Chance Me (T20, LACs, Oxford, UMich, UVA)

Hi guys!
I would love it if you could chance me. I’m a rising senior. I know this is a long list, but I would love any insight into any of these schools. I have such varying interests, and I am having a hard time narrowing down the list. Without being able to visit most of these schools, I would love any insight/chance me’s. Thanks!

Cornell ILR
Claremont McKenna
Chapel Hill
South Carolina

-White female
-probably political science/international relations focus

GPA: 4.37 (only one semester B in Calc)

ACT: 35 (first attempt composite)
36 English
34 Math
34 Science

SAT: 1530 (first attempt composite)
800 R/W
730 Math

APs: not the strongest scores…
Freshman- none (none offered at school)
Sophomore- AP World (4)
Junior- Physics, Calc BC (3), APUSH (4), US Gov (4), Lang (5)
Lit, Latin, Macro, Euro, Chem (+Calc 3 but not AP)

Subject Tests: also a weaker point
World (680), taking Lit/APUSH/Math 2 in the fall and hoping for some 700+s

Essays: should be strong, topics I have already started are pretty niche, extensive writing experience and strong voice

Recommendations: maybe 8/10? thinking Chem or Lang teacher and latin teacher who was also freshman history teacher and asst principal (very close)

(not political/activism related)
Journalism- Editor in Chief of online and print magazine 2 years, section editor and contributor 4 years
Swimming- 4 years varsity, Captain, club team for 10 years, boys team manager 3 years
Mock Trial- schools highest team, won regionals but state was cancelled due to COVID
Special Olympics Basketball/Flag Football Partner
New Student Ambassador
Youth Group- Synod Youth Rep (represented youth from over 150 churches in 3 states)
Diversity Action Club
Quiz Bowl + Knowledge Bowl

Political ECs:
State House Campaign Intern- phone bank, donor research, etc

High School Dems- state’s executive communications director… draft all press releases/media advisories/social media

Education Advocacy Fellow @ youth policy think tank

state Youth Advisory Council- draft and propose policy to state legislature… one of my most formative political experiences + running for exec board this year

College Board youth advisor

Developed podcast with state department of education interviewing prominent local legislators about youth financial literacy

Youth leadership team for new crisis hotline with state’s office of behavioral health

6 week virtual training by organization for young women who want to go into electoral politics

AP scholar w distinction
National award for commentary writing about the adverse risks of single use plastics
several local journalism and math awards
highest honors 4 years
3 varsity letters swimming, 1 mock trial, 1 special olympics
school character leadership award

Volunteer/Work Experience/Other:
Lifeguard 2 years

60+ hours at local group home/school for children with trauma-based behavioral difficulties

Travelled to Tijuana for journalism trip to interview people at the US-Mexico border and produce a documentary

One of 3 students selected to attend state leadership conference by faculty

Miscellaneous service with church/women’s shelter

This is a list of all reaches except S Carolina. Everyone, no matter how strong of an applicant needs a balanced list with matches and safeties.

I’d encourage you to read this thread on how to narrow down your list:

Agree you need more matches and at least one affordable safety that you would be happy to attend.

What can/will you family pay for college per year?

Assuming you want to apply to Oxford for PPE then I think it’s pretty unlikely you will get an interview, because they are very focused on AP scores and the 3 in Calc BC is a major red flag. UK economics courses are math heavy and it seems like you are stronger in writing.

Unless you want to apply to a range of UK schools and would be seriously interested in attending eg St Andrews, then I would drop the idea, because there’s a lot of work involved in the process for you and your reference writer, including the prep required for the TSA.

Boston ?

I like some of the contrasts:

Berkeley & Pepperdine

Chicago & Brown

NYU & Williams

Large Universities & Small LACs

South, New England, Northeast, Upper Midwest, West Coast, but nothing in Texas or in the Pacific Northwest and you forgot Canada.

28 schools is a reasonable starting point, but there does not seem to be any clearly identified parameters or preferences so it is hard to help you refine your list.

Do you want to continue swimming in college ?

Why South Carolina ? Why Pepperdine ? Why Tulane ?

BU or BC ?

P.S. For political Science / International Relations, consider the joint degree program offered by the College of William & Mary with St. Andrew’s in Scotland.

P.P.S. Any interest in applying ED ? If so, consider Claremont McKenna College (already on your list of schools).

Yes! Sorry, I should have made that more clear. I have a few more “safety” and match schools that I took off the list. (LMU, Boulder, etc). Just wanted to know my chances on some of the reaches.

I was definitely aware of that but was hoping that a high score on Math 2 subject test could be sent rather than the AP? Is that not true?

I did some prep work already for the TSA and have been doing very well, so I was hoping that with a strong TSA score and Subject Test it would be feasible.

Yes! Sorry, I should have made that more clear. I have a few more “safety” and match schools that I took off the list. (LMU, Boulder, etc). Just wanted to know my chances on some of the reaches. My family will probably be able to pay full tuition.

You have to report all scores on your UCAS application. You can’t hide/ignore the less flattering ones.

Ohhh. That’s helpful to know. Thanks

tbh, the 3 on Calc BC is a red flag, but even if you cheated and didn’t report it and got a highMath 2 score (which is notably less rigorous than Calc BC or A level math)(2 big IFs), you have only achieved 1 5 in all your AP outings. All those 4s - in relevant courses- are also a red flag.

There are two challenges for you in the UK: the AP test format doesn’t seem to suit you- but a single big exam at the end is the norm in the UK (for PPE the only grades that count are the exams at the end of your 1st and 3rd years). More importantly, you say that your interests are varied, while the UK specializes in…specialization.

And, as @Publisher noted- you have some clanging extremes in your prospective college list. I suggest starting with focusing on sorting some of those things out first.

Btw for Oxford you need a minimum of 3 5s on APs and while specific tests not required they do put an emphasis on related subjects like macro micro and calc bc.

Speculating on a big list really doesn’t help, especially when all these schools are either private or out of state. The best way reduce the list is to talk to your parents about how much they’re actually willing to pay for. After that, I can almost guarantee your list will be reduced dramatically. The bank account always wins, no matter how convincing the argument.

Also, consider scholarships. Uncertainty is the new normal right now. A layoff, business failure, etc can make these schools unaffordable very quickly, and it would be very good to have guaranteed money in writing for 4 years. That’s a far better deal than anything prestige can offer.

I know it seems like a really wide list, but my top 3 I would want to ED/ SCEA at are Yale, Cornell ILR, and Brown… What do you think my chances are in regards to those schools if I were to ED/SCEA ?

As far as safeties go, I have been thinking LMU and Boulder… Would you consider those strong safety schools?