Any shot at these Ivy and T20 public health schools?

Demographics: Gender, race/ethnicity, state, type of school, and hooks (URM, first generation, legacy, athlete, etc.)
I’m an Asian Male from a public high school in Massachusetts with roughly 1,000 students, not competitive sending only 1-2 to t20s a year.

Not sure if this matters, but my parents are former employees of WashU and Duke.

Intended Major(s): Economics and Public Health

ACT/SAT/SAT II: 1560 SAT (760R 800M) 1440 PSAT

UW/W GPA and Rank: 4.0/4.0UW on UC scale and Rank 6/276

Coursework: AP/IB/Dual Enrollment classes, AP/IB scores, etc
Self studied AP Art freshman year and all honors, no AP available freshman year.
Four APs sophomore year, APUSH, AP Lang, AP Seminar, AP Statistics
Five APs junior year, AP World, AP CSP, AP Lit, AP Research, AP Chemistry
For next year, 3 APs, AP Psych, Calc BC, AP Physics

I’ve gotten a 3 on seminar and 4 in art, 5s on the rest.

1st in State Mass DECA (10th)
4th in State Mass DECA (11th)
State Finalist in Mass DECA (9th)
Regional Finalist in Debate (10th)
Received $1,000 Johnson and Wales Scholarship
AP Scholar with Honor
Recognition for Work on Published Law Textbook


Research Assistant to Professor at Local Uni drafting chapter of 12th edition textbook on federal appointments- 1 year

Syllabus Researcher for Professor creating For-Credit summer course at Local Uni- 1 year

Debate - 4 years president + regional finalist

DECA - 4 years president + 2x international qualifier + 1st in State

DECA State Cultural Advisory Board

CoFounded and Vice President of Stock Market Trading Club at HS

Tutored at Refinity -200 Hours

Freelance Photography business featured in local newspaper (9-11th)

NPO for Asian Americans Founder, roughly 1,800 followers on IG (11th)

Organized Climate Walkout (10th)

Gave a TedTalk on STEM (11th)

NHS Member (11th)

Regular Volunteer at local Zoo (9-11)

Attended Summer@Brown Anthropology course on Global Health (11)

Essays/LORs/Other: My essays are strong I’d say. Lots of personal thought and growth on trauma, mental health, and my mother’s frequent medical events. I have various supplementals written by the professor I did research under at my local uni, and one from Ms. Massachusetts, one of my covolunteers at the zoo.

Schools: Chance me for Brown, UCLA, University of Toronto, WashU, Harvard, JHU

Will be able to pay in full for any of these schools, so I would like if this thread could take a step back from budget.

You have great stats and extracurriculars. If I were you, I’d ED1 Brown and then ED2 WashU or JHU. That will give you the best chances at getting into one of these top schools. I wouldn’t count on getting into Harvard lol, but you never know.

The schools on this list seem inconsistent…What do you find appealing about both Brown and JHU? UCLA and WashU?

1 Like

You realize your excellent SAT score will not be considered by UCLA?

You are a very accomplished and qualified applicant but UCLA will be a Reach regardless.

No 2021 admit data but here is some 2020 data:
2020 Freshman admit rates for UC GPA of 4.20 or above capped weighted and not major specific:
UCLA: 38%

Admission Rates for Out-of-State Applicants (Domestic):
UCLA: 13.9%

Best of luck.

I see great accomplishments and work ethic above. I think I’m a little lost in the many details—what’s your one paragraph story of what you’d like to accomplish and what led you there?

Thank you for for asking. I enrolled in a summer course at brown this summer in Global Healthcare and previously I had a strong passion for politics and public speaking through debate and DECA. This course realky encapsulated my abilities in statistics and introduced ideas of anthropology and economics to me in a really engaging course. My parents are unfortunately very old and suffer from mental illnesses, and have been the victims of extreme misinformation during the pandemic, especially the antivaccine and antiteatment conspiracies including ivermectine. They’ve illegally bought black market ivermectin and gotten doctors to prescribe it and attempted to force me to take it. I want to change the perception of public health and depoliticize the healthcare field and help prevent what happened in 2020 from ever happening again. When i went to my course at brown, staying away from home and learning the intricacies of global health and the difficulties politics bring into it, it really made me determined to go into Public Health.

