Which Schools Are Right For My App?

<p>Hey everybody, I'm new to CC and college applications in general. I've been doing my best to get good scores on tests, good grades, and participate in ec's since sophomore year, but I've been more or less going out on a limb. My circumstances may be somewhat unique, so I don't have much of a precedent to rely on from other posts on the forums. </p>

<p>Mainly, I was wondering what sort of colleges my overall application would help me get into. I go to a private religious school with a dual curriculum of religious studies and secular studies, and my school day is a bit longer than the school day of public schools, so my weeknights are much shorter than most kids'; I don't have as much time to volunteer, learn, work, etc. My school is also very small (15 kids in my class), and my choice of extra-curriculars is therefore quite limited. Aside from sports teams (which I'm not on), there isn't much going on at my school. Similarly, my school only has a few AP's. In fact, because my class is so small, how would I describe my rank? (I know I'm currently ranked second even though my school doesn't describe ranks after valedictorian, but that still leaves me at 12%.) My school has gotten a handful of kids into ivies before, but nobody has gotten into an ivy for a couple of years. My GPA is weak, (much weaker than last year's pool of kids) but my SAT's are high (higher than anyone from last year's pool).</p>

<p>Will I be held to the same standards as other applicants from public schools? If not, how will my situation be viewed? Which schools I should apply to? My basic information is...</p>

<p>SAT's: 1510/1600 2270/2400<br>
740 in Math
770 in Reading
760 in Writing</p>

<p>I got a 720 in SAT Chem and will probably take a few more SAT 2's.</p>

<p>My current gpa is probably hovering a bit under a 4.0, unweighted. </p>

<p>My secular GPA from 9th grade is a 3.2, 10th grade is a 4.0, and 11th grade looks like a 4.0. My average GPA for this should be a 3.7 or so, also unweighted.</p>

<p>My combined religious and secular grades for 9-11th grade are 3.5, 4.0, and 4.0. This shapes up to around a 3.8 unweighted GPA average, I believe.</p>

<p>All of my classes are honors, when possible.</p>

<p>I've volunteered around town a bit, and participated in some EC's, but I don't think there's anything I've really distinguished myself in. I've done a bit of drama club, chess, photo club, and lit journal, but only one year of each. (Some clubs come and go because my school is so small.) I participate in a youth group and attend religious services regularly (does that count?). Does a dual curriculum make up for lack of EC's at all?</p>

<p>I know my SAT's are floating around the edge of Ivies territory, but I'm worried about my GPA, EC's, and SAT II's. What tier schools am I a match for and which are reaches for me? Is my chance at an ivy league worse than the average applicant?</p>

<p>Advice appreciated!</p>

<p>Colleges will only hold you to the standards that you can be held to -- they don't expect a student who goes to a school with only 3 AP classes to take 6 of them (or compare them with students who have taken 6), or expect a student to be involved in clubs he can't get involved in at his school. Colleges will thus compare your record against what you could have done.</p>

<p>My question is, do you want to go to an Ivy League school? There are tons of great schools in the U.S. that are nowhere near as selective as some of the schools commonly cited on this website - in fact, the majority of colleges in the country admit more than 50% of their applicants. There are a lot of very good schools in the top 100 that admit 30-40% of their applicants or thereabouts. I suggest that you explore a wide range of colleges.</p>

<p>Generally, speaking, though, your GPA and SAT scores are far more important than extra-curriculars, and you are an outstanding candidate for the vast majority of colleges and universities in the U.S. Ivies are reaches for everyone, and no one can accurately predict their chances of admissions. So if you want to apply to Ivies, just apply. Also make sure to check out some other top LACs (Skidmore, Haverford, Hampshire, Pomona, etc.) and universities -- like Northwestern, Duke, Vanderbilt, Emory, Boston U, Notre Dame, and even some a tier down like Northeastern. Just make sure you pick a range of schools, and compare your stats to the stats of the middle 50% of entering students.</p>

<p>Thanks, that's what I was looking for!</p>

<p>I don't know much about colleges, especially higher tiered ones. Most kids in my class go to state schools. </p>

<p>I guess I'd be looking at stuff like Vanderbilt or NYU if I wanted a very good education at an okay price, state schools for cheap education, or ivies for top notch education at a fortune. I doubt I'd go Ivy for undergraduate unless I knew for certain I wouldn't get a post-graduate degree, and I'm not certain I won't. (I'm considering law school.)</p>

<p>Jr., I would buy two college guidebooks: Princeton Review Best 368 Colleges and Fiske Guide To Colleges. Read through them and a few colleges will stand out to you that you really like. It's a great place to start a college search.</p>

<p>Find a number of rankings with over 100 schools, merge them, and start cutting out those that don't interest you.</p>

<p>OP, Very good record. Are you in the running for National Merit? That could be an entree for excellent schools at a low price. Make sure you have a safety school to apply to (where you are significantly above the median student application), such as your state school, THAT YOU ARE WILLING TO ATTEND. If you won't go there, it's not a safety. </p>

<p>Also, "I guess I'd be looking at stuff like Vanderbilt or NYU if I wanted a very good education at an okay price, state schools for cheap education, or ivies for top notch education at a fortune." </p>

<p>I don't know why you think Vanderbilt or NYU are less expensive than Ivy league schools. They are virtually the same.</p>

<p>What is your financial situation, e.g., your FAFSA EFC? (Google to find a calculator.) It can make a big difference in recommendations and possibilities.</p>

<p>Ivies are overrated.</p>

<p>But if you so choose to apply to them, they are reaches for EVERYONE.</p>

<p>There are a lot of top-notch schools you would get into.</p>