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GUEST STUDENT OF THE WEEK: ski_racer, a high-achiever in high school, was rejected by some of the elite schools she applied to. This rejection was the best thing that happened to her as she got to choose her own path. Learn how she fell in love with her safety school, ASK HER ANYTHING!
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Chance Me: Are my extracurriculars good enough for an Ivy League?

TeresaMeadTeresaMead 27 replies15 threads Junior Member
Here is my profile:
I'm from Wisconsin, top-rated public school, graduating class of about 600. We don't do class ranking but probably top 5-10%. I'm applying under PoliSci and History.
Unweighted GPA: 4.0
6 Honors: Biology, English 9 & 10, Chemistry, Algebra II, Pre-Calc, Physics
10 APs: - Freshman Year: World History (5)
- Sophomore Year: US Gov't and Politics (5)
- Junior Year: Environmental Science (didn't take exam), Calculus AB (5),
Psychology (5), US History (5), English Lang and Comp (5)
- Senior Year: Calculus BC, Comparativ Gov't and Politics, English Literature and
SAT: 1550 Composite, 790 Reading, 760 Math
ACT: 34 composite, 36 English, 36 Reading, 31 Math, 33 Science
Awards: 1st place in a state Chinese speech competition (non-native speaker)
- Orchestra (cellist): 7 years, played in an audition-only group sophomore year, got too expensive and we moved, so now I'm playing with my school orchestra
- LGBT Student Group (Co-President)
- Co-founded a local student political initiative summer of junior year
- Newspaper (Section Editor)
- National Honors Society
- Work at a local gym
- Spends 15-30 hours a week babysitting my siblings (I come from a single-parent household with 6 kids), so that's my major time commitment

I'm applying to (in order of preference):
Harvard (top-choice, applying REA), University of Chicago (strong second), Yale, Dartmouth, Wellesley, Northwestern, UMichigan-Ann Arbor, UVA, UC-Berkeley, UNC-Chapel Hill, UW-Madison
14 replies
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Replies to: Chance Me: Are my extracurriculars good enough for an Ivy League?

  • HamurtleHamurtle 2740 replies36 threads Senior Member
    GPA and standardized test scores will merit a look at your application.

    Babysitting for siblings in a single parent household is actually fine as an EC if the parent is the main support of the family and there is nobody else to take care of the family.

    I would take out Berkeley from your list. 65,000 a year for OOS and no financial/merit aid.

    Would you qualify for a Questbridge match? It sounds like you are qualified.
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  • TeresaMeadTeresaMead 27 replies15 threads Junior Member
    I don’t think I qualify for a Questbridge match. My mom IS the sole provider for our family, and we don’t have any extended family or friends to support, which is why I have to babysit so much, but we don’t quite qualify as low-income.
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 35410 replies399 threads Senior Member
    edited July 2019
    How about volunteering for a campaign or in a rep's office? Or working on some local advocacy project? I have no idea what the student iniative is, but there's benefit in working on established teams, learning from adults and fitting in. I know you're busy with siblings, but you're asking about some of the most competitive colleges.

    A lot of poli sci kids don't get this more direct experience, it would be noticed. And you do need to be careful about how you note time babysitting- you don't want the impression that you can't leave home, no one could take care of the other kids. IF there is a next-age sib who could take over some babysitting, maybe he/she could help now.
    edited July 2019
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  • jym626jym626 57798 replies3029 threads Senior Member
    It’s national Honor society (no “s” on Honor). Pet peeve.
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  • KessarisKessaris 2 replies0 threads New Member
    Dear student,
    I would consider adding private DC schools that may potentially give you merit money as well as great political exposure, namely Georgetown, GW, and AU. With the same aim in mind, I would also add smaller private schools known to be connected to the political world - i.e. a few more 7 sister schools, not just Wellesley. I would consider writing your essay about babysitting your siblings, and how that shaped your character, both from the stand point of loving your baby siblings, as a community service, and as sacrifice. Someone, somewhere, is going to dig it.
    I would consider taking out UVA, UNC-Chapel Hill, and Berkeley unless you have specific merit opportunities in mind. State schools do not readily give scholarships to OOS students. Academically, UW-Madison is at least as strong as all of them, including in your specific area of interest.
    Also, just because you are not low-income in Wisconsin, you may well be low-income for those top schools. I would expect that your financial aid package in those schools would be significant.
    Good luck!
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  • KessarisKessaris 2 replies0 threads New Member
    To clarify, AU = American University.
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  • twogirlstwogirls 7774 replies7 threads Senior Member
    UVA and UNC meet full need. Try the NPc’s and see if that number looks affordable.
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  • 1stTimeThruMom1stTimeThruMom 389 replies9 threads Member
    Are you from a city or a more rural area? If you are from a rural area, that would make it easier to get in.
    I think your essays will be most important; you need to show them who you are. If there is anyway you can participate in a national essay contest or something similar, that would help.
    An earlier poster made a great suggestion to get real political experience.
    Pretty much everyone I know who has recently been accepted to Harvard met one of the following criteria: (1) ranked nationally or internationally in something; (2) famous due to their parents or their own accomplishments; (3) has an absolutely compelling personal story such as being homeless or DACA; or (4) brilliant and with a legacy preference.
    The most important thing for you is to be strategic with your safeties. Harvard is just a crapshoot for anyone. You have great stats, and could easily get some nice merit awards at very good schools, but Ivy League is never a sure thing.
    Congrats on a great high school career!
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  • Happytimes2001Happytimes2001 2229 replies18 threads Senior Member
    Your work babysitting will count in your favor. Your scores are good and you cannot do more EC's ( after school). But that doesn't mean you can't get creative doing things which interest you. Someone mentioned a campaign, great idea. You can also do many more things which are free and related to your interests. Personally, I don't think you should keep Harvard as your number 1. Competition is intense and you might not fully optimize your application strategy. Some of the other schools on your list would likely love to have you. Also, don't underestimate the importance of good essays and recommendations.
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  • MWolfMWolf 2732 replies14 threads Senior Member
    If you have 6 siblings, you may qualify for QB. They use $65,000 for an average family. Your family income for a family of 7 may very well qualify.
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  • TeresaMeadTeresaMead 27 replies15 threads Junior Member
    Yeah. Unfortunately, I think I’m past the deadline.
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  • MWolfMWolf 2732 replies14 threads Senior Member
    edited July 2019
    @TeresaMead You are not past the deadline, and, in fact, I don't think that applications have even opened yet. The deadline is September 26th (https://www.questbridge.org/high-school-students/national-college-match/dates-deadlines).

    You may be thinking of Posse, for which nominations are due between the late spring and August, depending on the city.
    edited July 2019
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  • supernovacoachsupernovacoach 103 replies2 threads Junior Member
    Having applied and gotten into H and UC at the graduate level, this is what I can say:

    Your candidacy comes down to your essays. I think you can write a brilliant one. Have you come up with ideas?
    The only slam dunk on your list is UW, but with a decent essay you will get into more than half the schools on your list.
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 35410 replies399 threads Senior Member
    For the tippy tops, it never just comes down to the essays. Every piece is part of the holistic whole. It misleads kids to suggest other fine tuning isn't needed.

    Each kid needs to figure out what those targets want and self-assess whether their record and thinking matches that or not. The whole.
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