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Harvard EA vs. Columbia ED chance me

TigersXCTFTigersXCTF 7 replies1 threads New Member
So I am struggeling to decide which school to apply to early and was wondering what my chances look like.

Demographics: Female, Hispanic, Massachusetts, public school, upper class

Intended Major: Philosophy

SAT/ACT: Tests got cancelled but have signed up for October test. Based on repeated practice tests, I am expecting a 35.

Subject Tests: These also got cancelled because of COVID but I did sign up for October as well. Im expecting somewhere between 780 and 800 for both Spanish and Math 2.

AP's: My school only lets Juniors take one AP. I took AP Lang and got a 4. Next year I am taking AP Literature, AP Calculus BC, AP Physics, and AP Spanish.

Courses: I have taken all Honors expect History until 12th grade where I am also taking Honors Ethics for History. I took a bunch of business and engineering classes which my school awards Enginneering and Business certifercates for.

Awards: 2 time National Spanish medal winner (one gold and one bronze)
Placed in top six at district DECA competition and placed in top 15 at State competition.
I came in third for a speech contests in sophomore year at my school.

Extracurriculars: 3 season varsity athlete: cross country, indoor track, and outdoor track. 2019-2020 indoor season went particularly well, won MA D1 State relays and won Bay State League Title. (I am probably good enough to walk on a D1 team but not get recruited).

Volunteering for my city's Big Brother Big Sister program for two years. I mentored a young girl with a developmental disability.

Interned in MA Senate and Congressional campaigns.

Co-President of Spanish Literature and Film Club
Co-President and Co-Founder of schools Red Cross Club
Business Club (DECA)

I also created a fundraiser my freshman year to bring abandoned street dogs from Puerto Rico to the United States for adoption. By my junior year I raised enough and brought 5 dogs to the U.S.

Common App Essay: 10 I wrote about an exptemly personal and unique experience. As a result of this I skipped a grade coming into high school. I discuss the challenges of dealing with this experience along with skipping a grade and my newfound maturity that came with it.

Supplements: 9 I feel pretty good about them but not as confident as I am with my Common App Essay. I am a pretty good writer and enjoy english so these were pretty fun for me.

Recs: 9 I chose my AP Lang and Math teacher because those were my two strongest subjects. I am also closer to these two teachers in comparison to my other options. I am also planning on getting my boss in my senate campaign internship to write one. He knows me really well and this internship was and has been a big part of my life.

For some more context on my connections to the schools:

Columbia: Legacy, mother has undergrad degree from there.

Harvard: My mother got Masters and PhD there. Has worked there ever since. First in the college and she later moved to the extension school where she now works part time.

I am in no means a standout applicant but I was wondering how my connections to the schools my help my chances. Also I am struggling to decide which might make more sense strategically to apply early to.

Let me know what you think about either of these. Thank you!

11 replies
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Replies to: Harvard EA vs. Columbia ED chance me

  • TigersXCTFTigersXCTF 7 replies1 threads New Member
    Oops I forgot to add my GPA. For reference I have a 4.6 weighted and 3.8 unweighted.
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  • RaraimunoRaraimuno 41 replies7 threads Junior Member
    With your legacy I think you have a equal shot at both. What kind of environment do you like? Do both institutions have the major that you like? Do you want to be near home or farther away?
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  • TigersXCTFTigersXCTF 7 replies1 threads New Member
    edited August 7
    @Raraimuno Thank you for your response. I honestly would prefer to go to Harvard just because it is closer to home and a more similar environment to what I'm used to. I have been told by some college counselors that I have a better chance at Columbia. I never understood why. They say its just because my mom went to undergrad there. As a whole, I'm genuinely conflicted about which to apply early to. I am somewhat worried that by applying to Harvard early I will miss my opportunity at having my legacy status at Columbia help me if I apply RD there later.
    edited August 7
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  • PikachuRocks15PikachuRocks15 508 replies2 threads Member
    Disclaimer: I'm an incoming first-year at Brown, however, I am not involved with admissions in any way whatsoever, did not have a legacy parent (so don't know much about legacy related admissions,) and my ADVICE is somewhat based on a more "normal" application cycle.

