How's my college list?

Hey guys, 

I'm a rising HS senior interested in IB, and I'll be applying to college this year. I live in NY, pretty close to the city. 

Career goals? I'd like to work in IB right out of college for 3-5 years, and go for a t5 MBA and then maybe entering PE.

Anyways, here's my current college list--not really sure what to expect, but if anyone had any advice on schools I should consider/take off this list let me know!

(If this kind of post is a forum faux pas, let me know)

Boston College

Bowdoin

Carnegie Mellon

Colgate

Cornell 

Emory 

Georgia Tech

Indiana University Bloomington Kelley

Johns Hopkins

Lehigh

Middlebury

NYU stern

Northwestern

U Notre Dame

Oxford

Penn State

Pomona College

Rice University

Stanford University

UC Berkeley Haas

University of Chicago

University of Michigan Ross

University of Pennsylvania

Vanderbilt University

Washington University in St. Louis (ED)

UT Austin McCombs

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Comments (51)

  • Associate 2 in PE - LBOs
Sep 7, 2020 - 1:05am

26 schools? I mean I guess you could apply to all of them but it's going to take a lot of time. You may want to trim down that list down to 20 or fewer.

What are your stats? It's hard to assess how likely it is that you would get into any of these schools.

If you do well at any of these schools, you'll have a good shot at landing a banking job. That being said, I'd probably get rid of Georgia Tech and Johns Hopkins if you know that you are dead set on banking. I've seen people from Lehigh break in but it's going to be a bit harder. 

Other schools to consider would be the other Ivies, Amherst, Williams, Georgetown, UVA, and UNC.

Sep 7, 2020 - 1:24am

Haha yeah I should have been a bit more specific.

My SAT is 1600, I have a lot of 5s on AP tests, and I have 800s on 3 SAT subject tests.

My GPA is /4.0 UW, but I was diagnosed w ADHD this summer, and I think getting a 4.0 during my first two semesters of senior year would help make up for the somewhat lackluster grades.

As for the amount of schools, I think it'll be manageable. You only go to college once, so I'd like to make sure I have as many choices as a possible.

Lehigh (might add Bucknell) is one of the schools I've seen people talk about here that seems to not place terribly and is pretty easy to get into. Definitely acting as a safety.  

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Sep 7, 2020 - 10:15am

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  • Prospect in Other
Sep 7, 2020 - 7:09pm

I commented below already on the college-specific stuff. In terms of HS grades tho, congrats on the 1600! That's really solid! Your 800s will only help as well. How many 5s and on which ones? Did you also get quite a few 3s and 4s because that might hurt a little (not too much depending on how many 5s)?

I'm pretty sure you're referring to one semester, not two semesters as there are only 2. I ran the numbers for you and if you get a 4.0 both marking periods, you're getting pushed up to about a 3.66. Not that substantial, but still go for it. This is best-case scenario. It's also possible that your GPA will slump to a 3.5 with senioritis. This is worst-case scenario and you'll have a 3.5 both those marking periods which drags you down to about a 3.59. If I had to couple the fact that you're more committed to this now (a good factor for your GPA) with potential senioritis (bad factor for GPA) and classes getting harder (bad factor for GPA) with more leadership roles in extracurriculars in ECs (this actually isn't a factor at all imo tho because more leadership and peaking in the success of the ECs means you'll have to put in more effort for the higher role but also less effort cause you don't need to climb up the ranks of a society or club anymore so it cancels out) with college applications and essays (bad factor for GPA), my prediction would be somewhere around 3.6 again. It's going to be hard to maintain your current GPA, but if you really grind you could pull a 3.75 and possibly a 3.8 (a 4 would be nice but I just want to be both 1) realistic and 2) the pessimist that fuels you to prove me wrong). If you get a 3.75, then it's a 3.62 and if you get a 3.8, then it's a 3.63.

