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Balancing out my College List + Focusing on Extracurriculars

thatcellokid2019thatcellokid2019 Registered User Posts: 17 New Member
So, basically I am a rising high school junior and I am beginning to form a *very rough* college list due to my guidance counselor's suggestions. As of now, it consists of all reaches and one match/safety. I am trying very very very hard to search for more colleges that would be good matches/safeties, but I just keep getting caught up in that "ivy league mindset" rather than being realistic with myself.

To preface, I have a big interest in medicine & biology. Like, I would actually stay up till 2am re-reading my biology textbook for fun during my freshman year. I have been back and forth between the sciences and the humanities (which is a very broad term), but recent events have assured to me that science is my thing. However, you will probably see by just scrolling down that my extracurriculars show no evidence of this interest. I am also a big orchestra kid (hence my cringe-y usernamne)

Back to the point, heres my "list" of schools even though it is so early in the game
High High High Reaches
- Harvard, Yale, Brown, UPenn, Amherst, Williams, Tufts, Boston College
Match???
- None**
High Safety
- UMass Amherst

Freshman Year
- Honors Bio (A+)
- Honors English 9 (A-)
- Honors World History II (A)
- Honors Spanish II (A)
- Algebra 1 (A+)
- Geometry (A+)
- Honors Orchestra (A+)

Sophomore Year
- Honors Chemistry (A)
- Honors English 10 (A)
- Pre-AP US History I (A)
- Honors Spanish III (A+)
- Honors Algebra II (A)
- Honors Orchestra (A+)

Next year I plan on taking (w/ predicted grades) -- some classes are light-work at my school
- AP Physics I (A)
- AP English 11 (A/A-)
- AP US History II (A+)
- AP Spanish IV (A+)
- Honors Precalculus/Trig. (A+)
- Honors Orchestra (A+)
(Might self study AP Stats)

Senior Year (could change drastically)
- AP Biology
- AP English 12
- AP Psychology
- AP Spanish V
- AP Calculus AB
- Honors Orchestra

I am ranked somewhere in the top 5 out of ~235 in my class, but after next year I will hopefully bump up a few spots. I have around a 4.6 weighted out of possible 4.8. Apparently I am a part of the most competitive class in my school's history so ya. The PSAT went well, but I am more concerned about the SAT. I'll be taking my first test in October after chicken-ing out and not completing the August exam registration. My goal is to get 1400+ with Khan Academy prep (if possible) and work my way up to above a 1500 by senior year.

--Exams---
In May I will take the APUSH exam, AP Physics 1 exam, AP Lit exam, and AP Stats if I actually self study (if I'm not lazy). I am aiming for a 5, 4 (but that's not humanly possible), 5, 4-5 respectively.

I do the usual stuff outside of school. Nothing that crazy, but my interests are definitely all over the place

- Celtic Strings: despite our name, we play a wide variety of selections, from holiday music to normal chamber music (we book "gigs" year-round).

- Honors Orchestra: have been cello section leader ever since 5th grade. (Music is basically half of my life). We perform in state competitions and but sadly have a silver medal streak.

-Community Chamber and Youth Orchestra: one is with late-aged adults. The other is with a group of middle-high school kids. We got gold at a small-ensemble state competition this spring.

- I was a member of my junior district orchestra (auditioned) from 7-9th grade. This year I was accepted into the senior district orchestra and got a recommendation for all-state. My orchestra conductor hopes that by senior year I will make all-eastern.

- My friend from the group below has convinced me to join my school's math team, but I am still unsure about it. I like math and all, but I'd rather focus on my other commitments.

- Global Citizenship Program: its's an application based program at my school where we are required to take certain classes, work on a global project, and travel abroad. By senior year or even next year, I hope to be president. I hope to make a big impact through this program. I am working on a project with my town's superintendent of schools rn.

- Global Nomads Group: this was a year-long project I worked on for the GCP I mentioned previously. We worked with a school in Jordan and focused on breaking stereotypes for people from the Middle East. We looked at how the media has made an impact on this and presented it publicly to the town.

- I'm starting to volunteer at a local hospital and I am just about to go to a week-long "camp" there to shadow. I am also interested in working in some sort of lab, but I feel like no lab worker would want a high school-er there to mess things up. I am debating whether or not to start contacting places.

- Varsity Swimming and Diving: I started on the team in 9th grade, but have been diving since 4th grade or so through an AAU program. I went to sectionals/state for diving and a medley relay and placed very well. Hope to continue this and I have a shot at being a captain. Placed 1st for diving at regional meets and won a few coaches awards.

