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Chance Me: Stanford, UChicago, Johns Hopkins, Williams, Northwestern, and Harvard?

B2I7N2GoB2I7N2Go 18 replies6 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
edited August 24 in What Are My Chances?
I am deciding if I even stand a chance in applying to Stanford SCEA (dream school), and these threads have always looked fun; so here goes nothing:

Ethnicity: Asian
Gender: Male
Income Bracket: <$35,000 (single-parent)
Location: Upper Midwest
High School: Low-ranked, "diverse", school w/o history of sending kids to ivies and such. Counselor mentioned she has only helped filled out Common App 8x in the past year... (one of the most culturally diverse in the state, and definitely one of the poorest with >50% on welfare... Most teachers are untrained for APs and "wing" their classes since they have very little idea of what is happening)
GPA: 4.0 unweighted, 4.58 weighted
SAT: 1500 C (retook Aug 24th)
ACT: 32 C, 33 SS
SAT2: None as of yet, Math II and Biology E in October
AP: 5s (Human Geography, US History, Chinese, English Lang), 4s (Biology, World History), 3s (Chemistry and Calc BC [I know. Yikes.})
Next Year's Course load: AP: Physics, Psychology, English Lit, Calc BC (self-study, not offered at our school). Dual Enrollment: Possibly Economy, but the teacher is horrible so might not take for sake of GPA. REG: Health Careers Exploratory, Government (no higher levels offered), Orchestra

ECs: Work as a Certified Nursing Assistant (large time commitment), Chemistry Research over last summer (~360 hours, Unpublished, but name may be mentioned in prof's papers for a picture I took), Future Problem Solving (State Champs x2, International attendee x1), President of school NHS, Principal Violist of School orchestras (conference Honors orchestra x2), Volunteer team-lead at local hospital, Captain of Math Leagues, Co-captain of Mock Trial, and help out at home a lot.

Extras: Was selected to take part in Windows on Williams, which from what I've read can give a "boost" statistically at admission to Williams (not sure if this is ED only or RD as well). I have focused a good part of my summer on essay writing and have forged a few fairly decent ones based around my troubled upbringing and my job as a CNA. Applying to Quest bridge as well (chances on becoming finalist?) I am also planning on going pre-med, so take that into consideration... (lower chances in STEM field, especially with my low AP Scores on Calc and Chem).

As mentioned at the intro, Stanford is a top choice, but my scores and ECs seem to be weaker as I am an asian male. Do I have chances through SCEA? Or should I do ED somewhere else: JHU BME? UChicago? Williams? Any tips/criticism are highly appreciated. Also, I am applying to my state school as a safety, and with my father being an alum, I am 99.9999% sure I will get in. TIA!
edited August 24
30 replies
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Replies to: Chance Me: Stanford, UChicago, Johns Hopkins, Williams, Northwestern, and Harvard?

  • HamurtleHamurtle 2473 replies33 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited August 25
    If you are low-income, do a QuestBridge match as you mentioned.

    If Williams invited you/planned to pay for expenses, make that your target among LACs. I would focus more on Chicago given that you seem to have a compelling story to tell.
    edited August 25
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  • B2I7N2GoB2I7N2Go 18 replies6 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    edited August 26
    @Hamurtle thanks for the reply. I was wondering if you could give any insight to why a lot of students choose to opt out of questbridge college match, even when selected as finalists? And also, if I am not wrong, Stanford seems to have a lower average SAT score than UCicago; wouldn’t that mean that Chicago looks at test scores more heavily than Stanford? (My personal research/logic. Could be 100% wrong)
    edited August 26
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  • DadTwoGirlsDadTwoGirls 5405 replies1 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    "Stanford seems to have a lower average SAT score than UChicago; wouldn’t that mean that Chicago looks at test scores more heavily than Stanford?"

    One issue is that Stanford is quite a bit larger than Chicago. Also, it is at least my impression that Stanford has significantly more student athletes. Whether it has more relative to its size I am not sure.

    However, I see PrepScholar showing Stanford as having an average SAT score of 1465. I would think that they could pull this up if they wanted to. Stanford having a 25th percentile SAT of only 1390 surprises me.
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 33603 replies369 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited August 26
    Typical admists to Stanford and the others have a strong academic record, backed up by mostly 5 scores in all AP. The 75th percentile sits at well above 1500. "Average" tells you zip, considering it includes athletes and all sorts of others who may have other pull. You want to be a top contender, not think you can slide into one of the very most competitive schools based on falling into some "average" range. That misses the "whole" of what they expect in strengths, in holistic and for these top colleges. And just how crazy the competition for a slot at these colleges is.

