Chance Me UNC Chapel Hill, Georgia Tech, Boston University, Cornell, Princeton, Stanford.

I’m a white male from a rich white town. Biggest flaw of the application right there.
I go to public school and I will be applying as a biochemistry premed.

GPA: 4.33W, 3.9 UW (my school does UW weird)
SAT: 1540 (760 ERW, 780 Math)
8 AP Classes: AP Phys 1, AP Phys 2, AP Chem, APUSH, AP Calc AB, AP Bio, APES, AP Gov

I had my counselor emphasize that I went from a 4.1 freshman year to a 4.38 sophomore year, and a 4.5 junior year (I have a 4.84 right now) in her letter of rec.


  • Captain of school science bowl team
  • Founder and President of a school recycling club that also raised money for a local food bank
  • Senior member of my town's youth government
  • 700+ assorted hours of volunteering with children
  • I've been volunteering monthly at my church since 4th grade
  • Member of NHS and Science Science Honor Society but that's a participation award
  • I was just about to start volunteering at a hospital before COVID-19 hit
  • Track Team freshman and sophomore year. (COVID again)


  • National Merit Semifinalist (226 raw)
  • Received 2nd place out of a 54 school competition in the Galvanic Cell Car division at the Northeast Regional Science Bowl

I have no other awards lol

My essay is about how my grandfather and uncle were both killed in completely different situations as a result of big pharma. My uncle’s doctor had been given incentives to prescribe painkillers, eventually resulting in my uncle overdosing on OxyContin that he had been given for a back injury. My grandfather died after he experienced a side effect that was known to occur in some patients by the drug company yet was unlisted on his cancer medication. I’m relating it to my goals to one day be a doctor and the ethics of fast-tracking the COVID-19 vaccine.

My teacher recommendations will be amazing because I really got to know one of the teachers and he was my track coach, chemistry teacher, and was heavily involved with running the club that I founded.

Do I have a good shot at UNC Chapel Hill, Georgia Tech, Boston University, and Cornell?

I’m not even going to ask about Stanford or Princeton because I know that’s a really small chance no matter what.

You probably already know that UNC-CH is squirrelly for OOS, b/c of their cap on OOS students.

I hope the ratio of you : the story of your uncle/grandfather + vaccine ethics in your essay is the right way round. The point of the exercise is for the AOs to read it and think ‘this is just the kind of person we need to be part of our campus community’. IOW, it’s about showing you and your strengths, not telling stories about other people.

The number of ‘here’s the tragic/inspiring story of how I decided to be a doctor’ essays that AOs read every year is staggering: make sure you don’t get lost in the telling of it, and watch out for clichés. Princeton in particular is going to want to know what you have done with your realization: what have you done that shows how you took these events that were life-altering for you and acted on it. They say ‘if you tell us that you learned something major from an experience, we want to see what you have done with what you learned - how you have acted on it, taken it to the next level?’.

Based on skimming your other threads, if you really want to go to med school, I wouldn’t have Cornell on the list (tough on GPAs, which matters a lot for med school), or BU (don’t see what it adds over your in-state flagship or NMF options, for a whacking lot more money). Because you have a healthy, but finite pool of money for UG + G, any place that takes more of those $$ than your in-state flagship should be enough “better” that it’s worth the extra $$- and imo BU is not.

Well, no, it’s not, but- is there anybody on CC who doesn’t think that their demographic is the hardest one for getting into “good” colleges?!

All of these schools are reaches. I would not recommend Cornell, BU, or Princeton for pre-meds.

You can calculate your uwGPA yourself, core courses only, on a 4 point scale. What are your AP test scores?

It sounds like all of these schools are affordable, is that the case? Are you full pay?

Lastly I agree with collegemom that your essay has to be about who you are today. 5% circumstances, 95% you. AOs aren’t admitting your family members.

I am not sure I would talk about the ethics of fast-tracking a covid vaccine…we really have no idea where we are with this, because there is no vaccine yet and there might not be for a long time.

