Chances, please?

<p>This is my first post, so bear with me.</p>

<p>So, I'm only halfway through sophomore year at a mediocre all-guys Catholic school, but I am really desperate to know if I am at least a candidate for Northwestern.</p>

<p>-Currently, I am shooting for more than 30 on ACT and/or 2100 on SAT.
-Unweighted GPA as of now: 3.875
-I don't know if this really matters, but I took the PSAT earlier this year and got a 185, putting me in mid to high 90's percentile of other honors sophomores who also took the test.
-I think I might be able to write a clever essay/application...
-I should be able to get some decent recommendation letters.
-Will most likely schedule interview, observe a class at NU, and apply Early Decision</p>

<p>EC's now:
Art Club (very involved)
Pep Band (oboe)
Jazz Band (piano)
Escort (in other words, someone who gives tours to prospective students for my high school)
Main accompanist for my school's musical</p>

<p>EC's planned for future:
National Honors Society
Spanish Honors Society
Tri-M Music Honors Society
More drama activity
Ambassador (one who gives tours on Open House)
Campus Ministry
Tutoring, maybe??</p>

<p>Outside of school, I play piano every week at my parish, as well as participate in other youth ministry service.</p>

<p>Also, if someone could possibly give me an idea of financial aid, I am fifth born of six kids in my family, all of us go/went to private grade and high schools, middle class, white...</p>

<p>If someone would kindly help, I would greatly appreciate it. I'll try to provide more information if needed.</p>

<p>It's hard to say since NU's acceptance rate is falling every year. This year, it's expected to dip below 15% (based on last year's 39% yield, the fact that 40% of the class is already filled, and the expected application volume of 30k+). When you apply two years from now, it will be closer to 10%. </p>

<p>Since you're just a sophomore, I'd focus on developing really good relationships with your teachers so they can write you a glowing rec. I'd also focus on showing intellectual engagement (through class discussions, papers, conversations with teachers) and impact (through your extracurricular involvement). When the time comes, craft an application that clearly communicates what you're about and shows you've thought carefully about how you will fit in at Northwestern (name professors you want to meet/do research under, classes you want to take, clubs you want to join, etc). Elements of your app should tell a coherent and compelling message.</p>

<p>ED will become more important in the future due to Northwestern's ever increasing selectivity. It's a fact that admissions officers will have more time to read your app and look for reasons to admit you in the early round when they have lighter reading loads and have a blank slate to work with. They will also of course appreciate your binding commitment. Students who consider Northwestern their first choice should rightfully receive first consideration.</p>

<p>Also, your GPA is pretty good right now. Keep it up and be sure to take the most rigorous courses that interest you.</p>

<p>You will need a 33 ACT (ideally 34+) to be highly competitive as a middle class white male. Prep like mad starting now if you have to because the reality is that testing matters and the competition will be fierce. This is not to scare you but to warn you.</p>

<p>Thank you, this will help. I'm just concerned, because I know of someone who got a perfect ACT and SAT score, but got rejected from Northwestern, as well as Vanderbilt, UChicago, and Yale. Maybe something was just off...</p>

<p>Read the Guide to Acceptance by AWildcat (a post today). I think you will find it helpful. I personally put a great deal of stock in the essay and the recommendations. Select teachers who like YOU, not just the ones that YOU like. It is like a puzzle, all of your pieces should come together in a way which shows a clear picutre of who you are. All activities and academics should line up in a way that they know who you are, what you care about and what you will bring to the academic community, in an authentic way.</p>