Chance me for Duke/Chicago ED?

<p>Debating between the two, because I really really like both.</p>

<p>Male
Race: Asian (Chinese) from California
GPA: unweighted - 3.75, weighted - 4.06
Took 3 community college classes this summer, all As but dunno how that will change GPA
Class Rank: 28/603</p>

<p>ACT: 35 (will probably send this instead of SAT)
SAT: 2210
SAT 2: Math2 800, Bio E 720, Spanish 670, Lit 740
AP: World 4, Bio 4, Stat 5, Calc BC 5/5, Psych 5, English language 5, Spanish language 5</p>

<p>Junior year: 3 AP, 3 regular
Senior year: 2 AP, 4 regular</p>

<p>ECs:</p>

<p>Varsity Swim Team - 3 years so far, section qualifier
Year-round Swim Team (US Swimming Club) - 7 years, Junior Olympic qualifier, Far Western qualifier, Sectionals qualifier
Piano - 11 years
DECA - Business/marketing competitive club, State Presidential candidate, VP for local chapter, organized summer fundraising campaign, District 1st place (2x), State 1st place (2x), International qualifier (2x), International Top 10 in exam, organized citywide food drive
KIVA - Started this month after my state's DECA team chose it as the state's community service affiliate, already $400 contributed so far
Chamber Choir - 2 years, by audition, student-run acapella group</p>

<p>Volunteering: Little, 20 hours in freshman year, 20 hours grad requirement in senior year</p>

<p>Internship: Going to do a year-round business strategy/research one and also a financial planning one</p>

<p>Essays and Letters: Assume barely special</p>

<p>It is Chicago EA.
I think you have decent chances. Where are you from?</p>

<p>Could you chance me?
Seeing that you are online.</p>

<p>Yeah I forgot to put /EA after ED in the title. Sorry. I'm from California, which wouldn't help much I don't think.</p>

<p>I'm not familiar with the specific policies of Duke or Chicago, but generally, you can apply to one ED school and several EA schools at the same time.* So if Duke has an ED policy and Chicago is EA, you can apply to both. The catch is that you must attend the ED (binding) school if accepted to both, whereas EA is non-binding.*</p>

<p><em>Invalid if a school explicitly forbids this on its admissions website, or if EA is SCEA.</em></p>

<p>Problem solved :)*</p>

<p>Next, chances.*</p>

<p>I'm not qualified to chance people in any way (as I am not an admissions officer and I doubt the ability of high schoolers to predict your chances because they are going through the process just as you are), but I will give it my best shot. Take everything I say with a grain of salt. I have a family member who used to worked in selective admissions, so my advice may be a bit unheard-of and unconventional, coming from the mixed perspective of a high schooler's knowledge and an ex-adcom's experience. However, I've done my best with putting the info you provided into the context, so my pointers will be specifically tailored to your case. Thus, the same tips might not be applicable to someone else's situation. *</p>

<p>Where to improve:</p>

<ol>
<li><p>Class rank is not looking well. Unless you go to a feeder school, this will work against you. However, to put your rank in context, do you know the W GPA of the current val?</p></li>
<li><p>Retake the Spanish SAT II if that is manageable for you. While you do have four other subject tests (all in good standing), a 670 is not goin to reflect positively unless you can withold certain scores when applying to Duke and Chicago.</p></li>
<li><p>Unless you have exhausted the curriculum at your high school, there is no excuse for taking a less rigorous courseload during senior year...in which case you should be doing more extensive college-level courses online (I recommend FLVS or EPGY) or through a local CC.</p></li>
<li><p>I'm no D1 athlete so I'm fluent with all the athletic jargon (sectionals, far western...anyone?) you wrote for swimming. Will you be captain next year? If not, try to show your leadership skills in swimming even without a rigid leadership title. Search and secure sponsors for your swim team's travel expenses to those meets. Organize a car wash to raise funds and buy improved equipment for your swim team. ...Whatever, just get creative. Innovation is always, always good.</p></li>
<li><p>Do you have any awards/honors in piano, particularly statewide or national? If not, be creative. Volunteer to play piano at the senior center, spend a day teaching inner-city kids how to play piano, etc. This will also be beneficial to your lack of volunteer hours.
</p></li>
</ol>

<p>Do you see a theme here? Yes, creativity. If you can't be a national stand-out, be creative, because not many kids are going to be creative. How many Asian applicants from California play piano? A hell of a lot. But how many of them have used their musical talent to benefit their community with creative volunteer ideas? Aha.*</p>

<ol>
<li>Work experience is good, espeically if you're interested in business/econ. However, a high-level job at business firm might be mistaken as a cushy job that Mommy and Daddy got you by pulling some strings and using their connections. As unfair as this may seem if you truly earned the job on your own, a plush office job might run the risk of sounding like the true work of family connections.</li>
</ol>

<p>This is specially true if you come from an upper-class, high-income family in a big city or expensive suburb in California...where both parents are well-educated with respectably-paying jobs. In this case, a "menial job" washing dishes or taking orders from a headset in McDonalds might be a option. As unfair and outlandish as it sounds, these kids of jobs will actually require you to expose yourself to a broader range of people and give you the real-world experience that lots of surburban kids lack. I am making lots of assumptions here (suburban/city kid with high-income and low exposure to the "real world"), so don't take this advice too seriously.</p>