    @TigersXCTF The better "chances" at Columbia might have been because undergraduate legacy, at most Ivies (except for Penn, I believe,) > graduate legacy, and applying Early Decision is THE ultimate demonstrated interest to a school, even for schools like the Ivies that state on their Common Data Sets/Admissions websites that they don't consider it. At the end of the day, the decision is yours; both colleges you are considering applying early are highly selective and difficult to gain admission to, so it comes down to your personal preference: pick the school you feel more of a tug towards and are more likely to write essays that show that you have researched your fit with the school deeply, rather than applying to one or the other solely based on relative admissions rates.

    After research and contemplation (create a pros and cons list: prestige is not a pro, but alumni sponsored internships or strong pre-health/law/business advising programs are,) you find the school that's your "dream school," to have an Early Decision plan, I highly recommend you apply ED IF AND ONLY IF the following are true:

    1. You LOVE the school and would 110% attend if admitted.

    2. You are extremely confident that you can present a well thought out and crafted application by the ED deadline of November 1st.

    3. You and your family can afford the school if admitted (run financial aid calculators if applicable, and look into faculty tuition benefits which some universities offer to faculty/staff.)

    Hope this helps! Good luck with admissions!
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  • TigersXCTFTigersXCTF 7 replies1 threads New Member
    @PikachuRocks15 Thank you so much! I definitley think I am way to focused on what I may have slightly better chances in. Taking into account which school works better with what I want to get from my college education is definitely more important. I will be doing a lot more in depth research onboth schools. Thank again, your response was super helpful!
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  • hsgal83846hsgal83846 17 replies5 threads Junior Member
    I don't have much personal experience with Harvard or Columbia but my advice to you would be to take the ACT more than once. I know you said that you are signed up for October but I think you should consider signing up for September as well, especially since the October test date is so close to Nov. 1. I am sure you will get a great score in Octber but I think that taking it twice would be the best choice.
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 30658 replies59 threads Senior Member
    Last I heard, but it could have changed, is that Columbia does not just give ED Legacy applicants a boost as Cornell and Penn outright do. Have your mother ask and find out if that is the case. Since you really prefer Harvard, give it your best go. You have a slightly better Chance than the average applicant as by, and this year is likely going to give you a boost, given COVID uncertainties.

    When HPY is truly a lottery ticket , and a kid has a legacy card for Penn or Cornell, but still not the top of the top, I’d recommend not losing that advantage for a true wild shot. Even so, if it’s truly something important, and the applicant really wants to give it the best shot, I’d say to go for what they really want rather than the better odds. At age 18, the world is wide open. Can’t take a Chance then, when can one? But, I would address the realities of a a fighting chance with that legacy boost vs competing for an early spot at very small odds at HPY. I’ve never personally known anyone who was a surprise accept at those 3 schools. They were always the top of the top at them or had string development or celebrity type status.

    Columbia is a tough one because it lies in the charm between HPY and Penn, Cornell, IMO.
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  • Eeyore123Eeyore123 2189 replies25 threads Senior Member
    Is your mother on the faculty at H or is she academic staff? Children of faculty are in a different pool.
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  • TigersXCTFTigersXCTF 7 replies1 threads New Member
    @hsgal83846 I actually couldn't get a seat in September at first but I called a few days ago and manage to get a seat a couple hours away for September 12. So now I am taking it twice just to give myself another shot. Thanks for the recommendation!
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  • TigersXCTFTigersXCTF 7 replies1 threads New Member
    @Eeyore123 My mom is in the faculty she teaches introductory Spanish but she teaches at the extension school> Do you happen to know if that makes a difference?
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  • TigersXCTFTigersXCTF 7 replies1 threads New Member
    @cptofthehouse Thanks for the advice! I actually think I am leaning to applying to Columbia ED. My mom made some calls to people she went to college with and a couple of them have kids who actually go to Columbia. I think its worth a shot and I am crazy in love with Columbia as well so hopefully it works out.
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