Mediocre GPA, Good Scores, Good Awards: What Are My Odds?

<p>I'm about to start my senior year of high school and, therefore, the college application process. I'll have an 84 or 85 average (sorry, my school doesn't use the 4.0 system) at the beginning of this school year. (I'm taking a summer course.) This average was on the college prep track at my school, although this year was a little off: I took American Lit an alternative way because I have issues with the teacher who was teaching both the honors and non-honors classes, and I switched to the lower level US History class second semester due to my life suddenly crashing and burning. (I will say that there are very few honors classes at my school because it's a tiny school, so saying I'm on the college prep track doesn't mean much.) My grades tend to be As and Bs, but there are a few Cs in there and I think there might be a D in there. I'm definitely top 50% in my class, but that's about all I know as to my class rank.</p>

<p>However, I got a 2140 on the SAT (CR: 780; M: 640; W: 720) and a 31 on the ACT, although I did bomb on the essay sections of both (a 5 and a 7, respectively). I got the best score in my class for the PSAT and scored high enough in the state percentiles that I may have a shot at a National Merit Scholarship. (I did the math: approximately the top 1.6%, if I recall correctly, of PSAT takes get a semifinalist position. Or maybe it's a commendation or higher, I can't remember.) I have also had numerous music honors through my high school career: three years running in the All-State chorus and being in this year's local jazz festival band as the pianist, among others. I've also gotten writing awards: sophomore year I got an honorable mention in the Vermont Young Playwrights Festival and this past year my play was one of the finalist plays in the same festival. Last school year I was class treasurer and this year I'll be class president. This past year I was also cast in a major role in my school's first musical in fifteen or twenty years.</p>

<p>I'm both the best pianist and the strongest soprano in my school despite my lack of musical training. (I have three years of piano lessons under my belt, but I've been playing for eight years. In other words, I am mostly self-taught.) I've been a member of the school's band, chorus, and jazz band since I was a freshman. (In case you can't tell, I love music.) I'm a very good comedic actress, although I'm alright as a dramatic actress as well. I'm also a skilled writer, with a particular gift in playwriting.</p>

<p>I have yet to receive all of my reccomendations, but I already have a letter from one of the school's administrators, who has known me since I was in seventh grade and was my middle school math teacher. My English/history teacher and my science/math teacher have both agreed to write me letters, and I will most likely have supplementary letters from my band teacher and the director of most of the recent plays I've been in.</p>

<p>I live in Vermont and my family's lower-middle class. My father died in January, which, as it turns out, coincides quite well with my grades plummeting. (Case in point: my pre-calc grade dropped from a 93 to a 75 between first and second semesters.)</p>

<p>So far, here's my list of schools that I'm planning on applying to: Hendrix College (my first choice, but don't tell my mother that), McDaniel College, Drew University (my mother went there), Elmira College, Elizabethtown College, Guilford College, Simmons College, and Saint Michael's College (as much as I would hate to stay in Vermont). I'm panicked because, although I know my test scores are at or above average for all the schools I listed above, my grades are below average for most of the schools listed above. My mother swears that my test scores are just as important as my grades, but I think she's thirty years behind the times. Meanwhile, my guidance counselor told me that I've got a good shot at Hendrix, McDaniel, Drew, Elmira, and Saint Michael's, but the woman's not very smart and I don't trust the veracity of anything she says. So tell me, what do you think my chances are, at least approximately?</p>

<p>Sorry I didn't read what you wrote after I saw there were multiple paragraphs. Have you read some of the other chance threads? It is a good idea to format it like those threads because it allows for easy scanning and reading of information.</p>

<p>You'll probably get more replies that way too.</p>

<p>@thumperr: I feel dumb admitting it, but I only looked at one or two other threads and then I felt pathetic looking at the numbers. I figured it might be a little difficult to read if it was a single gigantic block of text, so I decided I should split it up. I should've been more succinct. Sorry about that.
@Academik: Thanks! I'm glad to hear that I'll most likely be alright with Elmira and Drew. I'm especially glad to hear about my theoretical chances at Drew, since Drew's one of my top three.</p>

<p>A more organized form of what I wrote above, cutting out the unnecessary stuff:</p>

<p>GPA: 84 or 85, at least approximately. My school doesn't use the 4.0 system or any weighting system
Test scores: 2140 SAT (CR 780, M 640, W 720), 31 ACT (E 34, M 29, R 34, S 28)
Rigor of course load: With two exceptions, my school's version of "college prep". The exceptions: my taking American Lit an alternative way to avoid the teacher who was teaching both levels, and my switching down to the normal US History class second semester this year due to extenuating circumstances.</p>

<p>Extracurriculars and awards: School band (piano/melodic percussion), chorus (soprano 1), and jazz band (piano/melodic percussion)
Theater productions, including a couple of Shakespeare productions
All-State Music Festival three years running, soprano 1 section in chorus
Local jazz festival band, piano
Vermont Young Playwrights Festival: honorable mention sophomore year and finalist junior year
Class government: treasurer junior year and president this coming year
Major role in school musical</p>

<p>College choices, in a vague order:
Drew (note: my mother's alum)
Saint Michael's</p>

<p>Soooooo... Yeah. Now this should be a bit easier to handle.</p>

<p>I despise doing this, but... bumpity bump.</p>