Chance Me for the Huntsman Program @ Penn Wharton!

Hi! I am a rising senior. I’m going to redact some identifying info, but I hope the profile is specific enough.

School Info: T5 in Southeast USA, 1-2 students to penn every year. 15-20 to t20s.

Demographics: I’m a korean male. Family income is 75k, and I have no hooks :frowning:

Testing: 1570 SAT (770 reading, 800 math), 36 act (36e 36m 35r 35s), 800 on math 2 subject test

GPA and Rigor:

  • Rank 7/580
  • My school doesn’t do GPA out of 4.0, so im not sure how GPA out of 100 transfers to GPA out of 4. I have a 96.1/100 UW GPA out of 100.
  • APs: Gov (9th, 5), World (10th, 5), Calc BC (10th, 4), Lang (10th, 5)
  • I started the full IB diploma last year as a junior. I take History of the Americas HL, ToK, Math HL, Physics SL, Spanish SL, Music SL, and LangLit HL

ECs (not in order of importance):

  • Founder and director of a marketing business. Made around 10k, but we lost a lot of money bc we decided to make all of our services for free during COVID. I think we’re at only 2k ish now, but the company’s decision to make all services free has increased clients and results.
  • CEO of tech company. I didn’t found this one, i was hired and then promoted after the founders left for college. We’re developing a webapp that curates tutor packages. We’re also developing some AR/VR stuff. I don’t really know much about tech and development; i’m more of a manager ?
  • Debate. Team captain of IPPF for 4 yrs of HS, coached HS novices and MS kids to nationals. Volunteered at two local middle schools as their after school debate program director.
  • FBLA. I help make promo videos for recruitment and social media. No leadership position, but 4 yrs of involvement and a few nice awards.
  • Music composer. I compose and produce music, and i had my works debuted by a few local orchestras. I also love to write alt-r&b songs, and my 12 song album that i’ve been working on for all of HS is going to be out in the next month (super super superrrr exicted!!!)
  • Orchestra. Concertmaster from 9th-10th, outreach coordinator in 12th. Never made All-State or anything though.
  • Social justice NPO, marketing director. I did not found this NPO, i was brought onto the team. Proposed bills to WA congress, lobbied in AL, implemented our npo’s curricula into events at colleges. I helped expand the team from the original 5 to the now 150+ members in 27 states and 3 countries.
  • Student council, membership committee chair. I try to maximize recruitment, and i manage the stuco admissions process. i also present stuco stuff on school news, at lunch events, etc. Lowkey i embarrass myself a lot trying to pull stunts for recruitment, but it’s all in good fun
  • Research. I published a paper as the second author in a peer-reviewed mathematics journal a year ago, and i submitted a second paper related to finance to a journal two weeks ago. I worked with two professors from a local state college.
  • Tae Kwon Doe. 4th degree black belt, 14 years of training. No awards or anything tho.
  • National Spanish Honors Society. Secretary. I’m not gonna include this cause i don’t do anything important for NSHSS.


  • Top 4 internationally at a debate competition. My team was also top 32 and top 64 other years of competition.
  • octafinalists & 6th speaker at “international” debate competition. (i put international in quotes bc it was rlly just a national tournament, but there were a few international teams so the tournament was called “international.”)
  • 1x national 4th place fbla award, 2x state fbla awards (1st & 2nd)
  • 2x all-state composition contest winner, 3x mtna composition contest awardee, 3x nfmc composition contest awardee, 3x state reflections music award
  • 2x Gold presidential volunteer service awards (600+ hours service)
  • Yale book award (should i put this in?)
  • i got an award for having the highest GPA out of all ib students in my school (basically glorified honor roll)


  • Probably like a 5/10 if i’m being realistic, 7/10 if im being optimistic. I don’t think im a bad writer, but it’s just that i can’t think of any unique topics that are super interesting.


  • LOR 1 is from my Spanish teacher, who i’ve had 9th, 11th, and 12th. i expect it to be 8-9/10. We call a lot over the phone, have lunch together, work on NSHSS, and i wrote a song with her in spanish that i ended up recording and releasing ?
  • LOR 2 is from my math teacher. i had her 9th-11th. Probably like a 5/10. I was in Math Club and i did well in all her classes. She and i just aren’t too close like my spanish teacher. Will most likely be a generic “he’s a good student” letter.

I will be applying to the huntsman program ED and indicating my single-choice school as the Wharton school. I’m going to select my target language as Korean; i’d love to pick Spanish, but i’m not quite proficient in it as i am in Korean.

I need a lot of financial aid; will that hurt me this application cycle?

Thanks all.


You look to be a competitive applicant with academics and ECs that should get you a serious look at any college. The rest will depend on things we can’t see such as your essays, LORs, depth of your ECs etc.

Any elite college (with acceptance rates often in the single digits) should be considered a reach for any unhooked applicant. Be sure to take the time to search out a group of match and safety schools that appear affordable (run net price calculators) and that you would be excited to attend.

If your strongest recommender is your Spanish teacher and you have done well in Spanish, that may be your best choice as a target language.You do not need to be fluent, just proficient (make sure you are taking AP Spanish if you haven’t already), and you have clearly demonstrated your interest in the language by releasing a song!

Hey! First off, your profile overall is really incredible, so congrats on some amazing accomplishments. I would say you have a good chance (ED), but of course there is some degree of luck involved. Two things that were really glaring at me from your profile:

  1. Don’t glorify the work you did for the tech company and the marketing business. I am not saying that you did in your profile here, but make sure you show you have some perspective (essentially, focus on the results of the business rather than flashy titles, I think a lot of people make that mistake once they get to the Common App, but colleges see right through that)
  2. Don’t let your essays be a 5/10. I know how you are feeling right now: you may have lived a pretty normal life and don’t think you have anything unique to say. But make sure you dig deep and find answers and essay topics that are interesting and uniquely you. I am sure you can do it, but it really takes time.

In any case, good luck! Hope things work out for you!

Excellent profile, really strong and a top contender I would say. Korean as target language should be fine but make sure to stress your roots and desire to reconnect with your native culture as part of your essays. You cannot be a 5/10 on your essays this year by the way. And don’t forget to focus on Why Penn!