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Chances at Penn (Dream School)? Advice?

collegeboundprogrammercollegeboundprogrammer Registered User Posts: 137 Junior Member
I have posted to this forum before, but I forgot to put my GPA down.

Prospective Major: Computer Science
Ethnicity: Indian (I know, I know)
Career Aspirations: My dream job would be to work at Microsoft or Google.

GPA: 4.0 UW, 4.36 W
SAT I: 1490 - retaking in August w/ essay, hoping for a 1500+
SAT II: Math II and Physics - taking in June
PSAT: 1380 (I had the flu)
AP Classes: AP World History (4), AP Computer Science (5), AP Physics 1 (?), AP English Language (?), taking AP Statistics, AP Physics C (mechanics - might self study for E&M), AP English Literature, and AP Calculus BC next year
IT / Dual Enrolled Community College Classes - Advanced Computer Math, AP Computer Science A, Computer Science AB, Database Design, Database Development, Database PL/SQL, IT Programming, Robotics I

- National Latin Exam Medalist - I have received two silver and two gold medals for taking the National Latin Exam. I am the only one from my school in its history to win the gold medal.
- PACTF (tech competition) - team was in the top 100 out of 850+ teams (majority of teams were college teams)

Outside Classes:
- VASTS Online: I took an online course provided by NASA that teaches aerospace engineering. Took a semester to complete.
- VASTS Summer Academy: I was nominated as a top student in the VASTS online course and I will be attending a one week academy at NASA headquarters. We will be working on a mock project, sending astronauts to Mars.
- Foundations of Data Science (Pt 1. and Pt 2.): I am taking an online class from edX in Data Science offered by UT Austin (about 36 hours each)
- Project Management: I am taking an online class in Project Management (about 36 hours). I wanted to do this so I could improve my project management skills since I lead several teams.

Technology EC's (Leadership in Parentheses):
- FRC Robotics: I maintain and develop for my school's FRC robotics team's website. We are really well known around the world, placing second for the most prestigious award in the world this year. We go to the world competition every year. (Lead Web Developer)
- FTC Robotics: team won judges award at qualifier
- App Development Club: I co-founded and run a club dedicated to developing applications. We have three teams working working on applications right now. We plan to host classes about the fundamental concepts of app development (Co-founder and Co-President)
- Game Studio: I co-founded and run a game development studio, whose name I cannot mention for privacy reasons. We currently have plans to release a demo for the game by the end of June (Co-Founder, Project Manager / Lead Website Developer)
- The Coding World From a Teenager's Perspective: I run a blog that tells of my experience in the programming world. If you want to see it, see (https://medium.com/@dylan.fernandes00). I only have two posts up currently, but I plan to have four to six more before I start applying, as I have LOT to talk about.
- Tech Talk With Us: I started a newsletter. Each week, I send out a weekly update on my projects, and a list of articles
in technology that I thought were interesting. If you want to sign up, see (http://eepurl.com/cNC5Gv) to subscribe.
- txt.exe: I am developing an android application, to be released around August 2017
- Postom: I working on developing my own programming language, interpreted to Java
- Clients: I am also working on a website for a friend of mine's app, a personal website, as well as for the game development studio I founded.

Non-Technology EC's (Leadership in Parentheses):
- JV Tennis (all four years of high school)
- Volunteering: Around 200 volunteer hours at various robotics competitions, STEM camps, and at my local library
- Quiz Bowl: I plan on starting a quiz bowl team at my school senior year. I really like the show It's Academic, and I was hoping I could gather a team from my school and compete there. I don't know if I should put this on my application, as this would look like a last minute resort to create another EC, but I genuinely do like trivia.

Do you guys think I have a good chance at these schools? What SAT I and II scores should I aim for? Is there anything I can do to improve my application? Thank you so much!!

Replies to: Chances at Penn (Dream School)? Advice?

