Chance me- Stanford/University of Chicago - applying Fall 2022


  • US citizen
  • Texas
  • Junior, public high school
  • FeMaLe/Hispanic
  • Low income

Intended Major(s)

Major in Astronomy, Astrophysics, or Physics
Might minor in a humanities subject or French.

GPA, Rank, and Test Scores

  • Unweighted HS GPA: 3.7 (4.0 = 100, 3.9 = 99, etc.)
  • Weighted HS GPA: 4.3 (5.0 = 100, 4.9 = 99, 4.8 = 98, etc., APs and Honors weighted on 5.0 but regular weighted on 4.0):
  • Class Rank: 30/576 (Top 5.2%)
  • PSAT Scores: 1180 in 8th, 1220 in 9th. 10th was cancelled due to the virus D:

OnRamps (UT) Fundamentals of Comp. Sci. - A(-) on college transcript
AP World History - 5 on exam
AP Physics 1 - taking exam in Spring
AP U.S History - taking exam in Spring
AP English Lang. - taking exam in Spring
AP French IV

I plan on takng 5-6 more APs in my senior year, including Calc BC, Physics 2 or C, English Lit, Chem, Gov & Macro.

I’m on an advanced math track, Precal in Junior year and AP Calc BC in senior year. Straight A’s minus one semester in Chemistry with an 88. 6 years of French by senior year. 5/4 math credits, 7/4 science credits. This year, I’m in an independent-study astronomy class which will have research, connections to UT Austin, and working with professors.

Planning on having multiple AP scholar awards by the end of the year.
District solo and ensemble- 2 years of receiving 1s (3 being the lowest, 1 being the highest)

…not much else here…

(Include leadership, summer activities, competitions, volunteering, and work experience)
Applied to NASA HAS program.
Going to apply to MITES, a UT Research camp, a Texas Tech Research camp, and multiple astronomy camps, I’m hoping to get at least one of these.
Membership with local astronomical society.
Orchestra for 8 years by senior year.
Volunteering with humane society, Smithsonian transcripts, Hispanic cultural center, and more.
Planning on having a couple of chess tournaments and marathons (likely for charity).
3 months of work experience at a boba shop- left because it was a seasonal job.

(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 = Assured admission at all public Texas universities, Colorado State.
  • Likely = Boston University, Virginia Tech
  • Match = UC Berkeley (probably a reach), SoCal UCs, NYU
  • Reach = Harvard, Stanford, University of Chicago

Thanks guys!!

UCLA and UCB will definitely be Reach schools. SoCal UC’s which are UCI/UCSD/UCR???

You need to calculate your 3 UC GPA’s using this link and only AP/IB courses taken 10-11th grades are used for the extra honors weighting.

UC’s offer no financial aid so make sure $67K/year is affordable.


@Gumbymom is correct, you are out of state and the UC schools aren’t going to give you squat, take them off your list. You also will not get any bump for being hispanic, CA schools do not consider race (or being latina). You actually have a better shot at the private schools on your list as they will consider your heritage, your socio economic status, and if admitted you’ll recieve a full ride (as a low income admit) to your reach schools, which of course will make admittance extremely competitive. As long as your income is below $75K I would apply ED to UChicago as your best chance and if it’s your first choice. If it’s Stanford (or Harvard) apply REA and see what happens. Long shot for all, but you are qualified, just need to convince the AO that you belong there. Finally, be prepared to go to a Texas school.

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This helps a lot, I didn’t even know UCs worked like that. If I get high SAT and ACT scores, like 1500 and 34, how much would that help my chances at UChicago and Stanford? Thanks!

California public schools do not consider race. As previously mentioned they also will not be affordable.

Stanford will consider your race, and being Hispanic will help. It is still a reach.

Have you run the NPCs on your out of state schools?

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Have you considered questbridge or since it’s past applying to the schools that meet 100% need.

The list is odd. BU. Colorado State. What are you seeking in a school?

I’d drop the UC and VA Tech. You can’t afford them.

Usc and BU are highly unlikely and I see no shot at the rest.

You may look at UT Austin, Emory (Oxford College), FrNklin and Marshall.

Your list is overly reach your except Colorado State so you should come down a notch in my opinion. Good luck.

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Actually, you may want to put in an app for USC. USC does consider URM candidates. USC is a private school and they do have a large endowment. They like National Merit Finalists and they try to court them via offers of half tuition. They are very expensive but will fully fund you if they like you-especially if you plan on participating in campus activities like marching band-their band activities are well-regarded by the alumni.

They were heavily recruiting my hispanic children as well as providing lots of tours to local URM high schools. You never know so you may want to put in an app.

I agree you should look into Questbridge if your family income is below $65k per year or so.

Meanwhile I would focus on getting good grades this year and a strong test score. Definitely ok to be thinking about what you want in a school and do some virtual admissions sessions. Take time to figure out what TX schools appeal to you, focusing on ones that will be affordable. What can/will your family contribute for college each year?

Is your HS offering the PSAT this year? If so I would do a bit of prep for that as scoring high and becoming an NMSF or Hispanic scholar could help with scholarship money.

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While I don’t see Stanford happening, I think that your chances at private colleges with holistic reviews processes will be pretty decent, because of your relatively high class rank. At larger colleges, especially public ones, the AOs will simply look at your GPA. While a 3.7 is a pretty good GPA, in the top 25% of most graduating classes, most students in the top 6% of their class have GPAs of 3.9 and over, and that is what many colleges look for, without digging deeper.

Since you will need a lot of financial aid, you really should put your focus on colleges which are need blind, are full need met, and are looking to increase diversity.

Seriously, you should be focused on affordability.

Boston U is a reach and does not promise to meet full need, so consider it unaffordable

VTech - as others have said, unaffordable

All UCs are unaffordable

NYU is a reach and likely unaffordable because they are notoriously stingy with financial aid.

Harvard, Stanford, and University of Chicago are all extremely high reaches (think lottery tickets).

Will Texas public schools provide enough financial aid?

What are you looking for in a college? There are colleges which will be full need met, and will see your GPA in the context of being in the top 6% of your graduating class. Those are the ones you should focus on, not on lottery tickets or colleges which your family cannot afford.

You’ve done very well, but you should apply based on your needs, which include financial needs.

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Those would be “qualifying” scores, so academically you would be qualified, but so are 10’s of thousands of other applicants. You’ll need to stand out in other ways.


@MWolf Boston University now meets full need as it calculates that need to be.


That’s relatively new and welcome news.

The UChicago admissions has made a focused effort to get more students from TX. They’ve been test optional for several years now (even before the pandemic). So if you present yourself well thru essays, this might be a good option.

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That’s good to know, thanks!

Ttbh I didn’t expect to get any responses, thanks for all the advice. I’m well aware of my financial situation and the cost of reach colleges, just wanted to see what people would say. Thanks again!

I don’t have enough knowledge about each school on your list to guess your chances, but I would urge you to consider Carleton College.

Look at Carleton’s website page for its unique Physics and Astronomy department. There are some interesting research projects going on there and a cool historic observatory.

Plus Carleton was just named one of the institutions that’s part of a $500 million initiative to serve underserved populations.

I think Carleton would really like you. With a 19% acceptance rate, it is less selective than Stanford, but about the same as Boston University.

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I’ll check that out, thanks!

I would recommend that you also look at additional liberal arts colleges which are full-need-met and have an astronomy or astrophysics major.

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