I am currently a female freshman living in Canada. I am thinking about applying to the premed programs at Harvard and other Ivy League schools.
--I play the bassoon at school and in two orchestras
--I'm a year ahead in all my subjects and two years ahead in math
--I've debated on a provincial level (and gotten third), I hope to attend nationals
--I've attended regional science fair twice, this year I hope to go to nationals
--I got 194 on the PSAT (is this a good score?)
--I've got a 4.0 gpa
--I volunteer at a cystic fibrosis lab and I'm planning on helping out at a Cape Town hospital next summer
--I'm a field hockey goalie for my school team
Would I be considered by Ivy League schools? Also, what should I do differently?
A 194 is not a completely hopeless score, but only a 225+ is a "good" score. (210+-ish is acceptable). Your extracurriculars are promising if you continue with them, and your GPA is fine. If your grades (in difficult classes, with teachers that like you) and extracurriculars continue on the path their on now and you get your standardized test scores up, you'll be a pretty good candidate for most top schools. It's harder as an international, and there's not much I can do while you're a freshman, but it sure looks like you're on the right track (except the test, but you're a freshman and that test's designed for juniors.) Good luck!
I mean, have you even learned all the math for the PSAT in school yet? I wouldn't worry about it for at least a year, since your reading/math abilities will naturally go up over the course of high school.
Colleges don't even look at your psat score, but taking it is good practice for taking the SAT...the question format is very similar. You are already advancing so much! Congratulations on all that you have accomplished so far. Keep up the good work, develop your passions, and make time to enjoy high school.
I play bassoon too! I think it helps a lot. I did an arts supplement and got into my top choice college.
Harvard has an odd situation with their orchestra program (it's not part of the academic life, it's like a student run thing) which is why I didn't apply there. But other Ivy League level schools with strong music programs really value bassoon players. I met with music heads/directors at UPenn, Princeton, and Brown and they all were very enthusiastic about a bassoon player applying. For UPenn I just walked in and mentioned I played bassoon and the director talked with me for almost an hour about their program.
Do a supplement or live audition if you want to increase your chances. Also email and meet with the music directors. I literally emailed the day before about Brown and got to meet the orchestra director, sit in on a class, and received an offer to watch a rehearsal. He and I talked for almost an hour, he showed me old programs and helped me find a thesis in the library on Stravinsky. I also agree with increasing your SAT scores (2250 on the real thing is ideal for Ivy League level schools).
I will echo the sentiments of the previous poster. I also play the bassoon (1st chair in the state for three years, various orchestras and honor bands, etc) and submitted the Arts Supplement with my college applications. While I won't hear back from most schools until April, I did recently receive a likely letter from Dartmouth. I like to think that playing the bassoon - if you play well, and can prove it - helps applicants.
If you are in the acceptable range, it can be a bit of a crap shoot--I'm sorry to say unless you have won Intel, or have a gold medal in IMO or an equivalent honor. The performing arts scene at Harvard is evolving. The College recognizes that it has a great deal to do to improve its Arts -- and there are efforts to do this-- the Dance Program has had a major boost by the hiring of Jill Johnson as its head (who teaches a course in the Music Department btw...) and spending a boat load of money for a great dance center. Music is a bit of a mixed bag-- as an earlier poster wrote, much of the music scene, even classical is student run but even that is beginning to change. My S who is a freshman was a winner of a grant (with six other students) from Harvard to have one of his compositions played by a professional group. This is a new grant program and in the past student composers were on their own to find groups to play their music. The College seems to recognize that performance and rehearsal space is lacking and I will be curious to see if and how this need is reflected in the upcoming College Capital Campaign.
The level of musical ability in the undergraduate orchestras and chamber groups is remarkably high, given the lack of formal support and I would think that the AdCom recognizes this-- however, as there is no music department liaison telling the Committee that we need a double bassoon player or a piccolo player as might be the case elsewhere musicians are at a disadvantage.
Also recognize that unless you take part in the joint 5 year NEC/Harvard AB/MM program, performance classes do not receive credit (save for one or two upper level chamber classes-- certainly not private instruction) nor are they paid for by the College as part of one's tuition or fin aid package.