Tough to gauge your chances. If a few go to Cornell each year from your school, they probably know the school's grading system and can estimate class rank. As others have said -- your class rank looks low.
Given that your ACT is ok, but not a 35 or 36, and your activities look a bit middling, based on your rank, one would have to say that Cornell is a reach or a high reach. Sorry.
However, and here's where I hesitate, I really don't know anything about your school, but I do know that there are many schools where top 10% is not necessary for a reasonable shot at admission to Cornell. I'm aware of at least one competitive public school that regularly gets at least 50 or 60 Cornell admits and I strongly suspect that there is at least one other in the same category. Similarly, the top Prep Schools routinely have more than 10% overall admissions to Ivies and Ivy peers.
If you're fortunate enough to go to a public school whose reputation is this good -- well none of us even have a basis for comparison. My best advice -- talk to your Guidance Counsellor (or College Advisor, if your school has one) to develop a list of schools were you are both an academic match and where you will be able to attend based on the economic resources available to you.
T26E4: I meant that if you're brilliant, you have a shot at a merit-based scholarship. If you're poor, you'll get financial aid. If you're wealthy and you can get in ED, then you're fine. If you can barely get in ED and non of the above three apply, you're left out. Someone on here mentioned what this sort of predicament is called--the barbell effect. Colleges hike up the cost and give generous financial aid, leaving those you don't qualify for financial aid facing 58,000 a year.
My dad grew up extremely poor and has been working his whole life so me and my brothers will have "a better education and better opportunities" than he did. He isn't around much because he's working all the time, so now I wonder if being successful is really an advantage for my education and opportunities. Vacations are really the only time I get to spend with him. He's always traveling and working, and I'm really starting to crack down on academcis (since junior year, actually). I'd estimate my dad's income is around 350-450 a year. I have two brothers in college, 25,000 each a year. He pays my mom 35,000 a year for me and my other brother. He also pays for my grandparent's apartment rent, living costs, and medical fees, which are very high because of my grandfather's fragile condition. They live in Germany and the taxes are outrageous there. My stepmom is just now recovering from skin cancer, and those medical bills are also pretty high. On top of all that, he bought this house in a good school district so we wouldn't have to pay private school tuition, again for my education and opportunities. On top of all that, he's in the highest taxable income bracket, so he shells out around 30% a year to the government. So that 400k income doesn't look that high when you take all the factors into consideration. Apparently they do take these into account on the FAFSA and the financial aid calculators, and we still get 0 in aid. That's why I'm not sure how financial aid programs make sense.
Zephyr: Thanks for the insight. The kids who have gone to Cornell in the past few years have all been valedictorians; however, most of the top ranked kids at my school, Highland Park, usually go to Vanderbilt or Duke or UVA. I think they're capable at HYP or MIT, they're just usually more conservative and prefer Southern college life. Highland Park is technically a public school, but you really shouldn't treat it like one. HP is comparable to most top private schools. Actually, I just looked some facts up: HP ranked 15th on Newsweek's list of top high schools in the U.S. HP is 99% white. Jeff Barrows, a physics teacher quoted in The Daily Campus, said that the students "aren't the first in their families. There is a precedent that precedes them in terms of academic stature. They're nurtured that way at home. They are inquisitive because they have been asked to be that way outside of the classroom." Not sure why he said "precedent that precedes," but he wasn't that good of a teacher anyway! Some of the kids here are absolutely crazy about getting college admissions.
I went to Memorial High School in Houston for two years, which is pretty comparable to HP. They have a much better tennis team, and that's when I went to the state championship. Neither seem like public schools, and I think Southern colleges know this and consider it.
So, considering my upward trend and the school I go to, would anything change?
I obviously know colleges can use their money where they want, but I don't agree the way they do it is the most efficient. How about making the total cost 10% of your family's income? A flat rate would make a lot more sense and better achieve what they're aiming for.
You know -- the problem with 'chance me' threads is that none of us here on CC really knows what goes on in the admissions offices.
So, I think my advice is the same -- talk to your GC and/or your school's HS advisor. They are trained professionals, who have a better feel for where you should apply, given your circumstances. Also, if you have Naviance at your HS, it's a good start towards chancing yourself.
Just to clarify the answer for the original poster, Cornell strives to meet the needs of every student they admit. There is a formal appeal process if you are your family find that the initial financial aid package does not meet your needs. If, after the appeal process, you are your family do not feel comfortable with the financial aid package, the admitted student can be released from the early decision agreement. I would recommend talking to our financial aid office (they can be reached at 607-255-5145) as this is a personal matter. Please feel free to contact us at the email below if you have any further questions about this or another matter.
A friend brought a whole book that documents all her family expenses (with receipts) to appeal Cornell financial aids. We live at an expensive area, and the expenses show that her daughter could not attend Cornell with the financial aids. The Cornell financial aids official showed the book to other parents and said that this was exactly the document every appealing family should bring to Cornell for appealing. However, Cornell did not increase a cent of her daughter aids. The girl had to transfer to another school. She attended Cornell during her freshman year due to higher financial aids because her brother was in college. When her brother graduated, the aids dropped so much that her cannot afford.
I agree with Cortana431 that appeal is useless at Cornell unless there are some significant unexpected changes. Cornell is a relative "poor" school among the top schools and has to use some of its money to match better financial aids from the other 10 schools. Cornell also selects some students for better financial aids. For others, it s hard to get better aids by appealing.
If the family's finance didn't change then their EFC should remain the same, which means when her graduated the family would be expected to pay a lot more for Cornell. Her FA at Cornell is not going to remain the same. As far as she lives in an expensive area of the country, it is not a consideration when it comes to FA calculation. No different than any other school that only offer need based FA.
There a lot of people who can't afford private education, especially relatively high income family with no savings, they are in the donut hole.