School Recommendations?

<p>I apologize, as I know that this is a very open-ended and subjective question. Still, any help is appreciated in helping me to create a list of universities to which I will apply next year. I am open to any suggestions, but please skim through the following material before answering.</p>

<p>My stats are probably important to this process, so below is a slightly edited excerpt from a previous post I made in the University of Michigan forum.</p>

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<p>I'm a junior at a public high school in an upper middle-class city in Michigan. Several AP courses are offered, including many in social studies and the natural sciences.</p>

<p>My school calculates GPAs strangely (an A- is the same as an A+, B- = B = B+, and so on). No extra weight is given to Honors or AP grades. I have a 3.933 following this system, with 2 or 3 Bs from my first two years.</p>

<p>So far, I have been in advanced and/or honors English and Mathematics courses throughout my high school career.</p>

<p>I am currently enrolled in AP Economics and AP English, and am doing very well in both. My practice AP test scores have consistently been within the range of 4-5.</p>

<p>My PSAT score was a 226, and I scored a 31 on my ACT. I just recently took the SAT, and I intend to retake the ACT. In the three National Spanish Exams that I've taken so far, I have consistently scored above the 90th percentile.</p>

<p>I was a staff member and the ad manager of the school newsmagazine during the first semester of my junior year. Unfortunately, I had to drop the class in order to meet my PE credit. I continue to help out with sales, but I have not published any articles since leaving the magazine in January.</p>

<p>My course load next year will be as follows:
AP Calculus BC
AP Chemistry
AP English 12
AP Statistics
Debate 1
Intro to Physical Education (required for graduation)
Spanish 4</p>

<p>This summer, I won't be able to go to any sort of summer program, as until mid-August, I will be taking World History courses to meet my school's graduation requirements. I am trying to find an activity that involves doing research or working at a law firm, but I haven't committed to anything yet.</p>

<p>As far as extracurriculars go, I have been a member of the Muslim Students Association since 9th grade, and was in DECA during sophomore year. I made it to the international level of DECA competition for an event in which I pitched a business idea to judges playing the role of venture capitalists. I have just recently joined a volunteering club, and I intend to participate in our school's National Honor Society and Economics Club chapters next year. I am considering trying out for the tennis team next year.</p>

<p>Entirely outside of school, I have taken enough Arabic and Urdu lessons to read fluently and comprehend conversation at about an elementary level. Using tools such as smart.fm and byki.com, I have learned moderate amounts of French and German. I have taught myself the Greek, Cyrillic and Hebrew alphabets, and intend to be able to read the Hiragana as well as the Devanagari by the end of this summer. I have started a few blogs, working on one or two at a time. One was created with the intention of helping my classmates study for an Economics final. My most recent foray is an ongoing blog of ideas that are free for anybody to use. Each post is essentially what you would find on patent files, minus the claims to intellectual property.</p>

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<p>Ideally, I'd like to go to a university that is as prestigious as possible while studying Economics, Pre-Law, Neuroscience, Linguistics, or some combination of these or related fields. However, I'm still having some difficulty narrowing down my college, major, and career choices so as to be certain of what I will do.</p>

<p>Some criteria for colleges:
Ideally in the Midwest or New England area
Strong internship opportunities and/or alumni networks
Relatively well-known school with rigorous and varied curriculum
Somewhat nerdy student body
No overly pervasive religious or political affiliation
Plenty of extracurricular opportunities, including student publications</p>

<p>Besides the University of Michigan, some schools that I've been looking into include UChicago, NYU, Johns Hopkins, Duke, Yale, Princeton, and Columbia. Though I haven't ruled public universities out entirely, I don't seem to like too many of the ones I've seen. If you can think of any more schools that I might benefit from looking at, please direct me to them and let me know what you think my chances might be when I apply next year.</p>

<p>Thanks in advance for any help.</p>

<p>What can your parents afford to pay?</p>

<p>Erin's Dad: I don't believe that money is an issue. I've picked a few less competitive financial safeties (full ride for my GPA, low enough costs for my savings to cover, etc.) in case worse comes to worst in terms of money, but at this point I'd prefer to just get input on schools that might fit me.</p>

<p>I think that Tufts is very strong in a number of these areas.</p>

<p>Definitely University of Chicago. And you can apply early action without having to commit. If you are willing to consider smaller places, Middlebury has many students who study two and some students who study 3 languages. Also Amherst through the consortium has some sort of certificate program in more unusual languages. Both have neuroscience programs. Maybe McGill if you need some place not quite so difficult to get into as Princeton/Columbia.......</p>

<p>Thank you both for the suggestions. Any others?</p>

<p>The schools you've mentioned are all large universities. You might look at small schools. As I was reading your description of what you're looking for, I thought Rhodes sounded like a good match (except for the geographic location). Small LACs might be another segment for you to look into.</p>

<p>Macalester College in St. Paul, MN might also be a LAC that could fit.</p>

<p>Oberlin College in Ohio might be another.</p>

<p>Although, in both cases, the campuses may be a bit more politically active than you're wanting. Both lean left, though, and I believe both have strong, active Muslim student groups.</p>

<p>Chicago and Hopkins sound perfect for you. I think that Cornell would be a very good fit, but that you may not like the location. George Washington U is worth looking at.</p>

<p>Thanks, everybody. I think that the list so far may be a bit too strong for me, as my statistics aren't necessarily going to impress admissions officers at many of these schools. Does this seem true? If so, what are some places that are closer to "target schools" or "close reaches" for me?</p>

<p>I hate to steer this discussion towards two tangents at once, but would sending my SAT scores in to any of the more selective schools on the list significantly boost my chances come application time? I have until May 10 to send in up to four free score reports, and I'm a bit ambivalent concerning which places to use the reports on.</p>

<p>nerdy colleges that DD2 loved: Carleton, Grinnell, Earlham, Kenyon</p>

<p>Sending your SATs would not boost your chances. The schools have to see those or the ACT sometime.</p>

<p>Erin's Dad: Thank you again for your help. Concerning the SATs, I was wondering about whether it shows early interest to do so, but I doubt that it's a huge factor. Thanks for confirming that.</p>

<p>Just a small update, but I got my May 2010 SAT scores today.
Combined: 2300
Reading: 790
Math: 780
Writing: 730</p>

<p>Will this have any impact?</p>

<p>^^ Those SAT scores are really very, very good. Any "impact" will be highly positive.</p>

<p>You may be very competitive for decent merit money at schools just below the tippy-top tier that offer merit money (not all do)</p>

<p>Northwestern seems to fit the description of what you're looking for well</p>

<p>Brown, Dartmouth, UChic</p>

<p>I hope that this isn't too big of a transgression, but I thought that I might as well revive this to see if any new users might be able to pitch in more helpful suggestions. I'm trying to use the next few weeks to build as comprehensive a list as possible, so I'll consider just about schools that are brought up.</p>

<p>My stats are in the first post, with the exception of my SAT scores (790 CR, 780 M, 730 W).</p>