Chance me! (NYU, New School)

I’m a 17 year old white male going into senior year at a small public school in rural New Hampshire (about 700 kids total, 180 in my class). Unfortunately, even though I consider myself a fairly good student, for several reasons I haven’t really done that well in high school.

My intended major is Political Science or International Relations with a possible French minor. I also really like photography and journalism but I’m not sure if I would want to pursue either for a career. My ultimate goal is to intern at the UN or Amnesty International or a similar organization, work with the Peace Corps or a similar organization, then eventually get involved in a political or human rights/international social work field.

I’ve taken the SAT once:
1980 total:
710 Critical Reading
650 Math
620 Writing

I’m planning on taking SAT’s again in October, I’m hoping I will break well above 2000.

My school doesn’t make GPA or rank actively available but I think I have accurate guesses.
Unweighted GPA: I’m guessing around 3.5
Weighted: Guessing 3.8
Rank: Top 25%

Honors Classes: World Cultures and Geography, English
AP Classes: Chemistry
College Prep Classes: Biology, Chemistry, Civics 10th Grade English and Western Civilizations, 11th Grade English and American Studies, French 1, 2, 3, and 4. There are many more that I forget because I don’t have a transcript on hand.
I’m planning on taking an Intro to PoliSci class at a local college this year through a program with my school.

Work Experience:
A Winter at the local ski area
Spring/Summer working on an organic farm
Amnesty International New Hampshire Student Activist Coordinator

I am the leader of my school’s Amnesty International group.
I’m the Student Activist Coordinator for the state of New Hampshire for Amnesty International. (I think this will help me tremendously, I think I can write a good essay on my experiences with Amnesty International as well as get a great recommendation from the teacher advisor of my school group) This is a major part of my life and is what most people know me for at my school.

I participate in my school’s Quiz Bowl team weekly, competing in competitions and such.

I volunteer weekly for the Bernie Sanders 2016 campaign.

I participate in Model UN.

I participate in and have held a leadership position in my schools Photography Club.

I’ve had multiple pictures published in local newspapers, mostly journalistic type photos of Amnesty International events.

I’ve Student Aided 2 classes, Darkroom Photography and Intro to Photography.
This includes helping the students with any struggles, teaching student 1 on 1 certain things, putting together class plans or presentations for the teacher, general upkeep of the art room and dark room. I would consider myself an intermediate-expert photography.

I don’t have any written yet but most teachers really like me and I think my Civics teacher will write me a good one as well as my Amnesty International advisor (mentioned above) who is an art teacher. I’m not sure if recommendations are usually supposed to be just teachers but my Amnesty International supervisor (her title is Senior Northeast Field Organizer) would also probably write me one if it’s appropriate.

Schools I’m considering:
New York University, NY (First Choice) I would be willing to apply ED if that would help me at all.
The New School, NY (Second Choice)
Bates College, ME
Colby College, ME
Boston College, MA
Boston University, MA
American University, DC
George Washington University, DC
Middlebury College, VT
University of Vermont, VT (my dad went to grad school here)
University of New Hampshire (Safety School, my mom went here)

Schools that I like but are a huge reach:
Brown University
University of Pennsylvania
Bowdoin College
Williams College (my father went here)
Amherst College
University of Chicago

I’m really afraid my lack of real academic success will be a big detriment, I really wish I tried harder leading up to now.
That being said, am I being realistic in my choices? If not, suggest schools that are more realistic that are similar to my tastes? I highly prefer the city, specifically NYC (Manhattan), Boston, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Chicago, San Francisco etc.

A big consideration is money. My parents are divorced, my dad makes a good amount of money, however my mom is a self employed artist who makes very little money. I think I would need a lot of financial aid and since NYU has a reputation for being expensive that’s another reason I’m wary.

Anyways I think that’s everything, thanks in advance for any help.

Eugene Lang/New School is a solid academic match for you, but it - like NYU - is fiercely expensive. The same applies to Fordham-Lincoln Center (which should be on your radar). Look into Temple. It is much more reasonably priced than some of the private colleges on your list, and you might even qualify for a merit package. You will have to pay the out-of-state surcharge, but it will still be less expensive than NYU, et al. Pitt is another option, but less likely to offer you any aid. DePaul is less expensive than many colleges on your list, and could be an academic safety for you. It is located in a lively part of Chicago (sort of comparable to Greenwich Village). Although applying early to NYU might give you an edge for admissions, you should proceed very carefully if you are unsure about your financial circumstances. It is binding ED, and that can put you in a very tough situation, especially if your father can afford to send you there. I can’t remember whether they are a CSS school. If so, your father’s resources will be considered for financial aid, and NYU is legendarily nasty about money. You are academically qualified for many of the colleges on your list, but you do not have strong enough stats to win good merit packages, unfortunately.

