help with preliminary college search?

<p>I'm currently a high school sophomore starting to look at colleges. I'd like some preliminary schools so I can start looking. I want to be a doctor, so I'm looking for schools with strong biology/chemistry/premed programs. My search is restricted to schools in the northeast, from Maine to Maryland. I'd like a medium school in a suburban area, because I want to get to know my professors, but I don't really want to be suffocated with smallness either. I go to an public high school, and I am female if that makes any difference. I hope I don't sound picky, I just want to give as much information as I can.</p>

<p>PSAT - 68 V 64 M 66 W
GPA - (from freshman year) UW: 94.125 W: 96.50
We don't rank, but I know I'm at least in the top 10%, possibly top 5%.</p>

<p>Classes:
9th:
Honors Global History 1 (90)
French (they only offer honors in 11th grade, and then AP) (99)
Earth Science (90) 92 on the regents
Honors Accelerated Math AB (I'm from NY) (88) 90 on the regents
Honors English (94)
String Orchestra (third chair cello) (97)
chorus (96)
Honors Independent Research (100)</p>

<p>10th: (grades are from the first quarter.)
Honors Global Hist II (91)
French (103)
Honors Biology (92)
Honors Accelerated Chemistry (92)
Honors English (97)
Orchestra (96)
Honors Accelerated Math B (84)
Honors Independent Research (99)
11th and 12th will contain EMT, AP US History, AP French, AP Bio, AP Chem, AP Calc, Honors Anatomy and Physiology, AP Lit, AP Comp, AP Eco/Gov, and Honors Independent Research among others.</p>

<p>ECs and Awards:
Varsity Winter Track (9-12) captain 10th, expected 11-12 also
Varsity Cross Country (10-12)
Varsity Spring Track (9-12) probably captain 11-12
Note: I won't run in college, so that doesn't really matter.
Volunteering at a local hospital, many hours (10-12)
Research projects through school's independent research program. Plan to study at SUNY Stonybrook completing polymer research during the summers of 10-12th grades.
peer leader
peer mediator
spent summer of 9th grade completing research at Touro College of Health Sciences
Scholar Athlete (expected 9-12)
Placed 4th Nationally in the AATF National French Contest
Placed highest in school in the AMC 10 for freshmen
best in class awards for French, English.</p>

<p>Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!!
Thanks!</p>

<p>Tufts was the first school that came to mind. It's great for pre-meds, and it's a suburban, middle-sized school. Also, you look good candidate for acceptance.</p>

<p>Here's my advice: At this point, don't worry about the suggestions of others. Start by thinking about what YOU would like out of your college years. Do this by thinking about what you have liked and not liked about school so far - do you prefer classes where you know your teachers well or do you prefer to be relatively anonymous? Do you prefer classes where there's lots of class discussion, writing papers, or lectures? How do you deal with challenging classes - you know, the kind where you feel like you're in over your head? How would you describe the social scene at your high school? What things do you want different in a college, what things the same? What do you like best about your high school? Least? How would you describe your best friend? Yourself? What subjects interest you most in school? What extracurriculars? How do you see college changing you? What about you do you not want to change in college? What experiences would you like to have over the four years (study abroad? do research? write a novel? learn to paint? do an internship? live somewhere far from home? etc.)</p>

<p>Next, draw up a list of three colleges within driving distance to your house. Pick a large university, a mid-sized school, and a small liberal arts school. Try to include a public and private school. Go visit. Take the college tour. Don't worry about which schools they are --- you are just visiting to get a sense for what you want and don't want in your "dream" schools. Taking the tours of schools you don't really care about also will give you ideas on what questions to ask when you start researching the schools you will apply to.</p>

<p>Sit down with your parents and have a frank discussion about finances. What can they realistically afford for you to attend college? Will you qualify for financial aid? Will you need to get merit scholarships? Read up on financial issues here on CC and elsewhere.</p>

<p>Then, buy yourself a copy of the Fiske Guide to Colleges. Read through each profile. As you do, mark the schools that sound interesting to you. Do not worry about their rankings or their prestige - just mark the ones you like. When you have, go back and try to figure out if there is any commonality between the ones you marked - are they all urban schools? Suburban? Large? Small? Highly social? Intense academic schools? Are they close to home or far from home? In what type of climate? What features really struck you about each school?</p>

<p>Finally --- and only then --- come back here and ask people for a list of suggestions based on all of the above --- explain what matters most to you. The people here are willing to give suggestions but honestly, no one knows YOU like you do. Figure out what you want first. Chances are, once you do all of the above, you're going to already have a decent list started and you'll be asking an entirely different set of questions here.</p>

<p>great, thanks! that's definitely helpful</p>

<p>anyone else have any suggestions?</p>

<p>To Carolyn,
I don't mean to not value your comments, but I think I have already done much of what you have suggested. If I have not, I have already thought of most of it, so I'll post what I think for most of your questions:</p>

<p>I prefer classes where I know my teachers, but I would also not really like a class with only a handful of students</p>

<p>I prefer classes where there's lots of discussion</p>

<p>I like a challenge in a class, where I don't know the material and really have to study it. Yet, I don't enjoy being over my head to the point where I can't excell. (Which is one of the reasons I'd like to have a strong relationship with my professors) </p>

<p>My school is very homogeneous, and I wouldn't necessarily mind a college like this, but I would certainly be open to a more diverse school.</p>

<p>I don't like how one can't really get involved in my high school, so maybe that is something that I would look to counter in college. </p>

<p>I enjoy the sciences most in school, which I why I stated I want a school with strong science and research opportunities. I would like a school with a wide range of other opportunities as well (like english classes for non english majors) as I don't want to completely box myself in.</p>

<p>Carolyn's advice is top-notch. If you are seriously interested in pre-med, you might want to investigate the resources for pre-meds, after you've gone through the steps Carolyn lined out. Most medium sized suburban schools will have good science departments that will prepare you for med school, but some will be more supportive of pre-meds, and others will be more competitive. Some schools will quote very high rates of med school admission, but they don't provide a recommendation to everyone, and only the best students are actually able to apply - the competition for those recs can get cutthroat.</p>

<p>Keep in mind that all those concerns should be secondary to the things Carolyn listed - the highest admission rates to med school are typically found in the non-science majors - the humanities major who can still perform up to par in the science prereqs is much sought after for their wider perspective. Besides you'll probably change your mind at least twice :)</p>

<p>Thank you for your perspective. I didn't exactly think of it that way, meaning what you said about the humanities major having a "wider perspective" and the cutthroat reccomendations. That will help me a lot as I search for colleges. I appreciate your comments.</p>