Going into Junior year, had bad grades freshman year, how screwed am I?
Freshmen year I had a few Bs and some A-'s. This past year I made all As/A+'s. I am going to be doing my school's IB program for the next 2 years of high school and I plan on working as hard as I have to for all As. (Unlike my freshman year)
Info about me so far:
Current class rank: top 5% (Hopefully will go up)
Swimming team (Average swimmer)
Speech and Debate Team (made nationals this year)
Science Olympiad Team (Our schools science olympiad team is pretty bad but if I get the events I want this year I could do well)
Boy Scouts (got my Eagle)
I also have a job as a lifeguard (I know high level colleges don't care about most jobs because if you are making money from your immense hours of working for others that must mean you have poor character, right?)
My plans for the future include starting a club (either premed based, CS based or political) and joining NHS.
PSAT: 1350(630 on math 720 on reading) (I will be taking this again and my score should be much better)
SAT: 1450 (710 on math 740 on reading)
I swear I'm not bad at math, but I took Algebra 2 this past year. (My school wouldn't let me take Alg 1 in 7th grade for reasons unrelated to grades, which were As in middle school).
At the time of taking the PSAT I had virtually no Alg 2 education and at the ti.e of taking ths SAT I had no education in trig.
I will be taking the SAT as many times as possible to get the highest score I can (should be above 1520 I hope) and I will be taking the PSAT again to try to be a NMS semi finalist.
My question is, what other ECs could I do starting this year to improve my chances of getting into top schools (Stanford, Brown, Johns Hopkins, Princeton,Georgetown, Northwestern, etc)
I want to do premed and major in Biology or something similar (Biochemistry or Bioengineering are possibilities)
Also, how much will my Freshman year grades hold me back? Can I score high enough on standardized tests to still have a chance of getting in to schools like these?
Schools I want to apply to currently: IU (safety), University of Alabama, those top schools listed above, Notre Dame, Duke (both of these are very competitive but not as crazy as the ones listed above).
Again, I feel that ECs are where I need the most improvement since I will already be improving academically as much as possible.
I see these other posts with crazy ECs like lab research and internationally competing in Math/Physics/whatever Olympiads and building houses in Haiti and starting huge nonprofit charities and even class president (which I have little chance of being because some basketball player always runs and its basically a popularity contest - I go to a regular public school, not a prep school.)
Opinions and advice are appreciated.