Is Berkeley really a reach for me?

<p>Sorry for the reposts, but I was wondering if Berkeley is really a reach for me instead of a slight reach, since most people say UCSD is a match, but I think Berkeley sounds way better.</p>

<p>Asian American (Chinese) Male, lives with a single parent, low income (~10K)</p>

<p>Goes to a semi-competitive public high school (I think there were two people who went to Ivies this year)</p>

<p>UC GPA:3.95 (10th-11th grades, weighted [estimate], may be higher due to CC courses?)
10th-11th unweighted: 3.681
9th-11th unweighted:3.5625
Class rank: Around 120?/600 (our district doesn't weigh GPA's for class rank)</p>

<p>Grades:
9th Grade:
Algebra 1: A+/A+
Spanish 1: A/A-
Integrated Science(Forced to take this class due to the stupid school)A/B+
P.E(Just for reference): A/A
English 1 Honors: C+/B
Intro to Computer Science: B/C+</p>

<p>10th Grade:
Geometry: A/A-
Biology: A-/A-
AP World History: B/A
English 2 Honors: B+/A-
Spanish 2: A-/B+
P.E: A/A-</p>

<p>Community college course: Introduction to Buisness - B (missed a week of class)</p>

<p>11th Grade:
Chemistry: A+/A
Algebra 2: A+/A
U.S History: A/A
A.P Computer Science A: B+/A-
A.P English Lang / Comp: B-/B
Spanish 3: B+/A-</p>

<p>2 community college courses: Trigonometry and Pre Calculus Algebra: Projected A/A</p>

<p>Projected courses next year:
AP Physics B
AP Calculus AB (taking Pre-Calc over the summer)
AP Government/Regular Econ (One semester of each)
English 4
Choir 1</p>

<p>AP Scores:
AP World History: 5
AP Computer Science: Projected 4/5
AP English: Projected 3/4</p>

<p>SATs:
SAT Reasoning: 580 R/660 M/550 W 1790 Total (Look at ACT score, since my ACT score > SAT score)</p>

<p>SAT Subject Test:
Chinese: 800
World History: 700
Biology M: 620
Will take Math II and Chemistry</p>

<p>ACT:
Composite: 33
English: 33
Math: 35
Reading: 33
Science: 30
Essay: 11</p>

<p>PSAT: 63 R/ 73 M/ 64 W 200 Total(96 percentile)</p>

<p>Award(s):
National Merit Commendation (If nothing goes haywire)</p>

<p>Spent 5 years in Taiwan at a regular public school (not an American school)</p>

<p>Extracirricular:
Chinese Club (one of the founders): 9th/10th grades
CSF: 11th grade
Key Club: 11th grade
Christian Club: 10th/11th grades
Church tutoring helper: 10th grade
Church worship team: 11th grade
NYLF Tech Forum: Summer after 10th grade
Piano (5 years, never had time to take CM examinations though)
Planning on co-founding a game developers /programming club in school next year.</p>

<p>Thanks!</p>

<p>I'd say slight reach - reach. You have too many Bs, which makes your GPA weak, and you aren't even in the top 10% (barely top 20%). Mediocre SAT I scores, but better ACT and SAT II scores. Average ECs.</p>

<p>Make your essays awesome.</p>

<p>I'd say a reach. For the same reasons above. write damn good essays on the application!</p>

<p>Should I bother to explain why my class rank is low, since our district doesn't weigh our GPAs? Or should I just focus on other things on the essays?</p>

<p>One more thing: should I retake the SAT I, or should I focus on the SAT II Math and Chem? Which would help my chances more?</p>

<p>Don't waste an essay on trying make your low GPA look better by explaining how your school's grading system works (It looks bad using an essay to make your GPA look better for them; they'll see all the classes you took and what grades you got in them). They call the essays your "Personal Statement" for a reason, you know :)</p>

<p>I agree with the above.</p>

<p>Higher scores help your chances little, especially in the face of your GPA/rank.</p>

<p>Then should I retake the SAT? Would my mediocre SAT score hurt my chances? Will they instead ignore my SAT in favor for my ACT? Or would it be more beneficial to focus on the SATIIs and retake them if I don't do as well? I really wish I don't have to take the SAT again...</p>

<p>Do not take SAT I again, 33 ACT is very very strong...perhaps get 1 more 700+ SATII just so it doesn't seem like you are taking advantage (like so many people do) of being chinese by getting an 800 on that SAT II</p>

<p>Ok, this will be your best chance of getting in: WRITE ABOUT YOUR LOW INCOME. You already have your race (Chinese) working against you (no offense) - you HAVE to HAVE to nullify that and your low SAT scores with your low income. Write about how you had to help your family out- how you had to struggle in school. Even if you don't think you struggled or anything, you still have to dig <em>something</em> up. </p>

