p>Er, you should not call CA "Cali." </p>

<p>I think you should definitely consider the University of Maryland a bit more because as a science person (I don't believe I saw your career plan in that post, sorry if I missed it!) you'll be wanting to go to grad school. </p>

<p>Since my dream is Columbia, I'm just wondering if you've ever heard of their Core Curriculum, because they're definitely reading intensive which is something you ought to consider. </p>

<p>About JHU ED, don't do ED unless you are a sure bet for fin aid (and I don't know how their fin aid is) or you definitely don't need it... USC isn't in the best neighborhood if that's your concern with JHU; I visited when my aunt was there, quite shady really. </p>

<p>Hope I gave you some things to think about; sorry I couldn't be of more help! G'luck!</p>

<p>@rchhay </p>

<p>Thanks for the input! And haha I'll change the Cali thing. </p>

<p>I've visited most of the ivies so I do know about Columbia's Core Curriculum. I actually think it would be good for me because although I've mainly focused on the sciences, I'm still not sure what I'm going to pursue career-wise and would benefit from a well rounded curriculum like Columbia's to expand my options a bit. </p>

<p>I doubt I'll get much fin aid, so that isn't really much of a factor in JHU ED. </p>

<p>Thanks for letting me know about USC! I wasn't really sure if I wanted to put it on my list anyway haha xD.</p>