Chance a Political Science Texan for Harvard and Others

Hey! I put p much of everything here, so feel free to scan/not read some sections lol. Dream school is Harvard, but I would be very pleased with Georgetown. Let me know where I can improve in the little time we have left!

Demographics

  • Gender: Male
  • Race/Ethnicity: White
  • Residence: Texas
  • Hooks (Recruited Athlete, URM, First-Gen, Geographic, Legacy, etc.): None

Intended Major(s): Political Science, Global Affairs, International Relations, IPOL @ Gtown (just depends on school lol but u get the point)

Academics

  • GPA/Rank (or percentile): 5/413
  • Honors/AP/IB/Dual Enrollment/etc.: 13
  • Senior Year Course Load: AP Gov, Macro, Environmental Science, Stat, Euro, and Lit + Debate, regular tech class, and TA-ing AP Lang

Standardized Testing

List the highest scores earned and all scores that were reported.

  • SAT/ACT: 1540
  • AP/IB: 5s on Human Geo, Art Hist, World Hist, US Hist, Lang, Psych, Bio, and Calc BC - AB subscore and 4s on Calc BC and Spanish Lang

Extracurriculars/Activities:

  1. President, Speech and Debate Team; Instructor at Debate NPO. just normal debate work and taught at this NPO raising 160k+.
  2. Indep Study and Research. Invited by profs I reached out to to actual classes at (t20 school) and (t5 school) to study nuclear politics. Open-sourced published a paper on nukes that has done p well. Have another paper in peer-review process at a journal now (guaranteed publication in january, worked closely with editor in chief of journal)
  3. Journalism. published pieces covering domestic politics (25 op-eds, 20.7k words) & analyzing int. security issues (6 papers, 7.5k words); 300k+ site views/month
  4. Author. I wrote and self-published a novella addressing teen mental health. Donated funds raised to Youth Mental Health Project.
  5. Campaign Work (gubernatorial and senate candidates). created canvassing routes for 1/2+ million voters; implemented policy to reduce prescription drug cost; provide candidate w/ daily news briefs
  6. Internship at International NGO (5% hiring rate). wrote 11 pieces on public health/poverty; pillar article on intersection of public health and nukes; lobbied reps to pass int. poverty reduction policy
  7. Selective Summer Program. Major focused, had a lot of success in the program and one of the rec letters is from the director.
  8. Activism. Director of Curriculum @ org focused on improving civic education. generated curriculum for 40 lessons to promote civic engagement; partnered with iCivics to distribute to 400+ teachers; lobbied for civics ed. Laws
  9. Community Service Project. conducted social media/email campaign to raise $4.5k; constructed 1.3k meals; led team of 30+; featured on local news/media
  10. Sports (varsity lacrosse). First team all-state; 4-year starter; x2 Team Defensive MVP; leads “Try-It” days for prospective players; paid job as a coach

Awards/Honors:

  1. Top 8 at the Top International Debate Competition; Top 51 at Nats
  2. National Speech and Debate Association Academic All American and Premier Distinction (top ~.37% of HS debaters)
  3. Award of Excellence (top 10% of submissions) – JFK Profiles in Courage Essay Contest
  4. NSLI-Y Scholarship Finalist (10-15% acceptance rate, paid trip to Taiwan for 8 week language immersion on behalf of the State Department – wasn’t able to attend so not in ECs).
  5. National Merit Semi-Finalist; AP Scholar with Distinction

LORs:

Counselor LOR – we have 2 that write letters for 400+ kids so while they know and like me really well I can’t imagine it will be exceptional. They wrote mine before school started, though, so maybe I’ll get lucky and it will be really solid

Teacher #1 LOR – English and Lang teacher and now TA-ing his Lang class (so three years). As good as a normal teacher rec can get imo. Gave me his student award twice (never done that before), wrote my a letter thanking me for community activism, and is known for good recs

Teacher #2 LOR – AP Bio teacher. Also got their student award. Will be a more traditional but good rec – i.e. hardworking student, curious in class, etc. Also reached out thanking me for community activism and we’ve talked a lot about how science (specifically bio) and policy overlap.

External LOR #1 – prof at t20 that took me into class. Huge mentor in the field i am interested in – got me into t5 class, opps w college kids, etc. they p much told me what the letter says and its p good (says I’m an initiative taker, very curious, articulate, and have future in my field)

External LOR #2 – Georgetown and Yale Prominent Alum that was director of EC #7. Should be really solid and relate to my more general aptitude for politics, and also work at a prestigious private school so I can write good recs.

Essays:

TL;DR: I’ve worked/am working as hard as I can on these. I’ve been told I am a good writer and have tried to be vulnerable, funny, creative, etc. in the essays. Idk how to rank them, but essays will probably be the strongest part of my app.

Common App – i’m my fathers namesake and he’s a narcissist, serial cheater, and overall p bad dude (parents divorced) – but he wasn’t always like that . So the essay is all about watching my idol turn into the thing I never want to be, the lessons i’ve learned from his shortcomings, and this push/pull between wanting to love your parent and also like hating them most of the time. I think its p well done.

Community – there’s two versions of this. One is about this blog I started in the wake of a peers suicide, all about pursuing relentless vulnerability. Another is about leading a student/teacher coalition to keep the school mask mandate. when the mask mandate was no longer required in Texas.

Academic Interest/Global Problem – this is about nuclear weapons lol but not super technical. It’s good I think, I don’t really know.

These are just kind of the stock ones, but some of my favs are the one-offs like UVA’s what piece of lit, music, etc. and Stanford’s what is meaningful and why…can expand on any others if needed

Schools:

  • Harvard (REA)
  • UVA (Early)
  • Columbia
  • Dartmouth
  • Duke
  • Yale
  • NYU
  • Northeastern
  • Northwestern
  • Princeton
  • Stanford
  • GWU
  • UPenn
  • UVA
  • Vandy
  • WashU
  • Georgetown
  • UC Berkeley and LA
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Hmmm I’m white, but a URM.

What do you mean?

Based on what you posted you would be competitive at Top 20s. However, they are Reaches for almost all applicants, and almost every applicant is competitive. You will be competing with Hooked applicants, perfect test scores, Valedictorians etc. Same for Berkeley and UCLA being reaches due to you being an OOS. Half of your list falls in to this category

How do you feel about UT Austin, UT Dallas or A&M ? They would be great safeties based on your rank 5/413 you are guaranteed admission. To add one or two of them

Your targets look good.

One thing you haven’t mention is finances. Have you ran the net price calculators for your schools and are they affordable if you don’t get expected aid

If the UT’s are somewhere you would be happy at, as a safety, your list is fine especially with in state tuition

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You misread that… he answered “None” to the question about Hooks.

Oops my bad, still first team all state in TEXAS, and your not a recruited athlete? Maybe your division 1A? Need more amplifying info.

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Competitive for all the top schools. Echo advice to apply UT as your safety auto admit. At the same time apply to one or more of the honors programs as soon as you can. Those are decided on a somewhat rolling basis in batches, as well as decisions on merit scholarships. A positive decision there may cut the number of apps you need to submit and allow you to focus on your top choices.

Be cautious of the use of multiple LoR’s. More is not always better. Check each school’s admission website about supplemental material, including extra LoR’s. Best of luck.

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We are the in second highest division, but lacrosse also isn’t anywhere near as big as football in Texas. I used to want to play, actually fell in love with Georgetown on my athletic visit there, but decided I just want to do college for college and so didn’t spend all the money to go on the recruiting trail.

For sure! Def applying to UT and will look into honors programs.

On LORs, yes. Very few will get both just depends