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Safeties, Matches, and Reaches for me? + Chances for Ivies?

maroonhamster19maroonhamster19 19 replies27 threads Junior Member
What are some Safeties, Matches, and Reaches for me? I have some schools in mind, but want to get more opinions. What are my chances at the Ivies?

My goal schools are Harvard, Stanford, Columbia, and Johns Hopkins.

GPA: 4.92 (w), 4.0 (uw), 4.19 (UC GPA)
SAT: 1490, 700 English, 790 Math (I am going to be taking it a second time to improve my score, and am aiming for a 1530+)
SAT II Math 2: 660 (I will be taking it again, aiming for a 700+)
SAT II Biology: have not taken (aiming for 680+)
AP World History: 4
APLaC: 4

Extracurriculars (not in any specific order):
- Founder + President of popular city-wide writing program for youth in my community; created to strengthen academic writing skills of elementary, middle, and high schoolers.
- Working with an established author to do copyediting on three of her books, as well as copyediting for a non-profit
- Student Writer, High School Advisory Council Member of nation-wide nonprofit (won't specify name for privacy)-- got one of my articles nationally published
- English and Writing Peer Educator at local community college, teaching college students
- District Leader for Multiple-City-Wide Art Service Club (highest level position in entire district). We have organized international service projects, one of which helped underprivileged children in South America.
- Associate Justice for Tribunal in my school (student government)-- upholding the honor code in my school and helping students who violated the honor code to reflect)
- Founder + President of Creative Writing Club, VP of Red Cross Club
- one of 40 students from entire state to be selected for a full scholarship to medical camp @ Stanford, one of two freshmen
- Founder of first annual Writing Competition in my school
- Have been writing on a personal blog since 2nd grade, over 16,000 hits internationally
- Have DIY, creative YouTube channel with over 17,000 hits
- plus some smaller ECs

- Honor National Community Service Award from United Nations Association of USA
- George Washington Book Award (from George Washington University)
- American Legion Award for Academic Achievement
- Music Teachers’ Association of California Certificate of Merit in Piano (levels 1-6)
- AP Scholar
- Jr. Honor Guard
- Basic Life Support (BLS) Certification
- 2nd Place in ninth grade science fair

- I live in CA, and am eligible for the UC ELC Local-Context program.
- I have good relations and connections with my teachers and school staff.
- I am going to be graduating with my HS Diploma, an Associate's Degree in Natural Sciences, and an Associate's Degree in Business.
- I have taken all Honors, AP, and Dual Enrollment classes.
- I have over 200 volunteer hours.
- I want to major in biology/pre-med, and minor in English/writing (career goal= surgeon).

Thank you!

P.S. I am not trying to come off as braggy or anything of the sort; I am simply listing my stats and info to get the best possible responses and feedback. :)
edited July 2019
13 replies
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Replies to: Safeties, Matches, and Reaches for me? + Chances for Ivies?

  • merc81merc81 11809 replies201 threads Senior Member
    edited July 2019
    Any reason why you wouldn't prefer to major in English/literature/writing over biology? (Either choice would allow you to fulfill the expected courses for a successful application to medical school.)

    You seem predominantly interested in urban schools. Is that the case?

    As your goal schools currently appear, Yale would fit your mix.
    edited July 2019
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 83438 replies741 threads Senior Member
    https://talk.collegeconfidential.com/university-california-general/2127392-faq-uc-historical-frosh-admit-rates-by-hs-gpa-2018.html can give you an idea of 2018 UC admission rates by (UC recalculated weighted capped) GPA range.

    What are your cost constraints? Be aware that medical school is very expensive, so you want to avoid debt and save money during undergraduate. For California residents, there are relatively few in-state public medical schools (whose in-state prices are still very expensive), so many California medical students have to attend more expensive private medical schools. In addition, the medical school application process itself is expensive, and most pre-meds who apply get 0 admissions, and most who get any admissions get 1 admission (take it or leave it, regardless of cost/debt).

    UCR may be worth a consideration if you want to or are willing to practice medicine in inland southern California. It has its own medical school and an early application program where you apply earlier than you would otherwise go through the medical school application process. If admitted, you can then skip the expensive and stressful medical school application process. See https://somsa.ucr.edu/thomas-haider-early-assurance-program .
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  • maroonhamster19maroonhamster19 19 replies27 threads Junior Member
    @merc81 and @ucbalumnus thank you for the helpful info and tips! I will be sure to look into the links.

