Chance me/ Match me; Homeschooled High School Senior [1480 SAT, 3.95 UWGPA, PA resident, <$30k; biochemistry or biology]


  • US domestic (US citizen or permanent resident) or international student
  • State/Location of residency: (state is important if you apply to any state universities)
    Resident of PA
  • Type of high school (current college for transfers):
    Homeschooled Student. I don’t participate in a single online school; my parents create or purchase individual courses on paper with the required books for the majority of my classes. I also attend a co-op where I take classes from retired teachers that is once a week. We discovered that online AP classes were an option by junior year and started signing up for them then.
  • Gender/Race/Ethnicity (optional):
    White Male
  • Other special factors (first generation to college, legacy, athlete, etc.):
    Learning Environment.

Intended Major(s)
Biochemistry or Biology. I am also thinking about Neuroscience.

GPA, Rank, and Test Scores

  • Unweighted HS GPA:
  • Weighted HS GPA (incl. weighting system):
  • College GPA (for transfers):
  • Class Rank:
  • ACT/SAT Scores:
    740 EVBRW 740 Math

(AP/IB/Dual Enrollment classes, AP/IB scores for high school; also include level of math and foreign language reached and any unusual academic electives; for transfers, describe your college courses and preparation for your intended major(s))
Honors: Algebra 1 and 2, Geometry, Precalculus, and Physics (Honors Credit earned by taking an honors subject test from the high school my dad works at.)
AP: Language and Composition. I will complete Literature and Composition, Calculus AB, and Statistics by the end of my senior year.
Dual Enrollment: I will complete Human Biology, Spanish 1, Spanish 2, and Midievil Philosophy by the end of my senior year.
Normal Classes: 4 years of Spanish. I am considered bilingual by my Spanish teacher.
(Include leadership, summer activities, competitions, volunteering, and work experience)
10 years of piano and 6 of organ. I play regularly at my church.
Woodturning-related activities: Etsy shop that generates around 1000$ per year selling woodturned items and a YouTube channel with 700 subscribers that shows how I make them.
Recreational running, I will complete my first marathon In November.
A member of the International Carnivorous Plant Society for 3 years and a Mid-Atlantic Carnivorous Plant Society member for 2 (I didn’t do much with this activity other than attend meetings and learn.)
I was the primary role in Shakespeare theatre performances for the past 5 years and helped coordinate practice sessions outside the one-rehearsal-a-week framework.

(Optionally, guess how strong these are and include any other relevant information or circumstances.)
I will have a standard/strong essay, as I have many resources at my disposal to help me.
My LORs will probably be weaker than other applicants, as I have fewer interactions with teachers and mentors relative to regular high school students.

Cost Constraints / Budget
(High school students: please get a budget from your parents and use the Net Price Calculators on the web sites of colleges of interest.)
Under 30k

(List of colleges by your initial chance estimate; designate if applying ED/EA/RD; if a scholarship is necessary for affordability, indicate that you are aiming for a scholarship and use the scholarship chance to estimate it into the appropriate group below)

  • Safety (certain admission and affordability)
    Franciscan University of Steubenville
    Penn State
  • Likely (would be possible, but very unlikely or surprising, for it not to admit or be affordable)
    Catholic University of America
  • Match
    William and Mary (according to the College Board, though I find this optimistic.)
    Bucknell University(according to the College Board, though I find this also optimistic.)
  • Reach
    Notre Dame REA

I have toured a couple of LACs and really liked them, but if anyone has match suggestions about both research universities and LACs I would greatly appreciate it.


Penn State is over $32,000 a year. Is that OK?

Is your family eligible for need based aid? The net price calculators can be run for these colleges to see your possible net costs. Use as an estimate only as some are likely to change once the new FAFSA guidelines are incorporated into them.

Catholic University of America does not meet full need. I’m not sure you can get to your <$30,000 a year price point.

I’m not sure you can get to your price point at these, but maybe see what the net price calculators say for University of Scranton, Loyola Maryland and Fordham.


I think budget is your issue. Have you run NPC at your three reaches to see if they’d meet your budget ?

W&M won’t come close. I’d take it off.

