I'm a junior, considering applying to either Amherst or Columbia for ED. I realize that they're very different schools on paper, but both interest me a great deal. It'd be interesting to hear from anyone who was mostly considering larger, more urban, more "arsty" schools but ended up picking Amherst.
Anyway, I would love your input on my chances at Amherst, as well as any experiences you've had with the extracurriculars and fields of study I mention below. Advice on what is and isn't worth putting on my app would be really helpful as well.
Thanks in advance, and sorry for the length of this post.
- SAT I (taking in March, this is based on PSAT & practice tests): 2370 (800 CR, 800 M, 770 W)
- ACT (same as above): 34
- SAT II: Plan to take Literature, US History, Latin
- Unweighted GPA (out of 4.0): 3.79
- Weighted GPA (out of 5.33): 5.09
- Rank (percentile if rank is unavailable): Top 10%
- AP (place score in parenthesis): Taking/plan to take US History, Lang. & Comp, Euro History, Macro Econ, Micro Econ, American Gov't, Comparative Politics, Lang. & Lit, BC Calc, Latin (Virgil)
- Senior Year Course Load: AP PoliSci, AP Econ, AP Euro, AP English 4, AP Calc BC, AP Latin, Symphony Orchestra (I might end up taking AP Studio Art [double period, photo concentration] in place of PoliSci and Euro. I'm about equally interested in the art and social sciences classes. Any advice on this?)
- Intern/campaign photographer for US House candidate in summer '08
- Intern/campaign photographer for different US House candidate last winter-spring
- Currently Chair of high school student campaign for same candidate as in '08 race (also still working as campaign photog.)
- School Young Democrats club (member freshman & sophomore years, co-president junior & senior years)
- Freelance photography throughout high school (work featured in [one of the top 10 U.S. newspapers], 10+ suburban newspapers, books published by large commercial & academic presses, other various media)
- Internship @ local newspaper (summer '08)
- Shot stock library for prominent national political website (summer '09)
- All the political campaign photography I mentioned
- Photographer (I shot photos and video for a documentary about the camp)/camp counselor at an art camp for kids (summer '09)
- Photo editor, school newspaper (freshman year)
- Founded & edited online alternative newspaper/lit mag. Kids lost dedication quickly, but it was really good while it lasted. (sophomore year)
- Staff yearbook photographer (junior year)
- I play double bass.
- Principal, freshman orchestra (freshman year)
- Section player, symphony orchestra--this orchestra recently won a Grammy, plays advanced repertoire, regularly hosts Chicago Symphony players as guest soloists (sophomore and junior years)
- Private lessons (since 5th grade)
- Latin club (member freshman year, co-president this year)
- Latin honor society (freshman & sophomore years, probably this year too)
- National Latin test (silver medal freshman year, gold medal sophomore year)
- State Latin test (went to state freshman year, one of 5 students from my school to sit qualifying exam sophomore year)
- Essays & recs
- Essays should be good. I'll probably write something about fashion, Nabokov, growing up in a interfaith home, or losing faith in politics throughout the course of working on political campaigns
- Recs should also be good. My AP English teacher gets a few kids into Amherst/Williams/Stanford/Ivies each year, and we have a pretty cool relationship.
- Applying for Financial Aid?: No.
- Intended Major: Russian/Philosophy/Econ?
- State (if domestic applicant): IL
- School Type: Highly competitive public
- Ethnicity: White
- Gender: Male
- Income Bracket: Upper
- Hooks: Legacy at Amherst (dad and aunt both attended, neither are huge donors, both are pretty well connected at the college; I probably shouldn't say more)