Serious inquiries (Georgetown Brown PLME Stanford Harvard Yale Rice WashU UW Dartmouth Bowdoin)

Class of 2018

1st generation student
ACT: 30
SAT 1410 ; shooting for 1500 this coming test date
-GPA : Weighted: 4.7 Unweighted: 3.9 (IB Classes and AP Stats, not sending score)

-SAT Subject Tests: I plan to take Math II and Biology M
-Intended Major: Major: Public Policy at Stanford (I plan to double major with ChemE and go to Northwestern for Med) or ChemE @ Yale
-Class Rank: Top 10%
-Ethnicity: Mexican American
-Major Awards: Honor Roll, Community engagement award, Varsity Lettering in Marching Band two years in a row
-State: AZ
-School: Top 100 in state but has a low performance rate; unknown school with a mix of 2-3 Ivy league kids and community college grads

Any other hooks: Parents separated,
My mom pushed me a lot and tells me I can do better
I have protested continuously against Sheriff Joe?

IB Student
Math HL
History SL
Anthropology SL
Spanish HL
Biology HL
English HL
Theory of Knowledge
Physics SL
Chemistry SL

Subjective (idk what sleep is)

  1. High School Newspaper Began this year but really enjoy the experience; will be attending a prestigious writing summer program
  2. Started a company in 2016 through a business school program Received start up investment, but will not go through because I want to start a non-profit instead
  3. Worked in a philanthropic organization to give 8000 USD in grant money to local charities Will be doing so again this year
  4. National Honors Society Running for president this year
  5. Film Society It is a relaxing experience, it gave me an new appreciation for old films
  6. Marching Band I participated for 2 years, enjoyed it but had to give it up; I would no longer be able to make it t the early rehearsals bc I no longer had transportation
  7. Volunteer with animals 3 years Over 300 hours, I work with cleaning stalls at an animal sanctuary and present to any visitors artifacts about the animals
  8. Robotics (3 years Leadership position: Historian and Webmaster We started to do outreach work with another organization this year, but it died down during competition, I plan to take some action and revitalize it
  9. I am part of a youth group for Latino 1st generation students who want to go to college
  10. Internship in political activist non profit Lots of action during the election 10 hrs a week, for 4 months Will return this year as well
  11. Hobbies
  12. Writing/Journalism - I like planning out my future and reading/writing random pieces. This got me into my school's newspaper because we have the liberty to write whatever we want.
  13. Playing the cello (BEGINNER)
  14. Politics I consider myself an activist and many people at school know me for that

Schools I plan to apply to:
Brown PLME

Additional Info:
-Hopefully applying through QuestBridge
Both parents did not complete middle school
I am going into my 2nd year of college math next year, which is a hook because I have never felt that I was good at math, I have always struggled with math which is why I put a huge focus on it.

Teacher REC’s thinking about getting
English Teacher - 10/10
Advisory - 10/10
Biology teacher- 8/10


Friend, you need more matches and safeties. I am confident in your abilities, but you must also plan to attend matches and safeties just in case.

IDK, even with URM/first-gen status those schools seem pretty reachy or even out of reachy given your standardized test scores. Narrow it down to a few you really like and flesh out your list with some matches and safeties. Listen to @IvyPlaywright .

You might want to ED to a school that you are interested in. You might get into a few schools with your current standardized testing scores (which are pretty decent BTW). My son got into WashU ED this year and he knows of a couple of URM students that got in with the same ACT you got or lower (30 and 29). I think you had a better GPA and more rigorous classload.

You have a lot of ECs but try to focus on only a few for your Common App. If possible, try to have a science related EC, because apart from Robotics, everything is related to politics/public policy, which appears to be one of your majors, however if you are thinking of Chemical Engineering, I don’t see too much stuff related to that.

I might add the University of Chicago to your list if you want to major in Public Policy or something similar. You have a compelling story to tell and I can see you being accepted there. If you can write some quirky essays (something Chicago is infamous for), it could be a reach worth trying for. Good luck!

I assume Arizona and ASU are your safeties. Barrett Honors College would be in range for you now. Did you take the PSAT and earn anything like Hispanic Recognition?

Those tests scores are far too low for those schools. And you don’t really seem to have a great deal of continued involvement into one particular EC. Also your mom pushing you to do better, divorcing parents, and protesting against a sheriff are not hooks whatsoever. You need some safeties and actual matches cause basically all of these are out of reach for you.

Georgetown- Match
Brown PLME- High Match
Stanford- Reach
Harvard- Reach
Yale- Reach
Duke- Reach
Rice- Match
UW- Low Match
Dartmouth- Low Reach
Bowdoin- Safety
Williams- Reach
Northwestern- Reach
Pomona- Reach

Disagree with the post above. Brown PLME is not a high match for anyone. Unless that is a typo because this year 95 out of ~2400 were accepted according to the Brown website. More of a high reach. Bowdoin is also not a safety school even though it is test-optional. Rice loves their standardized test scores (just like Vandy) so no way is that a match either.

OP has a decent chance at WashU given what my son told me about this year’s results. The person who scored 29 on the ACT actually posted his results on FB (my son is a FB friend of his through the WashU Class of 2021 group) and the person who scored 30 used to post quite a lot on the CC WashU Class of 2021 thread.

