Chance me for Economics at HYPSM + other schools

Hey everyone! I’m a rising senior applying to colleges this fall (my list is below), and I’d appreciate any thoughts or opinions regarding my chances at these schools. Some information might seem vague, which is on purpose to maintain anonymity. I’d like to study economics and mathematics in college, with a minor in political science.


  • Reach: Brown, Columbia, Duke, Harvard (SCEA), MIT, Northwestern, Princeton, Stanford, UC Berkeley, UChicago, UPenn (Huntsman), Yale
  • Match: Cornell, Georgetown, NYU, University of Michigan
  • Safety: UNC Chapel Hill, my state’s flagship university


  • Asian male from East Coast, upper middle class, speaks four languages
  • 4.39/4.0 GPA weighted, ranked 1/350 in class
  • SAT: 1580 (800 Math, 780 EBRW)
  • SAT Subject Tests: Math Level 2 (800), U.S. History (790), World History (800)

9th Grade:

  • AP Human Geography (5, self-study)
  • AP World History (5, self-study)

10th Grade:

  • AP Computer Science A (5)
  • AP Statistics (5)
  • AP U.S. History (5)

11th Grade:

  • AP Calculus BC (5)
  • AP Chemistry (4)
  • AP Comparative Government and Politics (5, self-study)
  • AP Computer Science Principles (5)
  • AP English Language and Composition (5)
  • AP Macroeconomics (5)
  • AP Microeconomics (5)
  • AP U.S. Government and Politics (5)

12th Grade:

  • AP French Language and Culture
  • AP Psychology
  • Environmental Science (Dual Enrollment, state school)
  • European History (Dual Enrollment, state school)
  • Literature (Dual Enrollment, state school)
  • Multivariable Calculus (Dual Enrollment, Harvard)

Summer Programs:

  • 2017 and 2018: CTY (took economics/math + politics courses)
  • 2019: Harvard seven-week program, took Economics (received Dual Enrollment credit), world-renowned economist offered to write college letter of recommendation for me.
  • 2020: Wharton LBW, took Data Science (received Dual Enrollment credit)
  • 2020: YYGS, took PLE


  • FBLA: state president, chapter president, former state treasurer, won states for Econ and Financial Math and qualified for nationals, led thousands of members statewide, organized local fundraisers for March of Dimes.
  • Model UN: state conference president, chapter secretary-general, Best Delegate awards at state conference, Outstanding Delegate at Harvard MUN, Honorable Mention awards at Yale MUN, accepted into All-American MUN travel team (top 25/150,000 nationwide).
  • Varsity Math Team: captain for three years, school winner for AMC 10/12 multiple times, qualified for AIME, placed 2nd at states and 5th at regionals (which involved multiple states), made all-state math team three times and team placed 5th at American Regions Math League (ARML) nationals.
  • Economics Club: founder and president, grew club to 100 members, organized teams to compete in virtual economics contests.

Volunteerism (Total Hours: 512) and Work Experience:

  • Math tutoring center: have been working there since summer before 10th grade, 10 hours per week and 44 weeks per year (will increase to 14 this fall), taught SAT/ACT prep, coached for MathCounts, AMC 8/10, Math Kangaroo.
  • Interact Club: appointed officer, won statewide service award, oversaw multiple service committees and volunteered throughout county.
  • North South Foundation: helped organize regional academic competition for hundreds of Indian-American youth to raise scholarship money for talented students in India.
  • Local Democratic Party: phone-banked for Asian-American voters and did door-to-door canvassing throughout community.
  • Harvard SSP service group: volunteered around Boston at various events, food pantries, food drives, etc. for seven Saturdays (morning and afternoon).
  • Local public library: volunteered for six summers in a row for summer reading program.

