Chance me: BU, BC, Northeastern University, Fordham University, NYU, Cornell

Hi! I’m a high school junior looking for opinions about my acceptance chances to BU, BC, Northeastern University, Fordham University, NYU, and Cornell. I would, most likely, pursue a major in either biology or hospital administration/management.

-female from NJ
-I qualify for legacy status at BC
-Weighted GPA on a 4.0 scale is a 4.6 (almost all As)
-took more than most rigorous courses available
-junior year schedule: AP Eng Lang, AP Biology, AP US History, and AP Spanish Lang, haven’t gotten scores yet but expect to do well.
-Self-studied for and took AP psych exam as well
-Senior year schedule: AP Eng Lit, AP Microeconomics, AP Government, AP Calculus AB, Anatomy & Phys (college course through local school)
-ACT: English- 31, Reading- 32, Math- 27, Science-27, Composite- 29
-I plan to take the ACT again, I know my scores aren’t great I’ve taken it three times already. Maybe I can get it up one more point, I’ve just had some bad timing in terms of life/exhaustion and then test taking
-Not taking SAT, haven’t done well in practices/PSAT

-Class treasurer two years, junior class president
-Planned/organized the junior prom, head of prom planning committee
-Editor-in-Chief of school newspaper
-Editor-in-Chief of a prestigious science publication
-President/Founder of a Boy Scout Venture Crew
-Club soccer team captain seven years, serious commitment 20+ hours per week distant tournaments
-Varsity soccer four years, might be a captain
-Freshmen orientation student leader (selective group)
-key club (potentially senior advisor)
-150+ hours of community service, including a project I started myself
-Tutor/Babysitter 50+ hours
-member of elite stem program within my school
-participated on select hs science team, won county title
-often a writer for local newspapers, have a spring internship next year
-and there’s a bunch more items but they’re littler

-Spanish Honor society, national honor society
-Amateur filmmaker, won prestigious founder’s award
-nominated for a prestigious school scholarship
-statewide personal essay award (won’t be too specific, but very very selective)
-HS Soccer above and beyond award
-potentially national business honors society

-Great college essay, very solid supplements. This area is my strong suit.
-One math recommendation, even though math is my worst subject. Close relationship with the teacher, should be great. I think it shows that even though it’s not a strong subject, the teacher still has good things to say about me?
-One humanities recommendation from a notoriously well-written teacher, good relationship there as well
-had familial struggle with serious sibling illness, that affected academic performance somewhat

Sorry, this is a lot of information. It’s similar to a previous post as well, but, what do you think my chances are? I know there’s no way to really know, but I appreciate any feedback.

BU Match
BC Low Reach
Northeastern University Low Reach
Fordham University Match
NYU Low Reach
Cornell High Reach

What would you think about upenn, if I applied ED and I also have legacy status…?

With a 29 ACT Penn would still be a reach. Without the legacy it would be pretty much out of reach.

Okay, I do not know very much about Fordham University or Boston College, but I have a lot of knowledge about BU, NYU, NEU (Northeastern), UPenn, and Cornell. I will try to help you out as much as I possibly can.

In my opinion, you have a pretty good chance with NYU, NEU, and BU. I was accepted to all three. I am an entering freshman so I can’t imagine there will be any major changes to the admitted class in the next year. I will post my own application profile after this so you can compare/contrast with your own. I was a college planning and research nut so I can relate to where you are and wanting the most and best information possible.

BU: Good Match
NEU: Good Match
NYU: Good Match
Cornell: Reach (but senior students similar to me were accepted at high rates during my junior year but they fluctuated more than expected between admitted classes, so don’t count this one out)
UPenn: Reach (Many of my friends applied, only one was accepted and her brother goes to grad school there)
BC and Fordham: Not a lot of advice, sorry about that :confused: (A friend of mine with a very similar profile to mine was accepted to BC if that helps at all)

My advice:

