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Looking for schools that are not as competitive but also pretty decent?

littlecorvidaelittlecorvidae Registered User Posts: 25 Junior Member
Some insight:
HS senior
my gpa for UC is a 3.4 and my gpa for common app is a 3.6 weighted.
My transcript consists of As and Bs only
SAT 1200
ACT 22
EC activities:
-Ice skating (two times bronze medalist in usfs open championship; passed movement certificate exams)
-cello (south coast youth symphony orchestra: performed in three concerts in austria, and one concert in segrestrom concert hall; oc cello choir member)
-drawing/painting: nixon library winner/exhibition, 1st place nasa art contest, long term painting display at my school's district's performing art center, literary magazine features/publications. passed a summer art session at UCLA (AP score: 5)
-Piano: 2nd place mtac concerto competition, and other branch conpetitions as well.
-photography: literary magazine features and one blog interview (taking AP photo right now)
-Volunteering: school ptsa, cello tutor, art and theater instructor in mowgli youth association of taiwan.
Language: mandarin chinese and english

I'm looking for schools like USC, UCLA, Brown, Virginia Common Wealth... etc. As you can see, my academics are horrible and everyone I've asked (counselor, teachers) said I'm hopeless and that I should just attend a community college.

The truth is, I know I might've wasted too much time on extra curricular activities, but I'm just gonna tell you that english, math, science just bore me to sleep, so I just didn't even consider taking every ap classes in my school. I DID tried my best on my tests, I studied SAT and ACT hard just for the sake of getting into the standard range. (well, long story short, I tried my best, and I'm just accepting the fact that maybe i'm just naturally dumb)

I'm literally on the edge of my life right now because one time I talked to the office dean of art in USC and she told me that my art (particularly photography) are excellent and she loves them but told me that my grades and test scores are considered super low for any good school i'll ever apply to. Just thinking about how might my passions will all go to waste scares the life out of me.

Anyways, enough complaining: I'm looking for universities, not art schools, that has amazing art programs and isn't as competitive to get into. Something like syracuse or virginia common wealth.

Any recommendations would be great! Thank you!!!

Replies to: Looking for schools that are not as competitive but also pretty decent?

  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone Registered User Posts: 19,543 Senior Member
    Universities are going to require English, math, and science which bore you to death.
  • momprof9904momprof9904 Registered User Posts: 177 Junior Member
    Suggest you look at California state universities. Maybe out of state ones like nau in Flagstaff.
  • Mom2aphysicsgeekMom2aphysicsgeek Registered User Posts: 4,304 Senior Member
    Your test scores and GPA are not such that you can only consider CCs. Your stats make VCU a possibility. https://opds.vcu.edu/eaar/facts-and-figures/data_sets/ Your GPA and test scores put you close to their 50th %. Talent is considered in their admissions process, so I wouldn't give up there if you can afford to pay to attend OOS.
  • zozotyzozoty Registered User Posts: 42 Junior Member
    edited December 6
    The Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD) regularly recruits at our high school and several kids in past years have gone there. They all love it. Seems like it is not super competitive to get in (your stats are right around their average) and they have ever artsy major you could ever want. I guess it might be more of an art school than a university though.
  • TTGTTG Registered User Posts: 1,464 Senior Member
    Hey, things are not at all horrible. You've done some fantastic things and have some real accomplishments and skills. You have the gift of youth. The great news is that there are MANY, MANY fantastic schools in fantastic places with excellent students, faculty, and staff. VCU is one. Great arts program, one of the best. Richmond is (now) a fun city to be a student. We've known several students who've had amazing, transformative experiences there. How about UNC-Asheville? It is a public LAC, not an alternate version of UNC-Chapel Hill, and just a couple of thousand students, maybe 2 miles from downtown Asheville, which is a very neat town. Cost for OOS students, without aid, is not that much higher than in-state at some of the VA schools.

    Certainly check out the WUE schools, where you can get more favorable OOS student tuition coming from a member state. Apply early spots can be limited. I like the NUA recommendation, Flagstaff is also great.


    Take a look at the College of Charleston. Students love it there, right in the middle of another great city with a vibrant art culture, especially if you include food in that. Maybe Temple in Philadelphia or Seattle University (don't know about art there).

