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Chance me (UChicago, UPenn, Columbia, etc.)

mintyyymintyyy 5 replies3 postsRegistered User New Member
I'm a rising senior and kind of anxious about this whole process.

Demographics: Middle Class Asian American; Both parents went to college in China; I go to a highly competitive, small public school in New York City (ranked #1 in NYS for like 4 years, but recently knocked down).

Intended Major: Not entirely sure yet, but looking at Economics and Business

GPA: 97/100 weighted, will likely go up to 97.5 by end of first semester senior year. School doesn't rank, but I sit around the top 10%. There is a pretty big upwards trend, as my freshman year grades were kind of crappy, but 2nd semester of sophomore year my grades spiked up to the 99-100 range. As for my course-load, it's just about as heavy as my school can possibly offer me. All honors or AP (other than a few electives and some college-courses).

Test Scores: 35 ACT (36E, 36M, 35R, 32S, one try), haven't gotten back writing scores yet. Not sending SAT score.

AP Classes and Scores: AP World History - 4, AP US History - 4, AP English Language and Composition - 5, will be taking AP Calc AB, AP Bio, AP Spanish and AP Literature once senior year starts.

I will be taking an additional college-course at the college across the street probably the 2nd semester of senior year (Already took a college-course on Psychology and did pretty well, if that matters.)

As for SAT IIs, I got a 750 on Math 2 and a 660 on USH (was pretty surprised at this), but AM retaking both in August. Didn't study the first time around as I took it in finals season and kinda winged them without knowing the math concepts and stuff. I'm predicting 770-800 on Math 2 and 710-760 on USH on my retakes, as I'm putting in quite some time on them right now.

Extracurriculars/Activities (Counting Senior Year):

Chess Club President (1.5 years)

Music Appreciation Club President and Co-founder (2.5 years)

Economics Team (1.5 years)

Soccer Club Photographer (2 years) - I play in it too, but I'm the designated photographer when it comes to trips and advertising.

Photography Exhibit (Summer after Sophomore Year)- Held a photography exhibit in China in my mothers hometown, where I displayed photographs I took over the summer of the various environments and locations in NYC.

Computer Literacy Tutor (Mainly throughout Freshman and Sophomore Year)- I taught computer lessons to clients, helping further their understanding of computer tech by walking them through its operation and uses. I often would help diagnose and resolve their computer issues (malware, viruses, etc.)

Volunteer at Hospital 3D Lab (Summer after Junior Year)- I helped operate the 3d Printer technologies and processes, which meant designing 3d models, 3d image segmentation, programming, 3d printer repair, and working with virtual reality machines.

Letters of Recommendation:

Sophomore AP World History Teacher: I jumped from an 88 1st semester to a 98 second semester (she's a pretty harsh grader), which she announced at my school's end-of-year awards ceremony was the biggest jump she'd ever seen in 12 years of teaching. She gave me the award for "Outstanding Achievement in AP World History." Kind of embarrassed I only scored a 4 on the AP, as almost a third of my classmates scored a 5.

College-Now Psychology Professor (Junior Year, First Semester) (This might be an "extra" rec?): I basically aced it and had the top score for 3 of our 4 exams. Had a 101.5 online, but unfortunately the college's grading system maxed out at 97. I participated pretty thoroughly in his class and came up with what he found to be quite interesting ideas. He's a full-time Columbia University professor right now.

Guidance Counselor: My school only has one for my grade of around 100 kids. I don't really know her too well, but she seems REALLY passionate about college admissions and I'm sure she'll write positive things. She seems quite impressed with my gpa, as it's pretty high for a school with relatively harsh grading standards. I've already answered her extensive questionnaire.

Still looking for one more, as I'm not sure if my College-Now Professor will count as a teacher rec or an extra rec...

Awards:

Outstanding Achievement in AP World History - It's a school award (each teacher gives out one or two awards at the end of the year to his or her best student), so maybe not too important, but I'm pretty proud of it as I put so much effort into that class.

AP Scholar - Haven't taken enough AP exams to get a higher reward yet, but by end of Senior year it should be AP Scholar with Distinction. Not that colleges will see it :(.