<p>If you put yourself in a low income light, the app readers will be much more forgiving of low grades and test scores- they'll know you couldn't afford Princeton Review or whatever and that you were disadvantaged from the get go.</p>

<p>Yes, they will see that your ACT is still higher, but you still have to send your SAT II scores- so try and bone up on your math and chem. I don't know how much your chinese score will help though.</p>

<p>mofmog: Yeah, I will definitely write about my low-income + single parent status, because it has in many ways limited my education oppurntunities and stuff, and it has also increased my desire for a good education (so I can break free from the low-income bracket one day). Also, can I not put my SAT score on my application? Will they see the difference between the test dates? I took my SAT at the beginning of this school year, and the ACT this June, so hopefully they would assume I went into hardcore studying (which isn't really true... :P)</p>

<p>What Math and Chem scores should I aim for? 750+? And yeah, it does suck being Chinese, when every other Chinese person owns you at everything. XD</p>

<p>if low-income has honestly hindered your educational opportunities, write about it. if it hasn't, don't, cuz that's just messed up and stupid. your SATs will definitely hurt you (not to be blunt), so you really need to bring those up unless you plan on submitting the ACT.</p>

<p>The lack of knowledge in this thread is appalling.</p>

<p>"Will they instead ignore my SAT in favor for my ACT?"</p>

<p>They will, but I'll reiterate: good scores really won't help you at Berkeley, if your GPA doesn't measure up. Consider that 94% of students had a 3.75 or higher on a 4.0 scale, and the average UW GPA was a 3.9; 3% had between a 3.5 and a 3.75 (a few more percents as the GPA is lower -- but as you can see, very few). 99% were in the top 10% of his/her class. Now consider that the average SAT score is about a 2040, and some of the lower 25th percentiles of SAT score ranges falls into the high 500s. That shows how much Berkeley cares about SAT, in comparison to GPA. I've seen people with amazing scores (2300+) but a mediocre GPA get rejected. At most top universities, an awesome SAT score can make up for a slightly weak GPA. Not so at Berkeley (state schools tend to stress GPA much more).</p>

<p>Don't bother going for "another 700+" on the SAT IIs. Berkeley requires two, and you'll report your two best ones. That's it. There's no point in taking another one.</p>

<p>"Or would it be more beneficial to focus on the SATIIs and retake them if I don't do as well?"</p>

<p>No. SAT I doesn't matter that much, and SAT IIs even less. Plus, your scores are fine. And getting higher scores will really not make much of a difference.</p>

<p>Writing about your low income would be very bad idea. For one, the essays are the only place for you to talk about you -- your accomplishments, your interests, your plans. Dragging out the "oh I'm a low-income student" isn't a good idea -- too many do it, and it just plays on sympathy. You only get three essays, and you have to be damn good about it (the essay is hugely important in Berkeley admissions). Of course, you might mention this if you were writing an essay that had to do with it (perhaps an experience), but it would be in passing. You might even add in the 'additional info' section, if you really wanted to mention it, that you're a low income student, but they do see all that in the financial aid info. Really, though, don't make an entire essay topic out of it.</p>

<p>The fact that you're Chinese doesn't matter. Berkeley isn't nearly as discriminatory toward Asians as other top universities, which is apparent when you see that almost half of Berkeley is Asian (obviously they don't go harder on them).</p>

<p>Berkeley will ignore your other SAT scores if you don't report them. They will consider the scores you put on the application, and will use the reports to validate them. That is all.</p>

<p>The fact that you are a low-income student won't make them forgive a low GPA. There are plenty of students just like you. There are plenty of students who are low-income and who also get high grades. (71% students receive aid.)</p>

<p>UC's can't look at race by law...don't worryy about being chinese, although it seems obvious w/ your SAT II Chinese score</p>

<p>Kyle: I have to disagree. As long as he makes it seem like a barrier that he HAS crossed and not so much as an excuse, it'll work greatly to his advantage.</p>

<p>I wouldn't be at all surprised if you got in, especially because your grades aren't at all bad, and you still have time to raise your test scores. This is a huge advantage:</p>

<p>-lives with a single parent, low income (~10K)</p>

<p>You are good to go.</p>

<p>don't be discouraged. really I think that a lot of times on chances threads it might just make you depressed. I think berkeley not an easy school to get into, but hey no matter what happens, it really isn't that end of the world regardless of what happens. I've had friends with 1700s who got in and friends with 2300s get rejected and they both had decent ecs and everything, so you never know. in the end, everyone will be happy with whichever college they get into. don't stress out too much. enjoy your senior year. that's important :)</p>

<p>kyle, do you go to berkeley? just wondering... :)</p>