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What are my chances to getting into WASHU?

CuddlyCuddly Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
edited May 18 in What Are My Chances?
Hello. I just finished my junior year of highschool and just wanted to see what else I can focus on next year to improve my chances to getting into WASHU. I plan on going to state school and WASHU is my 1st choice.

GPA: 4.0 u/w, 4.5 weighted (will most likely increase after my senior year)
ACT: 1st time taking ACT i got a 31 but planning on retaking.
Class rank: 3/400 (i'm expecting to get a higher rank since the 2 who have higher ranks than me are failing some classes this year.)
AP classes taken: AP art studio, AP world history. WIll be taking AP calc, Ap environmental science, and some other AP classes i can't remember.
Course load: freshmen i had like 2 honors class, sophomore i had 4 honors classes, junior i have 6 honors/ap class, and senior i will have all honors/ap classes. I definitely expect to get all A and maybe one or 2 B's so I don't think my GPA will go down much next year.
Highschool: I live in a poor neighborhood and my highschool is not very great :( Would this hurt my chances?

Background: Family was an immigrant, was born in another country, parents /did/ go to college and get a professional degree as doctors (should i exclude this info? would it make a difference?).
Intended major: Something medical/science related (I heard that if you pick a less rigorous major you have better chances of getting in? and that you can change the major afterwards?)

-Best Buddy: (one on one member) (if you don't know what this is, it's a club that pairs you up with a special ed student to become friends and such. I plan on being an officer for senior year.
-other various clubs that's focused on making my school's community better. Senior year I will be taking over as leader of a student lead club that will do things such as cancer runs, fundraisers, etc etc.
- started my own club: traveling club I will host senior year. Have already made plans/budgets to take a group of students with me to Asia for a 3 month trip after high school. I'll be in charged of almost everything. This will be like my "big" passion project for senior years.
-Volunteering: at animal shelters, daycares, and maybe a hospital
-Job: work for my parents bc they needed me as a translator and do other various things. (work literally all the time since freshmen year.)
- 2nd job: will be getting 2nd job for the summer.
- camps: got full scholarship to a med camp this summer
- NHS and other honors club thing.
-Misc: Painted several murals for school, joined a mentoring program to mentor freshmens in my highschool. Tutor.

ummm i don't know if doing all of that is impressive enough to make me standout. What else can I do?
It's a little too late to try to get into other summer programs like i wanted too. I'm rather late on working on making my college app better because of circumstances. :\ I just hope I didn't mess up.

Also how important is a rec letter? I'm a pretty shy person so I don't have alot of teachers who know me well. But i heard that rec letters are super important so should I be targeting some teachers?

Replies to: What are my chances to getting into WASHU?

  • HamurtleHamurtle Registered User Posts: 540 Member
    Make sure you know your schools. Washington University in St. Louis (WashU, WUSTL) is not a state/public school. It's a private school (#19 rank in US News and World Reports).

    If you are thinking of the University of Washington-Seattle, it's a high match. Class rigor is all right but not one that is expected of a science major. Colleges will take rigor in the context of what is offered by your high school, so if few APs are offered, you aren't penalized.

    You will need more than APES if you are thinking of a science major. You will need 2 hard lab sciences (Biology/Chemistry/Physics) in high school.

    Work on your writing too. Your writing is stilted and hard to comprehend. I assume English is your second language. App essays are important and you need to be more coherent.
  • DontskipthemooseDontskipthemoose Registered User Posts: 600 Member
    Your senior year doesn't count towards your GPA. Colleges will ask for your mid semester or quarter 1 grades, but your GPA is set in stone after year junior year. ACT is a still low, so you should try to improve it to at least a 33. Your extracurriculars stand out the most so far. Also, just a fair bit of warning, Washington Stl is need aware and pretty stringy with financial aid.
  • VANDEMORY1342VANDEMORY1342 Registered User Posts: 721 Member
    WashU is a High Reach for you even with your GPA as you dont have many AP classes. Your ACT is also low. Your only caveat is that you have a big hook, however WUSTL is need aware so if you need financial aid, apply elsewhere.
  • CactusUsernameCactusUsername Registered User Posts: 104 Junior Member
    For WashU, being from a low-income neighborhood could help since they seek out diversity however being a low-income student will almost certainly result in a waitlist/rejection.
  • Pineapplejr7070Pineapplejr7070 Registered User Posts: 45 Junior Member
    edited May 20
    I am a senior and I got into WashU during regular decision this year. I was in the top 10% of my class (about 80 kids) with about a 4.79 weighted gpa (my school doesn't do unweighted) and got a 34 ACT compsite with a 10 essay in December lol (kind of late for early decision). It seems like you are involved in a good amount of activities; washu really likes kids who are extrememly talented at a certain hobby or work such as sports (washu is DIII btw), music (they have a stellar music program, one of the reasons why I chose Washu over Dartmouth, Brown, and Vanderbilt), etc. If you could add an activity that really sticks out like intel or something on the national or even international level that would be great, but I do not see you getting denied because of ECs.

