Need more target schools that have great academics

Hello! I am a current Senior in high school going through the college admissions process. I have already applied to 12 schools with a few as early action while others only offered regular decision. I feel like I added a good amount of safeties but not enough target/reach schools so I need 1-2 more match schools to add.


  • US domestic student
  • New York City resident
  • Public High School
  • White (Middle Eastern)

Intended Major(s)

  • Biology
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Finance

GPA, Rank, and Test Scores

  • 99.99 (My high school only provides a weighted GPA out of 100)
  • My high school does not do class rank
  • 1410 SAT (ERW: 660 and Math: 750)


  • I took 7 APs total in high school (my school has 13 AP classes but I would only have been able to take 10 of them)
  • I took AP US History sophomore year
  • I took AP Chemistry, AP Calculus AB, and AP English Language and Composition junior year
  • I am currently taking AP Calculus BC, AP Psychology, and AP English Literature and Composition as a senior (along with College Physics)
  • I took a total of 6 honors classes as well throughout high school: Geometry, English 9, Algebra II, US History, English 10, and Global
  • I took Spanish II in 9th grade and Spanish III in 10th grade
  • I also took regents Physics in 9th grade, regents Chemistry in 10th grade, regular us govt and politics in 10th grade, and regular economics in 12th grade
  • Among all of my classes I took Music Track 9, 3D design as an elective, Music Track 10, chemistry and physics lab, health, and phys ed


  • I am an AP Scholar with Honor (I did not submit my AP scores to any colleges though)
  • I was in the National Honor Society in 10th, 11th, and 12th grade
  • I received the Principal’s List at my school for all 3 years of high school (haven’t gotten report card back for 12th grade but assuming I will get principal’s list as well)
  • I was Scholar of the Marking Period at my school in 11th grade


  • Medical Club Vice President in 12th grade and a member for 10th and 11th grade
  • Key Club Member for all 4 years of high school
  • GLOW Mentor in 12th grade (High School mentor program for assisting middle schoolers with their problems and guiding them)
  • Anti-Defamation League: A World of Difference Institute Peer Training Program (3 days of 3 hour training sessions where I learned to recognize bias, confront racism, and how to teach this skill to others)
  • Varsity Cheerleading/STUNT team for 10th and 12th grade (unable to participate in 11th grade due to COVID-19)
  • Restaurant Hostess in the summer before 12th grade as well as into part of 12th grade
  • Chemistry Club Member for 11th and 12th grade
  • I was on the Swim and Golf team for one year each in 9th grade while I was in the process of finding the sport that best suited me (which neither of these did)


  • I have a strong common app personal essay about overcoming the need for control and perfection
  • I received two letters of recommendation
  • One was from my AP English Lang teacher who really liked me and knew me very well, despite the pandemic
  • Another was from my AP Chem and College Physics teacher who also taught me in chem lab so I have had him for 3 years and he knows me very well
  • I submitted both to whichever colleges allowed me to submit 2 but for the colleges that only allowed one I submitted my AP English teacher’s recommendation
  • I also had a counselor recommendation

Cost Constraints / Budget

  • I do not have a set budget right now but preferably a school that would offer me merit scholarships

Schools (aiming for a scholarship from all)

  • Safety
    Penn State EA (already accepted)
    Ohio State EA
    Hofstra EA
    Binghamton EA
    Marist EA

  • Match
    University of Wisconsin Madison EA
    Syracuse University RD
    University of Florida RD

  • Hard Match
    UNC Chapel Hill EA
    UMich EA
    Wake Forest EA

I did not apply to any extreme reach schools so none of my schools fall under that category.

I am ultimately looking for a bigger school with a traditional college campus that is somewhat far from home. I want a mix of great academics and a good social scene, so kind of a work hard, play hard atmosphere. Great sports pride would also be a plus.

Your hard match are likely all big reaches.

But in order to better evaluate need your ti put your grades into a 4 point scale. 4 a. 3 b 2 c etc

Weighting =.5 honors. 1 AP

Or put another way what is the highest waiting. 110 or 100 ?

Ps congrats on PSU. are u not happy with it or the others u will get into ? Y do u need to grow your list which is already likely balanced. I assume you’d be happy with any school on your list.


I would move Binghamton and Ohio State into the match category (I do think you will get in, but I hesitate to call them safeties).

I would move UNC and Michigan into the reach category (these are very reachy).

I would add SUNY Buffalo to the list. If you like Penn State and can afford it, you are set.


UNC, UF, UVA, UMich are all reaches.

Which of the schools did you apply with tests/test optional?

Is PSU affordable?

It seems like you have enough schools on your list. Why are you looking to add schools? You might consider Boulder, ASU, U of Arizona, Alabama, U Utah, Indiana.

I would agree in that UMich and UNC could be big reaches but many in the past from my high school with both a lower SAT and gpa than me have gotten into UVA and the scattergrams indicate that I am more than capable of getting in.

I am not really looking to add a bunch of schools, just possibly one more in fear that I will not get accepted into the academically challenging schools. PSU has not given me my financial aid package just yet.

Thank you!!!

You should assume PSU will be full OOS price…is that affordable for you?


If they do what they did last year and base merit more on GPA than test scores you would get merit from UDel and possible honors, it’s a work hard play hard environment.


