Chance Me for UCs + Reach Schools (USC, Cornell, Brown)

Demographics: Female, Asian, California, Public School, Middle Class

Intended Major(s): Biology

ACT/SAT/SAT II: Biology SAT (760), Korean SAT (770)

(I haven’t taken the SAT yet because of the virus but I receive around 1400-1500 on the practice tests)

UW/W GPA: 4.00/4.64

APs/IBs: AP Human Geography (4), AP Psychology (3), AP Biology (3), AP World History (5), AP English Language and Composition (4), IB SL Computer Science (5), AP Calculus AB (5)

Rank: 21/765 (top 2%)

Senior Year Courses: IB HL English, IB SL Spanish, IB HL Psychology, IB SL Math, IB HL Biology, AP Chemistry, Theory of Knowledge, U.S. Government/Economics (completed over the summer)


Girl Scout Gold Award

Certificate of Recognition - UCSD Medical Leaders of Tomorrow

Certificate of Achievement - (Insert my city name) Medical Career Pathway Symposium

California Legislature Award - Leo Club

AP Scholar with Distinction - CollegeBoard

Reflection Award - Tennis (awarded to one person on the team who demonstrates the “best character” throughout the season)

IB Full Diploma Candidate

Seal of Biliteracy for Spanish

Regional Science Olympiad Competitions: Disease Detectives (5th place) & Detector Building (4th place)

Invitational Science Olympiad Competitions: Protein Modeling (3rd place), Dynamic Planet (3rd place)


Gold Award Girl Scout (11 years) : created an interactive workshop about environmental sustainability that is incorporated into the curriculum of local elementary schools

Co-founded Future Doctors of America Club (2 years): educated club members about the medical field though weekly meetings + fundraised $1,000 and donated numerous medical supplies for a medical clinic in Mexico (affiliated with Southern Indian Health Council)

CSF President & Treasurer (6 years): leading 350+ club members at my school by presenting and creating presentations for bi-weekly meetings, overseeing all of the community service events, tracking attendance, setting up fundraisers, etc.

Leo Club District Secretary (3 years): club outside of school + district means that i was the secretary for 12 chapter in my region + participated and supervised community service events like homeless food servings, park cleaning, volunteering at the senior center, mask making, etc.

NHS Member (2 years): very selective at my school (10 out of 112 students are chosen) + had to initiate 2 community service projects in small groups of 3 ( my group did a christmas bash for middle schoolers and high schoolers with special needs and a technology day at a local senior center)

Science Olympiad Event Leader (4 years): regional and invitational medalist 4 times + event leader for Protein Modeling and Disease Detectives (had to create weekly lesson plans and practice exams for event participants)

JV tennis (3 years): i was supposed to move up to varsity this year but my season is cancelled due to the virus… but i was a starter for all 3 years of JV tennis :confused:

Shadowing a dentist (2 months): went to a dentist’s office every other day during the summer + assisted the dental hygienist set up/clean up patient chairs and clean the office frequently because of virus

Campaign Internship for a Congressman in my congressional district (4 months): phone banks and text banks every weekend + gained more insight about political campaigning through weekly meetings and discussions with the campaign team

Hospital Volunteering (2 years): was a part of the “patient care unit” + answered call-lights for nurses + escorted patients in and out of the hospital weekly + CPR certified


Decent ideas for essays relating to the medical field, personal growth, all that good stuff :slight_smile:

AP Biology teacher (8/10): there wasn’t a lot of chances for me to demonstrate my participation in this class because it was mainly lecturing… but i maintained a steady A all throughout the year and kept a good relationship with my teacher :slight_smile:

AP Calculus AB teacher (10/10): very close with this teacher because i had her for two years in a row + received good grades :slight_smile:

Schools: UCs (UCSD,UCLA, UCB, UCSB) + my reach schools: Cornell, USC, Duke, WashU, Pomona, Brown, Rice (feel free to give me any college suggestions!)

Thank you!



Look into Swarthmore, Haverford and Mount Holyoke.

Thank you so much for your suggestions! May I ask why?

I think you may benefit from adding colleges that would be superb for the study of biology, but which also offer a notably strong focus on undergraduates. This would be the case at the three schools mentioned above. You also indicated some subjective aspects in your post that suggest you might be a good personality match for one or more of the three (for example, it seems you like cities, to which two of the recommended schools offer proximity).

Have you and your parents run the net price calculator on each college of interest?

Have you and your parents considered the cost of medical or dental school (since it looks like you are pre-med or pre-dent) in your financial planning for your education?

Have you considered what your alternate career plans are if you do not get into medical or dental school? Biology graduates do not have that high paid job prospects, so taking a lot of debt for an undergraduate biology degree is not a good idea. Note that any undergraduate major is ok for pre-med or pre-dent, if you complete the pre-med or pre-dent course requirements as well (biology is merely convenient in overlapping with many of these course requirements).

With respect to UCs, consider adding UCD.

That 4.0 is nice to have in your pocket. Protect it with your life! hehe

You are probably going to get into at least one of the UC’s you mentioned, and if you are cool with that, then you’re probably fine.

Do you have an aversion to a rural setting?

If not, you could add the following – LACs with strong Biology programs (some are quite rural), in addition to those @merc81 listed:



And among private universities, the undergraduate focus is high at these:


(Brown and Cornell also boast high undergrad focus, but they are already on your list. We need to know if you’re cool with small schools in rural settings.)

2019 Freshman admit rates for UC GPA of 4.20 or above capped weighted and not major specific:
UCB: 38%
UCLA: 35%
UCSD: 71%
UCSB: 73%

**2020 UC capped weighted GPA averages along with 25th-75th percentile range: **
UCB: 4.22 (4.13-4.30)
UCLA: 4.25 (4.18-4.31)
UCSD: 4.18(4.04-4.28)
UCSB: 4.17 (4.03-4.27)

2020 Data:
25th - 75th percentiles for SAT totals:

UCB: 1320-1560
UCLA: 1350-1550
UCSD: 1310-1520
UCSB: 1290-1510

You are a competitive applicant and will have a couple of UC choices. Best of luck.

Thank you so much for your suggestions! In my opinion, I am totally fine with attending a small school in a rural setting. My only concern is the out-of-state tuition… I am only willing to move out and pay those big bucks if I had the chance to attend one of my top reach schools which are Cornell and Brown right now. If it’s not those schools, I will probably just attend a UC to pay in-state tuition so I could save money for medical school…

If interested, you will find a site online that may help you refine your list:

The 25 Best Colleges for Pre-meds

  1. Bowdoin
  2. Princeton
  3. Duke
  4. Bates
  5. Bryn Mawr
  6. Dartmouth
  7. Johns Hopkins
  8. Swarthmore
  9. Union
  10. Brown
  11. Carleton
  12. Rice
  13. Chicago
  14. Hamilton
  15. Stanford
  16. Amherst
  17. Tulane
  18. Middlebury
  19. Williams
  20. Columbia
  21. Northwestern
  22. MIT
  23. Harvard
  24. Centre
  25. Colgate

A web search for this phrase brought up a page that listed neither the criteria nor the list of 25 best colleges nor the 179 colleges considered. It did mention that cost was deliberately left out of the ranking criteria.

@ucbalumnus: Try the link included in this Centre College article: It may take a moment for the schools to load.

That leads to the same page. This time, it showed their top 25, but not the rest of the 179 colleges, and did not list the criteria for the ranking.

Given the lack of criteria listed, use caution.