    I have another question: Based on my extracurriculars, do you think I have a shot at the goal schools I had listed? What about UCLA? I know these are competitive schools, but I want to know if I have a 25% chance of getting in (for example), as opposed to a 2%. Thank you! :)
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  • merc81merc81 11809 replies201 threads Senior Member
    edited July 2019
    You may have realistic chances at schools with selectivity levels in the range of JHU based on your overall profile. Colleges with significantly lower acceptance rates would be yet more difficult, and the lessening of your chances may not be linear, making predictions additionally problematic.

    For further ideas based on your indicated interests, some of these colleges might suit you well:


    edited July 2019
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 30394 replies59 threads Senior Member
    You are lacking in test scores for HPYSMC. Even if you hit your targets. Which is a serious lack and hurts your chances enormously. Even with 5 very good SAT1 and 2 scores and being top 3 ( not percent but 3) , it’s a tough to be a pure academic pick for Harvard toe schools. You have no hook, I can see, no tip either. So , not good at all unless you have some hook I’m missing.

    Hopkins premed picks are almost as bad. I don’t see it. Unless you apply as a Humanities type major and take out all signs of premed from your app do they don’t sniff it out and go ED.

    I don’t know how the UCs work. @Gumbymom is the best person on this forum in discussing the California state schools.

    All of the top 20-30 schools (i tend to think USNWR rankings when I say this, and include top 3-5 LACs) have their pick of the top academic talent. They look for that extra something, something they need. Having said that, the only way you know for sure is to apply. No reason not to buy some lottery tickets, but that is not where you should be focusing your efforts.

    Get a sure thing school. One that you know will take you, preferably early in the process, then you can focus on the schools where your chances of acceptance are lower. You are fortunate to have a great state school system.

    Finances are important in the picture. You need to know if you need money from schools because that is another issue.

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  • GumbymomGumbymom Forum Champion UC 30528 replies420 threads Forum Champion
    edited July 2019
    Here are some UC admit data based on 2018 Freshman admits (most current data) below:
    2018 Freshman admit rates for UC GPA of 3.80-4.19 capped weighted and not major specific:
    UCB: 10%
    UCLA: 9%
    UCSD: 34%
    UCSB: 38%
    UCD: 41%
    UCI: 38%
    UCSC: 70%
    UCR: 84%
    UCM: 95%

    2018 UC capped weighted GPA averages:
    UCB: 4.23
    UCLA: 4.23
    UCSD: 4.16
    UCSB: 4.13
    UCI: 4.13
    UCD: 4.11
    UCSC: 3.96
    UCR: 3.81
    UCM: 3.71

    2018 Data:
    25th - 75th percentiles for SAT:
    UCB: 1360-1540
    UCLA: 1340-1540
    UCSD: 1300-1520
    UCSB: 1270-1500
    UCD: 1220-1480
    UCI: 1230-1490
    UCSC: 1210-1450
    UCR: 1130-1380
    UCM: 1020-1280

    I believe you are a competitive applicant but you should also calculate your Fully weighted UC GPA which is what UCLA and UCB will be considering even though the Overall UC data focuses on the Capped weighted UC GPA. UCLA should be considered a Reach regardless.

    Information for UCLA application review:
    * Very important: Academic GPA, Application essay, Rigor of secondary school record, Standardized test scores
    * Important: Character/personal qualities, Extracurricular activities, Talent/ability, Volunteer work, Work experience
    * Considered: First generation college student, Geographical residence, AP/IBHL exam scores
    * Note: GPA, test scores, course work, number of and performance in honors and AP courses most important. Essay considered. Strong senior program important. Extracurricular activities, honors and awards also reviewed.
    For the College of Letters and Science, the applicant's major is not considered during the review process. The Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science admits students by declared major, with more emphasis on science and math programs. The School of Nursing also places more emphasis on science and math programs and requires the submission of an additional supplemental application. The School of the Arts and Architecture; Herb Alpert School of Music; and the School of Theater, Film and Television admit students by declared major (within the school), and put more emphasis on special talents through a review of portfolios and/or auditions, which are the most significant admission factors for these schools.
    edited July 2019
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  • firmament2xfirmament2x 668 replies6 threads Member
    @maroonhamster19 . . . somewhat of a PSA if you don't mind...