    Washu is also really into interest -- if you don't show that you are a good fit or really want to get in, they will not put as much emphasis on your application as those others that contact the regional officer like every other day. After you apply, washu will send you mail asking you to apply for scholarships -- DO THESE. Submitting these scholarship essays not only shows great interest but also give you a chance to save money -- although you do not get the main scholarships, washu offers smaller ones just for trying (of course you still need to qualify for those too).

    A lot of times colleges don't accept those with financial based need because they don't want to spend extra money and such, but washu is different. They invest a lot in kids and their dorms are like 4 star hotels (no joke) and their food is amazing. Also they have a huge endowment -- all of these should show that they are more than happy to support you.

    I only took 4 APs in all of high school and I don't qualify for financial aid -- I guess the situation really differs for everyone. Also, you do AP studio art so a supplement would be nice if you are really talented.

    A 31 ACT really won't make the cut unless you have a hook (as some other people stated above). Try shooting for a bit higher (like a 33 or even a 35) and TAKE SUBJECT TESTS. People say these aren't important but I think these tests saved me during the application process. I took 3 subject tests (800 math IIC, 800 US history, and 780 literature). These tests (as well as AP exams) show proficiency in specific fundamental areas and I think these are necessary in order for you to be competitive. A lot of my friends took like 5 or 6 subject tests and they all scored above 750 on each test (kind of absurd to take that many but why not?). Going back to the ACT stuff, over 65 percent of kids send ACT scores rather than SATs, so it is imperative that you do well on that when admissions compares you to other well-qualified candidates.

    Recommendation letters are really important. Since washu does not have supplemental essays (I don't remember writing one) they really can't piece you together with just your main essay. Build good relationships with you guidance counselor (he/she will write you one no matter what) and find 2-3 teachers who will write you a stellar report. People say it's just gpa and act/sat scores that matter, but washu says it looks at an applicant's profile holistically -- and admissions really does. Although washu is ranked in the top 10 statswise, they do make room for those who have other outstanding qualities. Make sure your recs are competitive and well-written. Generally students think they have to ask their math and English teachers for recs, but I asked my french and history teachers if that's any help.

    Sorry for the super long post but I thought it was necessary for you to know the inside scoop. Feel free to ask more questions; I'll be sticking around ;). Best of luck!
  • Pineapplejr7070Pineapplejr7070 Registered User Posts: 45 Junior Member
    Sorry when I mentioned that you need a hook (wrong wording), I just meant that you need a competitive activity or award-- my bad
  • CuddlyCuddly Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
    When i said state school i actually meant staying in my state sorry for the confusion.
    Whats APES? What do you mean by lab sciences? Are they just the regular bio/chem/phys classes?
    Thanks for the advice!

    my school doesn't offer alot of AP classes and i took whatever's available. What is my big hook exactly? ; -;

    Thanks for your long post, it's very helpful!
    I know I'm good at art but I won't be pursuing it as a career, so would that still help me?
    I'm not sure what kind of activities there are on the national/international level. What do you mean? Like awards?
    You said WASHU invests in their students financial wise but then other people are telling me that being low-income will most likely get me waitlisted? So i'm a bit confused on this...
    And yea I know my ACT is low for WASHU and i'll try to raise it but there was a girl in my school that got into WASHU with a ACT of 28!
    What are subject tests?
  • HamurtleHamurtle Registered User Posts: 540 Member
    edited May 22
    @Cuddly APES = AP Environmental Science. I believe WashU will not give AP credit for the class. For a potential engineering major you will need to have completed or are taking Chemistry and Physics.

    Lab Sciences = Biology, Chemistry, and Physics. You will need to take 2 for any engineering major in college. It's preferred that one of the 2 be at an honors/AP level. Environmental Science usually does not count as a lab science for many competitive schools.

    Also have you taken any foreign language in high school? Most competitive colleges require a foreign language.
  • Syd340Syd340 Registered User Posts: 46 Junior Member
    I'm a senior, I am in 4 school honor society clubs, varsity sport, lots of ECs, hold leadership positions, have over 350 volunteer hours, got accepted into a prestigious surgical summer program, have taken 12 AP courses, hold a part-time job, am 8 credits away from my Associate's degree through dual enrollment, have a weighted GPA of a 4.6 (#6 in my class), 33 ACT, wrote a killer essay, and received several community awards and recognitions and I still got rejected from WASHU. I'm not trying to discourage you but I thought I had a good chance of getting in. If I had to do it again I would apply Early Decision because you may have a better chance. Like @pineapplejr7070 said, you need a hook.