That is a very powerful story, and one rare among applicants to T20. Tell it well and I think you have a shot at every school in your list.


I recommending EDing to JHU or Brown.

I know people are saying ED to Brown or JHU.

Do you have a top preference or you want to get in all equally ?

If you have a top choice of School X, why ED to school Y? But yes ED for a best chance.

Do you have matches ? I.e a Rochester, etc. As strong as you are, and you are, don’t forget you need schools you know you’ll get into as well. Your list is the top of the top.

I worry about your listed UC GPA and UCLA. And then JHU and public health is a tough nut. You might consider UCSD for public health (stronger than UCLA) and Michigan if you are seeking an elite public because your SAT will help there.

Btw my kids went to an highly rated public high school. Don’t confuse sending 1-2 a year to a top 20 with only 1-2 acceptances or 1-2 kids that could get in. There were likely several more but they chose alternatives, such as UMASS, for location or finances. Your record is amazing, straight As, 12 APs yet only 6th so it sounds like a good HS.

Good luck to you.

There we go, a wonderful and compelling story. You’re a strong narrator as well so I think you’ll do well in applications. Best of luck and tell us how it goes in a few months.

If you refine your list a bit, you will be assured of having great choices. Brown and JHU seem like obvious inclusions. URochester offers attributes similar to those of these schools with respect to its public health program and proximity to a hospital. As alternatives to UCLA, UCs such as UCB and UCSD offer excellent public health programs and especially strong economics programs; UCI would represent a good school to add for a less challenging admit. Among Ivies, Cornell should be considered. For a Boston area school, look into Tufts.

You have strong stats, ECs. I would ED to Brown first. They have a great public health program and the Dean is really active in the public arena. The public health courses at Brown are amazing. My son started there this week and it is a great campus with really supportive students and faculty. You’ll find a great home somewhere in college with your background. Best of luck!!

1 Like

Not speaking for the original poster but I think there is appeal from each of these four colleges and someone with his background and major/concentration aspirations can be a great fit at all four of these universities.

Agree all strong in the major, but such different vibes, student populations, and experiences beyond the major. Would love to know the matches and safeties!

1 Like

I think that your chances at the University of Toronto are excellent. I do not know if I would use the word “safety” but I expect you to get accepted. I also think that you are very competitive at every university on your list. A friend of a daughter with similar stats went to WUSTL.

I would add a safety (or perhaps second safety after Toronto).

I believe that you have at least a 50-50 chance of getting into even tippy-top schools that would like applicants who have a chance of making a significant contribution in the field of public health and the combating of misinformation. You have all the components of a successful application to even the most competitive schools.

I suspect that your essay will flow easily and be extremely compelling. Honestly, I think your focus at this time should be determining where to play your ED/EA card. Public health is usually done as a master’s degree, so I think that you should look carefully at the UNDERGRADUATE environment at each of the universities that have top public health schools; in other words, would you be able to get involved in research, to take classes at the public health schools, to submatriculate into their master’s degree programs. I think that you have a significant chance at acceptance at multiple top schools, including Harvard (which offers restrictive EA, as opposed to Brown’s ED), so I would only choose to apply ED to Brown if you are absolutely sure, after having done as much research as possible, and paid a visit to each of your top schools, that Brown is your first choice. I don’t think that you will need to use the ED option at Brown to maximize your chances of getting into any one of these top schools. I think you would wind up with at least a couple of acceptances in the RD round.

You might want to add Columbia and Yale to your list. BU and GW are possible safeties for you. With your interest in politics, debate, and public health policy, consider the opportunity to get involved in state health policy as an undergrad, consider in which city the school is located - is it a state capitol, or does the city itself offer opportunities for you, is it close enough (George Washington U) to Washington, DC, and might it be possible to get involved in public health policy in DC as an undergrad?

Best of luck to you. You sound like a young person who may change our country for the better.