My suggestion is find safeties. Or even matches. Because at this point with a 3.5 GPA and 1750 SAT, the Ivies and NYU are NOT very likely. You really, really need schools that are in a better range.
Possibly state schools or schools like Northeastern or Syracuse would be high matches (so just below reach). GW and American are also towards the upper match area.
As for explaining the low score, maybe it's not such a great idea. Without a legitimate reason, it comes off as an excuse. A reason and an excuse are different. You don't want to be tossing out exuses at colleges.
Good luck whatever happens!