You’re missing what it takes to get into schools like Stanford, Vandy, et al. I’m referring to an energy that comes through with some kids in both how they describe and what they’ve actually gone after, through high school.
And it’s NOT gpa. (Sheesh, I need a rubber stamp, lately.) It matters what courses were less than A grades. Those in STEM, for you, being the most critical. The cores, not electives in CS. They will look at the transcript, not some cumulative number. Add to that, the 32 is low- and it’s not Composite, they’ll look at the sub-sections.
I doesn’t matter if the essay is “really unique.” (What’s that mean, anyway?) They’re looking for their types, those who fit their wants and expectations- academically, out of class, and down to personal traits. In fact, in many cases, the side things a kid does (blogs, websites, coding projects, other lone wolf things) can appear to be leaning back. It depends- and you chose not to go into detail here. Any STEM activities in hs? Any CS experience outside, beyond the project? In fact, any school clubs/activities besides track? (Tutoring is nice, helpful, but not the same sort of engagement.)
Reevaluate your transcript with STEM grades and other cores. See if there’s a more committed (and enthusiastic) way to phrase all this. Try to get an idea of what those colleges do like. Then see if the decision is easier.