Please help...confused about matches/safeties

<p>Hi. I’m not very knowledgeable about admissions and neither is my guidance counselor, so I’m having trouble with my college list. Reaches are easy to spot (how could they not be with so many schools admitting <25% >.<), but I’m unsure about which schools would be considered matches/safeties for me. Plus I'm terrible at objectively evaluating myself. Anyway, here's my basic background:</p>

<p>.general.
I'm white, female, live in rural PA
School is a medium public that rarely sends grads to prestigious places
I’m an only child; both parents are educated and have a combined income of ~110k</p>

<p>.academics.
GPA: 4.0uw
Rank: top 5%
APs: school offers 5; I have taken two (Calc AB/BC) so far and will take the rest (USH, Chem, Lit) next year, unless a scheduling conflict keeps me out of one of them</p>

<p>.tests.
SAT: 780CR/800M/800W=2380 superscore; highest composite=2260
(two sittings; one was 780/800/680 and the next was 750/700/800)</p>

<p>SAT II: Math II (800)
Literature (790)</p>

<p>Awaiting AP still, but that shouldn't be a problem.</p>

<p>.extras.
Nothing you haven't heard before:
Three year varsity captain, named to region all-stars twice;
editor-in-chief, along with other newspaper positions;
section leader in the marching band, blahblahblah.....plus Link Crew Leader and NHS and all that goody two-shoes stuff :p<br>
I’m a teen writer for the city newspaper; I teach private tennis lessons and volunteer with summer rec tennis teaching. I do some other pretty interesting volunteer work. Yeah that’s about it. Awards are all regional.</p>

<p>I expect my essays to be decent but nothing that will wow anyone – although I’ll strive for the latter :) Recs should be good but not jaw dropping</p>

<p>now onto the schools.
So can someone please help me figure out which schools I can consider matches? Safeties? Here’s what I’m thinking so far:</p>

<p>Match: University of Rochester, Scripps
Safety: University of Pittsburgh, Denison, St. Olaf</p>

<p>Is this about accurate for me? Are there any other places I should consider?</p>

<p>In case it’s relevant, my reaches will probably be Pomona, Claremont McKenna, and Carleton. I’m also looking at WashU, Northwestern, and Brown, (Stanford and Yale too if I throw realism out the window) but I’m hesitant to add a ton of reaches :/</p>

<p>I’m looking for a small to midsize school, but not one that’s not incredibly secluded (i.e. Kenyon). Great academics, laid back, discussion-based classes, and not super pre-professional - I'll be going into college undecided as to major/career path.</p>

<p>Thank you to anyone who’s able to help me out. Any input at all is appreciated - Sorry this was so long!!</p>

<p>Can your parents actually pay $50K for Carleton each year? They have minimal merit aid ($2K for NMF) and with your income you'd almost be full pay. Denison is a good choice. Did you make NMF?</p>

<p>I'd say Wash U is more of a match. Northwestern and Brown are reaches but you're definitely competitive for both. Scripps is pretty much a safety, and Pitt is a super-safety. </p>

<p>You may want to look into Cornell, as well.</p>

<p>@Erin's dad - Don't know about NMF yet. My PSAT this year was above the cutoff last year for my state, but I don't think we're notified about semifinalist status or anything until the fall.</p>

<p>I'm also extremely lucky in that I have no ability-to-pay issues. I know my parent's incomes aren't exceptional, but between their savings and a good bit of money from deceased family members I can afford to go wherever. Still it's good to keep an eye on pricetags, so I will definitely keep that in mind about Carleton.</p>

<p>@leila - thanks for your input. To be honest I've pretty much ignored Cornell so far haha not sure why since it's within driving distance for me. I'll definitely try to learn about the place</p>

<p>You only need one or two safeties, unless you are thinking seriously about attending one. Would an honors college or full ride scholarship influence your decision? That is something to ponder.
You are being quite modest about your matches - they should be schools where you have a 50-50 chance of admittance, but I would be shocked if you were denied at U Rochester or Scripps. Add Claremont McKenna and Carleton to your matches. Pomona I would put as a low reach, along with Cornell, Northwestern and Wash U. That leaves Brown, Stanford,and Yale as your reaches - and you could go 0 for 3 because they have such deep applicant pools. Nice list; you have done some good work in figuring out your best fit. What schools have you visited and liked?</p>

<p>midwesterner - I don't think a full ride or honors would be much of a factor for me. If I were accepted to a school that was higher on my list, I would choose it over a full ride or honors college.</p>

<p>Thanks very much for your advice on placing the schools. I guess U R and Scripps would be classified as 'low match' or something then?</p>

<p>I visited a few places. U R twice, once to tour and once to interview. I think the interview went well, and I really like the campus, the students, and the curriculum.</p>

<p>Denison was okay; I wasn't blown away but I felt like I could like it and be happy there.</p>

<p>I didn't get much from my Carleton visit. I'm not sure whether I'll apply there - I'll be going back next month to interview, so hopefully I learn more about the fit then.</p>

<p>I'll be visiting St. Olaf and the Claremonts next month too. I'm SO excited to see the Claremonts! Pomona's been my number one choice pretty much ever since I heard about it lol</p>