I've rarely posted here, and I know that no one can really tell me what my "chances" at a specific school are, but I just want to know if I have ANY chance at getting into Yale, or whether it would be a waste of my time to apply.
I'm a rising senior. I'm a white male, lower-middle class, and I live in a VERY small town in Washington state.
My cumulative GPA is 3.992 (on track to be co-valedictorian). I think what will hurt me the most is that, coming from such a small rural school, we only have three AP classes, and it's impossible for me to take a very rigorous schedule. However, of the two AP classes I've already taken, I got A's in both, and scored a 5 on each of the AP exams (English - Lang and U.S. History).
My score on the SAT was a 2220 (740 Reading, 680 Math, 800 Writing). I realize that my math score is quite low, but I hope the perfect score on the writing will help. I haven't taken subject tests yet, but I'm planning on taking the Lit and U.S. History tests in October and I'll hopefully get over 700 on both.
As for extracurriculars, I run cross country (varsity two years) and track (varsity three years). I'm going to be serving as student body president next year, after a couple years involved in leadership around the school. I've captained the knowledge bowl team since my freshman year and we placed sixth in the state last year. I'm also a member of my school's FFA chapter, serving as an officer for three years (VP next year), and our FFA public speaking team qualified for nationals after winning the state contest. Oh, and I'm going to be the business manager of the yearbook next year.
So, if anyone actually reads this, do you think I have even a slim chance at getting into Yale? Does my unremarkable coursework hurt me that much? Will coming from a super-small town help me or hurt me? Thanks for any input!
I think that you have a strong-enough chance that it is well worth applying. You seem like the kind of small-town student who would be interesting to Yale admissions. It appears that you have taken advantage of the opportunities that your area offers. The fact that you have captained the knowledge bowl team since your freshman year suggests that you are probably the kind of student who only comes along every few years, or even every decade, in your region. Your other academic indicators are solid. You have a trifecta as a varsity athlete, president of the student body, and business manager for the yearbook. This suggests a combination of skills that are likely to make you successful in the future.
A couple of pieces of advice: Think about what you have accomplished/will accomplish with your leadership around the school. What you did as a leader will carry much more weight than the title itself. Also, compare your times in track with the Yale team's times. You don't need to be a recruitable athlete to be admitted, but if you happen to be that fast, it would help. Purchase or borrow the book that contains real SAT Subject tests, and check how well you do on the literature test. It has a reputation for being tough. You might find that you do better on US History + some other SAT II, or Lit might be fine for you.
Agricultural policy will continue to be important for the US, and Yale has (I suspect) relatively few students who have been members of FFA. That will also be a positive factor for your admission.
When you say small rural school, how many seniors are you talking about? My son went to a public school that I would not call large (around 200 seniors) and his school only offered 6 AP classes (of which he took 5). He finished 4th in the ranking for Val (calculated after 2nd trimester) but ended up the year in a 3 way tie for 2nd with the 2 Salutatorian's. My son was also a varsity athlete (soccer) for 3 years but did not have a lot of leadership EC's.
I think you are in the range for accepted applicants if you can score in the mid 700's with any subject level exams. Your SAT math score is a little low but if you can take the Math II subject level test and do well that will negate some of that concern. If you can accomplish those things and write some killer essays there is no reason (other than monetary) that you shouldn't apply. Good luck.
200 seniors would be huge compared to my school! We graduated 46 seniors last year! Haha. My class is on track to have about 60 graduates. If I managed to get accepted at an Ivy, it would be unprecedented at my school...which is probably one of the reasons I'm so apprehensive about it...
I don't think I'm going to retake the SAT because I need to get my subject tests out of the way, and I honestly don't expect to score much higher. I'm thinking I might take subject tests in U.S. History, Lit, and Math II. I can take up to three exams on one day, correct?
I'm glad that my coursework isn't going to be too much of a problem... However, I do have another question. I'm going to be taking Pre-Calculus next year, as a senior. I was on track to be taking Calc next year but I had to take Financial Math last year in order to accommodate my schedule. =/ Is the fact that I'm not advanced in math going to be the kiss of death to my admission chances?
Most applicants have taken both AP Calculus AB and BC. My son was in the minority that only had AB so it's not helping your cause. Is it a kiss of death? I wouldn't think so but you need to have some other compelling part of your application to make up for it. One thing I can tell you is you won't get it if you never apply.
D took only AB and had B's in math through much of high school (at least she was consistent.). I don't think it matters unless you're a math major. Yale is looking for students with a high overall level of achievement, but if its sole admission criterion was academic perfection, the class would be made up only of valedictorians with SAT scores over 2350 -- and it's not. However it would be wise for you to have your guidance counselor explain about your scheduling issues with math.
Also - often test scores improve when you retake the SAT - and the math section is especially coachable. There are excellent free and low-cost resources online and in book form that may help you improve your math SAT score, and there's plenty of info on this site about how to prep. I agree that it wouldn't hurt to retake it once.