Help with college list for junior: medicine or engineering, 4.0 uw, 34 ACT (will take again)

For engineering or medicine he can’t possibly go wrong with GA Tech or UGA. Anything else just adds costs with no benefit.

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According to Tulane’s Common Data Set, 9.6% of applicants were accepted. Your son’s 34 ACT is above Tulane’s 25th percentile, but that doesn’t mean that odds are at least 50% of acceptance. Tulane is very fond of lots of demonstrated interest and as has been mentioned elsewhere, including the yield protection thread, does have a tendency to yield protect (i.e. reject applicants whose stats are higher than their typical if they think the student is unlikely to attend). So if Tulane is going to be of serious consideration for your son, he’s going to want to show them lots of love.

At Rice, they’ve only posted their common data set from 20-21, so this information is for fall 2020, but its acceptance rate was 10.9%.

Many feel that colleges that accept less than 20% of applicants should all be considered reaches. Most students don’t apply unless they think that they have a decent shot of being accepted. These colleges have lots of very qualified applicants, enough to fill their classes multiple times over. Who ends up being picked often feels like luck to students, but it depends on what the university needs to round out its class and what they’re looking for that particular year. So although I think your son would be qualified to be admitted to any of the reach universities and would do well at any of them, due to the overwhelming odds of rejection for most qualified applicants, I still would qualify these as reaches.

Rice University or Georgia Tech.

As an engineering major, Georgia Tech should be a top choice due to COA & due to high quality of programs.

Rice is great for either pre-med or engineering.

Unfortunately, both Rice & Georgia Tech are in big cities–which is something that your son does not want.

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Good to know about AP and pre med. Would have never occurred to me! Time to dig in a little deeper.

Tulane’s admit rate is dragged down dramatically by regular decision which is only a 1% admit. My nephew got in a couple of years ago with lower stats - same ACT, several Bs, many fewer APs/honors, etc. The trick for Tulane us to apply early and this seems to be a recurring theme for LACs. Oh and demonstrated interest. Our school seems to have a high success rate at Tulane.

Of course, nothing is a sure deal but I would put Tulane on a different tier than Duke, Vandy or Rice based on what I have seen in the past.

More about AP credit and pre-med:

He is very familiar with Georgia Tech. His brother goes there. Same brother also applied to Rice and was waitlisted. Stronger student in that he was valedictorian, but he may have applied regular decision. Can’t remember. Actually I think he might be OK with Rice even over Georgia Tech just because it’s in the museum district which does not feel like a big city. Even Georgia Tech on campus does not feel like you are in Midtown until you get to the edge. He also said he’s OK with Georgia Tech because it’s close by, which may rule out Rice.

I have two family members who’ve gone to Rice, one is a CS major and the other is a surgeon so seems to hit both boxes! The ABET Certification thing never even occurred to me so I need to consider that as well.

I just checked and the NC State engineering camp my oldest went to several years ago is still in person so we are going to talk about that this evening.


My d21 with similar stats, interested in engineering has no regrets with her choice to attend the University of Central Florida. I think it has a good reputation for engineering and medical. She is in the Burnett Honors College. Oviedo is a suburb of Orlando so not an urban feel to me. UCF is also going to be a part of the Big 12. I think I got that right? Football/sports is not a big draw for her, but I think this is a big deal to others-:sunglasses: If interested, @JimDadinmia and @jeneric have students there also and have great info to share. It is one to consider if your student is a potential National Merit Scholar. Mine was not NMS but has 2 oos roommates who are.

Our d19 is a sophomore at UCF, majoring in health sciences heading toward physician assistant graduate school. She loves UCF, although she’s in a different field than this thread is about.

Our next door neighbor’s son just graduated from UCF in December in electrical engineering and is now in graduate school at Arizona State University. Chris loved UCF also and feels he got very good preparation there.

And finally, my wife is a University of Miami alum and we live not far from campus. If we can provide any info about UM, let me know.

Hoping @WayOutWestMom will explain why AP courses will not satisfy medical school applications….again.

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Since he has 9+ months before applications are submitted he has time to explore these fields a bit.

For engineering do you have any family friends or neighbors that are in engineering? It’s a good idea to get an understanding of what engineers do at various phases of their career before embarking. The dropout rate for engineering nationwide is around 1/3rd or more (less at some schools though). Since the screening to be admitted as an engineer is stringent I think that most of those kids could have done it, they just lost interest or decided the career wasn’t a fit after all. Knowing its the goal helps provide motivation on nights when many other kids are out having fun but the engineers need to stay home and study or do problem sets.

For medicine, with Covid somewhat waning volunteer opportunities may be opening up again. Your son should be thinking about why an M.D. and if medicine is really a fit. When a lot of HS kids become interested in a career in medicine it becomes “I’m pre-med!” and they embark on a path that will take 11+ years of school/training plus enormous debt for most. Doctors are far from the only ones in the health field that help people. Physical therapists, radiology techs, nurses, speech pathologists, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, to name but just a few. as you can see on Until he’s carefully considered the alternatives and has spent time actually working in a health care setting (which is an unwritten requirement to get into med school) its better to think of him as interested in exploring a career as a doctor rather than someone who has already made the decision.

