Narrowing down my college list and determining my chances. All help is appreciated :)

<p>Hi there!</p>

<p>Sorry, this is my first post, so I apologize in advance if I do/say something incorrect. </p>

<p>I am a rising senior in Southern California looking to begin the college application process. After doing quite a bit of research, I composed a preliminary list of colleges that seemed like a fit. I attempted to create a list that would reflect a balance of safety, match, and reach schools, but I'm afraid that I've picked too many reach schools and not enough safety/matches. Darn my ambitious dreams :) </p>

<p>Using the preliminary list below, I need to create a new list consisting of the 10 colleges (safety, match, and reach) to which I will apply. While I've talked to people, researched online, and attended multiple college presentations, I'm still not sure which 10 to pick and would, therefore, greatly appreciate all help. Comments, questions, suggestions, advice--pretty much anything as long as it's honest, respectful, and credible. </p>

<p>Personality: I am extremely active and truly enjoy a healthy lifestyle. I love to run, rock climb, swim, hike etc. Cooking/Baking is my hobby, and I am an avid foodie with vegetarian/vegan preferences, though I still eat meat occasionally. I also love traveling and am interested in learning different languages. I tend to thrive in smaller classes since I love to particpate and engage in discussions; I am outgoing and not afraid to ask questions. Interviews don't faze me at all, and I can admit that I tend to do well in them. </p>

<p>Schools (with my included comments):</p>

<p>Amherst (I like the idea of the 5-college consortium)</p>

<p>Boston College (no Greek Life is nice, and it has all 3 majors in question)</p>

<p>Bowdoin (It's the farthest possible distance from where I live now; my parents are skeptical of this and I suppose that this is a factor for me as well)</p>

<p>Brown (The idea of the open curriculum without general requirements sounds interesting)</p>

<p>College of William and Mary (i visisted, toured the campus, and interviewed)</p>

<p>Cornell (they have AEM instead of business?)</p>

<p>Georgetown (toured the campus; the college as a whole seems particularly strong for my interests)
University of Notre Dame </p>

<p>Stanford (good family friend is an alumni whose son attends the university; he gave us a tour, and i loved it)
Tufts </p>

<p>University of Chicago </p>

<p>University of Pennsylvania <a href="my%20mom%20is%20skeptical%20of%20West%20Philly%20for%20safety%20reasons%20but%20Penn,%20much%20like%20Georgetown,%20seems%20to%20be%20particularly%20strong%20for%20my%20interest.%20i%20know%20that%20this%20is%20probably%20a%20huge%20reach.">UPenn</a></p>

<p>Other possibilities:
Johns Hopkins?

<p>A few other notes:
Academics – As with many, this is my foremost concern.
Location – I prefer the East Coast, but I have included a few Midwest schools as well. I’m not really interested in schools in the South, Pacific Northwest, or California (except Stanford).
School size: Small or small-medium (10,000ish or below). I definitely do NOT want a big school.
Greek Life: I wouldn’t mind if there was no Greek System. A little bit is fine, but I don’t want a college experience dominated by sororities/fraternities.
Atmosphere: I love the feel of college-y towns like Cambridge (Boston). Conversely, I recently visited George Washington and NYU and found them to be swallowed up by the city. In other words, I couldn’t distinguish where the college/city started and ended. I found myself much more enticed by a campus that had clearly defined grounds (i.e. Georgetown). </p>


<p>Business, International Relations, Economics, or some combination of these </p>

<p>Essentially, I’ve narrowed down the list of possible majors by ruling out areas of study about which I am not passionate. So…</p>

<p>Don’t like:
LOTS of math/science (i.e. engineering, physics, biomed, etc)</p>

<p>Then, I looked at the remaining options and focused on what appealed to me: </p>

<p>What was left: </p>

International Relations
Political Science
-(I’m not interested in becoming a politician or what not, but I find International Relations interesting, and it often falls under a Poli Sci Major. If anyone has opinions on this, feel free to chime in, as I’m still trying to sort out specifics in terms of my major )</p>

