So this community has been fairly dead for the past few months, but hey, let the next year's application process begin. I posted a while back with a potential list, but that list has changed after extensive research and a few realizations. A few things I looked at was location (I'm born and raised, southern Californian, so I'm dying for a change, but not a huge change), prestige, diversity and assistanship opportunities that specifically provide significant tuition support.
University of Maryland Penn State Oregon State NYU UCLA (As my safety net, and live at home for free option.)
If anyone has any comments or opinions please let me know (positive/negative). My first application is due the 1st of December, and I'm the type of person who likes to get things planned and accomplished well ahead of time. So if anyone has any tips about ANYTHING, or if you ran into any kinks that I can potentially avoid, I'd value your thoughts thankfully!