Chance me for Stanford, Caltech, Ivies, and UCs? Thanks!

<p>Hey everyone! I'm new to this forum, so please help me out! :) I will be applying to Stanford, Caltech, Harvard, MIT, Princeton, UCB, UCLA, and UCSD.</p>

<p>First, the usual...</p>

<p>GRADES
Overall: ~4.2 weighted, 4.0 unweighted (my school won't tell me my current overall GPA)
Class size: ~600 students
Class rank: I am somewhere in the top 5 students</p>

<p>TEST SCORES
All my AP test scores have been 5s.
(AP Biology, Calculus AB, World History, English Language, US History, and Statistics)
I will be taking AP English Literature, Government, Psychology, and Physics senior year.</p>

<p>SAT super-score: 800 critical reading, 780 math, 760 writing, 2340 composite
Highest single test scores: 800 critical reading, 720 math, 760 writing, 2280 composite</p>

<p>SAT Subject Tests
Chinese with Listening: 770
Math Level 2: 710
Biology M: 730
Biology E: 720</p>

<p>EXTRACURRICULARS
I have been playing piano for 10 years, and I now give private piano lessons (paid) to beginners. I have also been playing a traditional Chinese instrument called the pipa, or Chinese lute, for 6 years. I frequently perform pipa at a variety of venues, for both pay and volunteer service, and I have performed solo, in all-pipa ensembles, and as a guest performer with a full traditional Chinese chamber orchestra.</p>

<p>I have been in my school's concert band for all four years as a percussionist, and I've done a lot of solo marimba work. "Dream of the Cherry Blossoms" by Keiko Abe is my best solo piece, if that helps; I took 1st place at the 2010 American Drum Line Association Individual & Ensemble Competition with that piece. I was in marching band for the first two years, serving as percussion captain my sophomore year, but quit due to time constraints.</p>

<p>For the past two years, I have volunteered at my local library, doing back-stocking and customer service, and organizing library events; I have also hosted my own Chinese New Year celebration event. If time matters, I have put over 100 hours of service into it.</p>

<p>FINAL THOUGHTS
My grades and AP test scores are good, but a lot of people's are. My SAT scores are okay, I guess. I know I don't have many ECs, but I have devoted a lot of time and practice into both music and library volunteering. In my essays, I am mostly elaborating on my music-related activities.</p>

<p>My biggest problem is that I want to go into science and study medicine, but my ECs don't really show this. I have taken or will be taking all the science classes my school offers, including non-AP chemistry and biochemistry. I am also participating in a two-year program at my school which certifies you in CPR and basic life support, teaches you to memorize medical terminology, and will help you obtain a hospital internship senior year. I would have done an internship junior year, but I'm not old enough yet because I am very young for my grade (I skipped a grade in elementary school), and I am mentioning that age problem in one of my essays. My school doesn't participate in programs like the Science Olympiad or Math Olympiad, nor does my town really offer any science-related programs that I can participate in.</p>

<p>Also, if you couldn't tell already, I am Asian, Chinese to be specific. How does this affect what I have to offer?</p>

<p>And as a final note, the UCs are my safety schools... am I being too confident?</p>

<p>Thank you so much!</p>

<p>You are correct on two points here:</p>

<ol>
<li><p>Being Asian will hurt you, not help you, in some of these schools. In others, it won't make any difference either way. Being an Asian interested in math/science also puts you at a slight disadvantage only because there are a lot of Asian applicants to these fields. (Also applies to white males and Indian males. That's the breaks! Not trying to be racist.)</p></li>
<li><p>Your ECs don't show an interest in science. This might hurt you in some instances, mainly the very reach-y schools.</p></li>
</ol>

<p>Now, the good:</p>

<p>You have fabulous numbers. Not going to fight you there. You have really dedicated yourself to music, which is nice, too. Many applicants will only have "played piano for 10 years blah blah blah" but the fact you played in the school band, won awards, etc will make you stand out. Good job! </p>

