Please help match/chance rising senior for PPE/Economics!


  • US Citizen
  • Maryland
  • Public Title I High School, STEM Magnet Program
  • Female, Asian, Tamil

Intended Major(s)
Economics, Politics/Philosophy/Economics (PPE), finance, international business
GPA, Rank, and Test Scores

  • Unweighted HS GPA: 3.75
  • Weighted HS GPA: 4.65
  • Class Rank: 24/350
  • ACT/SAT Scores: 760 reading, 760 math, 1520 cumulative

Freshman Year:
AP Environmental Science
Sophomore Year:
AP World History: 4
AP Statistics: 4
Junior Year:
AP Calculus AB: TBD
AP Physics C: Mechanics: TBD (probably will drop the score)
AP US History: TBD
AP English Language: TBD
electives: ecology/astrophysics
Senior Year:
AP Psychology
AP Chemistry
AP English Literature
AP Calculus BC
electives: biotechnology/biochemistry
Core classes all 4 years (english, math, science, social studies, French)
Senior year culminates in a “capstone” project (mine will be in Chemistry) - class time allotted for a research project at local army base (300+ hours)
I would take economics classes but there are none offered that fit into my schedule
been studying for 7 years, private lessons for 5 years
Principal of school orchestra
2nd chair all county band/orchestra for 3 years
principal flute of local orchestra
started tutoring organization with twin sister: Mentoring Musical Minds, which gives free 30 minute instrument tutoring lessons
Classical South Indian Vocal music (Carnatic):
Taught by mother (who is a distinguished vocalist), have been learning for 15+ years
member of Papanasam Sivan music group, audition based group that performs in international competitions annually
Multiple regional prizes in Papanasam Sivan competitions (most are 1st place, some 2nd place)
Classical Indian Dance (Bharatanatyam) for 5 years
Able to fluently read Sanskrit from classical Hindu texts, classes 3x a week for 20 minutes for 5 years
Youth and Government Program: basically mock government, culminates in 3 day conference in Annapolis State House, I am the upcoming committee chair for 2023 conference
Youth Diplomats Program: Albrecht fellowship program, weekly sessions for 5 months in the World Trade Center Institute in Baltimore, competitive application process
Not sure about essays yet, but thinking to get LORs from band teacher, French teacher, and/or APUSH teacher
Cost Constraints / Budget

Not too sure about schools yet, but I am definitely applying EA to UMD, possible ED to UVA
current list (I have yet to whittle it down so it’s still very broad, feel free to recommend schools or remove unlikely schools!):

  • UMD
  • UVA
  • UMBC
  • Carnegie Mellon
  • Johns Hopkins
  • UNC
  • Georgetown
  • WashU
  • Wake Forest
  • Villanova
  • UPenn
  • UMich Ann Arbor
  • Northeastern
  • NYU
  • William & Mary
    I definitely need to add some more safeties/targets, and I realize this list is quite large (do not plan on applying to all of these schools) and possibly unrealistic. I would prefer to stay about 6 hours from Baltimore.
    Thanks so much for your help!

To me these seem like areas where either law school or an MBA or some other masters could follow. I expect there are other options as well. Are you thinking that some form of graduate school is possible?

Is this without any debt at all? If you spend less, will the money left over be available for graduate school?

Are you sure that UVA is your top choice? What makes it worth the higher price compared to UMD in-state?

Based on your academic interests, you may want to look into colleges with an available major in public policy, which relies on the fields of political science, economics and philosophy for its foundation.


If you like UVA/W&M/Wake, and want a PPE major, definitely look at U of Richmond Major Requirements - PPEL - School of Arts & Sciences - University of Richmond It’s also very strong in music, with a lot of opportunities for non-majors.

Ohio State also has a PPE major, and a school of music that is welcoming to nonmajors. What is PPE? | Philosophy, Politics and Economics And not far from OSU, just outside of Columbus, is Denison University which has an excellent PPE program also Philosophy, Politics & Economics | Denison University and a particularly strong program in DC Lugar Program | Denison University

Wesleyan CSS may also be of interest About the Major, College of Social Studies - Wesleyan University

For a more quantitative emphasis, Emory is particularly strong Public Policy Analysis Major

And some of the Scholars programs at UDel might also be worth a look Enrichment Opportunities: Honors & More | University of Delaware

I really like Northeastern, but I’m not sure it’s the best fit for the kind of interdisciplinary social sciences major you’re looking for. (Maybe compare with Tufts… or BU which has a “PP” major BA in Philosophy & Political Science » Academics | Boston University )

I couldn’t figure out why your profile sounded so familiar until you mentioned your twin! Good luck to both of you :smile:


If you want to be within 6 hours, why U MICH -

I think UMBC is an in, UMD is likely, and the rest - unlikely but not impossible - especially Nova and W&M.

