right arrow
Examples: Monday, today, last week, Mar 26, 3/26/04
We’ve got a new look! Walk through the key updates here.

Any advice appreciated (Asian female going into CS, looking at top schools)

celestialkairoscelestialkairos 68 replies5 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 73 Junior Member
Hello! As I'm in the midst of the college application process, I've kept anxiously going back and forth about the schools I'm applying to and whether I'm competitive for them after all (I've basically been having a lot of existential crises to be completely honest)

Personal:
-Asian female
-Domestic (OH)
-Super low-income (<15k)
-Suburban public school (super competitive)
-Prospective major: Computer Science
-I'm getting recs from my AP Lang teacher from junior year and my Chem teacher from sophomore year, and they're both well-known for writing super good rec letters

Academic:
-GPA: 4.0 UW / 4.587 W
-ACT: 36 (36 Reading, 36 Science, 36 English, 34 Math, 11 Writing)
-SAT: None yet
-Subject tests: Chem (790), Math 2 (800)
-PSAT: 1480
-Rank: School does not rank, but I should be in top 20 (super competitive though)
-AP:
World History as a freshman (3 rip)
Bio (5), Chem (5), APUSH (4) as a sophomore
Music theory (5), Physics 1 but took Physics C test (4), Calc BC (5), Gov (5), Macroeconomics (5), Microeconomics (5), Lang (4) as a junior
-Senior year course load:
AP Seminar, AP Physics 2, AP Comp Sci, AP Comp Sci Principles, AP Stats, Calc 3 (I think I'm going to get a B in this first quarter, will this hurt me very badly?)/Diff EQ, Band

Extracurriculars:
-A lot of flute stuff--one youth orchestra since sophomore year, another for my senior year, three different local wind symphonies since middle school, Interlochen (a prestigious summer arts program) in 2017, some other music camps before Interlochen, matinees done through my youth orchestra as volunteer work (basically holding a concert for inner city kids and teaching them about music so that they'll be pushed towards future musicianship), playing at a local church for religious services, being in band for all of high school (concert band section leader junior and senior year, marching band section leader senior year, squad leader senior year), playing for the school orchestra when there is a flute part, musical pit for Drama Club
-National Honor Society
-Tedx of my high school (marketing director junior year, co-president senior year)
-Future Problem Solving since middle school (placed second in state for individual competition freshman year)
-Mock Trial
-Gay-Straight Alliance
-This summer, I did a precollege program at Carnegie Mellon regarding Artificial Intelligence, which is what really sparked my interest in computer science (and it seems like I was kinda late honestly because now almost none of my ECs or awards or anything have to do with CS). Only 20 people were accepted out of 980 apps, which makes me think it's fairly prestigious (but I could def be wrong)

Awards:
-Some school awards like being consistently on Honor Roll, Academic Letterman, Band Letterman, teacher-given awards, Exemplary interest in music award (two people per grade)
-National AP Scholar
-Placed second in state for Future Problem Solving individual competition my freshman year
-National Merit Semifinalist

Hooks:
-Woman in CS
-Being low-income maybe? I don't really think it helps that much though, considering I'm not a URM

Current plans are:
Reaches:
-Princeton
-Carnegie Mellon
-MIT
-Caltech
-Stanford
-Yale (REA)
-Harvard
Matches:
-Vanderbilt (my older brother went there if that helps)
-UMich (EA)
-WashU
-Pomona
Safeties:
-Ohio State (EA)
-Wellesley

Ultimately, I'm scared that I won't be able to get into any of the schools I want to go to (which on my list is ultimately just OSU--it's just that a lot of people from my school go and I don't really like the whole aspect of high school part two rather than much about the school itself). My absolute favorite schools are Yale and Carnegie Mellon, but I don't think I could get into either (and I don't want to ED to CMU for financial reasons). I think my parents want me to resign myself to EDing to Vanderbilt or WashU so that I can be more sure that I can get in somewhere (they think that I'm guaranteed if I do ED). This has looked more appealing just because I'm scared that I'll get rejected from places early and then not get into my matches because it's more competitive RD
46 replies
· Reply · Share
«134

