Counselor says I have a 50% chance-what do you think?
I'm applying SCEA to Harvard, and I was wondering how my application looks through to eyes of college-confidentialers
SAT: 2360 (800 M, 760 CR, 800 W)
SAT II: US History (800), Chemistry (800), Bio M (800)
GPA: 98.24 average (unweighted)
Rank: 1/250ish (Top 100 public school)
APs junior year: 5s on bio, chem, us, lit, and psych
Senior Year Course Load: AP Lang, AP Studio art, AP Gov (us and comparative), AP Econ (macro and micro), physics honors, AP Calc AB, AP Spanish
Major Awards (USAMO, Intel etc.): USABO Semifinalist, Scholastic Art and Writing Award Gold Key, Congressional Art Award, Georgetown Junior of the Year Award, UPenn Book Award, local school awards in art, English, science
Extracurriculars (place leadership in parenthesis): Varsity Tennis (2 year Captain), Green Team (2 year President, started recycling program at school), French Club (2 year co-President), Art Club (2 year President), Ambulance Explorers Club (co-President), Link Crew, Varsity track (8th grade-10th grade), 8 years of acoustic guitar, portfolio art classes (I will be sending a portfolio with my app), National Honor Society
Job/Work Experience: Tutoring (middle school math)
Volunteer/Community service: Volunteer at childrens' art classes (2 summers), volunteer at animal shelter (9th and 10th grade) [total of 250 hours]
Summer Activities: Internship in public health (summer before junior year) and Alzheimer's research (this summer)
Teacher Recommendation: I haven't seen them, but one should be great, the other one probably is pretty good
Counselor Rec: should be fantastic
I'm a white male, with no hooks. Let me know what you think!
I think you have a fair chance. Your resume looks very strong based on your gpa, test scores and extracurriculars. While you are certainly a smart applicant, ivy legues do admit with a sense of randomness.
Successful applicants in the Harvard SCEA pool who are not recruited athletes, legacies, URM's or developmental cases, generally have high stats (which you have), stellar recommendations, thought provoking essays and interesting EC's. But, they also have something else -- a "WOW" factor. A wow-factor really doesn't come from being a high school president or national athletic event winner, although it can happen that way. Wow-factors do include such things as Siemans, Intel winners, but they also can come from having a demonstrated passion, talent and track record in lots of other areas: Math, Science, Computer Science, Art, Music, Dance, Theater, Sports, etc. Whatever the area, you just go "Wow, that's really impressive; not many other 17 to 18 year olds do THAT!"
Unless you have a really huge "wow-factor," a white male, with no hooks and your stats, has about an average chance, meaning 5.82% as of last year. Best of luck to you.
BTW: Much was written last season about the "un-hooked white girl" syndrome, which also applies to males. You are definitely a well-qualified applicant and stand an average chance, but based upon what you posted, I believe your counselor did not give you a realistic assessment of your chances. See: The (Fat) Envelope Please: College Admission Tougher Than Ever - Forbes
"And why are “unhooked white girls” finding it especially tough? “Because there are so many high-achieving, nice girls who have studied hard, participated in all the right activities, and expected the top colleges to appreciate their efforts,” said Scott Farber. “Do they deserve to get in? Sure. Would they do well if admitted? Absolutely. But colleges are not looking for the well-rounded kid; they want the well-rounded class. And unless you are superstar in some area, you’re just one of thousands of smart, all-around, but unhooked white girls. It may be unfair, but that’s life.”"
The OP was just being modest. How is having Scholastic Art and Writing Gold Key and being a USABO semifinalist not a "Wow factor"? There're so many possible unique stories that you can tell too with those activities, as I'm sure the OP has in his essays and will in his interview.
The best of luck with everything- those of us on CC will be rooting for you!
^ xrC, understand that we're talking about a pool of 35000 candidates, maybe half of those will present about the same. I don't think you have to stand out in some extraordinary way. But, a combination of performance, school dedication/clubs, doing the right things for your major (internships/research and hs math-sci actvities/competitions, if you are STEM,) getting out there in tough, commited ways that impact your community, etc- the whole pattern should show a higher level of vision, motivation, ability to take on and master challenges and leadership potential. Then the CA has to be a solid self-presentation.
Last edited by lookingforward; 11-11-2012 at 11:11 AM.
I agree with you about the importance of having a hook. I've just done very well in the areas that I'm interested in, but I haven't done something out of this world. I think that the results of my application process may help me understand Harvard's application review process-can a kid who's done well within the realm of his high school still get in?
"can a kid who's done well within the realm of his high school still get in?"
Yes they can, but as so much of the applications process is subjective and comes down to how an Admissions Director "feels" after reading your teacher recommendations, guidance counselor report and essays and compares them to all other applicants, it's just impossible to predict with certainty who will get in, or what percentage of a chance you have.
But here's the pothole: most kids only understand their own hs context. Many families and friends will see the accomplishments and feedback and make assumptions that, if Johnny is tops at HSX, he will be tops in the pool at an Ivy.
A good app isn't simply a string of hs accomplishments, It shows the adcoms reasons to have strong convictions about your potential as a college kid, in that school's particular evironment, with that school's particular academic challenges and opportunities.
Hgua, you have every right to apply; you have done the hard work and accomplished much. What we cannot know is how effectively you present in the CA, how it all pulls together and the "rest of the story." But you are a qualified applicant. Best wishes.
Gibby, you're definitely right. To an extent, the process is extremely random-I'm just crossing my fingers that the cards fall right.
And lookingforward, I also agree with you. I don't think that I have a warped perspective about the whole thing though-I know the caliber of applicants that are accepted at Ivy League schools. Last year about 20 kids got into ivies from my high school
Your statistics are very impressive. They're probably even among the higher end of accepted students.
You also do a lot of extracurriculars. In fact, however, maybe even too many. You're clearly a diverse applicant, but your application seems to lack a central focus (all I see is art and kind of medicine). Harvard gets a lot of applications like yours, and there's nothing in particular that really stands out a lot. That being said, you do have a very impressive amount of activities even for an Ivy League applicant.
You shouldn't have any trouble getting into Ivies, and I guarantee that you will probably get into multiple ones. However, I don't know about Harvard in particular. I'd still give you above a 50% chance there.