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Chance me (Junior)! Unsure if I should apply to ivys

cello2021cello2021 9 replies1 threads New Member
edited April 5 in What Are My Chances?

I am very interested in applying to Columbia University and University of Pennsylvania (other ivys as well but those two are my favorites) in 2021 (probably regular decision as I would be in trouble if the financial aid package given was too little, if accepted during early decision).

I am not sure if I even have a chance against other applicants, so I would like honest opinions on my chances to making Columbia University or University of Pennsylvania.

Here are my stats:
Asian-American male, living in Midwest

ACT: 34 SAT:1520 SAT Subject: Chem (740)

Taken: AP World (4), AP Chem (4), AP US History (4),

Taking or will be taking: AP English, AP English Lit, AP Biology, AP US government, AP Statistics, AP Physics, AP Psychology, AP Calc BC, AP Music Theory

ECs: 1st chair of school orchestra (cello and viola), played cello at church since Junior High, Play cello at youth orchestra (highest orchestra of 3 youth orchestras), Lead Organizer of a charity event (nationally recognized orchestra that raises money for a chosen charity each year), Pit orchestra at my school since sophomore year, Cello quartet and quintet for a benefits concert, 2nd place at local University math competition, Regional Music Club Piano Scholarship winner since 7th grade, School Entrepreneurship Scholarship winner since sophomore year, Accepted into Air Force internship for summer before senior year (Don't know if it will get cancelled due to COVID-19), State Regional orchestra junior year, National Federation of Music Clubs (Will be at last level during senior year, there are 18 total levels), Sonatina Award for American College of Musicians.

I know this is a lot of ecs/awards but it kinda sounds like fluff and they won't sound significant to admissions officers when they read my application. Also, I really do not know if I have a chance due to my extracurricular relating mostly to music even though I want to major in science or engineering. Finally, not sure if my ethnicity will also bring me down.

Please let me know if I have a chance (if so, unlikely, or likely) or what I could do during this time of crisis to increase my chances. I really do love music and the STEM field, so wondering what I can do during this time to add to my resume. Maybe study for more SAT Subject tests or improve SAT score or practice cello to make it into state orchestra? I'm really not sure

Thank you so much!
edited April 5
18 replies
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Replies to: Chance me (Junior)! Unsure if I should apply to ivys

  • NJWrestlingmomNJWrestlingmom 1668 replies2 threads Senior Member
    No need to improve your SAT score. What is your GPA? Did I miss that? All the Ivies are a long shot, but you seem qualified depending on GPA. I would make sure you can really state why those schools appeal to you, and not just apply to an Ivy because they're an Ivy.
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  • cello2021cello2021 9 replies1 threads New Member
    My GPA is a 4.0 UW!
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  • DadTwoGirlsDadTwoGirls 6417 replies1 threads Senior Member
    I think that it is worth an application. However, both are reaches and you need to make sure that you find at least two solid safeties what you would be happy attending.

    "I really do not know if I have a chance due to my extracurricular relating mostly to music even though I want to major in science or engineering."

    I do not think that this is a problem at all. My ECs were mostly sailing and skiing, and this did not hurt my application to a highly ranked US university. The point is not what you do. The point is to do it well and to show dedication and success.

    "in trouble if the financial aid package given was too little"

    You should run the NPCs and see what they say. If what they say is okay, you can apply ED. Then if what they actually offer you is much lower you can decline on financial grounds.

    "not sure if my ethnicity will also bring me down"

    You should focus on what you can do something about. None of us can change our ethnic background (although one politician has been criticized for doing so). We can do the best that we can, keep our grades up, treat everyone with respect, and do well in our extracurricular activities. It sounds like you are doing these things.
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  • cello2021cello2021 9 replies1 threads New Member
    Thank you so much for the advice! I really agree with what your saying and I think that it is very helpful!
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  • coolguy40coolguy40 2885 replies8 threads Senior Member
    I'm not generally a big fan of ivy leagues. Let's look at this in another angle. What if Harvard was a boyfriend...or girlfriend...whatever? Would you want to run around like a cutthroat trying to compete for approval from someone who is so self-absorbed, they reject 95% of the people around him/her for not being good enough to pay $50,000 a year for a friendship?

    Seriously, take a scholarship. You have someone who actually loves you back.
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  • cello2021cello2021 9 replies1 threads New Member
    Hi, thanks for your comment and I realize what you're saying! I have a lot of other safety and reach schools that I am interested in, it's just that I really like Columbia with the location and the quality of education combined. I'm not particularly set on wanting to go for an ivy; I just want to go to a college that will have the prestigious education I am looking for.
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  • ser7in1ser7in1 12 replies1 threads New Member
    I'm not an expert, but I feel you need a story to tie all these accomplishments together. You need a reason why you have committed so much of your time to music yet want to pursue engineering. Hopefully, your Air Force internship does not get canceled, because I think that could be a good central point to your engineering interest (assuming it's for engineering/science).

