Chance me for Harvard EA and t20

Hello everyone! I will apply EA for Harvard, and will apply regular for T20 and state school. I am looking to become a STEM Major.

Demographics: Straight white male, middle class, midwest (I’m a first gen immigrant from Turkey, quite literally Caucasian)

Intended Major(s): STEM, not sure about the specifics so far

GPA: my school doesn’t have uw or w, just a composite. Composite: 4.65

Grades: All As except three Bs (only for one semester) in AP Chem, Calc BC, and Phy C Mech


  • AP CSP: 4 (due to this year’s testing, won’t be submitting it anyways)
  • AP USH: 5
  • AP Chem: 5
  • AP Gov: 4
  • AP Euro: 5
  • AP Stats: 5
  • AP Spanish Lang: 5
  • AP Phy C Mech: 5

Senior year courseload:

  • Multivariable calc
  • AP Phy C e&m
  • AP micro/macro
  • AP Psych
  • AP Comp Sci A
  • English IV
  • Photography 1&2 (gotta get the fine arts credit)

SAT: 1600

ACT: 36, all subjects 36

SAT Subjects:

  • Math 2: 800
  • USH: 790
  • Chem: 800
  • Spanish: 770


  • USNCO National Competition (didn’t make it to study camp)
  • Numerous awards including best delegate for MUN
  • Numerous first place awards, and competing in nats for Scioly
  • ISEF Finalist
  • Numerous science fair awards like scholarships, cash awards, and competition invites for science fair
  • National Merit Finalist
  • AP Scholar with Distinction
  • Acceptance into RSI (sadly the in person experience got cancelled this year)


  • Model UN:
    I got elected as sec-gen this year (basically same roles and responsibilities as president of the club, but more involved with our school conference.) I have been doing MUN since freshman year, and I have created two committees and chaired for both. This year, I am the lead organizer of our school conference which is one of the best in the midwest region. I have been heavily involved in MUN including many hours of volunteering and teaching elementary kids MUN and hosting a yearly MUN camp for middle schoolers.
  • Science Fair:
    I have been doing science fair since 7th grade. I went to states competition 4 times, ISEF one time where I became a Finalist. I have received numerous honors, awards, and distinctions in science fair, and competed in several science fair competitions that aren’t part of the ISEF qualification process. I am also the school science fair captain, and will help organize a virtual regional fair this year for our school.
  • Scioly:
    I have been a part of Scioly since freshman year, and I got elected team captain this year. I have attended numerous prestigious invitationals like MIT, and gotten several first place awards as a team and for my individual events. I went to nats once with my school, but didn’t place top 5. I mainly did chemlab, astronomy, and ornithology, with a few different events each year.
  • Academic Team (quiz bowl in other schools)
    I have been a part of Academic Team since freshman year, and I’m a co-captain this year. We won our local season twice, and second place once. I have attended some NAQT events as well.
  • Language Outreach Club:
    I have been a part of Language Outreach Club since freshman year, I’m the president, it’s my third year being part of its leadership. It’s essentially a club where peers teach peers languages they know. I expanded the club from a group of 10 friends to a large, schoolwide club with over a 100 members and structured meetings. I also spearheaded the effort to convert the club online during quarantine last spring.
  • NHS, Science National Honor Society, and Spanish National Honor Society:
    Nothing too extraordinary, I am the vice president of SNHS. Due to other involvements, I haven’t made the societies my main focus, but I have helped organize numerous events.
  • TedX at my High School
    I was the Logistics Director sophomore year, and I mainly coordinated the arrival of speakers and the event. It was a pretty big event with several hundred attendees.

Rigor: I am in the hardest track possible, and three years ahead in course rigor than normal students (took calc bc and chem in sophomore year which is something taken in senior year).


  • 9-10th: I took chemistry, biology, and precalculus online (long story short I came to the US in middle school so I was behind than peers with similar intellect. I worked hard for two summers to get to the track I belonged, which my counselor knows)
  • 10-11th: I did research at a nearby university for two months, and published a paper alongside my research advisor about some obscure chemistry topic. It got featured in a few small journals.
  • 11-12th: I was accepted to RSI but due to 'rona, I attended it online. I didn’t do much this summer tbh.

LOR (not sure on which ones to submit):

  • Counselor: Knows me very well, and my goals and persistence. She told me that she had never seen a student freshman year who wanted to take three classes in one summer. Definitely a good letter.
  • Calc BC: Knows me somewhat well, but I was decent in her class and I participated in class a lot. Nothing extraordinary, but above average letter.
  • APUSH: An amazing letter, I did very well in his class. I got the highest grade in the class, and only had a few non-100 assignments. I might even be one of his best students ever. I took it sophomore year but I still talk to him about regular life. Im not sure if I should use this letter, one on hand, it’s an excellent letter, but on the other, it’s not STEM.
  • Research Advisor: Most likely a good letter, I had a lot of fun working with him and I still keep in touch.

Essays and supplements: Some of my supplements are good, some are average. My main essay is very good, I’m honestly super proud of it and I’ve been working on it for a few months. I had several people review it, and I’ve received good comments.

Other: I am a huge history buff even though I want to major in STEM. I love scale modeling and it’s my outside-of-school passion.

