Chance an environmentalism nerd for MIT, Duke, Berkeley, and more


  • US citizen
  • State: Delaware
  • Type of high school: competitive STEM charter school (T-100 public school, sends 10-20+ kids to T-20s every year, 3 got into MIT last year)
  • Gender/Race/Ethnicity: White, Female

Intended Major(s): mechanical engineering with energy science/policy minor (or energy engineering major where applicable aka. at Stanford)

GPA, Rank, and Test Scores

  • Unweighted HS GPA: 4.0
  • Weighted HS GPA: 4.6 (not exactly sure how my school weights it)
  • Class Rank: school does’t rank but I’d say top 5/~250 ?
  • SAT Score: 1580 (800 R, 780 M)

10th – AP Physics C (5 on both tests), AP Calc AB (5)
11th – AP Calc BC (5), AP Bio (4), APush (4), AP Lang (5), 2 independent studies (Advanced electronics and Modern Physics)
12th – AP Chem, AP French, AP Gov, APES, AP Stat, Calc 3 (post AP)
all other are honors

Awards: 1st author publication in the Journal of Applied physics for graphene research, A couple science fair awards (one was best in show but only for a small ish science fair, another was honorable mention for a much larger fair), 1 small national award at the National Judicial Conference, 2 1st place in state awards in an environmental science competition, several 1st place state awards for Youth in Government


  • Mechanical Engineering lab research at University of Delaware (1st author publication, spoke at a couple online conferences, internship program has a ~5% acceptance rate) – my research can be loosely tied to applications photovoltaics/renewable tech
  • Youth in Government, Judicial branch (Chief Justice position – highest position in Delaware, won some state awards)
  • Co-founded school’s environmentalism club (we’ve planned quite a few rallies and cleanups, got some small local news coverage, I run a plastic drive where I collect people’s plastics and bring them to a non-profit that turns them into benches, make weekly educational presentations about sustainability) – a lot of my common app is about this and my research
  • Envirothon environmental science competition (won a couple state awards that are sorta meaningless cause the comp is pretty small but I don’t have to say that in my apps)
  • Cross Country and Track (varsity captain, got 3rd in the state in the 3200 and 4th in the 1600, but that doesn’t mean much cause Delaware is really small, I’m not really recruitable and don’t want to run in college but I’m a pretty decent runner)
  • Music: French horn, 1st chair Allstate freshman year, participate in brass ensemble run through Curtis institute and a youth orchestra (1st chair) – covid kind of messed with these extracurriculars though
  • Cashier+Cook at Pats and then Papa johns (mostly during summer)

Supplementals are mostly strong, I’m trying to create a pronounced theme surrounding my love for the environment and science (I want to research renewables and sustainable tech in the future)

Common app could be better writing-wise

Teacher LORs should be above average, mentor LOR should be really good

Cost Constraints / Budget
None, although I would prefer to receive some scholarship money

EA: MIT, Georgia Tech, Michigan, Maryland, Wisconsin, Delaware
RD: Stanford, Washu, Northwestern, Carnegie Mellon, UC Berkeley, Duke, BU (?)

My issue is that my extracurriculars are all over the place and I don’t have many in science (which I know tech schools like MIT and GT want) – do the ecs that don’t relate to my major/ future goals still like matter? should I place less emphasis on them?

Also my college list isn’t necessarily final, if you have suggestions pls reply

Congratulations on your accomplishments. I will only comment on UCB which is a Reach school but Reachable for you.

UCB offers little in merit scholarships so if you get Regents, you are looking at $2500/year. Historically, if there was financial need, then further aid was given (Pre-Covid) but there is no guarantee that anything beyond the $2500 would be given for an OOS student.

If $67K/year is affordable, you are a competitive applicant and UCB would definitely welcome your application.

Best of luck.

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You can go for those you list - and hopefully get into at least one.

Or you can go for the $$ - because there’s a lot of great public schools with Honors Colleges or even second tier privates that would break down doors for you.

Like everything - you need back ups because you could be blanked - but not for lack of trying.

Congrats on your accomplishments.

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Pretty solid stats. I wonder why you haven’t thought about CalTech for EA. CalTech is pretty good for engineering and considering your achievements and publication in Physics, it might be a good shot.

My daughter is applying EA to MIT, CalTech, GT and few others. Good luck to all the senior kids who are EAing and EDing. I’m sure you will land into something good.

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Would you know which schools (publics or second tier privates) have good merit aid and are good for engineering?

Thanks! The only reason I am not EAing to CalTech is I feel that the class size might be too small for me personally

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Thanks for this. Berkeley has been a dream of mine for a while.

Sure - the best are U of Arizona, Florida State, Alabama, Arkansas, MIssissippi State and so many more such as U of SC. For example, at U of A, a 4.0 gets $35K merit vs. $38K tuition - and they have an expanding Honors College,

For privates, you might try a Case Western, Rochester, USC (if you are NMF), Washington & Lee Johnson, Richmond, Baylor, and so many more.

Good luck.

Are you NMSF/NMF?

See College Board National Recognition Program (includes former National Hispanic Recognition Program) Class of 2022 - Specialty College Admissions Topics / Hispanic Students - College Confidential Forums and College Board National Recognition Program (includes former National Hispanic Recognition Program) Class of 2022 - Specialty College Admissions Topics / Hispanic Students - College Confidential Forums as starting point.