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Chance Me for Stanford, USC, etc.

spotup18spotup18 8 replies7 threads Junior Member
Background: lower upper class asian male coming from a very competitive private school in San Jose, CA.

Intended Major: Political Science

SAT: 1560 (790 English, 770 math)

SAT Subject tests: Taking literature soon, 750 in US History (I might retake if I do well on literature)

GPA: 3.9 UW / 4.5 W (Max at my school is 4.9)

Class rank: my school doesn’t rank

Course-load: 6 APs so far. 4 honors classes (had a my only B ever second semester Algebra 2 honors)

AP Scores: US history (5) / English lang (5) / Stats (3) / Environmental science (4) / human geo (5)

Senior Year Schedule: AP Gov/AP economics (1st semester/2nd semester), Advanced Data Analysis, AP Spanish, AP bio, AP English Literature, physics, philosophy of religion

Speech-and-debate (10th grade-present, couple regional tournament victories, nothing too crazy but I was very involved)
Cofounder and co-president of HeartBeat Hoops (a nonprofit I started in 10th grade, we host basketball camps in order to raise money that is then donated to charity, pretty successful, currently working on a sponsorship from Puma and the Golden State Warriors)
TEDx event lead organizer (spring of my junior year, founded and presided over TED club at my own school, but the main purpose of the club was to plan/execute the event)
Model United Nations (11th grade-present)
Internship with California State Assemblymember (summer through fall of senior year)
Writing (Writing political op-eds on online mediums and occasionally being published in regional newspapers, relates to my major and something I definitely enjoy)
Basketball (club and school, captain 9th grade-present)
Badminton (school, started in 10th grade, captain 10th grade-present)
Lighthouse program (tutored and coached low income students, beginning 11th grade but I will do again in 12th)

Optimist International Youth Appreciation Award (for service and leadership, making my community a better place)
AACI Growing Up Asian in America Essay Contest Winner (regional contest, got featured on NBC Bay Area, also got a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition for it)
Warrior Award (9-11th grade, for athletic leadership from my school’s athletic department)
Probably getting National Merit Semifinalist at the very least (my PSAT was a 1510)
California Legislature Assembly Certificate of Recognition (for community service and leadership, not sure if this is impressive or not)
Central California Vietnamese Student of the Year (for 2018-2019 school year, awarded by the Vietnamese Community of Central California)
Also going apply for Coca Cola Scholarship and Gates Scholarship (wish me luck!)

Probably 9 or 9.5/10. Common app essay is really good. It talks about an experience I had that ultimately inspires me to pursue political science as my major. It’s a compelling story, well written in my opinion, and definitely shows off intellectual vitality, introspectiveness, and compassion. I’m still doing supplementals, but they’re coming along nicely in my opinion. I don’t dislike any of them and really like most of them.

Rec Letters:
1st letter: probably a 8 or 8.5/10 from my AP environmental science teacher.
2nd letter: probably a 7/10 from my AP English Language teacher.
Counselor: 11/10. She loves me and I heard she writes amazing rec letters. She knows me super well and knows exactly how I think.

Hooks: First generation (neither of my parents even went to high school)

Strengths: SAT score, essays, first gen, extracurricular involvement, non STEM major

Weaknesses: I suck at math and science but I’m not going into STEM so maybe that doesn’t matter so much, rec letters, no crazy achievements, Asian from Bay Area

Chance Me For:
American University
UC Irvine
The George Washington University
Carnegie Mellon
(These aren’t all the colleges I’m applying, but a few that I really want to know my chances of)
16 replies
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Replies to: Chance Me for Stanford, USC, etc.

  • lvvcsflvvcsf 2423 replies58 threads Senior Member
    Just to make you and others who may have such questions aware, there is a "What are my chances" forum for just these types if inquiries.
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  • MWolfMWolf 2792 replies14 threads Senior Member
    Stanford - high reach for anybody
    Cornell - reach
    American University - match/high match
    UCLA - low reach
    USC - reach
    UC Irvine - low match, possibly safety
    The George Washington University - match/low match
    Carnegie Mellon - reach
    UW - low match
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  • firmament2xfirmament2x 678 replies6 threads Member
    edited July 2019
    @spotup18 . . . if you go to someplace like Harker, then you probably increased your chances of getting into Stanford. (Please don't confirm where you attend.) Regardless, you look to be an excellent candidate for all; you're not an angular stats only student; you're extremely well balanced.

