Chances...should I even try? :/

<p>Penn is the only school I have visited that I actually loved. I enjoy the atmosphere, the academics, and everything about it. Just thinking about having to go to one of my safety schools instead of Penn makes me so upset. It's the only university I can picture myself truly happy attending!</p>

<p>I've been looking at everyone else's stats, and I'm thinking I don't even have a chance :(. I would really appreciate if everyone would be honest and if you have any suggestions for improvement, please let me know!</p>

<p>Female, white middle-class attending a public high school
Upcoming senior applying ED, planning to major in biochemistry</p>

<p>Weighted g.p.a: 4.3 something, probably around 3.95 unweighted
Rank: 3 out of 400</p>

<p>SAT I: First time: 650M/660R/610W 1920 (a cell phone rang, huge distraction, proctor kept us an extra 2 hours because of breaks trying to figure out whose it was)
Second time: 670M/710CR/730W 2110
Planning on taking it a third time in October -- will taking it this many times look bad?
SAT II: 770 U.S. History, 700 chem, 700 literature
APs: (taken all available) sophmore year: World History (5 on AP test); junior year: chem (4), APUSH (5), English Language and composition (5); senior year: physics, government and politics, literature (taking college in high school calc since there is no AP calc and took bio at a local college since there is no room in my schedule)</p>

<p>EC (including senior year): Tennis (varsity for 4 years, won in sections and regions), Chorus (select choir 3 years and piano accompianist), Journalism (school newspaper for 4 years, editor of news soph and junior years, editor in chief senior year), staff of literary magazine for 3 years (editor for 2), member of the westinghouse science honors institute (attended lectures and science activites junior year), painting crew for drama guild 3 years, French club for 4 years ( rep junior year, hopefully officer senior year), NHS in 11th and 12th (public relations officer senior year), member of youth group (4 years), 2 year member of the literary exploration and discovery club, and 4 year member of the community action program</p>

<p>Volunteering: 3 year summer hospital volunteer, volunteer at my church's fish fry and food pantry, red cross blood drive volunteer</p>

<p>***Also, a quick question about the SAT writing section. I only got an 8 on my essay, but I got a 5 on the AP Lang test. I usually do well in English, and I write a lot because of journalism. Any ideas on how I can improve?</p>

<p>"Planning on taking it a third time in October -- will taking it this many times look bad?" </p>

<p>Most certainly not, as long as the extra studying doesn't interfere with your extracurriculars. Besides, it's good to take the SAT more than once -- a lot of factors that go into a good scores are beyond your control (such as your mood and the difficulty of that particular test).</p>

<p>"***Also, a quick question about the SAT writing section. I only got an 8 on my essay, but I got a 5 on the AP Lang test. I usually do well in English, and I write a lot because of journalism. Any ideas on how I can improve? "</p>

<p>AP tests allow for more differentiation of scores (I think around 110/150 is a 5 for English?) while SAT does not. You can improve by reading more.</p>

<p>Apply, apply, apply. You'll never know if you will get in if you don't. And maybe it's not the school for you by the time acceptances come in...that's ok. But if you really like Penn, apply.</p>

<p>Ok thanks for your advice! I'm already so stressed and worried, maybe I just need to relax and stop focus on all of this college stuff so much!</p>

<p>@OP: Also, correct me if I'm wrong, but the usual rule is that 3 times for the SAT or ACT or less is fine. It's 4+ that is cause for concern.</p>

<p>^<a href="http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/sat-preparation/865226-addressing-few-concerns.html%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/sat-preparation/865226-addressing-few-concerns.html&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>^Perfect, thanks!</p>

<p>I'm in a very similar situation to yours. I really want to go to Penn, and I'm applying ED. Statistically my academics aren't good enough, but I have excellent extracurricular activities. In fact, my academics are similar to yours (slightly lower grades, but higher test scores), so I know how it feels to be on the "cusp." I've done much research about applying to top schools, and found out than in many border cases, like you or me, it comes down to extracurricular activities, and the admission officers' perceived qualities of the applicant. </p>

<p>In my case, my ace in the hole is getting recruited for rowing. If Penn has a varsity tennis team, you should talk to the coach about recruitment, too. If that isn't an option, you need to be very careful about writing your application and creating the most attractive portrait you can with your extracurricular activities, values, life experiences, etc. If you show how much you can contribute intellectually and otherwise to the atmosphere of the campus, you may be able to edge out an applicant with better academic stats.</p>

