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Rising Junior-- what types of schools should I tour? (if covid allows)

iowa4224iowa4224 1 replies1 threads New Member
edited May 20 in What Are My Chances?
Hi all!

I am an asian, high income girl in Iowa. I go to a private school. My parents already have enough funds to pay for college anywhere I want to go (education is a huge priority in my family). I want to know where/ what types of schools I should be looking into-- am I good enough to try for Ivys? (but ONLY if I actually like them. I'm less interested in the name than I am in the academics)

Stats
UW GPA~3.85-3.9? My school doesnt calculate GPAS
W GPA-N/A-- most (if not all) of the classes I take are honors/ap equivalent, but no official "AP" courses. We can still take AP tests, but most don't as it's only really important for college credits
PSAT- 1340(M-640, CRW-700)-- I didn't study for this AT ALL-- I didn't even look at the types of questions
Practice ACT- 32 (english 34, math 28, others were all 32) again, no studying
estimating a 34ish on the ACT if I study
Taking the French AP to see if I can get easy college credit

Extracurriculars
Varsity soccer-- all four years and seasons, captain Junior year and maybe senior year as well. this takes the majority of my time (25 hours a week, 35 weeks a year),
Founding member and manager of singing club ,
Quiz bowl club,
starting an acting club that I will run next year,
30 hours of service at animal shelter ,
70 hours of service on trip to mexico ,
helping out at a local college lab,
tour guide for my school next year
planning to either get a summer job or volunteer over the summer, probably 200ish hours,
went on a three day diversity retreat



Hooks/Additional information

not a recruited athlete but I would happily play club or D3 in college given the opportunity.
sister goes to UCLA

My major would probably be Biology

I have a painful physical disability (although I still have full mobility). I will have my CC note this to show resiliency... Not sure if this could be seen as a hook...

JUNIOR YEAR CLASSES:
honors english
honors us history
honors geometry
honors chemistry
honors advanced biology
honors french (a year ahead)


I'm looking for a college/university where I can do tons of research, small or medium sized (max 1500-2500 per grade, min ~400). I really don't like the idea of strict core requirements! In a perfect world I'd find somewhere I really love so that I can ED/EA and be done early hehe. I have no preference on location (in state is fine). I would prefer a colder climate, but anything works if I love the school. So: what "tier" of schools are matches, reaches, likelies for me? Where should I look? If i missed anything please let me know!
edited May 20
9 replies
Post edited by CCEdit_Suraj on
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Replies to: Rising Junior-- what types of schools should I tour? (if covid allows)

  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 10187 replies119 threads Senior Member
    The best person to ask for advice for where you should be aiming is your guidance counselor.

    In terms of starting visits, look at different options - universities vs LACs, city vs rural, small vs large. If research is important don’t discount larger universities. Be open minded when starting your visit.
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  • chmcnmchmcnm 690 replies6 threads Member
    Maybe make some local visits to see what type of environment you like? UIowa, Iowa State, or Grinnell might be good starts. That said, visiting when classes are in session is better than summer visits when there's not much going on around campus.

    Minnesota appears to have some schools that might be appealing like Macalester or Carleton. You could visit UM-TC or Wisconsin to compare larger schools.

    My S20 visited schools first in the process to see what type of environment he liked. He liked a medium sized urban school best. That narrowed the search considerably and allowed him to target certain schools and kept his applications under 10 schools. Applying to more can be time consuming, especially if you start writing essays for scholarships and honors programs. Personally I think 5-7 is enough. You can only go to one school.

    As for staying closer to home don't feel pressure to go far away if you don't want to. Kids think they have to get away. Even if you're close to home it's not like your parents will stop by every night. Plus, college is not high school version 2.0. You can pick your own friends.

    Once you get your SAT/ACT score then you can start narrowing your search but I would recommend applying to 2 safety schools that you would attend. The earlier the better to take some stress off. Usually it's your in-state public schools if possible.

    You sound like you have a good attitude towards your search. Enjoy the journey. Good luck.
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  • Bill MarshBill Marsh 505 replies5 threads Member
    My first suggestion is that you forget about what tier you should be applying to for now.

