Chance me for Cornell ED, Berkeley, NYU, and more! I could really use some input :)

Demographics: Male, Chinese American, public high school ranked top 10 in the nation

Intended Major(s): Business with a concentration in Finance or Economics; hope to pursue a career in investment banking

SAT: 1570, took it once and I do intend to submit

UW/W GPA and Rank: 93.84 UW, school doesn’t weigh or rank

Coursework: 8AP’s/10Honors classes

Awards: DECA State Finalist, 1st place in fencing team championship for my region, Chinese scholastic award from the American Legion, AP Scholar with Honor, (expected) National Merit Scholarship semi-finalist/finalist


  1. DECA Vice President; responsible for organizing club meetings, facilitating team practices, and guiding team members during competitions-1 year
  2. Paid Internship at a medical appliance company; responsible for PR work, streamlining automated tasks on our website, and data input. -1.5 years
  3. Private SAT tutor; assist students 1 on 1 and also teach group sessions- 6 months
  4. Varsity Fencing Captain; responsible for leading practices, teaching teammates how to fence with a specific discipline, and organizing team during meets. Won our regional championship when I was just a starter. - 1 year
  5. Treasurer of a cultural club at my school; raised/allocated funds for the club, organized fundraisers, worked closely with teachers to ensure club’s success-2 years
  6. Taekwondo Club Leader; choreographed performances for our club, I also did 7 years of Taekwondo
  7. Self-taught Bassoon; 1st chair in my school’s wind ensemble- 7 years
  8. Virtual Enterprises School Program CFO; responsible for organizing and managing company finances, payroll, raising money during trade shows, and leading our school team during several business competitions-1 year (not sure about this EC since it’s just a school program but let me know what you think)


  • Priority: (ED) Cornell Dyson, UMich, (ED2) NYU, UNC, UVA
  • Reach: UC Berkeley, UCLA, Columbia, UPenn, maybe Carnegie Mellon (I don’t expect to get into any of these schools but it’s worth a shot)
  • Safeties: Binghamton, Baruch (Macaulay Honors), maybe IU Kelley

Around 15-25% of students from my school each year are admitted to Cornell, and around 30% to NYU. Maybe this will affect my chances? I know the Dyson program at Cornell is EXTREMELY selective which is why I’m not sure if I’ll get in. Cornell also isn’t taking SAT which puts me at a disadvantage because I feel like my SAT is one of the stronger parts of my application. Any advice would be appreciated!

Congratulations on your achievements. You will likely be a competitive candidate for any school.

I agree with your safeties (as long as they are affordable, and you would be happy to attend any of the 3). Baruch and IU have better IB placement than Bing, AFAIK, so something to research further.

Beyond that, all of your schools are reaches, which is OK, as long as you are certain you would be happy to attend one of your safeties. Some target/less reachy schools you might look at that place into IB/other areas of banking are Lehigh, Richmond, Villanova, BC.

You haven’t mentioned budget, do you know what that is? Will you qualify for need based aid? For example, UCLA and UCB won’t give you any need based aid, and merit aid is hard to come by for OOS students (and merit aid is typically not more than $5K per year.

I would think about any school that isn’t direct admit into the business school, like UNC and UVA. Do you want to risk not getting in when you apply? I can’t answer that for you, but both those business schools have holistic admissions, which means admission is not entirely in your control…the schools want to balance gender, race, major, etc.


I won’t qualify for need-based aid, but I should be able to afford most of the schools on this list. If not, I was thinking of applying for loans and I have been applying for scholarships. Cornell’s Dyson School is also a land-grant university, meaning that it’s cheaper to attend compared to the other Cornell schools.

Thanks for providing me with those target schools. I have down BC already but will consider looking into the rest. I have to think more about UNC and UVA, but I’m hoping that I’m able to get into Cornell or NYU through ED. Do you think my school’s standings with Cornell will impact my chances or is it unimportant? I was also wondering what aspect of my application makes these schools reaches for me, and if writing a good essay might mitigate some of the weaker parts of my application.

Bit confused by this statement. No public school in the Country has 25% of their students admitted to Cornell and 30% to NYU. Assuming for example, half the students in your school apply to NYU… 30% of the school being admitted would imply a 60% acceptance rate.
Assuming half your school applies to Cornell, that would imply a Cornell acceptance rate of 50%.

But here is the question to ask yourself – While your school doesn’t weight or rank, how does your GPA compare to the rest of your class? Every school should have a Profile submitted to colleges which explains the grade distribution.
Your 8 APs are strong. Your GPA looks strong. Good ECs.

If you’re in the top 10% of a very competitive high school, then I would think you have a decent shot ED at Cornell. If you’re more in the mid-range of your school, I would say Cornell was still possible but a more extreme reach.

I do think this helps, generally speaking. Do you know your approximate class rank, even though your school doesn’t publicize it?

The reach schools are reaches for most unhooked candidates, simply because of low acceptance rates. I would defer to your HS GC for their categorizations, especially for Cornell Dyson.

For the supplemental essays you will have to do, make those very specific to each school…discuss clubs, classes, profs, research at each you would like to be involved with/in. These schools want to know how you will engage on campus, and that you have done your research. Good luck.

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Agree about UNC and UVA. Admission is holistic and out of your control.

Maybe add Georgetown or Duke instead? Fordham could be a nice option. Gabelli is well regarded and having NYC for internships isn’t a bad thing.

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Sorry for the confusion, I meant 15-25% of applicants to Cornell and around 25-30% of applicants to NYU get accepted, at least according to our Naviance profile.

