I recently visited Harvard and really liked it. I was wondering if I have any chance of getting in (other than if they misplaced my file with some other highly qualified applicant's.)
SAT: CR 750, M 780, W 700
SATII: Jap 800, Math IIC 800, Chem 750
AP: Bio 5, US Hist 5, Chem 5
GPA: UW 3.90 (hopefully) My Physics grade is... not expecting to be very impressive... maybe
Senior course load: 4 AP, 1 Hon
School is competitive, almost a public feeder school
Recs: submitting 4, two teachers rec, very good art teacher rec, community service supervisor rec, awesome/good counselor rec
Here is the bad part... my ECs are... like so little and unimpressive
Asian American Cultural club - secretaty 9-12
Peer Meditation - Manager 11-12
Chinese School - Assistant Teacher 10-12
Math Team 10-12
Amnesty International 10-12
Internship as office assistant
200hr+ community service
Did Harvard Summer school, hopefully that shows interest...
Very into art, but haven't taken any classes outside of my high school art class. However, I spend about 10 hours a week (including class time) for art. Will be sending art supplement along with the art recommendation.
Art work displayed several times in local galaries.
No major awards such as Sieman, science fair, sports, music, etc. =(
Your ECs are what you make of them. If you can move them with you story of how your community service involved reuniting a girl who has been living on the streets for two years with her estranged family, then the "200 hours in a homeless shelter" suddenly becomes a whole lot more. I think this is what is important to remember, okay, you ECs listed do not shake building foundations, but i'm sure any reasonably elloquent person can manipulate the 'amnesty international-2 hours a week' and make a seriously life changing extra curricular for you and those you helped and one you wish to continue for your lifetime. I'm not saying lie, don't, just be specific and in depth about what you have done and how you have changed/developed/been reborn a new-age hippie, because of it.
Maybe I can talk about helping an old patient in the hospital I volunteered. My biggest passion is teaching Chinese, but I sort of talked about it in the "significant activity" portion of the common app. Do you think it is ok to use the same topic twice? One of my essay will be how I came to approciate cultural diversity. I moved to the US 4 years ago (not an int'l though)
Also, I'm in a single parent family. Dad is upper-middle class, mom lives below poverty line. Should I mention my mom even though I don't live with her? Will that help me in anyway, other than maybe getting more financial aid?
well, ur ecs are fine. U dont wanna seem as if u have too many, they hate that. By focusing on a couple of things that u like the most, u can really stand out. Try to benefit from it and use ur essay in ur application to draw all of ur ecs together and show in what way u attained personal growth from them. Ur ecs are just fine.
Will having a lot of qualified applicants applying from my school hurt my chance?
NO, definitely not. This is something a lot of people ask, and I've heard it refuted many, many times.
They do consider applicants within the context of their schools (that is, they know how challenging high schools are compared to each other and what opportunities each provides) but they DON'T compare you to other people in your school. Each regional admissions officer (see that thread "what goes on behind the admissions office doors" for a much more detailed explanation) reads through all the applications for a certain region (say, Texas, or Los Angeles and New York, or whatever), but reads them completely out of order and doesn't organize them by school. Even if they do notice two people that come from the same school, they wouldn't compare you against each other, they'd compare you to the entire applicant pool.
In short, NO, they don't have a quota for the students they select from each school. If you're qualified compared to the entire applicant pool, they'll take you, and if the other students are qualified, Harvard will take them too. However, it's true that at many schools, Harvard only selects one or two applicants most years, if any at all.
So, out of curiosity, how many applicants does Harvard usually accept from your school each year?