Chance me for HYPSM (1580/4.0/17 APs/URM)


  • Gender: Male
  • Race/Ethnicity: Black (African), Asian (Indian)
  • Residence: PA
  • Income Bracket: >250K
  • Type of School: competitive public (40+ students to top 20s per year)
  • Class size of 600: Unranked
  • Hooks (Recruited Athlete, URM, First-Gen, Geographic, Legacy, etc.): URM, Unique Major?

Possible Majors: Materials Science Engineering Major

GPA: 4.0/4.0 and W 5.02/5.00 - schools weighted GPA is kinda weird - I have most A’s (some A- and some A+)

9th (2): AP Bio, AP BC PreCalc, rest honors

10th (4): AP Calc BC, AP Chem, AP Comp Sci, AP Seminar, rest honors

11th (5): AP Stat, AP Lang, AP Envi Sci, AP Gov, AP Research, Honors Spanish

Community College Dual Enrollment in Foundations of Mathematical Proof
First Year Exploratories Class - High School Scholars Program

12th (6): Still in 11th grade, but. AP Physics, AP Comp Sci A, AP Econ, AP Multi Calc, AP Psych, AP Literature

17 total APs - my school weights Precalc BC and Multi Calc as AP even though they are not

3 years of honors Spanish (5 years total)

AP Scores:

5 BC Calc, 5 Comp Sci P, 4 Bio, 4 Seminar, Expected this year: 5 Stats, 5 APES, 5 Research, 4 Lang, 4 Gov

SAT: (780 erbw, 800 math), 1580 Superscore

Main Extracurriculars: I am not a recruited athlete

1.) Varsity Soccer player since freshman year: one of the best soccer high schools in the state (state quarter-finalists, league champions x 3, etc.) The team won the state championship two years in a row before I joined

2.) Club Soccer Team ranked 9th nationally

3.) Science Fair club Leader - my science fair project are all about polymers/materials/tensile strength/health - so they tie in well with the major I will apply with

4.) African American Student Union Grade Representative, and selected for Co-club SOAR (students organized against racism)

5.) National Honors Society Vice President (300+ members) Track all volunteer hours with excel spreadsheets and python

6.) Leader and Founder of PSAT/SAT tutoring club - 260+ members

7.) Summer Camp Counselor 9th grade, 240+ hours

8.) Science Programs (all free/extremely low cost)

Summer Health Programs: Fox Chase Cancer Center Science Immersion Program, Summer Science @ Jefferson


Material Science Engineering Programs: Penn Summer Science Initiative (UPenn), ASM Materials Science, Drexel Materials Science

10.) Volunteer Work

(a) 50 hours of freshman year tutoring

(b) NHS (National Honors Society) 30 hours tutoring so far this year

(c) Volunteer SAT tutoring online 30 hours

11.) Investment Club participant (placed top 10 out 100 in investment game)

12.) Small Soccer Cleats Bussines Ebay $1,200 in revenue, and $750 profit

13.) 25,000 followers on fifa (soccer video game) twitter account


1) Will have semi/finalist National Merit

2.) Presidential Volunteer Award Bronze

3.) 9th grade 3rd place at State Fair + $60,000 scholarship to a local school (will not attend)

4.) 10th-grade perfect score, judges award, first award PJAS State Science Fair (all other fairs canceled) COVID)

5.) 11th Grade 2nd Place State Fair, $30,000 scholarship to a pretty decent school - 1st place went to Intel

Soccer Team Trophies

Ran a Marathon?

Research Paper Publication

AP Capstone/other college board awards

Not much else…

Leadership Experience:

Organized Soccer gear drive to Africa on a family visit donating 100+ cleats/socks/pants


Piano (can play fur elise level songs), small building projects(soda dispensing machine), investment club, coding (html, mainly python and java)

Essays: I wrote about some of the things I built - probably 9/10 - not top tier for a common app, but very solid

Supplemental essays should be decent, nothing standout, a similar level to the rest of the application


9/10 - AP Stat teacher - know her well, and used a lot of stats in my science projects

8/10 - AP Lang teacher - nothing special, bc he has a lot to right, but if he uses what I gave him it will be very strong

8/10 - Counsellor letter - will be similar to all other counselor letters, but shes seems to like me so hopefully it is strong

8/10 - Retired Columbia/Penn Professor that gave a little guidance with my science fair projects - not sure if I’ll include it

School List:

  1. Princeton
  2. Harvard
  3. Columbia
  4. Stanford
  5. UPenn
  6. Dartmouth
  7. Northwestern
  8. Rice
  9. Johns Hopkins
  10. Cmu
  11. Cornell
  12. U Mich
  13. Northeastern
  14. Vanderbilt
  15. Duke
  16. Penn State
  17. Pitt
  18. Yale
  19. Cal
  20. UCLA
  21. Washu
  22. MIT - if I have time
  23. U Chicago - if I have time


Curious - What drives the list of colleges? It seems odd for a high-aiming engineering student to include many schools not known for engineering strength and only have MIT as “if I have time”. UChicago doesn’t even have Engineering (outside a very specialized molecular engineering major).


