Ideas, anyone?

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Discus: College Search and Selection: June 2004 Archive: Ideas, anyone?
By Saturdayoracle (Saturdayoracle) on Thursday, June 17, 2004 - 05:38 pm: Edit

Soon-to-be-senior female looking for a few ideas. I'll be applying from LI in NY, so if a school considers geography as a factor, might be something to take into account. There's definite competition around here!

GPA: 95/100 UW
Rank: 1 or 2 (out of...heh...60)
SAT Is: 1540 (780M, 760V)
(note, took SAT Is once in ninth and once in tenth grade, 1300 both times)
Chem SAT II -> 780
Math IIC -> 720 (will retake)
Writing -> 660 (aiee, definitely shall retake)

Courses, mostly APs, the only score I know is 4 on AP European History last year. Awaiting Bio, US, Chem, and English Lang. Next year I'm jumping right into AP Physics B, AP Calc AB, and AP Lit. Fun! ;)

Important activities...

Newspaper editor, crazy involvement here. We publish a page in the local paper every other week, so I'm after school almost every day slaaaving away... We get community response and readership in the town, so it's a pretty serious charge. Related: literary magazine editor.

Graphic Design. I first took a course last year with an NYC designer who came out to teach us Quark and Photoshop, so ever since, I've been designing all ze posters, flyers, huge mosaic backdrops, newspapers, invitations, et cetera, that the school puts out. Related: web designer, computer graphics, independent art.

Research. Working on a chemistry research project, a year now. Possible Intel applicant if everything pans out, though we have yet to see.

I've got the other activities like NHS, trivia team, math league, et cetera. Also Presidential Classroom, a week trip to DC where we meet politicians and all. Fun but not vital, I suppose.

Summer, 9th: History of Disease in JHU's CTY course. Basically a three week residential intensive learning camp. But absolutely awesome.
Summer, 10th: Again, CTY, but Fundamentals of Computer Science this time 'round.
Summer, 11th: Biotechnology camp, w00t! Should be fun! No job experience, though... -.-

Heh, sorry for the long post! Swarthmore has been suggested to me, and I must say, it's very attractive; I am looking for a smaller school, probably a LAC, as the big Ivys are a tad scary. What's really important is strong academics and interesting students - I can't deal with ultra preppy, but I'd love a zany group of kids. Hey, as long as it's diverse... I know (as much as anyone can know at this point) I will major in a biology/chemistry related field, take as many philosophy classes I can, and master a language. And then grad school.


By Monoe (Monoe) on Thursday, June 17, 2004 - 05:44 pm: Edit

You are a mirror image of me in many ways! (Take that as a compliment at your own risk...)

I'm on LI, too, I scored in the mid-1500's, too, I am ticked at the competition here, too, I'm editor of my school's newspaper, too.

But I'm into English, not Biochemistry. Right on.

Anyway, colleges - if Swarthmore seems to big, don't go for Wesleyan, either.

Check Amherst, Middlebury, Bowdoin, Bates,...all 10 'Little Ivies' - they're top-shelf.

Don't shut Ivies off from consideration - they aren't all gigantic snobbery factories! Keep your options open.

By Saturdayoracle (Saturdayoracle) on Thursday, June 17, 2004 - 05:57 pm: Edit

Craazy. Heh, I meant smaller as in smaller than the normal, Swarthmore being an example (of small). Damn, my mad editing skills missed that one... ^_^

I'll check them out; I actually haven't looked into the ones you've mentioned yet. Thanks!

By Pistolpete (Pistolpete) on Thursday, June 17, 2004 - 05:59 pm: Edit

Any ideas as to where's okay (east coast only/west coast/midwest)? Do you want to be in a big city or a small town? Any weather preferences?

By Saturdayoracle (Saturdayoracle) on Thursday, June 17, 2004 - 06:27 pm: Edit

East, west, midwest, I really don't mind; weather, too, isn't a big issue at all. I'd far prefer a rural setting, though.

By Collegeparent (Collegeparent) on Thursday, June 17, 2004 - 06:29 pm: Edit

You might look at Wesleyan (strong science program), Bowdoin, Amherst, Haverford, Kenyon, Oberlin, Bates, Hamilton, Mt. Holyoke, Connecticut College, Vassar, Trinity, Bard, Pomona, Occidental, Colorado College, Carleton, Grinnell, Macalester and Juniata (for its bio/pre-med program), for starters.

Middlebury, Williams, Colgate, Bucknell, Lafayette, Denison and Colby may be a little too preppy for you.

A really strong science LAC is Harvey Mudd.

By Collegeparent (Collegeparent) on Thursday, June 17, 2004 - 06:34 pm: Edit

For rural, I amend my previous post to the following: Bowdoin, Kenyon, Bates, Colby, Hamilton, Mt. Holyoke, Middlebury, Colgate, Bard, Grinnell and Bucknell.

You should probably take a trip to Maine this summer to check out the three LACs there.

By Pistolpete (Pistolpete) on Thursday, June 17, 2004 - 06:55 pm: Edit

I think Williams should still be on that list...

By Mini (Mini) on Thursday, June 17, 2004 - 07:06 pm: Edit

Checking for "preppy" factor is relatively easy -- find the percentage of students 1) who attended private schools, and 2) the percentage of students on financial aid. The higher the first and the lower the second the bigger the preppy factor. Make yourself a chart -- seriously, this does work.

All the usual suspect LACs listed would suit the bill academically, and all could get you into good graduate schools -- it is just a matter of fit. (If you want to do science research with student-faculty collaborations beginning your freshman year - and get paid for it - you might add Smith to the list.) Earlham (rural) has 20+ percent biology majors, many doing research, and lots going to graduate school. Swarthmore is great, too, though not rural (unlike Williams, which is surrounded by mountainlets on four sides.)

