What should I do to improve for: UChicago, Yale, Middlebury? (HS Junior)

<p>Cross-post from UChicago forum:</p>

<p>Hello fellow scholars, I am currently a high-school junior, this is kiiiind of a chances post, but different!, I'm more looking for what anyone thinks makes me a strong applicant, and a weak one. Any two cents about chances are appreciated, but I understand it's hard to evaluate those. If this is clogging up your forum, just ask and I'll delete it. Thanks for any feed back!</p>


<p>Alright, so the boring numbers:</p>

<p>ACT: Got a 29 start of freshman year, so I'm expecting at least a <em>33</em> composite, with the weakest area most likely being Science.</p>

<p>GPA: ~3.7, strong upward trend. </p>

<p>PSAT: 207, just got it back.</p>


<p>-Extremely autodidactic with languages. My goal by graduation, which I'm on track to accomplish, is to get a 5 on the AP Spanish (this year), French, and Chinese tests. The only class I'll have taken at my HS is Spanish VH, as I'm testing into online AP French and college Chinese. I'm thinking this should especially help with UChicago and Middlebury.</p>

<p>-Very involved in LGBTQ activism, going to workshops, serving at camps, etc.</p>

<p>Academics (by graduation):</p>

<p>-10 APs total, 3 Honours
-Advanced in English, Spanish, Math, French
-Took extra courses through summer camps, online programs, self-study, etc.
-8 University classes (half of which are language classes)
-Tested into AP French solely through 2 years of self-study.</p>

<p>Extra curriculars:</p>

<p>Gay-Straight Alliance (Freshman member, Soph. and Junior Pres.)
Interfaith Club (Soph Pres.)
International Club (Junior Co-pres.)
French Club (Soph. Member, Junior Co-Pres.)
Creative Writing Club (Soph. Member, Junior VP)
Political Debate Club (Soph. Member, Junior Co-Pres.)
Math League (Competitive, test-based, scored 4th in region)
Yearbook (Freshman editor, quit after that)
Mock Trial (Junior Defense Attorney)
Principal's Student Advisory Council (Junior Member)</p>


<p>The Great and Mighty Line Dividing the Less Important ECs</p>


<p>Earth Society(Soph. member)
Mariachi Band (Junior member)
String Choir (Soph/Junior Member)
Book Club (Fresh., Soph., Junior Member)
Chamber Orchestra (Junior Member)
Spanish conversation club (Junior Member)</p>


<p>-Involved with local PFLAG, attended national lobbying conference in D.C.
-Work with state-wide LGBT youth organization, presenting conferences at workshops, served as youth staff at LGBTQ activist camp
-Volunteer with local PAC
-Served on district committees to develop anti-bullying policy and improve health curriculum
-Planning on heavy campaign volunteering (in 2012 presidential election)
-At least 100 volunteer hours by time of graduation</p>


<p>-Selected as area rep to conference for rural education in D.C.
-Work with a brand-new, education-focused, student-run nonprofit
-Develop resources with a group for transgender youth
-One of two state reps to national GSA conference
-Viola from 5th grade until graduation, selected for regional Youth Honors Orchestra sophomore year
-Davidson Institute Young Scholar</p>

<p>Phew, okay. That's me. Any thoughts? Thank you kindly!</p>

<p>Your multilingualism will definitely make you stand out among other applicants. If you do get a 33 on the ACT, and if you bring up your GPA this year, I think you'll have some pretty solid chances. I'm assuming you'll also be taking SAT IIs for all of your languages?</p>

<p>Yes, I think so! I'm a bit worried focusing just on languages on the SAT IIs might hurt me, but considering the SAT and ACT will be broad-reaching, and the subject tests are supposed to be for what you're good at, I think it'll be okay. Thanks!</p>

<p>Any other advice?</p>

<p>Your only weakness is your GPA. You've got to get that up to qualify for the most selective universities. Otherwise, you are definitely college bound and will do well anywhere you go. It appears to me that you will most likely go on to graduate school or law school. If that is the case, remember that it is the last school that you attend that folks look at. For example, Obama went to Occidental College, a small liberal arts college in Los Angeles, first. But everyone only remembers his Harvard degree. You could do well for yourself going to a cheaper school first and then upgrading to an Ivy for grad school. Possibly this is not what you want to hear. But cost is a factor that you must consider. My kid had grades and test scores for the most elite schools in the nation. He chose (not me) to attend a very competitive state school and absolutely loves it. He is getting the exact education that he wants and with a current 4.0 GPA it will position him for a masters at MIT or Cal Tech. We estimate that this will save him (and us!) more than $175,000 over 5 years (he is studying engineering and it takes an average of 5 years to graduate).</p>

<p>Very sound advice, thank you! I'll more than likely end up going to UW-Madison over these, but probably still apply to at least one. Thanks for the tip!</p>


<p>I would not take multiple language SATIIs. You need to show depth across the board for top schools. You can take multiple language AP tests to showcase your language skills. These days, however, multiple languages are extremely common and are not a stand out feature at top colleges. </p>

<p>What's your rank? State? Ethnicity?</p>

<p>UW-Madison is a nationally recognized outstanding university. The town is great and the people are great. You will do very well there and a school of that caliber, as long as you get the grades and the test scores, will allow you to attend any elite grad or law school in the nation.</p>

<p>White, WI (hence why I'll probably end up going there), probably around top 15%.</p>

<p>What everyone else has said already for the most part.</p>

<p>From a less formulaic-based approach, you might want to spend some time on self-reflection. Looking back on my HS self applying to colleges, I wish I'd spent more time soul-searching, as corny as that sounds.</p>

<p>I think as long as you raise your test scores, you have a standing chance at the schools you're looking at. Your location- thought not the most rural- and your multilingualism should make you stand out nicely in the applicant pools. </p>

<p>Good luck!</p>