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Chance of Me Getting Into the Following Colleges

ElysianLightElysianLight 8 replies4 postsRegistered User New Member
edited August 11 in What Are My Chances?
Hi! I'm currently a upcoming senior and I've been doing some devoted research on colleges I plan on applying to. I've been in other forums asking a few questions, and now I wanted to see if you guys could give me an idea of what colleges I have a good chance of getting by my current stats (and I also know that my essays and other things come into effect, so at the end of the day, my acceptances lie in the hands of the admission offices).

As of right now the colleges I have on my list so far are:
University of Pennsylvania
Drexel University
Carnegie Mellon University
Lehigh University
Penn State - University Park
University of Pittsburgh
Pace University
Nazareth College

I'm currently researching the SUNY schools because I plan on applying to one of them and I'm also looking for a safe school in NJ at the moment.

My Stats:
Current Weighted GPA: 4.2/4.3 (It's one of those, I have to double check once school opens back up)
Current Unweighted GPA: 3.89 (Hope to get to a 3.9 by the end of my senior year)

Freshmen Year: Final Grades were all A's, All Regular Classes
Sophomore Year: 5 Honors (English, Algebra 2, Bio, US History I, French 3), Final Grades were 7 As and 3 Bs
Junior Year: 4 Honors (English, Pre-Calc, US History II, French 4), Final Grades were 9 As and 1 B.
Senior Year: 2 APs (English and Psychology), Honors Stats, and there is no honors for the science course I am taking

Current SAT Score (First Time): 1200 (Will be taking it again in December, hoping for at least a 1300+)
Plan on taking the ACT as well as a Subject Test

Extracurriculars:
Tennis Team for 3 Years: JV Sophomore Year, Captain of JV Junior Year, Hoping to be in Varsity this year
French Club for 3 Years (Will be running for president/vice president this upcoming year)
Book Club for 4 Years (Running for Vice President this upcoming year)
HOSA Club for 2 Years (I'm also in the Allied Health Program as one of my classes)
National Honor Society (Starting My Junior Year)
National French Honor Society (3 Years)
National Art Honor Society (4 Years)
Peer Ambassador Program (4 Years, Currently at the highest level)
I also attended a UCSTEP Program in my local town as a leadership program

I wish I could've done more, but I'm limited to certain things because I have very strict parents who don't allow me to leave the house at all unless it's for school, church or going somewhere with them.

But anyways, these are my stats, I know they're not the best, but I am still proud of how far I've come considering my current situation in life, so what do you guys think my chances are for getting into the colleges I listed?
edited August 11
13 replies
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Replies to: Chance of Me Getting Into the Following Colleges

  • HamurtleHamurtle 2305 replies30 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Best chances with the current test scores would be at Pace, Nazareth, and Drexel. Rutgers would be a target for an NJ school.

    The SAT would make CMU and Penn reaches. What are your potential majors? If it’s business related, then Tepper and Wharton will be unlikely.

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  • ElysianLightElysianLight 8 replies4 postsRegistered User New Member
    Thank you for the reply, at the moment my potential major is psychology, but I'm not sure if I will enter as undecided or with psychology.
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  • mamaedefamiliamamaedefamilia 3409 replies23 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    @ElysianLight Given that you say your parents are strict, are they going to allow you to attend college or university out of state? Also have you talked with them about what they are willing/able to pay? Will you be seeking merit scholarships and/or need-based aid? The reason I ask is that Penn State is quite expensive for OOS students, as are all of the privates on your list where full pay is 65-75K per year.

    I recommend, if possible, that you retake the SAT sooner than December, and maybe try a practice ACT test and see if you do better with that format. Unfortunately, that score is not competitive for many of the schools on your list. Which schools require SAT subject tests - Penn? CMU? Most places that require or recommend them want two subject tests, not just one.