It would require an advanced level of industry knowledge and deft writing to be critical of pharma vaccine development during a pandemic when literally the entire world is waiting for pharma to save it/allow daily life to normalize.

I can absolutely promise you that middle and upper middle class white males are, and will continue to be, well-represented on college & university campuses. You are not at any sort of systemic socio-economic or cultural disadvantage. And, I truly hope you don’t allow the hint of that to bleed through on any of your apps. It would not be a good look.

For future reference (for any remaining apps, or for anyone else who may be reading this)-- If I had the opportunity to direct a letter of recommendation from a high school counselor, I’d ask them to focus on school community impact vs. academic results (which will be apparent from a transcript). Particularly so for selective college admissions, and merit-based scholarships. Some of the best advice that I got, and that I passed on to my own student was this; great students come a dime a dozen at “great schools”. What sets you apart from ALL of the many other great students? How did you use your intelligence and character to make a positive impact in your school community? What legacy are you leaving them? ← That’s the basis for the counselor recommendation that you want.

It’s hard to tell from the description of your essay, but I hope that (ultimately) your essay is about YOU. I hope it reveals elements of your personal strength, character, passion(s), growth, evolution, and engagement. It hope it tells YOUR story, not your uncle or grandfather’s stories (as heartbreaking as it sounds… and I’m sorry for your losses.). And, I hope it reveals the true you that the decision-makers will want to meet, see on their campus, and desire to be a part of their community.

Realistically, maybe this year more than any other, it’s nearly impossible to “chance” students. The ever-evolving nature of college admissions keeps us all guessing. Good luck! :slight_smile:

Wow… Y’all tore apart my application there. Thank you though because that was constructive criticism that I needed.

I don’t want to apply to BU, Cornell or Princeton, I don’t think that they make sense, but my mom said she will refuse to pay for my applications if I don’t apply to those 3. I still haven’t been given a reason for why she likes these schools.

I’ll definitely take the advice about making my college essay more about me than about my grandfather and uncle. Sadly I probably won’t be able to apply to UNC by Thursday with the amount of edits I have to make, because it was written about a “meaningful experience” for my National Merit Essay, but I agree that the common app essay should be more personal.

Since you are almost certainly going to be a National Merit Finalist, I would recommend that you look at college with good merit scholarships for NMFs.

While attending Cornell may be more prestigious, I think that attending, for example, U Florida on a full ride scholarship is far better for a pre-med.

I agree with the above posts. If you’re looking at doing medicine, you can’t go wrong attending somewhere in-state. First, Medical school is expensive, and you’ll need to keep the down in your undergraduate. Second, state medical schools give preference to state residents, making that your single best chance for medical school. Third, if you decide against medicine, you’re in an affordable school, so you don’t have to transfer.

I think posters that always say go to the a cheap public university to get a better GPA are a little misguided. Top students sometimes want to be challenged and pushed and succeed in a competitive environment. Maybe you are one of those students who when faced with challenges, overcome them and grow personally and academically. One of my close friends wanted to be a doctor and attended Yale undergrad and went to medical school at Yale. Attending an ivy undergrad didn’t kill his GPA and in fact probably helped him get into Yale medical school. He got a world-class education that will stay with him the rest of his life, in private practice and beyond.

Could he have attended a cheaper in-state undergraduate school like San Diego State Univeristy, yes, but would he have received a first-class undergraduate education that helped him succeed in graduate school, we will never know.

Also, remember that many prospective pre-med students decide in college that they do not want to be doctors so the undergraduate education you actually get over those 4 years is critical to your career path going forward.

To the OP, regarding the colleges on your list, they are mostly reach colleges, so make sure you have a good mix of match and safety colleges just in case. Well done…

@socaldad2002 Obviously I’m not going to have you chance me for my safety schools lol. Based on my school’s statistics I think that UNC, GIT, and BU are matches for me, and I also have University of Richmond and possibly University of Rochester as other matches. For safeties I have UConn, U Maryland, Clemson, Providence, and Baylor. I really like Baylor and it’s my favorite school on my list, but all of my safeties are dependent on how much merit aid they give me.

