Please give me some ides where i should go to college!

<p>Thank you so much for taking the time to read all of this:) I need help!!</p>

<p>I am a junior this year. I am from a small rural high school in michigan. I really need some direction as to where I should look at as far as colleges go. I am feeling very overwhelmed!. I want to go somewhere where there are opportunities for outdoor adventures (close to mountains and ocean would be ideal), where students are open minded and interested in things, where the curriculum is flexible yet challenging. I am interested in several fields of study: alternative energy technology/engineering, biology with some kind of environmental conservation focus, international relations, environmental or human rights law.....i really dont know at this point, but a college known for one or more of those areas would be awesome. I dont want to go to a super small school and i dont think i want to go to a really big one either. 2,000-15,000 students or so. Anyway I have pretty good stats:
3.93 gpa-unweighted some honors classes and 1 AP class so far, 11/145
32 on my ACT's
By the time i graduate I will have taken 4-6 AP exams. My school only offers 3 AP classes and you cant take them until junior year.
Lots of leadership through student council (executive board secretary for 2 years), NHS, Community Orchestra board of directors (usually only adults on the board), Key Club, Student-run music and arts promotion group, (we put on concerts and events for local teens)
Extracurriculars: 3 season athlete- xc running, alpine skiing and track every year. Violin..
Going to Brown this summer for a camp on alternative energy engineering and I am taking a class in alternative energy at a community college next year. Also taking french and history and maybe another biology class at the community college for my senior year
Also I converted my car to run on waste vegetable oil and i volunteered with the student conservation association (SCA) last summer working on trails in colorado (over 100 hours) and i am doing the same program this summer.
My family is very low income (<16,000 both parents per year) and I work at a bakery in the summer and a ski resort in the winter. I dont know if that is something admissions committees will consider. So far I have halfway considered selective LAC's such as middlebury or reed but i really dont know... any suggestions or guidance would be awesome.
Wow. That was a lot. Thanks guys.</p>

<p>You have some eye-catching ECs and an unusual background: converting your car to run on vegetable oil is cool, as is working at a bakery and a ski resort. I'm sure you have some good stories to share! Rural also helps.</p>

<p>Check out Bowdoin for environmental sciences-10 minutes from the ocean, lots of outdooring activities, strong environmental studies program. Bates and Colby also have strong outdooring programs and are accessible to the ocean. (I believe the majority of students at all three schools participate in the outdooring clubs, so you would have lots of shared interests.)</p>

<p>None of these offer engineering however, unless you do a 3/2 program. A LAC with engineering is Swarthmore. Oceans and mountains are a drive but doable on a long weekend.</p>

<p>Consider Brown-a strong all-round mid-sized private-accessible to the ocean and skiing with engineering as an option (although not their strongest suit). Dartmouth might also work for you.</p>

<p>You will need a lot of financial aid to attend any of these schools. Appy anyway, but don't fall in love until they show you the money. Consider compromising a bit on the mountains/ocean criteria so you can apply to some of the schools that might offer more generous aid, even if they aren't perfect matches for your interests.</p>

<p>I think you should do your best to get a 34+ ACT and apply to HYPS. You sound like you have a fantastic shot, no matter how a lot of people want to shoot you down and say "its a crapshoot!"</p>

<p>Those schools will pay for your tuition and offer you a phenomenal education. You could also look at schools like the University of Alabama, which will offer you full tuition with your stats.</p>

<p>You should apply to University of Michigan. Also apply to Cornell. They have great programs in the areas that interest you and you might receive excellent financial aid.</p>

<p>How about Dartmouth?</p>

<p>Look at MIT. Look at Olin-low tuition, ties with industry, very hands on and entrepreneurial. Think about Stanford and USC.</p>

<p>Two lesser known, but really solid, schools you might consider are Whitman and Kalamazoo. Earlham gave a generous aid package to a girl I know who comes from a family financial situation similar to yours.</p>

<p>You might look at the five Eco League colleges and see if any of them are particularly good about scholarships/financial aid.<br>
Environmental</a> Colleges | Environmental Studies
They meet your environmental focus criterion.</p>

<p>Middlebury is a good choice if you want an outdoorsy liberal arts college with a strong environmental studies program. The college has its own ski slope. Not too far away is the Yestermorrow School for green technologies (timber framing, diesel grease car conversions, Larsen wall construction, etc.). I would think that as a Middlebury student you could arrange to do some work there. Yestermorrow</a> Design Build School offers a variety of courses concentrating in sustainable design : Design Build School Vermont</p>

<p>Middlebury also has a strong "pre architecture" program. Check out its participation in the Department of Energy's Solar Decathlon competition next year. For Midd to have been selected as a team is remarkable for such a small school.
Middlebury</a> selected for Solar Decathlon 2011 | Middlebury</p>

<p>Middebury does not have engineering programs, and has relatively few science and math majors (though it has built a nice new science center). A larger school with engineering, and also very outdoorsy, is Dartmouth. Larger still is Duke, which has engineering programs in addition to a school of forestry and environmental science. Or Cornell.</p>

<p>A somewhat less selective LAC that might interest you is Colorado College. "Outdoor adventures" is a defining feature of the social life at this school, located in a mid-sized city at the foot of the Rockies. They have an unusual one-course-at-a-time "block plan" that offers lots of flexibility to schedule field work.</p>