Hey, you there! Yes, you! Check. me. out. (you know the drill...)

<p>Hey CC - </p>

<p>This is my first post, though I have "lurked" here for several months. Bear with me. Here goes: </p>

<p>(DISCLAIMER: I wrote a lot, but I don't have any specific colleges to chance me for. So this may be premature, but I just really need suggestions and a jumping-off point about where I stand in the college application process and in sorting out the types of colleges for safety/match/reach!!) </p>

-white, female, rising senior (Class of 2011)
-GPA: 4.2 W, 4.0 UW
-SAT: 800-M, 800-CR, 800-CR
cumulative 2400
-SAT-2: 800 U.S. History
770 Literature
710 Math
(I am planning to take Math, Spanish, and something else in the fall.)
-AP Tests: have taken AP tests in Lang & Comp, Environ science, and US History (All are pending) </p>

-small, public high school in Bay Area, C.A.
-ranked around sixty-seventy in nation
-about 12 AP classes available
-classes for next year:
AP Spanish
AP Euro
AP English
Honors Physics
AP Calculus (A/B)
Civics/Econ (required)</p>

-*Mock Trial<a href="10,%2011,%2012">/i</a>
-Defense Attorney (10), team won county finals, 2nd place defense attorney in county, placed 10th in state
-Lead prosec attorney (11), team lost (very sad...), 1st place prosec attorney in county
-"Team Spirit" Award</p>

<p>-*Community Service (i.e. buildOn)<a href="10,%2011,%2012">/i</a>
-4-6 hrs/weekend
-it's a national non-profit organization -> chosen to be sponsored for 2.5 week "Trek" to Mali, W. Africa (we raise money to build schools in developing countries/volunteer locally)
-publicity officer (11)
-vice president (12)</p>

<p>-*Newspaper<a href="10,%2011,%2012">/i</a>
-staff writer (10), circulation manager (11), editor-in-chief (12) </p>

<p>-*School Councils<a href="11,%2012">/i</a>
-High School representative (1/3-4) at School Site Council - makes school policy decisions with administration and parents
-" " " (1/1) at Curriculum Review - makes district-wide curriculum policy with...</p>

<p>-Miscellaneous Awards?
-Outstanding English Dept. Award (9,11) </p>

<p>-A little more about me?
-I have no hooks. I'm a little worried that I look like every other applicant that ever landed on the face of the earth (or really, CC.) How do I differentiate myself?
-Also, I have no idea what colleges are reaches/matches/etc. I've only just started this whole game, and feel a little behind. Can anyone help me get started?</p>

<pre><code> Here are some things about my preferences in a college:
-I might eventually go Law, but that means I can pretty much major in whatever I want for now, though maybe something polsci (??)
-I don't think I have a preference in size (I can see the merits in both.)
-suburban, or urban...I think.
-My family won't get any financial aid, so to help my parents out I want to have "financial safety" schools on the list that I can choose from if need be, that I can get merit-aid from...but I still want to apply to some colleges regardless of price, in case something gives between now and then.

Here are some questions:
-What are good schools where I can be really challenged but still get money?
-What are some examples of colleges/levels of selectivity that make up a reach, match and safety for me, regardless of sticker-price?