Homeless to Ivy?

Sorry for the click bait-ey title guys but I’m the son of Kazakh immigrants and am hoping to pursue business/finance in college. I hope to attend a prestigious school so that I can make plenty of connections and have access to the wide array of internships that they often offer. As stated in the title, my family was very poor at the start of my life but we are doing far better off now. Please give me a realistic chance at each of these schools.

University of Georgia
Columbia University (Probably going to be my #1 choice)
Wharton School of Business (Going to be hard this year with Trump always in the news :smiley: )
University of Virginia
University of Chicago
and some safeties

2370 SAT First and only sitting (800M, 780CR, and 790W)
SAT Subject Tests: US History(800) Math II (800)
PSAT: 1500/1520
Class Rank 8/712
Unweighted GPA: 4.0
I take the hardest classes in school and the AP exams that come with them. I won’t be getting many of my scores until July but so far I’ve been making 4s and 5s.

Founder and president of a school wide investment club. We participate in several investment competitions and have had US congressman and locals give speeches.
Class President
Vice President of NHS
Volunteered at senate campaign for a summer
Varsity Track and field
Work at Ingles
Volunteered at local elementary school three hours a week for all 3 years including 2 summers
statewide winner of a few very small math competitions
Some smaller things

Thank you guys so much for your help here. I’m pretty nervous about this whole process!

Intended major?

Any awards? Your ECs fairly generic but you have a lot of leadership. Your stats are amazing! If you write good essays, you’ll probably get into one of your reaches. GL!

Harvard: reach
Yale: reach
Princeton: reach
University of Georgia: safety
Columbia University: reach
Wharton School of Business: reach
University of Virginia: high match is OOS, match if instate
Emory: high match/match
Dartmouth: low reach
University of Chicago: reach, but you’ll probably get in if you write stellar essays since they love high stat kids

I’m planning on going into finance but the economics department at Dartmouth looks very appealing as well. @InamoratiAnon

Thanks for your evaluations! I have some awards in areas like Latin and math but unfortunately I usually only place as a finalist in investing competitions aka what i really want to pursue in the future.

Btw I saw that Kazakh did not fit any of the racial groupings on the common app. Any suggestions on what to do?

@Dreamchasers you can put “other” and specify race.

Agree with @ben69420 --stats are fitting for these schools, but if you can write stellar essays/LoR (maybe a teacher that knows about your/your family’s hardships could be good) you will have a shot at your reaches.

Definitely consider applying to more targets and safeties. Good Luck!

They didn’t have an “other” selection. I’m guessing the racial group that best fits me on the common app list is middle eastern but even that is pretty off

Thanks for the advice though! @onlynongenius

@Dreamchasers for Asian, there is a sub-question that asks “Which best describes your Asian background?” and there is a choice for “other”. Maybe you can find that option under middle eastern?

I think it would count as white, but you might be able to input something more specific. Or don’t check anything.

Yeah middle eastern itself is a sub-section under white. Even though I’m far from white and Kazakhstan is nowhere near the Middle East, my family follows middle eastern culture, so I guess that’s what I should put down. @onlynongenius

@Dreamchasers there’s always the option of putting it in one of your essays (Describe your community, activity, etc) or some colleges have extra notes sections (never used one of them, but maybe someone else on this thread has?)

Good point! I’ll probably mention it somewhere in my essays.

If you do talk about being homeless, make sure to mention or stick to how that affected you psychologically. “You are forever motivated to make sure you kids never have to struggle and how you don’t take anything for granted.” Try to play in being a leader or somehow taking charge (like you have younger siblings you had to take care of). You are statically good enough to get into all those schools and I think you can do it. Good luck man!

Thanks man that’s some really nice advice! I’m definitely going to try to show my true self to the admission officers in my essays so I’m going to be taking my time on those.
@“Dhaval G”

I’m gonna be applying to less selective schools like UMich and that’s how I did my essays. Hopefully I can get in. Some schools already released the prompts so you could do a few before school starts.

Are you from Michigan? Otherwise UMich will be 55k/year. And it’s at least as competitive as, say UVA.

Yes I am for Michigan and I truly do believe that I would be able to get in. I have a decent GPA, good ACT, and essays that I have put a lot of effort in. I think they are good but I haven’t had any one else’s opinions to be fair.

How much can your parents contribute to college? What’s your EFC?
Have you had a job? That “counts” as a strong EC, especially if you’re from a lower income family and needed to work.

Borrow a Fiske Guide and read up on top 25 universities and LACs (for finance, strong placement from Middlebury, Hamilton, Colgate, plus the obvious.) Stern may be of interest, but NYU’s financial aid is scarce and random.

Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Wharton, Columbia, Dartmouth, University of Chicago => obviously, don’t expect to get in. Your essays will be very important. Even in the best case scenario, your odds are 10%. DO apply because you’re competitive, but don’t get attached.
University of Georgia => Why GA? Anyway, apply early in the application cycle and apply for Honors and scholarships.
Columbia University (Probably going to be my #1 choice)
University of Virginia => good match. Also apply to UNC CH?
Emory => good match
You need 2-3 more affordable matches and one more safety.

Don’t they have something like “Multiracial/other”? You’d put Kazakh there. Because indeed it’s a group that’s not accounted for in the usual US classification (I’d say it’s like a mix between white european, middle eastern, and asian, and suffers from stigma/discrimination associated with a minority group in its geographic area.)

OP you are getting excellent advice on this thread. You have an interesting story and fantastic stats.

– Ask a couple people whose judgment you absolutely trust to read your essays. Sometimes a writer comes off in a way they don’t intend, or some aspect of your story needs to be more developed – or abbreviated! I would go for no more than three people bc you don’t want too many opinions. Also someone who is familiar with application process. So a teacher, or a mentor, or a family friend in education, who can give an objective but informed opinion.

– Spell out your ethnic / racial background. As noted ^ most folks in the US will not know unless you tell us.

– Fill in with a couple more matches and a safety, but be really choosy about them! It is a better use of time to research UNC CH than Harvard, for example. You already know that if you got into Harvard you would go. Invest time into selecting so that each and every school on your list is an alternative that you would love to attend.

– Sorry if I missed info re finances but with your stats you could look into honors and merit as well as need-based aid. The most selective schools have the best need based aid, so there is no issue there. But for the matches and safeties some students go for merit to be sure they would be affordable. If your family income is under $65,000 for a family of four, look into Questbridge.

I hope you will come back to let us know how it is going!

Thanks guys for all of your wonderful support!
I do have a job at Ingles and I work during the summer and part-time during the school year. I’m still figuring out some of the finances with my family. Financial aid is definitely a huge factor for me.
I agree that the essays are going to be what makes or breaks my application. I’m definitely going to be looking towards other schools as well; my list isn’t finalized just yet!
I also had a general question about college visits. Will I be negatively impacted in terms of admissions if I can’t visit the colleges that I’m applying for. I don’t have the time or money to visit any colleges other than UGA or Emory. I know lots of colleges have virtual tours so I have been looking at those.