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Stressed About College Admissions (What else is new?)

ivyformeivyforme Registered User Posts: 11 New Member
edited October 2016 in College Search & Selection
Bear with me for this, I am about to spill a lot of information. I'm really stressed out about the college application process, and I really could use some feedback. First, I'm going to give my credentials

-32 on ACT
-Ranked 2nd in my class of 223
-Unweighted GPA of 3.97
-3 AP classes (Physics, US History, US Gov and Policy)
-4 Dual-Enrollment Classes (Physics, Precalculus, College Writing, SDEV)
-The rest of my core classes are either advanced or honors
-Student Council, Class Officer, National Honors Society
-Member of Orchestra (110 students, I am concertmaster and president)
-Also a part of the electric orchestra (just initiated this year, only 12 spots for violin players)
-Some volunteer work, including working the polls at this year's election
-Interested in becoming a political science major
-Part of school's Global Internship Program, which is a program for seniors to spend the first semester of school learning about the interview process and how to work in the real world, and then our second semester our teacher finds an internship for us in the field we want to go in

I am from Ohio, and my family demonstrates TREMENDOUS financial need.

I really want to attend Northwestern. It has been apart of a dream of mine for a very long time. In 8th grade, I did a research project on NU, because my dad loves the school and has tried to get me to look into it. However, he never attended-it was just his dream school. Northwestern was the only school on my mind for a while, but then I found Harvard. Now I know Harvard is way more selective, but I still looked into it anyway. I first started liking it because it seemed like an amazing school, but after looking into it, I realized I love Harvard as much as I love Northwestern, if not more. I've visited both campuses, and Harvard definitely stood out more. However, I'm still stuck on what to do. I know that if I got accepted to both of these schools, I would attend Harvard for sure. I also know though that my chances of getting into Harvard aren't very high at all. And to throw on top of all of this, Cornell's Industrial and Labor Relations major LITERALLY depicts EXACTLY what I want to do with my life. So I want to attend Cornell's school of ILR because it is perfect for me, but Cornell definitely isn't even close to being my dream school.

So, here's my dilemma. Harvard doesn't have an early decision option, but Northwestern does. I want to apply to Northwestern ED, because it has been my school of interest for a long time, but I know I might be upset if I get accepted into Northwestern and Harvard and have to go to Northwestern. (Okay, maybe not UPSET, because I know there are way worse things in the world than being forced to go Northwestern lol) Also, my counselors urge me not to apply for ED, because they say that if a school accepts you ED they won't give as much financial aid because they know that you have to go to their school anyway. Coming from a household that is going to need ALL of the financial aid we can get, I don't know if I should risk that.

So my question to all of you is:
1. Do I have a strong chance of getting into Northwestern?
2. Do I even have a slight chance of getting into Harvard?
3. Should I apply to Northwestern ED or do I still possibly have a chance of getting in under regular decision?
4. Should I attend one of my two dream schools, or should I try to get into Cornell and attend the school that has the perfect major?

I want to thank anyone who puts in the time to read all of this, because I know it's a lot. I'm just so stressed out about this whole process and I don't even know what to do at this point. None of my family has attended college before, so I can't turn to anyone else for help.
Post edited by Chedva on

Replies to: Stressed About College Admissions (What else is new?)

  • osuprofosuprof Registered User Posts: 338 Member
    1. Do I have a strong chance of getting into Northwestern?

    As much as a poster can tell you, I will say you have an OKish chance in ED, and very little in RD. 32 isn't a great ACT score even for ED. I also do not know if you have any `hook', like being a Pell grant awardee or something similar.

    2. Do I even have a slight chance of getting into Harvard?

    32 is quite low for Harvard. In addition, unless you have a hook, you need to stand out with National-level extra-curricular accomplishments, which I do not see in your record (very few people do, but then very very few get into Harvard!).

    3. Should I apply to Northwestern ED or do I still possibly have a chance of getting in under regular decision?

    No one can answer this question for you.

    4. Should I attend one of my two dream schools, or should I try to get into Cornell and attend the school that has the perfect major?

    What will you major in at Northwestern? How `imperfect' will that be for you? How sure you can be that ILR at Cornell is what will be perfect for you all the way till you graduate?

    Also, if financial aid is your concern for ED, this has been discussed on this forum. I believe general experience is that Northwestern isn't going to short change you just because you applied ED. But search and read on your own!
  • bwaygirl1bwaygirl1 Registered User Posts: 160 Junior Member
    With the emphasis you have on financial need, it would be unwise for you to apply anywhere ED. The smartest route would be to apply to schools RD so that you can compare financial aid packages. I understand that you think that applying ED to NU might push you over the top into an admittance. Continue to believe that. Your financial aid package will be what they give you. You cannot compare it to any other schools and your bargaining position will be weak. Now imagine that you scrape enough together to start school there and you cannot continue to do that for 8 semesters and you have to leave. I think that would be even more devastating going to a dream school, finding out for sure it is a dream and then having to leave.

    You need financial safeties. You state several times how stressed you are. Again, imagine that you are a college student at a prestigious school with a heavy workload and you have to worry about finding the money to pay for the next semester. That will be heavy stress. Or imagine the stress of taking out loans and then working hard after graduation from college and not being able to afford yourself because your student loan bill every month is huge. Talk to people who are paying back loans (or have your parents talk to their friends whose kids are paying back loans) to find out approx how much they borrowed and how much the monthly bill is. It will be higher than you think it will be.

    You can love many schools and it would be nice if financial stress did not come along with the school.
  • ivyformeivyforme Registered User Posts: 11 New Member
    Thank you both for your time with your responses!!
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