  • SCORES: They matter a lot less than you think. Your scores may not look impressive to you, but you have really solid scores which fall into the “above average but not mind blowing” category. This is perfectly fine. They want to see a complete person and your extra-currics DEFINITELY help round your profile out
  • EXTRA-CURRICS: Colleges make money and receive funds based on the quality of their programs AND their extra-currics and student life. Play this aspect up in your application. Don’t over-exaggerate, but don’t be modest. Own the work you put in and show them you really care about it.
  • ESSAYS: BE PASSIONATE AND GET A GOOD EDITOR. I cannot stress these enough. The people reading your essays are reading hundreds of essays. They do not want a dry paper. This does not mean you have to be funny or have some heroic tale of a near death experience. It just means be yourself. Show your soul. These are real people and they work in admissions because they love to hear about new students coming to campus. Make them fall in love with you for being a genuine and real human being that someone else can relate to and like. GENUINE being the key word. I edited SO MANY papers of my peers and it is BLINDINGLY obvious when you write to impress someone. Don’t write to impress. Write to tell your story, to tell your side, to talk about what you love. Lose yourself in it. EDITORS WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE. Yes, I had one editor, but (I don’t mean to be conceited) I was to go-to editor for everyone’s papers and recognized as the best editor by all my teachers. I am able to self edit with incredible pickiness. Don’t pick someone who will give you light suggestions. Go to people who will tear apart every sentence and every piece of your paper to make it as interesting and easily readable as possible. You don’t need big words or to sound like a thesaurus. Vocabulary is important in that you use engaging words, but not necessarily big words or “academic” ones. Grammar and readability is so so so so SO important. 3 different people should be able to read your essay without ever feeling confused as to what you mean or to what any of your sentences say. The admissions officers will not spend time trying to figure out what you mean. They are busy. They will skip it and feel disgruntled that they lost a piece of what you said.
  • RECOMMENDATIONS: This is hands-down, without a doubt the MOST IMPORTANT part of your application. Do NOT skimp on these. For a lot of schools you get more than 2 reccs, USE THEM. USE THEM. USE THEM. These are vital because the rest of your application is self-reported, written by you, from your perspective. These reccs are the perspectives of adults and instructors who work in education A.K.A people with a more relatable viewpoint to your admin officers. It’s one thing to hear about who a teenager is from themselves (a clearly biased source), it’s quite another to hear about it from an outside source. Another reason these are vital is that they fill in holes and reflect your personality. I had an A- my first semester of Calc, but a C+ my second. It was the worst grade I had ever received and I was sure that I was doomed to fail with every piece of my soul. However, I had an amazing relationship with my instructor and based on her communication and my acceptances to these schools, it was an amazing recc. Not only that, but get reccs from your community service advisors, the people you tutored/babysat for, your coach, your internship advisor, teachers from all subjects - any adult advisor who you have had a good relationship with. RECCS WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE.

I know this is probably the longest reply in the history of replies on this website but I am a huge advocate of college preparation and research. I have planning for college for a long ass time and I did not have any parent, adult, or peer help with it so I would scour every college related site for any info I could find (Try if you haven’t yet btws). I just wanted to provide you with what I found to be the most important and helpful information during the stressful college app process. I hope you find this helpful and not annoyingly boring. If it is annoying, I do apologize because I know not everyone wants a lecture so I feel you. My college app profile is below. Feel free to ask me any questions that you may have. I hope this helps you. Good luck with everything :slight_smile:

P.S. Start your college apps ASAP to help make the process less stressful. I didn’t submit my apps until last weeks of December, but I filled out demographics and stuff in October so I had a good amount of time to marinate on my responses, my essays, and my apps. most importantly, stay optimistic. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed or stuck on your essays or apps and you still have a good amount of time before the deadline (more than a week), just set it aside and do something you love or go out. Working under that pressure will just result in lower quality work anyways so save yourself the time and tears and just enjoy yourself.


  • Female from California
  • Caucasian and Filipino
  • Divorced parents
  • 4 Siblings
  • Middle Class


  • G.P.A.: 4.4 weighted, 3.8 non-weighted
  • SAT: 2010 (Reading: 710, Math: 680, Writing: 620)
  • ACT: 30 (I received a perfect score in two sections and then tanking scores in the other two. I did not submit the ACT, but the composite scores for my SAT and ACT are considered to be pretty similar in value a.k.a most people view the 2010 on the SAT as a similar score to a 30 on the ACT)
  • AP Courses + Scores: AP World History (3), AP US History (4), AP Government (didn’t take test), AP Macroeconomics (4), AP Calculus AB (4), AP Statistics (4), AP Physics (2, I know, don’t judge me lol), AP Biology (4), AP Language (5), AP Latin (didn’t take test)
  • Other Info: The above scores and classes include my senior courses. I took basic freshman courses with Honors Bio and Honors English. Sophomore year, I took AP World, Honors Pre-Calc, Honors English II, and the rest of my courses were basics. I am a year ahead in studies for math but a lot of kids in my major aren’t so I don’t think you would be considered behind at all.


