Match Me! Junior looking for Target Schools in NE/Mid-Atlantic

HS Junior, WF, Middle Class
*US Citizen

  • Maryland
  • Public

Intended Major(s)
GPA, Rank, and Test Scores

  • Unweighted HS GPA: 3.9374
  • Weighted HS GPA (incl. weighting system): 4.50
  • Class Rank: Not ranked
  • ACT/SAT Scores: Not submitting

*AP Government (5)
AP Human Geography (5)
AP World History (5)
Currently taking: APUSH, AP Psyc, AP Eng Lang Comp
Signed up to take: AP Calc, AP Chem, AP Lit, AP Comp Govt
8 Honors Courses

AP Scholar
Honor Roll

*Volunteer (Food Bank, Homeless Shelter, Science Tutor, Public Library, Boys and Girls Club, Environmental Camp Counselor)
Honor Societies (NHS, Science NHS, Tri-M)
4 years of symphonic/marching band (oboe, sax, percussion)
3 years of orchestra (oboe)
Junior Class Council
French Club
American Legion Auxiliary Member
Will be attending Girls State this summer
Interviewing for Summer Internship with Legal Non-profit

3 LORs (9/10) from HS teachers/NHS advisor

Cost Constraints / Budget
Can pay out of pocket but will apply for merit-based

Dream school would be Columbia but I know that would be impossible
Looking at UMD, VT, GWU, American, William and Mary

Would like some other suggestions for safeties/target/reaches in Northeast/Mid-Atlantic that would be good for pre-law.

Thank you!

As a suggestion based partly on your indicated affinity for urban settings, look into Trinity (CT).

You also might like Bates, which, as with Trinity, offers a very strong history program.


I received my degree in political science from Johns Hopkins. Definitely a science school, but I loved my course work there. Georgetown is obviously a reach also, but well known for political science. I’d also look at the Maxwell School at Syracuse.

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As an approach to consider in selecting colleges, schools that emphasize writing can be especially good for prelaw, such as those included in this site: For an accessible choice from this group, look into Elon.

It may be smaller and more rural than you are looking for, but perhaps research Wash & Lee. There are opportunities to take classes in the Law School, semester in DC plus a huge focus on service through the Shepherd Program (minor in poverty studies, if interested).

Full ride merit to 10% of the incoming class plus additional full tuition merit available for certain regions and Jewish students. Merit is always a plus when med/law/grad school is part of the academic plan. :grinning:


McGill will like those 5 scores on APs. Could be a target with your GPA. But with pre-law there is the question of being at a Canadian school. Price will beat a lot of American schools, and it’s basically in New England distance-wise.

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TCNJ is less expensive full price oos than many schools and offer merit that could make it attractive for you.

Pre law can be done anywhere. It’s not a degree but advising. You can major in anything. I didn’t see where you mentioned urban but someone else said so - so that would make me question W&M.

UMD or another such as UMBC or St Mary’s would be good cost savings wise because law school is expensive. A bit south but if you want urban, College of Charleston. My daughter will be attending the DC Semester that Charleston does in concert with the U of SC Honors College - another idea. Pitt would be another strong school. And CNU in Virginia. In the Northeast, any of the flagships, a Rochester, Brandeis, etc.

If I were going to law school I’d look to keep tuition down. In that regard, you might look at merit schools such Arizona, Miami Ohio, West Virginia, and others. W Carolina as well - low tuition.

Good luck.


This has not been explicitly stated. However, the OP classified Columbia as a dream school, which might indicate a preference for an urban environment generally.


Figured I just missed it…. If Columbia then of course Barnard.

Thx for the clarification.

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I think that you will have a number of acceptances by the spring of your senior if you have a balanced list of colleges that you plan to apply to. As @tsbna44 indicated, pre-law is typically advising and can be done anywhere. A degree where there is a great deal of reading, writing, and synthesizing would be helpful preparation.

As you have a couple of D.C. schools and you’re participating in Girls State, do you have an interest in politics or public policy? If so, it can also be advantageous to attend a school in a capital (federal or state).

It appears as though you prefer mid-size to large schools. Have you visited any smaller campuses? These are some mid-size to large schools that you may want to consider.

