What colleges should I consider?

Hi all, I am a high school student who is going to be a senior in the upcoming school year. It’s that time when I need to be considering which colleges I want to apply to, but, with this being my first time, I am kinda lost. I would appreciate it if I could give you guys some information about myself and you guys could tell me where I should consider applying, or chancing me to a specific school. I want to major in the medical field, and I am in Southern California.

SAT superscore (from 2 tests): 2300
[CR:740] [M:770] [W:790, 10 essay]

SAT ii:
Bio E: 720
Math ii: 780
US history: 780

GPA (weighted): 4.31
GPA (unweighted): 3.95 – 1 B… :frowning:

AP Scores:
bio: 3 (i know, this is bad, especially considering I want to major in the medical field)
euro: 5
calc ab: 5
apush: 5
chem: 4
spanish lang: 5
calc bc: 5

co-pres. for 1 club
active member for 3 clubs
I play soccer both for school and for my club team
active participant at my mosque
volunteer/intern at a hospital
library volunteer
250 total hours
top 5% of my class.

The schools I am pretty sure I want to apply to are UCSD, USC, Stanford, and maybe Duke. Other than that, I am kinda clueless haha. If you guys could help me out it would be greatly appreciated!! Thank you!

I think your scores and grades are incredible. Have you thought about Vanderbilt? I also think Stanford would be a great choice for you. I am unsure of whether you need merit aid, etc. But, I think you might be able to get a huge scholarship at quite a few schools.

If you want to, I think you might be able to get into a BS/MD program where you have automatic acceptance. I am unfamiliar with what schools in California have this but you can check into and there is a thread on CC about this. Congrats on working so hard!

You have the numbers to be a competitive applicant anywhere, keeping in mind that the Ivies/Stanford/Chicago/Duke are still reaches.

I’m guessing you are treating UCSD as your relative safety, which should work out fine.

You listed California schools and a southern Atlantic Coast school, Duke. You did not list any schools in the Northeast or Midwest. Top private research universities from those regions include the Ivy League schools, MIT, University of Chicago, Northwestern, Johns Hopkins, Georgetown, Notre Dame, WUSTL, Boston College, Tufts, NYU, Carnegie Mellon, Boston University, University of Rochester, etc.

If you are interested in staying warm in the South - since you mentioned Duke - here are some other quality private research universities in the region:

  • Rice (Houston)
  • Vanderbilt (Nashville)
  • Emory (Atlanta)
  • Wake Forest (Winston-Salem, NC)
  • Tulane (New Orleans)

Although possible, I can’t imagine you being rejected by all five of those fine schools, as long as you nail the essays, get good recommendations, and display genuine interest. All five would be great backups in case you were not admitted to Duke/Stanford etc.

Well, you should be able to get into almost all colleges. The only gap you have is your ECs are not that strong relative to the very strongest students applying to the very top colleges. Some colleges for you to consider: Pomona, Harvey Mudd, Johns Hopkins, Dartmouth, Vanderbilt, Emory, Carnegie Mellon, Rice. How do financial aid and merit aid factor into your thinking?

Thanks for the responses guys! Financially, I’m hoping for some kind of aid. I think I can also qualify for National Merit from the PSAT, but that’s probably not a lot. Thankfully, my parents’s financial situation is pretty good so the cost is not the biggest issue.

Consider Georgetown as a match. DC is a great city in which to be a student with reasonable weather year round and a pretty campus. It’s a Catholic university but that means the administration is particularly attuned to diverse religious orientations and interested in fostering an active religious life in the community, including for Muslim students. They have an Arabic and Islamic Studies Dept. Admission is very selective for all those students who want IR or poly sci but it also provides solid sciences for premeds. Georgetown’s medical school is nearby, providing opportunities if you are interested in medical research or medically-related volunteering.

You state that you plan “to major in the medical field . . . .” Does this mean that you are contemplating medical school at some point? If so, then a couple of observations: (1) You don’t need to go to a “prestige” school for your undergraduate school in order to get admitted to medical school; and (2) The prospect of medical/graduate school may change the financial calculus for your family, so you might want to raise this issue sooner rather than later.

You might consider the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Virginia, which are excellent public research universities, for your list. A smaller LAC that is high quality, and which turns out a good number of students who go into health-related fields or to medical school, is Rhodes College in Memphis, TN.

@gandalf78 yes I am contemplating Medical school, and I actually have spoken with them about this. They are fully supportive of my actions, and have even encouraged me to go to Med school. Especially my mom, who is a doctor.

I didn’t mention the LACs since you mentioned only large schools, but as gandalf78 points out, LACs are great environments for serious pre-meds because the smaller classes, culture of cooperation, and close faculty relationships are helpful at reducing the stress and facilitate getting good letters of rec. If you are in SoCal, visit Pomona. As part of a 5 campus consortium, it feels like a bigger school in terms of diversity and social opportunities, while at the same time offering the best of LAC culture. If you like it, there are many other LACs that could be on your list.

Hi guys, its been awhile since i last posted. I wanted to thank all those who answered. I would also like to say that i have a couple of edits to my original post. I forgot a Chemistry subject test score (700), and also I am now likely to also apply to UCLA, in addition to the schools I already listed. Thanks again!!

Is U of Michigan on your list?

@njmom666 I would prefer to stay in California, and to be honest i have not consider U of Michigan, would you recommend it?

Well that could be 1/2 tuition at USC or full tuition and then some at U of Alabama. Look at these options:


@Erin’s Dad Oh really? Wow I didn’t know that. Thanks!

Duke would be a great option.

@par72 Duke is one school outside of California that I would give serious consideration to. Thing is, I’ve spoken to a few people (counselors, advisors) who say Duke might be too high up on my list. Do you think I’m qualified enough? And also, does Duke give merit aid? Or NMSQT aid?

You definitely have a reasonable shot of being admitted to Duke.

Merit aid at Duke is extremely competitive; even if you are admitted, don’t count on it.

Interesting. Ok thanks guys. And if anyone else wants to drop a recommendation, I would really appreciate it!!

bump! :slight_smile: