How is my college list.

Here are the schools I plan to apply to for engineering along with how I’d classify them.

Cornell - reach
UPenn - reach
Carnegie Mellon - match
Johns Hopkins - match
Michigan Ann Arbor - match
UC Berkeley - match
Illinois Urbana Champaign - match
Pennsylvania State - Safety
Pitt - safety


9th: 3.17UW 10th: 3.87UW 11th: 3.87UW, 4.53W

Estimated Cum. UWGPA:3.7, WGPA:4.1

At graduation I will have taken these AP/dual enrollment classes: CHS (college in high school) statistics, AP Calc AB, CHS Anatomy and Physiology 1-2, APUSH, AP Chemistry, AP Calc BC, AP Biology, CHS Physics E&M.

AP: Calc AB-5, Chemistry-4

SAT 1: M740, CR710, W700-9, may retake this fall to try to break 2250

SAT 2: Math 2-800, Chemistry-800

EC’s: golf team (not competitively good), Gifted (many competitions), chess competition, Academic league, Relay for life (cancer event), march for parks (park fundraising event), non formal tutoring of piers in STEM classes, NHS.

Does my list seem to be good for applying this fall? Do I have them classified properly? Will I have a good chance at a few of these schools? What are some other highly ranked engineering schools, preferably in the north east, that I should add to my list?

The list you provided is good, only if you improve your GPA, Course rigor, and EC’s. If you improve those three, then you will have a chance with your table.

Yeah my GPA should be stellar in my senior year, and I will be taking as many APs as my school allows, AP Bio, dual enrollment Physics E/M, AP Calc BC, and AP English Language.

Some of your matches are really “reaches”. Carnegie Mellon and JHU qualify as “low reaches” IMO. Doesn’t matter that much though as your list overall is very balanced with reaches/targets/safeties.

I’m not sure Umich will be a match. Probably a reach

So you guys think I will get into something at least from the list? I just don’t want to end up without a college to go to.

I have heard that MIT, Olin, Harvey Mudd, and CalTech have passable engineering programs. You may want to apply to those. You have a solid chance. “Lottery schools” are a reach for all, but are unattainable if you do not submit an application. I would retake the SAT and perhaps take the ACT this fall to try to exceed the 2250/34 number, as you indicated, if I were you. You may find your peers learn more readily than inanimate piers, and are thus more satisfying to tutor- just a suggestion.

You need to recalibrate a little. I don’t think JHU or Berkeley are matches - they are reaches as are any schools with acceptance rates in the teens or single digits. Carnegie Mellon may be a low reach or high match. If you’re okay with going to Penn State or Pitt, then you’re set. Right now, I see a possibility (anything can happen) of being shut out of all your other schools.


I’d guess you’d get into at least one of these, and probably more. However, a few more safeties might be a good idea, just so you have more options financially and in terms of fit. Your scores are strong and you’re within/close to the range of all these schools, but engineering programs are increasingly competitive. And, as you probably know, many of these schools have low acceptance rates and do reject qualified applicants. I agree with those saying that Carnegie Mellon and Hopkins are probably reaches.

Ok, It seems as though my list is pitt and pus then a bunch of crapshoots, based on what you guys are saying. Kind of disappointing but thank you all for your honesty.

With your unweighted GPA and a 2150 SAT in hand now I’d say JHU and CMU are both reaches not matches. You’ve gotten very good grades Soph/Junior year so maybe some of these schools don’t look at freshman year. Your EC’s are not exceptional. I would not say this is a balanced list given your stats. By all means retake the SAT / ACT but your UW GPA is going to be the liability. You’ve taken Calc AB and Chem so far which means you’re going to have a very heavy course load senior year. Realistically, you probably aren’t going to have straight A’s first semester senior year while you are working on applications and the heavier course load. Consider Lehigh, Binghamton, Bucknell, CWRU, Purdue, RPI, Rose-Hulman, Rochester. U.Illinois it will depend upon what college you apply to. You are a solid student and you will get into a great college. Just recalibrate

I think you forgot to mention how much you can afford. You probably won’t qualify for merit scholarships at any of these schools. Unfortunately (for the caliber of list you have going on), “solid” is a very good way to describe your GPA. It’s not exceptional and neither is your class load. Pitt is a good one of the list and so is Penn State, but I would say all the others are reaches. All of them. Especially if you need $$$. But if money is not an issue, then you’ll get into some of these. RPI, Virgina Tech, Rose Hulman would all be reasonable additions. Although RPI may be too expensive/selective if you need any scholarships. Don’t despair though! Seriously, don’t. You will be fine. I 100% guarantee it. If you are open to Midwest, look into Iowa State for the scholarships, Purdue if you can afford it, and New Mexico Tech in the SW.

My parents said I can go anywhere for undergrad, but I may have to pay for med school or grad school if I go that route.

Your matches are not actually matches. Hopkins, CMU, and Berkeley Engineering are no lower than reaches with the others being high matches/low reaches. Like the posters above me said, consider adding more colleges to your list because getting rejected from all of the schools you listed is a possibility.

@yinuos I could get rejected from ALL of them? PSU and Pitt would have me at their 90-95th percentile or something, how wouldn’t I be a shoe in there?

UC will not be a match. OOS is harder

Ok @NASA2014 , what do you think about the others?

Oh, sorry about that, I wasn’t clear enough. I meant all but your safeties. Yeah, you’d probably be a shoo-in at both of those.

If you consider Cornell a reach school, then Hopkins, CMU, and Berkeley should also be considered reaches. You have a decent chance at Michigan, and will probably get into your safeties.