Match me for colleges? Highschooler interested in Psych (still undecided though!)

Demographics

  • US domestic (US citizen or permanent resident) or international student
    Permanent Resident (soon to be citizen)
  • State/Location of residency: (state is important if you apply to any state universities)
    New Jersey (near Rutgers and Princeton)
  • Type of high school (current college for transfers):
    Large Competitive Public High School
  • Gender/Race/Ethnicity (optional):
    South Asian Female
  • Other special factors (first generation to college, legacy, athlete, etc.):
    Asian in Non - Stem? Idrk
    Intended Major(s)
    Psychology, perhaps Econ. or Med in the future? I’m still not set.

GPA, Rank, and Test Scores

  • Unweighted HS GPA: 3.93 (Projected : 3.9675)
  • Weighted HS GPA (incl. weighting system): 4.57 (Projected : 4.67)
  • College GPA (for transfers): N/A
  • Class Rank: My school doesn’t do class rank
  • ACT/SAT Scores: 34 on ACT (Will take SAT in August, but I’m not expecting too much)

Coursework
(AP/IB/Dual Enrollment classes, AP/IB scores for high school; also include level of math and foreign language reached and any unusual academic electives; for transfers, describe your college courses and preparation for your intended major(s))

Freshman Year:
Language Arts 1 Honors (A)
World History (A)
Bio Honors (A)
Algebra II Honors (A)
Concert Band (A)
German II Honors (A)
PE/Health (A)

*Did Geometry over the summer

Sophomore Year:
Pre-Calculus Honors (A)
American Studies I Honors (B) - didn’t really have a good relationship with this teacher
Chem Honors (A)
LA II Honors (A)
Symphonic Band Honors (A)
PE/Drivers Ed (A)
German III Honors (A)
Self-Studied AP Psych and AP Micro, got 5s on both
I did not take any AP’s in my sophomore and freshman year because of the
prerequisites my school has set, as well as my wish to continue taking band.

Junior Year:
AP Lang and Comp (Projected : A)
APUSH (Projected : A)
AP Calc AB (Projected : A)
Physics Honors
Wind Ensemble Honors (highest band offered, with audition - already got in) (Projected : A)
PE/health (Projected : A)
German IV Honors (Projected : A)
Senior Year (planned)
AP Lit
AP Bio
AP German
Wind Ensemble Honors
AP Euro
PE/Health
AP Stats

