Chance Me for HYPSM and others


  • US domestic
  • California, South Bay (Palo Alto Area)
  • Highly Competitive Private School
  • Gay Half Latino Half White Male
  • Both older siblings and parents went to Harvard (Grandparents went to Yale and Dartmouth, not sure if that counts for anything)

Intended Major(s)

  • CS

GPA, Rank, and Test Scores

  • Unweighted HS GPA: 3.6
  • Weighted HS GPA (out of 5): 3.9
  • Class Rank: 312/~500
  • ACT/SAT Scores: PSAT 1310, SAT 1410 (750E, 660M)

APWH (10th, 3 on AP test), APCSP (10th, 4 on AP test)
AP AB (11th) APUSH (11th) APCSA (11th)

Accepted to Harvard Summer School 10th Grade Summer (I think this will show demonstrated interest)
Columbia Summer Immersion Program 9th Grade Summer
Star Scout in Boy Scouts

Secretary of Latino Student Association
Vice President of Gender Sexuality Alliance Club
Ranked Tennis Player
Top 250 in the world in League of Legends
Top 300 in the world in osu!
Barista at Starbucks (12hrs/week)
NHS and CSF Member 5 semesters
Did CS Research with state school professor (no paper unfortunately) :frowning:

Essays: 9/10, I’m pretty good at English and I’ve always been interested in creative writing. I talked to my English teacher from last year and this year and they’ve already reviewed my initial drafts and gave me a few rounds of feedback.
LORs: 6/10, I’m pretty close to my math teacher but I’m frequently late to his class, hopefully my attentiveness in class outweighs that
8/10, My CSP teacher was super helpful to me and we frequently talked in the halls and outside of class as well, I think this one will be quite strong

Cost Constraints / Budget
Full Pay, Family makes 150k


  • Safety
    I think my chances are good at others so no safeties

  • Likely

  • Match
    Carnegie Mellon

  • Reach

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unless I am missing something, every school on your list is a reach for anyone, and actually pretty unlikely with your GPA and class rank. you have no safeties and probably no matches either.


You have all reaches for your class rank, gpa and scores. I think you need to start with realistic safeties/likelies.

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This is a very top heavy list. I’m assuming you plan to apply test optional. You have no matches and no sure things. This is a huge list if reaches.

Read this thread. The student in this thread had far better GPA and scores than you. He was rejected everywhere the first time around.

Hey, thanks for the advice!
Quick question, I have legacy to many schools, does that greatly increase my chances? Also I might not have clarified earlier but my mom makes frequent decent sized donations to Harvard which I heard could also help. For other schools, people say that USACO gold is quite good and I think that could really boost my chances

What would you suggest?

OP, please talk to your school guidance counselor to create an appropriate list of schools for you. Your chances of getting into the ones you listed are between slim and none and slim is on a diet.


I talked to them and they said that legacy can be a really beneficial factor. What safeties would you suggest though?

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The GPA may be a problem even with legacy.
If you don’t have true safeties, you may strike out with zero acceptances.

What did s/he say when you discussed this list?

She liked the USACO Gold but said I do have to improve my SAT and GPA, I’m shooting for 1450+ SAT and perhaps greater than 4.0 GPA Weighted. Still emphasis on the legacy to multiple schools and the fact that my parents made donations though

When you say large donations, exactly how large are we talking? If they’ve given $5 million, that may be enough to shift things in your favor.

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I think around 2m total

I’m going to be blunt…

I don’t think you will get into a single school on this list


Are you certain that your family makes $150k a year AND donated $2 million to Harvard? (family trust?)

If yes, go ahead and apply to Harvard b/c you never know.

Now, for the rest of your list I am afraid you need to start over. Ask your counselor where students from your school with a 1410 SAT, your GPA and in the bottom half of class attend school. Use that as a guide.

Do you have access to Naviance? It should track where students similarly situated at your school have been accepted, rejected, wait listed.

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When I first read your profile, it said to me - you are out of your mind :slight_smile:

But then I saw these words: * Highly Competitive Private School

So stats wise, in a normal school, you likely wouldn’t have any success with this list - legacy or otherwise.

However, when you go to a highly competitive private school, that tells me, you are potentially playing with a different evaluation set and you have guidance counselors that can guide you based on past students.

So you should start with your school personnel.

Best of luck.

PS - for UCLA, you should figure out your UC GPAs, etc. I think there are three total…and obviously the test won’t matter for them.

Edit - don’t use your math teacher for an LOR…you have an admitted weakness already.

And you need two core subjects - so a Math and English or Science and Language…but not extra subjects like computers unless they ask a 3rd. You can check each school but some note this in their requirements and it would be potentially cause for auto rejection (not following instructions).

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Not sure what Naviance is, also 150k a month sorry I didnt clarify.

I half expect your next question to be ‘is the refrigerator running?’ or do we ‘have Prince Albert in the can?’


Huh? Sorry I’m really just unfamiliar with the process. Not sure what you’re insinuating though, kinda weird

Famous last words.

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