    On your application, be positive--no "horribles." That goes a long way. And you are young, you are going to make your future. Nothing at all has been determined because your grades are not as high as some other peoples (though higher than some). Your SAT in particular is very good in the big picture. A lot of schools would love to have you as a student. Go to one and learn with some other amazing students. Have fun, learn who you are (sounds like you are doing that). It will work out fine. Lots of people who are doing great, in all different ways, were not perfect in high school. It can be a great way to learn resiliency, which is very important to success in college and in life. Literally look up resiliency and think about the meaning and why it can be so important. Good luck!
  • Hopper2019Hopper2019 Registered User Posts: 207 Junior Member
    edited December 6
    You have fantastic accomplishments. You should be quite proud of all that you have accomplished in your (relatively) young life. Also keep in mind that college academics is so much more interdisciplinary than high school. I never took another math class when I got to college. But I took 5 econ classes, two stats classes, etc., all of which involved math, but all of which were incredibly interesting to me (whereas trig and calculus were a slog). I went on to a top 5 graduate program, and have been successful (at least I think so) in business and life. I actually think your passion for your ECs bodes incredibly well for you in life. College is an opportunity for you to find a field of study that interests you. You can then turn all that high school EC energy towards the next phase of your life. Between an automaton grade-seeking lemming and you, I'll put my money on you! Good luck!
  • Hopper2019Hopper2019 Registered User Posts: 207 Junior Member
    edited December 6
    And lest everyone thinks you must go to a top "X" (insert number) school to succeed, there is a great story of a kid who played hockey. He went to Utica College (to play hockey), and absolutely killed it there. My recollection is he spent his summers selling ice cream to make money. Graduated salutatorian from Utica College and is now at Yale Law School. (Apparently he turned Harvard down.)
  • merc81merc81 Registered User Posts: 8,738 Senior Member
    edited December 6
    You could reach for a fine school such as Wheaton (MA). However, for a choice such as this to be worthwhile, you should see yourself developing some interest in the school's offerings outside of visual and performing arts.
  • ccprofandmomof2ccprofandmomof2 Registered User Posts: 335 Member
    Have you seriously considered art schools? Why do you need to go to a four-year university?
  • StPaulDadStPaulDad Registered User Posts: 260 Junior Member
    "The truth is, I know I might've wasted too much time on extra curricular activities, but I'm just gonna tell you that english, math, science just bore me to sleep."

    You really don't sound like someone who is going to enjoy a regular degree at a university. I'm not sure who put the idea into your head that "art school" isn't a real thing or that it's going to somehow limit you, but set that aside and go looking into that world with an open mind. You sound like you'd love staying in music or photography for the rest of your life, so why avoid that? But if you don't want to base your education on your photos then consider taking a gap year to teach music and look into what it would take to follow that path long term.

    A couple other points: there's a vast wonderful world of options between UCLA/USC/Brown and community college where most college kids find great opportunities. Go find one of them that wants you and your array of interests and skills. And you're getting fine grades for someone who isn't interested in the material, so move ahead safe in the knowledge that whatever work your degree will require is something you can handle. Don't conflate grades with intelligence or your broader self-image. You have many other things to offer than a mere GPA, so celebrate them and focus on finding a place where you can continue developing them.
  • washugradwashugrad Registered User Posts: 711 Member
    Have you looked at any of the CSUs? Your interests made me think of a friend's daughter who just loved Sonoma State (she did photography there). It might sound less sexy than going out of state to Brown but it's a cute campus, nice weather, in the wine country, in-state prices...
    Another school that comes to mind is University of Southern Oregon, in Ashland. Another cute town (home of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival); your ACT is right average for them. I think they are more known for theater and writing than studio art but they have both.
  • TTGTTG Registered User Posts: 1,464 Senior Member
    Wheaton (MA) (there's one with same name in IL too) sounds like a great recommendation. Here are a couple of related ideas. There is a Five College Consortium that includes Amherst College, University of Massachusetts (Amherst) (state flagship), Mount Holyoke, Smith College, and Hampshire College. Students at these schools can attend some classes and take advantage of other opportunities at the other schools. I find Hampshire and Smith on lists of schools that are strong in the arts. I think you'd be a strong candidate for Hampshire. Smith and Mount Holyoke are all-female schools (if you are female). Not sure if you'd be accepted--they have had increased applications in recent years--but you'd be a reasonable candidate given your strong accomplishments. Why not look to one of those schools. In addition to going to a great school, you'd have access to other excellent schools, including Amherst, which is often one of the top-ranked LACs, with a very bucolic New England campus. Amherst and U Mass are on either side of downtown Amherst, a nice New England town. Smith is adjacent to downtown Northampton, which I think a great, funky college town. Not big, not tiny either, definitely some things to do. And it's a very nice region, though very cold.


  • ECmotherx2ECmotherx2 Registered User Posts: 2,022 Senior Member
    Take a look at University of San Francisco.
  • carolinamom2boyscarolinamom2boys Registered User Posts: 6,634 Senior Member
    Look at Flagler College in St Augustine. They have a great arts program and your stats are competitive for admission.
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