Hello, I am an incoming senior in high school. I’m currently trying to build a college list with a good helping of safety, match, and reach schools. Here are my stats/info/interests:
- I am a U.S. citizen
- State/Location: San Jose, CA
- Upper middle class (likely no financial aid)
- High School Type: Large, diverse, competitive public high school
- Gender/race/ethnicity: Indian female
Unweighted Cumulative GPA: 3.744
Weighted Cumulative GPA: 4.140
UC Capped: 4.042
UC Weighted: 4.167
UC Unweighted GPA: 3.59 (I’ll explain further in my essays/additional info box)
Academic Unweighted: 3.725
Academic Weighted: 4.150
ACT/SAT Test Scores: currently 32 (will be retaking 3rd time)
AP Biology: B/+ (pandemic 2nd semester is pass/fail)
AP Calculus AB: B+/A-
AP Physics 1: A/A-
AP Language and Comp: B+/ A-
AP Computer Science: A/A+
Dual Enrollment Japanese: A/A/B
(Senior year taking 5-6 APs)
Honors: Biology, Precalc
Accelerated: Alg 2, World History, English 3/4,
My high school offers only these honors and I’ve taken all except ones that could be replaced with AP, which I took instead if available (ex. AP Physics > Physics Honors). We aren’t allowed to take APs in fresh and soph year, but some of the students and I managed to weasel our way into AP Bio in soph. I took every available accelerated class if offered over regular ones.
AP Scholar with Honors - 2021
Speech and Debate Awards (1st place at Novice 2019, qualified to State Quals in toughest league in state, and qualified to State Championship 6th place 2021)
NaNoWriMo (considering whether to add this or not) - 2021
(currently applying to environmental/conservation awards)
Currently trying to get PVSA (may not be possible though)
I have many, so I will list some of my top ones here
Speech and Debate (team is #4 in nation, previously #1 for a while) - Original Advocacy Chair 2021-2022, competitor 2019-2022, placed at many tournaments
California Scholarship Federation (big club)- President 2021-2022, Project Coordinator 2020-2021, member 2018-2022
SGCSI Internship - Intern 2021
Stanford AI Camp - 2021
Science Club (small club)- Vice President 2020-2022, Team Lead Graphic Designer 2019-2020, member 2018-2022, Brought professors from Stanford and UC Berkeley to speaking events and founded the school’s first Science Fair
EduVisa AP Bio/SAT Bio/SAT Chem Tutor - 2021
NovaCrypt - Chief Design Officer 2021, Staff Graphic Design Artist 2020
2 cultural dance teams (Bollywood and Korean) - 2018-2022, 2019-2022
I’ve done a lot more, if you want to see more I can send you my doc.
AP Exam Scores
AP Bio: 5
AP Calc AB: 4
AP Lang and Comp: 4
AP CSA: 3 (I did CS camps in summer after, this might help with the score)
AP Physics 1: 2 (for context, I was going to either not send this or send a medical record indicating my mental state last year. I’ll explain my context well in the extra info section)
UC PIQ1: I’ll explain how I’ve been “weird” and a “loser” my whole life and how I’ve embraced the love of being different to wanting to pursue abstract, unusual things. The reason why I decided to uptake speech and debate and how the event that I do (OA, which has only 1 member when I joined with little resources) actually causes it to become one of the most flexible, allowing me to express who I really am and pioneer new ways that OA can be done. I took it up because I was a kid who was bullied and I wanted to be able to have a voice for the voiceless, research and advocate urgent issues, propose and fight for the best legislative solutions for them, and to become a mentor to reach out to other kids and tell them you can make things you want to see in this world happen.
PIQ 2: I might explain other ways I’ve tried to improve the lives of people (such as when I joined a really cool dance club at my school, I found it a shame that so many kids who joined held themselves back a lot because the club was a bit judgemental and hierarchical about dance abilities. Many kids were too shy to try hard because they thought they would be judged. When I joined I would always break the ice with others by saying really weird, random stuff to them and they would immediately get super comfortable with me. I would spend a while at home practicing, even if the practice was to learn the dance, so I would always dance my best at each practice to show those kids that it’s okay to do that. After a while, I saw a lot of the other kids began to try their best too and some of them breaking out of their shells entirely and becoming great dancers.)
