Please rate my chances for getting into these schools

I am a rising senior interested in stem. I would like to be rated based on my stats throughout high school for top colleges like UT Austin, Georgia Tech, Texas A&M, Purdue, etc.

first generation

GPA: 3.9-4.0

State: New York

APs (sophomore): European History

APs (Junior): Biology, U.S. History, English Literature

APs (Senior): Calc BC, Stats, Physics Mech, U.S. Gov’t, English Language

Dual Credit: Religion

Honors: National Honor Society, Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony Award

Extracurriculars: Science Olympiad, Masterminds, Drama Guild (Stage crew)

I’ll also mention:

  • String Orchestra (2 years)

  • orchestra not affiliated with school (freshman year)

  • bowling (not on team, but practice with the school’s coach)

-Mandarin for 3 years

  • about 50 community service hours so far

I know this is not spectacular, but please let me know how I can better stand out as an applicant.

I must also add that I am currently waiting for my SAT scores.

Engineering or a different STEM?

Also does your school rank? If so where are you?

Is the 3.9-4.0 unweighted ? So all A’s, 1 B?

If you added .5 for Honors and 1 for AP, what would your weighted GPA be?


The schools you have listed are all OOS public universities. Can you pay for these out of state schools?

Until you have your SAT score, it’s hard to chance you.

But even so…you have to be able to afford the cost to attend.

Are your parents divorced? Do they own a business or are they self employed? Do they own real estate in addition to your primary residence? If NO to these questions….run the Net Price Calculators for these colleges to see if they come in at a price point your parents can and will pay.


tsbna44, I didn’t specify, but I’m looking for an engineering college. Also, my school does not rank and does not weigh our GPAs.

thumper1, I don’t have an official list of colleges I would apply to yet, but these are just some that I am thinking about applying to. My family’s finances are on the lower side, so I doubt we can pay the tuition for these state schools.

Very few state universities provide meaningful financial aid to out of state students. None of the ones on your list do, so, your first order of business is figuring out what your budget is. Happily, you have some great in-state options, so start there.

The great thing for you is that engineering is a relatively ‘flat’ subject- that is you can get top jobs from a very, very wide range of engineering schools.


Sit down with your parents and run the Net Price Calculator for these schools and see if they are affordable. As noted, out of state publics tend to be very stingy with aid. That said TAMU gives money for NMF. How did you do on your PSAT?

UT Austin is a high reach for any out of state applicants because they take the vast majority of their students from instate due to their laws.

GT also a high reach. I think you have a shot at TAMU and Purdue but again, you need to make sure they are affordable.

Don’t discount your SUNY schools!


Please please get a budget for each year of college. You have some great schools on your list but as an out of state student, they will likely be very costly.

You are from NY, right? Please please look at the SUNY schools where you are an instate applicant…plus look for the nice financial initiates NY state has for lower income students.

My suggestion…build your list from the bottom up. Find a couple for sure thing and affordable colleges that you like. Then look for the more competitive schools.


As others have mentioned, it’s super important to figure out the budget before building out a college list. Talk to your family and have them run the Net Price Calculators on the websites of colleges that you’re interested in. If the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) from the college is affordable, then it remains a contender. If not, you need to find schools where you will get merit aid to help bring the costs down.

Georgia Tech & UT-Austin are very difficult admits for anyone who is not an automatic admit (Texas residents in the top 6% of their class for UT).

Make sure that any college you’re looking to attend for engineering is ABET accredited, as most employers only want to hire engineers who have a degree from an ABET-accredited school. You can find accredited schools here (and note that it can vary by specialty, i.e. accredited in mechanical engineering but not chemical engineering, for instance).

  • University at Buffalo
  • SUNY Binghamton
  • SUNY New Paltz
  • SUNY Oswego (electrical & computer engineering; software engineering only)
  • Stony Brook
  • SUNY Environmental Science & Forestry (paper engineering only)
  • SUNY Maritime
  • CUNY City College
  • CUNY Staten Island
  • SUNY Polytechnic

Not all of these schools offer every engineering specialty, so you’d want to make sure the specialties you are interested are offered at the campuses that interest you. The ABET search tool can also be used to narrow down the list to schools that offer the fields of engineering you’re interested in. If you share what types of engineering you’re interested in, that can also help people in offering suggestions of possible schools to consider.

In addition to the spot on messages below, if your budget is moderate you can look at OOS publics that offer significant merit.

With a 3.9. Arizona will be $22k or so a year all in. - no test considered.

Alabama and UAH will be cheaper. But these require a test.

Others with potential for cost in the 20s are MS State, Arkansas, Florida State and more.

Google the school name and out of state merit.

But as all have said budget first because even a school in the $20s, if too much, is not worth attending.

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I think UMass Amherst has given some decent OOS scholarships this year.
Olin is another school that gives some scholarships.
Cooper Union?

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OOS publics are not the place so start, in building your list, if you need significant financial aid.

As other have said, solidify your SUNY list first. Figure out what majors you’re interested in, and how that affects competitiveness for admissions as well as the desirability of particular schools.

Then run the Net Price Calculators for some schools that offer full-need-met aid, or a combination of need-based and merit aid that would have a reasonable probability of meeting your need as the school calculates it. Example schools to look (with solid engineering programs and promising aid) include Lehigh, Lafayette, Union, URochester, Case Western Reserve U, WPI, Carnegie Mellon, Northeastern, Tufts. If you report back as to what range of costs you see at these schools, and how that compares to your projected costs at your SUNY schools, that will give us a lot of information about what your application strategy should be.

As tsbna says, there are OOS publics with potential for generous merit aid, but you’ll need standardized test scores to see where you stand with those.

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Thanks. I’ll be sure to take a look at everything you all mentioned first.