    If your parents are OK with you being out of state, you might want to look at Muhlenberg, Ursinus, Dickinson, or Susquehanna (all in PA and less competitive than Lehigh). For psychology, Clark U in Worcester, MA, is excellent and a target school for your stats. In NJ, Rutgers-NB if you want a large school, and TCNJ, Rowan, or Ramapo, if you'd like something a little smaller. Bumping up that SAT to 1300+ or ACT equivalent will improve your chances for merit scholarships at some of these schools.

    You might also want to think a bit more about what kind of school attracts you the most, other than location. You have large publics (Penn State), schools with a more pre-professional bent (Drexel), elite privates (Penn) urban, suburban, small town schools, large/medium/small. If you are Catholic, or open to the idea of a Catholic school, there are many small to mid-sized Catholic colleges that might also be good targets for your stats.

    Good luck - you appear to be a well-rounded and hard-working student.
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  • ElysianLightElysianLight 8 replies4 postsRegistered User New Member
    @mamaedefamilia Hi, yes my parents have accepted the fact that I would like to leave the state and no, they won't be helping me pay back anything after college, but they'll be helping me with the financial aid portion with FAFSA. I plan on applying for both need based aid and merit scholarships, but I will definitely keep looking for more safe schools in regards to cost like you mentioned. I was hoping to take my SAT in December to get maximum time to improve my score significantly. I know it might sound crazy, but I really hope to get at least a 1400 and I plan on devoting 13-14 hours a week for the next 4 months to prep for it since I didn't really prep for my first one. I was planning on taking my ACT in October to see how I do on that. I'm looking more into the SAT Subject Test requirements for each school because I want to make sure I'm giving myself enough time to space out test dates. Thank you for listing those schools in PA, I will definitely look into those :). I'm currently only looking at schools in PA and NY (only a few in NJ) because my parents want me to stay pretty close to NJ. I just rather not stay in NJ because I really don't want to stay at home during college due to personal reasons. I'm not too picky on school population sizes and I'm not really looking at religious affiliated schools (I'm Christian) because my parents don't really like the idea of that and I'm not that much into that idea either.

    Thank you very much for the amazing advice and input :)
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  • mamaedefamiliamamaedefamilia 3409 replies23 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited August 11
    @ElysianLight It sounds like you and your parents might want to sit down and fill out a few net price calculators (NPCs) at colleges of interest to see what it is likely to cost. Every school has a NPC on its website. It will ask some financial information of your parents and then it will tell you how much aid you are likely to receive. Many schools import data from FAFSA so it may be more efficient to fill that out first.

    The EFC (Expected Financial Contribution) from FAFSA generally is not the number that you will pay at schools that accept you. Typically it is higher, because schools often meet "need" by offering loans that must be repaid. The amount of federal student loan you can take as an individual is 5,500 your freshman year and it gradually increases to 7,500 by your senior year. Any other loans would be signed or co-signed by your parents. So you will need to sit down with them and find out exactly how much they are willing and able to pay out of their income and assets and/or what they are willing to borrow.

    The reason I say this is that I helped a friend in NJ last year with the college search for her child. The student's GPA, rigor, and SAT were very similar to yours. The family was low income and the fact that their actual costs greatly exceeded the EFC was a big shock to the family. Fortunately, they figured this out in advance and were able to find options that would be affordable.

    I hope that your parents have a realistic idea of what college costs and are able to help you to attend a school that meets your needs. It is better to have these conversations before you apply, rather than later. Good luck!
    edited August 11
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  • inthegardeninthegarden 1032 replies19 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited August 11
    @ElysianLight, when you say that your parents won't be helping you pay back anything after college, do you mean that your parents expect you to finance your entire college costs (through merit and need-based schlarships, loans, and summer jobs)?