PIQ 3: I was thinking of talking about how in sophomore Precalculus Honors (a notoriously hard class at my school) I got a C+, but it was the best class I’ve ever taken in my life. I can elaborate on how that was the only math class I felt like my mathematical intuition was truly challenged, and how I felt like the curriculum for once wasn’t about memorizing but truly understanding math and it’s depths. I know it will prepare me for so much more in the future.
PIQ 4: I was thinking of maybe further explaining my circumstances, or maybe talking about my love for Physics and natural sciences in general and what my goals in them are.
Common App: Not entirely sure yet, but I was thinking of doing some kind of spinoff of the 2nd UC Essay or the 1st one because those things really matter to me a lot.
Why Major/Why College: For some of the higher up colleges, I’ll explain that having a rigorous environment and a structured environment is imperative for me to be at my optimal level and do well in classes (I’ll aim for STEM focused LAC’s, or interdisc public/private schools). I’ll also explain my ideas of changing the world of physics through using differing perspectives to investigate the extent of merit that certain phenomena can exist, and under which circumstances they can (under their resources, I can do that). I’ll also explain my passion of interdisciplinary science subjects and why I believe they are necessary in the world, how I would make use of it, and why I like the school/major because of it. I’m also interested in environmental policy/advocacy, so I might also end up talking about that too. Obviously in all of the essays I would throw in a story and mention relevant (but likely not on the EC list) extracurriculars to prove my actions here and there.
Interviews: If there’s anything I can do that’s better than expressing myself and my passions through writing, I can do 10x better in talking. I’m definetely taking interviews.
Other: I was thinking of just mentioning/linking doctor’s write up with my mental health in junior year. I basically lost all of my friends once quarantine started, and as an extroverted person who really relies on a good support system, it was difficult as with many other students. There is more I can say, but this basically explains my AP score.
My first LOR will be from my AP Calc AB teacher, which will likely talk about me as a student who likes to participate and (hopefully, as written in my pointers) take their work very seriously and diligently. My second will be from my AP CSA teacher, who will likely talk more about me as a person and how I love to intersect myself in environments a lot and find places where I’m needed. There is, though, a chance that my Calc teacher talks about my personality and my CSA teacher talks about my rigor. My optional 3rd will either be from my CS Internship Director or speech and debate coach, which will explain my work ethic and positive attitude hopefully (if I decide I’ll use the letter).
- I want to get into engineering programs to do Engineering Physics, but if it’s too hard to get in, I might apply in just Physics or Environmental Engineering/Policy (since my stats and interests fit better, all of my OA speeches were on environmental policy) and try to switch to the Engineering Physics major within that college.
- 45k at the very most so likely ~30k highest for TUITION ONLY, unless a merit-based scholarship, FAFSA, or some other scholarships happen to knock off over 10k a year.
Reach: UCSD, UCI, UCB, CPSLO, UCLA, Tufts, USC, CWR, UIUC, UIC, UT-Austin, CWR, Rice, Northeastern, BostonU, GWU, Scripps (and/or Harvey-Mudd/CMC) + Pepperdine, Occidental, LMU with merit aid
Match: UCD, UCSB, UCSC, SDSU (need more!!!)
Safety: UCR, SFSU (also want to consider more)
- Preferably, big school with a public school atmosphere and research resources and connections near a big tech hub in California (out-of-state only if very prestigious) that is cheaper/generous financial aid, but also allows you to switch majors relatively easily and where you can get closer to professors (I might do grad school, but not sure).
This can be public or LAC (private), but if it’s a LAC, I’m looking for one with an engineering program with good STEM resources and connections that prepares you well both grad school and career-wise.
Thank you so much for making it down here. It means a lot to me.