Awards

  • Girl Scout Gold and Silver Award
  • John Locke Essay Semi-finalist
  • Presidential Award for Volunteering
    *Others TBD (Entered a few art competitions and innovation comps, still waiting for results, as well as scholarships)
    Extracurriculars
    (Include leadership, summer activities, competitions, volunteering, and work experience)
  1. Founded International Organization (10th, going to further in 11th, 12th)
    My friend and I founded an international youth-led organization during Quarantine with the aim to highlight the importance of art in our communities. We connected with high school and college students from over 30 countries, and have a steadily growing interaction on our social media platforms (over 30k followers). We have conducted events in local and regional locations, as well as fundraised for causes. We also interview with professionals in the field and have help aspiring artists gain the traction they need to gain recognition. (Independently, I got this idea after I started my own art account and self-taught myself digital art this year. As of now, I have more than 20k followers)
  2. Conducted Research at Horizons Academic (10th to be continued in 11th)
    I researched Behavioral Economics and wrote a paper, specifically discussing how to further encourage people to recycle their shopping materials. Through this I was able to obtain a Letter of Recommendation from my professor and am currently sending the paper to (hopefully!) get published. I also got grades for my work, and will include it in my application.
  3. Girl Scout Gold and Silver Award
    I worked with my school district to implement the practice of art therapy into our curriculum. Through this I founded a student-run club at our middle school and also worked with professors from NYU to form my outlines an procedures. Additionally, I conducted surveys and presentations in our district, and am using the data to write my own independent research paper (which the professors and my language arts teacher are looking over!)
  4. Regional Orchestras and Flute
    I was a member of my regional student orchestra, as well as first chair flute for my school’s ensemble in 10th grade, and will continue that position. I have auditioned for all-state, but could not meet the time commitment required for participation (maybe in later years). I have also helped my school’s pit-orchestra rehearse, and tutored incoming flautists. At one time this year, I was the neighborhood flute-technician (for some reason everybody’s flutes kept breaking, so I self-taught myself how to repair sticky keys and screws, since many people were hesitant to go to the music repair store because of the pandemic)
  5. Theater (9th will continue through 12th grade)
    I was part of my school’s musical every year since middle school, and secured significant roles. I also assisted stage crew whenever I could with helping paint our sets, and also helped them coordinate lights/sound when I was not on stage. Sadly, this year our musical was only open to Juniors and Seniors, so I helped out virtually - advertising and securing the audience’s participation.
  6. Member, VP and President of Art Club (9th continue through 12th grade)
    I was the VP of the Art Club in 11th grade, and am currently president. When in this position, I helped take our art club away from simple, generic meetings and rather focused on widening our involvement in our school and community. We participated and conducted over 10 fundraisers and made stickers/merchandise for other causes. This allowed our funding to increase and we were able to recruit more than 13 new members this year.
  7. Art Therapy Certification (10th grade)
    After conducting my Gold Award, I also attended weekly classes at a nearby university to get a certification in Art Therapy. This allowed me to conduct online sessions with students and also check in with the club I founded without having to constantly consult other professionals. I am still by no means an expert, but this gave me chance to expand my horizons in my interest.
    (more activities TBD, ex. National Honor Society, Internship, etc.)
    Projected Major Activity:
    In 8th grade we did a project in which we formulated a solution to a major world/social issue. My group came up with a plan to assist water shortage in Ethiopia, using technology that we came up with. We also wrote up a business plan and budgeting checklist for our project, and won first-place in the district challenge. In the coming years, my group hopes to actually implement this project and use funding from various fundraisers/competitions to get on track to building it. As of now, this is still an idea, but I hope to get it working by the end of summer.

Essays/LORs/Other
For Letters of Recommendation, I am thinking of asking my German Teacher, Band Conductor, and Professors that I have worked (and will continue working) with. All of these teachers are very close to me and I have maintained meaningful relationships with each. (My German teacher helped me out in my Behavioral Econ. paper by giving me more information about the German “Pfand” system, and my band conductor constantly helps me practice sections of music that I am stuck on - once even staying after school with me to practice an audition solo! I am very grateful to both of them - and will build on these relationships even more in the incoming years.)

Cost Constraints / Budget
(High school students: please get a budget from your parents and use the Net Price Calculators on the web sites of colleges of interest.)
My parents constantly tell me not to worry about money too much, but I am aware that it is very important to consider. My family is in the higher end of middle-income workers - getting an annual salary of about 400k. I would love more information about how finance works in college!
Schools
(List of colleges by your initial chance estimate; designate if applying ED/EA/RD; if a scholarship is necessary for affordability, indicate that you are aiming for a scholarship and use the scholarship chance to estimate it into the appropriate group below)

  • Safety (certain admission and affordability)
    Maybe Rutgers? I’m not completely sure.
  • Likely (would be possible, but very unlikely or surprising, for it not to admit or be affordable)
    Suggestions?
  • Match
    Case Western Reserve is a really nice University, but I’m not set on it either.
  • Reach

Really, I just want to know what Universities/Colleges could maybe offer me a more open course selection process and fit to my interests as well. All the information on here isn’t very clear, and I’m sorry about that - I just finished my sophomore year and am really lost about this “college app” process. Any help would be really appreciated!

I was a little worried about my grades, but I will hopefully bring them back up by next year (virtual schooling took a toll on me, it wasn’t the best experience)

Thank You!

You might want to consider the University of Rochester if the NPC isn’t more than your parents want to pay. They have a more open curriculum and plenty of research/music opportunities you might like as well as being an academic match for you.