<ol>
<li>Can you find some teachers who will write stellar recs? Essays, recs, and interviews will provide a personality to the statistics on your application. If 2/3 parts of these "soft factors" are weak, I would suggest investigating some less selective schools. At least start crafting your essay now if you haven't already, so you'll have plenty of time to polish it before November 1st.</li>
</ol>

<p>Please note that I only pointed out the parts I felt were "weak" with the stats and ECs you mentioned. You do not need to be concerned with the things you are doing right as long as you continue the involvement (ACT score, DECA, etc.)</p>

<p>Again, I do not know your socioeconomic situation, so it is hard to provide accurate and meaningful advice. However, in the real application process, adcoms will have plenty of your information on hand, so everything will be evaluated in the context of your background.</p>

<p>To put a bow on it all, I'd like to say that while you are a very strong candidate for top schools, you will be vying for the limited "unhooked" (assuming you are not a legacy, 1/8th URM, or D1 recruited athlete) spots in Duke and Chicago's class of 2015, specially amongst solid Asian candidates from California. Your best bet at this point is to be creative with what you've already got.*</p>

<p>Whew, that was an exhaustive list. Feel free to PM me if you have any questions. **</p>

<p>^ My bad; I didn't use any asteriks when I typed that, so I'm not sure how they showed up in the final post. Have fun reading my essay analysis...haha :)</p>

<p>Thanks for the indepth analysis. To respond to certain points:</p>

<ol>
<li>Current val has a 4.25 weighted.</li>
<li>Will do.</li>
<li>Taking 2 more online classes during the fall, but do those make it onto apps for RD?</li>
<li>Since we don't really have a rigid captain title, I think I've taken a lot of initiative because I serve as the messenger between the school swim team and the swimmers who practice with a US Swimming club and not with the school. Since swim season starts in march, I'll see what I can do. As for the year-round swim program, I have tried multiple times to organize some events, but the Board of Directors keeps shutting me down for some reason. Excuses, excuses, I know.</li>
<li>Does Certificate of Merit or Guild Audition count? Both are "levels" attained each year by performing for a judge. The first is run by the Music Teachers' Association of California and the second is run by the American College of Musicians. I dunno, I think both are very common anyways. Thanks for the suggestions.</li>
<li>My teacher (sort of my college counselor) talked to me about finding a job. I told him I interviewed to work at a restaurant and he said that he doubts a restaurant job shows any sort of leadership or initiative and that I should find myself some more relevant stuff to do. I'm confused now cause I see both sides for sure.</li>
</ol>

<p>Most likely rejections from both due to weak GPA and rank, not to mention your disadvantaging demographics..... However, anything is possible.</p>

<p>To keep my posts short(er), I'll focus on the things you can control this point in the game:</p>

<ol>
<li>Rank is going to hurt, assuming that your 3 CC summer classes will not raise your GPA significantly. Does your school weight CC classes as APs? If so, you'd be better off in the RD round of applications once your class rank rises.</li>
</ol>

<p>Consider if Duke/Chicago places a lot of emphasis on class rank before applying early. You will have a better chance at schools that focus more on test scores than class rank/GPA during the ED/EA rounds.</p>

<ol>
<li><p>Yes, fall classes will appear on your transcript for RD applications.</p></li>
<li><p>Sure. Even though both are noncompetitive honors, at minimum they will indicate your musical ability. Having any kind of awards are better than none. </p></li>
</ol>

<p>Does your city or county have a music and arts committee? Most local arts councils will host some kind of music competition for student artists in the area. Depending on where you live, these competitions can be extremely competitive or unbelievably easy.</p>

<ol>
<li>There's definitely two sides of that story, and how adcoms perceive that job title is entirely random. If you are learning something valuable from that job though, do not pass it up. </li>
</ol>

<p>Also, I want to point out your involvement with KIVA. From what you wrote, it sounds like 1) you just picked it up this year, and 2) you are directly donating to this organization, not initiating awareness/fund-raising campaigns.</p>

<p>1) Even if you are doing this from the good of your heart, starting an EC during your senior year <em>right before applications</em> is extremely suspicious. If you are truly supporting this cause because you want to, by all means go ahead. But if you are expecting this to help your applications, I highly recommend against it--especially if...</p>

<p>2) The donations are coming directly from you. Clubs that raise money through fundraisers and charity drives are notable because they have to spend time organizing, planning, coordinating, and publicizing these events, all while convincing other people to support their cause. If your donations to KIVA are merely donations and do not require effort, this will not help your application in any way...more so if you come from a high-income family, as this only highlights your advantaged socioeconomic background.</p>

<p>Rank and GPA are hurting.. but I think you still have a shot. It wouldn't hurt to apply early imo b/c your ACT is so good.</p>

<ol>
<li>My school changed its policy now, so it's refusing to include any CC classes in the high school transcript.</li>
</ol>

<p>All I know is that my friend's uncle worked at Chicago admissions and said they look at ECs first, dunno what is last though.</p>

<p>1) I know. I never really expected this to become a separate EC. Since the new officer team decided to affiliate with it, I started a chapter. I want it to be more of a small extension of our DECA chapter, not so much a completely separate one.
2) These donations are not coming directly from me. Our school held a fair of sorts to end the year, and we sold food and got donations. I know what you mean, though. Sorry for writing it that way.</p>