Honor Societies:

  • National Honor Society (committee leader)
  • Rho Kappa Social Studies Honor Society (President)
  • French Honor Society

Awards, Internships, Out-of-School Extracurriculars, Projects, Publications, Other:

  • With some friends, I founded an international economics organization for high schoolers with thousands of members.
  • Chosen out of 100+ applicants to serve on state board of education for upcoming school year.
  • Author of economics blog with over 90 articles and 10,000 views.
  • Have published multiple nonfiction books on Amazon throughout middle + high school (sold 3,000+ copies), currently working on economics book to be published in September.
  • Built geography app for iOS (2,500+ downloads) and currently working on economics app.
  • Completed internship with House campaign and currently interning with Senate campaign.
  • Policy Director for nationwide youth-focused political organization.
  • National high school leader and organizer within Biden for President campaign.
  • Won state and local writing awards multiple years in a row.
  • Earned online certificates from edX and Coursera (R for Data Science, American Law, Behavioral Finance, Game Theory).
  • National AP Scholar + Harvard Book Award + National Merit Commended Scholar (most likely, comparing my NMSQT index and state’s index).

Athletics and Music:

  • Boys’ Varsity Tennis Team: doubles player, team won conference + qualified for states.
  • Piano (14 years): named winner in international piano competition (will play at Carnegie Hall next spring), gold medalist and silver medalist in various state music competitions.


  • Counselor: knows me really well.
  • Teacher 1 (Math): stats teacher and math team coach, has known me since middle school.
  • Teacher 2 (Social Studies): government teacher in his second year, we talk a lot before and after class about politics and economics.
  • Supplemental: world-renowned economics professor from UChicago offered to write letter, knows me really well, we’ve discussed his research and corresponded frequently over email.

Impressive file. Well done!

One thing I would point out is your “Match” colleges are “Reaches” because they have less than 25% acceptance rates and are very competitive to get into. UNC-Chapel Hill is not a “Safety”. UNC-Charlotte is a “Safety” for you. You need to keep in mind that some colleges might think you are overqualified and won’t attend their college so even though you may have stats well above their average, they might waitlist or reject you.

I would throw an early application into a college like IU-Kelley to get a quick acceptance with merit as a possible “Safety”.

You need more real “Match” colleges on your list like a University of Miami, Boston College, Wake Forest, etc.

@socaldad2002 thanks for responding! The reason why the number of matches and safeties are kind of low is because one of my parents went to NYU so I’m a legacy there, and both of my parents work as faculty at my state school. I’m assuming that there is an acceptance rate boost as it concerns NYU and my state school because of my circumstances, so those schools are safer for me than they might appear.

Additionally, I know I didn’t indicate this, but I’m applying early action to all of the public schools on my list (except UC Berkeley, which as you probably know doesn’t have an early option, just regular), and my research indicates that their early acceptance rates are higher than regular and overall. Additionally, I’ve been working on my college list for about a year, constantly making revisions (like I removed Carnegie Mellon and Texas-Austin because they didn’t make sense to me in terms of their programs and offerings), so this list is really set in stone - I just wanted a sense of my chances.

Again, thanks so much for your response!

Wow you have some seriously impressive stats. The only downside I see in your application is your ORM status. Apart from that it is pure gold.

But I’m sure you already know that many students in the past (with similar stats as you) have been shut out of the T20, and now attend their safety school. This is due to the unpredictable nature of ivy/top 20 admissions.

To seal the deal, you might consider applying binding ED to one of your top choices. Even schools that offer SCEA offer an admissions advantage over the RD round. Then also have a solid backup in place for ED2.

Interesting that all of your 17 target schools are National Universities (no LACs). (I fully understand your preference for National Universities.)

Love your list of schools and that you considered the University of Texas at Austin.

Also noteworthy is that both of your parents are faculty members at your safety school–UNC-Chapel Hill.

Varsity tennis & accomplishments in music (piano) make you a well rounded applicant. If you plan to continue with piano, Northwestern University (already on your list of target schools) might be a great option for you. NU’s School of Music and NU’s exceptional programs (such as MMSS–mathematical methods in social sciences–I think) offered to the most qualified undergrads with the Kellogg School might interest you.

Your application essays will be important. You need to humanize yourself–as the AP score of 4 in Chemistry does–and you will have to convince schools that they are your top choice. (Harvard (SCEA), Stanford, & Princeton & UPenn-Huntsman may assume that each is among your top two target schools, but Northwestern, UChicago, and others may reject you if not convinced that you have strong interest in attending if accepted.)