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I think it’s great he’s looking at UVA & W&L because if you don’t know size - that will help as one is tiny in a tiny town and the other is mid-large is a small city. And obviously UGA is as sprawling as a school can be - similar to Va Tech.

When one isn’t sure - engineering or medicine - and we all know the likelihood of it being neither - I guess you have to decide, am I willing to go somewhere that doesn’t have engineering?

I bring this up because if you’re looking at engineering for real, Emory should be out (unless he’d be ok with the dual program with Ga Tech).

I see lots of great suggestions already - such as W&M (but not for engineering). If he decided to go outside the engineering route, you might add Furman since inevitably you’ll drive past Greenville and while he won’t be an athlete, Stetson has many athletes where he might find social comfort plus it’s not in city but not far from Orlando or Daytona. If he wants chill, you might look at Florida Tech in Melbourne. These are just a few more names to throw your way. Richmond may be another - bigger city but it’s not in the city proper.

Ultimately, I’m guessing the lure of GA - even if you live in Athens (not sure you do) - the lure of the fantastic price GA residents get may be too much to pass up - even for those who have the budget for more. For families in Florida and GA - it’s wonderful how supportive the states are for their bright students.

Best of luck.

Agree completely. Husband is an MD so can follow him in office or observe surgery I am sure. He is attracted to medicine in part because of flexibility - so many fields depending on what you want. Getting into med school is a big issue and concerning.

Brother is an engineer. He is applying to an engineering camp for the summer. Just need to figure out which one.

Definitely needs a direction!

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Not only is getting into medical school a highly competitive weed-out process, but getting into many specialties for residency is highly competitive (the high pay ones that will allow paying off medical school debt in a somewhat reasonable time tend to be more competitive). I.e. he may find that there is less choice and flexibility in medical school and specialty because he has to take what he can get.

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What kind(s) of engineering would he be interested in?

He could follow the engineering schedule for the first year in college. If his college GPA (overall or science) is below 3.7, he should probably drop the pre-med idea. If his college GPA is high enough, and he still wants to consider pre-med, he can try adding a pre-med course (e.g. organic chemistry or biology) as an elective in the second year and see how that goes (for interest and grades). If he wants chemical or biomedical engineering, organic chemistry and/or biology may be included in the schedule anyway.

It would be best to choose a college where the desired engineering majors are available and not difficult to change into or declare. If admission to major or the engineering division is offered, he should apply to the major or engineering division.

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I think as a Junior in HS it’s great that he has interests - but one definitely doesn’t need an exact path yet.

It will be great if he’s in a summer program. STEP at Purdue is a week long. There are others of course. We had our son do this to “validate” his interest in engineering.

I guess in the sense of knowing if engineering will or won’t be a desired path - that does change the landscape of where he might attend college.

But one’s life doesn’t need to be defined at 17 years old!! And I’m sure he’ll have a great life whether he studies chemistry, engineering…or does a 180 in college and changes to something crazy…like hospitality management :slight_smile:

Good luck to your son.

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My D also did STEP at Purdue which was wonderful. (Also a feeder into honors college which we didn’t know at the time).

For others reading this thread, STEP is rolling admission entry and in years past, the application opened in December. From the website it looks like they are still accepting applications now but in general, it is better to apply early to those type of competitive entry programs.


We just went through the engineering college in the southeast search with my S21—

If he’s open, take the engineering tour of Auburn. We were so impressed with the facilities and opportunities. It was a very personal tour and hard not to fall in love with the campus and town.

Ole Miss has a smaller engineering department but awesome Honors College and the Center for Manufacturing Excellence which offers great hands on experiences for engineers. Lovely campus and great college town. (H is alum)

Vanderbilt—I would say the engineering experience is more academic than hands on, but awesome opportunities if he is also interested in medicine. I am an alum, so probably why he looked here, but mine wanted more hands on engineering experience. Nashville is a plus!

University of Tennessee—seems to have a great engineering department and facilities, also great college town.

Ultimately he chose Georgia Tech, because it was the dream! He is happy, involved, challenged, and with his people!

Best wishes on your search!

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Wife is a doc and majored in Bio at a small LAC. Agree that the major doesn’t matter much, within reason. Would also say(have 3 ENG in the family, and S2 wants to go that route) that a ENG> Medicine path is unusual.

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Exactly…not the least of which is the often relatively low GPAs of engineering majors. And generally there is no GPA consideration given in med school admissions for difficult majors.

OP, all things being equal (knowing they never are), if med school stays in his sights, consider choosing a school that does not ‘gatekeep’ med school applicants by reserving committee letters for only the most desirable (likely to succeed) candidates.

Note that the median age of incoming med school students is currently 24/25, meaning most applicants are taking a couple of years after undergrad to further strengthen their candidacy by doing patient facing or research jobs, or doing programs like Post-Baccs/SMPs.

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