Congratulations on your achievements.

I agree with the above that this seems like a list based on prestige, not based on strength in engineering/materials science major. Regardless, you are going to need to cull down the list, a lot. I would recommend no more than 5 reaches…you will not be able to do a good job on essays for more schools than that (not to mention your match and safety schools may have supplemental essays as well).

I see you list family income as >$250k…which means you won’t receive any need based aid. Are your parents ok paying $320K for undergrad?

The only schools on your list that are low match are Pitt and Penn State…would you be happy to attend if those were your only option?


Tell us more about this. Was this a peer-reviewed journal?

From what I see, I think you are a competitive applicant for any college based upon the academic profile. I don’t know anything about athletic recruiting; which of those colleges care enough about soccer?

However, I agree with the @Mwfan1921 in that you need a list that includes more matches and safeties that would be ok with attending.


Agree with the other posters above.

You need to figure out what colleges are the best for you, in that they will provide you with the best education in your field.

I do recommend that you go back, figure out what you are looking for in a college, and then come back when you have a clearer idea.

Think size, location, etc.

As others have written, the best colleges for engineers are not the colleges which are the most popular or the ones that are ranked as “best colleges” by USNews. To begin with, if you are looking at engineering, UIUC, Purdue, and Wisconsin should be on your list.

You are a strong candidate, and have done really well in high school, but you need to focus on finding the best engineering school for you, NOT the Most Prestigious College.


An AA male with your stats is likely to be admitted to every school that you grace with an application. I would spend a little bit of time making sure that you would actually be happy to attend one of your safeties (Penn State and Pitt), just in case. After that, I’d try to focus your list of “dream schools”, because seriously, you could get into every single one of them. You don’t need to increase your chances by applying to 20 top schools.


Yikes. I truly believe you meant well @parentologist but give this student his due. If he is accepted it is because he is a top candidate academically with very good ECs.


You may want to prune your list by removing schools without that major.

APS may be helpful.

These schools of your list have ABET accredited materials engineering majors:

Johns Hopkins
Carnegie Mellon
Penn State


In what way was I not giving the applicant his due? He has a superb academic record. African American males with credentials like his get in just about anywhere they want to go. Anything else (and I did not bring up anything else) is not relevant to HIS planning and application process. He should understand his likelihood of being accepted everywhere, make sure he has a good safety he’d be happy to attend, and plan accordingly.


He’s not going to be admitted because he’s African American. In the case that he is admitted it will be because he has top grades, ECs and an otherwise stellar application.

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If what you want is engineering, take a good look at Penn. Prestige of an Ivy, close to home for you, great engineering school, and the resources of the other schools - Arts and Sciences, Business, plus the diverse social environment of the students of all the schools sharing dorms. I think that you would get into MIT or any other place you want to go, but Penn may be the right place for you, for the above reasons.


Well I am not dead set on materials science engineering, I am interested in engineering/math/comp sci/finance. So i thought it would be the smartest to apply for top colleges as they will be good in multiple areas. I am not sure about MIT cuz i haven’t done olympiads so it will be harder for me to get in. As for Uchicago Ill apply as a polymer science major, but may switch if Im not interested. Thanks!

My tactic is too apply to as many reaches as possible cuz ill be happy at my safeties. I know the essays are alot but I matched them so each covers essay for multiple schools, and have a pretty good tactic down for writing the why this college essay. Money will not be an issue, income is a decent amount above 250k. Thanks!

The research journal is really nothing impressive, I just found some random students journal. However the actual research is from the science fair and very important as it concerns polymers science/materials science, so it is linked to my major. It will look somewhat impressive that I have such a high lvl of soccer, but overall wont mean that much cuz im not recruited. Thanks!

Thanks for the kind words. I will definitely add some more target schools, ones that are well known for engineering. I appreciate the advice.

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I hope so, but I dont think I will get into all that many. My goal is to get into at least 1 or 2 t10s, and if Im very lucky one of HYPSM. I appreciate the kind words and advice, thanks!

No its fine, it is not at all offensive. What parentologist said is very true to college admissions, URMS do have an advantage. I am sure they only meant good things, but thank you for the concern.


Thanks, I do think though the main reason I may get accepted is not necessarily bc I am a urm, but more so bc I participate in urm clubs like the african american student union. Colleges look for students that will play a role on campus, and me having a leadership role in an ethnic club may help me get in. Could be wrong tho


Thanks, I appreciate it. I do think that my stats/ecs are very good, but I do feel that if I manage to get into HYPSM it would be bc I am a urm, or at least bc colleges will see me as someone who can contribute to their community by joining the specific school;s black student union

Thanks for the recommendation. I do really like Penn, and there is a very good chance Ill end up going there. I dont think I will ed cuz I want to access my options, but it is definitely near the top of my list. I will get to do more research when I write the Why Penn essay, but as you advised it is overall, what I believe, to be a very good fit for me.