Chance Me (a junior with some big dreams)

OMG hey y’all…

Location: Suburb of Chicago
School: Medium/Large Public High school (Class size of around 500+)
Ethnicity/Race: I am 50% European on my fathers side and I am 50% Hispanic (specifically Argentinian) on my mothers side, unknown really since she was adopted and never knew her parents. I am white as well :slight_smile:
Gender/Sexuality: I am a cisgendered male. Honestly confused with my sexuality at the point lol
Family Income: My family is in the range where we wont get any money form FASFA but I still have to take a major consideration into the cost of my education (like the MIDDLE of Middle Income lol). I have been saving up for a while now and I know that my parents have saved for me as well but I am still applying to some scholarships.
Perspective Major or Minor: I want to study Poli Sci, International Relations, Math or Engineering (still figuring that stuff out)

So my school has a UW GPA out of 4.0, and my schools grades on the A,B,C scale so and A would be anywhere around a 90-100+ (No A- or A+ i that makes sense).
GPA: 3.95 UW/ 4.58 W
CLASS RANK: my school does percentile ranking and doesn’t reveal that until senior year…but i asked my counselor and he said I am currently in the top 3% so 15/500
JUNIOR- AP CALC BC, AP CHEM, AP LANG, AP MICRO, AP GOVT (taking tests this year)
I have taken/ will be taking the hardest classes that my school offers and this is the most AP classes I am allowed to take at my school given my current “track” I am on. No my school does not offer dual-enrollment so this is what I got lol.
PSAT: 1450 (probably not high enough for Merit Finals)
NO SAT RN (taking it next week and ACT in June)

Clubs: Student Council (Sophomore Class president and will be running for Student Council President this year)
Key Club- volunteering (will be running for VP with my friend who is running for President)
Black Student Alliance- help with school equity and inclusion, have district wide talks about racism (will be running for a leadership position)
Organization of Latin America Students- same as BSA
Falcon’s Edge- helps lower income and minority students with their college search process, connecting with colleges individually to understand the importance of higher education and allowing other kids to push for their dreams (founder of the club :slight_smile: )
Red Cross Club- works with the Red Cross to conduct fundraising and training sessions for students and teachers
Show Choir- like glee on steroids. My group (Flight) is a nationally recognized show choir competing across the nation getting top 5 at our national competition (HUGE commitment)
Book- in the works Im in the process of writing a book with my friend (i do the research and writing and she does the drawing) that tells the stories of some of US most influential Hispanics, will be self-publishing this summer
Job- I have been a Swim Instructor for the past 4 years since I was 13, and was an Religious Education aid for Kindergarten since i was 13 (the Aide is a volunteering like 120+ hours a year). I also run the small thing in my town where I take care of peoples houses during vacations (work with like 20-35 families)

Spanish Honor Society
Math Honor Society
Speech and Debate Honor Society (get inducted my freshman year but was unable to continue my speech career due to other conflicts…still apart of the Honor Society though)
National Honor Society
Link Crew Leader (like helping freshman come to school, only like 15 students get chosen for it)
Cross our fingers Bank of America Student Leader (finds out the 9th if I get in)
Show Choir Awards which doesn’t really count lol
Hopefully more to come

(Somewhat important info, there is almost this gap in my sophomore year cause my sister was diagnosed with thyroid cancer *she is all good now :slight_smile: * I needed to help my parents and basically live by myself for a couple of months)

Currently started my essays and they are looking pretty good so far

Getting one from my sophomore English teacher
one from my Calc BC teacher (shows my growth as I went from a low B to an A. Met with her a lot and she knows how hard i worked for it)

Some IVY’s: Brown, Yale, Columbia, and Dartmouth
UCs: UCLA, UCI, UCB (UC GPA is around a 4.13 UW and 4.69 W I think that is how it works but I am not 100% sure)
U of Michigan, UNC, Emory, Bowdoin, but lmk if you think of any other schools :slight_smile:

First of all, thank you for reading this…It really means a lot to me that you are taking the time to help me with the college search. This means so much to me and I can’t wait to hear everyone’s ideas. <3 also apologize if it was a lot to read, there is more to add but I didn’t want to overwhelm you reading this

I think you are in a great spot for the colleges you mentioned. Also, make sure you have great essays that show who you are. Do not try to create this fantasy which is not you, they will see right through it lol. Do you have an SAT or ACT score yet?

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First off, you may want to edit out your name. It’s college “confidential” ; )

Secondly, you need to reconsider your list if you are chasing merit money. The Ivies give need based aid only. The UCs only give aid to instate applicants. Sit down with your parents are run the Net Price Calculators for all of the schools on your list and see if they are affordable. If they aren’t, don’t waste your time applying.

Look at your instate options, not just UIUC, for an affordable safety.

If you want to go out of state, the big southern flagships often given merit awards. I’d also look at schools like Miami of OH.

First and foremost, figure out your budget.


no SAT or ACT scores yet, but from my practice tests I should be getting a score in the 1500+ range knock on wood on the SAT and ACT is around a 34-36 range from my practice tests :slight_smile:

I agree with the OP, our family is middle class due to where we live (high COL), and if my kids want to go OOS, they apply to matches/safeties that will give significant merit. 3.9 UWGPA, 34 ACT still put OOS colleges more expensive than in state (average tuition around $35,000 a year after merit). Unfortunately if you can’t afford $75,000 a year there really isn’t a point in applying to more selective schools, even if you can get accepted, so definitely do the math first. Once you figure out your budget you can start searching.

