Advice for UPENN LSM?

Hello everyone! I am an upcoming sophomore and my dream program is the UPENN Life Sciences & Management Program. I was wondering if anyone had any advice.

General Stats: Missouri, Large Public High School (2400-2500 people), South Asian (Indian), Female

Hopeful test scores:
GPA: 4.0 UW/4.61 W
ACT: 36 (E 36/M 36/R 36/S 35/G)
SAT II: World History 800, Math II 800, Chemistry 800, Physics 800,
APs: AP Human Geography, AP World, AP Capstone, AP Language, AP Biology, AP Statistics, AP Physics, AP Literature, AP Chemistry, AP Calculus AB, AP Economy, AP Psychology (self-study)

Extracurriculars, for applications I am not going to include all of these:

  1. Hosa president
  2. Neuroscience club president
  3. Science NHS
  4. DECA president
  5. TEDx lead organizer
  6. Newspaper editor in chief
  7. Debate Vice-President of Policy
  8. Science Olympiad
  9. NHS officer
  10. Black belt in Taekwondo
  11. Certified Bharantyam Dancer
  12. Teach both journalism and debate
  13. Create a science youth summit
  14. leukemia and lymphoma team of the year


  1. ISEF Finalist
    2.National junior and science symposium finalist
    3.Semi-finalist for USABO
    4.Presidential scholar
    5.Yale Bassett award
    6.National Merit Scholar
    7.Coca-Cola Scholars Program Semifinalist
    8.National AP Scholar Award


  1. TASP or RSI


  1. Marketing Internship
  2. Lots of research with professors

I know this is a very general application as I haven’t included everything, but if you have any advice or more ways to stand out in my extracurriulars, that would be great. Thank you so much!

A few things.

My advice is that you give up the idea of having one dream school. The people I see who get hurt by the college admission process are the ones who focus on one or two hyper-competitive schools and then don’t get in. Cast a wide net and recognize that Penn, with an under 10% acceptance rate, is a reach for any unhooked applicant.

You appear to be a very high achieving student. I don’t want to dissuade you from working hard and applying to top colleges. You absolutely should do both. But you will need to expand your horizons and recognize that there are many wonderful schools out there where you can have a great 4 year experience and get where you want to go in life

As a rising sophomore you just have one year of a HS GPA and no standardized test scores. Please do not ask people to “chance” you based on “hoped for” grades and standardized test scores. It is not a useful exercise. In fact, IMO chancing at any elite school is impossible. The fact is that there are more very well qualified applicants than there are spots available so much will come down to things we can’t see like essays, LORs, what admissions happens to be looking for at the time etc.

For the next year I would stay off of CC (except for the HS Life page) and focus on the following:
–Working hard, learning, and doing as well as you can in the most challenging curriculum you can manage.
–When the time comes study for standardized tests.
–Continuing your involvement in activities you care about and working towards making meaningful contributions to those activities.
–Enjoying spending time with your family and friends.

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Hey! Ok a few things stood out as a little bit alarming here. A lot of the awards, as @happy1 noted, are projected. If I told you about all the awards I sought out in high school, it wouldn’t be this many, but it would still be a few too many. Not saying that you cannot do it, or that your dreams are out of reach, because you can! It’s just that life is not a straight path, there are a bunch of peaks and valleys. you’ll win some and lose some, but things will work out in the end! If you get a few of these things, will you have a shot? sure. if you get all of these things is admissions guaranteed? nope.

the four pieces of advice he gave are probably the most important things i wish more people gave (most notably the last one, family + friends are what matter in the end). don’t obssess over even 3-4 schools, because at the end of the day you aren’t defined by your school, but by yourself. good luck!

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