College Chances

Would like people to rate my chances of getting into my dream schools. MIT,CMU,CalTech, and Stanford.
Intended Major: Computer Science
Race: Chinese

GPA:4.46, unweighted:4.0
13 APs, all 5’s

SAT subject : Math2:800, Chem:800, Physics:800
EC: USAMO Qualifier, National Mathcounts top 20

I find that my life is pretty bland; other than studying I don’t do much else. I know that colleges look for EC’s but I’m just the typical Asian kid who studies a lot.

At my school, I’ve encountered students with better stats only get into UVA.

This might sound dumb but I’m thinking of transferring back to my base school senior year. I would definitely have a class rank of 1. My teacher recs would suffer but I think it looks better.

You have the stats for any and all of them to be possible, but with any stats all of them are unlikely. They all have far too many highly qualified applicants.

“I find that my life is pretty bland; other than studying I don’t do much else.” This won’t help.

What’s your home state?

Why beyond ranking and prestige are those your “dream schools?” The experiences are different at each of them. Several of them are known to be grinds and not suitable for many. Even very bright and talented students can struggle to adapt.

@PurpleBandito I am going to interpret your post as that of a student who is truly trying to figure out the next steps rather than as a “humblebrag” post.

To be in the USAMO qualifier is a pretty big deal. To get the grades you have at TJ is also an accomplishment. Lots of students study their brains out and they’re not anywhere at this level.

Do you enjoy the math at that level? Is it a passion? That’s what you need to ask yourself. Training for the AMC competitions is like training for a high level sport. However no one ever interprets that as a “grind” and most people clearly acknowledge athletic talent. I am a math prof and my own kid did some AMC 10 stuff , but it was clear that to get further, one needs a certain mathematical bent. So it’s not something he pursued.

So reframe your thinking in terms of intellectual curiosity rather than as a stereotype of the typical Asian kid. That may help in crafting your essays. If you have no other ECs , at least try and do some volunteering over the summer. The idea of moving back to your home school for senior year may look like a ploy to game the system. AOs will still see the transcript from TJ.

You do need to acknowledge that the reach schools are that for everyone. But the candidate who can introspect and make this a meaningful journey will likely be in a better position than a student who just wants to rest on their stats.


Good one

This sounds as if you think that admission to UVa is something to be looked down on.

I presume that the OP is from Virginia, if he attends TJHSST (Thomas Jefferson High School of Science and Technology) – which is in Alexandria, VA.

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UVA is a great school, but its CS program is not as good. Though I’ve had many friends attend UVA graduate in 2-3 years and get high paying SWE which is an intriguing option for me.

Software Engineering (and Computer Science) is not for everyone, regardless of the money. Make sure you’d be content sitting all day at a screen for your whole career. The great advantage is that you can do it from anywhere. One of my son’s best friends lives in Hawaii and works for Apple.

My brother is an SWE and only works ~2-4 hours a day making 6 figures. Is this the norm in CS or is he just super lucky?

Six figures is common in the big name companies. The hours would vary from company to company and how productive the individual is.

UVA actually places very well in CS due to all the NOVA/DC/MD companies.
However, UVA and W&M are matches due to acceptance rates, not safeties.

The advice of reframing yourself as a thinker who’s intellectually curious is the track you should pursue for your college applications.
Hopefully, you read (books, not apps/websites) in your free time.

Your record and HS mean all colleges are possible. Just remember that the real work isn’t in finding a dream school, but in finding good matches (for you, that’d be universities with 30-35% acceptance rates) and safeties (40-45% acceptance rate).
Keep in mind that the lower the acceptance rate, the higher the “luck” factor.

That being said, you could add Swarthmore and HMC among your reaches as they may appreciate your profile.

Waterloo in Canada, as well as McGill or UToronto, may be academically strong, low-matches since they focus on stats. Waterloo in particular has a math competition (you can participate) and will take your AMC results very seriously.

What’s your budget?
Can your parents afford Virginia universities in-state?

The problem is not only that these colleges are all high reaches for everybody, but what your personal circumstances will allow. Based on your other threads, you may need to take care of your mother. So how are you planning to juggle that and attending a colleges in California or even in Boston?

Also, based on your other threads your family is low income - have you looked at Questbridge?