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Thank you!! I’ll definitely look into it.

Seconding URoch and adding Hamilton as another open curriculum option. At your parents’ salary, it’s very unlikely you’ll get any need based scholarships. Colleges outside the top tier in rankings will probably offer you very good merit aid, however.

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Brown has a completely open curriculum and I could see you writing compelling essays for them (traditionally three supplementals, and most of my friends wrote their four total essays on completely different topics), although of course it’s a reach for everyone. Great music and art culture as well, with cross-registration at RISD as an option.

Oberlin seems to fit your vibe–they have relatively broad requirements and it’s a super musical campus. Grinnell and Vassar also seem like good options to look at, and I totally agree with Rochester.

As far as financial aid goes, unless your family starts making less than half as much as they do now, you’re likely not getting need-based aid anywhere. Definitely have a talk with your parents about priorities beyond just “don’t worry about it.” If they don’t want to pay $60-80k per year, you’ll want to look for options with merit aid.

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I see! Thank you so much!

Thank you for your suggestions, I’ll definitely look into them!

*for the art club, I meant VP in 10th grade - sorry about that!

Smith, Amherst and Grinnell represent a few more colleges to consider for their notably flexible curricula, along with, previously mentioned, Hamilton, Brown and URochester.

As additional suggestions, look into Vassar, Barnard, Mount Holyoke, Wesleyan, Bates and Pitzer.

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Great! Thank you so much!

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My suggestion is that you get a copy of the Fiske Guide to Colleges and spend this summer going through a handful of colleges at a time. Write notes in the book. Write down questions. Don’t worry about whether your list of schools is too long or too short. Just come up with a list of schools that interest you. Start from there. You can always pare the list down or build it up.

Second, I suggest that you focus on safety and likely accepted schools that you would absolutely love to attend, then look for matches that you feel the same way about, and finally reaches. Keep in mind that any school which accepts fewer than 20% of its applicants is a lottery pick for anyone. I know students with 35-36 ACT scores and straight A’s who were turned down by half a dozen of those schools. You may win the lottery, but don’t set yourself up for disappointment.

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Oh I see! Thank you so much!

Congrats on a wonderful record. You can go elite for sure - Rochester, Case as you mentioned or even potentially higher.

You can go smaller or larger.

Regardless of what your parents can afford and at $400K, you’ll be full pay - you can still get wonderful merit - and pay little or at least less for tuition - schools such as Arizona, Arizona State, South Carolina, Miami Ohio, Delaware, Florida State - all with wonderful Honors Colleges - or reasonably priced schools such as Florida, Georgia, College of Charleston, etc - if you want to spend $40K vs. $80K - although at schools like CWRU, Wake Forest, Rochester, you’d likely get merit - and there’s so many more.

Here’s a thread from the other year on open curriculums - don’t know if it’s accurate but it was from the CC.

List of schools with little to no core curriculum, or have great flexibility with double majors - College Search & Selection - College Confidential Forums

Here’s an article on it - I didn’t read this entire chain but there’s a lot of really smart people on the CC so i’m sure you got great answers.

So you mentioned large (Rutgers), mid size, and people have recommended small LACs.

I’d suggest you visit a few - and see size wise - what fits you. Where do you want to be geographically, size wise, etc. If you like a large school’s social vibe but not large classes, Honors Colleges can bridge that divide. If you go to a Vassar or Swarthmore and decide that size is perfect, then you can bridge to match and safety LACs such as F&M, Skidmore, Gettysburg, Lafayette, etc.

So you’re in wonderful position - but take some time to figure out what you want in a campus - you’ve done so much great work, that will help you develop your list.

This may help too - i’m sure all the names were mentioned b4.

Open Curriculum Schools: 11 Colleges That Allow Students to Direct Their Own Learning (collegevine.com)

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Wow, thank you so much for your help! I’ll definitely follow the things you suggested!