• C++ Programming for Financial Engineering
    Highly recommended by thousands of MFE students. Covers essential C++ topics with applications to financial engineering. Learn more Join!
    Python for Finance with Intro to Data Science
    Gain practical understanding of Python to read, understand, and write professional Python code for your first day on the job. Learn more Join!
    An Intuition-Based Options Primer for FE
    Ideal for entry level positions interviews and graduate studies, specializing in options trading arbitrage and options valuation models. Learn more Join!

Undergrad Programs/Schools for Competitive Applicant

As a high school senior in the college research process, I've started looking at quantitative finance, mathematical finance, FEng, OR, etc. as potential majors. I'm still researching the multiple facets and the differences in the types of careers within the umbrella of "quant," but I'm sure something in that field will suit me. I'm a decent applicant to target schools with a 35 ACT and 4.0 unweighted /4.95 weighted GPA with the hardest coursework you can imagine (emphasis on math electives like data science, combinatorics, diff eq, multivariable, numerical analysis, etc. which get AP weighting at my school combined with traditional AP classes like calculus, physics C, economics, etc.) with respectable extracurriculars (think club leadership, founding locally known 501(c)(3), slight lab research in astronomy, etc.) and modest academic awards (USACO Silver most notably but nothing greater than state-level unfortunately). However, I do have "additional info" with extenuating circumstances since I served as a caretaker for one of my parents who was paralyzed as well as my younger sibling, and my other parent travelled for work which definitely made a tangible impact on my profile. Not sure if schools will care about that, but it might at least make my application deserving of a second look.

I'm just looking for insight on which schools/programs I should apply to and consider. Currently, I have my eyes set on Columbia ORFE, Princeton ORFE, Carnegie Mellon's Computational Finance, UChicago Applied Mathematics (four year BS/MS makes this interesting), MIT (Finance & Math/CS), UPenn (Finance - Quant concentration), Stanford (Applied Math/CS), UC Berkeley (Applied Math/CS), Duke (Risk, Data, FEng), London School of Economics (Mathematical Finance), and Cambridge (Mathematics).

My safety is UNC-Chapel Hill/ NC State (in-state)- I have enough AP and CC credit to finish any major at either school within 4 semesters (or a double within 5 if there's enough overlap), but both schools do allow B.S./M.S. for accelerated students which I'd be able to complete within 6-8 semesters. The benefit of this is also it is incredibly cheap (~[imath]20k/year), especially as compared to one of the above which will likely see upwards of[/imath]80k/year for four years (I probably won't qualify for much aid, but I'm not wealthy enough for it to not matter). My main concern is finding out which school to ED to or REA to. Since I'm in the grey area of acceptance because I'm an Asian applicant with strong academics and only "good" extracurriculars, I believe it's really my only chance to solidify my standing as an applicant. I'm leaning towards ED for Columbia because of the high acceptance rate combined with the virtually unmatched location and recruiting. Alternatively, I've heard Princeton offers good aid even for my income bracket and its REA plan would give me leniency to evaluate other options so it's a very close second. My last option is to ED to UChicago solely because of its target status and the combined B.S./M.S. degree offered.

Any ideas?