My final opinion is to focus your efforts on your essays at this point. You're GPA isn't going to change much regardless and a small change won't make a huge difference in the grand scheme of admissions. Your essays can make that difference. I'm of the opinion that you should always get your essays professionally reviewed.

Good luck!

Most Helpful
Sep 7, 2020 - 2:56am

This is a lot of schools and a pretty random list.  I'd think a bit more on the type of school you want to be at (liberal arts college, public university, private university), location (city vs. non-city), part of the country (east coast, west coast, south), etc.  Broadly choosing schools based on your chances of landing an IB role really isn't the right way to go about things.  Start with the above, obviously taking into consideration rankings and stats as well, and specific IB placement can come much later in the list of priorities.  

Sep 7, 2020 - 6:40pm

Thanks for the input man!

Yeah it's clear I need to reevaluate what I want out of a school that's not just IB placement. 

In terms of size/location, that's not really something I care about, I think I'll fit in just fine at all of the schools on this list. I def need to consider the difference between a public school with a more concentrated curriculum vs. a liberal arts school though. Thanks!

  • Consultant in Consulting
Sep 9, 2020 - 12:36am

Yeah I had a philosophy of 'I want to go to a really good school with everything else being secondary' and basically applied to the USNews top 20, minus 7 schools I didn't like plus one sure bet safety school and my list was still way more targeted than this one. Bit more focus would do a lot of good. Kinda lame for a 17 year old to be trying to do IB too imo, can't imagine the story there is great.

Sep 7, 2020 - 11:52am

bump

"Full speed ahead, damn the torpedoes." -U.S. Navy General Farragut
  • Prospect in Other
Sep 7, 2020 - 1:17pm

I definitely understand applying to a lot of colleges in order to cast a wide net, but I'm a little confused about fit here. If you apply to a bunch of colleges, they should be somewhat similar so that you can fit in there. Take a second to think about what type of school would serve you best- are you more interested in being IN a city or would you prefer to be on a traditional campus in the middle of nowhere or would you prefer to have a mix between the two where you're in a medium-sized campus and close to a city? Would you prefer a huge state school or a tiny private school or, once again, something in the middle? Would you prefer a school that's very preprofessional with a business school/finance major and lots of hardos or would you prefer a school that has more of a general ed or even liberal arts focus without a business school/possibly even without an economics major or, once again, something in between? Would you prefer a school with students that spend most of their time hitting the books or a school with a rampant party scene or, once again, something in between? Also consider this: you're not necessarily "pigeonholing" yourself into a region/city by going to a school in that specific region/city (example: a school on the west coast is likely going to produce a worker on the west coast). You can still recruit for other regions, you can still lateral around, you can switch industries entirely. Just be prepared to be working in Boston if you go to Boston or Texas if you go to UT or the Bay Area if you go to Berkeley or the UK if you go to Oxford (also what's the deal with Oxford, it's a really random throw-in?)

I'm going to be honest here. I'm not really sure I understand the rationale behind this list. Like I mentioned earlier, you're schools are just too wide. Again, it's okay to apply to 25+ schools, but the schools should all have some sort of connecting factor that ISN'T IB recruiting. I'm just going to list out some of the glaring things I see. Carnegie Mellon and John Hopkins are very much tech and medicine focused, not really targets for IB. I'm not really sure if you like to have fun or you're more of a studious kid. Your college list should be able to tell me this, but it can't because you're applying to schools like UChicago (notorious for being a really hard school with grade deflation and depressed students), but also Michigan (lots of partying and D1 sports). I know you have good stats (no info on ECs tho), but I'm not really sure why you're applying to a school like IU, but also to schools like Stanford and Oxford. Just doesn't make sense to me.

A general rule of thumb that I always tell to HS students (not just those into IB) is that they should imagine they got into a school on that list. Forget loans/tuition for a second and tell me: do you want to go there? If you don't want to go there, then cut the school off the list. It's not worth the hours the application can take because 1) you're probably not going 2) you could spend it on other applications or just being a kid. By using this practice, you will be able to cut your list down quite a bit. By using some of the questions from the first paragraph, you might find yourself adding more colleges to the list.

