Chance my friend for CMU, Rutgers, etc? (High ACT, low GPA)

***Disclaimer: this actually is for a friend haha. My stats are posted elsewhere on this board. Okay, to begin:

Class of 2016. He’s a white male, low-income and first generation to attend college. State of New York. Goes to a rural public high school that rarely sends kids anywhere prestigious.

  • GPA: 3.76 unweighted, 4.04 weighted
  • SAT: 2040 (will not submit)
  • ACT: 35 (35 E, 34 M, 34 R, 35 S, 8 Essay)
  • SAT II's: Has not taken, but will take Math 2 and Chemistry and maybe one other this fall.
  • AP Scores: US History (2 - awful teacher); English Lang (4)

Senior year load:

  • AP Computer Science
  • AP Calc BC
  • AP Chemistry
  • Society, Literature and Truth (honors English/History hybrid course required for all seniors)
  • Computer Integrated Manufacturing (college credit class through Project Lead the Way)
  • Gym
  • Study Hall

Extracurriculars is where he’s lacking, because he’s had a lot of family problems over his high school career that have kept him from being able to participate much. Nevertheless, he’s got a few things:

  • National Honors Society Member
  • Gay-Straight Alliance member for 2 years
  • 60+ hours of volunteering through various minor things
  • 5 years of annual volunteer work for the Tri-County Science Fair

Recs should be great since his teachers love him, and essays should be good too. He’s going to discuss his family problems and how that kept him from participating a lot in activities.

And, finally, here is his school list:

  • Columbia (he knows it's a reach but wants to apply anyway)
  • NYU
  • College of W&M
  • CMU
  • Rutgers
  • University of Rochester
  • Fordham University
  • Rochester Institute of Technology

Can you please chance my friend for the schools listed, and perhaps offer suggestions for other schools he can look into? He wants to stay in the New York area and wants to major in Chemistry most likely, or something related to chemistry. Thanks!

Columbia: Reach
NYU: Match
CMU Mellon: High match
Rutgers SAS/SEBS: Safety
University of Rochester: Match
Fordham: Low match

Are you sure he can afford Rutgers OOS? If he can afford Rutgers OOS… here are a list of suggestions:


From what you posted, affordability is probably going to be at least as important as the ability to get accepted, so I think NYU, CMU and Rutgers aren’t really viable choices.

NYU has some great scholarship options, and your friend seems like he could qualify for one. I’d recommend applying there. Out of the schools you mention Columbia seems like the only reach (of course the ivies are reaches for most everyone). The rest seem like match schools! I’d recommend applying to Columbia ED if he wants a better shot.

I agree with NickFlynn about finances in regard to CMU- theyre pretty stingy with financial aid.

I can’t speak to the other schools, but with CMU, if could honestly go either way. A good friend of mine got rejected from their science department after applying ED and showing a large amount of interest. He had a bit higher GPA but lower ACT. Your friend would want to aim for 750+ on those SAT II’s. Also, if he wants to stay in the NY area, CMU is kind of far away, as is W&M.

University of Rochester, CMU and Columbia may be reaches.
NYU and W&M seem like matches. Rutgers is a safety, he can get merit scholarship there perhaps even through the honors college.

chance me back?