I feel like I'm aiming a little high...please help!

As I prepare to apply to college in the fall, i have a few concerns. Here are my stats.

uw GPA: 3.9
w GPA: 4.34
ACT: 31
Class rank: 14% (highly competitive public school)
APs: Psychology, US history, Lang, Enivronmental science, Chem, Lit, and Stat

Extra curriculars:

  • marching band (leadership position for 3 years)
  • summer apprenticeship @ a museum
  • first chair trumpet in a youth orchestra and a wind ensemble (not including school band, these were both organizations separate from the school)
  • HOSA
  • Friends club
  • all district band for two years

Colleges I plan to apply to:
Reach: tufts, duke
Regular: UNC chapel hill (in state), Northeastern University (EA), Boston College
Safety: NC State, UNC Charlotte, App State, USC (South Carolina)

I feel like there’s a rlly big gap between the regular colleges and the safety colleges. Northeastern is my top choice but I feel like all three of the regular schools r kind of iffy :/. I’m hoping in state will help me with UNC chapel hill bc it’s prob my #2. I just retook the ACT and depending on the results may even take it again. I’m hoping for a 32 and would feel better about applying. I also have two teacher Recs and a counselor rec. the teacher Recs are from APLang and APES teachers. I think they will be good. If there are any other colleges you think I should add or any advice about changing them around pls tell me!!! Thanks! :slight_smile:

Edit: BTW I have visited almost all of these colleges (the only ones I haven’t are very local and I’ve been just not had an official campus visit) so I know I like all of them!

NC State is a great school.

I would put Northeastern and Boston College in the reach category, and NC State and USC into the match category. I do think you will get in to NC State and USC… but I am not comfortable calling them safeties. What is your budget? Can you afford all of these schools?

If you tell us your budget and what you are looking for, we can offer more suggestions if necessary.

I think that you have a pretty good list.

Someone I know with similar stats got into Northeastern a few years back, but with no aid. She decided to go elsewhere. If you get into both UNC Chapel Hill and Northeastern there is no way that I would recommend paying full price at Northeastern given that you are instate for UNC unless you are very wealthy. UNC Chapel Hill is a very good university.

Good luck!

Northeastern has gotten very competitive in recent years. I also think this is a good list ( depending on finances) but would be inclined to add another match.

Agree good list. Focus on your essays this summer too – that will make a big difference at UNC in particular as they really do look beyond the stats. There’s a whole forum on CC to learn more about how to approach them so you may want to check that out. Good luck!!!

What are you hoping to study?

Northeastern could go either way with your stats. If you do get in, there’s a good likelihood of getting no merit aid, and of getting NUin (where you spend your first semester abroad). NUin isn’t necessarily a bad option, but will you go to NU if you have to full-pay with no merit? (Or are you eligible for some need-based aid?)

You have good public matches and safeties; it’s just that your private U’s are basically all reaches. If you like the public U’s and would be happy to go there, then it’s a fine list. If, as your list implies, you would really like to have a Boston-area school as one of your options as you make your final decision, then consider adding a match school or two up there, like Brandeis or one of the Worcester schools (just 45 minutes to Boston on commuter rail): Clark or College of the Holy Cross. But of course a lot depends on what you want to study, which can’t really be inferred from your post.

If you like the size and urban vibe of Northeastern, you might ponder adding Pitt to your list. Pittsburgh is a fun, manageably-sized student city in some of the same ways that Boston is, and Pitt has that same kind of real-campus-but-right-in-the-city feel.

I second @aquapt’s suggestion of applying to Pitt. The fact that they have Rolling Admissions means you might have an admission in the bag early on – always a nice thing.

If your school has Naviance (which would show the past admissions results for students from your school by GPA and test score), that could help show if UNC-CH is likely or just possible, and if NC State/USC are nearly certain or just likely. You could also use it to try to find schools that more likely admits than NE or BC, but that you prefer to your safeties.

You also should consider cost. NC State is a very good deal at $20K direct cost, and UNC-CH is a fantastic deal at the same price. If you got into either of those schools, and another school that would cost a good bit more, you (and your parents!) would have to agree it was worth the money.

Agree with others that the list is pretty good (I feared, from the thread title, that the OP would be listing all Ivies). However, I do think that the OP should understand that Duke and Tufts are both very reachy (8% and 15% acceptance rates).