TLDR: Apply ONLY to schools that are a good fit for you.

Sep 7, 2020 - 2:12pm

Essentially came here to say this, you're all over the place on schools and even if you could complete 20+ applications, I doubt they would be very well thought out. You'd be better served by trimming that list down to 12-15, bucketing them into reach, target, and safety categories based on how you match up on the stats and then research each one and figure out what makes them unique. As someone who used to conduct alumni interviews for undergrad admissions, it was abundantly clear when a potential student was just running the gauntlet of applying to schools versus when they had taken the time to put together a solid application/interview around the Why xyz school. 

I'd think about geography and college experience as well. There's such a wild variance between schools like IU vs Middlebury or Oxford vs Penn State that it almost feels non sensical to even consider them in the same conversation.

Do you want a big school where there are lots of resources and potentially more school spirit in terms of sports and parties? Or a smaller campus, that will foster a tighter knit community. Do you want to continue to be in a city? Or maybe experience a change of scenery and go to a more rural campus. Stay on the East Coast? Tons of questions for you to answer before anyone on this forum can even start to give you advice. If you're looking for advice on, which of these schools place well into finance, cut the list in half (and maybe even into 1/4) and come back here.

Sep 7, 2020 - 6:36pm

First of all, thanks for the really well thought out response.

My rationale behind the really "random" selection was solely based on casting a super wide net--you only apply to college once, so I guess I wanted to have as many choices as I could have+my counselor getting me a fee waiver. I definitely understand how important the social/party scene is as a part of your college experience, but I genuinely don't really have a preference-honestly, I feel like I'd be comfortable at any college.

Now, judging from the feedback you and some others have given me, it's clear that it's a pretty shitty way of viewing things. I'll def talk to friends at schools im interested in and try to get a better gauge of what each school is like. thanks!

yeah, Im applying to oxford just cause they're heavily test+interview based, two things I'm pretty set with. 

  • Prospect in Other
Sep 7, 2020 - 7:34pm

No problem, I'm glad to help.

That's perfectly fine. I made the same mistake myself when I was in senior year (I'm a sophomore in college now). I really burned out and applied to 29 different colleges. Ended up having quite a few options on the table, so that was nice, but it definitely wasn't worth all the sleepless nights and stress. Just my take, some people actually thrived in applying to 20+, 30+ and even 40+ colleges. Yeah ask friends at other colleges and also talk to your friends at high school who will know you better and know what type of social scene is best for you.

Yeah, that's very true. The thing of it is, if you're applying to Oxford, you have to be ready to potentially live your whole life in the UK. Is this something you're okay with because there's a lot of factors to consider ranging from cultural fit to visa/immigration issues? If you're okay with it, then why only Oxford. Maybe cut back on a few US colleges and add schools like UCL and LSE.

  • Associate 1 in IB-M&A
Sep 7, 2020 - 2:02pm

Apply to all the Ivies. Long shot with your GPA and presumably mediocre extracurriculars, but it's worth a shot.

Sep 8, 2020 - 4:48pm

i'm just going to comment on every school with regards to ib placement from my perspective (current bb analyst). will be brief.

Boston College

- not awful but def not conventional target

Bowdoin

- a surprisingly okay choice for banking, by all means not amazing though

Carnegie Mellon

- don't know anyone

Colgate

- also don't know anyone

Cornell 

- you might have to be a superstar, but some banks consider cornell a semitarget

Emory 

- literally know 0 people in banking who went to emory

Georgia Tech

- again, literally 0 people

Indiana University Bloomington Kelley

- decent for ib and easy to get in

Johns Hopkins

- actually know a few guys in ib from hopkins, but as other posters said, def not the most popular choice

Lehigh

- covered by someone else, but yeah back office and bad banks

Middlebury

- not a bad choice, not amazing

NYU stern

- decent placement but everyone who goes here is bitter they aren't in wharton and the culture reflects that