If you’re a senior and going through the application process, you are very overdue to have the budget conversation with your parents to make sure you’d actually be able to attend the schools you’re accepted to - we see sad threads on CC every year when kids get accepted but can’t go for financial reasons. If you’re looking to add a school or two, I’d wait until after you have the budget conversation with your parents, and then look for a school that meets the size/type criteria where you’re much more likely to get merit based on your stats (Miami Ohio? Michigan State? ASU?) Especially if you’re not keen on SUNY.

Do you know if you will qualify for Excelsior (which has a financial threshold) or NY Stem (which has academic qualifications) program? Several private colleges in NY accept those as well as the SUNYs, but you have to meet the qualifications and stay and work in NY after graduation.


All of the schools on your list will have sufficient academic challenge, IMO.

You might look at Miami Ohio, you may get merit there.

Great! Thank you, appreciate the advice:)

My opinion.

UNC is a reach. They cap out of state admissions.

UVA is a reach.

Same with Michigan.

Getting significant merit aid at either of these colleges will be a challenge. Do you qualify for need based aid?

How much can your parents pay annually, and do you qualify for need based aid?

I’m surprised you have no SUNY schools other than Bing on your list.

I will add, I think applying EA to as many as possible was a very smart move for you! Hopefully you will have some acceptances within the next few weeks in addition to Penn State.


Agree: need to know your actual grades and at least an estimate of rank (which your counselor definitely knows and likely there will be some breakdown of gpa within the senior class on the profile: it is best to know where you are).

Also: the fact that you did not submit AP scores or self report any makes me concerned none were 4 or 5. If that is the case, most of your schools will be academically challenging, and UVA/UNC/Mich/wake are all reaches. Wake does not have EA.
Congratulations on Penn State! It is a great school with great outcomes!

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Are you premed? Your comment about wanting a “work hard play hard” environment makes me think of McGill. However, the alleged grade deflation at McGill makes me think that it might not be ideal for a premed student.

You should try to see how your parents feel about being full pay at out of state public universities. If you are not okay with being full pay out of state, then I might be tempted to add more in-state public universities.

Also, if you are seriously considering being premed, then it would be a good idea to leave some money in your college fund for medical school.

If you are premed, then you might be surprised how tough the courses are and how strong the competition is at any “top 100” university, including Binghamton.


My bad, I applied RD to Wake. I got a 4 on English and 5 on APUSH but felt that my overall application was better on it’s own. I do not have rank and they will not give it to me but i can assume i am in the top 25% of my grade.

It might be your school does not rank.

I have a hard time with the 99. Is that a 4.0. Is that over a 4.0. Each school will grade you on their system. The most common is the 4.0 with .5 for honors and 1 for AP.

If you say people are getting into very tough OOS UVA and Unc, perhaps you are at a magnet or tough school. Your English Sat is far below the 25 percentile at UVA but math is there. UVA is over $50k tuition so that’s $70k a year but they meet need. It does take more oos than Unc. At UNC your 1410 is at the 25th percentile.

No clue why you wouldn’t submit your AP scores. If you took a class but don’t submit, they’ll think it’s subpar. I don’t think the test scores impact decisions much though…others will disagree but I think it’s more about placement and early credit.

As for rank, if your school doesn’t and many don’t, then don’t guesstimate. Let your counselor report answer that question.

Like everyone and it’s too late but you needed a budget to let you narrow in on a list. It’s important to know in case you have siblings who will go through the process later.

Every school will have great academics but ultimately that’s up to you. You’ll get out what you put in. And many schools have Homors Colleges. Your issue for now is you missed many deadlines.

Don’t think you need anymore but Purdue (low cost), Miami, Alabama and Arizona as mentioned and for a smaller, stretch, check out Case Western.

You want to be away so I don’t get Marist and Hofstra.

In the end, you need a budget established. You need to run the net price calc for UNC and UVA. will you get money ?

You’re definitely getting into many. But you want to make sure parents can and are willing to pay.

You need to find out now so that you have the chance to make corrections to your list if needed.

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I should probably clarify that I do have a budget idea but do not want to share. The schools that I have applied to are primarily within budget and I have had many discussions with my parents about every possible “what if” scenario with budget. That was the first thing I looked at within my admissions process I just did not feel comfortable sharing on a public platform. I appreciate your feedback on my list and scores, thank you!

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Ok. Not sure why you won’t share. That would help us provide more schools. But I then will assume you are full pay and then every school in the country is fair game.

I think your list is fine as is and your missed a lot of deadlines but how about a U Miami - high match, Elon - low match, Va Tech - low Match and William and Mary (reach). Elon and W&M are smaller but I think hit your needs.

That said, I don’t see the need for you to add any. I’m confident you’ll get into all your first two buckets, depending on how a 99 rates on a 4 point scale (you really should calculate that bcuz the schools are)…but Florida could be a yess of 99 is well over a 4. And if same Wake is possible but the 3 OOS publics unlikely.

Bottom line…without adding any more…you’ll have lots of great choices.

Good luck.

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OP is from NYC. This is the view in NYC…

This is the view from a dorm at Marist. Marist is 90 miles north of NYC. I am assuming this is far enough away for OP?

OP have you looked at Fairfield or Loyola MD (both some similarities to Marist).