Chances for an Ivy--any hope at all?

<p>This is my first post to CC, but I've been browsing the forums for a few months now. Frankly, I'm intimidated by the sheer amount of academic talent and extracurriculars it takes to get into an Ivy League university. I come from a high school that hasn't sent anyone to Harvard since 1989 (that student now holds mythic status among the guidance counselors). </p>

<p>I consider myself a good student, and I know my ECs are great for an in-state college, but I'm afraid I might be deluding myself when it comes to the Ivies. I have ANY chance of getting into an elite university? Or should I save some money and apply somewhere less prestigious?</p>


<p>User Name: kayabertz
Gender: F
Ethnicity: White
Location: Florida
College Class Year: 2013
High School: Public
High School Type: rarely sends grads to top schools
Will apply for financial aid: Yes</p>

[<em>] GPA - Unweighted: 4.00
[</em>] GPA - Weighted: 4.70
[<em>] Class Rank: 1/450
[</em>] SAT I Math: 650
[<em>] SAT I Critical Reading: 800
[</em>] SAT I Writing: 770
[<em>] SAT II World History: 580
[</em>] SAT II Math Level 2 (IIC): 650
[<em>] SAT II Chemistry: 580
[</em>] AP: I'm taking US History, Calc AB and MicroEcon.
[<em>] Extracurriculars (leadership in parenthesis): Model UN, Youth in Government (president), Academic Team (captain), Student Council (VP), Principal's Advisory Committee (Executive Director--the club name is misleading, we actually organize leadership conferences for high school and middle school students), National Honor Society
[</em>] Honors and Awards: Best Civil Attorney, Best Bill, Runner-Up Outstanding Statesman (Statewide awards from Youth in Gov't)
Best Delegation (twice) (regional award from Model UN)
Member of county Academic Team
[<em>] Volunteer/Community service: I used to give tours at a local history museum, but I stopped after I had 200 hours in sophomore year.
[</em>] Essays: They'll be decent...I'm an okay writer, but I plan to have 5-6 people read and critique my drafts so they're presentable
[<em>] Teacher Recommendations: One will be glowing, the other average (I already know the teachers I'm going to ask)
[</em>] Counselor Rec: Will rave about me (she really wants to send someone to the Ivies again)
[li] Additional Rec: Also very positive (from my Academic Team coach)[/li][/ul]General Comments: Lousy Subject Test scores, I know, but I'll (hopefully) raise them in May when I retake the SAT II.</p>

<p>If you think I'm a "maybe", I'd love to hear any ideas you have for improving my chances. If I have no chance at all at the Ivies...well, that's okay too.</p>

<p>Looks good! The only way to make it better would be to bring up your sat 2's and your sat math. I would recommend taking 3 sat 2's in june, namely us history, literature, and maybe math 2c again. you want those to be high because apparently, at the ivies, the sat 2's hold the same weight as the sat and class rank. Good luck!
oops. I didn't see that you were retaking in may. well nvm then.</p>

<p>SAT II's all need to come up.</p>

<p>SAT I Math score should be raised.</p>

<p>gpa/rank are excellent.</p>

<p>I see leadership postitions in your EC...great</p>

<p>200 hours of community service is impressive.</p>

<p>In essence, the only detriments to your application are you test scores. Everything is fine. good luck</p>

<p>You might consider taking the US History SAT II instead of retaking World History, since you're taking APUSH now and the prep isn't that different. You might also think about looking at some of the selective liberal arts colleges.</p>

<p>Thanks so much for the advice, everyone! I'm going to take the US History and Literature subject tests, like you recommended. I also want to take Math Level 1 or 2--which is better? I could probably get a higher score on level 1, but I've taken enough math to do level 2. Is it better to show higher numbers or higher math understanding?</p>

<p>raise test scores and you'll be fine for the bottom ivies, like cornell and brown. harvard and yale are reaches for everyone, tho, but with good essays, better test scores, and ur leadership is great then you might have a chance!</p>

<p>same advice as the last few people:
Just raise those SAT II scores and I'm sure you'll be good to go. Good Luck!</p>

<p>Does anyone else have ideas? Maybe an estimate of whether I'll get in to each school?