Your list of reach schools per your assessment:

Harvard (SCEA)


Match schools per your assessment:



UNC-Chapel Hill (home state & both parents are faculty)

If accepted to all, how would you rank your target schools ? (This is an important exercise for you.)

Any career goals or plans ? (Consulting, Investment Banking, law school, academia, research, etc.)

Since this is a chance thread:

My best guess is that you might be accepted to Harvard & UPenn-Huntsman, as well as UCal-Berkeley, Columbia, Michigan & UNC-Chapel Hill.

Rejected by: Chicago, Northwestern, & Georgetown.

The rest are in the “anything is possible” category.

You are certainly competitive for any school but this is far from a well balanced college list. Would you be happy if your only acceptance was UNC? And are your really sure you are guaranteed admission at UNC CH? If not, you need to add some true matches and a true safety.

Note that many schools will only give a legacy bump if students apply binding early decision so if you aren’t doing that at NYU, you may be giving up that bump.

Agree about legacy bump & applying ED / EA, but NYU may not be among OP’s top choice schools. Great for IB placement, but too urban for many.

OP: If accepted to UNC-Chapel Hill, will you be able to graduate in three years due to dual enrollment and AP credits ?

As the child of two UNC faculty members, will you receive tuition remission ?

I would agree with OP that UNC CH is a safety given his accomplishments, in-state and parent faculty status. It is also going to be affordable. With that, I see no problems with his very reachy list. I would not go ED for a bump unless that school were his clear first choice.

I would advise though to cut back the list. Completing essays/short answers for 17 schools can easily adversely affect the quality of the essays. You will be tempted to recycle essays in a suboptimal way. Not to say that students don’t recycle essays to some degree, but successfully repurposed essays are tailored to an extent that the AO reader can see that the applicant did not just substitute “Harvard” for “Yale” and “Harvard Yard” for “Old Campus”. Remember that once you hit these elite schools, the subjective aspects of your application are often times the difference maker between you and someone else with similar stat’s. College applications are not like lottery tickets where your chances go up with each application. In fact, you are at risk of lowering your chances if you spread yourself out too thinly.

With my kids, who both had their flagship locked up, they chose their top 4-5 schools (all reaches) and focused on those apps prior to Nov 15 (with their EA apps done by the Nov 1 deadline). They then started working on 4-5 more pending the EA results date. S was lucky and got in his top school SCEA and never finished the remaining apps. D was not so lucky so she had to finalize her remaining apps to submit RD.

Looks good. Still ORM will hurt and especially given some of your choices are common to that demographic ( piano), MUN etc.
I think a lot will depend on your essays, recommendations and geographic state. Also, if your school has accepted other students or is known to the AO, that could help.
You have done your best, achieved a lot and will find a good spot.

@BKSquared @Publisher @momofsenior1 @sgopal I think I was unclear when I said my parents work at my state’s flagship university. I meant UNC Chapel Hill AND my state’s flagship university (I have two safeties, not one). My state’s flagship university is UConn (I actually live in Connecticut), and my parents work there. I just didn’t mention the actual name because I wanted to maintain vagueness/anonymity, but I guess it’s okay now.

Impressive profile - congratulations. You will get into a great college.

With the new info profited in message #11 above, UNC-CH is not a safety. For any out of state students, it can’t be true safety; but you maybe still fine as you have one safety in UConn.

My one suggestion is to consider a college for ED2 if Havard SCEA does not work - UChicago offer ED2 (and with your association with a prof there, think you have a strong case).

One note: Despite what it says on the CDS, NYU does not seem to factor legacy in in practice. And I agree that all your “matches” are reaches, That said, this is a very strong application. I would expect you will get into a few reaches, but agree that having something like Kelley as suggested above, and/or somewhere like Fordham, in hand as an EA admit would be helpful if affordable, to use as safeties. (I think you’d get decent merit at Fordham too - not sure about Indiana.) If you have a early safety you can just focus on your reach applications for RD.