Chance Me, Please!

<p>So I'm looking at applying to the University of MD (College Park), Georgetown, Brown, Dartmouth, and UPenn. As of now, UMD is actually my top school -- yeah, everyone thinks that's pretty strange! I don't know enough about the other schools at this point besides their strong academic programs, great campuses, and good locations. </p>

<p>My school is a fairly competitive private Episcopal school in Potomac, Maryland.</p>

<p>Me:
Gender/Ethnicity -- Male/White</p>

<p>GPA -- 3.9 Unweighted, 4.1 Weighted. My Freshman year wasn't my best (A mix of As and A-s, with one B+), but that was due in part to the death of my father halfway through the year.</p>

<p>Ranking -- No rankings at our school, but I'm in the top 5%, or number 1-3/70, I believe.</p>

<p>Junior year schedule/grades -- AP English Lit. (A), AP US History (A), Physics (A), Precalculus (A), and Spanish III (A)</p>

<p>Senior year schedule -- AP Biology, AP Spanish Language, AP Calculus AB, AP English Language, and Physics II (our school's version of AP Physics)</p>

<p>APs taken -- AP US History (5) and AP English Lit (5). Our school only offers 2 APs before Senior year (US and Lit, obviously) and in Senior year we only have access to 4 (the ones that I'm taking), with AP Psych and Econ as consortium courses designed for students who want to major in those areas (not me). </p>

<p>((As a side note, I'm a little worried because, as of this coming year, our school is adding AP Euro and AP Stat as APs available before Junior year. I, obviously, didn't have access to them, but does our college counselor have to add them to the list of Available APs? And would that list also include consortiums which are NOT at our school and require applications? Basically, will a college see that I took 6 out of 6 available APs, or will it look like I took 6 out of 10, which isn't really the case?))</p>

<p>SAT -- 2090: 760 Reading, 650 Math, 680 Writing. This was on my first attempt, and I was the only one in my class who didn't take prep classes or use any review books. For going into the test cold, I'm fairly proud. I will be taking it again, though, and brushing up and pre-precal math!</p>

<p>SAT IIs -- 720 Mathematics Level 2, 690 Spanish, 770 U.S. History. Again, with no prior knowledge of what was to be expected on the tests since my counselor quit halfway through the year, these don't seem TOO bad. Of course, colleges won't know that :/</p>

<p>ECs:
-- Martial arts all through middle school and high school.
-- Martial arts instructor since Junior year
-- Executive tutor (paid) with P2P Tutors, around 4 hours per week (this is really important to me, I love teaching/tutoring and have been doing it since late middle school)
-- Tutor at the National Center for Children and Families, mostly helping children from abused and broken homes who dropped out of high school to get their GEDs (both of my students passed!), 1-2 times per week
-- Volunteering every Sunday with an ASPCA vet, for a total of well over 100 hours (this is also important, because I'm looking at being a vet)
-- Not sure how good this will look, but I ran track in Freshman year, participated in my school's musical Sophomore year, and played the violin in our Symphonic Rock Orchestra Junior year</p>

<p>((Unfortunately, my school is pretty small, so we don't have many opportunities for ECs))</p>

<p>Awards, etc:
--Inducted into the Cum Laude Society in my Junior year (top 5% of my class)
--Black belt in martial arts
--Finalist as well as 3rd place in the US Capitol Classics Chinese Open (Martial arts)
--Tutor of the Month at my tutoring company
--I went on a community service/language immersion/homestay trip to Honduras for one month this summer. I came back with an additional 40+ hours of community service, teaching in a rural kindergarten (an INCREDIBLE experience), and near-fluent in Spanish.
--Wrote a 61-page thesis on the history of the desegregation movement (specifically the desegregation of the University of Georgia) with an analysis of my one-on-one interview with Vernon Jordan for my APUSH class, don't know if that counts for anything?
--Maryland Distinguished Scholar nominee for Junior year
--High Honor Roll member every trimester since the 2nd of Freshman year.</p>

<p>Recommendations -- Should be excellent, I think. I had multiple teachers ask me if I would like them to write for me, and the two that I chose were my AP History teacher (my favorite teacher ever) and my Precal teacher. They said that they have nothing but good things to say, which I hope is true!</p>

<p>((Would it be a problem that I want to go into the sciences, but have no sci teacher recommendation? My freshman year teacher left the country after my class, and I was told that I couldn't use my sophomore chem teacher that I loved because she didn't teach me junior year. My physics teacher thought that I was lazy (I had an 100% average in the class) because it seemed as if I didn't try in his class, so I wouldn't want to ask him.))</p>

<p>Essay -- It's definitely creative... I'm a pretty good writer, and I had planned to write about my tutoring experience, but I decided to write about what makes me (the white Christian boy) diverse -- it ended up being pretty deep, and my AP Lit teacher read photocopied it and kept it as a model.</p>

<p>I'd really appreciate any feedback that you have about my chances, as well as what I can do to improve.</p>

<p>Thanks in advance!</p>

<p>Non-Ivies look good, but your test scores are a bit weak for the Ivies. That said, if you pulled a 2090 blind, you NEED to study and turn that into a score that will get you into those schools.</p>

<p>Also, you might want to consider adding 2 or 3 schools to your list. I know it sounds crazy, but more is better. You'll have more options and more FA offers to compare. Adding a real honest to god 100% guaranteed safety would be a good idea, as would another match school.</p>

<p>Thanks for the advice. What score should I be aiming for to have a shot at the Ivies, and how would you recommend studying for them?</p>

<p>Are there any schools that you'd recommend for those? My mom and I are kind of driving blind at the moment since we have no college counselor...</p>

<p>Anyone else's feedback about my chances would be greatly appreciated, as well!</p>

<p>A 2200 is a good score to aim at to be competitive without hooks applying to an Ivy. To practice, you basically just need to do a TON of practice tests and go over what you missed. If you find gaps in your knowledge, go back and study that material. There are also SAT/ACT forums on this site you can go to to look for study tips.</p>

<p>If you're willing to go to community college, that can be a safety, or you could look at some OOS public unis that give good merit aid to top students. Look at the websites of some state universities in your neighboring states, and see if they have any beefy merit scholarships and what the requirements are. You don't necessarily <em>need</em> to add a safety, since U of MD will mostlikely accept you (I'd say 80%), but sometimes it's better to be prepared for the worst case scenario.</p>

<p>If you want to add another match, maybe you could look into the world of LACs. You might find you prefer a school like Grinnell, Hamilton, or Bates. They're much smaller and have much more personal interaction between students and professors. If you want to see more possible LACs to apply to, there's a subforum of Colleges and Universities on this site that lists the top LACs.</p>

<p>To practice for the SATs, get the College Board's book of actual tests and take them under test conditions. Analyze where you are weakest and focus on improving in those areas. You need to get those test scores up for most of the schools you mentioned (see the Common Data Set for each of them.)</p>

<p>Not clear what your criteria are for selecting schools. UMD's a great school, especially the honors programs (although the Gemstone program seems to be more targeted at engineers) and it's hard to argue with in-state tuition. Brown, Dartmouth and Georgetown are all mid-sized, but Dartmouth is a small college down, while Brown and Georgetown are urban schools. </p>

<p>So, do you need financial aid? Are you sure you want to stay in the NE or mid-atlantic? Would you consider a liberal arts college? A rural location? What attracts you to the schools you've selected so far? What kind of science are you interested in? Future PhD? Pre-med?</p>