How difficult will it be for me to get into a top 25 school?

<p>Mexican-American, low-income/working class family, 3.86 GPA, top 10% in my class, top 98% on math SAT, low score on the verbal SAT (I entered high school not knowing English, so I was allowed to take the test of English as a foreign language), only a few AP classes, some academic recognitions, very poor extracurricular activities. Given all the red flags on my resume, especially a pathetically low verbal SAT score and weak extracurricular activities, what are the best schools I have a chance of being accepted to? Is top 25 out of the question?</p>

<p>how bad is it? if you can get it above 600 or 650 you have a very good shot. Even if it's worse than that you still have a chance at a couple top 25's.</p>

<p>You sound like the kind of student top schools are looking for: URM who has overcome significant challenges to be a high achiever. </p>

<p>And don't be apologetic about the ECS. If you didn't speak English until high school, your family probably didn't either. If that means you spent more time than most students helping your family navigate through the various social systems (schools, health, church, etc...), helping younger siblings with school work and socially, working and learning English, then you then you have an important EC right there, and one that deserves highlighting in your essays. The schools will understand, and value your accomplishment, if you put it out there. And make sure your teachers and guidance counselor are fully aware of whatever challenges you've had a home, so they can write their recommendations with a understanding of the context you are coming from.</p>

<p>If you give us actual stats and data about yourself we'll be able to better help you.</p>

<p>Don't chase prestige. Find schools that you really want to attend based on your interests and that are a good financial fit. It's what you do at a school that matters much, much more than where you go.</p>

<p>"If you give us actual stats and data about yourself we'll be able to better help you. "</p>

<p>Do you want my actual SAT scores? Does it make a difference given that I already told you I scored in the top 98% in math but very low (below average) in verbal?</p>

<p>Yes, it does. Different people have different ideas of what "low" means. And just how weak are your extracurriculars? What have you done? Working counts as an extracurricular, and like M's Mom says if you've helped your family navigate that counts too. We can't help you very much if we don't know the specifics.</p>

<p>That being said, I'd say as an URM you have a shot. Might as well try!</p>

<p>You can't go to a top 25 if you aren't proficient in english dude</p>

<p>
[quote]
Do you want my actual SAT scores?

[/quote]
</p>

<p>Yes, we do.</p>

<p>"Working counts as an extracurricular, and like M's Mom says if you've helped your family navigate that counts too. We can't help you very much if we don't know the specifics."</p>

<p>quomodo,
My extracurriculars are very weak. Only a few clubs. Minor involvement.</p>

<p>"You can't go to a top 25 if you aren't proficient in english dude "</p>

<p>Drought,
Do I communicate like a person who has no clue about the English language? If the language barrier is as significant as you are implying it is then how come I have a 3.86 GPA? My verbal SAT score was low but presumably that's explained by the fact that English is not my first language. That's why I was allowed to take the test of English as a foreign language.</p>

<p>However, I do agree with you on one thing: I wouldn't want to end up at a school that I am not qualified for.</p>

<p>No one is trying to insult you (I think), but they have a point. Many for whom English is not the first language achieve high CR scores. If you've been here for 4 years and not achieved the average score (500), a top college will be tough. Maybe towards the bottom end of the top 25 if you look at the U list and LAC list separately, but most above that will want a 600 plus.</p>

<p>For quality feedback, you do need to share all.</p>

<p>I'd get a little help on my SAT scores, but most of all I'd try to write a really good essay and get some good recommendations. You have a good shot but definitely work on personalizing your applications.</p>

<p>"No one is trying to insult you (I think), but they have a point. Many for whom English is not the first language achieve high CR scores. If you've been here for 4 years and not achieved the average score (500), a top college will be tough. Maybe towards the bottom end of the top 25 if you look at the U list and LAC list separately, but most above that will want a 600 plus."</p>

<p>I thought that the verbal SAT score was almost irrelevant given that I qualified to take the test of English as a foreign language.</p>

<p>Not correct. And sure you can qualify to take that test, but most who attend high school in the US do not. In fact many living overseas do not because they do well enoough on CR to waive the need.</p>

<p>You seem knowledgeable on the subject. Are you part of an adcom by any chance?</p>

<p>rubenn, the Critical Reading and Writing sections of the SAT are important to any top university, even for applicants whose native tongue is not English. Of course, universities will be understanding and give some allowance for non-native speakers, but you will not find many international students with sub 500 SAT scores getting into top 25 universities.</p>

<p>Alexandre, I hear people complaining about AA all the time. Do you think it might give me the push that I'm looking for?</p>

<p>Given my stats alone and ignoring AA, am I competitive for Top 35 schools? Top 45 schools?</p>

<p>The problem is that if you're an average English speaker, it may be difficult for you to attend a school where they demand you have a fantastic grasp on the language.</p>

<p>Rubenn, your Mexican American herritage will obviously help, but not that much. There are many very accomplished Mexican Americans applying to college these days. However, coming from a lower income family will definitely help.</p>

<p>That said, I do not know enough about your stats to give you an accurate prediction. Your 3.86 GPA, is it weighed or unweighed? What sort of classes have you taken so far? Any APs? How did you do on AP exams? And I will need to know your Mathematics and CR scores on the SAT. 98 percentile in Math is probably between a 740 and a 770, so that's excellent.</p>

<p>Also, most top 40 universities either require or "recommend" the SAT II.</p>