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Chances of getting in?

zleisherzleisher 2 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
Hi! I'd like some opinions on my chances of getting in to Carleton. I am a white, male with a family income of around $140,000 a year. Both of my parents went to college, and my mom went to Carleton.
My statistics are somewhat confusing, mostly because of the high school I go to. It is a highly competitive one, and so my GPA is low, but my standardized test scores are quite high.

GPA - 3.702 weighted, don't know unweighted
SAT I - 1570 (800 math, 770 r/w), 21 on essay
SAT II - 780 on math 2 (a bit low but I took 3 on the same day and this was the last), 760 on chem, 740 on lit
AP - 5 on com sci, 5 on lang, currently taking psych and enviro (very probably going to get 5s)

I do have a fair amount of extracurriculars, specifically those related to computer science, which I am very passionate about.

Captain and head coder for robotics team which ranked 3rd in the state
First job was tutoring middle schoolers coding for a week
Volunteered to teach basic coding to underprivileged kids
Written around 15,000 lines in Kotlin (a Java derivative language) for a game (still in progress, has been for 2 years), and also proficient in 3 other languages (Java, Python and C++)

However, I am not entirely focused on computer science, as I think balance is important. I have had some interesting experiences:

Volunteered on an organic farm in rural Montana for a month
Moved from NJ to Maine for a year with my family to live in the wilderness, off the grid, just for the experience
Interned at a charity, did data analysis on rural Indian villages

My first language was Vietnamese, because I lived there for the first 2 years of my life (for parent's jobs). Then I moved to Australia for 3 years, and then to the US (both of my parents lived most of their lives in the US). I've taken 5 total years of French (3 in middle school, 2 in high school) and 1 year of Latin.

I applied to the Carleton Summer Computer science program and didn't get in. However, this was before I got my SAT results and my essays were somewhat lacking. Right now, I consider myself a good writer, (mostly thanks to my wonderful AP lang teacher), but that was my first experience trying to 'sell' myself--I focused way too much on my computer science stuff.

Sorry if this is a whole bunch of text :( Carleton is in my top 3 choices if not the first, and I've heard great things from everybody. Thanks!
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Replies to: Chances of getting in?

  • Anxiousdad53Anxiousdad53 91 replies0 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    edited August 2018
    It's hard to say. Carleton does take a holistic approach and you have a lot of really good things going for you. Everything seems to be quite positive, except the GPA which is below the average of what Carleton accepts. Is Carleton familiar with your school? Do they know that the grading is tough there and therefore not comparable to many other schools? If you have a good class rank that would help show that the grading at the school is tough. I think that if your class rank is low, then you would want to explain why your scores, including your performance on AP exams is so high while your grades, while still good, are lower than what they would expect. Will you be able to demonstrate interest? Will you be able to visit, and interview there? Will you be able to get to know your area Carleton representative? How good will your recommendations be, and your essay?

    In the Carleton College Common Data set (very interesting and useful to look at for any college), Carleton lists three things as "Very Important" in consideration of admission, Rigor of Secondary School Record, Class Rank, and Academic GPA. Most of the things that you have listed above are listed as being "Important" in their selection criteria.

    Based on what you have shown here, I think that Carleton is not out of reach for you. You have a lot of really nice things going for you, good extra curriculars, volunteer work, good test scores, demonstrated mastery of knowledge, and being a legacy.

    If Carleton really is your top choice then you could consider applying there Early Decision.

    Keep in mind that this is just one persons observations, and it's not like I'm a guidance counselor or and admissions officer. I've 2 boys go through the process, so that's my expertise, but it doesn't make me an authority.
    edited August 2018
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  • zleisherzleisher 2 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
    Thank you so much for your thoughts! I really appreciate the time you took to help a random stranger :)

    Carleton is familiar with my school, as they send representatives to our college night. I think emphasizing the toughness of the school is my only hope for rectifying that GPA. My school doesn't publish class rank unless you're in the top 10%, which I'm not.

    I will definitely be visiting and interviewing at Carleton sometime soon (flying out from NJ), so I have that going for me.

    I think I have quite good recommendations--my AP lang teacher, who is an amazing writer and likes me (I think), my computer science teacher, who knows my skills and dedication, and my guidance counselor, who I have made what I think to be good friends with. I can't be sure about my essay, but I can certainly output essays that score a 9/9 on the AP lang rubric (with a lot of effort).

    Also, one thing I didn't mention was my GPA increase. As of the beginning of my junior year, my GPA was around 3.4. By the end, it had been raised by about .3. I have no doubt that for the first semester of senior year it will continue to raise, and I hope that 'story,' of not doing very well at all but then starting to do better, will help.

    And yes, of course, you're not an authority, but the points you raise are completely true :) Did both of your children go to Carleton?
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  • Anxiousdad53Anxiousdad53 91 replies0 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    That upward trend in GPA is certainly helpful for you and certainly will make it more likely you will get in. That's a good fact pattern. I think that you will still need to have some talking point as to why your grades were low in your earlier years. It sounds like you're doing all the right things. Whatever you decide, good luck.

    Both of my kids did end up choosing Carleton. They came to those decisions independently, and they're both really happy with it.
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  • mysteriousskinmysteriousskin 9 replies2 threadsRegistered User New Member
    @zleisher congrats!
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  • lightyboylightyboy 8 replies0 threadsRegistered User New Member
    Congratulations @zleisher !! My son was accepted RD and we will visit for ASDs this weekend.
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