Needing Advice: Longshot Colleges? Increasing my chance of acceptance?

<p>Hey College Confidential,</p>

<p>Before I begin I just want to say thank you to everyone who reads this entire thing and gives me some advice/feedback. It means a lot.
I'm looking for as many opinions (from knowledgeable people only, please!) as I can get regarding which colleges I should apply for, ect. </p>

<p>I have two college counselors, but I feel both don't understand me very well. For instance, one of them decides whether or not a college will be a "long-shot", completely on the percent of applicants accepted. Isn't that completely illogical? Wouldn't comparing my GPA, SAT, Class Rank, and other very important things colleges look at in the application process, to the students who got accepted, then deciding off of experience (experience of the college counselor that is) if it is a "long-shot", be a much more realistic method? Also, she doesn't believe in telling a student that they should not apply to a college, even if their scores are far lower than students accepted. </p>

<p>So I'm going to write most everything that will be on my college app, and I hope one of you may be kind enough, and resourceful enough, to give me some realistic, accurate, advice on what I should do.</p>

<p>I went to private school K through 8th. I did awful in 8th grade but I've been told colleges won't be seeing this.
I went to a boarding school in Vermont my freshman year. I did terribly. Only took 5 classes (was standard to do this at this school). There were no Honors or AP courses. I took Geometry, Spanish 2, English 1, Computer Graphics, World History, Skiing (second 1/3rd), Golf (third 3/3rd). year was divided into thirds. I got two B's and three C's. Athletics was Pass/Fail. I was Freshman Class President.</p>

<p>After Vermont I moved back home where I went to public school (one that offers a tremendous amount of great AP courses). I think during this time period I went through a period in my life where I realized I had to straighten up and start working harder. And I did, to some extent.
Sophomore year I took Honors Algebra 2, Honors Geography, Art 2 (art credit to graduate)(notice art is not honors), Honors English2, Honors Chemistry, Honors Biology, Honors Spanish 3. 7 classes. I got A's in every class both semesters. Transcript was divided into Semesters.</p>

<p>Junior year same public school. H English 3, H Physics, H Pre-Calculus, PE (last P.E. credit needed to graduate)(Notice not honors)(1 semester only!),AP Psychology (1 semester), AP US History, AP Statistics, H Business Ownership (1 semester), H Business Management (1 semester). 7 classes. I got all A's again, both semesters. </p>

<p>Next year (senior year), I will be taking something along these lines. AP government (1 semester), AP Calculus AB, AP Economics (Macro/Micro), Speech (req. to graduate)(1 semester)(Notice not honors), AP Environmental Science, AP English 4, AP biology, AP Art history or something. 6 classes, since you can have one free period as senior. Would like it too considering so many AP's. Although I'm considering (and will decide based on feedback/advice), whether I should take an Honors course that won't add much to my workload but will guarantee an A, improving my GPA/Rank (i speak about why its important below).
Since colleges only see first semester of SENIOR year(as I have been told), I really need to get A's. Obviously I need to do well after that but at least i will be able to relax. </p>

<p>Now one of my primary concerns is my GPA/Class Rank. My current school has Honors/AP courses count on a 5.0 scale while regular courses on a 4.0. I don't know why/how this works, but my current school (the public, 10th-12th)used my Freshman year grades with the ones I have there. So a C from freshman year, gets counted as a 2.0! And they just "didn't count" the athletic grades from freshman year that said "pass". While all courses at my current school are out of 100. So of course my GPA is suffering and I have been focusing on getting it back up as high as possible before applications. My class rank is very week, I'm pretty sure that I am 20th percentile as of this year (remember if i get all A's I can raise it a bit next year).
I plan on testing out of Health, a required course to graduate, next year, so that it will not lower my GPA/Class Rank.</p>

<p>I did awful on the PSAT, like 1850. I got a 2100 on the last PRACTICE SAT I took but i think i can do better. I'm taking a Princeton SAT practice course this summer (ridiculously expensive), and with some hard work I think i can aim for 2250 and higher.</p>