    Second, read the article I’m linking which gives you a process to follow to come up with your list. Answer all 10 questions.

    https://www.koppelmangroup.com/blog/2020/4/30/how-to-build-a-college-list-during-the-coronaviruscovid-19

    Third, sit down with a copy of The Fiske Guide to Colleges or similar book of essays about selective colleges and read about as many of them as you have any interest in. If you’re unsure whether to include a college, include it. The goal should be to see which schools might be a good fit for you, based on your answers to the questions in the linked article and anything else that seems important to you. The Princeton Review college guide can be a helpful supplement.

    Fourth, you now hopefully have a list. If it’s too long, break it into categories of high interest, moderate interest, and low interest.

    Fifth, now you can start looking at tiers. A school which accepts less than 20% of its applicants is a reach for anyone, meaning that they inexplicably reject even what appear to be some of the best applicants. Be prepared for that. A second group of schools should be those where your numbers fall in the middle 50% (target schools). Be sure then you include some others (safety) where tou’re Above the 75th percentile and at which you’d be happy to enroll.

    Sixth, you should now have a list of schools to visit. Don’t use visits to browse as your first step. Only visit after you’ve refined your interests and acquired information. Then you can visit with specific questions as the last step to see if you really think you can fit. Normally the best time to visit is February because students are on campus and the weather is horrible. If you like it in February, you’ll love it when the weather is good. But these are not normal times, so grab the opportunity when you can, preferably when students are on campus.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 83434 replies741 threads Senior Member
    edited May 20
    Any particular subfield interest in biology? Pre-med or non pre-med?

    What is your math progression? Geometry in 11th grade seems unusual.

    GPA can be calculated by adding up the grades (A=4, B=3, etc.) and dividing by the number of grades.
    edited May 20
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  • iowa4224iowa4224 1 replies1 threads New Member
    We do algebra 2, precalc, geo, calc! Also science goes bio, physics, chem, electives, but I’m taking an extra class next year. Not premed necessarily, and I’m definitely not set in it. I would prefer a school that where I don’t have to apply to a specific major. I think I might actually prefer going out of state (east coast?)... I think liberal arts would probably be what I want, but really anything that doesn’t force me

    Do you like the idea of having to pursue multiple subjects through a core curriculum or distribution requirements, or do you want to be able to focus in on one subject without having to take anything else?

    I prefer either no core curriculum or a very limited one!

    Do you feel the need to meet with your professors regularly, or are you more interested in self-directed learning?

    I like both— maybe a mix of the two?

    Do you like speaking up in class, or are you more of the silent type?

    I usually participate a lot!

    Do you want to live on campus, or are you excited to get an apartment as soon as possible?

    Live on campus all 4 years!!!

    Do you like small, close-knit communities, or are you more energized when you are part of a broader community?

    I think I don’t want it to be too small, but definitely not a giant community where I wouldn’t know anyone. I’m thinking 500-2500 per grade for size

    Do you want to be able to go home regularly? (When considering this, be sure to take into account the cost of travel, not just the proximity of a train station, bus depot, or airport.)

    Not important

    Would you feel bummed if there wasn’t a big party to go to on a Saturday night?

    Definitely not

    Are you interested in Greek life?

    Nope

    Do you want to be able to get an internship close to campus, or is that something you’d be willing to have to go somewhere else for in the summers?

    Ideally I’d be able to do either— but if there’s nothing close by that’s fine.

    Most importantly, what do you want to study? (Where you apply must offer what you want to study.)

    Biology, but could also have a minor in French? I like options so probably a liberal arts school?
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 10187 replies119 threads Senior Member
    Put St. Olaf on your list of schools to research. It checks off all your boxes.
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  • Bill MarshBill Marsh 505 replies5 threads Member
    edited May 20
    iowa4224 wrote: »
    We do algebra 2, precalc, geo, calc! Also science goes bio, physics, chem, electives, but I’m taking an extra class next year. Not premed necessarily, and I’m definitely not set in it. I would prefer a school that where I don’t have to apply to a specific major. I think I might actually prefer going out of state (east coast?)... I think liberal arts would probably be what I want, but really anything that doesn’t force me

    Do you like the idea of having to pursue multiple subjects through a core curriculum or distribution requirements, or do you want to be able to focus in on one subject without having to take anything else?