Replies to: Any advice appreciated (Asian female going into CS, looking at top schools)

  • nrtlax33nrtlax33 671 replies15 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 686 Member
    edited September 2018
    Super low-income (<15k)
    -This summer, I did a pre-college program at Carnegie Mellon regarding Artificial Intelligence
    Please confirm that you did the pre-college program on scholarships.
    A lot of flute stuff--one youth orchestra since sophomore yea
    Do you have a private teacher for your instrument?
    Future Problem Solving since middle school
    Someone I know who won Future Problem Solving International got rejected by every single reach school it applied this year. Currently study at a good LAC.
    edited September 2018
    · Reply · Share
  • celestialkairoscelestialkairos 68 replies5 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 73 Junior Member
    @nrtlax33 I forgot to mention, this specific pre-college program was fully paid for everyone accepted, including tuition, room and board, travel grants for those who lived especially far and requested them (I did not need to)
    · Reply · Share
  • nrtlax33nrtlax33 671 replies15 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 686 Member
    Your chances for those schools are better than others. First generation is a hook. Are you first generation?
    · Reply · Share
  • celestialkairoscelestialkairos 68 replies5 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 73 Junior Member
    @nrtlax33 I did have a private teacher for my instrument for a long time, but as my family's financial situation got worse, I had to stop taking lessons at some point (this is actually part of my common app essay and how being a financially disadvantaged musician has made me become more disciplined and independent)
    · Reply · Share
  • celestialkairoscelestialkairos 68 replies5 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 73 Junior Member
    @nrtlax33 I am not as my parents both went to school in Korea, and my dad even received a PhD at the University of Tennessee
    · Reply · Share
  • nrtlax33nrtlax33 671 replies15 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 686 Member
    edited September 2018
    You are not particularly disadvantaged from AOs' perspective. Being low-income means they have to give you scholarships if they want to admit you so it is actually a disadvantage for you. Your are a competitive applicant. I wish you all the best of luck.
    I think my parents want me to resign myself to EDing to Vanderbilt or WashU so that I can be more sure that I can get in somewhere (they think that I'm guaranteed if I do ED).
    I have to agree with them. You have no spike from AOs' perspective. The fact that you need scholarships is a big problem.
    edited September 2018
    · Reply · Share
  • Reformed test prep guruReformed test prep guru 40 replies0 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 40 Junior Member
    Being Questbridge eligible helps considerably. Are you still pursuing your applications through this?
    · Reply · Share
  • celestialkairoscelestialkairos 68 replies5 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 73 Junior Member
    @nrtlax33 My understanding of most of these schools (except CMU, UMich, and OSU) is that they are need-blind and therefore it doesn't hurt that I am low-income, admissions-wise. Is this somehow incorrect?
    · Reply · Share
  • celestialkairoscelestialkairos 68 replies5 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 73 Junior Member
    @Reformed test prep guru I sent in my Questbridge application a couple days ago, but obviously it's not certain that I will become a finalist. I am planning to utilize it though, if everything goes well
    · Reply · Share
  • Reformed test prep guruReformed test prep guru 40 replies0 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 40 Junior Member
    Some of your schools (e.g. MIT) are "needs blind." Meaning that you have to get in before you get an awesome FA offer. Others on your list consider FA need in admissions decisions. If your family income is as low as you report, "non-needs blind" schools will consider that as a "hook."(which is where I have to disagree with nrtlax33). Make sure you do your due diligence in considering using your EAs at "non-needs blind" schools. This makes you an URM (by socio-economics). Also, as a female, you have almost a 2.5x chance of acceptance at MIT as a male applicant.
    · Reply · Share
  • nrtlax33nrtlax33 671 replies15 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 686 Member
    edited September 2018
    On the surface, it is. However ....
    read https://www.****/the-ivy-coach-blog/college-admissions/2-reasons-need-blind-admissions-farce/
    and https://www.****/the-ivy-coach-blog/college-admissions/need-blind-admission-farce/

