HS Junior wondering about universities

<p>Hi, I'm currently a junior in high school and am starting to get nervous about what colleges I'll be able to get into. I was hoping to get some advice on what to do next. Dad demands that I go to an Ivy ("new Ivys" like Cornell are ok, too) but I hear that admissions are getting more and more strict. My relatives advise me to get an MBA after my BS (in Computer Science/Computer Engineering/etc - havn't really decided yet) and maybe even an eventual PhD in my field so that I have high advancement opportunities in term of salary/occupation.</p>

<p>My question is, what do you think my chances are to get into schools like MIT, Princeton, Stanford, CalTech, CMU, and Columbia? What could I do better?</p>

<p>About Me:
2nd gen Asian-American. male. upper middle class family. Excelling at academically mediocre high school (I wish people here were more worldly). moderately affluent rural neighborhood. (really rural, as in I can hear the cows mooing at night). I'm looking forward to attending a medium-to-large college near/in a major city.</p>

[<em>] I only take challenging honors/AP classes (except the academic-level graduation requirements)
[</em>] Mostly As, some Bs though
[<em>] GPA: 94% (unweighted - my school does not weight except for rank, which they don't tell us)
[</em>] 4.0 community college GPA because of concurrent enrollment (spanish 3, spanish 4, physics, pre-calc, US history, ...and more next year)
[<em>] SAT: 2100 = M 740 + CR 710 + W 690 (CR and W will go way up when I retake them in June. I concentrated on math this first time but got a CR 710 by surprise)
[</em>] AP Lit this year (will get score soon, but confident for a 4/5)
[<em>] AP Calc, Physics, Lang, US, Stats next year. (I'll likely get 4s and 5s)
[</em>] Will study Spanish Language at the University of Madrid in Spain this summer.

[<em>] High Honor Roll every marking period
[</em>] NHS (will be 2 years total by graduation)
[<em>] Foreign Language NHS (Spanish - will be 3 years total by graduation)
[</em>] PSAT NMSQT semifinalist
[li] Almost every middle school award they gave (science, tech, art, etc) (lol, not that middle school matters)[/li][/ul]</p>

[<em>] good public speaking skills
[</em>] National Youth Leadership Forum on National Security last October
[<em>] Boys' State this summer
[</em>] 2nd place at TSA state competitions for web design and competeing at nationals this summer

<p>Athletics, Clubs, and Service:
[<em>] soccer (freshman), cross-country (varsity soph, junior, senior), track (JV soph, junior. hopefilly varsity as a senior)
[</em>] 2nd degree black belt in Taekwondo (will be 3rd by end of senior year)
[<em>] Academic Team (my first year, will do it again next year)
[</em>] Technology Student Association for 2 years (plus next year) with state titles
[li] misc. community service volunteer hours to go way above the 40 hr graduation requirement[/li][/ul]</p>

<p>Web Design & Computers:
[<em>] Advanced in HTML and CSS (WYSWIGs are for babies and knuckleheads), moderate in JS and PHP. I keep putting off learning C++
[</em>] Tried to take the programming class at my school, but the teacher kicked me out because I already knew everything the courses at my school could offer. Thus, I am completely self-taught.
[<em>] arch linux FTW
[</em>] Have had my own website since 7th grade.
[<em>] 1 commercial production - everything from database design to dynamic site to graphic design for local business (MySQL, PHP, JS)
[</em>] 1 commercial consult - uncle's dental practice. I may end up doing some information architecture and setting up a CMS for him.
[<em>] 2 volunteer sites - one from the gound up (MySQL, PHP, JS, eventually a wordpress theme from scratch) and one is just maitenance of a GUI for the middle school PTA
[</em>] planning to get the high school newspaper online
[li] in middle phases of creating a social network to assign homework, projects, papers, etc for the engineering/business department. students will eventually be able to log with unique accounts and post assignments.[/li][/ul]</p>

<p><-Fellow programmer hear, so I'll go a bit more indepth with your review.</p>

<p>Your SAT is low for the schools you listed. The generic is about 2150, with a decent being above a 2200. Raise the SAT or get at least a 33 on the ACT.</p>

<p>Also. THIS ANNOYS ME! D:<</p>

<p>Cornell IS an ivy. It is the newest member of the Ivy, but it IS an ivy, no less than Harvard or Yale. The "New Ivies" are schools like RPI, University of Rochester, Harvey Mudd, etc.</p>

<p>Your race and location wont help you at all, though.</p>

<p>The awards seem nice, but you seem to lack a lot of leadership. The Boys State and TSA seems good, but is there anything else you could do to boost that?</p>

<p>Athletics also seem good, but are you good enough to get recruited? And how many hours volunteer? There's a big difference between say, 60, and 200.</p>