    If that's the case, the sad truth is that none of these schools is likely affordable for you, though you may be able to get a good chunk of financial aid from Susquehanna, expecially if you can raise your SAT score. College costs have skyrocketed in the last generation. In the past, young people could put themselves though college, but no more (except for the tiny percentage who win full ride scholarships through EXCEPTIONAL grades, test scores, ECs and an outstanding talent or hook). The most generous schools tend to be the most elite/selective schools or the schools who are trying to become the most selective. They have wealthy alumni who make these scholarships possible. However, these schools attract thousands of straight-A/1500+ applicants with outstanding ECs as well. You sound like a very good and diligent student, but the competition is tremendous (and not always healthy, IMO). Many of the schools on your list would be high reaches for you, meaning that, even if you get in you would likely not get any/much financial aid.

    If your parents can't or won't contribute anything to your college fund, the only possible way for you to go to a four-year sleep-away school would be if your parents co-signed bank loans ...which would lead to a lifetime of servitude to the bank for you. Unless you somehow became very affluent (not so easy with an undergraduate psychology degree) you could be still be trying to pay off that $300,000 (plus huge interest payments) when you retire. How would you afford a house, a car, or children (let alone your children't education)? If you were unable to pay, your parents would be saddled with that debt.

    Please find out if your parents can contribute anything at all! To have the best chance of good scholarships, you should apply to schools where your unweighted GPA and test scores put you in the top-25% of students applying. Google the common data set of any schools you are thinking of applying to to find out where you will fall in the applicant pool. Consider staying home for your first two years of college (if your parents will let you) to attend a local community college while working part time to pay your tuition. It is good that you are asking questions now (instead of a few months from now) so you can come up with a viable plan. Ask questions here on CC to find schools you'd like that might have large merit scholarships for a student with your stats.
    edited August 11
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  • ElysianLightElysianLight 8 replies4 postsRegistered User New Member
    @mamaedefamilia and @inthegarden Thank you both! I didn't even know about the EFC, so I'll definitely be researching that as well. I do plan on applying to around 50+ scholarships (I know it's a lot, but I'm very determined to get as much money as I can because unfortunately my parents have no plan to help me after college, considering the fact that both of my older siblings were not helped by my parents either). I am going to look into more safety schools that I can afford in case my scholarships and financial aid don't come through. Thank you for the school recommendations as well :)
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  • ElysianLightElysianLight 8 replies4 postsRegistered User New Member
    And also, in regards to my previous comment, I think I will actually take the SAT in October rather than December because I realized many scholarships have their deadlines around November and I want to make sure I have a better SAT for those scholarships.
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  • inthegardeninthegarden 1032 replies19 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited August 11
    @ElysianLight, the question is, can/will your parents financially help you at all DURING college? Because the bill for tuition, room, board, books and fees must be paid in full to the school EACH semester. The school will not let you continue with your education if your previous semesters have not been paid for. Unless you get a near-full-ride (room and board alone can cost 15,000 + per year) it's just not doable for you to go away to college without your parents paying a sizeable chunk. The federal student loans that you can take out in your name won't begin to cover the cost. Taking out massive bank loans to cover it (if a bank will lend it to your family) could truly ruin your life or that of your parents.

