Am I aiming too high?

<p>Hello everyone!</p>

<p>Right now I am trying to narrow down my college list and I am experiencing certain difficulties since I cannot decide whether I am well-qualified for the colleges I have chosen. First, my stats:</p>

<p>SAT I - 1450 (750 Verbal, 700 Math)
SAT II - Writing 710 (retaking)
I am taking two more tests soon.
TOEFL CBT - 290, 6 on the essay
My high school record is 5.92 out of 6.00</p>

<p>Student government - Vice president during 9th and 11th grade, and student body president during 10th grade.
Volunteer at the school's informational office - 8th grade; position held: coordinator of media resources and PR; hours spent: 30
Animator in UNESCO projects during 9th and 10th grade - animator of Media workshops.
Director of and actor in a school play - 8th grade
YMCA volunteer - hours spent: 30
Internship at National DARIK Radio - 10th and 11th grade
Reporter at National DARIK Radio - 11th and 12th grade
Work experience as a reporter and interviewer in the creation of a documentary movie about the American University in Bulgaria.
Volunteer service at English Language Club - 10th and 11th grade. hours per week: 20, weeks per year: 28, total: 1120
Peer tutoring in English
School's athletics team: 12th grade
Participation in Leadership camps organized by the YMCA, SEEYLI Program and Open Society
Volunteer work as an English interpreter in the YMCA.
Work experience as an English translator .
Hobbies: creative writing, reading books, writing short stories and essays, travelling, singing(choir solo singer) and dancing(ballet)
Sports: bicycling, jogging, skating, and swimming
Academic achievements:
1st place in an English language national writing contest on women's issues. - 9th grade
1st place in an essay writing competition. - 10th grade
Essay on European Citizenship ranked among top 10, given special prize and published.
Other essays and articles published in regional newspapers.
Other distinctions:
Certificate of academic and extracurricular achievement granted by the town's municipality.
Certificate for volunteer service during the European Days of Culture, a project coordinated by UNESCO.</p>

<p>Currently, I am considering Duke, Macalester, Grinnell, Colgate,Colby,Vanderbilt,Emory,Swarthmore, Bowdoin, Bates, Connecticut, Colorado college and Cornell. I keep asking myself the question: am I good enough for those schools or am I only dreaming to get there? How do you think I stand compared to other applicants for those schools?</p>

<p>I would appreciate your honest responses:) and thanks for reading this rather long post:)</p>

<p>I think you'll be admitted to all the schools on your list.</p>

<p>it'll be tougher for international students to get admitted obviously, but I think you have yourself set up very well.</p>

<p>Great ECs Great awards Great school record
Im so jealous!
I'm applying to more selective schools than you and I don't have half the achievements you have! jealous!
I think you'll be a definite candidate for all the schools you listed except for Duke and Swathmore, Cornell where you'll probably be a match.
Don't worry, your well qualified for those schools.</p>

<p>Thank you for the encouraging replies:) They are really helpful in a time when I am so stressed out about admissions.
NoFX, thanks for the compliments. During my high school years I have been trying to excel in academics and to do the things I enjoy (my ecs). However, I sometimes fall into despair seeing the stellar scores of other Bulgarians with whom I will be competing...Anyway, I want to do my best and end up in the place I have always dreamed of - a us college.
By the way, where do you think I stand the greatest chance of admission, and accordingly where do I have the least chance of getting in? My inner voice tells me that Cornell will be hardest to reach, while Emory and Mount Holyoke are sort of safeties, but it is really hard to assess my chances having in mind I am living abroad.
And, NoFX, where do you intend to apply?</p>

<p>I interviewed at an Ivy for many years. Selective schools like to see focus and passion, not a mile-long laundry list of everything you ever did. With my own kids, one got into a school on your list, and he left out well over 2/3 of his achievements and concentrated on the few that were related and made sense --- his application package was very integrated.</p>

<p>When I interviewed people with lists that long, I often discovered that some of the stuff wasn't very meaningful. Our first thought is always: they did this stuff to pad their resume. So documentary movie - yes; municipal certificate and most of the volunteer work - no.</p>

