Realistic Undergrad Schools

I am currently a junior in high school looking to crack into investment banking, or some finance career if not, with a 4.4 GPA and 1420 SAT trying to figure out what schools I’d be competitive at that would still set me up well. Any feedback or advice on what colleges or programs to look at with these basic statistics are greatly appreciated!


Thanks for the color. If you were AA/Hisp then I would say target schools for your profile were Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Stanford with safeties being MIT, maybe Duke on the low end.

As a white male… well, there’s nothing wrong with doing community college for a couple years then transferring to your local big state school. 


Schools that place you into BB/EBs are top schools in the US generally, or top programs from general non-targets (Kelly IBW). Just google target schools and those are the schools you wanna get into. Figure out where you wanna work (NYC, SF/LA, Chicago, Houston), what schools best place into those areas.

As for getting into those schools, no one can say anything unless you posted all your ECs, Essays, courseload, and even then who knows. Try r/applyingtocollege and r/chanceme once you’ve figured out what schools you want.


Rutgers is ur best bet, Jaime Dimon (CEO of JP Morgan) is an alumnus of this fantastic school. Even though a lot of movies make fun of Rutgers when talking about prestige, they are lying!


Large state schools such as (in order) UVA, UMich, UNC, UGA, IU-Kelley, UF are all schools you would be competitive for, and have robust pipelines into IBs.

Also, if you can get into Georgetown (it will be a reach) they punch above their weight in placements (compared to schools with similar academic profiles such as Emory, Vandy, WashU, USC)


dude he is realistically not competitive for UVA and UMich. maybe UNC. students of same caliber as Georgetown or emory go to these top state schools. I'm just going off the SAT score so OP no offense you might still have a shot at all those "reach" schools above 

+ I don't go to these schools so I am not sucking myself off here


It's been a while since I've had to think about college, so I can't really tell you how you stack up. For what it's worth, I did manage to go fancy schools. It sounds like you  may want to work on wall street, but aren't sure if you can get into a target school. One school that always punches above its weight on wall street is NYU. NYU is a great school that has all kinds of interesting programs, including a great mathematical finance program and MBA program. And it's in NYC, which means you have 4 years where you can walk over and meet with wall street people to network. It also has great programs in other areas in case you decide wall street isn't for you, which is very possible, people change a lot in college. And it looks like a fun place to do undergrad. But to be fair I did not go there.


As someone who got into Emory with a weaker profile (I am also a white male), it is def possible. Get good LoRs and write high quality essays.


You should look through the Common Data Set (Google: "[college name] common data set" and look at section C) for colleges that you are interested in applying to so you can get a realistic sense of where your scores fit into things. Here is Georgetown's, for example. They will also tell you how much they weigh different factors in your application. 

You should apply to Big 10 on the public-side and lower-Claremont, lower-NESCAC, and Patriot League schools on the private-side. Also, take into account factors like your extracurriculars/hook, your high school's ranking and relationship with schools, etc and even factors like your family's income level.  


Do yourself a favor and lie about your race. I’ll get MS for it but when a system is ethically dubious there is nothing unethical about rejecting it. Wish I had done it for my banking process and got a better BB, but I bought into the “ethics” garbage, don’t make my mistake.


Definitely look at UMich Ross, UVA, USC, and UNC CH. If you think you can't get into those, then think of Penn State and join either the NLF / LLC. Another great option would be Indiana University and joining IBW there. Also consider Rutgers, Fordham, Villanova, and Emory. All of these schools place into IB, with all these schools constantly expanding their alumni network on the street. Not sure how the rest of your admission profile looks (EC, quality of essay, strength of referral letters, etc) but always give it a shot to go for schools that are reaches like perhaps UMich Ross in your case.

If you’re a smart student with great work ethic, it doesn’t matter what school you go to. In fact, say you get into a superb school but you end up lazy, then you’re gonna have a hard time getting an offer anywhere on the street since you’re competing with other students who will always be beating you from that school.

At the end of the day, go to a school where you think you can see yourself enjoying college. Not everything is about IB. Trust me, you'll regret going to college just for the sake of breaking into banking. Let loose and have fun.

Regardless, I commend you for thinking about your career aspirations so early in life and trying to plan it out accordingly. Kudos!


Dude no way you put Emory at the same as Rutgers, Fordham, and Villanova. Emory is a way harder admit


Lol why are you so salty. I didn't place the mentioned schools in the same tier or ranking. I just suggested the OP also consider said schools in addition to the others. 


Lol, I said nearly the exact same thing. Applied to a handful of the schools listed above and got into some with a worse profile.


I was in a similar situation as OP in high school. I would highly recommend shooting for a less selective semi-target (IU, Fordham, Rutgers, etc.), working hard to get a 4.0 your freshman year, and then transferring to a target. I did this, and I found transferring to be much easier than applying out of high school.

I struck out on most schools out of high school, yet I got into almost every school I applied to for transferring. The transfer application pool seems to be much less competitive, and your college GPA is the most important factor. Also, I found college classes to be much easier than high school classes, especially as a finance/business major.

Additionally, some schools are surprisingly unselective regarding transfer applicants. For example, I believe UVA has a 40% transfer acceptance rate, partially because it doesn't have an in-state quota for transfers. You also have multiple opportunities to transfer (freshman spring, sophomore fall & spring).

Lastly, I know many people who managed to get great IB jobs from those semi-targets listed, so even if you can't transfer, anything is possible! Even if you end up at a MM bank/back office BB role, you can always lateral/internally transfer to BB/EB investment banking. My point here is that you have many fallbacks even if you end up at a semi-target/non-target.