    You said you are applying for 50+ scholarships...It's important to know beforehand that some schools will not "stack" merit and need-based scholarships...in other words, if you are given a certain amount in merit scholarships, the school might subtract that amount from what they would have awarded you for need-based money and vice-versa (someone correct me if I'm wrong about the fine points of stacking...it's not something I have personal experience with yet). Worst-case scenario is if you take out loans for a year or two of college but run out of funding and cannot continue...you'd have a mountain of ever-growing debt (due to compound interest payments) but no diploma in sight in order to get the kind of job that will help you pay down the debt (let alone to afford more classes toward your degree or a comfortable lifestyle). I have read of that nightmare scenario happening to someone here on college confidential more than once! I get no pleasure in disappointing anyone (I see on another thread that you are interested in med school, which is even more expensive, with NO financial aid available) but you really must come up with a realistic financial plan. You simply are not in a position to decide which colleges you would like to apply to, but rather, what safety schools (probably your in-state New Jersey schools) you can afford. Many, many students these days can only afford higher education by going to community college or a state directional within commnting distance while also working part time. It's not what you want ( you said you don't want to stay at home) but it might be the best option to give you a good quality of life for the rest of your life. Debt can become a nightmare that strangles your hopes and dreams! Just don't go there!
    edited August 11
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  • ElysianLightElysianLight 8 replies4 postsRegistered User New Member
    @inthegarden Wow, I never knew about any of that. Thank you very much for the warning and advice. I'm going to try my hardest to earn any full tuition/ride scholarships in hopes that I do get one because anything is possible. I will look into more colleges that I can afford as well. Being at home is an absolute no go for me because I can not be in that environment during my college years, I will be absolutely stressed and my mental health will absolutely worsen than it already is. I might try looking at colleges with really low tuition or ones that offer big financial aid. Thank you for your post :)
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  • inthegardeninthegarden 1032 replies19 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited August 12
    @ElysianLight, I hope for you all the best with this. I can tell you are sincere and want a good education but have no idea yet how complicated this college process is. Sounds like your life has not been easy with regards to your family.

    There are a lot of extremely knowlegable, helpful adults here on CC to point the way...many who have put several children through college, some who are teachers, guidance counselors, professors and college administrators. My advice to you now is to start another thread about financial aid and affordable options for you. Many of the best posters on CC tend to avoid "Chance me" threads because it is almost impossible to do realistically in the competetive, holistic process of highly-selective schools...it's almost like out-guessing the lottery. You will get many more helpful, informative responses if you say something about financial safeties in your thread title (rather than "chance me").
    edited August 12
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 28775 replies56 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    It is very very difficult to get a full ride or even full tuition scholarship. The most likely place to get these amounts are from the colleges themselves. There simply are very few outside scholarships that are very big and the chances of getting any of the big ones or enough smaller ones to pay your way to go away to college is nearly impossible it’s difficult even for those with very high test scores and the best grades. Many of those scholarships out there are “niche” or specialty awards , if you don’t have a powerhouse academic profile.

    I spent a lot of time pushing my older kids into applying for outside awards, doing the research myself to find good fits and got very little. There are stories in the news about kids getting $1million, even more in scholarships, but it usually means applying to a lot of schools, counting the individual school awards AND the outside awards. A lot of those kids still have large financial gaps in meeting costs.

    What did your siblings do for college costs? Can you get a commitment for any financial support from them ? Will they let you live in their home and share food and resources if you commute to college ?

    Do you have a summer or part time job? Any money of your own saved?
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  • ElysianLightElysianLight 8 replies4 postsRegistered User New Member
    @cptofthehouse Thank you, my brother was on and off with colleges and constantly transferred from school to school, but he wasn't able to complete it and later went into the military, so I don't know how his financial situation was and how he was paying it. As for my sister, she attended a county college first and transferred into a 4 year university to complete her bachelor's, but she had a job and paid whatever leftover tuition she had, which wasn't much. I had originally planned to get a job over the summer of this year and even before my junior year, but my parents did not allow me because they would only let me do it if one of them was to drive me. However, my dad is at work almost everyday and my mom refuses because she doesn't have the energy to do it (I could walk or take a bus but they won't allow that either, which is absolutely ridiculous). I also unfortunately don't have much money saved up, by the end of my senior year I might have around $400 dollars saved up. As for living with my siblings, my brother resides in the same household as me and my parents for the time being, so he isn't an option. And my sister doesn't have space in her apartment and also my parents would never agree to that. I know that I'm going to have to consider community college, but I'm really looking for any other option because I really cannot withstand my household any longer. If it has to come down to that, then I'll just suck it up, but thank you very much for your advice.

    I'm going to go ahead and take @inthegarden 's advice and start a thread in the financial aid section of the forums since this post is heading in that direction. Thank you everyone for the advice and input! :)
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