Essay(s):

I've started on the common - app essay, but am nowhere near finished. I've been told that I'm a good writer, so despite how intimidating I find this essay to be, I'm sure it should be pretty good. I have some pretty smart people willing to look it over and give me tips later on. Am I kind of late to be only at the start of this essay? It's early august the summer before senior year. Will probably be 8-9/10, but too early to say.

Applying to:

Reaches: University of Chicago (Will likely be ED; a lot of kids from my school get in ED, like 5 out of 6 accepted ED in past 3 years according to Naviance), University of Pennsylvania (Wharton, yeah it's a far reach), Cornell (probably dyson for Business), Columbia University (Have a rec from a Columbia Professor, as I mentioned earlier. Idk if this would help my chances), Stanford (Only considering applying because I have a fee waiver; don't have any expectations for it).

Matches: New York University - Stern (this might be a reach, tbh), UC Berkeley (Also might be a reach), Macaulay Honors College, University of Michigan - Ann Arbor.

Safeties: Binghamton University, that's kinda it.

Am I overestimating or underestimating myself with these choices? Please lmk. Thanks!
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Replies to: Chance me (UChicago, UPenn, Columbia, etc.)

  • milee30milee30 2034 replies13 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    You're smart to apply ED if UChicago is your first choice. UChicago likes the NY top public schools and even better, they're in Nondorf's assigned region; never hurts to have the Director of Admissions responsible for your region because if he likes an applicant of course he has huge sway.

    Your stats show you're qualified to do the work, but on your app you should consider shifting your focus away from the numbers. Instead of constantly discussing and focusing on your stats (GPA, scores, awards) work on figuring out what UChicago wants in an applicant and make sure your essays and structure of your app shows that match. The stats are just a pre-qualifier, those won't get you an acceptance, so list them but don't waste space discussing them in essays or listing the 'meh' ones in detail. Use your good writing skills to write essays that show you have what they're looking for both in the personal section and in the UChicago uncommon essays. Those will be what makes or breaks your app.

    Also consider what you want your LORs to show. Just like with the essays, you want the LORs to show that you have the qualities UChicago is looking for. For example, if the history teacher writes that you increased your grade by working an extra 2 hours a day and coming to office hours (AKA "grinding"), that won't help you - they have plenty of apps from grinders. But if the LOR describes how (and WHY) you did this and it matches what UChicago is looking for... that's when the magic happens.

    You need to show you're a match. If you can do that, you'll have a good chance. If you don't, you have very little chance.
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 28775 replies56 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    I think you are applying exactly as you should. Your highschool GC is highly experienced in recommending colleges for you. The Naviance charts will give you good info because so many kids from your school apply each year to these very colleges you have chosen. You have your safeties—I’d have thought Macaulay would also be a match.

    Have you addressed how you will be paying for college with your parents? You mention a fee waiver so I’m wondering if you are applying for financial aid. You. Should know what your parents are willing and able to pay, then see what the Net Price Calculators for each school expects you to pay. Perhaps you have already gone through the financial aid analysis.

    I don’t see UC Berkeley coming up with financial aid for you. They don’t give much to OOSers. You have your likely school, an affordable SUNY as well as a CUNY in the mix, so you are covered

    As you know, the SAT2S are weak, Read the instructions for LORs from teachers very carefully as some want certain subject teacher recs, some want junior or senior year
    Teacher recs.

    You are fine as far as essay time line goes, as it appears you have been thinking about what you are going to write. I’m sure your highschool has addressed the subject
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  • HamurtleHamurtle 2305 replies30 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Strike Cal off the list. No aid for OOS students. UM is a reach for any OOS student regardless of high GPA/test scores.

    As most colleges look at UW GPA, you will need to recalculate the grades out of a 4.0 scale.