<p>Oh - AND LEAVE OUT THE 8TH GRADE STUFF!!! NO ONE puts that in, and it not only annoys the adcoms, but makes you look desperate!</p>

<p>Voronwe has such a valid point. I just got off the board of some asian dude who was thinking he was all that b/c he made his opening statement twenty minutes long for me to read (Future readers: if you're asking "is this you?", then it probably is). Instead of saying "I did this, this, and this," just say "I did 9999999999 hours of community service" and site some of your major contributions. If they ask for details, then go into your mile-long rant. Although you are international, I think you have a decent chance at these schools. However, you must especially shine in your Duke, Emory, Swathmore, and Cornell apps. You clearly can contribute to their community--so let them know that perhaps through one of your essays or a letter of recommendation (both of which speak a heck of a lot louder than any laundary list). Best of wishes.</p>


<p>Thanks for the inputs. They made me reconsider the way I would put the ecs in my application. Of course, I realize that it would be ridiculous to stuff my application with every social event I have taken part of, or all the distinctions I have. This is only a rough list, so now I have to cull only its most meaningful items. However, the case with some internationals (including myself) is that they barely have any idea how to incorporate their ECs in the application documents. For example, in my home country admission is granted solely on the basis of exam grades and high school record.
Again, thanks for the tips:)</p>

<p>vesselina - Im applying to Johns Hopkins (ED proabably), Duke, U of Penn, Northwestern, Swarthmore, WUSTL, north carolina chapil hill, UC berkely and some safties like Florida and hmm can't remember them now.</p>

<p>Like your country, my country addmission is only based on how smart you are. My school records are a DISGRACE. In year 10, I got ALL B's. In year 9, I had couple of A's B's C's mixed togther. In year 11 (now), unfortunatly, I have recieved two C's so far. But somehow, I'm in the top 3% in my year and so far I have 3 awards where I've come 1st in subjects.
I didn't know what I was doing with my life in Year9 and 10. I never really cared about school and skipped it frequently. lol somehow, I thought I was magically just gonna get to a good university! Now, its reality. It's scary. My grades suc.</p>

<p>My ECs are not great either. I have no leadership role except our varsity girls soccer team where I'm captain. Most of the time, year 9,10,11 arn't allowed leadership roles except for junior clubs.
I only belong in like 5 clubs but I'm just one of the members. My ECs suck.</p>

<p>And that is why Im so JEALOUS! Hope you get into Duke, Cornell, where ever you want to go!</p>

<p>NoFX, the most important thing you should do at the moment is look ahead and try to do your best in your college preparation. Obviously, you were not quite enthusiastic about studies a few years ago, but you are different now. That is what matters. I know many people who were going through rough periods of their lives when they did not know what they wanted, and acted frivolously, but then decided that this lifestyle was not for them and completely changed their direction. What you do now will certainly affect your future more than what you have done in the past. I assume that you are a smart person, so just try to excel in academics and do the things you enjoy. Don't force yourself into doing something that doesn't reflect your own preferences. You say that you lack any leadership positions. OK, you have not been a leader (yet), but maybe you have accomplished something else. My point is, you don't have to lead bin order to make a contribution to society. Maybe some would disagree with me, but that is only my point of view.
As for me, I have not held many leadership positions either. My most meaningful and time-consuming activity was voluntary service in an english language club where around 300 students learn English. I have been studying there for nearly 8 years and have always tried to be of assistance. For the past two years I was in charge of the club's library and computer room. My duties took up to 6 hours a day, five days a week - it was very time-consuming but I do not regret a single day I spent there. On the surface, this may look like an ordinary and not qutie impressive activity, but to me it meant a lot. In Bulgaria private lessons are expensive and not many students can afford them, and I felt guilty that I had some privileges that other children hadn't. And I did whatever I could to assist such children. Sometimes it is very rewarding just to know that you have helped people and shared with them what you had been given. By the way, I never strived so much for leadership; I only wanted to engage in an activity I enjoy. After all, this experience might prove helpful for my application, or it might not. But this is not the point.
I am sure that you have some special talent or some vocation you have not assumed you possess. Use this, and you will be fine.</p>

<p>Obviously, I am in the mood to write today, so I'd better stop now or otherwise I won't go back to my math:)
All the best,</p>