Sophomore with questions about college

<p>Hi guys, I'm new here. I was hoping you all could answer some of my questions about college admissions.</p>

<p>I'm a sophomore right now and I'm starting to get interested in looking at schools. I wanted to know what chances you think I have for getting into some of the ones I'm interested in?</p>

<p>I've yet to take the SAT, but I got a 190 (93rd percentile) on my PSAT which I did not study for. 620 CR, 600 M, 690 WR. I think that goes to a 1900 on the SAT scale, and I'm sure once I study for the SAT next year I'll improve even more. My schedule right now is:</p>

<p>US History I
Algebra II Honors
Chem honors
Spanish III honors
English II honors
Journalism I</p>

<p>I have A's in all of those classes except Algebra II, which I got a B+ first quarter but an A second quarter, so my midterm will determine my semester grade. Currently, my GPA unweighted is 3.8 and weighted is 4.2. My school does not allow sophomores to take any AP classes except for AP Euro, but since my worst subject is history I decided against it. I'm planning on taking the following as a junior:</p>

<p>Precalculus honors
AP Spanish Lang
English III Honors
Journalism II
Physics honors
AP Biology (still tentative since it's recommended that organic chem be taken first which I have not taken)
US History II
AP Psychology</p>

<p>ECs:
Varsity softball starter as a freshman-planning on continuing (won offensive MVP)
Member of Jewish 3-year leadership program
Member of Habitat for Humanity club
Peer mentor/tutor-40 hours of community service
Camp counselor for past 2 summers, planning on returning for a 3rd</p>

<p>I've been trying to keep some balance in my life and not completely overload on APs and honors, but should I be taking more? What do you think of my chances of getting into some of my schools? My dream school for a long time has been Duke, but I don't think I can get in there haha. I like Tulane, Northeastern, Wake Forest, Johns Hopkins and GW also. What do you think? I probably need more EC's...</p>

<p>bluedevil2 -</p>

<p>Have your parents given you a budget for your education yet? If not, you should start by having The Big Money Talk with them. Your PSAT score is good enough that with a bit of study and prep, you may be able to pull it up into the range where it can mean money at the right college/university. If you are going to need a serious scholarship to go where you would like to go, you need to know that so that you can get the grades and test scores you will need.</p>

<p>Yeah, we have discussed it a little bit, but not super in depth. I'm going to study and see if I can raise my PSAT score to the point where I could possibly get money. A scholarship is always nice, and hopefully we can get decent aid. Do you think, at the rate I'm going, I could have a chance at any of these schools?</p>

<p>Continue with the money talk as that may direct the mix of schools where you apply. Several of the schools you list are by definition reaches (very competitive, admission rates in the teen % for everyone). And very expensive (GW, for example). Check the admission profiles for what GPA & SAT/ACT scores are typical, and ask your HS guidance office if they have stats on how students from your school or system have done.</p>

<p>Do you live in NC? Definitely keep UNC and NC State in the mix - both fine schools and if I had the choice of, say, in-state tuition at UNC-CH vs paying/loans for JHU or GW, I'd be hard-pressed to not recommend UNC for undergrad - $200,000 for a BA/BS is hard to justify. Apologies if I just walked on a Duke-rivalry - I don't "get" college sports rivalries as a reason to pick a school, although my kids & their friends are VERY aware of them.</p>

<p>ECs - in my opinion, you have a good mix. Commitment and accomplishement in a few programs is going to mean more than membership in a bunch.</p>

<p>Hi there.
So far I'd say you are on the right track for sure. Your course load for this year and next year looks really strong. You are planning on taking 3 AP's next year and that's more than adequate. You definitely do not need to add more EC's but (if possible) you should add some depth to your involvement with Habitat and the Jewish org. Colleges tell us over and over again, they don't want to see 15 activities, but they do want to see a few that you are very involved in and passionate about.
I don't know why you don't think you can get into Duke. Your scores (from this year's PSAT) are only going to go up, and you look very well qualified thus far. </p>

<p>I would recommend that you do more college investigation this Spring and Summer (maybe even some visits if possible.) Your list is very diverse with Tulane being very different from say Johns Hopkins or GW. Keep thinking about what you ~might~ want to study in college (business, writing, pre-law, music?) and then investigate schools that might be a good match for you (academically and environmentally.) </p>

<p>Good Luck! You look to be ahead of the game - and that's always smart!</p>

<p>HereWeGo2 - Nope, I don't live in NC, I live in NJ. I am a Duke sports fan, UNC is probably out haha. Obviously I'm going to consider Rutgers - it is a pretty good state school.</p>

<p>laurendog - I'm not totally sure what I want to study yet, but I took bio as a freshman and loved it, hence why I plan on taking AP Bio next year. Definitely planning on doing some visits over the summer and as a junior to get a better feel for things. EC-wise, I'm also planning to try to get on the school paper after I take journalism this semester, it's something I'm really interested in. </p>

<p>Thanks guys for the responses!</p>

<p>Anyone else have an opinion?</p>

<p>While its nice to have an eye on college admissions down the road, more important IMHO is to use these years to do things for yourself and your benefit. So here's what I wish someone had told me when I was 15.</p>

<p>There's a saying that the last thing you expect a fish to discover is water, so your day-to-day life probably seems routine and unremarkable. Yet this is the last time in your life you'll see your parents & siblings on a daily basis. Right now it may feel like that's too much, but once its over its going to be over forever. So make an effort to enjoy some time with them these next few years. The memories & bonds you make today are going be be a big part of the glue holding you together. Similarly make time for your friends.</p>

<p>As for school, if you take care of the learning then the grades tend to take care of themselves. Colleges really look for students with an inner love of learning. Its a funny thing that in your 12 years of schooling thru HS graduation, you'll probably never get even an hour's instruction in how to learn; its just what to learn. There's a I highly recommend called What Smart Students Know by Adam Robinson, written by one of the founders of the Princeton Review prep service. I have never seen a better explanation of the steps you need to follow to really learn the material. You can also find lots of material on the web; start with University</a> of St. Thomas : Academic Support Center</p>

<p>BTW you are not limited to the teachers in your school; I hate seeing kids whine in the forum "I had a bad teacher" to try to excuse a bad grade. There have long been workbooks and other resources out there, and in just the past 5 years or so programs like iTunesU have opened up avenues that were once unthinkable. You can watch some of the best profs in the country lecture on almost any subject under the sun, including ones overlapping what you're learning in school. And this applies even if your teachers are good; watch some of these series to supplement what you're getting in class.</p>

<p>There is a thread with several posts by Northstarmom, a Ivy alum interviewer, about what constitutes impressive ECs from the point of view of the most selective colleges. The post is at <a href="http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/what-my-chances/210497-those-ecs-weak-so-what-s-good.html%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/what-my-chances/210497-those-ecs-weak-so-what-s-good.html&lt;/a> 2 very interesting articles about ECs that stand out and how to get them (same author, different examples) are at How</a> to Be Impressive and Save</a> This Grind? While I don't agree with everything in them, take a look at these 2 articles and I think you'll get some original ideas.</p>

<p>Thanks mikemac, I actually found your post quite helpful and informative. Appreciate all the responses guys!</p>