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Good college for me

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Hi all,

I'm a high school junior very interested in math and enrolled in Calculus AB. I've been studying Apostol's Calculus volume one in my own time and plan to take the Calculus BC test. This summer I want to take Calculus III at a local university and then linear algebra concurrently with the first semester of my senior year if there are no schedule conflicts.

In school I get As and (a lot of) Bs, in the hardest classes possible (full IB diploma candidate)

I recently took the SAT and did better than I ever thought I would, getting 800 in both math and reading and 770 in writing.

My main interests are studying math with a possible double major in math and either linguistics or international relations. But the most important to me is math.

Which colleges should I be applying to, that are both withing my reach and have good math programs? I want to go to the University of Chicago but I doubt they'd accept me with my middle-of-the-road grades. Any ideas?
 

Answers and Replies

1,703
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if money is not an issue apply to all the good schools and some safety schools. only go to the ones that will give you money though. graduate school is what matters most and if you do well in uni you can get into any grad school you want.
 
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What do you mean by "all the good schools"? Places like Harvard are laughably out of reach unless I win a Nobel Prize or two by the time I apply. Money is not that big of an issue: the less I pay, the better, but my family can afford expensive schools without extreme hardship.

I'm not just grinding out four years in the hopes of improving my chances at an academic career. Getting into a good graduate school is very important, but I'd also like a college where I'll be stimulated and challenged. So saying it doesn't matter where I go, as long as I do well there, is something of a fallacy.

But thanks for the advice.
 
1,073
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I would say definitely apply to the University of Chicago, and in general any school should take into account the difficulty of your course load, so if you have As, but more Bs, but with very difficult courses that wouldn't be the worst thing. Chicago has an excellent math department, and provides tons of opprtunities for its undergraduates to do research during the summer, at the least, and oppurtunities to do more math outside of class during the school year.
 
489
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How good are your state schools? I know that people usually look down on those, but
1) You'll get in
2) The research faculty at, say, Michigan is in the same league as most of the Ivies.
3) You'll be able to do undergrad research and take grad classes just the same as if you were at an Ivy.
4) You can save your $150k for when you're a penniless grad student at Chicago.

Just as a point of reference, I went to a (bad) state school and am more than holding my own against the people from the "good" schools in math grad school.
 
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So saying it doesn't matter where I go, as long as I do well there, is something of a fallacy.
I think that a high school junior shouldn't be quite so fast to decide which advice he will and will not accept from people who have "been there". Sometimes the most valuable advice is the advice we were not looking for.

That said, I don't understand why you seem to think your less-than-stellar grades are inevitable. You haven't got grades for 2 - the most important 2 - of the 7 semesters colleges will base their decisions on. If you think that your grades need to come up, you should be working on getting your grades up. All the more so if you are doing college work now.
 
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Thanks for the advice, everyone.

I'm definitely grateful and willing to accept all advice.

Also, by the way, I'm in Arizona. We have three state universities. I'd probably be going to the University of AZ if I were to stay in-state.
 

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