<p>And the bad:
These schools are reaches for EVERYONE, even the super smart kids. I had kids in my HS class rejected from Stanford, Harvard, etc with 4.0s and 2400 SATs and every impressive EC under the sun. No one can truly predict if you'd be accepted into the reachy schools.</p>

<p>Stanford - can't say
Caltech - can't say (unless you're female, then you're in)
Harvard - can't say
MIT - see CalTech
Princeton - can't say
UCB - acceptance
UCLA - acceptance
UCSD - acceptance</p>

<p>You will just have to apply and see. Are you not interested in any other impressive schools that might be definite "Acceptances"?</p>

<p>Cornell
Penn
Brown
Georgia Tech
UT Austin
USC
Harvey Mudd + other Claremont Colleges</p>

<p>Are you male or female? This might help in determining acceptances as Zelda said above... (unfortunate, but true).</p>

<p>Thank you so much! Haha. I am female.</p>

<p>I'm not really interested in any other schools: to be honest, I would prefer to stay in California since that's where I've lived all my life. I'm only applying to MIT because I really liked it when I visited, and to Harvard and Princeton because I want to see how I fare in the Ivies.</p>

<p>FYI Stanford is my dream school. Any tips for that?</p>

<p>USC, Harvey Mudd and the Claremont schools are all in California. I suggest you look into them. You have a decent shot and they are all very impressive schools -- especially Harvey Mudd, since you're also looking at MIT/CalTech. </p>

<p>Since you're a female, I am betting Harvey Mudd will try to woo you with money and other things. USC would probably give you a pretty hefty scholarship as well -- at least a half tuition if not more.</p>

<p>Stanford is a hard school to get into. I can't really give you any tips because they operate so strangely in terms of admission. When I was in HS (mind you, I lived 15 minutes away from Palo Alto) they rejected all the "smart kids" and only accepted two athletes with mediocre grades/scores. I don't get them, to be honest.</p>

<p>All those schools are crapshoots for really qualified students. It'll be a roll of the dice.</p>

<p>I actually haven't gotten mail from any of the California schools you suggested, but I will look into them. I will be quite happy enough if UCB or UCLA accepts me, so I will hope that your prediction is accurate. I know Stanford is hard, which is why it's my dream school, haha. Thank you for all your help, though.</p>

<p>Oh, I forgot to mention that I come from a low-income family (below $60k a year), so I am expecting a very low EFC and at least some need-based aid. I know that Stanford and the Ivies would pay all my tuition based on my income level.</p>

<p>Also, any tips for what I should do essay-wise?</p>

<p>Just because a school send you mail doesn't mean you should ignore them! A lot of great schools don't send mail to anyone.</p>

<p>USC is ranked #23 (higher than UCLA and UCSB) and consistently lands in the top 10 of students' "dream schools." They seek to match 100% of students' need-based aid.</p>

<p>Harvey Mudd is the #2 UG engineering program in the country and the #18 math/science school. It consistently draws students who apply and are accepted to MIT and Caltech.</p>

<p>If you are low income, you should mention that in your essay. Are you the first to attend college in your family? If so, there is a great angle.</p>

<p>Do you qualify for questbridge? If so you may be able to match with upto 5 schools in top 20 and know your fate by December 1st if someone will admit you.</p>

<p>I think your low income angle is attractive to Ivies and Stanford if you qualify for questbridge.</p>

<p>Have your parents to gone to college in US or China?</p>

<p>I will try to fit being low-income somewhere in my essays. My biological father actually has a Master's, so I'm sadly not a first-generation college student.</p>

<p>I actually have no idea what Questbridge is. I've never heard of it. Could someone please explain that? Thanks!</p>

<p>^ I'm assuming by "biological" that means you don't live with him or have immediate contact?</p>

<p>If you live with your mother/stepfather, adoptive parents, etc, and do not regularly see your father that would mean you can judge your immediate household and who you consider your father/mother's college experience on "first generation" or not.</p>

