What's missing on my kid's college list -- uw4.0/SAT1570 [NJ resident, statistics]


  • US domestic / US Citizen
  • Southern Jesey
  • Competitive Public Maget HS
  • Gender/Race/Ethnicity (optional): Female /Asian
  • Other special factors (first generation to college, legacy, athlete, etc.): None

Intended Major(s) Statistics

GPA, Rank, and Test Scores

  • Unweighted HS GPA: 4.0
  • Weighted HS GPA (incl. weighting system): 4.82 ( Honor +0.5, AP/DE +1)
  • Class Rank: Doesn’t rank but might has 1 or 2 less selective AP than maybe some students
  • ACT/SAT Scores: SAT 1570 (m 790 + 780)

Total 11 APs : 6 AP done, AP Capstone (both 5), AP ab and bc (5 and 5), AP Lang (4), APUSH (4)
5 APs in senior year


  1. Gov School Engineering 2023 Scholoar
  2. MIT IEEE xplore digital library publication (co-author)
  3. AP disction/AP Capstone
  4. Broadway perforance Critics Circle award
  5. NM Commended (missed 1 piont, jersey index is frkn crazy!!)


  1. Columbia Honor Science program, 2 years
  2. Research assistant with local college professor, 2 years, co-presenter to 3 conference posters (stats projects)
  3. Research assistant with U Penn professor, online, 6 months (stats projects)
  4. Research intern with Princeton professor (started summer before senior year )
  5. Individual research project (stats project related to school social club, Junior year, presented results at school science fair)
  6. Volunteer at community youth theater club (4 years)
  7. Theater (10 years, cast memeber in a NYC off- broadway show for one season
  8. School drama club (4 years, staged and performed in school shows)
  9. School social club (4 years, senior year president), 2 school wise campaign on certain topic
  10. School News Paper (4 years, Chief Editor, >50 articles)

Essay: 8.5/10
LOR: Math teacher, Capstone teacher, both strong, plus local college professor supplemental LOR

Cost Constraints / Budget
Parents are wiling to pay sticker price

U Penn (ED), Princeton, Columbia, Cornell, Barnard, NYU, BC, BU, Northestern, UC schools, UVA, UNC Chapel Hill, Purdue

Safety: Rutgers Honor

Ideal collge: Mid-size, Urban, good intern/research opportunities, open to locations, but prefer east coast.

Counselor said this list is fine, but I feel there is no Likely/Target schools, what exactly should be included as target schools?

If your daughter would be happy at Rutgers Honors, then I wouldn’t worry about all the other options being reaches. No one needs ‘target’ schools if they’d be happy to attend their safety and their safety is affordable.

I would probably recategorize Purdue as a match/target though.


Thank you. Yes, she will not be super happy, but she will be fine with it. Originally she has UMD and U Pitt on the list, and then decided, Rutgers would be MUCH more cheaper, she said she rather us save the money for graduate school if that’s the case.


From what I have read on CC about Rutgers honors, I actually think that is more of a match than a safety (I could be wrong). Non honors would be a safety.

What about the University of Rochester?


Based on what you defined, I don’t love your list.

How do you define mid size? Or urban.

Purdue is neither mid size nor urban. One can debate UNC (not either but highly suburban to me). Rutgers - I get it’s in state. But it’s not mid size. Cornell is as far from urban as one can imagine.

If your daughter would truly enjoy what you describe, why doesn’t her list reflect that ?

You will find intern and research opportunities most anywhere. If during the year, then location matters although many today are remote.

Emory would work. If you’re willing to pay sticker (and you don’t need to) and you’re willing to go large - UMD is strong in math - and might make a good sub for Rutgers and Purdue. It’s not east coast but nor is Purdue - so U Chicago, another reach? It’s more what you described.

For a safety, Pitt is strong and checks all boxes and is strong all around.

Is her interest in science or social science ? Is she looking for data science ?

Edit - I just saw the comments on Pitt and UMD.

But you are willing to pay full ?

Which is it?

She wouldn’t love Rutgers.

And then why any $70k+ UCs, take them off.

Sounds like you need a budget - to help drive the decision - bcuz applying to schools she doesn’t want to attend based on money makes little sense ?

But if she’s willing to pay full boat for Penn, then how is much less expensive UMD or Pitt an issue ?