• SAT I (composite and breakdown): 2170 (690 CR, 720 M, 760 W)
SAT II: Us History (710), Biology M (650). I’m planning on taking both of these over, as I hadn’t learned some of the material at the time of the test.
• ACT: 29 Composite. (I’ve taken it twice and received a 29 both times, but I’m not sure of the superscore. I probably would send the SAT instead. I actually find the ACT easier than the SAT with the exception of the science portion, which I struggle with a great deal. I know that it’s “logic” rather than science, and I’ve heard that it’s more important to just read the question instead of the entire passage, but I still struggled. Again, if anyone has an idea with regard to the ACT, please feel free to reply!)
• SAT II: 730 World History, 610 Spanish.
• Unweighted GPA (out of 4.0): 3.85 (My only B’s during were in AP Calculus and AP Bio during Junior year )
• Weighted GPA: 4.33
• Rank (percentile if rank is unavailable): top 10%. Not sure of exact rank.
• AP (place score in parentheses):
o English Lang. (5),
o European History (5).
o Calculus AB (3)
o Biology (3)
o US History (5)
• Senior Year Course Load: AP Env Sci, AP English Lit, AP Government, AP Statistics, Newspaper, Tennis</p>

-Respectable high school
• Extracurriculars:
o Newspaper (3 years, which is the maximum possible)—Editor-in-Chief
o Track and Field (3 years, maybe 4)
o CSF (California Scholarship Federation) – Vice President
o NHS –Vice President
o Mock Trial – Lead Attorney/Team Captain
o S.A.V.E. Environmental Club
o Surfrider Club Member
o Best Buddies (helping Special Ed kids) – Associate Member Leadership
o Girls State 2010 (I was nominated this year and selected out of 5 girls nominated)
• Job/Work Experience:
o Started working when I was 14 (rarity in my community)
o Country Club Junior Activities Coordinator (2.5 summers)
o Worked at an upscale Mexican Restaurant (1.5 summers)… 40-50 hours per week during the summer
o Interning at 2 Law Firms (this summer)
• Volunteer/Community service:
o Dolphin Pride Award – Gold Recipient (top community service award given at my school). 4 years and ~100 hours total
o CSF – constant volunteering throughout the year..not sure of the # of hours
o NHS - constant volunteering throughout the year (especially tutoring elementary kids)...not sure of the # of hours
o Habitat for Humanity – building houses for the homeless
o Meals on Wheels during the Holidays – distributing toys and gifts
• Summer Activities:
o I have worked or interned ever summer since starting high school. This summer, I also attended Girls State.
• Essays:
o I am very passionate about writing (despite the shorthand that I’m using in this post ) and believe that I am capable of writing decent essays. Please do not mistake this for bragging, as I’m simply trying to give an honest summary of my qualifications). I know that I will be at the mercy of the admissions committee in regard to my essays!
• Teacher Recommendations:
o I will probably get one from my AP Lit Teacher (also newspaper advisor) and one from my History teacher
• Counselor Rec:
o She’s wonderful and has done everything possible to help me for college! She also nominated me for Girls State.
• Awards:
o California State Multimedia Festival Winner 2007
 History Category
o AP Lang Achievement Award
o Student of the Month
o National Finalist in Baking Competition
o Girls State Outstanding Citizen </p>

• State (if domestic applicant): CA
• School Type: Competitive Public
• Ethnicity: White/Asian, but I have 1% of pretty much every ethnicity, including American Indian (just not enough to qualify for a scholarship haha).
• Gender: Female
• Income Bracket: Top 2%. Please be respectful when considering this. I don’t normally disclose my family’s financial situation because of the judgments that normally ensue. I am very lucky and eternally grateful to my parents for everything they have done.
• Hooks (URM, first generation college, etc.): Nothing serious </p>

<p>Sorry for such a long post!</p>

<p>I would be grateful for any feedback, suggestions, or any other helpful hints/personal or professional experience :)</p>

<p>What are your reasons for Notre Dame, Tufts, and U of C? Out of your 3 possibilities, you should definitely choose Northwestern. Don't send your ACT, and just send your SAT. Plus I concur, that you take the SAT II again. They are pretty low for these top schools.</p>

<p>You being a white/asian, isn't helping either though.</p>

<p>Other then that, excellent application (Especially your EC's)</p>

<p>Macalester would be a match with strong emphasis on internationalism throughout the entire program.</p>

