Hey everyone, I'm a rising senior, and Penn is, without a doubt, my top choice school; I'll be applying ED. While I'm pretty dead-set on Penn, I'd also like to stay within the realm of reality since I realize my grades aren't that great, and I'd like for you guys to honestly tell me how strong of a chance you think I have, essentially if it's worth applying. I attend a rigorous high school that doesn't rank. My prospective major is chemistry, and I plan on taking pre-med courses.
GPA: 3.64 (UW) 4.26 (W)
SAT I: 2160 (800M, 680CR, 680W, first time)
SAT II: 800 Math II, 790 Chemistry, 750 Biology M
ACT: 34 (35E, 35M, 34R, 33S, 8 essay, also first time)
AP's by time of application: AP Chemistry (5), AP Computer Science (5), AP Biology (waiting on score, likely a 5), AP Calculus BC (waiting on score, almost certainly a 5), AP US History (either a 4 or 5)
Senior Course Load:
AP Environmental Science
AP Art History
I've taken the most rigorous course load my school has to offer.
Race: Asian (male)
National Awards: Based on prior cutoff scores, my junior PSAT should qualify for NMSF. I got 10th place in an international math competition in 10th grade (Log1 contest). I've been to the Mu Alpha Theta National Convention twice, and I received an award in the Polynomials and Rational Functions test the most recent time.
I volunteered at a hospital the summers after 8th and 9th grade (roughly 250 hours total).
I did research the summer after 10th grade (roughly 300 hours) and managed to get an abstract published in the journal of nuclear medicine (first author). This project was recently presented at the 2012 Society of Nuclear Medicine Annual Meeting in Miami. I'm currently working on publishing this project in the journal of nuclear medicine as a full publication, not just an abstract.
I'm currently doing cancer research (roughly 300 hours expected this summer as well) and will hopefully have another publication out by the time I apply.
I've been playing competitive chess for five years and have numerous 1st/2nd place trophies from statewide competitions. Most notably, I'm a one of the four members of the team that was won the State Team Chess Championship (K-12) three years in a row. I'm ranked within the top 10 high school chess players in the state (1322 USCF rating).
I've been on the math team since 7th grade and have numerous awards to show for it.
I'm a member of NHS, Mu Alpha Theta, and Key Club.
I'd like to thank everyone who has read this far and ask three questions:
1. My 34 ACT is definitely better than my 2160 SAT. Should I submit just the ACT or the ACT and the SAT?
2. I was three points away from qualifying for the AIME on the 2012 AMC 12 B (careless error). Is it worth mentioning this anywhere?
3. How competitive is the Vagelos Program, and do I stand a decent shot?
submit all your scores - 2160 isn't exactly a bad score
ur extracurriculars are quite impressive. make sure your essay(s) are great.
there are two vagelos programs (LSM and VIPER). both are super competitive coordinated dual degree programs - though i just assume, since neither discloses admission statistics. if you're interested, apply. it doesn't hurt, honestly. if you're rejected from LSM you could still be considered for either CAS or wharton as if you've never applied to LSM. if you're rejected from VIPER you could still be considered for either CAS or engineering as if you've never applied to VIPER.
@Calisha- there are 3 Vagelos programs, actually. MLS, LSM, and VIPER.
The MLS Vagelos program is the one that sounds like it would align with you (inthelab) the most, as it's the most hardcore science based. Your research credentials are reasonably impressive, and definitely could give you a shot to get in. And, if you get into Penn but not the Vagelos program, just email the adviser. He'll often make exceptions even if he doesn't initially extend an invitation for you to join the program.
I suggest you submit your ACT score with your ED application (assume you will do this because Penn accepts almost 50% of the student body this way). Then re-take the SAT in October (2160 is solid, but borderline at Penn, especially with your UW grades). If you like your scores, there is still plenty of time to submit them.
As you note, the key issue is probably your grades. Penn is known for taking mostly the top 1 or 2% (if not the top 1 or 2 in the class). Although your school does not rank, assuming other students from your competitive HS will apply also, Penn will figure out approximately where you stand (at least among the best students applying there). Still, you have a very good schedule and that will help. Also, see if Penn has a competitive chess team and contact the coach or administrator. Every little bit helps.
My son is interested in pre med and I really like Penn's program and am encouraging him to apply. For what it is worth, some other pre-med programs I especially like are Wash U, Haverford, Oberlin, Duke, and Vandy. Not saying these are the best programs, just that like Penn they seem to do a nice job of getting lots of students into med school with out torturing them that much in the process.
muckdogs07 and oomboo2, thank you both very much for your input. MLS was the program I was looking at; sorry about not specifying. And thanks for that list of schools, muckdogs07, as I was searching for schools that have pre-med programs similar to Penn's.
I would say you have a decent shot. Your GPA isn't great, but there's not much you can do about that now, and your EC's are REALLY good. Those clubs probably won't matter too much, but the research and chess will set you apart.
But your scores are good enough and your extra curriculars are crazy!
I got into penn off the waitlist... asian, 2200 sat, 33 act, sat ii: 540 spanish, 640 chem, 690 math ii (so your scores trump mine!)
And I agree with nebbalish =) My interviewer keeps saying how crazy that I got off the waitlist when he(starts listing off examples of kids with much better stats and EC's -__-") knows others have been rejected outright. It just goes to show that other things like essays are important. So rock your essays and tailor them to show that Penn is the only school in the world you'll attend. lol (not literally)