Feel free to PM me with questions, and good luck!


I will say transferring into targets (HYPSM) is notoriously difficult and sometimes impossible (i remember one year Dartmouth took like 5 transfers and their acceptance rate was 0.4%). UVA/Mich/UT/UNC and other larger schools like Vandy/Gtown make transferring a lot easier comparatively. Hard targets are typically only looking for non traditional or lateral transfers and nobody should really expect that they can transfer into a T10 without a really good reason (and money).


hot take but it doesn't matter what school you go to. as long as there's a decent pipeline and you work hard and join clubs u should be fine 


You still have time to pull up that test score. Some of the people giving you advice right now haven’t recently applied to colleges but look at C/o 2025/26 LinkedIns and most of them are 33 ACT/1500SAT+. With your GPA (assuming its not over inflated) these scores are more than attainable. After that, yes look into big state schools with established pipelines like UVA/Mich/UNC/UT and make sure your ECs/Essays reflect a good addition to the student body. Privates are worth a shot only if you have an angle (ie, legacy, amazing story/essays, athlete, URM). Otherwise they’re crazy expensive usually and can be alienating if you havent been setting yourself up to get into one this whole time in HS.


they need to come up with a new test if 1420 isnt a decent enough score to give you a shot at the gtowns, emorys, BCs. that used to be a solid score. SAT must now be a how much money can you throw at a tutor whose solved the exam.


Quis corporis est molestiae sint ex unde. Quidem molestiae sunt molestias quidem delectus modi quas. Nemo sed eos quasi rerum tempora.

Id in nobis et doloremque numquam deserunt necessitatibus. Maiores itaque eos a minus aperiam id. Impedit voluptatibus doloribus incidunt aliquid autem ex. Autem aut nostrum sit soluta a ipsa aut. Ratione aperiam possimus aut. Dolores harum voluptas sit.

Sint non qui enim et incidunt asperiores. Quasi ratione aut quas repudiandae repellat. Sit labore culpa blanditiis minima qui ut molestiae. Beatae et nobis qui doloremque unde.

Et a voluptatibus sunt eligendi eius. Natus quisquam iure in iure molestiae quasi. Consequatur id necessitatibus qui dignissimos. Doloribus et atque nisi possimus ipsa. Et quam et et ut quis reiciendis eveniet et. Sit debitis voluptatem dicta aut corporis provident.


Sed id odit sed ea iure. Voluptatem in iste molestiae et. Officiis officiis consequuntur autem ipsam minus. Voluptas similique quia qui deserunt. Et velit ut assumenda quo cupiditate consequatur error inventore.

Officiis quaerat vitae a officiis ducimus eius qui. Non aut ipsa itaque tempore non odit. Et eveniet in et expedita. Sint enim cumque doloribus natus. Et voluptatem perspiciatis neque aut eaque ex.

Autem officia sed veniam laboriosam esse nihil voluptas laudantium. Veniam et temporibus mollitia.

Est quibusdam maxime corrupti. Aliquid facere ex quo temporibus illo. Dolor occaecati et quia similique quia qui. Porro consequatur aliquid minima sit molestiae sint.


Voluptatem saepe mollitia sint dolorem qui repellat molestiae voluptas. Laudantium accusamus velit voluptatem sed. Omnis ducimus tempora adipisci reprehenderit. Minima explicabo est consequuntur aut rerum. Exercitationem dignissimos error molestias non. Totam consequatur voluptatem et qui. Consequatur est reprehenderit provident cum amet totam modi facilis.

Ratione est explicabo sit ut nihil deserunt. Ratione provident repellat itaque impedit perferendis. Ullam vero adipisci eos temporibus voluptatum rerum.

Architecto occaecati nam perferendis qui numquam quidem. Qui vel architecto nam iure nostrum iste illo. Neque est aut et eum voluptatibus. Et delectus qui soluta debitis at.

Career Advancement Opportunities

December 2023 Investment Banking

  • Lincoln International 01 99.6%
  • Lazard Freres (++) 99.1%
  • Jefferies & Company 02 98.7%
  • William Blair 12 98.3%
  • Financial Technology Partners 02 97.9%

Overall Employee Satisfaction

December 2023 Investment Banking

  • William Blair 04 99.6%
  • Lincoln International 10 99.1%
  • Moelis & Company 25 98.7%
  • Stephens Inc 11 98.3%
  • Jefferies & Company 08 97.8%

Professional Growth Opportunities

December 2023 Investment Banking

  • Lincoln International 01 99.6%
  • Lazard Freres 17 99.1%
  • Jefferies & Company 02 98.7%
  • Financial Technology Partners 06 98.3%
  • UBS AG 16 97.8%

Total Avg Compensation

December 2023 Investment Banking

  • Director/MD (6) $592
  • Vice President (34) $390
  • Associates (167) $258
  • 3rd+ Year Analyst (15) $187
  • 2nd Year Analyst (106) $168
  • Intern/Summer Associate (48) $167
  • 1st Year Analyst (322) $166
  • Intern/Summer Analyst (234) $95
16 IB Interviews Notes

“... there’s no excuse to not take advantage of the resources out there available to you. Best value for your $ are the...”


redever's picture
Secyh62's picture
Betsy Massar's picture
Betsy Massar
BankonBanking's picture
dosk17's picture
kanon's picture
CompBanker's picture
GameTheory's picture
numi's picture
Jamoldo's picture
From 10 rejections to 1 dream investment banking internship

“... I believe it was the single biggest reason why I ended up with an offer...”