To be honest, I've never actually been to the Midwest (Chicago, Indiana etc), so I like U. Chicago, Notre Dame, and Northwestern based on what I've seen online or heard from other people. In that respect...</p>

<p>Notre Dame: I like the strong Business program in regard to academics. As a whole, I am impressed by the fact that every current or former student who has posted something or that I've talked to seems to absolutely ADORE the school in its entirety. On the down side, I don't believe that it had International Relations, if I remember correctly. </p>

<p>U. Chicago/Tufts: Much of what I said about Notre Dame also applies to U. Chicago and Tufts, except for International Relations/Economics instead of Business. Plus, multiple friends have attended or visited the school and have spoken very highly of it. In regard to Tufts, I visited Boston a few years back and fell in love with the area. Though I didn't visit the school at that time, I am pleased with what it has to offer. </p>

<p>Northwestern: Again, same thing as U. Chicago. Out of curiousity, why would you recommend Northwestern over all of the other schools?</p>

<p>That being said, I'm most likely visiting the Midwest in the near future to look at these schools. </p>

<p>Also, for the SAT II subject tests, would it be reasonable for these schools if I achieved a 750 for US History and a 710 for Biology?</p>

<p>Thank you for replying :)</p>

<p>Your list is very reach heavy. As an ORM from an overrepresented state, you are in a very competitive pool. A 1410 CR/M will make ivies/peers very, very tough and I'd consider retaking for even schools at the Midd/Bowdoin level.</p>

<p>You might want to look at Bates, Trinity, Conn College, Sarah Lawrence.</p>

<p>If you really do have a variety of racial backgrounds, you could identify as multiracial, I really don't know if that's preferred over asian, but it might help? Just throwing that out there. You're extracurriculars look fantastic and your GPA is explainable as soon as you examine your transcript, and your test scores aren't even bad, just easily improved, I wouldn't worry all that much, just make sure that you do get some safety schools in there.</p>

<p>As I'm in a not entirely dissimilar situation, so I'll share a bit from my knowledge base involving East Coast LACs. Amherst and Bowdoin are very similar and have a bunch of similar institutions such as Swarthmore (my personal favorite), Williams, Wesleyan and a bunch of others that even I, living in MD have not fully explored. If you're interested in that sort of school, I've got a pretty big list of them in my own help topic here (this really comes off as a plug, sorry)
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<p>Check out the UPenn Huntsman program:</p>

<p>The</a> Huntsman Program in International Studies and Business</p>

<p>I chose Northwestern over the others because of it's excellent Academics and undergrad. (Plus who doesn't love the cold?).</p>

<p>John Hopkins is more of a medical oriented university more then anything else (Focuses on Medicine the most).</p>

<p>Luigi, </p>

<p>what is it that you like about Swarthmore?</p>

<p>Like most of the places you're applying to, they excel academically and have fantastic faculty and facilities. What specifically drew me to Swarthmore was mainly two things, the campus, and their attitude. The campus is one of the nicest I've seen, even after touring New England, it's a natural certified arboretum, and has a forest that's owned by the college that's used for hiking and biking and environmental science projects. It's right outside of philly and naturally has shuttles into the heart of the city, meaning that nightlife is not a problem. It also shuttles right into University City, meaning you can easily take classes at UPenn without having to live in such a dangerous part of the city (UPenn has really cleaned up crime ON campus, but I would never really be comfortable walking too far off campus at night.). And the attitude that I like so much was a pretty intangible thing, but the best examples are how the administrative actively involves students in developing the campus (at least one student on every committee excluding admission), how the administrations subsidizes all fees for campus activities and how much they emphasize cooperative learning over competitive, I felt like it was really clear that while academic rigor would be important, grades would not be (and because I'm going to a excellent public high school it was really refreshing, there's an incredible competitive atmosphere at my school that really ends up bothering me). There is also a fascinating honors system which ends up being an incredibly rigorous taste of graduate school, where you develop a thesis and have to defend it from top members in you field of study. (I wrote this right after I woke up, if it's not clear or if you'd just like more information any aspect, please let me know)</p>

<p>I have no idea if you'd have the same reaction as I did, but if you can manage to visit from where you are, I definitely would.</p>