PLEASE HELP ME CHOOSE A COLLEGE

Hey Everyone, 

I am about to be a senior in high school. I have a 3.4 unweighted GPA, a 3.96 weighted GPA, and a 32 on the ACT (gonna try to bring that ACT up). My math score on the ACT was a 34 (99th percentile). What are some good colleges I could get into for IB?

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Comments (68)

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Jul 30, 2021 - 1:43pm

Go where you will be happy and have fun. You can break into IB from nearly any school you want

- SA at top MM from major non-target

  • Intern in IB - Cov
Jul 31, 2021 - 9:01pm

Came from Rutgers can confirm it's possible. Looking at ~10ish people every year who place at a solid firm in IB. Really just gotta network your ass off. But if you can graduate debt free and break into IB, financially you really can't beat it 

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Aug 3, 2021 - 8:58pm

Don't listen to this person, they have no clue what they are talking about. Transfer to a target school after 1 year (apply freshman spring). All you got to do is bust your ass your first year to transfer to a target. A mutual friend who transferred to UMich did this and landed a top BB. Don't listen to these trolls from non-target schools who say, "you can break into banking from any school, I did it!" That's the same shit as Bill Gates telling people you don't need to go to college to be successful. It's true, but generally bad advice. 

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Aug 3, 2021 - 12:24pm

Facts. I went to a big state school and now I'm working for a BB

I think I did this right

Aug 5, 2021 - 9:04pm

If you get into CMC, skip IB and just straight to KKR.

I think I did this right

Jul 30, 2021 - 2:08pm

If you're about to be a senior just pull your ACT and GPA up if you can and recruit at the targets. Basically all the Iveys, UVA, Stern, Ross, Uchicago, UT Austin etc. Either way you'll be fine. I'm no expert on US colleges so what you can do is go to different banks' LinkedIns and see where most of their analysts are from. Most of them will be from above and other Targets but you'll see some other schools that place well. BC, Colgate, Vandy all punch above their weight.

Jul 31, 2021 - 9:44pm

Yup. BC is Boston college. Honestly, any school is Boston is good. BU, BC, NEU, Tufts Babson, - not targets but all place well. Harvard, MIT obviously are on another level

Edit: Why the MS?? Boston has renowned schools. Just cause some of them aren't T10 doesn't mean they aren't good

  • Prospect in IB - Cov
Jul 30, 2021 - 6:42pm

GPA and ACT are on the low end for W&L, but I don't know anything about the caliber of your high school, your class rank, and extracurriculars so it's certainly still worth looking into further.

  • Research Analyst in AM - FI
Jul 30, 2021 - 2:46pm

The top LACs with more bro-y culture has very good placement on the street due to alumni support. Personally seen a lot of Bowdoin, Williams, and Claremont grads in IB and AM. 

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Jul 30, 2021 - 4:01pm

Choose a university where you think you would enjoy / have the most fun. Take into account the important things, such as staying close to family or home. 
 

Colleges are massive institutions, I have no doubt that you'll find a great group of friends to fit in with, no matter where you go. As for finance recruiting, you can break in from anywhere (target to non-target, as you've clearly seen from personal experiences on WSO) - as long as you keep your head up and grind. This is coming from experience, as well.  

Best of luck and would love to hear where you end up.

  • Intern in IB-M&A
Jul 30, 2021 - 6:11pm

I'm from a complete non-target (Rutgers/UMiami tier) and I had 3 offers. 

Choose the best school you can get into, but trust me that you can break in from anywhere as long as you put your head down and do the work.

  • Intern in IB - Cov
Aug 3, 2021 - 1:01am

Respectfully, it would be EXTREMELY tough for a 3.4 unweighted GPA to make it into Berkeley. Would avoid wasting time on UC app essays unless there are other UCs in mind to apply to

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Jul 30, 2021 - 10:34pm

Emory, Tulane, Vanderbilt, Wesleyan, Colgate, Ohio State, Arizona, Harvard, UCSB are all targets for you 

  • Intern in IB - Cov
Jul 31, 2021 - 9:11pm

Fully understand you might be trolling given the range of schools you listed. I broke in from UCSB and have to warn it is still a non-target. You can break in only if you start from day one. Plenty of schools take the same type of student and will be easier to recruit from. Love UCSB but it's important to understand where it's at right now. 

Aug 1, 2021 - 2:14pm

For some reason everyone here is recommending crazy reaches for almost everyone. Most Target schools are going to be tough here.

I would say with your stats, applying to IU Kelley and trying as hard as possible to get into IBW would be best if you are deadset on banking.

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Aug 3, 2021 - 1:45pm

I second this. IBW places very well and you can expect to see about 80 kids from IU landing spots at top firms every year.

I would also like to add that even if you don't get into IBW you could still break into IB, but it's much more difficult.

Aug 1, 2021 - 5:36pm

If you want to go to a big school (35k+ students) then you can never go wrong with the Big 10. I go to a nontarget Big 10 school and ended up getting SA 2022 in NYC at a solid MM bank. Have to say that my school has a very strong overall impression which helped with recruitment in NYC. You might have to network more if you don't end up going to a target school but honestly, I don't regret all of the hours I spend on the phone and cold emailing people. Have learned so much from the process and now have a 100+ person network with people all across the street that I can confidently reach out to in the future if I need a favor or just want to grab a beer. Hope this helps and good luck!

