Chance me for my dream school :)

white female from suburban pa

SAT: 1530 (790 M, 740 R)
ACT: 35
(now here’s the weakest part of my application)
Math II: 730 (bad, I know)
Physics: 630 (really bad I know)
GPA: 4.85, top 2% of class
APS: AP US History (4), AP Comp Sci Principles (4), AP Computer Science A (5), currently taking AP Calc BC, AP Physics Mechanics, and AP Physics Electricity and Magnetism

Theater Program - Dedicated member all four years of high school, a few regional awards, member of cast, painting, and construction for all productions, senior leader
President of NHS - In charge of new membership and organizing fundraisers and service events, over 80 hours of service from this
Singfest Volunteer Counselor- past four summers I was a volunteer counselor teaching kids chorus songs and then putting on a concert for a community - 70 hours per summer
Website Creator- I made a website for my school’s senior trip to disney world that is being used this year! took a year to make and is one of the things i am most proud of
Artist for Learning Express - My paid job is working at a toy store and painting personalizations on some of the items!
Computer Science Competition Club Officer - a few regional awards, member of our Division I team, in charge of running meetings and organizing competitions
Rocketry Club VP - self explanatory. began this year so no awards
Open Minds - regional competition where a team is tasked to develop a product or service to benefit our community. multiple awards
Principal’s Leadership Council - hand selected by our principal to meet with him a few times a month and discuss ideas of how to improve our school
Congregation Or Ami Federation Temple of Youth VP - in charge of communications for my synagogue’s youth group


  • Engineering Innovation program at Johns Hopkins university summer of 2019
  • Two undergraduate courses at Hopkins summer of 2018
  • Aerospace Engineering program at CU Boulder summer of 2017

ESSAYS: 8.5-9/10
really personal, wrote about my synesthesia for one of the topics, my theater program, an electronics project i did making a glove to interpret sign language, and a story from my summer program at hopkins
LOR: 9/10
One from my CS teacher who directs the musicals as well as teaching me for 5 semesters. We’re really close and he’s my favorite teacher so I hope the rec is good!
Another teacher I had for 2 semesters who I’ve done a few projects for and also runs the rocketry club

submitted a research paper about simulating artificial gravity, some stuff about the senior trip website, and a few physics simulations i’ve done

thank you everyone :slight_smile:

No matter how you look at it, your chances are going to be lousy. Plus you’re looking at $65k a year to attend, which is a price tag that most rational parents couldn’t afford even if you did get in. Be sure to have a good list of schools you can afford.

@coolguy40 I have no problem taking out student loans in order to go :slight_smile: I would do anything to be able to attend!

You can only take out $27K total in students loans for 4 years. The difference would be up to your parents.

First of all, even having a dream school is not actually a good idea. There are a lot of very good universities in the US. Many of them have excellent engineering, math, and science programs.

You should not take out any significant amount of student loans to attend even Caltech. It is a great university. However, you can get a very similar education at any of a very long list of universities. Caltech does not have a monopoly on anything that they are going to teach an undergraduate student.

Also, I do not think that your chances are good. Your SAT subject tests are rather low for Caltech.

How were your grades in math classes? Did you get mostly easy A+'s, or just normal A’s, or something else?

Have you run the NPC on Caltech? Do you know what your budget is? How much debt would you need to take on to attend Caltech for four years? If you had to take five years to graduate and the fifth year had no financial aid, then how much debt would you require?

“I would do anything to attend.”

I agree with the above advice. You need to seriously look at other schools. Unless your parents are committed to paying $300k for you to go to Caltech, then there’s no way you can go there. There’s a difference between a dream and a fantasy. Colleges don’t count as dreams. Doctor, lawyer, engineer, physical therapist, etc are dreams. College is just a tool to bridge the gap between dream and reality, and any college can serve that function. If you’re “dreaming” about the school brand name, then you’re missing the point of college.

Programmer here, I wouldn’t listen that much to @coolguy40 he’s a grown as$man lurking an forum for high school kids even though he’s a grown as$ man. He’s a high school dropout who’s on here to make himself feel better about his miserable life. He’s only obsessed with value because he’s trying to make himself feel better about his $hitty salary. @coolguy40 is constantly on this forum belittling high school kids about their achievements, despite not having any himself. I think it’s really sad that he is trying to use this forum as an outlet for his own misery.

What is your UW GPA ? How are you doing in Calc this term? What % of students at your school who take BC Calc get 4s and 5s on the test? CalTech, in my experience, is very careful about accepting students who can handle the very strenuous math, STEM curriculum yes, the SAT2 scores are a flag. Do understand that when you apply to schools that have top tech/math students, it’s going to be a tough go for someone like you who has broad interests. There will be many very focused students there who have achieved high marks in the STEM fields. It may not be the best place for you to go.

Of even more importance is affordability. Have you run NPCs for CalTech and other schools in your list? What are your parents willing and able to pay? As noted above, you can only take out about $27k over 4 years in loans and some of these private schools are running over $300k in that time. Where are you going to get the money? CalTech does not give out merit money. You need to have this discussion with your parents.