Schools for somewhat above average kids

I've been lurking on this damn forum for ages, and I gotta say, there's some impressive shit being thrown around here. You got your Harvard and Wharton gods who walk on water and magically land IB gigs before they even graduate. But I'm not one of them so I just need some advice.

So here's the deal: I've got a GPA hovering around 4.5, which sounds fine, but let me tell you, it's SEVERELY misleading . I've taken a shitload of classes, but along the way, I've collected a few Cs and more Bs than I care to admit. My ACT score is a solid 34, but in the grand scheme of things, it's probably not gonna make Goldman Sachs swoon.

Now, I know the usual suspects when it comes to target schools - those Ivy League powerhouses and top-tier institutions that recruiters wet their pants over. However, those are not even in close reach.

I'm just a week away from finishing my junior year, so I can't really change my GPA at this point. However, I'm wondering if you could suggest some schools I should look into. I would prefer to be in Texas, the Midwest, or the West, as I don't want to be near the Northeast or close to Charlotte/Atlanta, where I currently live. I think Kelley School of Business is almost a guaranteed admission because they take my highest GPA and I meet their criteria. Also, I'm an in-state applicant for UNC, so I have an advantage there, but that is still a very significant reach.

(I will earn an associate's in science by the time I graduate meaning I can apply as a transfer to UNC ( my transfer status only applies to the UNC system))

Thanks in advance!

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The one thing you got going for you is your ACT. It shows raw intelligence. I'm also not sure how a 4.5 gpa is possible with Cs and Bs unless your high school has some insane GPA scale. 

What do you want to do? Business? Engineering? I'm assuming you want some sort of business career because why else would you be on here. And why the location preferences? Why not the Charlotte/atlanta area? Why the west but not the northeast? I'm baffled by your regional preferences since these areas are all completely different, and it seems like you're just randomly choosing something.

The best bet for you is to target a school like Kelly. If you're not shooting for a Goldman/McKinsey job, I'm sure Kelly or another big state school like Texas A&M will find you a decent midwest corporate job. If you want to shoot higher, then I'd suggest community college and leveraging that into a better school (UNC would be a good option). 

You also have to look at school fit. Maybe a big school may not be the thing for you (could be true if you are susceptible to blowing off school and not trying in your classes- I'm not suggesting that you are like this). You need to narrow down the search a bit more.

Yea the regional choices do seem very odd, but they are mostly based of my experience living in those regions. I have moved a lot around the country and lived at least for some time in most of the major regions. I have just not enjoyed the vibe of both the northeast and the more southeastern regions. It has been a while since I lived in the northeast, but I just can't really see myself trying too hard for NYC,(If I get a job offer I'm sure as hell going to take it but it's not my goal), and as for CLT, I don't love it here as of right now, so I can't see myself living here after college. 

As for my GPA, my school considers APs as a 5, honors as a 4.5 and standard classes as a 4.

I have taken 1 standard Spanish class, 7 honors and the rest as APs or PLTWs (almost identically to AP courses, but focused on engineering). All my Bs and Cs come from my AP classes so the hit to the GPA isn't as severe as it would be for a standard class. Additionally my dual enrollment classes are also considered equivalent to AP weight, so my As in the 7 classes I took there helped. 

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