Northwestern

- decent ib, on par with uchicago

U Notre Dame

- also surprisingly decent ib, i'd say a notch lower than nw/ross/uchicago

Oxford

- really odd that you included this in your list? london ib isn't really where it's at and it'll be almost impossible to recruit for ny

Penn State

- meh not terrrrrrible but you'd have to be a superstar

Pomona College

- don't know anyone

Rice University

- also don't know anyone

Stanford University

- people who go here aren't that into banking, that being said i'm sure you won't have a difficult time

UC Berkeley Haas

- surprisingly verrrry few people in banking went to cal

University of Chicago

- decent but do you want to have a sad undergrad experience when like other schools (nw, ross) would be just as good

University of Michigan Ross

- decent

University of Pennsylvania

- very very decent but if you're not in wharton you'll always feel inferior bc everyone in banking will ask if you were in wharton

Vanderbilt University

- okay but not amazing, would compare to ND

Washington University in St. Louis (ED)

- really odd that you chose washu to ED if you want to be in banking... arguably you'd have a better shot coming from ross/kelley/ut austin. yeah not as much "clout" from an overall school perspective but i really don't know any bank who really targets washu while all the other good public schools i mentioned have a sizeable population in banking

UT Austin McCombs

- honestly a decent choice for finance if you are very committed

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  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Sep 9, 2020 - 11:19pm

Not sure if this was mentioned but you should also probably consider each school's banking alum network and how willing they are to help. Just because it's a target doesn't mean alums are always willing to help.

Something to also consider is if you go to a very strong target, you are competing against those at your school if alums are choosing for SD. That said, there's a reason why people go to targets and why many place in.

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Sep 10, 2020 - 1:15am

I go to USC- I would recommend you throw on USC Marshall.

Here's why:

-with a 1600 SAT ur almost guaranteed a merit scholarship (done based of PSAT and SAT) so you could get 1/2 or even full tuition off

-consistent placement in IB to JPM, MS, Evercore, GS, west coast buyside firms

-equal distrubition to LA, SF, and NYC with a little Texas as well, keeps your options open

-fun ass college experience with some hot ass girls. Hate to say it, but if I were you I'd consider the college experience as well

Sep 11, 2020 - 1:39am

Thanks for the advice! 

Yeah, the WashU ED was a copy paste error from a while back when I first made this list. Not sure where I'll ED or if I'll ED at all. Might work on getting my GPA up. 

At Oxford, I was considering applying to a course that isn't relevant to finance. I had the chance to talk to one of my schools alums who works in London, and he told me that if you're from a target, your major is pretty much irrelevant (ofc, if you've heard otherwise, let me know--always good to get a second opinion). 

Sep 11, 2020 - 10:54pm

Wow, what a list! A bit long and somewhat over the place (urban / rural, small  / large schools, etc...).

Suggest focusing a bit on what you want to get out of the school besides IB placement / ranking. Part of your college experience and subsequent success comes to how well you adapt to the school. If you end up at a school you hate, you may ace your classes but being an unhappy student means you won't build the best network and such unhappiness will shine through to loyal school alums who recruit. 

Sep 13, 2020 - 4:52pm

Thanks for the response! 

Yeah I definitely underestimated how important it was to "fit" into a school. I suppose I'll try my luck with these applications, and try to get a better feel of each school when decisions come out. 

Sep 25, 2020 - 8:12pm

Since you specifically want to do the banking route, here's your list edited: Second edit: Why oxford? obviously a great school but going international complicates everything especially internships and interviewing while in school, even more so you're useless to be in europe as a prospective if you only speak English..

Colgate

Cornell 

Emory 

Johns Hopkins

NYU stern

Northwestern

U Notre Dame

Oxford

Stanford University

UC Berkeley Haas

University of Chicago

University of Michigan Ross

University of Pennsylvania

Vanderbilt University

Sep 25, 2020 - 9:59pm
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