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Should I Even Bother Applying to Stanford/Harvard/MIT for STEM?

GreenTea23GreenTea23 Registered User Posts: 18 Junior Member
Currently a Junior
White Male from Massachusetts
Won't get Financial Aid
Applying for Physics

I know I'm lacking in STEM EC's but my school genuinely has almost nothing when it comes to them, so I have tried to pursue individual projects. My scores are solid and I'm confident in my essay-writing abilities (although my SAT score does not reflect that very well).

I am also applying to a bunch of summer science programs this year including SSP, RISE, YSPA, and more. A chance for those programs would be greatly appreciated as well.

SAT: 1600 (6/4/6 Essay)
PSAT: 1490, 1510 (National Merit Semi-finalist)
SAT II: Math 2: 800, Bio M: 800, US History: 780
APs: US History - 5, Bio - 5, BC Calc - 5
GPA: 4.0 UW, ~4.6 W, taken most of the APs my school offers
* I took BC Calc as a Sophomore and have taken math online classes through Stanford's Online High School since
I have also taken multiple online courses regarding physics, astronomy, and computer science since my school doesn't offer much.

1st place school science fair award as well as a special one for Physics.
Won a bunch of school department awards for science and Math.
Took the AMC 12, we'll see how that went

-Soccer, spring and fall: JV two years, Varsity afterward. We're probably the best team sport of the school
-Certified Youth Soccer Referee in the fall and spring
-Chess Club, alternate first/second seat and am undefeated this year so far. We're going to playoffs.
-School Musical: Understudy for lead for 2 years and lead this year (and probably next). These shows are very involved; We have a top-of-the-line theater that we use and we sell a few thousand tickets per production.
-Founding member of a Band; we get hired for gigs
-Help run A Capella group. We perform for tourists in the summer and make around 100 bucks an hour
-Student Council (2 years)
-Freshmen mentor
-Intern at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in the Summer, helped out at the Nuclear Accelerator there
-Intern at local Arboretum where I did botany
-Junior counselor at an acting camp in the summer where I work a lot with kids

Any feedback/criticism is greatly appreciated!

Replies to: Should I Even Bother Applying to Stanford/Harvard/MIT for STEM?

  • TomSrOfBostonTomSrOfBoston Registered User Posts: 15,012 Senior Member
    Why would you not apply?
  • GreenTea23GreenTea23 Registered User Posts: 18 Junior Member
    @TomSrOfBoston What I really meant was is it worth is to have these as my top schools when I could instead maybe apply early to others or set my sights on a more realistic goal.
  • happy1happy1 Forum Champion Parents, Forum Champion Admissions Posts: 23,655 Forum Champion
    Sure apply -- just understand that these schools must be considered reaches for any unhooked applicant and be sure to find match and safety schools that you would also be excited to attend.
  • SJ2727SJ2727 Registered User Posts: 1,068 Senior Member
    “it worth is to have these as my top schools ”

    Don’t get married to the idea of any school in the application process. Have them as reaches, but also have matches and a couple of safeties as your “realistic” goals. If you apply early (ED or restricted early action), only do it for a school you absolutely love - and apply to as many unrestricted EA schools as you want. Your stats are great and despite being unhooked, i think you should definitely give your reach schools a chance.
  • GoBears2023GoBears2023 Forum Champion Summer Programs Posts: 558 Forum Champion
    Just try your luck! Honestly you miss all the shots you don't take ;)
  • wertu12wertu12 Registered User Posts: 51 Junior Member
    take a chance
  • SatchelSFSatchelSF Registered User Posts: 1,385 Senior Member
    edited February 19
    Sure you have a shot at tippy tops. AIME qualification could help a little so good luck with the cutoff this year.

    SOHS offers some great math courses. With two years available you might be able to get to algebra or real analysis, which might get some notice at your reach schools. Maybe you have already? Good grades in classes like algebra and real and complex analysis can have your application pulled out of the admissions office and sent for review by math faculty.

    Ditto with physics. Are you taking physics C through SOHS or through your brick and mortar school? Any chance you could get to intermediate mechanics or at least the light and heat/modern physics sequence? You might think of f=ma next year. Couldn't hurt to show your dedication to physics in addition to any collaborative work in science fairs at your school.

    Best of luck!
  • Groundwork2022Groundwork2022 Registered User Posts: 1,315 Senior Member
    Your stats are fantastic, but your ECs are fairly ordinary. The local awards you've earned are very nice, but at the level you're thinking of playing at, you're competing against kids with state, national, or even international awards.

    You should apply, though. IMO you should apply for two out of the three. Then submit two more reach applications from the T15-T50 range, where acceptance rates are 20-33% instead of 6-8%. Do your research more carefully on those second two, to make sure you've got the qualities the school is looking for, which will in turn increase your chances.

    While Harvard and MIT are neighbors, they actually have very different personalities and vibes. You might want to research and rethink one or the other of those accordingly.
  • SouthernHopeSouthernHope Registered User Posts: 2,131 Senior Member
    Your stats are great. But i believe your ECs could be much better packaged.....as @Groundwork2022 notes, they look ordinary at first glance but you could make them sound much better than just listing them one after the other. "in addition to STEM, my passion is music. I've been the lead for two years running in our school's competitive annual musical. I play X in a band that I founded and we've played in venues from X to X (and even made a bit of money on the side.) And I spend my summers singing in an a Capella group that performs on the waterfront for tourists who visit our town" and so forth.... And then cut everything that doesn't fit one of your stories...."freshmen mentor" who cares? Bring it down to a few that you feel strongly about.
  • Rivet2000Rivet2000 Registered User Posts: 751 Member
    Make a good list of schools (reach, match, safety), but by all means take a shot at the Stanford/MIT types . Invest time in writing the absolute best essays you can. Your stats look very similar to our sons.
  • GreenTea23GreenTea23 Registered User Posts: 18 Junior Member
    @SouthernHope Yeah I think you are completely right, thanks! Packaging makes a huge difference; I was more impressed with your version myself.
This discussion has been closed.