    Those scholarships are mostly used for first-generation/URM since schools need to keep the numbers at a certain level. There are a lot of Asian full pays and they also have spikes. They will be picked first. I will give you one example ...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gH7wDR1gpQM
    This girl has spikes. I believe her art/music portfolio is the key for her acceptance to Brown.
    edited September 2018
    · Reply · Share
  • celestialkairoscelestialkairos 68 replies5 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 73 Junior Member
    @nrtlax33 Not to be unnecessarily inflammatory, but why do you believe her art/music interests to be a spike, but not all of my experiences with flute? I will also be sending in a portfolio/arts supplement with my playing, and I was chosen to attend one of the premier arts programs in the country last summer as well
    · Reply · Share
  • Reformed test prep guruReformed test prep guru 40 replies0 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 40 Junior Member
    I agree that the girl in your video appeared to have an excellent art portfolio, and that that probably contributed to her Brown acceptance. However, nrtlax33, you are comparing kumquats to alligators. The girl in your video is from a rich, upper-class/upper-middle class, background in the SF Bay Area. She had no "spikes" (whatever that means). She was just a typical Asian girl from NorCal with a brain and some artistic talents. Our OP is equally talented, (equally Asian), comes from "not California" (yes, colleges often sort kids by geography), and she has a compelling story to tell. I don't know why her economic situation deteriorated, nor do you (I'm guessing that story trumps "I can draw good" in her personal statement). But, what I do know is that she has zero obligation to share that information here on CC. I, for one, believe that OP has a better chance than most applicants at gaining admittance to several of the schools she listed in her original post.
    · Reply · Share
  • nrtlax33nrtlax33 671 replies15 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 686 Member
    @celestialkairos : I might have missed something in your resume. If you are very good at flute, you need to submit a music portfolio. The girl in the video is the concertmaster of a relatively big orchestra in Bay Area. In CA, that is not easy.

    Also, read https://talk.collegeconfidential.com/cornell-university/2061165-why-was-i-rejected-ed-p1.html

    I have carefully reviewed his file. I believe the only reason he was rejected at ED is because he needs financial aid. I feel happy for him that he was admitted to Columbia later. His file is extremely strong.
    · Reply · Share
  • lookingforwardlookingforward 32215 replies336 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 32,551 Senior Member
    edited September 2018
    I think OP will have fine chances at those colleges. Adcoms at need blinds won't see her family income, but will see what her parents occupations are/whether they're employed now, and the GC has a chance to note their lifestyle is challenging. You don't need to be URM to benefit from socioeconomic diversity goals. The fact her father has a PhD and her brother is Vandy show a family commitment to education. The number of music activities is impresisve. Granted, there aren't math-sci ECs, but she can explain (briefly, Addl Info,) her recent interest from the summer program. The stem scores are excellent and the rigor shows. I think many of those colleges will be willing to welcome her and let her explore CS. But as she knows, there's work needed, between now and submitting.

    What will help. Explain the recent interest. See if the stem LoR will confirm the sparked interest in STEM and speak to your logical and analytical skills, problem solving abilities. Advice: if chem was soph year, think about an LoR from junior year physics. Adcoms at top colleges like more recent than 10th grade. (I don't k now if this relationship cotinues in some way, if it's strong enough.)

    Is there anything you can point to that shows some math-sci EC experience? It will help, imo, to show you have another academic interest area or two (because, if CS doesn't work out for you, they'll like knowing you have other driving interests. This needs to be handled properly, to avoid seeming less committed to stem. But it can just be a mention somewhere. More about this later, if you need.) One of the keypoints they'll want to see is collaborative experiences. For stem, this usually refers to math or sci activities. Think if you have something (eg, Tedx science topics?)

    You write intelligently. Know as much of these colleges as you can, from what they say and show, so you can make your best targeted presentation in the app and supps. (Eg, you don't want generic responses to a Why Us question. Nor something stilted. So be savvy.)


    Wellesly isn't a safety for anyone, unless you have some special connection. So, find some true safeties, besides OSU.

    Go for it. One can never predict, but you've done a lot that's good. Make a positive impression.

    Adding: no one should rely on a consultant blog for wisdom on the finer points of admissions. Ths folks make their living creating the impression they have special talents to sell.
    edited September 2018
    · Reply · Share
This discussion has been closed.

Recent Activity