Chance Me: Vassar, Oberlin, Columbia

<p>My GPA certainly isn't what you would want it to be for any of these schools, I wouldn't even consider Columbia, but I'd be third-generation. So I was wondering if anyone has any experience as to how important GPA is at these schools and how much test scores/a stellar essay can make up for a lousy one. Thanks!</p>

<p>I might apply early decision to Vassar.<br>
I'll probably declare a molecular biology/biochem major (I don't know, this might make a difference at a liberal arts school.)</p>

Independent School
Family income ~$80,000</p>

ACT: 33 (retaking it in the fall after prep, hoping for a 35)
SAT: 720 Reading, 720 Math, and 750 Writing
SAT II's: 750 US History, 750 Biology M</p>

From what I'm told, our school is recognized as being pretty rigorous academics-wise.
My school offers 7 AP courses and no IB program</p>

<p>I have a cumulative 3.5/4.0, with a 3.8 junior year
I had a 3.2 sophomore year :(</p>

<p>Junior Year Courses:
French IV: A-
English: A
AP U.S. History: B
AP Biology: A
Honors Precalc: A-</p>

<p>Next Year I'm taking
Honors Physics
AP Statistics
AP Literature
Honors French V
Medieval History/Art</p>


<p>This summer I'm volunteering at a children's nature camp (~80 hrs)
In addition I've done other volunteering at our local park district and with Obama's presidential campaign (~10 hrs each)</p>

JV lacrosse - 9th grade
JV tennis - 10th, 11th grades
Club indoor soccer - 9, 10 (captain 10th grade)</p>

our school's Gay-Straight Alliance - 9,10,11th grades
Science Club (founding member/I'll probably be president next year) - 11
Model UN- 10,11 (won 1 individual award, 1 team award)
Yearbook - 9
Quiz Bowl - 11</p>

<p>Chaired my school's annual Issue Day (entirely junior run conference)</p>

<p>Help the local university collect data at some vernal pools, 11th grade</p>

<p>Also, I'm hoping to take 2 courses at OSU's Stone Lab this summer.</p>

Our school hosts an essay writing workshop, I got good feedback on my essays, and I'm pretty confident I can turn in something memorable.</p>