Admissions Chances

<p>Yes, this is a kind of lame and self-centered topic, and yes, as I'm sure plenty of generous responses will point out, the admissions process at colleges as selective as CC can be arbitrary and/or confusing, but I'd just like some brutally honest judgements and assessments of my chances of being admitted when I apply for the Class of 2015. Mostly I ask because I'm frequently told that to get into Columbia you have to be in the top 10% of your class, which I know is mostly true, but I'm not quite in the top 10%. Also, I'd like opinions on whether, with my academic and extracurricular record, it might make the difference to apply early decision. Thanks for your input!</p>

<p>GPA: 97
Rank: 15th (3 places below the top 10%)
SAT Is: CR 800, Math 800, Writing 770
Haven't gotten my SAT II or ACT scores yet.
Extracurriculars: 2 main ones are ballet (I'm a guy), and music, specifically composition and cello, which I expect to continue more seriously in college as well. As far as depth of involvement, I have attended a 4-week ballet summer camp in Saratoga associated with the New York City Ballet for the last 4 years and will be attending that along with a 4-week orchestral summer camp in Saratoga associated with the Philadelphia Orchestra this summer. I have almost no recorded community service hours, although I am politically active, and campaigned for Obama in Penn. in 2008. I have a small but I like to think fairly good photography portfolio. I am Vice-President of my school's MUN team. I think that's about it. I hope I didn't get too self-indulgent making my record seem good. </p>

<p>If you're kind enough to give me input on the admissions process or advice for the next semester of my high school career, please be honest! I don't want any encouragement, I want realism and constructive advice. Should I do an interview? On a different note, if you are currently a student at Columbia, what is your opinion of the experience? Do you feel like the general atmosphere is excessively competitive, or mostly pleasant (or as pleasant as such a rigorous academic setting can be)? Is the school too big, in terms of student population, or a good size? How do the graduate schools and students affect your undergraduate experience? I don't want to seem too demanding, these are just a few things I'm curious about. Thanks in advance for your responses!</p>

<p>Being very new here, I posted this before I realized that there's a separate forum for applicants like me wondering what their chances are for acceptance at certain colleges. I apologize if this post is in the wrong forum, but any responses about campus life at CC would still be greatly appreciated.</p>

<p>Your SAT scorres are very good. I don't understand your rank or GPA though: 15th out of how many? Are you in a private school or public? Extra curriculars are good. but try and highlight those where you have been in leadership position. Think about writing something cool for the essay.. that will be key. </p>

<p>Lastly, good luck. If your heart is set on Columbia and financial aid is not an issue, then go ED. That would be the best chance.</p>

<p>I am in a public school in upstate New York. I'm not sure precisely how many people are in my class but I think it's a little bit above 100; I tried to articulate this by saying that 15th was a few places below the top 10% but I see that this wasn't very clear. The 97 is a 97%, obviously out of 100, because my school doesn't use a 4-point scale. Thanks for your SAT compliment, and thanks especially for your advice about leadership. I hear stuff about leadership a lot but I think I tend to unfairly discount or forget it precisely because I hear it so often and it becomes something of a platitude. However, I think I'm beginning to see why leadership is so important (leading me to run for VP of MUN), and your comment has definitely helped nudge me in the right direction. Thanks again!</p>

<p>Although I mentioned it above, I do want to stress that I'm probably most interested in input about how my sub-top-10% affects/destroys my chances. I know at places like Columbia something like 97% of accepted students are in the top 10. Is there any chance that my scores/ECs/essay/course load could make it at all possible for me to get in, or is it almost impossible with my rank as it is?</p>

<p>Nothing is impossible. If you are an underrepresented minority, highlight that. Also, what classes you took in High School matter as much of the grades. So, taking a bunch of AP's etc is good -- shows you sought out the most challenging curriculum. </p>

<p>Even with perfect everything, getting to Columbia is tough, so, really I would short list your favorite schools and if Columbia rises to the top, apply Early Decision.</p>

<p>I've seen a kid with a 2390 get rejected on here. I've also seen people with lower scores get in.</p>

<p>You look pretty good, and don't stress about not being in the top 10% of your class.</p>

<p>Since you want reassurance, I'm happy to provide it. You know as well as we do that the top 10% is nothing close to a firm boundary. It's better to be in the top 20% at a good school than be valedictorian of bad one, in terms of academic achievement. Your SAT score is very high by Columbia's standards and you have a good GPA, so academically you're set. Just focus on the personal statement, extracurriculars, and how you present yourself. You have a very good chance, even though you're just in the top 15.</p>