<p>And now for the programming stuff. Funnn =]
-I am basically the same. I would learn Java over C++; it isn't too too different (...it is a little...) but the ability to make Java applets in web stuff (which you seem to focus in) would be a big plus for you. The collegeboard AP Comp Sci exam tests/teaches Java, so that would probably be advisable.
-I would write an essay about that programming class. Most definitely funny and good!
-...I don't really use anything besides mint/debian, but whatever.
-So have I. Unless it holds demos or you make it for clients, it won't particularly help.
-Only 1? Try and get more!
-get more! As a whole, 3 websites for clients is quite good, but keep going!
-Good initiative! I was going to, but decided it would be too much work and became lazy...
-This is a BIG project. If it goes public and it works, it would be a crowning achievement for your application. If not...it wont help all too much.</p>

<p>As a whole, with your current GPA, ECs, and SAT, I'd say:</p>

<p>MIT - very high reach
Princeton-low reach to reach
CalTech-high reach
CMU-High match to low reach
Columbia-low reach to reach</p>

<p>Chance back?</p>

<p><a href="http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/what-my-chances/933115-chance-me-will-chance-back.html%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/what-my-chances/933115-chance-me-will-chance-back.html&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>That's tough. I'd say you have a good GPA and a diverse involvement in several interesting ECs that you seem to be quite immersed in. However, your SAT score is pretty low for all of the schools that you listed, with the exception perhaps of CMU, and your ethnicity isn't very helpful. However, I think, unlike synny201, that a rural location could work to your advantage. </p>

MIT- Reach
Princeton - Reach
Stanford - Reach
Cal Tech - Reach
CMU - High match
Columbia - Reach</p>

<p>I agree with the other posters - all of them will be reaches except for CMU, which IMO is a match. The Ivies in general are really hard to predict simply because they're so selective they're bascally a crapshoot.</p>

<p>Thanks for the really quick answers! I feel like I'm rambling a little in these posts, but I really want to get into the best school possible. The advice is much appreciated.</p>

<p>I did Johns Hopkins CTY in 7-8th grades (I took the SAT and got low 600s, received awards, but didn't do any summer programs). Now in HS, taking the SAT for real, I only got 2 wrong on the Math = 740 (idk how that works, lol). The 710 in CR was kinda by accident, since I was only concentrating on math that first time. I'm preparing for my second SAT next month. I predict all 3 sections will be in the upper 700s after I do Score Select. Is it worth it to really concentrate and go for the 2400, even if I have to take the SAT 3 times? Oh, and I'll be taking the SAT IIs October of my senior year.</p>

<p>From making/maintaining/updating the volunteer websites, I have roughly a couple hundred hours of community service. They're not very well documented though. My documented hours (for the graduation requirement) are stuff like helping out at bake sales, tours, and blood drives for various clubs. Thats about 30. I had more hours all together than many of my peers when we were comparing NHS applications. What are some good ideas for leadership? This summer is packed with Boys' State TSA and studies in Spain, but if I can I'd like to pack in some pre-college. CS and programming courses look appealing since my school can't offer that.</p>

<p>Ha, my athletics will not get me recruited. I'm just in it to keep me busy. If I didn't have sports, I'd go crazy.</p>

<p>And as far as race/location: there is mild discrimination in the form of being one of only 2 asians in my grade (and the only one not adopted). Nothing worse than occasional comments and being the butt of jokes. I avoid confrontations and personally feel unaffected by the comments. Nobody says anything worth getting upset over. However, my senior friend (Taiwanese, one of 3 asians in her grade) said she played it up for her applications with mild success. btw, my father emigrated from South Korea while my mother is caucasian ...I guess that makes me bi-racial.</p>

<p>And how's this for a preliminary guess, with the easiest (for me) towards the top:
* RPI <-- each match?
* Rice <-- easy match?
* CMU <-- meh. PA is freaky
* Columbia <-- I like NY. I'd settle for it if I was denied everywhere else.
* Princeton <-- I would love to go here.
* Stanford <-- Even tho it's far, I'd go there if I could !
* CalTech <-- not even sure I would like to go there... I like the idea of a prestigious core curriculum
* MIT <-- is this a pipedream? too far a reach?</p>

<p>Unfortunately, I don't think you can exactly "settle" for Columbia, and I don't think Rice is an easy match - a match, yes, but not an easy one. Columbia is extremely selective - practically as selective as HYPSM.</p>

<p>OTOH...You can try for the perfect 2400, but don't kill yourself. If you can manage 700+ in each one, then I think you're fine. I also don't know how the math works, though...especially because the first time I took the SAT, I got 5 wrong and still got a 710. Different test, though, so maybe the curve was different?</p>

<p>I think that collegeboard does some kind of curve based on the other people in the room and region when you took your test.... something about reducing discrepancies based on the environment.</p>

<p>And those predictions I listed are <em>IF</em> I pull off the mid-high 700s across the board with SAT I and II. Plus if I get mostly 5s (maybe a few 4s) on the AP exams like I expect to.</p>

<p>I also have some good recommendation lined up: my physics professor did grad at Princeton, my favorite teacher is now vice-principal of the school and knows a lot of people in reputable (but not ivy) colleges, plus various department supervisors and "governor teacher of the year" recipients. There's also the CS teacher who kicked me out the of the school's CS/IT/programming class because I already knew enough that "it couldn't help me". He'll give me a great letter, provided the NJ financial situation doesn't cost him his job...</p>