    I’m assuming that you’ll be applying to Chicago as an Econ major since Chicago Booth Business School is grad only. Also you will need to figure out the infamous UChicago application essays.
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 28775 replies56 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    I agree UM is a reach these days, especially EA. I didn’t recommend striking Berkeley because it has not been confirmed that OP is looking for financial aid, and no idea what budget is. Berkeley would be less expensive than full pay to some private options.
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  • mintyyymintyyy 5 replies3 postsRegistered User New Member
    edited August 7
    Thanks to everyone who has replied so far! Yeah, UM and UCB were kind of last-minute decisions that I'll likely take off the list. I just kind of felt like I didn't have enough match schools before that, so after researching some of their programs I added them in. My household income is low enough so that most colleges aren't too pricey when checking the net price calculators, and I will be applying for financial aid, so price-wise I'm not overly worried for most of these colleges. I'll definitely be cramming out higher SAT subject scores and aim for 750+ ideally on the USH one, and am not too worried about the Math 2 as I've been scoring well on my recent practice tests. Yeah, I'm almost definitely going to be applying as an Econ major, and I'll have to confront those essays as soon as possible. I understand UChicago is a very intellectual and learning-based environment, and I'll try to convey my love for learning through my essays in order to tie together the almost uncomfortably wide range of interests my extracurriculars show. Will my 100-point grading scale be converted to out of 4.0 by almost all colleges? I'm completely unfamiliar with the 4.0 scale, as my high school -- and I think the rest of NYC -- uses the 100-point scale. Thanks again!

    Edit: Used an online conversion chart and calculated my weighted to be 4.39 and unweighted to be 3.89 so far.
    edited August 7
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 28775 replies56 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Have you run NPCs on each of those schools? NYU does not guarantee to meet need. Though you can commute to school there, the tuition is high.


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  • mintyyymintyyy 5 replies3 postsRegistered User New Member
    Yeah, most of the schools offer quite a bit of aid and my cost hovers at around 10k more or less at the more selective schools. NYU is going to be incredibly expensive, however, but I wont be applying ED so I'll have to look at the package they give me. Aside from tuition, Stern seems like a practical place to get a business-related degree, but I'm not sure if it'll be worth the cost. NYU is probably the only school I'm quite concerned about in terms of price (aside from the OOS schools that I may or may not apply to); the rest will likely be affordable for me.
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 28775 replies56 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited August 7
    I suggest looking at a Fiske or Princeton Review and reading up on schools. . You should focus on schools that guarantee to meet full need. You then might want to take s look at some schools that offer a lot of merit money. Your GC might suggest some schools to you.
    You could probably benefit from adding couple of more schools to your list, as Berkeley ley won’t give you institutional financial aid, NYU doesn’t guarantee to meet need and I’m not sure if Michigan guarantees to fully meet out of state students’ financial aid.

    Your academic and application profile is excellent. However Columbia, Stanford , Chicago, Cornell-Dyson are among the most selective schools in the country. you might want to look for a few less selective schools between this group and your SUNY/CUNY picks.
    edited August 7
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  • mintyyymintyyy 5 replies3 postsRegistered User New Member
    Alright, thanks! I'll be sure to look up more matches. Right now, I'm considering USC and Notre Dame (this could a reach, idk) for matches; their business programs seem good. I don't know if I'll add another safety school, as although Binghamton is one of the more selective SUNYs, essentially nobody gets rejected by it from my school according to my Naviance, and I'd be pretty happy to go there too. The same applies, to a lesser extent, to Macaulay Honors, which I'd also be more than happy to go to (free tuition, good name and close to home).
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  • HamurtleHamurtle 2305 replies30 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited August 7
    Marshall and Mendoza are matches for nobody. Low reaches with your grades/test scores.

    Remember that ND and USC are low teens with their acceptance rates.

