How will my situation be viewed by universities?

<p>I'm currently a junior in high school and interested in majoring in engineering (most likely electrical) or math.</p>

<p>I'm a fairly strong student. Nothing amazing like a lot of the people on here, but I'm in the top 1% of my class (hope to be valedictorian!). I scored a 2260 on my SAT sophomore year and I'm planning to take the ACT soon. I am building up my community service hours by working at our local soup kitchen, and I'm going to be president of NHS next year. I am a strong writer, so my essays will hopefully be good, and my teachers/counselor will write me good LoR's. Hopefully I can also get a job soon, but I have had no luck so far.</p>

<p>My situation is a bit unusual, and I'm wondering how it might affect admissions for me.</p>

<p>First of all, I'm a white female attending a rather underachieving mid size (1100) public school. "Underachieving" as in less than 10% of our graduates graduate from college, no one has gone to an Ivy in the years that I've attended my school, and we had less than 10 total passed AP exams last year - mostly by the same people. </p>

<p>My school doesn't have a lot of resources for us when it comes to preparing for university - I'm a junior and college has hardly been mentioned, we are actually discouraged by teachers and counselors from taking AP classes, etc. </p>

<p>Next is my financial/living situation. I have been raised my entire life by my grandmother, who is currently in her mid 80s. We live alone on a fixed income from my late grandfather's retirement. My grandmother is very private about her finances, but I know that we make less than $40,000 a year. We are in very good shape financially as we have 0 debt, but we also have no savings for my college. My grandmother has no intention to help me pay for university and will not cosign a loan.</p>

<p>However, my grandmother has never legally adopted me. My mother still has legal custody over me. She lives in a different state than I do. She is homeless and unemployed, and does not have any income (doesn't file taxes). She is also extremely ill (in the hospital at the time I write this) and very well might pass away before I graduate.</p>

<p>I'm not aiming for Ivies. My reaches are schools like Vanderbilt, Duke, Northwestern, etc. I will also apply to UT Austin (as I'm guaranteed admission) and other schools in Texas. I'm very worried that these circumstances will hurt me when it comes to the universities I can attend!</p>

<p>ps. Sorry for the novel :P</p>

<p>I think you have a very good shot at the schools you listed above. What is your GPA? Some schools give very good financial aid packets, also you should apply to some lower ranked school because they give very good merit aid.</p>

<p>I don't think your circumstances will hurt you. You do need to make sure that your councilor is aware of them and will address them in the councilor letter.</p>

<p>You need to visit the Financial Aid Forum, and get some advice about the best ways to approach the financial issues from kelsmom who posts there. There may be difference if your grandmother is your legal guardian, rather than your absentee mother and father.</p>

<p>Good luck!</p>

<p>Sorry to hear that your mom is very ill.</p>

<p>I'm wondering if it will benefit you in the long run for your Gma to be named your legal guardian. If that happens, then I don't think colleges will ask for parent info. </p>

<p>Where is your bio dad? Some of those schools will want info about him if your mom still has custody or if your mom passes.</p>

<p>Your situation might actually help you. In some words, it could be considered as a "hook". Colleges love to see people like you who excel even under stressful circumstances.
Very impressive SAT score. The discouraging AP classes thing: kinda sounds like my school, except the admins just cut people out of the AP classes.
Good luck! If your GPA is above a 4.0 weighted, then you have a very good shot at Ivies. Don't give up! :)</p>

<p>If you are definitely considering Vanderbilt, they have a very generous aid policy, you can read about it here! <a href="http://admissions.vanderbilt.edu/financial-aid-facts.php%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://admissions.vanderbilt.edu/financial-aid-facts.php&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>