College Placement from Stuyvesant High School (NYC)

Hi, I’m currently a junior at Stuyvesant High School who’s starting to think about college. I’m just going to kind of spew all of my info, and then ask my question.

  • I’m confident that by the end of junior year my average will be about a 95.
  • I have legacy at a couple of ivys
  • I took an sat practice test a few weeks ago, and got a 1500, and I’m planning on taking it in March so I imagine that if I keep studying it will be much higher than that
  • I’m involved in a couple of social justice organizations, and think I will have leadership in some
  • I have a couple of strong teacher relationships, so I think I could get good recs
  • I did an internship this past summer with the New York Historical Society
  • I am highly interested in social sciences and languages (I speak Spanish and German)
  • I know I have some good scores and extracurriculars, but I just feel subpar to a lot of kids at my school that I know I’ll be competing against for seats

What colleges should I be looking at? Is it premature to set my sights on certain schools now, or should I already be looking at specifics?

Any other general advice to meet my own expectations and those of my parents (which are MUCH higher)?

By “certain schools” do you mean the schools with a 5% acceptance rate?

Yes, you should be narrowing down your list of colleges, figuring out what makes you special and what about those schools on your list make them special to you. What about the match is unique. Some of those 5% schools do consider legacy so there is some advantage if you apply ED.

I wonder, based on your question about transferring, are there activities that you think would make you a stronger candidate that can only be accessed at a BS? Are there things you have been burning to do?

Do you have access to the typical profile and scores of the kids admitted to the schools you are interested in? (through naviance or something similar?)

To be perfectly honest, I find myself increasingly worried that I don’t have a burning desire to do anything. According to Naviance, I fit into the right bracket of students for ivys, but a lot of kids at my school have done something incredible, won a competition, or have a huge internship over the course of a few years, so I’m worried I’m too generic. I have good grades, but do I have that something special?

As @1ofeach says, if you’re at the edge, applying ED as a legacy (particularly an undergraduate legacy, for schools other than Penn,) can help push you over the edge to an admit compared to another similar candidate, though it won’t be the defining factor of your application.

Stuyvesant sends tons of students to selective schools every year, so the guidance counselors there would be best poised to assess your relative chances, taking into account your school’s grading system and prior admits’ legacy/recruited athlete status.

Where are you considering applying to? Which Ivies do you have legacy at? Every Ivy is different: someone who likes the small town feel of Cornell likely won’t be happy at Columbia, and vice-versa.

Except for HYPSM, I doubt that most students at the Ivies have top-tier awards and internships—I know I didn’t. Admissions at the rest of the T20s ARE looking for students with a demonstrated passion for x and y subjects, and have taking the time to focus on multiple activities throughout high school related to their major. For example, I did a lot of volunteering throughout high school as I was applying to direct med school programs. While volunteering itself is common, I tried to show, not tell, that I had spent time and energy on it and learnt something from it :smile:

Hope that helps!

Fair warning: tea leaf reading coming up.

You are a top kid (Naviance places you in the zone for Ivy admits) in a top school (Stuy) who is feeling unmotivated (‘why am I even here’) and ordinary (‘I’m too generic’ ‘do I have that something special?’) in the face of Ivy alum parents with “very” high expectations.

You have been running the race for them, but in this strange covid-world you are want something more or different.

Adding another year to go to Exeter or Andover won’t fix what’s missing. I think you need to start with you. Start by reading this:

https://mitadmissions.org/blogs/entry/applying_sideways/

and then read it again, thinking about the third point. I don’t love all this emphasis on ‘passion’- but I think the main point is right: follow the thread(s) that are truest to you. The bullet in your post above that stands out is “I am highly interested in…”., so that might be a place to start: what does being interested in social sciences and languages mean to you? what ways are there to explore that further?

HS can be more than a hurdle you have to get past, a hoop you have to jump through: use this year to push forward in figuring out what you really enjoy doing. HS, college and life are all more fun when you are doing something you genuinely like.

Ditto for HYPS. M might be a bit higher with USAMO medalists and the like.

College Confidential is not a representative subset of students at HYPSM.

@cormacmclaggen Given your passion for languages and social sciences, your stellar academics at one of the most challenging public high schools in the country, and strong ECs, I think you’re an outstanding candidate for Middlebury college. After being at an enormous school like Stuy, you might appreciate the more personal experience at a SLAC like Midd. Many NYC kids go to Midd and love it. My D went to a smaller NYC public, but had friends at Stuy and BronxSci who were similarly fried by junior year. Some of them are now at SLACs and are very happy.