Chance a CS Major for Ivies and Top Schools

Demographics: Asian Male from semi-feeder in very competitive state, no hooks

Intended Major(s): Computer Science, looking for minor or double major in Econ or Business wherever possible

ACT/SAT/SAT II: 1540, might retake again just to see if I can get better (realistically could probably get 1570+)

UW/W GPA and Rank: 3.83 UW, best case could go up to 3.9 by applications. No weighted or rank.

Coursework: AP/IB/Dual Enrollment classes, AP/IB scores, etc

Pretty much the most rigorous possible, 6-7 APs by the time I graduate.


Winner of a Semi-Prestigious Award for a Research Project I did by a very well known technology company

FBLA Nationals Qualifier

Winner of Congressional App Challenge and Received Commendation from my congressman

Award at a Premier College Hackathon that I attended alongside university students

Won a few awards at a bunch of other hackathons as well

Additional Awards I may get: Research publications, some science competitions of varying prestige, Coolidge Senator (not too hopeful tbh), other scholarships and competitions. Let me know in the comments for any recommendations


Research intern at an HYPSM starting the winter of my junior. Working on an independent project under a team of a couple professors and postdocs with potential to publish a paper

Going to do an independent research internship at my state school this summer under a professor. Again, spoke to PI and he definitely thinks there is opportunity to publish papers

Founded a website with over 25,000 views producing educational content related to my field of interest. Recruited writers internationally and manage the whole thing. Expecting around 60-70K views by the time I apply, hopefully more

President of Computer Science Club at my school, started an event with 5 figures of fiscal sponsorship

200 Hours of Service at a local science museum

Editor of my school’s newspaper

Did a small research project through a program at a nearby university, resulting in the publishing of my results online (not a paper though)

Did an independent research project that won the award from the technology company I mentioned above

Could be co-head of FBLA next year or maybe some other potential club leadership

I could either write Varsity Baseball (which I only did freshman year), Independent CS Study, or just leave this final EC spot blank on my common app. Thoughts?


Essays and LORs should be pretty good, I participate in class and have pretty good relationships with teachers. Starting to think about essays and will get some guidance from people I know.


ED Either Cornell or Penn M&T, Princeton, CMU SCS, Harvard, Stanford, GA Tech, UMich, Columbia, Berkeley, UCLA, Maryland, UIUC, also open to school recommendations.

You’ve got as good a chance as anyone. Make sure you apply to your state’s flagship or a safety plus a couple of targets. Out of state public schools are just as expensive as private schools. Make sure your the schools on your list are affordable.

I’d consider adding Harvey Mudd, CalTech, UWashington, RPI, WPI, Olin College.

You don’t need to retake SAT’s. An addition 30 or 40 points is not going to make any difference.

Cost constraints?

Which college(s) are you applying to as safeties? None of those you listed would be safeties.

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I hate to sound discouraging, but your chances for Penn M&T, Princeton, CMU SCS, Harvard, Stanford are very slim, given your intended major and demographics. Chance for Cornell ED, especially to its A&S college, is better. You’re competitive for the other schools on your list.

I am full pay and I have some safeties lined up in state, although I am still looking at it.

Thanks for the honest feedback. Other than strong essays, do you think there is anything I can do at this point to improve my chances at those schools?

One of the few things you can do is to participate in USACO. It starts its next round of competitions in December, however, so it won’t help your ED application even if you advance. It may help your RD applications for a few schools on your list that care about it.

Your chances are as good as anyone’s. I don’t think anyone on CC can really “chance you.” Just make sure you apply to a range of schools. Some of the Ivies aren’t even the best for CS, and some state universities have excellent CS programs, so look for a good fit.

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Should I put an EC I only did for one year (varsity sport) as my last spot or leave it blank?

It’s fine to put a sport you did one year, especially if it would otherwise be blank. And it’s fine to try things out during high school, which might mean doing a few things for one year rather than four :slight_smile: