List is TOO long - need to cut..cut...cut

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Discus: What Are My Chances?: September 2003 Archive: List is TOO long - need to cut..cut...cut
By Bnp182 (Bnp182) on Monday, September 01, 2003 - 10:43 pm: Edit

Hi everyone, I have spent the majority of the summer researching schools and deciding on a list to apply to. I definitely want to do something related to engineering, math, science, and economics in college. However, I donít want to go to a school that is all engineering (ex. Caltech, RPI, Cooper Union) and I want to go to one that is god in engineering and also good in liberal arts. I am pretty competitive in the applicant pool with strong (not extraordinary) stats. I probably will get rejected by the first 5 and get into some of the rest. My only problem is that I have way to many on my list (including the whole Ivy league) and I feel that my teacher will be a little turned off come time for recommendations. Also, i am worried that the colleges (especially Ivy League) will know that I am applying to so many, and in turn reject me for not caring enough about their school. I have posted a list with a little description why I want to go there.

1520 (800M, 720 V)
800 IIC, 770 Writing, 800 Chem
AP: 5(Stat),4(Eng Lang),5 Comp A),5(Chem)

JETS Capitan (CA champs), some other clubs...

Tons of golf (lots of tournaments, clubs, teams) placed in a few, ranked in CA, but not good enough to play for Stanford and the like.

Other stuff like some awards, blah blah

College List:
Stanford (I love Stanford. EA all the way)
Harvard (because it is Harvard)
Yale (because it is Yale)
MIT (because it is MIT)
Princeton (I really like Princeton, want to do ED there, but decided against it)
Northwestern (I like Northwestern's engineering and liberal arts programs)
Cornell (same)
Penn (I really really want to do the M&T program or Wharton, definitely apply here)
Columbia (Like the location and majors)
Brown (uhh...not sure...well, it is in Ivy League!)
Dartmouth (same as above)
Duke (Donít like location, and not to sure about applying)
UCs (B,LA,SD,D) (safeties)
UIUC (safeties)

As you can see, some reasons are stronger than others. Could you guys give me some reasons why I should or should not apply to some of the schools, especially Brown, Duke, and Dartmouth. Also, can you give me some adivice about where I would have a better chance and of where I have NO chance and should not apply. Thanks!

By Becks777 (Becks777) on Monday, September 01, 2003 - 10:56 pm: Edit

Hey i have a great idea of cutting down your list!!!! DONT APPLY TO ANY OF THE UCs!!!!...people like u make it harder for people like me to get in

By Soozievt (Soozievt) on Monday, September 01, 2003 - 11:16 pm: Edit

I am only going to tackle one of your questions which was:
"Could you guys give me some reasons why I should or should not apply to some of the schools, especially Brown, Duke, and Dartmouth."

I do not think you should apply to any of the schools where you gave the reason that it is in the Ivy league. This is picking a college for the wrong reasons. It is fine to want a rigorous college, but there is more to picking a college than prestige. What if you have to answer "why this college" on your app or in an interview? I hope you have more reasons other than cause it is an Ivy league school. While my kid has a few Ivies on her list, she never picked them cause they were Ivies. She had specific criteria she wanted in a school, including a challenging school, and then went to pick schools that had what she wanted. She could make a list about each one and how it fit her needs or preferences. In fact, she equally likes her two first choices, one is Ivy, one is not. So, it is not like it
HAS to be Ivy for her. She spent tonight writing up why she wants to attend one of her top choices (for the app). Believe me, the fact that it is an Ivy had nothing to do with her extensive reasons.

So, back to your list...I would take off the following, unless you can give substantial reasons for wanting to attend:

I would have to hear what your criteria for selecting a college is (I surely hope MORE than it simply being Ivy), cause already I cannot fathom the same person liking Columbia as liking Dartmouth or Brown. For instance, Columbia is super urban, Dartmouth is rural. Columbia has a very stringent core curriculum and Brown has an open curriculum. I could go on but you get the idea.

Your scores sound great, as does the golf. Not sure what Jets is. While there is more to an app than that, it is apparent you have some good stats. You need to figure out what you want in a school and find which ones match that wish list. Stanford, Cornell, Penn, Northwestern, and Columbia already come across to me as schools you feel some relation to and some excitement about.

By Wobudong (Wobudong) on Monday, September 01, 2003 - 11:23 pm: Edit

If you really want engineering with a touch of liberal arts, the two Ivy's with top engineering programs are Princeton and Cornell. Princeton has the stronger undergrad focus. The other Ivy's are not as strong in engineering as many non-Ivies. The choice also depends on the type of engineering that interests you, if you know. The best on your list for biomedical, for example, is Duke by a long shot. Next would be UCSD. Looks like you threw together a list based on your perception of prestige without really looking into the specific curriculum or environment of any. I recommend going to the web pages of the specific departments that interest you for each school and checking out the undergrad programs as well as who teaches what.

By Bnp182 (Bnp182) on Monday, September 01, 2003 - 11:46 pm: Edit

I know what you are saying. I have spent a long time looking at these schools. I want to do something engineering/economics related - so I have become interested in industrial engineering. However, I would be satisfied with just economics, but not with something like Electrical or Chemical engineering. The problem with Duke, Dartmouth, Brown is that they are not as prestigious as Harvard, MIT, Yale and have the same quality engineering (actually - they donít even have an IE). SO I might cut them. I donít really know much about Harvard and Yale, other than the name and I'll be honest, that is enough for me to apply. My favorites are Stanford, Princeton and Penn. Reasons include that Stanford has a degree called MS&E (Management Science and Engineering), Princeton has ORFE (Operations Research and Financial Engineering) and Penn has the M&T (degrees in both engineering and Wharton) which fit me perfectly. I have always liked Northwestern and Cornell (but I am worried Cornell is a little to hardcore for me). Same with MIT. Well, there you have just blabbing and blabbing about why I want to go here and there!! hehe

By Bnp182 (Bnp182) on Monday, September 01, 2003 - 11:47 pm: Edit

oops, MIT has really really good Engineering. just a typo - ingnore that.