<p>Although I haven't gotten my AP scores back I think they are weak. I estimate 4 or 3 on Statistics, 2 or 3 on psychology, 3 on us history.
Haven't gotten my subject tests back, but I believe i did awful. I took Math 1, Math 2, and History. Math 1 i feel reasonable about; 600 to 700/800. Math 2 = 300 to 500/800. History = 250 to 500/800. </p>

<p>What happened?</p>

<p>I have trouble making myself sit down and study. No excuse, completely my fault/choice. I have had this problem for a while. During the year I did my homework/studied at school, or most of it. I believe/hope that I will mature and learn to sit down and study at home, ignoring things i prefer to do, more often. If I do, I think I can do really well. I breezed through all of my classes because the info was fresh on my mind. I think if when/if i learned to sit down and study I can take on a very hard course-load. </p>

<p>I am an Eagle Scout. I know I am lacking in Extra Curricular Activities. Next year I'm joining NHSS and Key Club. I have about 50 hours of community service (should i do more?). This summer I'm doing an internship for about 6 weeks at an Investment Firm.</p>

<p>I am positive that I want to major in Economics or business (something of the sort).</p>

<p>I believe I can write a strong essay considering my history>> Born in Belgium, lived in Australia for 6 years, moved to Texas, parents divorced 8th grade, father went to work in England, i went to boarding school where i roomed with a Brazilian and Korean roommate, then back to Texas. French was first language. Plus I travel a lot and have been to many places. I go to Belgium almost every summer to see my grandparents.</p>

<p>I'm fortunate enough to say money won't hold me back from going to the best school i can go too.</p>

<p>I feel like the name of the college/university you go to is very important for someone to determine how smart, dedicated, successful you will be, whatever, you are. </p>

<p>I would prefer to go to the northeast. Why? Because that is where the most prestigious schools are, and since I'm wanting to be a business man, or something of the sort, it is the main area.</p>

<p>I'm looking at schools like UPenn, NYU, Northeastern, Haverford, Georgetown, George Washington, and some others i cannot think of (all advice from my college counselors).</p>

<p>Is something like Dartmouth, Columbia, Duke, or something else at that caliber not even worth applying for? Why or why not? As in, I don't want to waste my time in applying to a school I have little to no chance of getting into. How can I increase my chance of acceptance into these hard universities?</p>

<p>What colleges do you recommend i consider?</p>

<p>What other suggestions do you have? </p>

<p>Thank you so much</p>

<p>If I were you, I'd find two or three reaches that you absolutely love and apply there, not to all of the ones you have listed. </p>

<p>As for your seniors year, my advice would be to work as hard as you can at your schoolwork, but maintain whatever you're passionate about as well. (Scouting I guess?) That could be very significant to colleges and universities. As for your grades, admissions officers understand that people change for the better over time. You clearly have dramatically improved since your freshman year so I think the admissions people will appreciate that.</p>

<p>Have you checked your scores online? Everyone should have gotten their scores by now.</p>

<p>If your projected SAT II scores are correct, you should retake those tests. Having 700+, preferably 750+, scores would be ideal for those schools.</p>

<p>If you want to attend, you should apply. You may be accepted, though it's not probable.</p>

<p>I would apply ED to Dartmouth! I think you can get in!</p>

<p>@flipnish - I'm not "passionate" about scouting. I'm more passionate about what I'm currently doing, interning on the floor of a trading firm. It's great, I love it, and I'm learning so much. I'm hoping to be like one of the traders here after i finish graduate school.</p>

<p>@spatula - I thought one of you would say this. Will they see my other SAT II scores? I've been told to retake them as well. Also, where can I see my scores for SAT II and Subject Tests?</p>

<p>@rotflmaospencer - I haven't taken the official SAT or ACT as of yet. I'm taking it the next opportunity I have (I think it's early September). And regardless, I don't think my chances are Dartmouth will be very high regardless of what I do.</p>

<p>Go to College Board's website. Log into the place where you signed up for the tests. Go to My Tests, log in again, and check your scores. It depends on the school's score choice policy. Some require all scores to be sent, while others allow you to choose which scores you want to send.</p>

<p>The earliest opportunity for you to take the SAT is in October.</p>

<p>Ok, will do. Thanks</p>

<p>Bump bump bump</p>

<p>Turns out i got