Okay so I'm not your typical east coast prep school kid who's been groomed for the Ivy League his whole life, I'm actually from a historically low-performing public school in Salem, Oregon. I am, however:
First in my class of 390
I have a cumulative 4.0 GPA
As of right now I've taken four AP tests (government and politics, biology, european history, and language and composition) and I'm enrolled in AP calculus ab, english lit, and us history for this coming year. My ap government score was a 5 and the other three tests' scores haven't been posted yet
My extracurricular are track and field, student government (I am a senior representative), FBLA, Youth and Government, Mu Alpha Theta (math club), I am a part of an organization that sponsors a village in Zimbabwe by giving its AIDS orphans clothing and food, and we've also built wells and shipped school supplies over there, and I'm involved in a long list of volunteer organizations on top of that
The offices I currently hold are president my high school's chapter of the National Honor Society, my position in Student Government, and my senior position in our LINK program which is in control of freshman activities
My SAT score (first try) was 2000, and Im going to try it again in the fall as well as take the subject tests
So overall, does it look like I have a chance at getting in? Would it even be worth my time? I'm a first generation college kid in my family so I don't really have much good advice to work off of here. Oh, and also, what are your thoughts on taking the ACT this fall, is it a must?
Your ranking and GPA are currently out of sync with your SAT score. To be competitive, you need to get the score up at least 100 points. Try a few practice ACT questions and see how you do: Practice Questions | ACT Student
If you're good at geometry and science then you may want to take the ACT. If you get a good enough score on that you don't even need the SAT. Your ECs are okay but nothing really stands out. At this point, I would say you don't have a great chance but you definitely have time to improve!
jledoux2013, speaking as an ADULT who has been through college and grad school admissions already, I would urge you to take with a huge grain of salt ReecesPieces's uninformed, and totally self-serving comments about your ECs. Your work with the Zimbabwe organization is FAR MORE IMPRESSIVE, to me, than RP's declarations that he or she plays "a rare instrument and [volunteers] at a Women's Rape Center." What you are doing already stands out, to this observer. Keep up with it and enlarge your leadership role. Of course, there are absolutely no guarantees on admission. But get the SAT up and keep pursuing your passions. Submit the strongest application you can and...good luck.
If you are passionate about a school it is always worth it to apply. Based on this admission cycle's statistics, however, you have a less than 7% chance of being accepted to Yale. But, so does every other applicant.
@Swingtime, I was giving examples of what I think is unique-- it was not to brag, especially since my ECs are not particularly impressive. They are, however, something that not everyone will have. Volunteer work in Africa is very common as an EC and many students will have it. Many of my friends have done similar things and not gotten in to any of their desired universities. I was simply stating my opinion on what will give OP an edge, not that I am a particularly good example of such traits. I am speaking from my experience of seeing what has gotten other people into their top choice universities and I do not believe it is your call whether or not I am "informed".
RP, didn't mean to offend. Based on other posts of yours, however, I assume that you are still in high school. Therefore, I sense that you are relatively less informed about the admissions process than adults who have already been through it.
As for OP, volunteer work in or for Africa may or may not be very common. His ability to convey a true passion for and involvement with this EC, however, may burnish his college application. Just because many others have done this and received no benefit for it in college admissions does not mean that OP could not. Your friends may not have gotten into desired colleges for a variety of other reasons. It is irrelevant to college admissions officers how many applicants may have done such and such. There is no quota for African volunteerism as an EC. It is what the individual applicant makes of what he or she has done that is, ultimately, significant.
@RP: I would love to see evidence that volunteer work in Africa is "very common" as an EC. It might be at top private schools where applicants' families can afford to send their kids to Africa for a few weeks, but I doubt that among the population of more middle and working class applicants it is seen as a standard EC. I guess that as long as it doesn't come off as an obvious ploy for boosting a high school resume, it should look impressive.