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Am I on the Right Path?

MadMonkey55MadMonkey55 2 replies1 threads New Member
edited July 11 in College Admissions
Hi! It's my first post on CC, and I heard about this from one of my friends. I wanted to ask about how whether or not my profile as a student is good because I'm really not sure what I should expect when applying to college.

For a bit of background, I'm a first-generation and low-income student (<$40K) in a high school in NJ. This year, I am going to be a junior with a weighted GPA of 99.126. I have taken several honors and AP classes (APUSH and AP Chemistry in my sophomore year). My junior year schedule is going to be AP Statistics, AP Biology, AP World History, AP Language & Composition, Spanish III Honors, Pre-calc, Health/Gym, Research Honors, and Physics Honors.

As for my extracurriculars, I really don't have that many except for a select few. I am in the FTC Robotics Team as co-captain(9th, 10th), Science Fair (9th, 10th), Math Club as secretary(9th, 10th), and JROTC where I was in the JLAB team (9th, 10th). I won't be doing JROTC this junior year though due to family responsibilities.

As for awards, my robotics team has won some regional awards, I have won a silver medal in the county science fair in my category of natural sciences, and my JROTC JLAB team advanced to the national championship in Washington DC, but it was cancelled due to COVID. As for summer programs, I have done a STEM Program at NJCU last year and this year I have participated in a virtual summer program that is making me do a project focusing on local issues in NJ.

That's my overall profile, and I wanted to ask if there was anything I could do to help me be more competitive for applying to colleges - though nothing like top tier colleges since I wouldn't be able to afford them. My main goal is to get a scholarship because I have a twin, and I don't want to overburden my parents for when we both have to apply. Thanks a lot!
edited July 11
7 replies
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Replies to: Am I on the Right Path?

  • DadTwoGirlsDadTwoGirls 6650 replies2 threads Senior Member
    First of all, I think that you are doing very well.

    Coming from New Jersey, you have very good in-state public universities to consider.

    With regard to the cost of the most selective universities, the top universities (Ivy League, MIT, Stanford, some top LACs, and a few other schools) in many cases have no merit based aid. However, they have very good need based financial aid. You might note that Harvard and Stanford both have enormous endowments that can help them to provide full financial aid to students who really need it. With an income of less than $40k, you would probably pay nothing at the very highest ranked schools if you can get accepted.

    Family responsibilities are an extracurricular activities. The top schools understand that some students have to either work part time or take care of family members and will do this instead of participating in clubs. Having a few ECs that you care about is more important than having a long list of ECs.
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  • MadMonkey55MadMonkey55 2 replies1 threads New Member
    @DadTwoGirls , thank you! I'm confused on the need based part because I thought it was the other way around. I might be misunderstanding this, but I heard top tier colleges were need-blind so I thought they didn't give financial aid to lower income students? As for taking care of my family responsibilities, I didn't know they counted as activities – thanks for letting me know!
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  • powercropperpowercropper 1799 replies77 threads Senior Member
    Can you share your thoughts on a possible college major? You may not know just yet, and that is okay.

    Do you have any thoughts of what kind of job, what kind of work environment for the future?

    Have you looked through college guides and thought about how your personality and preferences might guide you towards large vs smaller campus, urban vs rural, STEM vs LAC, Greek life, etc. Telling us more about your preferences can help us guide you to the types of colleges you should be looking at to get best fit for you.
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  • DCCAWAMIIAILDCCAWAMIIAIL 198 replies7 threads Junior Member
    Do you qualify for Questbridge? https://www.questbridge.org
    or Posse https://www.possefoundation.org
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  • DadTwoGirlsDadTwoGirls 6650 replies2 threads Senior Member
    "I heard top tier colleges were need-blind"

    "Need blind" means that they do not consider your need when deciding whether to admit you. Their admissions staff will not look at your financial need at all, they will consider only other aspects of your application.

    Then if you are accepted, the financial aid people will look at your financial information and figure out how much financial aid you need.
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  • happymomof1happymomof1 30836 replies198 threads Senior Member
    Each college and university has a Net Price Calculator on its website. You can work through those with your parents, and get an estimate of what your costs would be. That will help you see which places are likely to be affordable if you are accepted for admission.
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  • MadMonkey55MadMonkey55 2 replies1 threads New Member
    edited July 13
    @powercropper , a college major I was leaning towards was biomedical engineering, but at the same time I'm interested in some aspects of medicine. I've taken some college virtual information sessions, and I think I'd prefer colleges that have more research facilities in their place. As for urban or rural, I don't really have a preference, but I would hope to be able to have a closer relationship with my professors.

    @DCCAWAMIIAIL , I qualify for Questbridge, but I'm not sure if I can take the SAT as a junior this year because of covid-19. Would that affect my application for the College Prep Scholars Program on Questbridge?

    @DadTwoGirls , ohh I understand now! I might take a look at more colleges now since I thought they were out of reach. Thank you for the clarification!

    @happymomof1 , I'll be using those to help me now! Thank you!
    edited July 13
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