Where should I go?

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Discus: College Admissions: 2002 - 2003 Archive: May 2003 Archive: Where should I go?
By Quarky (Quarky) on Monday, May 26, 2003 - 01:24 pm: Edit

OK, here's the deal.
Caltech - wait-listed
Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT)- accepted
University of Idaho (UI) (a public school in my state) - accepted

There were 13 other acceptances, but I don't care about them now. I am not sure where I should go if Caltech rejects me. Here's the dilemma:

IIT: as long as I maintain 3.25 GPA, I get full tuition every year; the scholarship changes as tuition changes, so tuition is always at 0 for me; it's around 20000 bucks. I am also getting another scholarship from IIT worth 2000, also renewable for 4 years. So roughly 22000 total. I would live in their new dorms, which are over 3000 more expensive than the old ones, but these new ones are really cool and high tech. The sum of tuition, room, and board for me is around 30000, so I am left with 8000 in expenses, plus the usual things like books and the cost of living. College credits that IIT accepts from me:
Calculus for my Electrical Engineering major
Physics and Statistics for electives.
I would prolly also get second semester calc credit, cuz I am sure I will have at least a 4 on the BC exam... and I also aced their math placement exam. I also got the highest level I could get on their chemistry placement exam.

UI - giving me 6500 per year. Tuition, room, and board add up to a total of about 9500, not including books and miscellaneous expenses. I also got into their Honors Program.
UI accepts ALL college credits, but most of them are tiny little intro classes :) Also EE major.

In addition to school-specific scholarships, I have ONE-TIME scholarships of 2000, 1000, and 500 dollars, just for the first year.

IIT is clearly a better choice for engineering than UI, but it's more expensive. At UI, I know a lot of people, many of my friends are going there. Plus, I would be able to see my parents since they live in Idaho. IIT is in Chicago, which might be too big for me (although I used to live in Omsk, Russia, with a pop. of 2 mill people). Something that really scares me is the crime -- a couple of weeks ago, my IIT admission counselor was murdered in the hall of her apartment building, where she'd moved only three weeks before her death. I don't want this to happen to me, so I would be much safer at UI. In addition, my current employer is Jack in the Box (fast food), so I could transfer from my current store to the one they have up in Moscow, ID where UI is located. Result? A guaranteed place of employment (PT).

Please advise on the situation. Your advices may include, but aren't limited to, other factors that I should include when deciding, your opinion on which school I should choose, and others.

FYI, my academic needs can be inferred from my HS stats:

4.19 or somewhere in there weighted GPA.
800M 550V SAT (english = second language)
34 ACT. Highest ACT subscores from diff tests: 34 eng, 36 math, 34 read, 34 science.
SATII: 730 writing, 720 phys, 800 iic, 650 chem, 630 bio-E.

AP Exams: just US govt, comp Govt, and Calc BC this year. Expecting 3's on the govt exams and 5 on BC.

got close to 30 college credits in low-level classes, but they are still good at UI.

All EC's and awards are in math/sci/engineering. Organized a couple of state and natl engineering/science competitions at my school. Was a team captain for a couple of years. Did research on the phenomenon of sonoluminescence -- built an apparatus with my partner and stuff like that.
Got a bunch of state and regional awards in math/sci/eng/business. Got a national science award from ExploraVision, but didn't win at the national level.

By Harvardguy (Harvardguy) on Monday, May 26, 2003 - 03:07 pm: Edit

Mr. Quarky, after careful evaluation of your academic profile, I concluded that you have a talent in mathematics and physics; therefore, I recommend planning the following for your future education:

1) I think that University of Idaho would be a better choice for you at this time. After one year, you will be able to transfer to Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge) and Harvard University (Cambridge).
2) Knowing that you have an extraordinary talent in mathematics and science, you can major in mathematics at Harvard; while simultaneously being enrolled at Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a major in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

Although this plan may seem challenging, it is definitely practical in your case. Moreover, successful completion of this program will guarantee your acceptance to an excellent graduate school. MIT and Harvard are looking for talented students like you. I hope Iíll see you next year at Harvard, Mr. Quarky. Good Luck!

By Quarky (Quarky) on Monday, May 26, 2003 - 06:27 pm: Edit

Hmm. Yeah, that's true -- I forgot that you can take classes at Harvard when they're not offered at MIT. But if I am majoring in math/EE, then what's the point of attending Harvard? Wouldn't it be better if I just went to MIT?

You think that UI is better for me at this moment. But isn't it true that MIT/Harvard would rather accept a transfer from a decent eng school like IIT than somebody from the middle of nowhere, UI?

Thank you for your time and advices.

By Stanfordhopeful (Stanfordhopeful) on Monday, May 26, 2003 - 06:49 pm: Edit

Hey Quarky, looks like you have a genuine interest in Math/Science, just like me!

Anyway, since you know a lot about Caltech, guage my chances:

SAT: 1560 800 M 760 V
SAT II: 800 Math IIC, 750 Writing, 780 US History, Physics 780, 800

GPA: 4.00

Advanced Placement Courses taken: AP Physics B, AP Calculus BC, AP US History, AP Pyschology, Research in Physics, I expect to get 5's on all of them.