    Looking over your excellent stats, ECs, and aspirations, the thing that caught my eye is that you want to minor in English in your quest to become a surgeon. To some, English and Biology are at opposite poles with respect to areas of perusal. But the fact that you're willing to take these two on simultaneously I believe bodes well for you, perhaps -- even if you wouldn't want to read this -- as a fallback to becoming an MD.

    As ucbalumnus stated, a lot of students who aspire to become doctors from CA have a tougher road ultimately to an allopathic med school because of residency concerns, high costs, etc. This is because of the pure glut of candidates from CA is evident from the shear number of premeds at the UCs trying to get into UC SOMs. Even at UCLA and UCB, the rate of acceptance (that a student would receive ≥ one invitation to enroll from an SOM) is ~ 50% or a bit less, even if UCLA sends typically ~ or > 500 med school/year.

    Wrt to fallbacks, a lot of bio-based/premeds, e.g., at UCLA are adding things like accounting, entrepreneurship, or economics as professionally-based minors; and joining bus-based clubs on campus and doing summer internships at firms, perhaps as they see the handwriting on the wall that they most likely won't be m-school competitive. The idea is to find this out as quickly as possible and to adjust.

    Also wrt to your wgpa gap, does your school apply weights to non-AP honors courses? It almost looks as though you're in an IB-type program.

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  • firmament2xfirmament2x 668 replies6 threads Member
    And of course best of luck. You're a wonderful candidate.
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  • merc81merc81 11809 replies201 threads Senior Member
    edited July 2019
    Note that statistics for accepted applicants typically offer an inflated appearance in comparison to those for enrolled students. For UCLA, for example, the posted middle-range SAT for enrolled California first-years (1230-1490) indicates that you would land at the 75th percentile among this group with your current results.

    edited July 2019
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  • firmament2xfirmament2x 668 replies6 threads Member
    @merc81 . . . it's a little hard to get the full information from UCLA's admissions website because it doesn't include everything the University reports on its CDS. Therefore, I'll run through some adjustments of UCLA's reportage of SAT and ACT for all of its freshmen, and then apply this to the CA students you reported, and then to the OP.

    For 2018-19, the 75th/25th percentile SAT scores were 1,510/1,280 per the UCLA admissions website, and 1,520/1,270, if I remember correctly, according to its CDS.

    UCLA, as a lot of public universities do, reports a high percentage of scores in combining the percentages of those who forward their ACTs and SATs: somewhere in the range of 128-135%. There is undoubtedly a pretty material inclusion of lower scores submitted by enrolled students in the numbers which would raise the 25th a good amount and the 75th by a small amount.

    Private universities report significantly lower percentages, say in the 100-115% range. Duke, if I remember correctly, reported 101% in its 2018-19 CDS.

    Indeed, if you figure that there is one score that admitted a student between, say, the SAT and a retake, and one as reported by another for the SAT and the ACT who switched boards, there will be a material number of lower scores, say, 50% over the combined 100% of the two boards which are included in its CDS by UCLA which lower its two median presentations. In a way, I believe Duke has the right way to display its two medians, though perhaps the 1% is low. (Certainly for a place like Harvard, it wouldn't matter if they reported 100% or 130%, because they enroll many more natural scorers who might only need one take of the boards.)

    Additionally, UCLA as well as a lot of other publics do not superscore as privates do as seen on the common app. If UCLA superscored it would bump up the scores by ~ 40 points at the 50th. So if we take the 1,520/1,270 scores, these could be ~ 1,530/1,320 (maybe 1,330 on the lower median) by superscoring. The (50th percentile) median should be closer to the 1,530 than 1,320 because higher scores are grouped together more densely than at the lower. (However, the mean would be lower than a midpoint between the two percentiles because of the significantly lower scores that are hidden in the bottom quartile.)

    With just this one adjustment of superscoring without factoring in the redundant reportage of SAT-ACT scores, the median should be ~ 1,430-1,440. As it is, it'd probably be ~ 1,400 without any adjustments.

    Because of the factors above, I would guess that there are greater upper adjustments related to CA students because they score lower -- or rather because they've reported more redundant scores, probably at a rate higher than the 28-35% for all students. The nonresident students would seemingly have less to throw out.

    I would guess that the 1,230 number would ascend by superscoring more than than the 50 points that I added to the 25th of all students, so it might be a good 60-70 points. Additionally, the adjustment for all students for the 25th would seemingly be mainly with CA students. The higher end scorers, i.e., non-residents wouldn't ascend quite as much with superscoring. Again, this isn't factoring in the consideration of the redundant inclusion of SATs and ACTs into the 60 and + point adjustment.