    The US higher educational system is way different from what your Chinese parents experienced. High test scores don’t count-you need to understand what holistic admissions mean.
    edited August 7
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  • mintyyymintyyy 5 replies3 postsRegistered User New Member
    Yeah, those schools were kinda wedged in there after only a little bit of googling; I'll probably reconsider them. And yes, I understand the holistic admissions process and how high test scores don't mean that much after a certain point for top colleges. I'm mostly basing my assessments off of what I see for my school on Naviance. Although Naviance only shows test scores and gpa, these two colleges seem quite consistent in their acceptances of students from my school after a certain range. I'll try to reevaluate these schools after some more research. Thanks!
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  • Gogreen19Gogreen19 24 replies0 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    Hey, I was just wondering if you would prefer to specialize in economics/business mainly or were interested in pursuing other fields as well. Just saying because schools on your list like Cornell and Penn are schools that are more about specialization while the others are lib arts schools that like some specialization but also a diversity of interests, especially in regards to the core curriculum of Columbia and UChicago. Just saying because your first choice (ED) should really depend on that; what kind of education you want out of your college career, a specialized one or a more diverse one. Each way would be a plus in the schools that have that style of education.
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 28775 replies56 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Look at schools like Richmond, Wake Forest , Boston College for matches. All three guarantee to meet full need and rRichmond and Wake are possibilities for merit money as well. I agree you don’t need any safety schools. The question is whether you can find affordable options that are not crazy selective like the schools you’ve been listing, that you like better than Bing and McCauley. You aren’t going to beat the price of commuting to McCauley.

    There is no reason to throw in a bunch of schools just to fill in that selectivity gap if those safety choices are highly satisfactory to you. My kids choices were absolutely not in order of selectivity at all, and schools regarded as low reach/safety were Hugh in their list. We didn’t have to force the traditional 3 category, and you are in very good shape having TWO near certain choices you really like.
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  • theloniusmonktheloniusmonk 2335 replies5 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    "Marshall and Mendoza are matches for nobody. Low reaches with your grades/test scores."

    That's not true, if you're a national merit semifinalist, USC is a match and if you're the top QB in the country, both Marshal and Mendoza are safeties.
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  • sgopal2sgopal2 3391 replies49 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Agree with the previous comment: Nondorf from UChicago really likes Stuyvesant and Bronx Science. He covers the NYC area, so is quite familiar with the NYC charter school system.
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 28775 replies56 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    You have about half a chance of acceptance to USC if you are NMSemif insults. Better chance if you are #1 quarterback IF you make academic standards and if they need a quarterback over other positions.

    But this applicant ain’t NMSemifinslist— not even sending SAT1 scores out, and certainly isn’t going to get in for football.

    Stuy does get more than usual of that caliber high school into UCHicago but looking at those accept rates, even ED, and at who is applying there from top NYC schools, I still put it as a reach. I wouldn’t send those SAT2 scores

    OP in a good place. If she gets into one of her reaches that meet full need or enough of it to make it affordable, she’s in the gravy. If not, she has two schools that are goo. Though Bing’s room and board is pricey and they do not guarantee to meet full need
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  • browniesundaebrowniesundae 210 replies2 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    USC is not necessarily a match. My DS was a NMF, 36 ACT and straight A's. He got into ND, Rice, UCLA and Berkeley but not USC.
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  • RiversiderRiversider 694 replies76 postsRegistered User Member
    USC promises scholarships to NMS but they limit money and prefer to take next candidate who is non NMS instead of paying merit money to NMS. Being NMS is a drawback at USC, specially an Asian NMS as a large percentage of NMS are Asians.
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  • browniesundaebrowniesundae 210 replies2 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    ^^^^^What @Riversider said!
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  • theloniusmonktheloniusmonk 2335 replies5 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    "But this applicant ain’t NMSemifinslist— not even sending SAT1 scores out, and certainly isn’t going to get in for football."

    I was contradicting a point that ND and USC are nobody's safeties, when they clearly are. I may have exaggerated when I brought up football players, but again, if you have a commitable offer to USC and ND, you are in the position to reject them, not the other way around.

    "Being NMS is a drawback at USC, specially an Asian NMS as a large percentage of NMS are Asians. "

    Being a NMS is not a drawback when applying to USC or anywhere, do you have data on this? Most, if not all NMS regardless of race get an interview with USC for their trustee, presidential, dean's scholarships, assuming you get in of course.

    "USC is not necessarily a match. My DS was a NMF, 36 ACT and straight A's. He got into ND, Rice, UCLA and Berkeley but not USC."

    Right, I said match (50/50), not safety.
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