Chances at selective universities? Please!

<p>I am at the end of my junior year and starting the college process. I am a unique candidate for a few reasons and I think I need some perspective on my chances at the top universities. Some of the schools I am looking at include:
The Ivys: Yale, UPenn, Harvard, Cornell, Brown
Others: Georgetown, UMich, Tufts, Johns Hopkins, etc...
Safties: Emory (?)</p>

<p>I need to know if I need to be more realistic with my selections and if I need to reevaluate where I'll be applying. Please help!</p>

<p>Here's a description of my credentials:</p>

<p>Gender: Female
Ethnicity: White
High School: A large public school (1500 people) in a middle class suburb in Connecticut</p>

<p>Course load/Grades:
Even though my class doesn't technically do the "ranking" system, I was just made aware that I have the highest GPA in my class of about 375 students. I have never gotten below an A-. </p>

<p>Ninth Grade:
Honors Geometry
Modern World History (Required class)
Spanish V Honors (I was accelerated two years in Spanish, most kids were at the III level)
Chinese I (No honors available)
Jazz Ensemble
Gym
Honors Earth Science
English 9 Honors (First semester) then I was skipped ahead a grade to English 10 Honors for the second semester</p>

<p>Tenth Grade:
AP English Language (Usually an 11th grade class)
AP Spanish Language (Usually a 12th grade class)
AP Modern European History
AP Biology
Algebra II Honors
Chinese II Honors
Gym
Concert Jazz Band (Honors level)</p>

<p>Eleventh Grade:
AP English Literature (Usually a 12th grade class)
AP US History
AP Environmental Science
Precalculus Honors
Film Studies (Semester 1), American Govt (Semester 2)--Required
Gym
Chinese III Honors
Concert Jazz Band</p>

<p>Twelfth Grade:
AP American Govt
AP Spanish Literature
AP Economics
AP Calculus BC
Chinese IV Honors
Concert Jazz Band
PE Strategies (A gym class working with special needs children)
English Independent Study: 19th and 20th Century Feminist Literature (I ran out of English classes at my school)</p>

<p>It's a little complicated because I was accelerated in English and Spanish. In addition to this, I have done four other Independent Studies, three in Social Studies (The Aenied, The Canterbury Tales, and The Divine Comedy), and one in Chinese.</p>

<p>Extras:
I basically have a really esoteric interest in Chinese. I have travelled there four times during high school so far, and I am graduating a semester early next year to spend four months in China. I take Chinese classes with native speakers on the weekends. It's weird, I know, but passions generally are!
I also am really involved with Unified programs at our school in which you are partnered with special needs students.
Sports: Varsity field hockey since sophmore year, All-Conference team, Varsity tennis freshmen year
Study flute, clarinet, and saxophone</p>

<p>Testing:
SATs: 2060 (I'm going to take it again), 700 CR, 680 math, 670 writing
AP exams: Mostly 3's and 4's so far
Bottom line with testing: I am a really creative and out of the box thinker, I have always had trouble with standardized tests and I am really concerned that this is going to hurt my application.</p>

<p>Please be brutally honest! My guidence counselor at school tends to be way to positive and I need a realistic third party perspective on my chances at the very top schools. And I also am a double-legacy at UPenn (both of my parents, my uncle, and my brother).</p>

<p>Basically, I am a creative and unique individual. I love to learn and I hope that comes across in my application!</p>

<p>Thank you!</p>

<p>AP scores and SAT scores are awfully low.</p>

<p>Your EC's sound unique (maybe you could write your common app essay on something to do with your passion for Chinese?) but Drought is right about the standardized test scores. I'd recommend that you apply to more safety schools -- Emory seems more like a match than a safety for you, and on the whole, only applying to one safety could come back to haunt you, especially given how competitive college admissions are.</p>

<p>Your test scores really do need to be higher. While it's possible to be admitted with those kinds of scores, it's EXTREMELY rare if you're not hooked (URM, athlete, etc). Otherwise, you look great.
I know the SAT can seem silly and pointless, but at the schools you're looking at, there are tons of applicants with unique passions, tons of talent AND high scores. The bottom line is that you have to compete with people who have everything - you can't give adcoms any reason to throw you out.
Essays are obviously very important - sounds like you'll have a great one if you talk about China. Good luck!</p>

<p>Agreed, your scores are low, and Emory is certainly not safety.</p>

<p>It would be very hard for anyone to call any top 20 university their safety. In your case I definitely would not say so. Coming off of a rough admissions season (as a high school senior) I've learned that you really cannot expect anything from colleges. Fortunately I did get in someone I would love to go to (Rice) particularly because I'm pre-med but other people in my class were not as lucky. This is coming from someone who thought he had at a very legitimate shot at top 10 universities and a 2270.</p>

<p>I think your best shot would be to write the paper in Chinese</p>

<p>Your school-related credentials are excellent. However, as it has been said already, your standardized tests will detract from your application; your 3 and 4 scores on AP classes may cause an adcom to rethink whether or not you had mastered the material.</p>

<p>I'm going to be brutally honest here, so forgive me.</p>

<p>English and Spanish acceleration aside, you're a pretty average applicant. While you may have an esoteric interest, bear in mind that a good number of the individuals who apply to these schools do (mine was hot sauce, capsaicin, and Scoville ratings). Having what seems to be a cool interest is, in the greater scheme of things, not exactly a deal breaker.</p>

<p>For the Ivies, I'm sure you already know it's a crapshoot, even for the 2400 scorers. The schools you listed as "others" are also not shoo-ins; I have a friend with a 2290, great GPA, and a boatload of ECs who was waitlisted at Georgetown. Tufts likes to play the yield game; if your SAT goes up, there's a chance they'll involve you in it.</p>

<p>And as it has already been said, Emory is not a safety.</p>

<p>I don't know what you're considering studying, but since most of your schools are in major metropolises, are you considering others in the same areas? Some suggestions:</p>

<p>Washington, D.C.:
[ul]George Washington University
[<em>]American University[/ul]
Boston:
[ul]Boston University
[</em>]Boston College
[<em>]Northeastern
[</em>]Wellesley [/ul]</p>

<p>I'm not too familiar with schools in RI and PA, so I'm afraid I won't be able to offer suggestions for those locations.</p>

<p>However, I noticed you didn't have University of Chicago on your list. Given your stats, I would encourage you to apply EA - scores aren't necessarily their bigger concern, and they like those who think outside the box. Just based upon your admittedly brief sketch, I think it'd be a great place for you to apply.</p>

<p>Emory would be a reach for you, NOT a safety.</p>

<p>You need to do some serious re-thinking about the mix of schools to which you are applying.</p>

<p>Try something called "research."</p>