There have been a number of 32 ACT, but those students were legacy. The big shock was that someone with a 1410 SAT with bad demographics (Chinese female) was accepted ED to WashU but she was apparently the valedictorian of her school (a not so great HS in Texas BTW).

I call WashU a low reach, but the school wants you to show ‘demonstrated interest.’ If that is one of your top choices try to attend their open houses and contact the regional adcom. They may be able to pay for a campus visit through their diversity programs.

The only matches in my opinion are U of A and ASU. The OP could consider Wake Forest since they are test-optional as well and holistic, but that would be a low reach.

Georgetown recommends 3 SAT subject tests. Add US History as well to the 2 you’re planning to take.

I’m trying to figure out what you’re looking for in a school besides prestige. There are schools on this list that are polar opposites. Think about where you think you’ll be happiest and focus on those. You may want to check out the diversity fly in weekends at several of these to get a feel for what appeals to you and to get a sense of their interest in you as well.

You don’t mention your financial need, but I assume if you are hoping to apply through Questbridge that you must need a lot of FA. ASU and Arizona are safeties assuming you’ve met the “core competencies” and they’re affordable (E.g., You’re are a good candidate for Barrett and U of A Honors. The other schools on your list are big reaches but many of them also meet full demonstrated need. Applying through QB will presumably help. If you are happy with your in state safeties as your backups, then it’s fine to swing for the fences on the others. But if you are not happy with your in state safeties then you should indeed look for some more affordable matches and safeties.

I think for your intended major of public policy, your ECs are pretty satisfactory for admission into the schools you would like to study public policy at. That said, for your intended major of chemistry, your ECs don’t really show your focus on that particular subject. If chemistry is your first choice of major, you will want to have more ECs/qualifications related to chemistry. You could do a science project on chemistry or intern at a chemistry lab to boost your application. You could also participate in the Chemistry Olympiad. I don’t think you have great chances for PLME simply because it is a bs/md program and PLME would ideally like a student who has a lot of medical ECs in addition to ECs in their intended major. Medical ECs may include hospital volunteering, lab research (in a university-affiliated lab), shadowing, etc. Your ECs don’t really show an interest in medicine so you may want to work on that. Also I agree that you should retake the SAT and get at least 1550 or retake the ACT and strive for at least 34. For public policy however, I think you have a decent shot at most of these schools. Good luck! I would love if you could chance me back here:

Plenty much all reaches, mostly high reaches.

@Hamurtle and the other posters in this thread ,OP is URM and is taking again where he can superscore a 1450. He has a good chance at a lot of these schools.

@VANDEMORY1342, read my posts carefully. None of us are adcoms so no idea what they expect in a student. I said that OP has a chance at Chicago (even though it was not on the original list) because of the compelling story/interesting ECs. They have been trying to increase URM enrollment.

For PLME/premed, the OP does not have high enough scores/ECs that indicate an interest in medicine.

The LACs might be a low reach/high match since many of them do not have URMs. Still the OP has as much of a chance of being accepted by any of the schools on his/her list as winning the lottery.

@Hamurtle the LAC’s listed by the OP don’t have a shortage of URM’s, especially Pomona and Williams. Pomona’s most recently admitted class is 56% domestic students of color, and for Williams I think it’s 50%. Admittedly that includes all students of color and not just URM’s, but I think being first generation is a much bigger “hook” at those schools than is being an URM.

@Corinthian you’re just adding the number of non white students. Remember that Asians are not considered URM.

Nevertheless LACs are traditionally lacking in the number of URMs and some of them are still not that diverse, especially ones in the Midwest. OP would have a chance for an LAC that wants to diversify its student population. Even with the URM factor and first generation, OP needs to realize that his/her list of schools are not safeties/matches despite the URM/1st gen hooks and posters suggesting that schools with a ~10% acceptance rate are safeties or matches are giving false hopes.

None of us are adcoms and we don’t know what they are thinking when they look over a pile of applications. Is it best fit for the class or is the student someone who has such great achievements that they are can’t miss? We’ll never know.

Yes @Hamturtle I’m aware Asians aren’t URM’s, that’s why I said that the quoted percentages include “all students of color and not just URM’s.” I think you and I are on the same page overall, that the OP’s list is all reaches.

And I agree that some schools including midwestern LAC’s are struggling to diversify. I saw someone also post the same thing about Lehigh University recently. OP should consider adding some of those schools to the list. Remember that the overall population of California is about 38% Hispanic. The Pomona Class of 2021 is 19.4% Latina/o. Compare that to Stanford’s undergraduate class at about 12.6% Hispanic (includes both Mexican/Chicano at 6.5% and other Hispanic at 6.1%). So Pomona is definitely well above average in attracting Latino/a candidates.

My point is that Pomona will not have a shortage of very competitive Latino/a applicants compared to, say, Grinnell College. But you and I are totally in agreement with the message that OP’s list of schools are not safeties or matches despite the URM/1st generation status.

You seem super compelling that you are URM and first generation student. I think you should not be discouraged by the above comments. There’s nothing wrong with your ambition to reach high and transcend your socio economic circumstances. Good luck and word of advice- don’t let CC comments deter you. CC told me that Northeastern was a “reach” for me and made me doubt myself and apply to less reaches. Needless to say, I got into a top 3 school. Dream big kiddo and write authentic, passionate, poignant essays that reflect YOU.