College fit for me

I'm an 17 year old. What college would be a good for me among prestigious colleges? I want to start my career in finance IB/PE/HF and etc. But, I don't plan to make it a life career. After a few years, I want to explore other career like International relations, nonprofits, etc.

Obviously finance is a lucrative and prestigious career that enables me to extend my network and gain valuable professional experience; yet, I want to use those perks as a tool to get closer to what I genuinely am passionate about.

Also, I don't think finance lifestyle is a good fit for me. I'd like to meet countless interesting people and travel all around the world. I would live like a busy finance bro for a few years, but not my entire life.

In addition, I would like to get liberal arts education rather than pre-professional study. I believe college is where you get education on classics, philosophy, sociology, political science, mathematics, physics, etc. There are plenty of opportunities to learn about finance stuff.

I'm more of a conservative but I wouldn't mind liberal college campus. I believe I can find friends with similar ideologies and sometimes it's good to share different thoughts and backgrounds.

I'm also into secret societies and social clubs since I want to network with influential people, old money family, etc. Preppiness would be a plus but not essential. I heard more percentage of students at Yale and Princeton are involved in secret societies and eating clubs than the ones in final clubs at Harvard. I'm not sure about other colleges.

I'm not considering financial aid, btw. I know it's long, but any advice?

Comments (18)

  • Intern in Consulting
May 2, 2022 - 10:31pm

First, actually learn about what you're saying. This post screams watching Wolf of Wall Street once, very narrow. We all were there once, but if you're going to be set on entry level finance this early then actually do something with the advantage of time.

Second, focus on getting into college first. Apply to at least 10 of the top 20, because the odds are you won't get into any except a few. Build skills that would be of value to finance industry employers such as reading financial statements to build a financial model, and then offer to work unpaid for a company in your hometown over the summer. An internship looks great on a college application, as well as 3-4 very meaningful and impressive extracurriculars. Also have to be top 10% of your class and have taken 6+ AP courses.

Sounds like you'd like management consulting if you don't want to be in finance + value travel and lifestyle.

  • Prospect in IB - Gen
May 2, 2022 - 10:37pm

I do sound like a teenager, indeed. I actually have done elementary level internship, founded social enterprise, and taken many ap classes as you said! Looks like I need to focus more on what I'm doing now. I appreciate your advice :)

  • Intern in Consulting
May 2, 2022 - 10:47pm

Looks like you'll do just fine come college application season then, good job. T5 USNews are supertargets (almost guaranteed finance career if you have social skills), T20 USNews are targets with on-campus recruiting (high chance of first-round interviews), and then past that your best bets are schools with investment banking workshops, usually the flagship oldest school in your state.

For a cultural fit, definitely put stress on applying to Princeton and Dartmouth, and after that it would be UPenn and Cornell as they have business schools and Cornell has fraternities. All T20s have student-run investment funds which helps with informal work experience in finance, and also look for pro-bono consulting clubs.

  • Analyst 1 in HF - EquityHedge
May 3, 2022 - 12:51pm

Look at Claremont McKenna College - checks a few of your boxes (liberal arts, secret societies, etc). Very strong/tight alumni network too

  • Prospect in IB - Gen
May 3, 2022 - 3:16pm

I have thought about it and visited Duke campus too. Gorgeous. But, I'm not sure if I like Duke enough to apply ED. But, I'll definitely do more research into it. Thank you!

  • Incoming Analyst in IB - Cov
May 3, 2022 - 8:03pm

One of my parents is foreign service and it couldn't be more different from banking… definitely research more and figure out what you actually want to do. Pay ceiling is a lot lower in the public sector than finance, tech, and consulting. If you're drawn to the travel aspect of it, then definitely look into consulting.

Right now focus on getting into the best possible school. Make sure it sends people to MBB and investment banks every year or it'll be tougher to break in. I got in from a non target but it's not easy. Sounds like you'll be surrounded by driven kids wherever you go, so that'll help. Best of luck.

May 5, 2022 - 6:24pm
Colonoscopy3, what's your opinion? Comment below:

If you're serious about finance for a bit and REALLY want IB, just shotgun to the target schools and semi-target schools. Get a few safety schools that have decent placement as well. IU Kelley has a pretty high acceptance rate relative to how good the school is for IB.

Getting into an Ivy League or similar caliber school is going to be incredibly difficult. Not only should you have straight A's and probably a 34/1500+ on the ACT or SAT, but you need to show extracurricular activities that highlight the best qualities about yourself. Working jobs, getting a basic internship, volunteering, student government, and athletics can all be good activities to showcase.

Your essays are going to be what separate you from everyone else barring you have a business or political campaign with significant revenue or following. You need to discuss some of your experiences, how they have translated to your purpose, and how a university would best help you reach your purpose.

College admissions are a crap shoot now. I read a few minutes ago of some people on here saying "you should have tried harder in high school if you were serious about IB" but within the last couple of admissions cycles, decisions are seemingly random and you can do everything right and still not be good enough. 

If you're unhappy with how it works out and your final choices of schools, I highly suggest transferring. Some schools are very transfer friendly, but some are not. If you are willing to sacrifice a year or two to apply to a bunch of schools it's up to you. I'm currently trying to transfer myself from a non target to a target/semi-target. 

Best of luck to you.

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
May 11, 2022 - 8:07pm

As someone at an ivy, you almost can't "try" to get into these top schools anymore, you just do. That doesn't necessarily mean you effortlessly over-achieve, but that you just appeal to admissions. Some people just have that aura and colleges figure it out from your essays and letters of recommendations.

The only people who "try" to get in, and do, have been grinding since elementary school.

May 11, 2022 - 8:58pm
Colonoscopy3, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Well there has to some deciding factor between thousands of applicants with 4.0s, perfect SATs and ACTs, as well as a challenging course load. The aura of an applicant doesn't mean anything if they cannot clear an academic and leadership bar that grows higher and higher every year.  The point about appealing to admissions is very true, but it is massively subjective. Having an X factor is very important, but my point is that it is quickly becoming a game of chance at the very top. 

If you don't mind the question, what aura did you present to the admissions committee at the Ivy League school you attend, and why do you think it was captivating enough to earn you a spot at an S tier university?

May 5, 2022 - 10:28pm
early_morning112, what's your opinion? Comment below:

what's your SAT, ACT, and gpa... If you don't have 1580/36/3.96 then forget HYPSM. If you don't have 1550/34/3.93 then forget T20.

  • Prospect in IB - Gen
May 5, 2022 - 11:27pm

I have 1440/4.4W/4.0UW currently. Planning to take it a couple of more times to get 1500+. Average sat scores for those schools range from 1500 to 1540. I think I have a strong spike on character and extracurricular that can compensate academics a little bit.

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
May 11, 2022 - 8:10pm

You'd want 1540+ at least. Grind practice tests.

  • Intern in IB - Cov
May 11, 2022 - 10:01pm

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