Chance Me for Computer Science

Hello there. I have a feeling my app will be a bit lackluster, but I could really use the opinion of an objective 3rd person. Here’s what I have:

  • GPA (weighted): 101.4%

This is very unhelpful, I am aware. My school doesn’t have 4.0/5.0 GPA, and they weight GPA using a 1.1x modifier on honors/AP classes.

SAT (old): 2280
- Reading: 760
- Math: 770
- Writing: 750

SAT II (I went overboard):
- Biology M: 800
- Chemistry: 800
- Physics: 780
- Math II: 800
- US History: 780

PSAT: 1480

- World: 3
- US: 4
- English Lang: 5
- Chemistry: 5
- Physics 1: 5

I’ll be taking AP Bio, AP Calc BC, AP English Lit, and AP Micro for senior year.

swimming 6th - 10th grade
- advanced to states freshmen(?) year
Science Olympiad 7th - present
- 1st place medal at nationals 2016
- various state medals
volunteering at a local children’s science museum 9th - present
- work includes: demonstrations, summer camp, organization/preparation
- 2hr/week, ~45 weeks per year
- ~170 hours accumulated so far
various other EC’s (NHS, a year in jazz band, etc.)

- male
- Asian
- US citizen
- New York resident

Judging by what I’ve heard and read, I’m missing leadership, my community commitment is less than stellar, and my athletics aren’t that good. (In short: everything.) What I want to know is, how bad is it? What colleges do you think I have a chance of getting into? Right now, I have my eyes on some top-tier schools (Caltech, Berkeley, etc.), but those seem less and less likely. I’m vying for a major in computer science.

Caltech and Berkeley are reaches.

Your stats need to be stellar across the board for those top tier schools, especially at Caltech
Don’t list anything before 9th grade.
Can you afford the UC Berkeley? No aid for non-residents.

I think my grades are fine. It’s the other things I mentioned that worry me. I’m not listing anything that happened exclusively before 9th; it’s just there to show how long I’ve been at it.

I should be able to afford Berkeley, despite being oos. It’s just a question of whether I can get in.

I’m concerned that the main things going for me are all academic, specifically science. It’s a tad late to remedy that now, but I feel like it’ll bite me come admission time. I’m considering on working part-time, even if it’s just for senior year, to round it all off a bit.

Don’t work just to pad the resume, especially Senior year. Again, you should include your high school ECs.

Berkeley will be tough. Costs are $55K per year to nonresidents. Check with your parents to see if they can afford your costs.

Asian male New York state resident US citizen here. I can’t believe how similar we are:

SAT (old): 2260 (800 M 720 CR 740 W)
Weighted GPA: 101.6% (my school did the 1.1x thing, too)
SAT II: Math II 800, U.S. Hist. 800, Chem. 780, World Hist. 770
AP’s: World 5, APUSH 5, Comp. Sci. A 5, Chem. 5
Senior courses: AP Physics C & 1, AP Calc BC, AP French and SUPA Econ.
Science Olympiad for a year
Robotics (treas.): won competitions and awards, helped out the community
150+ hours volunteering @ public library
various other EC’s (NHS, a year in jazz band, etc.)

Planning to major in computer science

I ended up only applying to five schools, accepted to 3:

SUNY Stony Brook (very affordable, offered to pay my entire tuition for all 4 years)
UT Austin (got a scholarship but not nearly enough; basically no aid for non-residents)
Cornell University (price ended up comparable to final Stony Brook price)

Ended up going to Cornell.

Yeah, that’s all I can help you with. I think you have a chance no matter what school you apply to. Just take a look around, visit some campuses, apply to the schools that interest you most and hope for the best.

My personal philosophy with the process is to work as hard as possible on your essays and resume presentation, and submit it all with a “take it or leave it” attitude. Senior year isn’t about adding more ingredients to the mix, but rather using what’s there to cook a beautiful platter for the admissions committees.