help me find schools (reverse chance me)

GPA: 3.6 uw (no honors or APs offered at my school, but I took three IB classes)
SAT: no SAT score b/c covid

  • four different school based choirs (three were advanced, two were auditioned)
  • out of school honor choir with famous composer/conductor
  • music production training and certificate from local college
  • EMT training and certificate
  • constitution team
  • local activism (i testified for a senate bill in my state)
  • job as an administrative assistant

i’m graduating a year and a half early.

major/interest: mostly interested in majoring in popular music/music industry, but open to writing and poli sci as well


This depends on lots of other factors. the most important is your parent’s ability and willingness to pay, (full-pay at privates can cost as much as $75,000 per year without need-based financial aid or merit scholarships). Also important: home state, how far from home you are willing to travel, what size of school do you prefer (small (under 3000), medium or large, whether you strongly prefer rural, small town, suburbs or urban environments. also, whether religious-based schools are OK (some have a strongly religious presence while others are welcoming to students of other faiths or none.) So, the answer to your question is, it’s complicated.

Without my having any of this to go on, my first thought for you is to check out St. Olaf and Lawrence (not St.Lawrence, btw).

I don’t think that graduating early will help you…plus, taking another year or so of courses could help you with your GPA if you have a strong upward trend.

i forgot to put some other information in my post i suppose: my family is low income, i have been raised by a single parent, i do not qualify for in-state anywhere because i have moved a ridiculous amount during my life and specifically my high school career (i’ve lived in three states just this year). i am graduating early because of extenuating circumstances, as well as due to my family moving. i was fortunate enough to have taken high school classes in middle school and came into high school with a ton of credits, which helped me to be able to graduate early. i understand that it might have a negative impact on my application, but i’m okay with that because graduating early was the right choice for me and my life.

thank you! i realized that i didn’t include enough info in my post, so i added in the comments. i have heard great things about both lawrence and st. olaf (especially for the programs i’m looking at). once again, thank you so much!

long story! i don’t want to include too much personal information to protect my privacy. the gist is that i graduated early due to life circumstances that would’ve impacted my high school career had i stayed. these circumstances should not impact my college career. additionally, my family has moved a crazy ton in my lifetime and frankly, continuing to move around would’ve had a larger impact on my GPA, etc. than graduating early will.

From another post you are currently planning to apply to:
NYU Clive Davis
Columbia College Chicago
Columbia University
Syracuse University
Fordham University
University of San Francisco
The New School for Contemporary Music and Jazz
Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts

If you have a fee waiver, money is not just a factor it is the first factor: it doesn’t matter whether you get in if you can’t afford it. Can you afford any of those schools? Afaik, of the places on our list, only Columbia U promises to “meet full need”- and it is the least likely place for you to be admitted. LIPA will be around $35,000/year- and you have to prove that you have the funds before you can get the student visa that allows you to attend. The New School is $75K/year, and although about 1/2 of 1st years students get financial aid, the average amount of $28K/year- leaving the student with almost $50K/year to raise. USanFran is $70k, and after aid $30K. etc. You can’t raise that much in your own name- you can only borrow approx $6-8K/year (depending on the year). So where does the rest come from?

You have champagne dreams and a cola budget- and if you want to go to college you need to start with the money.

Have you looked at Questbridge?

damn i didn’t know all that. i knew that most of those schools were expensive, BUT DAMN. i appreciate the reality check a lot actually. unfortunately, i only found out about questbridge yesterday and the deadline is september 29, so i don’t have enough time to receive all the necessary forms for the application. i have applied to several outside scholarships, but the truth is that unless i have a full ride, college is kind of a pipe dream. i wanted to apply to some of those schools bc they’ve been my dream for ages, and if there’s any chance that i could get a scholarship, i have to apply. but i fully agree that i need some affordable schools on my list. frankly, my college process is really a struggle since i don’t have much advising on it and i have to turn to the internet (not really the best place). i don’t qualify for in-state anywhere because my family has moved so many times so i don’t even know where i could afford to go

You can apply for Questbridge online. Two days isn’t much time, but it’s worth making a start!

As for instate, start with where you are living right now: what state are you in? You may find that 2 years of community college and then transferring to the state university is your best bet financially.

Also note that if you are thinking of a degree in music, there are often auditions involved and spots for music programs can be even more competitive than the school’s general admit rate themselves.

@MYOS1634, advice?

You need a university that meets need but based on your list only Columbia University does.
To see what I mean, run the NPC (net price calculator) on
Columbia University
University of San Francisco
The New School
and compare the NET PRICE.
(That’s the money you’re supposed to raise/find. Keep in mind you are only allowed a 5.5K loan for freshman year.)
Columbia is “need blind/meet need” and has a generous aid policy. Fordham doesn’t have as much money and doesn’t meet need but they have a few scholarships. USF and New School don’t have the funds to fund students so that, if you’re not wealthy, you’re out of luck. This would become clear when they see how much they expect you to pay.

Syracuse and Fordham might offer you scholarships - are you a NYS resident, would you qualify for EOP/HEOP?
I’m assuming your EFC is 0. Is that correct?
The others WILL NOT be affordable for a very low income student.
St Olaf and Lawrence should definitely be on your list.
Add Concordia-Moorhead, Luther College, which have very good choirs and music programs.

Questbridge deadlines: if you’ve started on your commonapp already, and I hope you have, you should have a lot of things ready already. Teacher recommendations, if you’ve moved several times each year, are going to be hard to come by. Make a “brag sheet” listing all your accomplishments + favorite moments in the subjects that your chosen teachers teach (even if they didn’t teach you, say, English, for 4 years, they’ll like to see what you liked about the subject, moments in class that struck you, etc.)

Are you a boy or a girl? (You’d have a decent shot at some women’s colleges but as a boy interested in music Vassar might be within the range of possibility).

Have you graduated HS already?
Are you 16 and an emancipated minor?

Have you taken at least 3 years in a foreign language? Bio, chem, physics? math through precalculus? What IB classes did you take?
DO NOT take any community college classes as it’d limit your choices even further financially (you’d be considered a transfer and transfers get lousy aid).

I just applied to Questbridge today. (crossing my fingers!)

To answer your other questions:

  • I’m a girl
  • I’m graduating in January 2021.
  • I am not a NYS resident (unfortunately)
  • I have potential to get in-state in four states (Illinois, Oregon, Washington, Colorado) but all are unlikely because of the constant moving.
  • I will have completed all graduation credits/college required credits.
  • I am not emancipated.
  • I have not taken any community college classes.
  • I took IB Lang and Lit HL and IB French

Columbia College Chicago is wonderful for the right student, but they have very little money for financial aid. So unless you have a huge external scholarship, just take it off your list.

When you finish high school in January, where will you be living? Will you be able to stay in that location for a couple of years and finish off a 2 year degree or a short training program?

You have an EMT certificate right now. Is that one that can get you a job, or do you need to complete the next level of the training? Since money is an issue for you, focusing on getting a job might make the best sense. Once you are working and settled in one place, you can think about the best way to further your education. Truth be told, that is what many, many people do.

I will be able to live in this location until about July most likely, maybe less than that. I have an EMT certificate, but I do not have a license, as I have not taken the test to be licensed. Unfortunately, most places are not currently offering the test due to COVID. I’d prefer to go to college, but if I’m unable to go, I will likely find career options instead.