Senior year course schedule: AP Physics C, AP Macroeconomics, AP Microeconomics, AP US Goverment, AP English, AP Computer Science, AP Chemistry, Multivariable Calculus and Differential Equations


Model UN (won several awards, likely to hold position next year)
Science Olympiad Team
Assistant Editor for School Science Publication
Assistant Editor for School Math Publication
Editor for School Newspaper
Key Club
Red Cross Volunteer
2 Years Administrative Internship at Law Firm
Advanced Elective Math/Science Courses at Local Unviversity
Doing an INTEL project this summer on Physics
AIME participant - twice
AMC 10 school champion
Math Team - 1 year
School representative to several Social Science conferences
EXTREMELY competitive, nationally renowned Public HS

Does Caltech offer academic scholarships? Since I am not eligible for need-based aid of any kind, I am international, I don't know how I am going to finance my education there. Our school has a pretty good record with them, they rarely reject anyone.

By Quarky (Quarky) on Tuesday, May 27, 2003 - 11:46 pm: Edit

Please email me at medvedbr@hotmail.com. I tried sending you an email with my response, but it appears that it is no longer valid. I need ur address, so please email me to let me know what it is. I will then copy+paste my reply.

By Altereagle (Altereagle) on Wednesday, May 28, 2003 - 09:47 am: Edit


At this point in time, I would say forget about Caltech, and work in making your decision between IIT and UI.

With respect to this, I hope you have visited IIT. They do seem to be a respected school educationally, so you need to decide if you can be comfortable on their campus and the surrounding environment. If you cannot, then your decision is easy, stay in Idaho. If you can feel comfortable, then you will need to decide if you are willing to make the financial commitment to IIT. Also you need to determine what level of education you plan on stopping at, and what you plan on doing with your career. I know this is early in your decision process, but if your long term plans are to stay in Idaho or the surrounding Northwest, then going to UI is probably your best bet. If you are wanting to go on to graduate school and you don't care where you end up after you finish schooling, then I would say IIT may be your answer.

I find your name interesting, since you are asking about Caltech. From what you have posted your stats are there, your chances of being accepted to Caltech will probably come down to letters of rec and your essays. Make sure you find teachers that know you and have had a history of writing great recs. Then it comes down to writing essays that give them a great glimpse of you, and grab their attention to see that you would be a fit for their program.. What that is, I don't know but good luck figuring it out.

By Quarky (Quarky) on Wednesday, May 28, 2003 - 02:38 pm: Edit

Thank you for the nice post, altereagle. I am definitely going to graduate school, going as high as I can. So you're right -- is MIT's grad school going to want someone from UI or IIT? Most likely the latter (MIT is just an example, i dont really wanna go there).

I cannot say I feel comfortable at any of the campuses. UI is way too small and is not located in a town. Why? Because the town (Moscow) is located in the college! When sending mail there, you don't even need a street address, just "University of Idaho." It's pretty sad. And people get drunk all the time, which is not something I want to do excessively.

I will disregard your advice and won't forget about Caltech, since the Ad. Off. said that they have not sent out their decisions yet (this means that my not having received a decision doesn't imply a rejection). I would hate to hurt my brain deciding between IIT and UI if I end up going to Caltech. So, I will just wait another week from my decision and then decide between IIT and UI, if necessary. I'm leaning towards IIT.

By Cornellian07 (Cornellian07) on Wednesday, May 28, 2003 - 03:30 pm: Edit

Quarky, you said that "IIT is clearly a better choice for engineering than UI, but it's more expensive." But you had just mentioned that you had a full ride there. So I don't understand what you meant by that. I would definitely choose IIT if I were you.

By Quarky (Quarky) on Wednesday, May 28, 2003 - 06:41 pm: Edit

No; I said they are paying me full tuition. Tuition is only about 2/3 of the total cost, which doesn't include transportation, personal expenses, and miscellaneous fees. Tuition+room+board alone amount to 30000, 20000 of which is tuition. So it is not even close to a full ride.

By Quarky (Quarky) on Wednesday, May 28, 2003 - 08:56 pm: Edit


By Momof2 (Momof2) on Thursday, May 29, 2003 - 09:24 am: Edit

Congrats Quarky on an excellent set of choices before you. My take is that (Caltech aside for the moment) IIT would probably be well worth the extra cost, but ONLY IF you feel comfortable there. If you truly think you will feel uneasy at school, you won't be at your best. On the other hand, Ive never been much of a risk-taker. How much time have you spent at IIT? I would go with my gut feeling on this one and keep in mind that your choice of grad school will probably have a much greater effect on your future career.

By Quarky (Quarky) on Thursday, May 29, 2003 - 01:07 pm: Edit

Thanks, I will take those suggested factors into consideration.

By Billy14_007 (Billy14_007) on Thursday, May 29, 2003 - 01:15 pm: Edit

I live in Maryland. I was wondering what are the top colleges in the area. Like 1-2 hours awayway. Please list your answer in order.

By Billy14_007 (Billy14_007) on Thursday, May 29, 2003 - 01:18 pm: Edit

*D.C and Virginia colleges also =)*

By Quarky (Quarky) on Thursday, May 29, 2003 - 02:18 pm: Edit

I live in Idaho. I was wondering what are the chances of you stopping posting irrelevant messages in this forum area. Awaywaywyawyayway. Also, Idaho is not even close to D.C and Virginia colleges. Please maintain order in this forum.

Hehe :)

By Creatorcat (Creatorcat) on Thursday, May 29, 2003 - 04:37 pm: Edit

good luck

By Quarky (Quarky) on Thursday, May 29, 2003 - 05:36 pm: Edit

LOL, you already wished me luck a zillion times :)
Thanks, though.

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