Congratulations on your accomplishments!

If you could clarify some points.

Did you parents attend have any post secondary education (with or without graduating)?

Do you know how your school weights AP and honors classes?

When did you take your SAT and ACT tests?

Why did you not take the AP test for CalcBC?

What do you mean by “It got featured in a few small journals.” when you wrote about your paper?

How are you a National Merit Finalist?

What did the rest of your schedule look like, aside from the AP classes (what classes did you take each year)?

Why Harvard?

You have less than two weeks for REA, so you should likely be focusing on that rather than on asking about your chances.

  1. Both my parents have bachelors from accredited universities in Turkey.

  2. Yes, my school adds .5 for honors classes, and 1.0 for AP classes. But they don’t report an unweighted or weighted GPA.

  3. I took the ACT near the end of sophomore year, and took the SAT in the fall of junior year

  4. I must have forgotten to list my Calc BC score, I got a 5 regardless

  5. I used “small” to describe their low impact factor. The journals my research got featured on weren’t as large or prestigious like Science or Nature. I don’t want to give their names because I wouldn’t want to doxx myself online (you would clearly be able to tell where I approximately live).

  6. Sorry, I mixed it up with something else. I got the semifinalist notification several weeks ago, and while writing this, thought it meant finalist. I think I might have confused it with ISEF finalist while writing.

  7. With the exception of Health, Financial Literacy, English III and IV (I didn’t have the time to commit to AP Comp or Lit), and Spanish 1-3, I took all honors classes with the graduation requirements. I am also in the computer science track, so I’m taking AP Comp Sci right now. If you would like, I can list my entire courseload throughout high school.

  8. Harvard has been a dream school of mine since elementary school and I really want to honor my parents who have worked very hard for years, so that we could live in the states. Going to Harvard would be my final thank you to them. However, it really wouldn’t be the end of the world and I wouldn’t mind going to another T20 or even my flagship state school, depending on the financial aid. I also did some research on application chances to Harvard, and my chances increase drastically with EA.

  9. I finished a good portion of my Harvard application and I came to this forum to relax because this whole process is nerve racking honestly. I’m still working on fine tuning and etc, but I’m not slacking off

Most important question: are you a US citizen or permanent resident?

FYI: I edited your post to eliminate inappropriate phrasing. Hopefully you are nit using such terminology in your essays.

Based on your reported qualifications, you are competitive for Harvard, though it still would be a reach.

A couple of comments, however.

  • You are not considered "first generation", since your parents have post secondary education.
  • You can do a calculation of your unweighted GPA yourself, based on your grades. There are multiple calculators out there - just translate the A, B, etc, grades to a 4.0 scale and calculate the average. Most colleges will have their own ways, but it will give a rough estimate. If you have 3 Bs, your present UW GPA would be about 3.88-3.90.
  • What may hurt you a bit is that your English classes are not that rigorous. Harvard is a school with a strong Liberal Arts philosophy, and having a weaker set of courses in literature, writing, and reading could, perhaps, weaken your application. You are applying alongside students with similar profiles who are also doing both AP English classes, or at least honors English Lit and English Comp. At least, though, you should have four years of English.
  • Regarding your publication, you must have misunderstood, because scientific articles are not "featured" in multiple journals. A manuscript can only be accepted and published in a single peer-reviewed journal.

Good luck!

To be fair to the OP, he correctly identified himself as a “first gen immigrant.” So he used the term correctly. Alas, it is not a boost for college admissions, unlike first gen to attend college.

Ah, you are right, my error.

As far as 8. goes I don’t think your chances increase dramatically, unless there is something in your application Harvard really likes. I don’t see it from your post, but that doesn’t mean its not there. Having said that I’ll bet that you get into at least one T20 school.

If you want to see someone who would be highly likely to be admitted to Harvard EA, google Krithik Ramesh, student at Cherry Creek public HS in Denver, CO he is applying to Harvard this year.

Really? Krithik Ramesh is class 2024 student, he just graduated at a few months ago.

You have some stellar accomplishments. And you’re right that EA to Harvard will improve your chances.

But overall, considering your STEM aptitude, I think you’d be a much better fit for MIT. Harvard is more focused on the liberal arts. They do have a new engineering program. But I know that the MIT admissions people really weigh heavily on STEM awards (like ISEF, etc). So you will certainly get their attention.

Best of luck!

Are you saying you want a STEM path and got B grades in AP Chem, Calc BC, and Phy C Mech?

I suggest applying to MIT instead, you will probably get in there since what you have done is really good and would weigh heavier at MIT!!

Thanks everyone for your helpful responses!

Yes, I am a US citizen at the time of writing.

It’s not because I was bad at the class, but rather because the teachers made it living hell, because the test curves were little and there were few homework assignments to prop up my grade. The class averages were a C, and even a D for Mech.

I realize that I am not the top 1% of applications (compared to Krithik Ramesh and other high achievers my age) but I wanted to gauge my chances. Thanks for helping me with it.

Just as a caveat: there are some universities who approach students whose parents have degrees outside the US as potentially being first gen. Brown comes to mind with its fluid definition.

I know the higher Ed Act has its definition but that defining is often left up to the schools. So it isn’t a firm, unequivocal rule at all schools universally.