Chances/advice much appreciated

<p>I'm starting my college applications soon, and I was hoping for some outside thoughts on where I should apply to and what my chances are of getting in. I currently have a long list of schools I'm considering, but for my sanity and parents' pocket book, I'm not going to be able to apply to them all. Here's what I'm thinking about:</p>

<p>Reaches: Stanford (currently my top choice, but this tends to change) Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Carnegie Mellon, Harvey Mudd</p>

<p>I'm also considering MIT and Caltech since I originally loved the idea of a top tech school, but looking at my resume, I don't think my math and science is strong enough for a chance to get in.</p>

<p>Matches: UCLA, UC Berkeley, maybe Claremont McKenna or Pamona, but these will likely be the first on my list to drop</p>

<p>Safeties: UC Davis, Cal Poly, maybe UC Santa Cruz or UC Santa Barbara, but I'm thinking three safeties might be excessive</p>

<p>My stats/resume/whatever you call it:</p>

<p>Scores
SAT I 2170
700 Math 720 Reading 750 Writing
I'll probably retake this since it was my first one, I did not prepare at all, and I expected a higher math score (I think I got a 78 in math on my PSAT)</p>

<p>SAT II
800 on Math II, 780 on Chem, 710 on Literature (but I think most colleges only ask for the top 2, right?)</p>

<p>ACTs
Scores come out soon. If I do really well I probably won't retake SATs and use them, but if I don't do as well, I'll just use SAT scores.</p>

<p>Grades
4.0 unweighted, I think my weighted is around 4.3</p>

<p>I've always taken the hardest classes available, but I don't take the AP classes that are a joke at my school (Stats, Psych, etc.) so my weighted GPA is not the highest in my class. I think I'm ranked somewhere between 2-5 out of about 430. I also took AP calculus AB in my junior year, and since my high school does not offer the next level, I'm opting out of a math class for senior year.</p>

<p>ECs:
This is probably my weakest category since I felt like padding my resume was a waist of times, and so I do not have many ECs</p>

<p>Journalism:
I joined in the second semester of my sophomore year, recruited to be a copy editor. I opted against running for editor-in-chief mostly because, as a copy editor, I felt I didn't have the right experience. My teacher did, however, give me the award for best student in the class. I've also won two awards (2nd and 3rd place) for a journalism county competition. I am currently working as a summer intern for the local newspaper.</p>

<p>Academic Decathlon:
I joined the class as a junior and basically fell in love with it. I've organized study sessions last year and again this summer. I'm definitely team captain for next year and my coach called me team captain after the first competition last year, but that wasn't too official.
I won 1st overall in the regional competition, winning seven medals for individual events (golds in science, language and literature, and art)
For state I got third in my division with two bronze medals for interview and science</p>

<p>I am now writing for a company that produces decathlon study material (DemiDec), which is classified as a paid internship. It was a highly competitive spot to get (I'm one of seven writers chosen from across the nation, most of whom are already in college) and I will write material that will be used by thousands of students.</p>

<p>Others:
Those are really the only two activities that are important to me. I've done volunteer math tutoring during 9th and 10h grade, and a little miscellaneous volunteer work. I won a couple trophies in chess as a child, but I gave that up a long time ago. I won second twice in the AMC for my junior high school, and I took another second place in a county math competition during sophomore year. (And I was beaten by the same guy all three times in case you are wondering why I keep getting second) I also got second in a poetry recitation contest for the school.</p>

<p>Essays:
I haven't written them yet, though I have a bunch of possible options I'm pondering over. These should be pretty good since I write similar pieces (possibly even similar enough to recycle) for the newspaper's opinion page, and my teacher thinks they are amazing.</p>

<p>Letters of recommendation:
Should be great.
My Academic Decathlon assistant coach is also my AP Calculus and future AP Physics teacher, and he thinks I'm amazing.
My journalism adviser was my 9th grade English teacher and should be my 12th grade English teacher. We've worked really closely and she thinks I'm a wonderful student.</p>

<p>Interviews:
I know they probably don't count for much, but any interviews should be to my advantage since I practiced a lot for the decathlon and even won a medal at state level.</p>

<p>Any suggestions, advice, chances, etc. would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!</p>

<p>Also, I'm a white female from a middle class family, so my background isn't going to help much.</p>

<p>Thanks in advance for any advice!</p>

<p>Hi there, i really think you should give Caltech/MIT a try. You must get your math SAT I score up to 800, express your passion for science in the essay, and i'll say you definitely have a reasonably good chance at Caltech, especially if you apply EA. Caltech loves students who are great at math and science! Anyway, i think Carnegie Mellon and Harvey Mudd aren't reaches for you. In fact, i think you'll probably get accepted by them. Caltech only needs two SAT subject test scores and your subject test scores are good enough. All the best! (:</p>