I also agree with whoever else said that BC is on that match/reach edge. UNC is a tough admit too, but the OP is in-state, so she/he should be competitive enough to consider it a match. I’d say that NE is a match too.

Good list, but you’ve got your reaches and safeties. Maybe find more true matches?

I think you’re in the ballpark for Northeastern and have a good chance. Just a couple of personal statistical points:

My D OOS 34 ACT 3.6uw 4.2w 9 AP classes with a great regular essay specific for NEU and supplemental material (not required) applied for ED for Neuroscience and got in, 2016. Got a lot of merit aid, I want to say $40K? Accepted.

My S OOS 35 ACT 3.73uw 4.5w 10.5 AP classes, didn’t submit any supplemental paperwork, applied RD and got waitlisted for CS Cybersecurity 2018. Did get off of waitlist and got $18K in Merit. Didn’t accept though.

We were a bit perturbed by the waitlist thinking that there must be some yield protection thingy going on, but another poster pointed out that Northeastern values demonstrated interest a lot. I must agree with this poster because my S honestly didn’t show that much interest. So if you ED and take a campus visit I think that would help a lot.

@hapworth. Things have changed a bit in a Boston. BC is moving up in selectivity really aggressively.

BC avg ACT for 2018 was 33. Acceptance rate of 27% with a pretty self slececting group compared to a state flagship in terms of sheer applicants. Same as most religiously affiliated schools. UNC 25 to 75 was 28 to 32. Acceptance rate was 31 percent and in state higher. Instate stats lower. It is much more difficult to get into BC than in state UNC with ops stats. Oos I’ll go along with your analysis.

ED’ing to Northeastern would be risky unless OP is clear that they’d full-pay for NU over UNC (which doesn’t seem like a wise pre-emptive decision IMO). But certainly no reason not to apply EA and show lots of interest.

That’s why my D did last year, with an identical weighted GPA to OP’s (slightly higher unweighted) and a 1480 SAT (=32ACT). Visited, showed interest, supplemental materials, etc. Was accepted EA with a merit offer of $0 the first year, $5K/semester thereafter… i.e. $30K total over four years. (Weird, but perhaps trying to discourage students with sophomore-transfer offers from schools like USC and Cornell?) Her classmate with similar stats who also applied EA got an identical offer. (Ended up at UC Berkeley) My daughter got substantially larger merit offers from Rochester, RPI, and Scripps. An inquiry to Northeastern about merit-matching was unceremoniously shut down, and thus ended the love affair with Northeastern, lol.

Students with these stats are also rejected, accepted without any merit, and accepted to NUin with some regularity. Then again, some get bigger merit and Honors offers. All you can do is try and see, but ED would be a huge gamble.

Northeastern is a very cool and innovative place, but ending up as a poor financial choice is one of the reasons it yields so low. (Of course, some of the low yield is just from students getting into schools they like even better; but affordability is another big contributor.) Yes, it’s very competitive to get in; but then less than 20% of accepted students end up attending.

UNC overall acceptance rate is 27%. OOS is 18% with instate being higher. We don’t know where in NC the OP lives… that will make a difference in terms of acceptance. They are trying to accept more students from underserved areas of the state. The OP should check Naviance if his school has it.

UNC rocks. I just went off google. But it may have been last year and bc this year. But an instate flagship even at that level would be a bit more available to OP. But I agree that despite their excellent work it is still a reach instate unc.

Top gpa though and strong application and recs op and you get could very well land anywhere. IMHO.

UNC… being a true match … or not… may depend on where he lives. I do agree that it will likely be “easier” than BC.

Northeastern may be more of a match due to being from NC. Where I live …it would be considered a little reachy.

I stand corrected for my post #10, I just rechecked and my D did EA and not ED. She said no way she would have done ED without knowing how much merit aid she would get, plus chances are that she wouldn’t have gotten merit since there would be no incentive on the part of NEU to give any. So yeah, going with EA makes much better sense and still shows demonstrated interest.

I am going to move Northeastern back into the low reach category. The ACT score of 31 is in the 25th percentile.

The OP has enough reaches. I would focus on getting another true match school. We still don’t know his budget.

Are you planning to play music or minor in it in college? If so, this may give you an advantage. It would require an audition, however the music dept. can sway decisions.