    I prefer either no core curriculum or a very limited one!

    Do you feel the need to meet with your professors regularly, or are you more interested in self-directed learning?

    I like both— maybe a mix of the two?

    Do you like speaking up in class, or are you more of the silent type?

    I usually participate a lot!

    Do you want to live on campus, or are you excited to get an apartment as soon as possible?

    Live on campus all 4 years!!!

    Do you like small, close-knit communities, or are you more energized when you are part of a broader community?

    I think I don’t want it to be too small, but definitely not a giant community where I wouldn’t know anyone. I’m thinking 500-2500 per grade for size

    Do you want to be able to go home regularly? (When considering this, be sure to take into account the cost of travel, not just the proximity of a train station, bus depot, or airport.)

    Not important

    Would you feel bummed if there wasn’t a big party to go to on a Saturday night?

    Definitely not

    Are you interested in Greek life?

    Nope

    Do you want to be able to get an internship close to campus, or is that something you’d be willing to have to go somewhere else for in the summers?

    Ideally I’d be able to do either— but if there’s nothing close by that’s fine.

    Most importantly, what do you want to study? (Where you apply must offer what you want to study.)

    Biology, but could also have a minor in French? I like options so probably a liberal arts school?

    Hopefully this process shows how you can begin to define what kinds of schools will best match your interests.

    My immediate reaction is that you are most likely to find a match among the small liberal arts colleges which are scattered across the country although the heaviest concentration is in the Northeast. Williams College, for example, with its tutorials, seminars, and collaborative leaning projects during Winter Study in January fits well with a high participatory style. Williams also has an open curriculum with minimal distribution requirements and no Greek life. With an enrollment of 2100, Williams seems like it would be big enough for your liking, but you may find some of these LACs to be too small. Williams is a very difficult place to gain admission partly because more than a third of the spots go to varsity athletes. Other examples are Middlebury, Vassar, and Carleton. There are also women’s LACs like Smith and Wellesly if you’re interested

    The key to finding colleges which have smaller classes is to look at the student-faculty ratio. If it is less than 10:1, then chances are good that there will be lots of small classes. There are universities bigger than the small LACs which fit this description. Most of the Ivies would, but most of the Ivies have Greek life as do many of the older colleges. The exceptions are Harvard and Princeton where frats and sororities are banned although there is a well known albeit small presence (no houses) at Princeton and rumors at Harvard. Rice is another University with small class sizes and no Greek life.

    Another alternative is the Claremont colleges in California, a sort of hybrid between the other two types. It is a consortium of 5 small colleges, each with its own focus, with all 5 campuses adjacent to each other and with cross registration available at all 5. There are also 3 Claremont graduate schools. Each of the 5 colleges provides the intimate learning community of a small LAC but with the resources, course selection, and social network of a midsize university (total undergrad + grad scroll enrollment is about 7500).

    All of the examples listed offer 4 year, on campus housing. All would offer Bio and French. There are many more of these kinds of schools. As you read, see which ones fit your criteria and which don’t.
    edited May 20
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  • flamingogirlflamingogirl 44 replies0 threads Junior Member
    Perhaps consider Boston College as a reach school.

    I agree with the post about FISKE's book of colleges sit down and read through every college, cross out colleges with factors that worry you. Strength of religious affiliation, setting, boy girl ratio, size, instate student percentage, international student percentage, sororities/fraternities/party ranking/percentage of commuter students.

    Also consider the difference in the vibe between the West and East coast. Once you have ruled out schools that you wouldn't enjoy organize the schools which stand out to you by price and national/global ranking. From the book take about 20 colleges which stand out then do more individual research to narrow it down.
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  • baeriabaeria 57 replies1 threads Junior Member
    In Iowa, look at U of Iowa, Grinnell, Cornell College, and Drake. Outside of Iowa, look into Knox and Beloit (two of the CTCL colleges). I second looking into LACs.
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