4.0 gpa, 36 ACT, poor EC's, but interesting life story? Feedback please!

<p>GPA: 4.0 unweighted, 4.35 weighted</p>

<p>ACT: 36 composite (English 36, Math 35, Reading 36, Science 35)
9 on essay, 33 combined english/writing</p>

<p>SAT: 2240 (Math 800, Reading 720, Writing 720)</p>

<p>PSAT: 230 (Math 800, Reading 750, Writing 750) <-- Is PSAT even important for colleges?</p>

<p>AP: Chemistry 5 (planning on taking spanish and calc bc this year)</p>

<p>IB: Spanish 6, Math 6, Physics 5 (pursuing IB diploma)</p>

<p>EC’s: Key Club member 3 years, NHS member, Model UN member and committee chair, 7 years piano (passed level 10 syllabus), 150+ hours of volunteering at hospital, varsity tennis 3 years.</p>

<p>Life story (not really entire life but just what happened last year)-</p>

<p>In October 2009, my dad lost his job. Our family lived on unemployment benefits and savings (dad was an electrical engineer so it's not like we ever starved) until January this year when my dad got a job offer in CA. We had lived in Oregon for my entire life so it was the only home I ever knew and the friends I had were the only ones I had ever known. Being unemployed and with a family of 5 to raise (dad, mom, me, and two little brothers), my dad had to take the offer (even though it was a rather low one with no relocation package). However, my mom had also been looking for a job at the same time (she's an electrical engineer too) because she was scared by the then-ominous economic climate. Two days after my dad accepted his offer, my mom got one from a company in AZ - with relocation. Oregon had such bleak job prospects and the offer was so good that my mom basically had no choice but to accept.</p>

<p>At the time (January 2010), I was in the middle of my junior year, and with IB and college admission tests coming up, I knew I had to at least finish the year out at my old school. So while my dad worked in CA and my mom worked (with my two brothers) in AZ, I stayed in Oregon with my grandpa. Our old house hadn’t sold yet so I lived there until it did. (btw – I’m an asian guy so my grandpa knew no English and wasn’t able to help me with much).</p>

<p>It was hard living without my parents and my brothers who had always been there to support me before. I got experience what true independence was like – almost what I would imagine college to be – and had to mature fast.</p>

<p>In late April, someone submitted an offer for our house. It was reasonable enough that my parents accepted it; the only problem was that they wouldn’t wait until June (when my school year ended) to move in. Because of that, I had to move pretty far away from my school into my grandpa’s retirement home and live out the rest of the school year there.</p>

<p>When school ended in June, I hopped on a plane to Arizona and rejoined with my family (albeit only part of it since my dad was working in CA). </p>

<p>I couldn’t really do anything internship or volunteer-wise because my new school started last week (leaving me only with 6 weeks of summer, 2 of which we spent in CA with my dad). Because I moved, I also was not able to run for any club office or leadership positions for my senior year. At my new school, my class rank also plummeted to 47 (I was 7 in Oregon) because my old school never gave weighted grades to honor classes but my new school does. Granted, my new school is bigger (750 kids vs 500), but my class rank overall looks a lot worse.</p>

<p>--</p>

<p>Sorry for such a long post, but I really wanted to get some feedback on a few things.
1) Will colleges take my switching schools and family situation into account when they look at my application and will it help me? (Or is my situation even that extenuating? The more I think about it, the less “bad” it seems, especially given that some kids probably deal with a lot more)
2) Are my academics and test scores still enough to get me into some top schools? (I’m considering Brown, Johns Hopkins, Rice, U Chicago, Washington University in St. Louis, USC, UCLA, and Berkeley as a pre-med student).
3) Does anyone have any advice as to anything else I can do right now to boost my extracurriculars?</p>

<p>If you were awesome enough to read all the way to the end, thank you so much! I really appreciate any help you guys might have.</p>

<p>OP, I'm sure that colleges will take into account all of what's happened to you. I have quite a story to tell myself as well. But I suggest that you write amazing essays and get great recommendations (although since you've moved schools this may be hard). As for EC's, it might not be too late. Look for possible internships at local universities. Since you have great scores, I'm sure most of the colleges on your list shouldn't be too far away from you. Good luck!</p>

<p>and chance back?
<a href="http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/what-my-chances/970755-chance-ivies-please.html%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/what-my-chances/970755-chance-ivies-please.html&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>Don't send in your SAT scores, since you aced the ACT. I think you are in at USC, UCLA, and Berkeley. You have a real good shot at UChicago, JHU, Wash U, and Rice. I think you will get into at least 2 of these schools. Brown and all Ivies are a crap-shoot and no one is exempt from rejection. Your EC's are "skimpy" and that may hurt you at several of the top-tier schools on your list. Write some good essays! I think an explanation on your applications somewhere is in order, based on w vs. uw grades at your new and old school. Good luck to you!</p>

<p>PSAT is unimportant for colleges, although if you're a National Merit Finalist I think that would be a good thing (and your score is high enough, I believe). </p>

<p>I think you have a good cahnce at USC, UCLA and Berkeley. My science teacher's daughter works in the UCLA admissions office and while she hasn't been able to tell us much, she said it's "all about the essay!", so with a good essay you should be in. This definitely seems to be the case because I know a girl with a 4.2 W GPA, 1800-ish SAT who got into UCLA (and is currently attending) because she's a brilliant writer. Definitely think you have a good shot! </p>

<p>If you show any interest in WashU, I think you'll be good. I think you'll get into at least one of the other schools (UChicago, JHU and Rice), but I'm not that familiar with the any of the students that have been accepted there. :) Good luck!!</p>

<p>Your reported test scores are excellent. What about SAT IIs?</p>

<p>I think you should mention your circumstances - but I wouldn't overplay it. (It is a tough situation but, as you mentioned, you're parents are professionals who got jobs and you never went hungry.) Also your ECs were not great at your old school so you can't say that the move to a new school had a significant negative impact on your ECs. </p>

<p>Basically, the main thing the move did was lower your class rank. However, it looks like you took less honor classes and that's why your class rank went down. </p>

<p>Brown will be a reach. You should have a fair shot at the others.</p>

<p>You're not a person anymore.</p>

<p>A 36 on the ACT makes you a statistic. Colleges want to be able to boast that x% of incoming freshmen got a perfect score on the ACT. That will help you a lot.</p>