Chance me @NYU, UMich, and USC. (from a most likely unrealistic junior)

Hi everyone :slight_smile:
when I am posting this it is April 8th 2021.


Location: Suburban Minnesota

High Schools Class size: around 800+ students. Pretty large school.

Ethnicity/Race/sex/sexuality: Jewish straight white male.

household income: around 120k a year

prospective major: economics, management, or maybe film. I am pretty undecided.

Education and stats:
my school grades on a 4.0 scale with no weighted GPA.
UW GPA: 3.85

Class rank: N/A (school doesn’t do it)

have not taken the ACT but plan to this summer. Might apply test-optional.

Courses I have taken overview:
I have taken most of the hardest classes possible throughout high school. I will be taking 12-13 AP’s and have taken 5 honors courses. In addition, I have taken 3 years of Spanish courses.
AP classes:
Freshman year: APCSP - scored a 3
Sophomore year: APCSA - didn’t take the exam. AP micro - scored a 3
Junior year: AP calc ab, AP calc bc, APCP, APGov, APES, AP lang. I will be taking all of these exams this year.
senior year I am planning on taking: AP macro, AP stats, and AP bio or AP lit (I haven’t decided.)

I think it is important to note the size of my school so getting these spots was not the easiest thing to do.

Varsity Basketball (9-12): In 9th grade, I was on the freshman team. 10th grade, I was on the sophomore team. Junior year and senior year I am/will be on the varsity team. I also have done 14U 15U 16U and now 17U AAU basketball which is basically just a spring and summer league. Lastly, I do basketball summer camps ran through my school’s head coach 3-5 days a week all throughout July and Aug.

Student council (10-12) - Elected two years in a row and running for class president. I feel my chances are very good and if I do not get president I will get Vice-president. Plan events and talk to the admin about things the student body wants.

Creator of a podcast (10-11): I made a school podcast where we interviewed school faculty, admin, and clubs. Have 20+ episodes but corona made it super hard to do them so it is currently at a holt.

Key Club (9-12): Freshman and Sophomore year I was just a member of the club. My school’s key club has over 180 students and I was chosen to be an officer as the publicist my junior year. The officer team consists of 7 people and I am currently one of these as the publicist. I will most likely be co-president my senior year.

DECA (10-12): A business club at my school with 200+ students. I have been on numerous committees running events. I have completed my sophomore and junior year as well and am an ICDC (international) qualifier my junior year. I may run for officer but if I get student council president I will not run due to unwritten officer rules at my school.

Varsity Ultimate frisbee (11-12): I play ultimate frisbee in the spring/summer season.

Chess tutor (9-12): My dad runs a chess class and I help out often tutoring and teaching kids how to play.

Fairview hospital Junior volunteer program (10-12): Volunteer at a hospital grabbing stuff for people and helping nurses clean. Corona interuped this obviously but I will be back soon I believe.

National Honor Society: Everyone knows what this is, but at my school, it is basically giving back to the school and community through volunteering and a lot of blood drives. I also got picked to be on the services and drives committee so myself and a group of 8 others lead drives and other service events NHS holds.

Job (9-12): I have worked at a few places like Target and Lunds and Byerlys. usually have done around 15-20 hours a week but I take a leave of absence when basketball season is on. Work a lot more over the summer.

Young Democrats: I am a part of a democratic discussion club basically and we just talk about the current political climate and other issues. We have also held discussions with local political candidates in our community.

DECA state qualifier
DECA state finalist
DECA ICDC qualifier
national honor society

Letters of rec
Going to be great, I have a US history teacher with who I have a great relationship. I will also get another letter from either the deca advisor (who was my teacher as well) or the student council teacher advisor.

I will most likely write my college essay on something with being Jewish because I have a lot to talk about with that.

Colleges I am interested in:
NYU, Umich, Upenn, Fordham, UCLA, Duke, Carleton, Bowdoin, UCI, University of Minnesota, USC, Northeastern, Northwestern, and Cornell.

I know these are all mostly reaches. I will obviously apply to safeties too. My dream is NYU or Umich. I understand Upenn and Cornell are impossible but I thought I would include them because I do love the schools.

I want to say thanks for reading all of this if you made it this far. Please give me any advice you may have!! Im hoping you could answer these questions too.

Is applying test-optional a bad idea with my GPA and course work?
What major should I apply for at most schools to give me the best chance at getting in with my EC’s and coursework?
What else should I do to better my chances of admission to NYU specifically?

Hi! Congrats on all your achievements! You’ve got some pretty solid ECs and academic record. I’d say you have a decent chance at the schools you’re applying to. Just remember that any school <20% acceptance is pretty much a gamble, no matter how good your stats are.

As for test optional, look at the middle 50 test scores for the colleges you’re applying to, as well as the middle 50 GPA. If your GPA is below the median, submit your test score if it’s above the median for that same school. If your GPA is above the median, you could go w/o submitting your test score, but again, look at the median test score for that same school. Above = submit, below = maybe not.

I think if you’re applying for film, you have to submit some portfolios. My friend is a film major and she had to make some shorts to submit, and there was a separate creative essay for some of the schools. Based on your ECs, either econ or management would be fine, just be prepared to be able to write essays on why you chose those majors and relate them to your ECs/experiences.

Since you’re a junior, there’s really nothing you can do right now short of winning a Nobel prize/going to the Olympics that will make a HUGE difference to your app. Maybe over the summer, try getting an internship/volunteer at something econ/management related? If you just search up local companies and cold email people there, you should be able to hear back from at least one. Make sure you specify that you’re okay being unpaid, too.

More tips that I have learned this admissions cycle: try not to get your heart dead set on a school, in your case NYU. Because admissions is so weird, it’s really common to see qualified people getting rejected to lots of places. Try to fall in love with other schools, too. What is it about NYU that you really love? Is it the city location? In that case look at other schools on east coast cities. Is it the integrated city/campus? Also try looking for more targets. I use acceptance rates as a guideline, so try and find some schools that are 30%-50% acceptance rates. And if cost is going to be an issue, find some “lower tier” schools that are going to give you more merit aid.

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Step #1: what is your budget? Can your parents pay $80,000 x 4 years for NYU? NYU does not promise to meet financial need and they are not particularly generous with $$. UCI and UCLA will be $65,000 x 4 years w/ no financial aid for an OOS student.

Step #2: your college is list is all over the place! There might (?) be students for whom all those places are a match- but I don’t can’t think of any. There seem to be a lot of large unis- but then there’s Bowdoin and Carleton. There’s a lot of notably outgoing places (eg Duke, Mi, etc), but also Cornell. And so on. Maybe back up & figure out what you ‘love’ about NYU and UMi, and look for more schools that share important / relevant similarites across a range of selectivities- and that you can actually afford. No point getting admitted if you can’t go b/c you can’t pay for it!

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