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Columbia or Swarthmore Early Decision (very hard to decide)

golfer3golfer3 407 replies231 threads Member
edited October 2009 in Columbia University
My dream school is Columbia and I want to apply Early Decision there but I also almost equally love Swarthmore College and I'm wondering how much better of a chance I have at swarthmore than Columbia. What do you think my chances are of getting admitted, deferred or denied to Columbia and what do you think my chances of getting admitted, deferred, or denied at Swarthmore?
Stats:

Freshman Year:
5 classes total/2 Honors
First Semester: 1 B (English Honors)
Second Semester: straight A's

Sophomore:
1 AP and Two Honors out of 5 academic classes
I added Human Geo AP as a 2nd semester class
Straight A's both semesters.
I also participated in the science fair, which counts as a class, but I entered the program too late to add it to my schedule. The class is also honors weighted.

Junior:
3 APs and 1 Honors out of 5 academic classes. I also took a Junior college class first semester and self-studied for the AP Comp. Gov. Exam.
First semester: straight A's
Second Semester: 1 B (pre-calc Honors). I missed about 1/3 of my days of school due to illnesses.

9-11 GPA: 4.6-this is horrible.
10-11 GPA: 4.7

Senior Year:
AP Calc BC
AP English Lit.
AP Physics C
AP Environmental Science
AP Government/AP Econ (1 class)

SAT: Will not take
ACT: 32 (third try) and so is this.
SAT Subject: 770 US History 710 Bio E
AP:
5-Biology
5-European History
5-Comparative Government
5-US History
4-Human Geo
4-English Language

Extracurriculers:
Golf (4 year Varsity Co-Captain; 2007 Co-MVP; I have made the league qualifying tournament every year, but have been eliminated in the first round; My team has made the post-season the last two years, but we have not advanced)
SCPGA Jr. Golf Tour: i have played 4 SCPGA Jr. Golf tour events and plan to play 2-3 more. My best finish is t-16 and I hope to get 1 or 2 top 10 finishes.
Key Club (10-12): I served as recording secretary of my school last year and now hold the #5 position in Key Club International
about 230 community service hours
MUN: two year member (11-12) of MUN. its a class and club. I won an outstanding award at a small conference
Junior State of America (11-12): Co-secretary and regional expansion agent as a junior, co-historian as a senior.
Spanish Honors Society (10-12)
Mu Alpha Theta Math Honors Society (11-12)
Science Team (11-12): I'm currently treasurer. I competed in Ocean Bowl last year (5th at regionals) and was on the non-competitive science bowl team. I plan on doing Ocean Bowl, Science Bowl (competitive team) and science olympiad this year.
Science Fair: participated in my school and the Intel regional (not the big one) science fairs as a junior.
Academic Decathlon (12-new club)-appointed Co-President
Last summer I volunteered at a camp for autistic children, the summer before I went to a week-long golf camp and the summer before I did summer school.
CSF Member since freshman year
High Honor Roll every semester
AP Scholar W/Distinction.
Probably National honors society (12th grade)

Im from CA and 1/4 mexican, but I can only put it as an added ethnicity because I have 0 connection to the mexican culture. I also look very white and have a white last name. I would be a very minor URM


Please be honest.
Thanks!
edited October 2009
36 replies
Post edited by golfer3 on
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Replies to: Columbia or Swarthmore Early Decision (very hard to decide)

  • kwukwu 4743 replies16 threads Senior Member
    My dream school is Columbia and I want to apply Early Decision there but I also almost equally love Swarthmore College

    Apply regular decision to both schools. Problem solved.
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  • golfer3golfer3 407 replies231 threads Member
    I have a very important need of applying early. can't say in public, but thats not a solution, but thanks.
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  • muerteapablomuerteapablo 1307 replies105 threads- Senior Member
    To be honest, your ACT is only average for accepted students at Columbia and Swartmore - and to be BRUTALLY honest, that's not the true average, which is presumably much higher, but the average of all accepted students; including the accepted URMs, whose scores are generally much lower. The average of accepted Whites is even higher, and you're white.

    So... it's hard to say. I know people with similar scores who were accepted, and vice versa. You have a slightly above average chance (average being the acceptance rate), but probably not by much. Good luck.
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  • golfer3golfer3 407 replies231 threads Member
    Would it be worth to take the ACT one more time? I know columbia says, "We recommend that candidates only take these test twice, but we don't penalize them if they exceed that limit." or something like that. Actually if someone could explain that policy that would be great. Thanks!
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  • admissionsgeekadmissionsgeek 1645 replies34 threads Senior Member
    if Columbia is your 'dream school' i think you gotta take the shot and go for early. it is your best chance to be admitted. quality of your essay and rec will be the difference maker. remember both swat and columbia are 'intellectual places' that want to know who you are in the classroom and to see how well you can communicate your interests.

    you are on the cusp for CU, not a sure bet early, but a big reach regular.

    if you just wanna pick a school to 'game,' then i think you could pick other schools early that would be better. so don't think about just any school - if you are not bsing and this is really your desire - take a plunge, but have back-up schools to apply to just in case.
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  • kwukwu 4743 replies16 threads Senior Member
    I have a very important need of applying early. can't say in public, but thats not a solution, but thanks.

    And if you're deferred or flat out rejected?

    Okay, I'll humor your strategic route: apply Early Decision to Columbia.
    The likelihood that you'll be accepted is high because of your academic performance and your ethnicity.

