Hi, i am a white, male, rising senior, who currently lives in California.
SAT: 2140 total (w: 780 m: 700 cr: 660)
SAT II's: Biology-700 US History-760
GPA: uw- 3.67 w- 3.9 (i know its low :/ )
Attend one of the top public schools in the state of CA (API index of 923)
I've taken AP European History, AP US HIstory, AP biology, and Spanish 4 Honors and am taking 4 AP's next year (AP Pysch, AP Gov/econ, AP Environmental Science, AP Calc)
As for EC's...
-I am the co-founder and vice president of my school's debate club (2010-2012)
-I also am the lead prosecutor on my school's defending state finalist mock trial team. (2011-2012)(i've won many awards for this)
-Along with both those clubs that take up a huge part of my time, i peer tutor everyday during 7th period for about an hour. This gives me about 170-180 hours total of tutoring for this year (however i will be doing the same thing next year). (2012, 2013)
-I also will lead a team, comprised of about 15 students, to Tijuana, Mexico, to help build houses for impoverished families living in terrible conditions. This trip will last a week and consists of about 9 hours of manual labor per day (2013)
-I am the lead guitarist in my church's worship group and i play every sunday and wednesday for about 250 to 300 people (2009-2012)
-I also have been playing competitive soccer since the age of 8 and have been a scholar athlete every year of my high school career.
-I also was the captain of my nationally recognized soccer team last year and hope to be captain of my high school team this year
-I assist the Winter Nights homeless shelter every year by helping make food and helping kids with their homework (2009-2012)
-I assisted with food preparation towards weekly soup, intended to feed approximately 80 to 100 homeless in Berkeley, CA. (2009-2012)
I would say you have a great chance! Your GPA is obviously a little low, but your test scores are good and your ECs are meaningful and unique. If you don't get into Vandy you'll certainly get in somewhere else impressive.
You should study for the months of July and August and try the ACT to see if it could help with your reading score if you are truly interested in VAndy. It is not in keeping with your obvious fine use of language in debate orally. I bet you could do well on the ACT but you need to realize that there will be at least 25 thousand applicants for 1600 spots.
Also you didn't post your AP scores. I am not asking you to post them. Lots of smart kids don't get high AP scores but then this is one of those highly selective hard to predict colleges.
Are you interested in Vandy's Div School for enrichment since you are church active? Are you interested in religion or philosophy? Be someone with some core interests is my point.
If you advanced in the very large state of CA in debate, you must be really talented and you must have had some good coaching and examples in peers around you. Write about this. Our son arrived with little to no debate training and still made the team at Vandy but it wasn't that easy. It is a demanding process.
If you write better than your reading score...show it. Apply for the Chancellors and or the CV or the Ingram. Even if you don't get merit money, your essays will be read.
Your test scores are still in your control to alter. Think about it. Our Duke grad son got 200 extra points in October of his senior year. I guess he just didn't feel motivated before.
Thanks for the response! Yeah i am taking the ACT this fall because i only took the SAT once and got a 2140 and am going to give the ACT a shot (especially after studying). IF i am able to get an ACT score of say... 33 or 34, would Vanderbilt be a plausible option? If i don't get that score, is it even worth my time applying?
If you don't get a high score on the ACT, then just send your SAT, which you should be retaking anyway. You should understand that while test scores are probably one of Vanderbilt's most important admission factors, they are certainly not the end all be all of admission. As for a 33 or 34, Yes, these would give you a very high chance of admission combined with your ECs and potentially strong essays, however, if you don't manage those, do not assume you will waste your chance applying. 2140 is a solid score for SAT, and Vanderbilt is looking for students that will potentially fit with the school, although they have been very focused on academics as of late. For example, I was admitted into the Class of 2016, with the highest academic profile in Vanderbilt's history, yet I only had a 2110 on the SAT with an ACT score of 31. I would encourage you to take advantage of the alumni interview, as it can certainly help your application if you do well in an interview setting. Sorry for rambling!
it is great to hear from someone from 2016 who can testify that the admission process is wholistic!
However our son's 34 is no longer top quartile at Vandy.
You should be buying the Blue Book on the SAT and doing the Real SATs. The Testmasters company sells a companion answer book that has much fuller answers and explanations to study. Studying the answer book in your weak spots can help you find your mojo on where you are losing out. Our sons spent considerable amount of time in at home test prep which is a huge drag but had great outcomes for them once they slogged through it. This means getting a timer, having only one break, and taking practice tests in actual test standard parameters. To warm yourself up, take at least one open book test and study the answers in depth.
Same advice for the Red Book of Real ACTs. Our son did all 8 of them and made a perfect math score. I do not by the way think he is a math savant. It is after all only high school math and it is about readiness. To break up the tedium...he did open book exams in the red book till he felt he understood the exam. The ACT rewards completion, stamina and speed and is not as tricky as the SAT but it has its own separate challenges which you should master.
If anyone can master a video game, they can learn the subtle differences in these two exams and develop skills in the mastery of the test itself.
best of luck.
remember...references, knowledge of Vandy and your possible future place there and how you will contribute to your class...and how you will use Vandy's vast academic resources...needs to come out in your essays. you don't have to promise your first born child and you can alter your plans of course but the first hurdle is getting admitted.
if you can up your test scores, you will have other worthy choices. Vandy is a great place but not the only place. America is rich in great colleges. Build a fantastic safety match college or two into your plans and respect those institutions as much as schools like Vandy and you can't lose. Vandy is NOT a safety school for anyone.
best wishes, put your head down and be a test gladiator and see how the chips fall. Second son got the same SAT twice,...then you know it is time to accept and move forward
Thank you all for the answers! Yeah i'm determined to do good on the ACT the first time so i've been studying about 2 hours each day for the last two weeks and continue to do so. I appreciate all the help you've all given me!