I'm a junior in high school, and parents, teachers, and -- perhaps most pressingly -- scholarship/summer program applications are asking me what college I want to go to and what degree/career I want to pursue.
I'm interested in financial careers, but my primary interest right now is software and data science. I've been told that quantitative finance would be a good career along these lines, but that most good jobs go to masters and PhDs. Some options seem to be:
1) Majoring in either math or CS with a minor in the other one
2) Double majoring in math+CS
3) Going for a 4-year master's in either math or CS
Are these actually logical or am I just being an idiot? Is it generally better to work before getting a PhD? Is a PhD even particularly useful? All else being equal, I think I want
1) A high-paying salary over the course of my life
2) A job that is actually intellectually stimulating with regard to data science
3) To go to school for the minimum length of time
Then again, I'm a stupid 17-year-old and maybe that's not the right order of priorities for the long term.
Does this type of plan change which schools are targets? According to this site, targets are UPenn, NYU, Harvard, Cambridge, Cornell, UT Austin, Columbia, Duke, U Chic, and U Mich. Does this list stay the same? Is there a strong ranking even within these? Does going to Cambridge severely limit opportunities to work in the U.S. after graduation (I know that there are many opportunities there for a 4-year master's there)?
How do quant salaries (for bachelor's, master's, and PhDs) compare with those of someone who goes into IB immediately after undergrad?
I've also been told that in finance more emphasis is placed on things like GPA and SAT scores than in tech, even to the point where I've been advised to retake my 1570 SAT score. Is this stuff true? Do employers really ask graduates for the SAT score they got in high school?
tl;dr As of now, when people ask where I want to go to school and what I want to study and what I want to do I say "I can't really tell colleges apart and I want to study either math or CS and I want to do data science or some kind of quantitative finance." I need help narrowing this stuff down and am not remotely well-informed.