    Both are exceedingly selective schools. But, for Swarthmore, you'll have to write a compelling "Why Swat?"
    Columbia practices affirmative action flagrantly, and the "Why Columbia?" carries less substantial weight if written fairly convincingly.
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  • srrinathsrrinath 2174 replies189 threads Senior Member
    "Why Columbia?" carries less substantial weight if written fairly convincingly.

    I'm skeptical about this. Personally I think the 600 character limit does a good job of forcing (or at least of trying to force) you to find the essence of why exactly it is that you want to attend Columbia.
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  • EpaminondasEpaminondas 775 replies13 threadsUser Awaiting Email Confirmation Member
    ^yes but it won't allow you to elaborate much on your reason(s). There'll probably be millions of "because its in NYC" and "the core curriculum" responses.
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  • confidentialcollconfidentialcoll 2480 replies11 threads Senior Member
    ^No, I've read srrinath's essay, s/he actually does a fantastic job of encapsulating why columbia in a unique and interesting way. It is very possible to separate yourself from the chaff in 600 characters.
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  • admissionsgeekadmissionsgeek 1645 replies34 threads Senior Member
    kwu, you have no idea what you are talking about re: af-am. cu cares a lot about connection and affinity, though it doesn't mean they wont admit students who happen to be hispanic but were individually interesting in their own right (the OP openly states they lack that kind of affinity). and i know for a fact that why columbia means a lot at cu, even for urm candidates. so please stop propelling bad information because you want to sound authoritative. simply, you're wrong.
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  • jroc92jroc92 169 replies23 threads Junior Member
    APPLY EARLY TO SWARTHMORE! You are a shoe in there
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  • golfer3golfer3 407 replies231 threads Member
    EDIT: When I meant I made the intel regional science fair, I actually meant that I made the local science fair that sends people to the intel regional. I DID NOT MAKE THE INTEL REGIONAL. sorry about the confusion.
    Thanks for the advice.
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  • kwukwu 4743 replies16 threads Senior Member
    It is irrelevant that he lacks "that kind of affinity." He is of Hispanic descent, and admitting him--a strong Hispanic student--is only beneficial to Columbia. They will be able to report him as another part of that statistic.

    One of Columbia's chief draws to applicants is the "critical mass" of minorities enrolled. To admit competitive Hispanic students is essential toward maintaining its status as the elite university with the most students of color.
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  • thebeefthebeef 520 replies31 threads Member
    cu and swat offer pretty diff undergrad experiences. are you sure you love them equally? try visiting. cu= urban, dynamic, bureaucratic. swat = not so urban, more liberal-artsy 'we'll take care of you' sort of thing.
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  • golfer3golfer3 407 replies231 threads Member
    Yes, I love them almost equally. I don't want to explain why, but I do. Not so sound rude or anything, but could we get back on topic. I asked you guys to give me a rough % chance for Columbia and Swat ED (admitted, deferred, denied).
    Thanks!
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  • thebeefthebeef 520 replies31 threads Member
    well 'not to sound rude', but figuring out which one you like more is probably more important. just coming from a current CU student i find it very hard to think that anyone could love swarthmore the 'equally' as here. it's a really unique place, definitely made for a certain type of a person more so than others. swarthmore is, in certain respects, a diametric opposite of columbia. have you visited? don't base your decision of where to apply so heavily on where you think you might get in (esp. based on arbitrary percentage predictions by random people). apply to a school that fits.

    as for if you'll get in or not, i'm sure you wouldnt have too much trouble. at this level, it's really more about subjective things than a bunch of high scores and ECs.
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  • golfer3golfer3 407 replies231 threads Member
    Yeah, I agree. Sorry about being a little vague so hear is why I like both schools almost equally. (in no particular order)
    Columbia
    1. not near my house (I need a change of scenery LOL)
    2. Core Curriculum (I have no clue what I want to major in)
    3. class size
    4. NY (internships)
    5. emphasis on diversity (I am an URM, but its because of a medical issue so I can't go into detail, but its the topic of my essay)
    6. emphasis on the social sciences
    7. diversity of ideas.

    Swarthmore:
    1. away from home
    2. near philly (internships)
    3. safe area
    4. international emphasis
    5. campus size.
    I like Columbia slightly more because its in NY.
    Thanks!
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  • thebeefthebeef 520 replies31 threads Member
    i would say that columbia has about as much of an 'international emphasis' as you can get. 1) the student body here is super diverse. 2) the other day i got to see the pm of nepal speak, and i barely missed kofi annan. and then we had a uighur dissident currently being wanted by the chinese govt come give a lecture. that and the huge student body means tons of clubs and multicultural going-ons basically every single day. i'm even going to the north korean awareness club meeting this sunday just for fun. all the stuff i just mentioned is the tip of the iceberg, i was just taking random events that i can remember from the last few days. also, our school of intl and public affairs (at the grad level, admittedly) is ranked something like #1 or #2 in the nation. so im pretty sure if you're into international stuff, cu would be great.

    also, cu is safe. nyc was recently voted safest big city in the us or something. it really is ok, and yes, even harlem. as long as you use common sense you'll be fine here.

    anyway, best of luck with your decision, just wanted to put in my 2 cents
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  • golfer3golfer3 407 replies231 threads Member
    Thanks, and yeah I agree. I just forgot to list that one. (the international aspect), But could u please give me some idea of what my chances r of getting in?
    Thanks!
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  • golfer3golfer3 407 replies231 threads Member
    Im about 95% sure im doing ED at Columbia now but I would like to just get an idea of whether I should expect a congrats come december or a sorry but we can't admit you come deceember.
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