  • 4 years of choir, 2 of which spent in Chamber Singers (Varsity Advanced Choir, we won 1st place in multiple areas); Alto Section Leader (12th grade); (7 hour/week commitment)
  • 4 years in American Cancer Society and Relay For Life; Relay Team Captain (10th, 11th, 12th), Relay Team Ambassador (11th), Relay People Lead (12th), ACS Co-President (12th); tbh I probably have 200+ hours of community service from this activity but I honestly stopped keeping track. In college apps they don’t really care or ask about the number of hours but more so what you did during your participation; (5 hour/week commitment)
  • 3 years in HOSA; Part of founding officer team; Historian (10th), Secretary (11th), Co-President (12th) (3 hour/week commitment)
  • 3 years in FBLA; 9th at Sections in Accounting I (10th); 9th at Sections in Economics (12th) (1 hour/week commitment)
  • 1 year in school A Cappella group; first year it ever existed (1 hr/week commitment)
  • 4 years in CSF; Recognition society, didn’t do a whole lot tbh
  • Volunteer tutored friends and peers unofficially
  • Pre-college summer program at UCSD, took a Psychology course


  • AP Scholar with Honor (if you take and pass all those AP tests you mentioned, you will definitely receive this. I didn’t know about these until I received one. Might want to look AP Awards up, if you don’t know about them already)
  • Honor Award in Latin 3 years in a row
  • Cum Laude Society (Graduation honor, wasn’t on my application)
  • FBLA Awards previously mentioned
  • A bunch of awards for ACS, but I only listed one or two important ones because many were just like small club awards to keep up member recognition
  • Most Improved Sophomore in Choir
  • Varsity lettered in Chambers


  • Very well written college essay, no supplements, proof read by one close friend of mine
  • Recommendations: Excellent recommendations; I had really close relationships with quite a few instructors of mine; I submitted different reccs depending on what the school valued.
    NEU: Math and science teacher recc w/ a personal recc from my ACS Manager.
    NYU: Math and Language teacher reccs w/ personal reccs from ACS Manager and Choir Director
    BU: Math and Language reccs w/ personal recc from ACS Manager

Accepted To:

  • NYU
  • Northeastern
  • BU
  • University of Rochester
  • Worcester Polytechnic Institute
  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
  • Rice University
  • University of Houston
  • Wentworth Institute of Technology

Just to clear things up, the last like four posts are all from me but there is a character limit so I separated them.

Well, I’m going to have to contradict some of those statements.

Scores: while definitely not the most important thing, they matter, and how much they matter can vary- NU seems to value them a bit more, for example. Your scores are well above the national average, but a 29 ACT is going to be below the 50th percentile for all of these schools. This will be a weaker point of your app, especially in contrast with almost entirely A’s in all AP curriculum (your grades may look inflated.) That being said, all A’s in AP classes is impressive nonetheless.

EC’s as you have listed are very strong, but they may raise a red flag to colleges as exaggerated. You have 20+ hours of club soccer weekly, on top of varsity soccer, are the editor-in-chief of two publications, are the president of Boy Scouts and the junior class… all while spending likely, at bare minimum, 7 hours a day in school and 2 on homework? While these all may be true, it seems very unlikely given the level of commitment generally associated with each title (EIC, president, captain, etc.) unless the clubs are much less involved than you’d care to let on.

Essay: a VERY small handful of essays out of thousands will be good/will catch the eye of the adcom. The majority will be okay or forgettable. The rest will be actively bad, whether by some sort of faux pas in subject or language choice or simply bad writing/editing. Just aim to stay out of the bad tier. By all means, write the best essay possible and have it revised and edited over and over, but I’ve seen trying too hard to impress/have that “unforgettable college essay” have the opposite affect of looking like you’re trying too hard and coming off kind of phony.

Recommendations: frankly, I have no idea where Electricfries got the idea that recommendations are the most important part of an app. Very similar to the essay, a very small amount will be excellent to the point that make a difference, the vast majority will be okay or forgettable, and some will be bad (teacher doesn’t like student or hardly knows them and it shows.) If you really feel compelled to submit a recommendation in addition to your teachers, choose only ONE and it better be darn good, including a vastly different side of you that would not otherwise be reflected in the app. Consult with your GC if you have a situation that might warrant an extra rec- you likely don’t, but it doesn’t hurt. I’ve been to several info sessions, including at NU, discouraging students from submitting more recommendations than necessary. As mentioned, most fall in the decent to forgettable category (yes, including most everyone on CC, even though every chance me thread says “Recs: 10/10, best he’s ever written, he loves me!”). The adcoms only have so much time to read your app, why would you want them to waste it going through a pile of recs starting from your pre-school teacher? Quality over quantity here.

Agree with @novafan1225