Aug 2, 2021 - 8:18am

IU does a fair amount not too sure about Maryland but I would assume their huge alum network has a solid amount of bankers in NYC. Not 100% sure but maybe someone here who goes to one of these schools can add on. I'm going off of what I know from friends that go to both schools

  • Prospect in IB - Gen
Aug 2, 2021 - 7:46pm

IU is maybe the best nontarget to attend, granted it's still not a target. Maryland recruits better into NYC than most B1G schools and should place okay in the few banks that have DC/Baltimore offices

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Aug 2, 2021 - 3:07pm

Agreed with the general sentiment in the thread that college experience is more important than a name on a resume as long as your grades are sound. Too many people get bogged down in choosing based on the "target vs. nontarget" mindset and either grow to hate their school and transfer out or get a sense of entitlement from prestige - neither of which looks good from an interviewer's POV. Find a school that will challenge you and where you and your personality fit well. Also, don't forget about your happiness; if family or sports or social scene are important to you, be sure to take those into account and determine proximity to home/quality of athletics/access to bars, etc. 

Using myself as a case study, I came from a big family in a city known for its food, sports, and social scene but decided to go to school not known for any of that far across the country in the hopes of getting a prestigious degree for my resume. I ended up getting the degree and a great job in IB, but I hated my college experience and in many ways regret that decision and the four years I spent unhappy in an unfamiliar place. Especially now that I'm better versed in the recruiting process, I realize that I could've gone to a lower tier school and likely ended up happier with the same result. 

Wherever you end up, focus on keeping your grades up and having as much fun as you can. If IB is really something you're interested in, start networking and filling your resume with solid internship experience and extracurriculars early on. A name can only get you so far. Grades, experience, and activities will make you a far more attractive candidate than any school's reputation alone. 

Aug 2, 2021 - 5:08pm

Yeah, im considering Rutgers (Not even a semi-target, I know) just for that. Its close to family, its close to NYC, it is a large school with tons of cool clubs, but it doesn't have the highest ranking. It also has an IB club and student managed fund which I would want to join if I got in.

Most Helpful
  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Aug 2, 2021 - 10:57pm

A lot of these comments give pretty bad advice, yes you can technically get in from any school but your time will be much better and your success rate much higher if you apply for certain schools and/ or transfer after your first year. Hate to break it to you but you likely won't get into any ivies or targets with your stats unless you have a crazy story or are very underrepresented. Also, if the school lets you transfer into business school/ major easily do not put it as your intended major, your application is looked at more rigorously, apply as a bullshit major like Anthropology or something and you'll get in easier then just change it (but again look at each school's department breakdown, some don't let you transfer from Anthropology to Finance if the schools are separate; in that case you should apply as the least popular business major, not finance or economics).

Schools you could feasibly get into that punch above their weight are IU Kelly (and their investment banking workshop), Washington & Lee, Hamilton, BC, PSU, UNC. Try to get into one of these and then transfer after your freshman year to a better school that is transfer friendly like Cornell, Vanderbilt, Notre Dame. Do your research though because other good schools have near no transfer acceptance so some aren't worth your time. 

I don't recommend going to Rutgers or another nontarget unless you have no other options. Also you're going to have to be on top of your shit freshman year to transfer and go for a 4.0, a 3.4 will not cut it for transferring / recruiting in IB from the schools I listed. Props to you though for knowing your shit while in high school and asking around, wish I would have. You will be much better off starting early.

Aug 3, 2021 - 12:52am

Thank you so much for this amazing reply. I will definitely look into these schools. Do you know if it is easier to get into corporate banking or sales and trading compared to IB? I would be happy to spend a few years in a different finance role and then lateral in or take a few steps back to go into IB in the future. 

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Aug 3, 2021 - 10:18am

Yeah corporate banking and S&T are easier but I wouldn't plan on settling that easy. Its difficult to lateral from the two prior into banking. Both of them are respectable roles and good careers if you want to do that, but understand its easiest to get the best possible job out of college then go from there.

Aug 3, 2021 - 3:14am

Consider BYU, IU Kelley, UNC Chapel Hill, Tulane, Boston College, Notre Dame (slight reach). Try to raise your ACT to at least a 33 and apply under Early Decision and you should be fine. Good luck.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Aug 3, 2021 - 8:39am

Why so bear on BYU? I know they're pretty unique culturally but they looked pretty strong based on the data placements sheet that has been on this site. Seems like a tight-knit alumni group that pulls for current students. 

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Aug 6, 2021 - 4:25pm

Judging from last years stats, BC might be a reach for him as well (18.9% acceptance rate). These jesuit schools are starting to get a little selective (ND has a 18.4 acceptance rate)

  • Prospect in IB - CB
Aug 12, 2021 - 2:51am

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  • Prospect in IB - CB
Aug 12, 2021 - 11:28am

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