<p>Harvard and Princeton are the most selective, while Penn and Cornell are the least selective. But that doesn't mean much; your chances of getting into any of those schools are about the same.</p>

<p>You need to raise the SAT 2s. Assuming you get all of them in the 700s, I'd say your best luck will be with this strategy:</p>

<p>High Reaches: Brown, Dartmouth, Columbia, Penn, Duke
Reaches: Cornell, Northwestern
Low Reaches: Georgetown, WashU
High Matches: Emory, UNC, etc</p>

<p>I don't feel confident chancing you (in my opinion you have a fine shot, though), but I can answer this question:</p>

I also want to take Math Level 1 or 2--which is better? I could probably get a higher score on level 1, but I've taken enough math to do level 2. Is it better to show higher numbers or higher math understanding?


This is kind of an evasive answer, but you should try to show both.</p>

<p>Study the level 2, and if you think you can get a good score on it of you study hard enough, you should try to take it. The highest reach schools prefer it over the level 1. Your best chance is to study a lot for the level 2 and try to do well.</p>

<p>Actually, you're ec's are lacking it seems. You stopped your good community service as a sophmore and you don't do any sports. You also don't appear to have any national awards...and nothing at the state level except the runner up thing which I don't really understand. Your SAT I's/leadership are great but you (as everyone said) need to pull up your SAT II's to validate you high school success, right now it looks like your school is a cake walk.</p>

<p>^The person above me was a bit blunt, but yeah, your EC'</p>

your EC's are a bit lacking. It's neat that you're so involved in government stuff, and your awards do show that, but for the more selective schools, EC's will really set you apart. Try to emphasize the awards you do have; maybe that council you're on is a lot more work than it seemed in relation to the rest of your list.</p>

<p>And definately pull your SAT II's up, just to show that your school has actually prepared you for college and that your rank is the result of hard work (which I'm sure it it, but how would an SAT II 580/class rank #1 look against an SAT II 760/class rank #4 from a harder school?).</p>

<p>Also, which Ivies are you talking about? Because that name is really misleading; they have very little in common other than selectivity. It's hard to judge how you would succeed/fit in at each school without knowing your personal preferences.</p>

<p>This is sort of a funny question, but have you taken the ACTs? It seems to me that some people (like myself) who aren't as strong in math do better on them, just because math is not weighted as much since there are more sections (since it has science). I don't know if that would be a good idea for you, since you'll have to send your SAT II scores already so colleges would see the SAT I's anyway ... but it's worth a shot.
Nice GPA, by the way!</p>

<p>Yeah, when I took my SAT, I got a 720 math, but when I took the ACT, I got 36 math (and much better overall). It wouldn't hurt to take them, if they aren't good then you can just not send them in.
Oh, and I have similar stats to you (you have a better gpa though, but my test scores are a titch higher-but I'm sure you can improve them!) and I've already gotten into Wash U, so I think you should be able too, at least. And no offense slipper1234, but from what I can tell so far, it'd be a little bit easier to get into Duke than Wash U, and only a titch harder to get into U Penn (17% admittance vs 16 % admittance).
But since you still have a whole year left (almost, leastways), you can beef up your app a little. You could try to organize some sort of volunteer thing from start to finish (that's the one thing on my app that stood out). I would keep going with those volunteer hours to show that you're doing it because you're devoted, not for the hours.
But either way, your app looks really good right now, you'll be able to get into some great schools even if you don't do anything more. But push yourself a little more and the sky's the limit.</p>

<p>Well, I've taken the ACT...but I didn't do nearly as well as I did on the SAT (I got a 27 overall). I could study for it and take it again, though. Thanks for the advice!</p>

<p>What will really count will be whether or not you can convey your "passion" for something. Whatever it is. Focus your ECs on it, write your essays about it, center your service ativities around it, and try to get an award or two relating to it.</p>

<p>You actually won't get a higher score on the Math SAT II Level 1</p>

<p>It has an unfair curve.</p>