Unless you have huge need, you’ll likely have to seek out the few large publics that can get you to your budget but let us know what the NPCs say

1 Like

Take a look at Hope College in Michigan. While it’s a Reform Church college, about a quarter of the student body is Catholic. COA for my daughter would have been around 25K. They also have a full tuition scholarship that goes to around 25 students every year and you would be in a good position to apply for that as well.


According to the net price calculator, Cornell would be slightly over my budget, although I think I could make it work by working over the summer more than I currently am projecting myself to. Swarthmore and Notre Dame are both well inside my budget.
You say here that my budget is the issue. Do you think then that I do have a competitive application to these reach schools? I was under the impression that just getting in would be my biggest problem.
I appreciate your insight!

These two colleges are reaches for most applicants. You can’t get accepted if you don’t apply…so apply if you want to.

It is important to know if the colleges will be affordable for your family. This is a family decision and conversation you should have with your parents.

As I suggested…run the Net price calculators for these schools to get an estimate of your net costs.


I am eligible for need-based aid, which is how I can theoretically afford a lot of these schools, including Penn State.
Thanks so much for the school suggestions; I will check them out!

Thanks so much for the suggestion! I will definitely check Hope College out!

1 Like

Have you taken chemistry?

1 Like

Penn State does not guarantee to meet the full need of all accepted students….and they don’t.


It’s an eclectic mix - it sounds like you want smaller to mid, so why PSU vs. say a Millersville. I get that it’s a prestige thing - but you have to be there four years, day after day.

I don’t know if your application is worthy - because home school is a different animal I don’t understand. But course wise, it seems light to me - vs. expected rigor. But unless you apply, you’ll never know.

Your SAT is in range but a tad low for Swat and Cornell.

So Penn State stands out.

W&M is a no unless you win 1693. UVA is much bigger (not PSU big) but meets need.

Bucknell - run the NPC.

I think you need smaller OOS than Penn State - maybe a Miami of Ohio which may get you to low 30s, still large, but much smaller or a Millersville type school. My concern is going home school to PSU might just be - too much.

Good luck to you.

Since you have liked LACs you have visited, I definitely would recommend that you look into some NESCACs.

With respect to finances, this site can be convenient for estimating costs at a range of desirable colleges:

1 Like

When considering affordability and stretching the budget keep in mind at many schools there will be yearly cost inflation of 3-6% a year.

That said there are schools like Miami of Ohio and Ohio University that keep tuition room and board the same price for all 4 years. I know there are others but those are the ones I am familiar with. With a tight budget you might want to consider schools that keep the price the same for all four years.


Take a look at Mt St Mary’s in Emmitsburg MD , near Gettysburg PA. Merit possible, I believe.
Welcoming to homeschooled students. Apply by Nov. 1 and hear by Thanksgiving.

1 Like

I’m fairly certain U Dayton does this as well. And yes, there are definitely more that do.

1 Like

Are you interested in conservative Christian colleges like Steubenville even if not Catholic or would general Catholic universities like Georgetown, Holy Cross, or Loyola Maryland be of interest?

Hope is a good recommendation - perhaps look into Messiah, too. (If conservative Christian but not Catholic is okay).

UScranton would be a great safety.

Penn State: apply to Schreyer, especially if your writing is strong.

Biochemistry or neuroscience would be better than general biology both in terms of professional outcomes and competitive admission (less requested due to lack of lnowledge). Look into bioinformatics or biostatistics, too.

Why not apply to Pitt? It’s excellent for life sciences.

Run the NPC on Wooster, St Olaf, Bucknell, Lafayette, Dickinson, Muhlenberg, Rhodes, perhaps Kenyon, Denison, Colby?

W&M is unlikely to be affordable. If it’s a good fit for you, run the NPC on Vassar, Connecticut college, perhaps Carleton, Macalester, Grinnell?
Though these are likely too liberal if you really like Steubenville.

Why Swarthmore and not Haverford?


UDayton definitely does this.
UDayton also has expressed a commitment to economic diversity of the student body.


Is med school a consideration?

Pitt should be on your list. Excellent for sciences. Apply to the Honors program.

What about Duquesne or St. Joes in Philly? They offer scholarships.

If Bucknell is on your list why not Lehigh or Lafayette? I think Lafayette is a meets need school.

A few apps to meets need schools like Notre Dame or Holy Cross makes sense. Good luck.


Lafayette meets need but is not need blind in admissions