By Aspirer42 (Aspirer42) on Tuesday, September 02, 2003 - 12:06 am: Edit

Sounds like you can lop off Dartmouth and Brown right there. You do not, repeat, do *not*, need to apply to all of the Ivy League schools simply because of their reputation. If you want prestige for your engineering degree, it'd be best to either choose the MITs and Caltechs (because of their prominence) or choose which schools have the best engineering programs, since the people hiring engineers will know who they are and be more inclined to take them. You should really do as much investigating as you can into their programs before you apply- it may be a wee bit late for tours (says the guy who's going to Yale and Tufts in a few weeks, but never mind that), but you could probably get a goldmine of information by talking to current students and professors in their engineering programs, as well as maybe even some of the top hirers of IE and economics graduates. Doing that would probably help you cut your long list of Ivies to as few as two or three.
You'll probably want to keep UCB and maybe one other UC as a safety; you don't especially need 4 with your stats, though I'm not over on that side of the country and thus don't know too much about their selectivity. I'd also consider taking off UIUC, unless there was something about it (or any of the UCs, for that matter) that really impressed you when you looked at them... you *have* toured them, right? They're (assumedly) in the same state as you, so you could just hit one or two on a Saturday morning/afternoon if you haven't.
What about Duke don't you like? Its general area or its specific location in marginal Durham, NC?
And finally, not to add *another* school to your list, but if you're looking for balanced institutes, Swarthmore College is one of the top LACs in the nation, and I believe the only one with a thriving engineering program. You might want to check that out.

Now, take all of that with a gargantuan grain of salt, since I, after all, am no more older than you. That's just my perspective, and I hope it helps.

By Soozievt (Soozievt) on Tuesday, September 02, 2003 - 12:24 am: Edit

Aspirer wrote:
"it may be a wee bit late for tours (says the guy who's going to Yale and Tufts in a few weeks, but never mind that)"
Do not worry! It is not too late for you to tour/visit! going in a late September is fine. The main thing is that you are going and even before you file the application. While we did our visits during junior year, I think this fall will work fine for you. Yes, it is helpful to have this out of the way junior year so as to use this fall for applying. But I can tell you that during our fall visits last fall, there were seniors on the tours as well. You are fine! Your post caught my eye as Tufts and Yale are my daughter's first choices and we are returning to each for a second visit this fall. Good luck...I hope you both get in !

By Chasgoose (Chasgoose) on Tuesday, September 02, 2003 - 12:33 am: Edit

Take off Duke, Brown, and Dartmouth because you obviously are just interested in them for prestige-whore reasons.

To some extent the same goes for Harvard and Yale unless you do some more research. I know for a fact on the Yale application you have to explain why you are applying and "because its Yale" is not going to cut it.

Take off maybe one of the UC's (I know that it is still just one application) and take off UIUC unless you have a good reason to want to go there because you probably will get in to one of the UC's.

Also if you want liberal arts and engineering there is no reason for you to be applying to the Massachusetts Institute of TECHNOLOGY because that is going to be solely engineering focused and as you say "I donít want to go to a school that is all engineering (ex. Caltech, RPI, Cooper Union) and I want to go to one that is god in engineering and also good in liberal arts." That description fits MIT to a tee. Also MIT falls under the Harvard/Yale category where you have to have a better reason than "because it is MIT."

Last and defintely least, you might want to cut either Cornell or Northwestern because although academically and reputationally they are very similar for the program that you want, environmentally they are completely different and they generally will not appeal to the same person.

By Bnp182 (Bnp182) on Tuesday, September 02, 2003 - 12:52 am: Edit

Thanks for the info. I would lean more towrds Northwestern than Cornell (boring Ithaca, crazy amount of work). I am applying to UIUC because it is rolling admissions (I just want to know some school out there wants me if I get in). The reason I am applying to MIT is because it is so good in engineering, well, thats about it. I really dont like the rest of the school, its atmosphere, its attitude (sorry if this offends anyone). To Soozviet: what if I get into Harvard or Yale...WOW!...that would be awesome. Also, I continuosly ask my you think I should really apply here or there? only to hear - just forget about it and apply. hehe, they really dont care. The funny thing is everytime I feel like cutting a school, I get this weird feeling like I might have gotten in and ended up attending. AHH! Well, any more ideas?!?!

By Chasgoose (Chasgoose) on Tuesday, September 02, 2003 - 01:17 am: Edit

If you got into Harvard or Yale said WOW! and went there with no idea of the course offerings or what the school is like you run the risk of being extremely unhappy. I just think that you should spend a little more time researching your potential colleges before or at least after you apply. Then you might be better able to know what you want.

Also if you have decided you don't like the atmosphere and attitude of MIT why in God's name are you applying there?! Academics are only part of your time at the school, the atmosphere and attitude will be with you all the time. I can't even count on my fingers the number of schools I am not applying to on the basis of atmosphere alone (Harvard, Williams, Stanford, Princeton, MIT, UPenn, Cornell, Dartmouth, Northwestern, JHU, Georgetown, and the list goes on and on.) even though I love the academics at all of them. (With the exception of MIT because along with the atmosphere I also don't want to go there because I am more interested in english/history than engineering) If you are accepted and you go to MIT you are guaranteeing yourself that you will be miserable for the next four years of your life. Do not just go because the reputation is good, go because you could envision yourself being happy there for the next four years. Believe me, academics are fairly similar at the schools you are applying to, it is the environment that truly should make the difference in where you choose to go.

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