I don’t know whether Pace is any good for the departments you’re interested. They aren’t strong, overall, in liberal arts, but they are located in Manhattan, and your stats might get you some money from them. If you don’t qualify for a merit scholarship, though, I wouldn’t bother.

Definitely fit for your schools, bring up your SAT score and you’re set. I recommend applying to 1 or 2 of your reach schools

Thanks for the suggestions guys, much appreciated.

Anyone else have any comments?

Sorry, I know this doesn’t help you much, but you need to switch Middlebury over to schools you like, but are huge reaches. It’s just as hard as Bowdoin and Williams.

Ah, you are totally right, I guess I didn’t realize that. Thanks,

Okay. The first thing I will say is this. Go Bernie! Now for your schools. You are probably not getting into any of your “schools you like, but are a huge reach” because of your grades and sat score. It will be more than a huge reach to get into any of those. Now, as for your other schools, I can chance you on NYU, BC, BU, American, and GWU. Your SAT score is low, quite low for NYU and BC, low for BU, and on par with American and GWU. To be competitive for NYU and BC, I recommend getting it up to 2150+ (2200/2250+ for Stern Business if that is what you wanted), for BU (2050/2100+). Your grades are rather weak in my opinion, as well as your class rank. If NYU is really your first choice , I would recommend applying Early Decision 2, so that you have the opportunity to improve your grades and scores and still demonstrate interest. Your course load is weak. Your work experience is not bad. I highly suggest playing up the Amnesty International thing you do. Your ec’s are actually decent in my opinion. I recommend highlighting your experience in political science/international relations in your ec’s because that will demonstrate to colleges that you have a legitimate interest in what you wish to pursue. Your recs sound okay. Really write great essays and I think you may have a shot at some of these schools. As for your chances: NYU - could be anywhere from a high match to reach (this is dependent upon whether you raise your grades, test scores, how well you write your essays, and also whether you decide to apply ED2 (I highly recommend not applying ED1)), BC - Same as NYU (maybe a little harder with no ED), BU - could be anywhere from match to low reach, American - low match/match, GWU - match/high match. Please chance me back! Good luck!

With the exception of the New School, you are not a viable candidate for any of the schools on that list.

Of the ‘schools that I’m considering’ or ‘schools that I like but are a huge reach’? I never expected to get into any of the huge reach schools I mostly just put them there so people can understand my tastes. Now if you mean any of the schools on the entire post I’m going to have to disagree with you, but can you at least elaborate or give me schools that you think are a match for me?

A 1980/3.5 is below-the-line for almost every school you mentioned. Including UNH (which I don’t think you can consider a safety, maybe a high-match at best).

Some of them are really very far out of reach for you (NYU, Middlebury, BU, BC). I think you need to be looking at a very different class of school (one which accepts 70% or more of applicants for example). Anything very competitive 40% acceptance or less is really going to be tough for you.

I certainly know students who have gotten into NYU A & S with comparable stats to the OP’s. It is not out of reach academically (nor is BU), but it is in terms of any financial aid.

Yeah I realize Middlebury and BU/BC are reaches. In fact I didn’t do enough research on Middlebury because it’s very clearly out of my range and I’ve stopped pursuing. But honestly UNH has a 77% acceptance rate and a 1650 avg SAT so with all due respect I think it’s a safety school for me. Thanks for the feedback.

Personally, while The New School may be the easiest to get into on your list, I would say it is one of the finest on your list when really considering what you would like to study and achieve during college. I applied and was admitted to Eugene Lang (3.2 & 29 ACT, Student Government Secretary, Head Design Editor for Yearbook, extensive list of volunteer work and extracurriculars). The New School, being the home of some of the best programs of their kind in the world (Fashion Design at Parsons and Vocal Performance at Mannes), also has some of the best resources for high profile internships and career ops. What attracted me to TNS was how progressive and modern it was - and obviously, the location. If you are truly considering TNS, I would say retake the SAT and get as high as you can - not for a higher admittance chance, but for scholarship opportunities. Your GPA is well in the ballpark range for a generous scholarship, but if you don’t have any extracurriculars, it won’t mean much to a school like Eugene Lang. I was awarded about $25,000 a year in gift aid, but in June, after I had already committed to TNS, they sent out a pamphlet saying the cost of each program, and mine (Dual Degree w/Parsons) was well over $75,000, which blew me away because I had been falsely directed to think it would only cost around $60k. Do whatever you can for your reach schools, but remember that everything your doing just to get into those schools is just increasing your scholarship money for TNS.