Hey! Senior year is creeping up, and I find myself worrying more and more about college during all of the free time this quarantine has provided. I hope you all are healthy and well. I visitied many schools and want to major in biomed/bio/chem engineering. Duke is my dream (applying ED), which I didn’t expect because my sister goes there (don’t know if sibling legacy will give me any sort of an edge). She will have graduated from Trinity by the time I matriculate (top student-athlete, 3.95+ GPA, double major, summa/magna cum laude). Please suggest other schools for my major, as I am still looking to create a better list (1-2 more safeties/matches).
- Biracial Male (White/Asian; probably not the best for engineering :( )
- Competitive public selective enrollment high school in Chicago
- Mother is an immigrant; Dad is first-gen (both attended UIUC)
- Low/middle class family (tax returns show higher income, but our debt HEAVILY outweighs our income; we use most retirement money to pay bills which leads to more debt because 401k money that is taken out accumulates interest)
- Mother was on disability for years and is now unemployed
- Financial aid is necessary for me to go anywhere (I can't put any more financial burden on my family)
Colleges I’m Applying to:
- Duke (ED)
- UMich (EA)
- Johns Hopkins
- Carnegie Mellon
- UW Seattle
- UIUC (in-state)
- Pitt (hoping for a good scholarship maybe? if you've got info on this college's aid I'd appreciate it)
- KAIST (Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology)
- 3.95 UW/5.10 W
- I think other schools weight out of 5.0, so for those, my weighted would be 4.64 (including 9th grade) or 4.75 (not including 9th grade)???
- All honors classes, unless the class was AP or gym
- 6 APs so far; will be 9 at the end of senior year (might self-study a 10th)
- AP Human Geo (4; 9th), AP US History (5; 10th), AP English Lang and Comp (3 (oops); 11th), AP US Gov and Politics (4; 11th), AP Biology (5; 11th), AP Calculus AB (5; 11th)
- Senior year classes: AP CSP, AP Physics C, AP Stats, Honors World Lit, Calc 3
- Took Precalc summer before junior year
- Took Bioethics through Harvardx this summer
- Took Molecular Foundations of Medicine through StanfordOnline this summer
- One of twenty-five Chicago Public School recipients of a scholarship for undergraduate summer coursework. Course: Chem 110 at Northwestern University
- Have taken the hardest possible courseload each year
- Not given at my school, but probably Top 10% out of 450
- ACT (first one): 34E/33M/31R/31S Comp: 32
- ACT (second one): 36E/32M/34R/28S Comp: 33
- Superscore for ACT: 34
- SAT (first and only): 710R/770M Comp: 1480
- PSAT/NMSQT: 720R/750M Comp: 1470
- I'm going to try the SAT again when corona permits, and I'm hoping that I get 1500+ just because the test felt much more comfortable for me than the ACT
- Dance (2006-2019): Trained with the Joffrey Ballet until sophomore year. Was at the highest level possible without quitting school for the last three years of my "career." Was always on a full-tuition merit scholarship and was accepted to places like ABT New York, San Francisco Ballet, etc. Classes were 22+ hrs/week during the school year and 35+ hrs/week during the summers. (saying it was my entire life is not an exaggeration)
- Rowing (2019-present): New to it, but I'm on varsity now. I'm not the greatest (was on track for heavy recruiting, but I decided to focus on school), but I fully invest myself in the sport because I love doing it. Very different from dance, but I feel like I find myself reusing lessons from dance during practice. Training 12+ hrs/week year-round.
- Korean Club (2017-present): Co-founder/Co-President of this club, where I help teach the Korean language to people. I'm also a beginner, so I learn a lot, too. My friends and I made this club because we're either half or full Korean (I'm a halfie), and we want to be able to communicate with family. (2 hrs/week)
- STEAMworks OC Resource Creator (2020-present): Student startup helping to engage the next generation in STEAM topics. I design experiments and projects for kids to do at home and we will eventually be shipping out materials for kids to participate in more advanced experiments (nothing dangerous, just giving stuff that may not be readily available during a pandemic). I create and perform one project every two weeks, as well as create a writeup so other kids can replicate the experiment.
- Rowing Disability Program (2019-present): I volunteer to help teach kids with cognitive disabilities how to row. Only an hour a week, but it's fun for me and I've made lots of friends.
- Rowing Summer Camp (2019-present): I coach kids, ages 12-16, through erg sessions, water tank sessions, and practices on the water. The summer camp is a two-week-long program, 5 days/week, and 5 hours/day.
- Neighborhood Farmers Market (2015-present): Volunteer for the farmers market every other week in the fall, summer, and spring. Just help setting up, tearing down, answering questions, etc.
- First at the Midwest Junior Rowing Championships
- Big possibility that I'm a Merit Semi-finalist, but if not, then definitely a Commended Student (Chicago didn't get to take the PSAT, so the scores are expected to decrease a lot. I only took it because I decided to sign up for one earlier in the year)
- AP Scholar with Distinction
- National Honor Society (2019-present): Don't do much but volunteer. I am becoming a senior tutor, though, for all math and science classes available at my school.
- Spanish Honor Society (2018-present): Tutor kids in Spanish, volunteer, etc.
- Full-Tuition Scholarships and Housing Scholarships to The Joffrey Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Oregon Ballet Theater, ABT New York, and more.
- Northwestern College Bridge Program (Idk if this is an honor but I had to apply and only 25 people got it): Took an undergraduate course for free in the summer (Chemistry).
- AP Calc Teacher: Super close, did really well in their class and ate lunch in the classroom with them and other students just so we could work on extra math and talk.
- APUSH Teacher: Sophomore year teacher. I didn't get really close with my junior year teachers because of all of the breaks we had in the school year (we had a teacher strike along with corona). Joked around a lot about how it seemed that I never tried in school to do well, which they hated, but they taught me the importance of hard work.
- Counselor: Although she has so many students to write letters for, she has a close relationship with me, which will help. She can attest to my initiative and intellectual drive (always pushing to take the hardest classes and find summer opportunities). She also can explain my two Bs in freshman year, which were partially due to extenuating cirumstances.
- Not going to talk much about my essays, but I would say they are solid. I'm not the greatest writer, but I started writing very early in the process and have been receiving lots of help. They are definitely original. If people were to read them, everyone I know would be able to pick mine out of a pile.
- I feel like my "why major" essay is pretty personal/good, but I'm biased.
Sorry that this is so long. I just wanted to make it look neat. If you know who I am (I think it would be obvious if you know me because there are a lot of details), say hi. Anyway, advice of all kinds would be really helpful. I’m always looking to edit my college list. That includes deleting schools from the list or adding schools that may be better suited for what I want. Thanks