    @Pineapplejr7070 congrats on getting in, wish I could have, WASHU was my number one. Nice to know that I wasn't too far off in my stats though. Maybe an extra point on the ACT would've gotten me in, who knows.
  • WISdad23WISdad23 Registered User Posts: 816 Member
    According to a recent article, I think in the NYT's, WashU is among the most affluent schools in terms of the backgrounds of its students and they take among the fewest low income students. So I don't think it is accurate that being from a low income family is in any way an advantage for WashU. They are need aware also.

    But if you are eager to attend there, then the advice of increasing rigor, increasing ACT to 33+, expressing interest, applying for scholarships, and rounding out your application is good advice.

    WashU does not require essays beyond the common app, but to express interest you must apply for scholarships which do require essays.
  • Pineapplejr7070Pineapplejr7070 Registered User Posts: 45 Junior Member
    edited May 24
    @Cuddly subject tests are micro exams that test students on specific subjects such as math, literature, language, etc. On test day, you basically get a huge booklet of all the exams college board has made for every subject and you get to choose the exam you want to take. I recommend that you go on college board's website or ask some of your friends about it. I personally think MathIIC is an absolute must if you are pursuing pre-med, as well as either physics, bio, or chem.

    Yes, you still should submit an art supplement; I played an instrument for over 10 years and was actually scouted out for that through my recordings even though I'm not majoring in music. It's just another nice addition to your resume.

    For awards, the scholastic program really is a big thing if you happen to win nationally. Basically, you can submit an essay or a poem or even artwork to this program and compete against many people nationally. Here, judges determine what kinds of awards you get; I got a gold key and advanced to nationals but didn't get anything there :/. If you happen to go to nationals and win, you are almost guaranteed a position in a good college. My friend was one of the 25 national winners for personal essays and had much lower (like a lot lower) stats than you and still Princeton invested a lot to get him.

    Basically the girl with the lower stat might have had a hook, that is, a really big one. Doing research really helps; colleges are into people who do research because it shows maturity and profound knowledge in one field of study. Try to do research on the field that you plan to apply in and present your abstract to colleges; they really like it. Also, legacy helps a bit; does she have a relative that went to WashU? Ethnicity also plays a large role as well. If you're Hawaiian, you can basically get into almost any college as long as you meet the lowest criteria (history between the Queen of Hawaii and U.S. which I won't get into). Other ethnicities get certain advantages as well, while others have less perks; asians generally have the hardest time while blacks and hispanics may be able to get in with a bit lower stats. This is according to the common data set, not my opinion, so you can check it out if you'd like to.

    @Syd340 thanks! I'm sorry WashU couldn't find you a spot; you definitely have a lot of things that I really lack in.
    I hope you find a college that really suits you well :). Best of luck!
  • Syd340Syd340 Registered User Posts: 46 Junior Member
    @Pineapplejr7070 Thank you! gonna try applying as a transfer next year
  • CuddlyCuddly Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
    ahh thanks for clarifying.
    I think I'm taking AP chem and I think i'm just going to switch APES to AP physics.
    And yes I took 3 years of French and will be taking AP french senior year.

    Sorry you didn't get in! But I hope it goes well with your transfer.
    I don't really know what my hook is though.

    Thanks for the advice~

    Hmm. No she wasn't a legacy but I think she had a really good recommendation letter.
    Ah~ I fall under the Asian category so I guess I have to work ///aloot/// harder. @-)
    Thanks for the info though~
  • Syd340Syd340 Registered User Posts: 46 Junior Member
    @Cuddly Your poor neighborhood as you say could be a hook. Are you a URM? Because that would definitely give you an advantage. Just understand that without a hook such as recruited athlete or musician, or minority, your chances are not high in RD if your scores are average. Having a higher score will help you, but may not get you in. If you want the best chances, apply ED. You'll have a much higher chance of getting accepted as long as you increase your score to a 33+. Good luck to you, hope it goes better than it did for me.

    Oh and to increase your ACT, you'll need to actually study, because the format of the ACT is a little different from the SAT. It shouldn't be too hard to raise it a few points though. I got a 30 my first time, and I ended up with a 33. Aim for a 34-35, as this will put you in the 75th percentile range giving you a much higher chance.
  • CuddlyCuddly Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
    whats URM?
    And thanks T-T
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