According to the school profile in previous years, my GPA would place me within the top 10-15% of students. I am hoping that my essays and EC’s will be able to make up for my weaker GPA, since Cornell Dyson isn’t considering SAT.

Thank you so much for your input! I’ll be sure to keep all of this in mind.

My GPA sits somewhere between the top 10-15% of students at my school. I’ll look into Cornell’s programs when writing their supplement and hopefully everything will turn out okay for me. Thanks!

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UCLA does not have an undergrad business degree. The closest would be business economics in the College of L&S. They have a School of Management for graduate degrees.

UCs are test blind so your SAT will not be considered. To be chanced for UCLA and/or Berkeley, please calculate your UC GPA.

I was considering Georgetown as well. Duke is most definitely a reach for me; around the same ballpark for Columbia and UPenn, but I’d be happier with attending the latter. I’m starting to wonder whether NYU’s location would be ideal considering that I want to go into Finance and IB, but Cornell is really appealing because of its prestige as an Ivy.

Where does the Naviance scattergram show your GPA in relation to previous admits from your school? Without class ranking, this is the easiest way to assess if your 93% is competitive relative to your peers who were accepted.

The thing is Scattergrams don’t show whether or not a given student applied with or without test scores, so they are far less helpful than they used to be (at least for schools that aren’t test blind).

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I think given your rank - I’d probably have the same thoughts as others in that you’re totally missing target schools - so you go from the creme de la creme to pure safeties -which are fine if you’d be happy at them. And IU is near elite - so that’s a fair one - it’s a safety that plays like a target/reach.

I think a Duke/Gtown are just more of the same - reaches - although you are worthy anywhere but you already have enough reaches. And a below 10% rank may hurt - if that’s where the school marks you off at.

Penn State feeds Wall Street (more than a SUNYB) per Poets and Quants. That’s a safety. Rutgers as well. But how about a USC. Or an LAC like a Middlebury that places or others in a similar vein that are a tad below top level. W&L has the Johnson Scholar and has a fine business school and shows up on the feeder list. SMU might be a good safety/target to look at too.

That said - if your school is that reputed, your GC will have the answers far better than we can give you here.

But mainly - I think, other than costs, your safeties probably aren’t the “best” for you and your career path - and I’d love to see some just below elite level schools.

Honestly, IU Kelly cures that all with one app- if it’s the right school for you !!

See top feeders (from one website anyway).

Top Feeders to Wall Street (■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■)

According to the Naviance scattergrams, the average GPA of students who were admitted was a 94.4 and the average SAT was a 1516. My 93.84 sits below the average GPA, unfortunately. Although my SAT score is much higher, Cornell won’t be taking SAT for class of 2023 and 24.

Only reason I mentioned Duke or possibly Emory is the amount of financial services in the South. Charlotte is a huge banking hub. Atlanta has a lot of capital too. Florida is attracting DoubleLine and Citadel among others.

Essentially I was replacing reaches (UNC and UVA) with better reaches (Duke and Georgetown). Fordham would be a match. Maybe a safety.

Thank you so much for pointing this out to me. I felt that NYU and UNC would be target schools but I’m starting to get the impression that I was wrong. I’ll look into schools that would stand within my target range. I thought USC was at the same around the same competitiveness of UCLA? Thanks for the link to the feeder schools. I had no idea that such schools even existed, and probably should’ve based my college research off of those lists rather than the US News rankings.

If your high school is one of the top 10 high schools in the country, then your guidance counselor is the best source for chancing you. Have you spoken with your guidance counselor? What has been their advice?

I agree that all of your schools are super reaches outside of your safeties, especially those that aren’t considering SAT scores. I’d second looking at Fordham, but I’d also add in Fairfield (CT) and Southern Methodist (TX) if you’re willing to go outside of the northeastern quadrant of the U.S.

After running the Net Price Calculator (NPC), I would urge you to reconsider any schools that don’t meet your family’s budget and do not offer merit aid. As you are interested in pursuing investment banking and that can be influenced by the school you attend, then you may consider going up to the federal loan amount (about $28k total for your undergrad, starting at about $5500 for your first year), but I certainly wouldn’t go above that. If “most” of the schools on your list are affordable for your family, then you have a generous budget that will allow you to attend many strong programs.

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That’s pretty close to average though, so I wouldn’t sweat the slight below. You can also modify the scattergram to only show ED admits and see how that looks.

That said, the weaknesses in the average include the fact that most of these schools get harder to admit over time so the average will always slightly bias toward prior years that might have been easier, and it will include kids with hooks.

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You are a viable candidate for any college. Your list looks reasonable as long as it is affordable and you would be happy at one of your safety schools.

Agree with adding Fordham - Gabelli as one more safety. They have non-binding EA. I’d apply to Fordham as well as Binghamton and IU-Kelley as early as you can - it is always good to have a couple of acceptances in hand by December.

UCLA and USC are competitive but use different application review criteria. UCLA is test blind and the 3 UC GPA’s are Very Important. UCLA does not consider LOR’s or Senior Fall grades while USC will consider these items. Your SAT score will definitely help for USC which tends to be more test score focused while the UC’s are more GPA focused.

For UCB Fall 2023 admits, you will still have to go through a secondary admission process for the HAAS Business school. This will change for 2024 applicants since HAAS will become a direct admit.

Best of luck and you are qualified applicant and have a better chance for merit at USC vs. the UC’s. The UC’s offer some highly competitive merit aid but the majority is aid is need-based for California residents.

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