By Saturdayoracle (Saturdayoracle) on Thursday, June 17, 2004 - 07:32 pm: Edit

Hmm, seeing how rural is rather limiting, I'll just say not in a huge city. Rural would be nice, but not something I want be a limiting factor. Science research opportunities would be great. Harvey Mudd is very cool, but very intimidating.

So, chart making strategies! Preppy factor calculations, enrollment, returning sophmore and graduationg percentages, science Ph.D. frequency, percent on to grad school, et cetera. I could include average SAT, acceptance rates and yield, for good measure. Hey, it'll help me, and maybe someone else might enjoy my compiling skills.

Also, how accurate are books like the Princeton Review on academics, environment, et cetera?

By Tropicanabanana (Tropicanabanana) on Thursday, June 17, 2004 - 11:48 pm: Edit

Definitely Wesleyan.

I found the written section of PR to be mostly accurate after visiting. But, you can get the same kind of comments just talking to students, anyway.

By Par72 (Par72) on Thursday, June 17, 2004 - 11:53 pm: Edit

Might want to look at Trinity, Holy Cross,and Bates.

By Reidmc (Reidmc) on Friday, June 18, 2004 - 02:06 am: Edit

Small rural LAC with zany not-so-preppy kids, excellent math/science and good academics across the board. . .definitely Grinnell.

A little bigger; a little preppier. . .Carleton.

If you reconsider urban/suburban, look at Reed and Macalester.

By Carolyn (Carolyn) on Friday, June 18, 2004 - 12:31 pm: Edit

Instead of Harvey Mudd, how about Pomona? It's in the same Claremont College Consortium so you can take classes at Harvey Mudd but Pomona is more well-rounded than HM. Really, the Claremont Colleges give you the best of both worlds: a small college atmosphere within a larger school setting. Scripps, also in the Claremont Colleges, would be another good possibility.

Occidental College, also in LA, would be a good safety for you and you'd probably get some merit money from them. Up in Washington State, do take a look at Whitman College. It's an outstanding liberal arts school that's very strong in the sciences. It's in a great small town but Seattle and Portland are a few hours away.

And, I do think you might want to take a look at Stanford as well. Best of luck.

By Therhino2005 (Therhino2005) on Friday, June 18, 2004 - 02:03 pm: Edit

If you are really as qualified as you say, you should consider going to an ivy. The world's best faculty, most beautiful campuses, brilliant students, and an unsurpassed reputation.

Given the colleges mentioned among the previous posts, I would say Dartmouth and Princeton sound most in line with what you are being shown/those you might be considering. Both are great schools with an undergraduate focus that gives you the same attention you get at a small college, while concurrently providing you access to unmatched resources, professors, facilities, and research. At the same time these schools give you access to a larger group of students (but not too large) in case you want to have more kids in your class than ahigh school which might be the case at some smaller schools.

And the great name is an added bonus!

By Bookworm (Bookworm) on Friday, June 18, 2004 - 02:48 pm: Edit

Add Caltech to your list. Small, quirky kids, great lcoation

By Thedad (Thedad) on Friday, June 18, 2004 - 04:07 pm: Edit

After visiting a number of schools, I've found Princeton Review to be mostly accurate and I found it to be the best of the guide books.

By Cangel (Cangel) on Friday, June 18, 2004 - 05:21 pm: Edit

You sound a lot like DD almost same SAT IIs, same SAT, but different breakdown, wants LACs, same schools, no California. Carleton is known for humor factor in the students (vs just quirkiness). DD is interested in Davidson, it's quite high on the Prep-O-Meter compared to the other places mentioned, but I think they are trying to attract geographic diversity, and your 1540 might count more for merit money than hers.

Good luck, I think you guys,along with Monoe will be covering some of the same territory.

By Laxgirl04 (Laxgirl04) on Friday, June 18, 2004 - 06:08 pm: Edit

I would definitely give a serious look at Rice University. I almost went there, and it seems like a perfect fit for you. The trouble with being a science major at a LAC is that you don't have the same sort of access to resources that you would at a large university; however, LACs are cozy and nurturing. Rice is the perfect compromise: it's almost LAC size (2600 undergrads) and the school can feel even smaller because you are affiliated with a residential college (about 400-500) which is the source of all social activities, etc, yet it has all the resources of a large university.

Having visited Rice on Owl Weekend (their admit days), I know this is NOT a preppy campus. Since Rice is about 10k less than its rivals (Ivy, Stanford, MIT), it tends to enroll a more middle-class population. You can go to class in pajamas and no one will care. People are very chill and friendly, but smart at the same time. They have great programs in all the sciences. You might also be able to get a merit scholarship (I did), which will make Rice even a better deal.

There is always a party on campus (among the 9? or so residential colleges), and the alcohol policy is extremely lax. Houston is right there if you want to get off campus, and the light rail system (new) helps you get around without a car.

I would apply ID (interim decision), which is a program sort of like EA but later. It is non-binding and I think you have to turn in your stuff by Dec 1. You hear back in Feb. Oh, and your location might actually help, because the university is working on decreasing its in-state population (about half of the school is from Texas).

The reasons why I chose against going to Rice (I'm attending Stanford) are somewhat personal. I decided that a LAC size school would grow old (too small) and I wanted more of a Jewish presence on campus (they share a Hillel with UT-Houston). But it was tough to turn down.

By Dave72 (Dave72) on Thursday, June 24, 2004 - 10:24 pm: Edit

I would definitely encourage you to look at Oberlin: I think it meets all the criteria on your list. Great academics, wonderful science programs (and a brand-new $65M science center), quirky, non-preppy students. Good luck!

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