    Additionally, poli-sci isn't one of those majors that places your app in a stepped-up stats pile for the UCs besides your score being so ascendant already. And you manifest as a well-balanced right and left hemisphere, and maybe a bit as a righty. I bet you write extremely well, which is needed in the sciences.

    Btw, no Berkeley? Are you one of those Peninsula kids who doesn't like the grunge of the University? I'm betting you'll check the Berk box when it comes to applying. Best of luck.

    Edited for P's because it was all jammed up
    edited July 2019
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  • BKSquaredBKSquared 1673 replies8 threads Senior Member
    Don't bother retaking the US History Subject Test. A 750 clears the hurdle. Work on your essays and perhaps having a good summary sheet of interests and accomplishments to give to your LoR writers. Stanford is a high reach for anyone, but I think you have a decent shot at the others, especially as a first gen. I'd definitely apply Stanford SCEA (it sounds like your top choice) and see where the chips fall. What is good about Stanford is that its REA decision is pretty digital -- there are very few deferrals, and if you are deferred, it indicates that you are a very strong candidate.
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  • spotup18spotup18 8 replies7 threads Junior Member
    Thanks so much for your breakdown. I’m actually not a huge fan of Berkeley lol. When I hear about people getting assaulted because of their political views, that really doesn’t give me comfort, especially since I’m probably not as far left as the average Berkeley student.
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 35421 replies399 threads Senior Member
    You don't pick colleges based on some random media accounts.

    Some of your ECs and awards will not be tips. You need the right rounding. It's not about founding or planning events, fundraising or op-eds. And what is the community service, beyond bball camp and tutoring that got you awards?
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 30500 replies59 threads Senior Member
    I think you look good. But Stanford from CA? I think you know that’s a true lottery ticket. I have no idea how much weight Stanford places on first generation , especially if not paired with low income.

    I go along with @MWolf ‘s assessment except for CMU. As a Humanities and Social Sciences school applicant, I’d say you are a very strong match. CMU’s selectivity numbers are way too low for overall chances due to the single digit rates for CS, arts and other programs and because of all the top Pittsburgh students applying there
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  • HamurtleHamurtle 2740 replies36 threads Senior Member
    1 more SAT Subject Test might make Georgetown a target as they like 3 tests.

    I would add Tufts to your list and take out Carnegie Mellon:
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  • spotup18spotup18 8 replies7 threads Junior Member
    Could you explain what you mean by “right rounding”?
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  • squ1rrelsqu1rrel 451 replies35 threads Member
  • supernovacoachsupernovacoach 103 replies2 threads Junior Member
    If the essay is as good as you say it is, you are in to at least USC. But the others are a tossup still--because they always are. How are you so sure your essay is THAT GOOD?
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  • spotup18spotup18 8 replies7 threads Junior Member
    @supernovacoach well of course I can’t be SURE but I do believe they are good. I’m considered one of the best writers at my school so I have faith in my writing. Also, I’ve had my counselor look them over. And she said she wouldn’t change anything so that’s a good sign.
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  • supernovacoachsupernovacoach 103 replies2 threads Junior Member
    If you say so, then I'd say you're probably getting into Cornell. Stanford is one of those schools where you just never know until you know.
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  • HamurtleHamurtle 2740 replies36 threads Senior Member
    edited July 2019
    Also for the schools on your list, the expectation is that you will have taken Calculus (either AB or BC), especially if you went to a school like Harker or any of the South Bay pressure cookers like Lynbrook, Monta Vista, or Saratoga High.

    It’s not an absolute that you need Calculus, but your academic peers will have taken it even if they plan on a humanities/social science major. That might be the one blemish on your academic rigor, which is otherwise pretty strong.

    edited July 2019
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  • supernovacoachsupernovacoach 103 replies2 threads Junior Member
    Yes. Take Calc AB and get a tutor if need be.
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 35421 replies399 threads Senior Member
    .But let's admit, no one can predict a lock.
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