UCs and west coast liberal arts schools

<p>Year:incoming highschool senior in southern california
ethnicity: alaskan native
Gender: male
I'll be the third in my family to go to college after a cousin and my older sister. Parents are HS graduate and an obligate dropout (personal family crisis).
I really have no idea what i want to do. I'm interested in way too many things to narrow down at this point. Interests include physics, video game design, art history, bio, anthropology, music and i guess math on its own to some degree.
Grades: Low. My school grades almost entirely on busywork and homework points with tests being worth much less than they should. Im not really one for busywork but i always do well on tests. I have a 3.22 UW and 3.6 W in high school but my grades are getting better semester by semester. I have also taken 3 courses at our local junior college under concurrent enrollment(a physics course with lab, government and microecon) with all A's so far and plan to take 4 more over my senior year. Hopefully that counts for something. Lots of aps. school doesnt offer many honors courses but ive taken honors chem (b both semesters) and physics (a 1st semester b 2nd semester). </p>

<p>aps include:
art history 4
bio 5
music theory 5
calc ab 4
us 4
euro 3</p>

<p>Test scores:
SAT I: 2230 760 Reading 740 Math 730 Writing (12 on essay)
SAT IIs: US: 710
Bio: 700
Math II: 720
ACT: 31 (11 on writing)</p>

<p>My test scores show what my grades cannot. </p>

<p>ECs: not too many...
band together club (helping to start and attract interest for music programs in less fortunate surrounding communities)
started a recycling program to help fund marching band after district cut most of its funding.
not that it helps but ive organized numerous benefit concerts for friends clubs.
all state honor band
all southern california honor band
yeah all music related...</p>

<p>Interested in the following schools:
Reed College (visited)
Lewis & Clark College (visited)
University of Washington
UC Irvine (visited)
UC Davis
USC for video game design or music most likely. im a strong muscician on multiple instruments (tenor sax, bass clarinet and trumpet) but usc's music school is world class so its a longshot
Whitman
Swarthmore
Caltech (i know i probably lack the research/lab experience)
Cal Poly SLO (visited)</p>

<p>I know my grades are really bad compared to the dime a dozen 4.0s but i hope my good performance in actual college courses and pretty good test scores can make up for that. thanks for looking.</p>

<p>Your grades are basically destroying your chances. And your ec's aren't too amazing either.</p>

<p>Reed college - mid-low reach
lewis and clark - match/low low reach
univ. of w - match
UCI - low reach
UCD - low reach
USC - for video games, reach. If you're going in as a musician, you have to audition, and that makes all the difference. In that case, there are students with 3.5's that get in. So if your audition is stellar, it'll make up for your grades.
Whitman and swarthmore I don't know much about.
Caltech - astral reach. Honestly, you don't have a shot. Caltech is brutal, and is almost/is as difficult as some ivies, so really, you can apply for peace of mind, but your chances are nil.</p>

<p>good luck, and make sure to write the best essays in order to have a better shot at these schools. :)</p>

<p>Reed College - Technically a MATCH but because of your grades I wouldn't be shocked if they rejected.
Lewis & Clark College - MATCH/SLIGHT REACH
University of Washington - MATCH
UC Irvine - MATCH
UC Davis - SLIGHT REACH, your GPA is making it hard to tell but again, I wouldn't be shocked if they rejected.
USC - REACH: For most of its art programs, USC requires a portfolio. If you don't have one at this point, it would be impossible. Music also requires an audition and is really competitive. Unless you are a top notch musician you won't get in.
Whitman - (don't know enough about)
Swarthmore - MATCH
Caltech - REACH, I don't want to sound like a downer but save your application money. Your Bio and Math SAT II should be high 700's, especially with a lower GPA.
Cal Poly SLO - (don't know enough about)</p>

<p>Thanks you two.
I am a very strong musician and will be applying to usc school of music as long as i can spend enough time practicing material over the summer. I also have a porfolio of work from game design courses and a fairly decent self taught understanding of game design and programming but i dont know if thats what i want to do with my life.
Disregard caltech. its kind of just there to humor myself.</p>

<p>By Alaska native, do you mean you are you a legal resident of Alaska, or a member of a native american tribe? Being from Alaska will help you; the latter will help you more. You have some complicated stats! Interview at Reed (important)-it's a reach. Lewis and Clark is a safety for you. UW is very competitive for an out of stater, but I think you stand a chance, so low reach. Are you considered out of state for the UC's? If not, low reaches on both. You stand a decent chance at Whitman, but make sure you show some serious interest and don't be fooled by their high admission rate. The accepted students have very high stats, so again, a low reach but a good fit with your cross interests in music and science. Other than Caltech, Swarthmore is the most selective school on your list and a high reach for you. For Cal Poly it will all depend on what major you declare on your application. Some departments are much harder to get into than others. With a little digging you can find the admission percentages for the different departments. I can't remember where. USC music isn't as numbers based, so no one can predict your chances there. Write some stellar essays. Good luck!</p>

<p>Isn't Swarthmore in PA? And I would say liberal arts colleges tend to emphasize work ethic in their admissions decisions, which would be your comparative disadvantage as signaled by your GPA vs test scores. I would add Swarthmore to your reach category. The 2 UC's you named are matches.</p>

<p>I mean a member of an alaskan native american tribe.
I understand the concern over the disconnect between GPA and test scores... I could easily have a 4.0 if i did more homework.
And yes Swarthmore is in PA. Crucify me for not specifying in the title...
Thanks for the help anyway you two.</p>

<p>that will help you quite a bit in admissions to the private colleges you have listed. I really think you may have a good chance at even the reaches.</p>

<p>Can you afford to attend the private schools with minimal aid? I could see several admitting you, you do get the URM boost, but most are not need blind and they probably won't give you big money.</p>

<p>Well with what my family can afford, grants and scholarships and whanot from native foundations and others, some loans, and a relatively small amount of aid, i should be at least somewhat close to covered. I may have to pick up some work until my sister graduates in a year but thats alright.</p>