I don’t think you understand the term matches.

UNC is a match type school ONLY for in state. OOS is preeeettty much a hope and a prayer type situation.

Agree with the above that UNC is a reach, not match for OOS. GTech (if OOS) and BU are reaches too, as all have less than 20% acceptance rates.

Make sure you are demonstrating interest at BU (where it’s listed as important to the admissions decision. OTOH you say you don’t want to go to BU, so a good way to ensure a denial is to send in a stealth app), GTech, and any other schools that consider demonstrated interest in the admissions decision.

A school can’t be a safety unless it’s affordable. Do you have any affordable safeties? Have you run the net price calculators for each of these schools?

Please do take a look at schools that offer full rides, or close to it, for NMFs…UF system/Benaquisto, UT Dallas, U New Mexico, U Alabama.

@mom2boys1999 Again, I’m looking at the stats for my high school. Of the people with a GPA and SAT similar to mine, 8 of 8 have been accepted to UNC, I know what a match school is, and this isn’t a hope and prayer situation. I’m also way above the 75th percentile SAT score of 1470.

Same goes for Georgia Tech and Boston University, but these are even closer matches based off of previous admissions cycles from my school with way higher acceptance rates from my school than the national average.

Remember, you could be “over qualified” for some of these colleges and they might not accept you if they feel you will not attend if accepted (i.e. yield is important).

What is your budget for UG?

Publics are often significantly more lenient with instate that OOS stats. In fact, UNC does break down the stats between IS and OOS, and it also appears the stat you have is out of date. For the entering class this year, the 75th percentile for instate is 1500, and the 75th percentile for OOS is 1540. That puts you in the middle 50, not “way above” the 75th percentile. Furthermore it’s possible, as with many other schools just below the top 10-20, that the admit middle 50 is a little higher than the entering middle 50.

Adding…a not-insignificant proportion of OOS students are recruited athletes. So, some of those recruits likely pull down the average OOS test scores, meaning those for unhooked students are actually higher than what we can see.

@socaldad2002 Aside from the fact that, say, UFL is an excellent college, the finances of medical school are such that spending a lot less money on attending a private college for undergrad can mean a lot less debt from medical school.

Since the OP is almost certain to at least be an NMF, that means that they can attend UFL, for example, for free. That is $300,000 less than what they would pay for, say, Cornell.

having spent $250,000 on a medical degree is a far better way to start life as a low paid resident than having spent $550,000. If the OPs parents have enough put aside for one or the other, this is the difference between having $250,000-$300,000 in student loan debt, and having $0 in student loan debt.

UNC and GT are not matches unless you are in state. Is your unweighted GPA out of 4.0? Recycling an essay is not a good look unless you customize it for the prompt, which in the case of the common app asks about YOU. Also if you want to go to medical school, grades and cost are super important. There are plenty of people in top tier medical schools who knocked it out of the park at a state school. . .

Getting in really isn’t the issue here. The problem is getting a stack of acceptances to a bunch of schools you can’t afford. Do yourself a favor. Find out if you can afford them before you apply, otherwise you’re wasting your time. If you have to co-sign student loans to pay for it, then you can’t afford it, especially if you’re thinking about medicine. Florida has the cheapest tuition in the country, and state medical schools favor state residents. Staying in FL is a huge advantage for you.

@coolguy40 I live in CT, but FL would be free assuming I become a NMF. I have a $250k college fund + my parents will continue adding $1k a month until I’m done with schooling, and they have an additional $120k set aside in case I may need it for med school.
In total that’s $420k

All of this combined is enough for an OOS public school undergrad+med, but its not enough for an $80k/year private school if I wish to complete medical school with no debt.

The $120k was money that my parents were going to put towards retirement so I’m trying to stay on the cheaper / free side so that I can graduate with no debt without having my parents have to work an additional year.