  • Binghamton (NY): about 14k undergrads

  • *Butler (IN): about 4500 undergrads

  • College of the Holy Cross (MA): 3k undergrads

  • CUNY City College: about 12k undergrads

  • CUNY Hunter College: about 18k undergrads

  • Fordham (NY): about 9900 undergrads

  • Loyola Chicago (IL): about 12k undergrads

  • Loyola Maryland: about 3800 undergrads

  • Marquette (WI): about 7700 undergrads

  • Monmouth (NJ): about 4100 undergrads

  • *Providence (RI): about 4200 undergrads

  • Salisbury (MD): about 6700 undergrads

  • Seton Hall (NJ): about 6k undergrads

  • Siena (NY): about 3500 undergrads

  • SUNY New Paltz: about 6300 undergrads

  • *SUNY Albany: about 13k undergrads

  • SUNY Geneseo: about 4500 undergrads

  • *The College of New Jersey: about 7k undergrads

  • Towson (MD): about 18k undergrads

  • *Trinity (CT): about 2200 undergrads

  • Tufts (MA): about 6700 undergrads

  • *U. of Vermont: about 12k undergrads

The schools with asterisks are those that are in their state capital, or only a few miles away (TCNJ). The NYC schools (CUNYs & Fordham) also have most of the location advantages of Columbia, and Seton Hall over the river in New Jersey has generous merit aid and some interesting programs in international relations. If you read about political polling, you’ll often hear of Siena as it usually conducts polls with the NY Times. And you have some other great in-state options in Salisbury and Towson, too. The SUNY schools are also pretty well-priced for out-of-state students, and they’ve started a tuition match for many northeastern states, but Maryland is not yet one of them. But I could see the SUNYs doing their best to meet (or beat) your U. of Maryland price, too. There are a number of Jesuit schools on the list, but the Catholics tended to place their schools in cities, and the Jesuits in particular have a very well-respected tradition of open intellectual inquiry.


Impossible, because…?

Now, clearly none of the highly selective colleges and universities would be “target” by definition for anyone, but other than being in the “reach” category, is there another factor at play to make it “impossible”?

Lots of good colleges in PA: Dickinson should be on your list - low reach.
Muhlenberg - safety.

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Can you clarify the budget- you are full pay but will apply for merit- what about the need only schools (like Columbia)… are your parents willing to pay full freight?


I guess I shouldn’t have said impossible. Just because the acceptance rate is still low. I’m going to apply, just trying to be realistic about chances.

I have a pre-paid college fund that will pay average cost of in-state tuition at any school. Grandparents are going to pay whatever isn’t covered by college fund, scholarships, or what my parents can pay.

Is the in-state tuition at any public school in your state, or the in-state tuition at any public school in any of the 50 states? Am I understanding correctly that your grandparents are willing to pay whatever the difference is between the in-state public college cost in the designated state as compared to the actual cost?

In-state tuition at the U. of Maryland-College Park is in the neighborhood of $11,233. In-state tuition at Stony Brook (one of the New York’s designated flagships) is about $10,560. Columbia’s tuition is approximately $66,139. Are your grandparents okay spending additional $55k for tuition? (Tuition costs have increased significantly, and your grandparents may or may not be aware of it.) Also, don’t forget about room & board, which generally runs between about $12-18k/year, depending on the school/location. Are they okay paying for that as well?


Get that in writing or funds transferred to a 529 for you. I’m saying this because…what happens if your grands need their money for their own needs…or die.


I don’t want to derail this thread.

But “getting it in writing” is meaningless if, in fact, the OP’s grandparents need the money for their own health care. A written promise “we’ve made a commitment to fund our grandchild’s education” does not override any bills incurred for hospital care, and does not supersede whatever provisions have been made in a will.

Getting it in writing is a psychologically comforting idea which does not hold weight (fortunately, if you happen to be a creditor trying to collect from someone who insists they can’t pay because “I promised to pay for XYZ two years from now”).

OP-- you are very lucky to have grandparents on your side!!! Just make sure they understand what they are signing on for… costs have risen a lot since your parents were in college…


Then I amend my response to say…if the grands really are going to provide this with no questions asked regardless of their own situation…the money needs to be in a college fund in the name of this student. Right?

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