[Question] College Selection Advice for Technical Alignment

Hi all, I’m a highschool senior trying to make some college-related decisions, and I’d like to ask for some advice.

My current situation is:

  • I want to work on technical alignment. For exogenous reasons, not going to college (e.g., taking a year off, just being an autodidact/​independent researcher) is not an available option, so I’ll have to leverage my undergraduate experience as much as possible to upskill on technical alignment.

    • I’ll probably double major somewhere along CS/​Math and maybe CompBio.

  • Accepted to Harvard (non-binding REA). Was planning to apply to Stanford, MIT, Harvey Mudd for RD, but …

  • … I truly despise the application writing process, every single second of it, and it has taken a significant toll on my mental health. I’d prefer not to go through that again, although I can if necessary.

My considerations are:

  • Flexibility—Is it possible to take advanced (under)graduate courses while skipping prerequisites? I’ve been (and currently am) self-studying a bunch of (under)graduate subjects that I think would be helpful (mainly from the Study Guide) and it’d really suck to have to take them all again just for meeting prereqs for advanced classes.

    • I don’t really care much about getting class credits as long as (1) I don’t get kicked out of school for low credit and (2) the low credits or lack of prereqs won’t prevent me from taking advanced subjects later on.

  • Are there any alignment research community/​group/​event nearby?

  • No need for financial aid right now.

The impression I got about Harvard (probably not so well-justified, just from anecdotes across reddit/​etc) is that they’re much less flexible in terms of class choices or prereqs compared to more traditionally “engineering” colleges like eg MIT. I also think the alignment community is mostly centered around the Bay area and that it hasn’t really developed much around Harvard yet (I know about HAIST, though!)

Would Harvard be a good option to just go with, or is there enough additional value from Stanford/​MIT/​Harvey Mudd that it would be worth applying to any one of those colleges? Thanks!

(Apologies in advance if I broke any posting norms.)