Grad school may not come into play given the major or may be years after undergrad.


UNC is not mid size or urban. It is suburban with a college town that is part of the campus.

UVA and Cornell are not urban either.

Pitt is urban and it’s a nice campus and a great school.


I guess I should say mid - large in size, urban or suburban, I guess the size and location is just prefer, not deal maker or breaker

Cornell is not ideal, it’s low on her list, but her sister goes there, she doesn’t hate it. :slight_smile:


Have you looked into JHU?

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Does she know what she wants to major in (this could change)?

There is no budget issue, but she doesn’t see academic wise, UMD and U Pitt are worth the extra money we have to pay if she goes to Rutgers Honor school. She is fine going to Rutgers.


Yes, on her reach list :slight_smile:

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For stats, unless looking to do some high level finance, not sure where you go matters.

But her list should reflect what she likes. Purdue is a safety but it’s not for her. Not close. If you want big Midwest, UMN would be much better - very urban and as good as access to internships as anywhere - Minneapolis is loaded with opportunity as a huge hq city. You’d get merit.

Pitt sounds perfect actually and if you apply sooner than later, merit is possible.

Emory would be good - apply by merit deadline.

I still say you need a budget to help drive the decision based on your comment bcuz short of Penn where you are bound, if she’s gonna say Rutgers is less, then why not apply to schools that will be reasonable in cost ? But if money matters to her and assuming you are full pay, then why ED at all ?


There are more reaches besides the ones listed? I think it is a mistake to remove Pitt, but she would know best.

I also think Emory is a good choice.

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Ok, I will let her know about Pitts. :slight_smile:


What do you mean about Purdue?

So Rutgers is a great university and in that sense this list is fine.

However, I agree it feels like it is mostly Rutgers, Purdue, and a bunch of reaches.

Which feels like a missed opportunity, because there are so many other colleges that are like some of your reaches, and fit what you say you are looking for, and yet are easier for admissions. And some might even given you merit, and even if that isn’t necessary, it is nice for a resume, and even nicer if things like grad school or professional school might be in the future.

But here is the thing–to unlock that category of college, it would really, really help to look outside of the Northeast. The Northeast is just a brutal target market for high numbers kids, because so many apply to all the notable colleges. For some of those colleges, they just are very selective about which high-numbers kids they take. For others, they are plausibly deeply worried about being buried on a high-numbers kid’s list, and don’t want to wait around while that kid is deciding to go somewhere else, then see who they can get off the waitlist.

Of course California is no better.

But if you look at colleges in what is sometimes derogatorily called “flyover country” by coastal elites? Suddenly the peers of some of those coastal schools are not facing the same problem. They don’t get the same crazy volume of applications to begin with. Yield is what it is, but it is more predictable, and more predictably affected by things like merit offers. So instead of rejecting a high numbers kid they assume is looking for a higher ranked admit, they will admit them, then fight for them with merit, honors programs, and so on. That sort of thing.

Long story short, you are making things very hard on yourselves by looking mostly at colleges in the most popular locations for kids like yours. If you look at less popular locations, your options will immediately expand out in potentially very helpful ways.

But I know this can be a tough sell to a kid unfamiliar with those places, and whose peers are all talking about the same few coastal colleges. But that is itself the problem, and it suggests an obvious solution. Like, still apply to your favorite few coastal schools, but then look at great colleges that fit your criteria but are not in such popular locations.

And if you are interested, people here can give you many good suggestions about how to implement that solution. But you have to be interested.

And if she would rather just go to Rutgers, well, then OK, that is fine too.


I see - short of a few careers, given a stats or data type major, one could make that statement a lot Rutgers vs any school on the list.

She’s letting ‘publications’ who assign a ranking to each school cloud her judgement.

What does she plan to do with her degree ? Take grad school out unless she’s looking at academia.

Was major or interests mentioned? I don’t see it.

It’s a fine school. It’s a safety. But it’s an hour from Indy in a smaller city. It’s not remotely close to urban

UMN is in Minneapolis. It’s not an hour from anything. It’s right there. With opportunity for in school internships galore.

It’s a much better pick based on what you described. In fact I’d argue Purdue isn’t a good pick at all - but I’d say that about Cornell too.

Low on the list should mean gone.


Stats - or at least that’s what I took the title as. So been commenting that way.

It’s in the title and first post - so yes Stats.