Where should I ED2 for Bio (ecological concentration)

Hi everyone,

I’m a HS senior in VA planning on pursuing a higher education in biology with a focus on ecology/evolutionary/conservation.

I’m interested in what you all might have to say about how strong this area of study is in the schools listed below

I have a 3.4 GPA, 1430 SAT and 32 ACT although my EC’s, Essays and LOR’s are where I really stand out.

After some acceptances to my first few EA schools I’m ready to start getting much more ambitious on my RD school choices. Specifically, I’m looking at these ones in order of preference:

U of Miami (considering ED2)

William & Mary (considering ED2)

Washington St. Louis (considering ED2)

George Washington University

University of Virginia

University of Georgia

Texas A&M

I’m debating whether to apply under ED2 to either Miami, W&M or Wash St Louis.

I’m aware UMiami has a school devoted entirely to marine sciences, which certainly does sound cool but they also list on their website a major in biology with an ecological concentration as a possibility. I also know their cognate system allows you to mix and match a variety of different disciplines.

I have the in-state advantage at W&M, and I know they have a well-known biology program as well although I know that school is very academic in nature and if you can’t tell by my GPA I’m not sure if that’s exactly the best fit for me.

Finally Wash St Louis is a pretty astronomical reach for me and might honestly be a waste of my ED2 advantage that would have served me better at Miami or W&M. Although I know Wash also has a strong program in organismal biology.

What do you guys think?

UMiami just based on location and student life would be the obvious choice, but of course I would like it to be strong in my major to consider applying ED2 there.

As part of your greater search, look into Eckerd’s programs in your areas of interest.

If you would like to add a highly selective school or two, look into Colby, Colorado College and Pitzer.


Maybe Tulane? They have a good ecology/evolutionary biology program

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For you, I would recommend an application to SUNY ESF, UVM, U of S. Carolina, U of Montana and Montana State, Northern Arizona University, and VTech. If marine biology interests you, look at U New Hampshire and U of Maine.

I would recommend also that you look at some liberal arts colleges. While Pitzer, which was recommended by @merc81 is a top choice, it is also an extremely high reach with your GPA. On the other hand, colleges like Beloit and Lawrence University in WI or Lewis and Clark in OR would be better bets, IMO.

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My D21 with similar interest- apying to Michigan, Tulane, Miami (FL) Eckerd and Montana State. Have you looked at Sewanee or Washington and Lee? Also in her list and both with amazing programs in bio/ecology. Both also with good merit along with Eckerd and Montana State

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Thanks for the reply. Yes I am also considering W&L, although was not aware of Sewanee. Best of luck to your daughter

With your stats you may want to look at Sewanee- really unique and I must say my D21 has compared every other school and program to it since she was able to visit. 13000 acres on top of a mountain and tons of opportunities for research from day 1. Really great environmental programming and excellent internship and job placement. I think even if my daughter gets in to her reach schools she will end up there.

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Pitzer might be out of reach based on its generally high selectivity, but 41% of its students did originate from outside the top 10% of their HS classes (to the extent that data are available).

As a suggestion for a likely admit that might be worth adding, research Allegheny, @WildlifeFan101.

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Sweet, it certainly does seem like a cool place to spend four years

Yeah my area (DC metropolitan) is very competitive and I go to a pretty affluent HS so I would be shocked if I was even in the top 25%

And thanks for the suggestion, I actually already applied there hahah

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I currently attend the University of Montana (the one in Missoula), where I major in Parks, Tourism, and Rec management. I strongly encourage you to apply to the Davidson Honors College of the University of Montana. I was like you, stat-wise in high school, good but not Ivy. The UM is happy to have anyone smart with the capability to graduate- just from having good grades and a solid essay you can get some really good scholarships. You’d be prioritized here, and can do a ton of amazing things with your life. The UM boasts the best Wildlife Bio program in the US. The education is killer, and you’re in a location unlike any other, with opportunities that you can’t get in the rest of the country. I’m taking whitewater rafting and intro to bouldering this year, and I spend time backpacking in Glacier Nat. Park. The UM set me up with a Wilderness Conservation Corps job in the Bob Marshall Wilderness (Next to, and as beautiful as Glacier), which I’ll get credit for. IN SUM: if you want to do as you please, while having an amazing education that is paid for, all while living in one of the most outdoorsy communities in the nation- check out the UM.

Example of smart kids doing cool stuff at the UM: https://missoulian.com/news/local/um-senior-heads-to-remote-alaskan-fishing-village-for-student-teaching-experience/article_86a62655-9aef-5c08-afed-5f5bb3e679ef.html

Honors College Program: “Wilderness and Civilization”: Wilderness Studies Minor - The Wilderness Institute - University Of Montana


It’s going to be hard to beat W&M in terms of getting the best bang for your buck. Certainly most of the public universities suggested so far – few of which offer much, if any, financial aid to out of state students – are highly unlikely to be better options.

Have you run EFC calculators, and are Wash U and U Miami affordable for your family? If so, Wash U would be my pick of your list. There are few places better for undergraduate ecology, particularly among private colleges.

To add to the list of liberal arts colleges mentioned so far, Connecticut College and Ohio Wesleyan are well worth a look.