    Also, not sure if this will help, but the Common Application most colleges use only allows 5 blanks for awards. There is FWIW, a blank section you can put extra stuff you didn't have space for, but many colleges will not look hard at it; maybe a glance over. You have many great awards, but if they are all on the same caliber (regional/state), might be hard to choose important ones and stand out. It would be great if you got a service award as that would add a nice balance.

    Other than that, everything is looking very very nice! You should be very proud. I believe you will get into a great college regardless! Best of luck, and it's always worth a shot at the ivies as long as you think you can handle it and doing more apps won't compromise the quality of your essays. Remember, these ivy leagues are reaches for everyone!
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  • sgopal2sgopal2 3773 replies51 threads Senior Member
    If you apply RD as an unhooked Asian, your chances are very very low. Pick one and apply binding ED. If the financial aid is not enough, you can always back out.

    Chances are very difficult for ORM students at Ivy schools in the RD round, even valedictorians. There are some colleges where being an Asian is an advantage (mainly smaller liberal arts colleges).
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  • cello2021cello2021 9 replies1 threads New Member
    Thank you so much for the encouraging words! The internship is related with computer science so yes, hopefully it won't get cancelled.
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  • cello2021cello2021 9 replies1 threads New Member
    Yes, I started to realize that my ethnicity will affect my application since there are so many Asians that are very competitive in terms of academics. Thanks for your reply!
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  • suteiki77suteiki77 1019 replies3 threads Senior Member
    Do you want engineering in particular or a STEM field in general? There are small liberal arts schools that want to increase their Asian American/Asian enrollment.
    Trinity, Bates, Middlebury, Bowdoin and Colby are schools that want to increase Asian/Asian American enrollment and have 3-2 or split program engineering programs with other colleges like Dartmouth, Columbia and other places..

    There are others good colleges where being Asian American is a plus.

    You might get very good merit money at Trinity. Depending on your family income, Bates, Colby, Middlebury, Bowdoin, etc can be very affordable. Colby meets full need, does not require students to take loans to be at their calculation of student need, for example.

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  • cello2021cello2021 9 replies1 threads New Member
    Thanks for your reply! I understand what your saying. I think I want to go into the STEM field, but I am not sure and what to make sure that I can be confident that the other departments of the college will be strong too.
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  • ctynightlightsctynightlights 12 replies9 threads Junior Member
    I agree with everyone above. Your stats are stellar and I read the first one and a half lines of your ECs and saw the word cello multiple times. I want to major in a biological science, but most of my ECs are dance and art, so I'm just as conflicted as you are. But, you don't necessarily need a specific spike in your intended major. There are going to be people applying to your major with spikes in that subject, but colleges are looking for a well-rounded CLASS. As long as they see that you are passionate about something, they will see that you have drive. Being an Asian male might disadvantage you, but your activities and stats will have a larger weight. Good Luck! You got this!
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  • cello2021cello2021 9 replies1 threads New Member
    Thank you for your comment! I totally agree with you. They are looking for a well-rounded class, but I'm just not sure if I have any differences from the other applicants (considering most asian males have very high stats).
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  • STEMGeek16STEMGeek16 51 replies10 threads Junior Member
    I like your ECs/Awards, but again, it is more important that you tie them all into one strong compelling theme which reveals a great deal about you to the admissions officers. Also, fingers-crossed for your internship as I think it could add a huge boost to why you want to pursue a STEM field. In your application, do plan on really talking about pursuing music in college because it really shows commitment (that you plan on continuing it even in college). Based on what you wrote, you seem really committed and interested in music. Over the summer before the next application cycle, take the time to create a chart of all your ECs/awards and find any links between them and tie it into a compelling theme to include on your college apps. You can also check out several YouTube videos where previous Ivy admits discuss their ECs and how they portrayed it in their college application. I am also in the class of 2021, and I wish you the best of luck on your college admissions planning amidst this chaos.
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  • cello2021cello2021 9 replies1 threads New Member
    Thanks for the response! I hope you get through this pandemic as well! I agree in that I probably need to find a tie between these ECs. I'm also trying to start up a club with something related to medicine as I'm starting to get into that too. Hopefully, the results will be great for both of us!
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  • MathLegend27MathLegend27 6 replies0 threads New Member
    Hi, I am also Asian STEM just like you. Unfortunately, top STEM colleges really look at your EC's and whether they have to do with STEM or not. Looking at your EC's, almost none of them have to do with STEM?
    You're going to be competing with other asian STEM'ers who have qualified for USA(J)MO, USAPHO, USACO plat, all that. Since you're a junior, there's unfortunately nothing further you can do for college apps. But college is luck, so maybe luck can be on your side.

    You seem to have a passion for music, maybe go in that direction? Good luck!
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  • cello2021cello2021 9 replies1 threads New Member
    Thanks for your response! I'm actually trying to separate my application from most asian applicants who are all competing in math competitions and science competitions. I'm not sure how, but I hope it will increase the chances.
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