Match Me-- Rural Senior, no idea what to do with life

**Demographics: White Female

  • NY Resident, Rural Upstate Public School
    **Undecided, but interested in math, chemistry and English
    **High 90s GPA (unweighted) ((school doesn’t weigh gpa so no idea what weighted would be)), 2nd in class, 1480 superscore sat

Took/taking as many aps as school had minus dual enrollment bio and ap calc (bad course for school)-- apush (five on exam) and dual enrollment psych, sociology, precalc, english (took both ap exams and got 5s) , stats, chem (took ap and got 3), spanish (going for seal of biliteracy)

1st dan black belt in taekwondo, 2nd highest scorer on chem olympiad in area, rural and small town collegeboard recognition, NYSSMA soloist and have done all levels, did area all state and bicounty band

XC (just for fun), taekwondo, part of community service group, spanish and chess club, band (I help out a lot)

Cost Constraints / Budget
Budget is hopefully around $10000-$20000, college will provide financial strain

I like Clarkson University (amazing labs) and Hamilton College (great writing program), but I also don’t know what to do with my life and they’re drastically different, plus I know that my extracurriculars are really scattered and my profile is kinda weak for not having a niche thing. I want a college that isn’t too far away. I like learning everything but also want a job. I’m doing this mainly out of curiosity, please be kind, my guidance counselors just gave out a packet on sunys in terms of help I’ve received


Hamilton offers a great math program as well, of course:


Not sure of your family income. Did your family give you that # on what they can afford or what they want you to afford ?

Take a look at the link and see if you qualify for SUNY ?

Schools like Colgate, Hamilton, Middlebury, Rochester will meet a students need. As for your budget have your parents choose two. Go on their net price calculator and see what they say. Maybe they will hit your target. What you think you can afford and what they say may be different.

Not knowing what you want to do in life is no issue…you are 17. I’m 53 and still don’t know :slight_smile:


Are you looking at any of the SUNY schools? Depending on your family income, you could qualify for TAP, or Excelsior….or something.


If your family income is under $65k you may be eligible for Questbridge. I believe @Mwfan1921 is a good resource if you want more information.

If you have questions about TAP, Excelsior, etc as @thumper1 suggested, the forum expert is @sybbie719 .


Since we really only have a guesstimate as to what the budget actually is, I am only going to focus on New York publics at this time. From the schools you mentioned (Hamilton & Clarkson), it seems as though you’re looking for a smaller college and you’re perfectly find with rural (perhaps even prefer it). These are the SUNYs that seem as though they might be the best fit for you. Personally, I’d probably research Geneseo and Potsdam first. They’re both rural, but Geneseo is veering into mid-sized territory while Potsdam is closer in size to Hamilton & Clarkson. But research the opportunities at each campus and see where you think there’s the best fit. I think all of these are highly likely for acceptances for you.

  • SUNY Potsdam: 2300 undergrads, 61% graduation rate, rural
  • SUNY Fredonia: 3500 undergrads, 64% graduation rate, rural
  • SUNY Plattsburgh: 4300 undergrads, 68% graduation rate, suburban
  • SUNY Geneseo: 4500 undergrads, 80% graduation rate, rural
  • SUNY Oneonta: 5400 undergrads, 76% graduation rate, rural
  • SUNY Oswego: 6100 undergrads, 67% graduation rate, suburban

Once you’ve had a chance to get a good idea as to the budget and see whether the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) for your family is affordable after running the Net Price Calculator (NPC) for a school like Hamilton, then we know what kind of possibilities there are in terms of non-SUNY schools.


You may want to compare Clarkson’s science facilities to those of the Johnson Hall of Science at nearby St. Lawrence University.


But with the cost constraints, St. Lawrence will be unlikely while OP’s stats look really good for merit at Clarkson. And being female will also be a benefit.

I totally agree with @AustenNut , @merc81 and @thumper1 in usings a bottoms up approach starting with SUNY to make sure that you have an affordabe option. If your family makes under $125k, you will be eligible for Excelsior when combined with TAP (if your family makes under 80K) could cover your tuition. If you family can really afford to pay 10-20k a year, you can graduate debt free.

You can find the best of all worlds at Potsdam; you will be admitted and possibly get merit money. In addition, you can cross-register and take courses at St. Lawrence and/or Clarkson. You can take up to 2 courses per academic year while paying the Potsdam tuition. With some planning, you can craft a minor or build out a major/double major.

Hope this helps


Thank you all for your help!! I wasn’t expecting people to actually respond :slight_smile:


Just to add, coming from a rural area can actually be a small “hook” for admissions so you may be able to apply a level up than you might otherwise (as long as you have safeties, yadda, yadda as well). Agree it’s important to know if that $10-20k per year is what is shown as your need on college NPC or if that’s a number lower than the NPC. Run a few or have your parents run a few - you may be pleasantly surprised at what a meets need school expects you to pay or you may have to totally rethink your strategy. And there is a big difference between $10k and $20k for a lower income family - get a real budget from your parents, find out what schools expect you to pay and go from there. But rural is good for admissions


This is a great problem to have.

I would suggest considering the field of data science. The real-world applications are incredibly broad, so it doesn’t require specializing in a single subject during college. In fact, when done right, the study of data science in college is highly interdisciplinary, not just an extension of computer science (for example).

Hamilton College’s program is relatively new, but they are doing it right, in my opinion.

Females tend to not only like the work, but also excel.

Also, there are plenty of pockets in the field where a person that specializes in math or computer science can thrive, but a lot of the work requires: a) high achievement aptitude, which you obviously have, and b) knowledge/interest in a variety of disciplines.

Regarding data science/analytics, I believe Hamilton is the only school to offer a concentration in this field from among the top ~25 LACs.

Try the net price calculator found on each college’s financial aid web site to get an idea of what net price after financial aid may be at each.

You beat me to it… Lol.

Also OP look into this…

I suggest taking the things your interested in and then search them
No matter how silly it becomes. You will be surprised of just taken the words in different orders what you will come up with
Talk also with a math professor or AO at any of your proposed schools and see if they have any suggestions. You might be surprised

Also just for ideas look at the school of information at Michigan. There are several ideas here that might trigger your interest and you might not even know

Here is some of the courses and there are lots of women in this field.

Some might just pique your interest and you could see what other schools offer

Having a love of BOTH math AND writing could be your niche. Usually it seems to be one of the other.

Good luck.

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With respect to affordability, this site may be especially convenient for estimating costs:

Several of the smaller SUNY schools might provide you with merit, particularly Potsdam, Plattsburgh, Oswego, (there may be more). I would also apply to Geneseo.

I know somebody who recently received full tuition to Oneonta. Keep in mind that SUNY tuition is low compared to other schools. It is room/board that becomes costly- but I think you can keep it within your budget.

I would focus on SUNY as well as any private that provides merit or enough FA to bring the cost down. Take a look at Hartwick College in Oneonta.

I think that the OP has a lot of realistic options, in that she will surely get into any SUNY college or U, with max honors scholarship offered to in-state applicants - she is, after all, 2nd in her class and has a decent SAT score, coming from rural upstate NY. She also would likely get a very nice merit tuition reduction at 3rd tier private colleges. But this young woman’s profile would make her a potential candidate for T20 schools, too, coming from rural upstate NY, especially if she’s first gen to college and/or low income.

OP, if the household income is under 65K/yr, you should definitely look into questbridge program.

If you play a band instrument well, this could help you with T20 admissions, and OOS flagship U admissions, along with merit money. You should reach out to band directors at the schools you’re interested in. They may really need your particular instrument.