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aiming for what?

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Hi guys,

I am quite unfamiliar with university choices, so I just wanted to ask for some advice. I currently have a PG of 40/42 and a SAT score of 2160. I would most probably apply for a liberal arts degree in the US. I would like to aim for universities instead of colleges, and probably those that most people have heard of (sorry if i sound too snobbish). I have no particular preference for a "city" or "countryside" university, nor about how "traditional" or "non-traditional" the atmosphere is. From my superficial understanding, the universities all seem the same/ similar, so what universities would you suggest I look deeper into?

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You've a good PG score. And a relatively good SAT score. I got a 2170 and I'm going to Urbana-Champaign.

I mean you could try for University of Southern California, or Vassar University, or Brown University (Barnard's College is the liberal arts for women). You could also apply to the UCs as well.

And lol there's nothing wrong with going to a college. A college is basically just a specific department within a university.

Or to make it easier, you could look up the top ten liberal arts universities- they're generally the most well known anyway :)

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You should research the average SAT scores, and if possible, IB scores that previous successful applicants have had at each uni/college. However, whatever statistic you find does not guarantee you being accepted if you are within the score range; your application also relies on your essays and your extra curriculars etc.

Plus, I'd like to add that the definitions of college and university in the US is different to the UK - in the US, a college is solely for undergraduate study (and hence professors are more likely to focus on classes for undergraduates, instead of having TAs teach the class), while university is undergraduate AND graduate (which means professors are most likely to conduct research simultaneously, and therefore means that professors aren't there just to teach.) Seeing as you said you want a liberal arts degree, you're most likely going to go to a liberal arts college, because the philosophy of a liberal arts college is smaller classes with teachers that only focus on undergraduates, as well as having a broad-based education. If you're looking at rankings on whether to apply to a liberal arts college, it is highly unlikely (or at least it was in my experience) to find a liberal arts college that ranks well in world rankings. (Plus, many rankings are worthless considering the amount of scandals around falsifying data to improve college rankings.) Also, keep in mind that the most 'well-known' colleges/universities seem to be those that are older and with graduate research, and beyond US shores it seems to only be the Ivy League unis that are known. (Similar to how Oxbridge seems to only be known outside of the UK.)

In my opinion, I think you should research the actual 'atmosphere' of the uni/college, because if you genuinely enjoy a college, you are most likely to learn better and not be miserable. (You should want to avoid transferring universities, because that would mean that you didn't have such a productive first year.) You could look at these aspects, like the number of students, the student-faculty ratio, the drug (or lack of drug) scene, average number of years it takes to graduate, weather etc. to determine how you feel about the colleges. What kind of environment do you learn best in? What kind of environment will allow you to grow the most? Sorry to make these wishy-washy statements, but you don't want to turn up there and hate the place.

And if you're considering the 'brand value' of unis/colleges, why don't you look at famous alumni? That could be a good indication of the success graduates have had. Indication being the key word here.

I know all uni talks sound the same, but research really is key. Do bear in mind that uni campus guides tend to be the most enthusiastic students on campus, and that any student review is most likely to be someone who had a really good or bad experience with the uni - enough to post it on the internet.

Good luck!

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I think a lot of it depends on your preference, could you give us some more details about yourself? Like large university, smaller, religious, east coast, west coast, etc...

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