  • fblapresfblapres Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
    You have a great chance, keep working on improving your app by getting different feedback with essays and etc. Best of luck :)
  • realtrophies222realtrophies222 Registered User Posts: 26 New Member
    I think your EC's are great (a lot of depth and involvement+prestige). Your SAT score is decent, but if you could get it to around 1530, you will have a very high chance of getting into UPENN.
  • zahmatazahmata Registered User Posts: 65 Junior Member
    edited June 2
    I feel like you have a decent chance at getting into UPENN, but, as other posters have mentioned, you could potentially mitigate a lot of risk if you raised your SAT score a little. It's a very good score, but it'd be one less thing to regret in the future. I also recommend writing essays that will humanize you to the admissions committee - there are a lot of people that build compsci focuses, but because most of these people specialize in left-brain analytical thinking, you will greatly improve your chances if you're able to craft a compelling, cohesive, and personal application narrative (especially with your status as an ORM, unfortunately). If you're able to present yourself as someone the admissions counselors want to root for, then I think you have a fair chance (only just "fair" because Penn is still a hyperselective school, but I'm still rooting for you regardless). Also, you've managed to curate your ECs into a perfectly developed spike, so objectively, I think that you'll be a very strong applicant wherever you apply. Of course, I'm a rising senior as well so I'm not sure how helpful this will be, but I hope I was able to help you out a little bit. Good luck!
  • collegeboundprogrammercollegeboundprogrammer Registered User Posts: 137 Junior Member
    @Alllviiinnn Yeah I posted this before I took the SAT II so I took them already. I am pretty sure that I scored 750+ on Math II and like a 690 on Physics, so I might retake both of them.
  • collegeboundprogrammercollegeboundprogrammer Registered User Posts: 137 Junior Member
    @Alllviiinnn So what would my chances be at Penn?
  • ssm1002ssm1002 Registered User Posts: 15 New Member
    your ECs look great and very focused to your major. I think you have great chances at UPenn, just work on your standardized scores and make sure to integrate your ECs/passions in your essays. Good luck!
  • hhchubbycheekshhchubbycheeks Registered User Posts: 28 New Member
    I think you should work more on the SAT to score a little higher and shoot as high as possible on the SAT II's. Your EC's are very focused in the technology area, but I would suggest now to pick and choose what EC's to go on your app-- not everything you do has to go it! For example, to an outsider like me, starting a blog and starting a newsletter seem very similar, so I think you should focus more on one or the other and make it stand out so much that you can drop the less important one.

    Also, if you have time, I think it's a great idea to try starting the Quiz Bowl team since you said that you enjoy trivia and because you don't want to seem like a one-track student who's only obsessed with technology; a little variety is good too (unlike me where I have too many different EC's haha!)

    Additionally I'd recommend taking AP Latin if it's offered at your school to correspond with your high honors on the National Latin Exam.
  • collegeboundprogrammercollegeboundprogrammer Registered User Posts: 137 Junior Member
    edited June 26
    @hhchubbycheeks Thank you for the advice!! What score should I aim for on the SAT?
  • ClarinetDad16ClarinetDad16 Registered User Posts: 3,420 Senior Member
    I would apply to schools that Microsoft and Google hire the most people at. If that is truly your dream...
  • worcester22worcester22 Registered User Posts: 49 Junior Member
    Hi, thanks for chancing me on my thread! I think that your Technology ECs are extremely impressive, and are at/above the quality needed for UPenn. You said that you took the Math II in June, so I would see what you score but I would honestly retake if you don't get an 800 (admissions will want to see 800 for a CS major). Your GPA is another strongpoint, obviously, and I would try to keep that up next year. Just try to get 1530+ on the SAT and you should be good. Good luck!
  • exilionexilion Registered User Posts: 23 New Member
    As long as you get a good SAT score (above 1550 probably?) you should have a very good shot at cs but even a 1500 will probably do. That's a very impressive list of ec's and i hope to view your apps when they come out! I know Penn is your dream but I think you could very much getter into a higher ranked cs program like at CMU or Columbia. I think you have a very good shot at Penn still.

    chance me back? - https://talk.collegeconfidential.com/what-my-chances/2001162-chance-me-low-gpa-but-pretty-decent-elsewhere-ucla-brown-northwestern-washu-usc-etc.html#latest
  • GAB444GAB444 Registered User Posts: 68 Junior Member
    Wow dude. This is amazing in every way. I think you will have a great chance at getting into UPenn, although it seems like you are very cookie cutter. I think that if you show some personality in your essays and such you will have a great chance! Best of luck!!
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