- Finally, I am in NHS, and Spanish Honors Society. As of recently, have totalled 5 orchestra awards, two spanish award, and a bio award/thing for being a "top" student.

Since this was so long, here are my questions again

1) What would be relatively good "match" and "safety" schools with excellent pre-med resouces? (based on my stats)
2) How does one aquire a lab position in high school? Does volunteering @ a hospital during high school mean doing nothing for 4 hours?
3) How can I put a "spike" in my extracurriculars?

Big thanks to anyone who got this far. Any opinions would be great

Replies to: Balancing out my College List + Focusing on Extracurriculars

  • thatcellokid2019thatcellokid2019 Registered User Posts: 17 New Member
    I am touring all of those schools very soon, so I will cross any off the list if I feel like they're not a fit
  • thatcellokid2019thatcellokid2019 Registered User Posts: 17 New Member
    edited July 17
    The only school I have toured is Harvard. My family walked around the area a long time ago, but all I remember was the tourists traveling in packs. My preferences I guess are medium/small sized schools, not smack dab in the city, liberal artsy feel but good for sciences, good orchestras, New England/East Coast region. **I'm picky lol**. I don't qualify for much financial aid, but any would be nice.
  • thatcellokid2019thatcellokid2019 Registered User Posts: 17 New Member
    edited July 17
  • PiccoloMom1995PiccoloMom1995 Registered User Posts: 232 Junior Member
    With 30-40,000 students applying for every Ivy with 4-10% acceptance rates, the chances of rejection are very high for anyone. You're smart not to get caught up in the Ivy league mindset, especially since you want to go to med school. There's a book called "8 First Choices" which talks about selecting 8 schools (3 reaches, 3 matches, 2 safeties) any of which you'd be happy to attend. The strategy worked well for our D, who was accepted at 6 (4 with merit or need based aid) and waitlisted at 2. If you've done your research, when April 1 of senior year rolls around, you'll have some good options to choose from.

    Emory University seems to check off a lot of your interests as a possible match school. Their acceptance rate (22% for class of 2020) is similar to Boston College. Emory's pre-med program is terrific (the CDC is on campus), 25% of the orchestra is open to non-music majors (the conductor is a cellist and composer) and they have an excellent swim team. They also have a full scholarship merit aid program (Emory Scholars) which you might be a good candidate for. Your Global Nomad program is a stand out EC: what you've done is unusual and should hopefully make your application jump out of the pile.

    4 APs is a heavy load during junior year, with SAT testing (most students take them at least twice), 2-3 SAT Subject tests, school exams and AP exams in May/June. Many universities will not accept both AP English Language and English Literature scores for credit (one or the other) which may help you in senior year. The Lit test is harder to score a 5 on.

    Best wishes to you on your college search process; you have so much going for you!




  • DadTwoGirlsDadTwoGirls Registered User Posts: 2,629 Senior Member
    At the risk of not giving you any useful information that you don't already know: If you are from Massachusetts then UMass Amherst is a very good match / safety. It has quite a good premed and you could do very well there in the not-unlikely event that even with your great stats you don't get into an Ivy. UVM is another possibility but I am hard pressed to say why you should prefer it over UMass Amherst (unless you are from Vermont, of course).

    "My preferences I guess are medium/small sized schools, not smack dab in the city, liberal artsy feel but good for sciences, good orchestras, New England/East Coast region."

    Maybe Bowdoin, but I am not sure it is any safer than your reaches. If you want to consider Canada then ping me and I can suggest some others that fit this description very well.
  • VeryapparentVeryapparent Registered User Posts: 245 Junior Member
    edited July 20
    You sound a lot like my D (also a cellist). Have you looked at Wesleyan? Maybe a high reach. If you were willing to go elsewhere say the mid west I'd say Denison...they are looking to beef up their orchestras and are building a new music center. The cello professor there is great. You'd likely get both an academic and music scholarship. Case Western is on a "urban campus". Didn't seem that way to us city people but lots to offer in the fields you are interested in. Also too you can apparently take lessons with Cleveland Symphony players. Good merit for high stats too.
  • thatcellokid2019thatcellokid2019 Registered User Posts: 17 New Member
    Thank you @PiccoloMom1995, @DadTwoGirls, and @Veryapparent for each of your responses! I still have a while to go in the process, but I'm definitely looking into all those schools

    thanks again!!
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