Within 6 hours - hmmm -

Well U of SC is too far but would be good and keeps the urban feel you have above…Pitt and Syracuse would be too “likelies” Lehigh is another possibility. Brandeis could be another as well as SUNY Albany and Binghamton. And Drexel.

Good luck.


Yes, definitely looking to go to some form of grad school (MBA or law school, possibly)

Yes, this is without any debt, although of course 90k a year is extremely expensive and would want to be avoided

The UMD in state price is definitely advantageous, but I have heard that their economics programs are not great. Do you have any info on their programs? UVA has great economics programs and the price is not as high as some privates. The only issue there is of course getting in.
Thanks for your help!

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Probably won’t go there, just put it on my list as a potential option.
Thanks for your help!

Some other things I forgot -
Varsity Track for 2 years
JV Lacrosse for 1 year (probably won’t put on application)
Volunteer Research Intern for the army - about 300-400 hours total, competitive application process

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if you are going to grad school, you’ll want to work before - especially MBA - and it will be the quality of the work that will matter. UVA or UMD won’t matter - and not sure what you heard, but other than on college boards or for a very few unique positions, a degree in econ or public policy from UMD or UVA won’t matter. For IB, U of SC is #1 in the country - why I mentioned it. But it’s splitting hairs. If law school is a likely outcome, save your dough for law school and stay in state - unless for example, you want out of state, then look at an Alabama or MS State but those are more than 6 hours - but would be cheap.

UMD is a great flagship - so not sure how you heard otherwise.

Based on faculty publishing, UMD’s economics department surpasses that of UVA: Economics rankings: US Economics Departments | IDEAS/RePEc.

If you will be considering purely undergraduate-focused colleges, and I recommend you do so, this parallel analysis may be helpful: Economics rankings: US Economics Departments at Liberal Arts Colleges | IDEAS/RePEc.

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Ah, I didn’t know that. Honestly, UMD is looking like my best option right now with its price and ranking. Thank you for your help!

Okay, thank you for your advice. From the other replies, it’s looking like UMD is the smartest option, especially since it’s likely I’ll get in there.

As an aspect to consider regarding the linked analyses, they have not been normalized for department size. This may put larger schools at a misrepresentative advantage in comparison to smaller schools.

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Thank you so much for your help! I’ll certainly start looking at some LACs (like Wesleyan).

It all depends on what you seek.

Where finances are important, then in an instate flagship is great. Never hurts to have a robust list - and in the end you can see where you get in.

How does music play a part - are you looking to continue?

At $90K a year, pretty much any school in the country is available to you. The question is, do you want to spend it if you don’t need to - or rather thta’s for your parents.

It looks like your list is urban suburban and medium/large.

So to add more safties/targets, an American to a Gtown.

Delaware - maybe too rural but not far from society - to UMD, UVA. Furman (probably too far) to Wake or Elon (probably too rural) would be a great safety. Pitt would do well on this list.

But in general, you’d be fine - but another safety besides UMBC wouldn’t hurt…unless you are really happy going there.

But UMD is a solid but not definite - shot.

I am looking to continue music, but if there are no programs it’s not a deal breaker. I can always play on my own.

If it’s unnecessary, I don’t want to spend the money. I think the main problem is just getting in to T20 - T30 schools and then figuring out the finances. If the school is much more prestigious than UMD, it’s likely I can go. If it’s only slightly more prestigious, then there’s no point in wasting the money.

Yup, definitely looking to add more. Any other suggestions?

For your academic interests, post-graduation goals and general criteria, Hamilton would make a natural fit for you. For variety and internship opportunities, you could look into its term-length programs in D.C. and NYC.

Some of the schools you can visit and eliminate based on social fit and diversity. For example Wake Forest, do visit and experience the campus culture to see if it is a good fit.

UVA even if the major is not in McIntire is a very reputed program in the business world. It has a secondary admission to business school, but it is not an issue since you have interest in majors outside business school.


I’m going to give your profile some more thought, but one school you might want to consider is Dickinson. It’s a liberal arts college in Pennsylvania with a big focus on internationalism and I suspect you would receive some very generous merit aid. And, if I recall correctly, it’s not too far from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania’s state capital if you’re interested in domestic governance as well.

With respect to your letters of recommendations, it’s generally advised to have one from the humanities/social sciences and one from STEM and then a third of your choice, so you might want to give some more thought to who will be writing your LORs.

If you were going to describe your ideal college experience, what would it be like? This might help others give some better suggestions for you, too.


Thank you for the additional information. This will help people to give you more accurate advice.

Unfortunately I do not know much about economics programs at specific schools. The few people who I knew who had graduated from UMD had majored in either math or computer science – which were my main areas as well.

I am generally cautious about not putting too much importance on rankings. Hopefully you will be able to tour at least a few nearby universities including UMD and see what you think. If you can talk to a professor in your likely field of study that can be helpful, and is possible at some universities.

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