<p>@thehistorian421 thanks so much for your advice! Yeah and being on the "cusp" isn't very much fun. Just wondering, where else are you planning to apply?</p>

<p>Also, does anyone know if being from Pennsylvania increases your chances or does it not really matter?</p>

<p>@tennis5678: I think being from PA helps. Not just guessing, but a good amount of people from the PA region on ED/RD threads get in. Are they qualified? Absolutely. More qualified then a Texan, an Illinoian, or a Hawaiian? Not necessarily.</p>

<p>How is a cell phone ringing a huge distraction? I mean, okay you do bad on one section because you lost your concentration, but it's not like it was such a devastating incident that it cause you to score <700 on every section. It's not like you were even taking the test in those extra two-hours your where held back for. Retake your SAT I's and II's. If you do well, you stand an okay chance. If you don't do well, your chances aren't great, but they're not impossible either.</p>

<p>Some people have very bad test anxiety and are easily distracted in high stakes situations. It's just something you have to work on so you feel more focused and confident taking tests in the future.</p>

<p>@hardworking21: Thanks! That's what I thought.</p>

<p>@supersizeme: I know my poor test scores cannot only be blamed on the cell phone incident; I should have been more focused and studied more. Even so, there is some truth to what Poeme said. The proctors actually extended the breaks in betweeen sections to talk about it; it wasn't just at the end. Everyone was anxious, and they said they would have to report the entire room to the college board if the person didn't confess and that our scores would probably be canceled. Looking back on it now, it was stupid to lose focus over that, but it was the first time I took the test, and I was already nervous. And like you said, I'm definitely taking it again so hopefully that will raise my chances!</p>

<p>When it comes to Pennsylvania residents, I do believe it helps a bit. My friend's brother got into UPenn, and nothing about him really stood out. He was pretty much a stereotypical Asian male. He was 3rd in his class, had a 2300 SAT, but his ECs were weak at best. When I heard that his only EC was swimming (and he was not a champion at it either, just a swim team captain) I began wondering how the heck did he get into UPenn. Perhaps the fact that he was from Pennsylvania gave him a better chance? I don't know...</p>

<p>@Samonuh: That sounds about right.</p>

<p>@tennis5678: The scope of my college search has been largely defined by which universities have varsity men's crew. If a school has a club team, or worse none at all, not only can I not get recruited there, but the school probably lacks the culture I'm looking for. I need the pull of a coach in the admissions office to make it into a great school. Fortunately, most top colleges have crew teams because it's a prestige sport. Anyway, I'm planning on applying to most these schools, which I put in three categories.</p>

<p>Ideally, I want to go to a top school with a DI team: Penn, Dartmouth, Columbia, Brown, or Georgetown. </p>

<p>If I don't get into any of these schools, I'll settle for a top liberal arts-second tier DIII school: Williams (this one is in kind of a gray area between the first two categories), Hamilton, Vassar, or Colgate.</p>

<p>If I don't get into any of those schools, I'll go to mid-tier 2 DI school: Boston University, Northeastern, or George Washington.</p>

<p>It's hard to say with your Stats.When you apply to a top school, you are rolling the dice.Penn will likely take the highest SAT(though the second time your score did not improve significantly for a top school like Pen).You just need to apply and then hope for the best.</p>

<p>@jnoelsaint957: Wait, what? His score jumped from 1920 to 2110...that's nearly 200 points. How can you say that "though the second time your score did not improve significantly for a top school like Penn"? 200 points is a great improvement.</p>

<p>@thehistorian421: wow those all sound like great schools! I hope everything goes well for you and if I raise my scores, maybe we'll meet at penn next year;)</p>

<p>@hardworking21: thanks...now if only I could increase them by another 200 haha.</p>

<p>@jnoelsaints957: I agree with hardworking21. A 200 point should make quite a difference. What does matter, however, are the numbers you're talking about. It all comes down to percentiles because SAT scores fit roughly into a bell curve with standard deviation. What I mean by that is a jump from 2150 to 2350 will help a lot more than a jump from 1950 to 2150 because so few people have those super high scores. </p>

<p>@tennis5678: Thanks. The advice from a recruited friend of mine at Brown was to "cast your net wide" because you never know which college is in desperate need of an applicant with a specific trait or skill that you have. I hope your process goes well, too. Are you visiting the Penn campus in the future?</p>