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@momofboiler1 @Mjkacmom just sat down and talked with my parents about financial things and they said that, if I wanted to go to University of Illinois, for example, they would be able to pay for all my education (assuming I am paying for the instate tuition) for all 4 years, so that is good to hear. Turns out that they started saving money for me since I was born and they have been adding money since which is pretty cool. That relieves some worry. Hope that answers some of y’all’s questions/comments :slight_smile:

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It actually does not clear up the financials. You will need to find out exactly how much money they have for college and how much per year they would be agreeable to fund.

Similar area and similar high school size. We had ONE student (with higher stats) get into a UC school this year. Cost of attendance is unobtainable for most OOS families.

Ivies, single digit acceptance rates for even the best applicants.

Do you want to continue with having the option to do some recreational singing in college? If so, that may open up some other options for you.

Do you want rural/suburban/urban campus?

I agree that there is a big difference between instate tuition at UIUC vs an Ivy with a COA closer to $75K. How will you make up the difference?

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I am going to assume the UCs will be out of your price range. Cost of attendance is at least 60,000 per year and there is basically no merit aid. You have pretty varied interests and your college choices are kind of all of all over the place in terms of location and type. Its worth looking at some lower tiered colleges that are known for whatever you are leaning towards major-wise that give good merit aid. Maybe think about what part of the country you want to live in and concentrate your search there and keep your Ivy’s as reaches. Check out Vanderbilt. It is jumping out at me as good fit for your diversity of experience. Some of the good scholarships look tailor-made for your stats and interests. Plus the music running in the background with Nashville (which is not nearly as “country” as you would think).

UC’s offer little to no financial aid to out of state students so full pay around $65K/year to attend. Also the UC’s are test blind for admissions through 2024.

Have you considered Northwestern and USC? They give great financial aid.

You definitely have a good shot at many competitive schools but you do need some safeties. UIUC obviously is one, Wisconsin, George Washington, Florida, and Amercan. These schools are cheaper or give a lot of money so they are definitely worth it. Maybe also consider UChicago, Northwestern, William & Mary, USC, Wake Forest, Holy Cross, and NYU though those are not safteies for you.

Yes! My daughter’s best friend will be attending Northwestern because they gave her a great scholarship. Brought the cost down to what UMass full pay would have been (we live in MA).

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So your budget is probably around $35k/year if UIUC is your baseline. Already stated in the thread but UC’s offer no merit/FA to OOS and Ivies offer only need based aid. Run the Net Price Calculator on the schools you like.

Realistically you’ll have to look south or at private schools outside the T20. Lots of good schools. Aim for 1500+ on the SAT. Most top scholarships start at that level. It’s tough to get COA below $40k even with good scholarships. You’ll have to compete for the full-tuition scholarships to get it lower. Something like the Ignatian scholarship from Loyola Chicago.

If you’re not sure of your major maybe consider larger public schools that offer a wide range of majors. If you want to continue singing look for schools that at least offer it with clubs.

Florida State might be an option. It’s on S21’s short-list. He applied for film, didn’t get in but accepted for Digital Media. Also Honors and in-state tuition waiver. Beautiful campus but what’s interesting is the arts community. We’ve been on several Zoom meetings and it seems like they have a decent arts community with film, music and dance. Kind of his tribe.

University of Miami might be another option. Expensive but they do offer a few really nice scholarships. Flexible curriculum. S20 loved it.

Fordham in NY?

Congratulations on having compiled such a great record. You’re in a good position. Of course, your Illinois flagship U as your safety.

You say your father’s heritage is European (by this, I’m assuming white) and that your mother was adopted in in Argentina. You actually can claim Hispanic, based upon your mother having been adopted in/from Argentina. The fact is that there are people whose grandparents fled from Europe to Latin America; they were there only briefly, but had a child/children while they were there, then immigrated to the US. The children of these people who were born in the few years that the European families spent in Latin America are checking the box for “Hispanic”. This would possibly give you a significantly higher chance at admission to an Ivy or Ivy-equivalent, and would make you eligible for scholarships reserved for those of Hispanic heritage. You may not be comfortable doing this, but it is permitted.

Private schools with high endowments may be generous with financial aid for a middle class family, although I doubt they’d offer enough to bring it down to your in-state cost for your flagship state U. The Ivies’ rule of thumb is tuition is 10% of family’s income for those families earning under 180K/yr - that may have been revised with inflation.

You might want to add Georgetown to your list, just because of your interests - being in DC might be a very good thing for you. If you’re looking for a merit scholarship, Tulane has been giving them to very strong students, plus they have some interesting highly selective special programs with an IR component.

It doesn’t matter how good you are - you’re very unlikely to get merit money from the UCs.

I think you might want to focus your search on schools which give merit money to top students. Many just below top schools do this. I know someone who got a half-tuition award for science at Tufts. I think this is where you need to focus your search.

Any chance of going farther with vocal performance with or without show choir in time to put it on applications in time for regular decision next year? Some Ivies are very proud of their performing groups, so if you were to make all-state or higher, especially nationals, this would give you an edge. Even so, the fact that your show choir did so well is not as minor as you think. All schools have music performance groups. There are never enough guys who can sing. It wouldn’t hurt to bring this out, if you could. Perhaps record a submission for a musical theater competition, and then use that as a music supplement for applications?