<p>QuestBridge</a> Home</p>

<p>It says under 60k for a family of 4 typically to qualify.</p>

<p>I believe MIT, Yale, Stanford, Princeton, and Chicago can be applied to at once early as part of QB. If you don't mind being locked in, you can also add Columbia and UPenn (not sure if there is a cap in the number you are allowed).</p>

<p>In terms of academics, SAT is okay, but SAT IIs are very weak. Seriously, no point in taking SAT Chinese if you're a native speaker. Plus, 770? doesn't that put you in the 40th percentile or something? Other wise, 710 Math IIc and 730 bio do not cut it, especially for schools like MIT/Caltech. In one of caltech's classes, every single student got an 800 in Math II, just to put that in perspective. In terms of music, I wouldn't say your involvement is "strong." It doesn't seem like you're in the classic All State ensembles or any regional ensembles which would show strong ability. Though, I would recommend sending an art supplement of you playing your traditional Chinese instrument. Also, it does not seem like you are involved in much, or show passion, accomplishment, or leadership (no club presidencies, or initiative through starting something new etc..) One thing you could do in the upcoming school year is to start a chapter of science Olympiad in your area or sign your school up. But in general, your chance are rather low for the schools you are applying to due to a combination of weak Academics, race, and ECs. Please add safeties and matches to your list.</p>

<p>^ OP is a female, however, so this does give her a better edge over similarly-scored male applicants to MIT and Caltech. Let's be real here.</p>

<p>Though it gives an advantage, it by no means guarantees someone in. I mean, for Math ii, a 710 is not very good at all. Most competitive people who apply to caltech and mit have 800s in math.</p>

<p>Thank you for the information about Questbridge. I will definitely look into that. My stepfather also went to college, so that's a no-go.</p>

<p>dblazer, thank you for being so frank. I do have a few comments to make, though.</p>

<p>I know the math portion of my SATs and SATIIs are weak, especially for Caltech and MIT, but I will just work on my essays and hope for the best. I'm not proud of my SATII Chinese score (and that was in freshman year), but I want schools to consider my math and science subject tests since that's what Caltech and MIT want.</p>

<p>I have never heard of any All State or regional ensembles in my area, and especially not for piano or marimba. I was hoping that the work I've done with pipa would help me stand out as an applicant. I will be submitting an art supplement for both piano and pipa.</p>

<p>If you want a club presidency, I have been captain of my school's academic league for three years. I thought that was a small activity compared to what I've been doing, though.</p>

<p>I always hear that quality is better than quantity, so I don't feel that not being "involved in much" is a problem.</p>

<p>I don't want to sound defensive, but seriously? No passion? I will be expanding on that in my essays, especially when it comes to music and my school's health program. I hope my essays will help my case.</p>

<p>Just an FYI - I am not certain Caltech or MIT care much for ECs outside of science related areas (probably social service) unless you are considered a musical prodigy.</p>

<p>So being the academic league captain might hold more water with them although ivies and stanford might like a tape of your musical skills.</p>

<p>Also, for piano, I completed the Advanced level (Level 10) of the Music Teachers' Association of California Certificate of Merit program with Branch Honors and Convention eligibility.</p>

<p>I guess my music activities won't help me much... Hopefully ELC will give me spots in one of the three UCs I'm applying to.</p>

<p>I am only suggesting MIT and Caltech may not care too much. The others on your list will care if your accomplishments are measurable.</p>

<p>I believe that any school will appreciate skills in music, even techy schools. Engineering/medicine is not simply math skills and memorized facts, but it is necessary to have creativity and skills outside math/science to excel in those fields. (pre-med students can be any major as an example). Piano an music give you discipline and a creative outlet that helps you in so many ways.</p>

<p>
[quote]
mean, for Math ii, a 710 is not very good at all. Most competitive people who apply to caltech and mit have 800s in math.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>MIT shows the 25th percentile to be at 750 and the 75th percentile to be 800. No median was given. We do know that 25% of the admits got below a 750 in math II.</p>

<p>I think your numbers are great! I also think your music talent is quite interesting and shows passion and perseverance. UCB and UCLA are sure things!</p>