    Additionally, UCLA purposely admits a lot of 1st-gen students, predominantly from CA, which is why there is a great disparity between the 75th and 25th in addition to the other factors. The difference between 1,230 and 1,490, 260 points, is about about as high a differential there is at any college, but, again, would be lessened with the adjustments.

    A first-generation student coupled with coming from a disadvantaged background would make things assured -- a slam-dunk admit -- as you stated for the OP. However, it doesn't appear that he/she can relate to at least the latter, and one needs both to enter with lower scores and sometimes grades. If he/she attends a highly ranked public or private high school in CA, there will be a higher standard of entry at UCLA which will need to be considered, and the stats of these students will need to be commensurately considerably higher.

    His or her 4.0 is excellent; the (50th) median unweighted at UCLA is 3.93-3.94 (and the class average is 3.89 for 18-19), but the gpa stats are certainly higher for in-state students, whereas with respect to the boards, the non-residents' scores are higher.

    His/her weighted UC gpa is perhaps a bit low, but he or she has made up for this by taking almost exclusively honors courses in his/her soph and junior years. Apparently good high school, straight A's, very good score, low on APs, great ECs, a bit low on SAT IIs, but going to retake. Great candidate, but we'll have to see with the admissions crapshoot.
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  • supernovacoachsupernovacoach 103 replies2 threads Junior Member
    How do you plan to approach your essay? This will be the biggest factor in determining if you will go to Berkeley/UCLA or an Ivy.
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  • firmament2xfirmament2x 668 replies6 threads Member
    Sorry for the interruption, @supernovacoach . . .

    @merc81 . . .Some additions (a) to & corrections (c) from my post #10 above...

    (1)(a) Of course, the OP Isn't competing against those who've enrolled at UCLA; he/she is competing against those who've been admitted. Those who've matriculated at any college not named Harvard will typically have lower stats than those who've been accepted. Thus the presentations by ucbalumnus and gumbymom.

    (2)(a) The University of Notre Dame reported 100% who took both boards in its 2018-19 CDS (too lazy to look up how to format on CC):
    ………………College Board…..% of Students…………# of Students
    ……………………………….Total……………….100%........................2,070 (Matches Students Enrolled)

    (3)(c) Duke University in its 2017-18 CDS reported 101%, not its 2018-19. Here are the numbers:
    ……………………………….Total………………..101%........................1,774 (/1,744* frosh is 101.7%)
    ……..*1,744 1st first year degree-seeking students + 39 additional; 1,774/1,783 is 99.5%, so Duke ……..probably doesn’t present scores for all students, perhaps these 39 are athletes.

    It also appears that ND and Duke made some internal adjustments between the two tests.

    (4)(c) UCLA reported 126.69% for the two tests; I stated between 128-135%:
    ……………………………….Total…………...126.69%........................7,905 (/6240 frosh is 126.68%)

    (5)(c) Additionally, I'm going to say that the 27% overage of test reporting of the sum of the two boards for UCLA concerns students who've switched tests and reported both on their applications, obviously not UCLA reporting multiple scores of a student who has submitted them from an individual board (by sitting).

    In 2014 - 2016, the University reported 137-139%; in 2017, 133%, and in 2018(-19) 127%. It appears that non-residents tend to report both boards in lesser amounts -- I'm going to say that they use the concordance to find the highest score between ACT and SAT with greater frequency. If hypothetically the non-residents reported both boards at 10% for 2018 which is seemingly typical for those who apply to many colleges, then the CA students would report both at 38% which seems to be a consistent number from the past. This seems to be a strategy by those who score lower, as many 1st gens from underperforming schools are mentored by UCLA students and encouraged to achieve a baseline score early on and proceed from there.

    In any way, there is seemingly an inclusion of lower scores in UCLA's presentation of SAT and ACT, because I don't think that UCLA would take the time to take the highest score between the two by the concordance. And if 38% of the CA students report both scores, then perhaps 19% can be removed -- with 19% manifesting similar scores between the two -- which would raise the two medians. But again, I didn't factor this in my calculations of a uniform reportage of scores by all colleges.
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  • firmament2xfirmament2x 668 replies6 threads Member
    Corrections under (5)(c): 10% in 2P s/b 110%, 38% s/b 138%; in 3P, 38% s/b 138%.
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