    In fact, you need to understand more of what these colleges DO look for, to properly assess your match and decide on targets. And then, to know how to make your best presentation in the app and supps. They look for traits they value and that needs to show in the app and essays. Being a CNA and having a troubled background may be "you," but aren't major factors in how they build their communities.

    Yes, for stem, they will vet your math-sci rigor and all scores. They want to know you can thrive once there, keep up with prof expectations and with peers. In fact, rather than "dreaming," imo, you should be looking for colleges where you can be among the more successful kids, move forward in your own life and goals. That's more than a prestige name.

    Plus, as a med wannabe, you do *not* want to get weeded out of your own dreams, once there.

    Early applications don't boost a kid without the right whole picture and match. Yes, WoW gives them an eye on you. But none of this is *just* about getting an admit. The challenges don't end there, they start there.

    So what are your happy safeties, that you can afford?
    edited August 26
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  • dropbox77177dropbox77177 264 replies0 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Acceptance to WOW is a strong indicator of future admissions to Williams. I think I'd be inclined to roll the dice with a strong RD application to Williams, and use your ED at a place like Chicago.

    There are many preference students at Stanford, so the lower 25-75 sorts of academic stats partially reflect the weaker academics of a substantial portion of the student body.
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  • B2I7N2GoB2I7N2Go 18 replies6 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    edited August 26
    @lookingforward thank you very much for your valuable input and clarity. I understand that being a CNA and having a troubled background doesn’t mean nothing, but I am trying to use those parts of my background as a building point on which I assemble my personal narratives and present values of myself that perspective schools value, not an activity or something I throw into my list of ECs or a “sob-story”.

    As for safeties that I can afford, I have had several meetings with my state “flagschool(?)’s” honors college committee, and was told that I have a good chance of being selected into the HC of my state university when I apply (just verbally so might not mean anything). Historically, anyone ranked in the top 1% of my high school who has chosen to go there has gotten either amazing scholarships, or a full ride (recently had a meeting with my counselor and was told of my ranking, even though my school doesn’t do ranking, which kind of confuses me). My father completed his graduate degree at said school while he was present, meaning that I grew up near the university and have grown to quite like the school. The other safety for me is the college I did my summer research internship at; where I was told (verbally and in paper) that if I were to choose this school, that I would be guaranteed a full ride.

    And to everyone that clarified Stanford’s lower scores, thank you. Having such a high number of student athletes makes a lot of sense for its abnormally low “average” score.
    edited August 26
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  • sgopal2sgopal2 3422 replies49 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    If you want to go to medical school, I would suggest going to Williams. Med school admissions committees focus heavily on GPA and MCAT. Williams is known for a small liberal arts feel with strong premed. You'll get a strong committee letter from Williams.

    UChicago and JHU are known for being grade deflators. This will hurt more than it will help for premeds. I don't think a 1500 will move the needle for you at Stanford SCEA. You will most likely be deferred. Same for Harvard.

    Since Williams has already shown some interest in you, I would strongly consider an ED app to Williams.
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  • B2I7N2GoB2I7N2Go 18 replies6 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    So my new SAT score is 1510... does that give any boost? Or not really?
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  • sgopal2sgopal2 3422 replies49 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    10 points is not going to make a difference for any of these schools.
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  • B2I7N2GoB2I7N2Go 18 replies6 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    @sgopal2 ok thank you, thought so too. My super score is 1520 (780 M and 740 EBRW) if that holds any weight (probably not)...

    Do colleges weigh scores as much as they do otherwise? I thought that most top colleges look at students' overall portfolio? Is it because of the fact that I am an Asian Male and will be held to higher standards, or am I wrong in thinking that colleges don't really care about scores as long as you achieve their middle 50th percentile?
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 33603 replies369 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    You're held to higher standards because the competition is so ridiculously fierce. Not to mention, 4 and 3 scores in AP. And because it seems you don't have a clear picture of what they look for, what those targets, themselves, say. It takes its own work to explore.

    And they look at individual SAT scores, the actual transcript, see the detail. Not just "1510."
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  • B2I7N2GoB2I7N2Go 18 replies6 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    @lookingforward thank you for clarifying. Could you elaborate on what you mean by “clear picture of what they look for”?
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  • IamReallyScaredIamReallyScared 5 replies0 threadsRegistered User New Member
    Don't worry that much. I have know people with lower test scores with a similar background(a bad demographic region) to get into Princeton. If you can get amazing recommendation letters, write amazing essays, and perhaps explain your challenges, you may get in. If you really want to get into Stanford, then apply. Just do it!
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  • HamurtleHamurtle 2473 replies33 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    The AP scores in History/Social Sciences seem significantly higher. I might actually consider applying to some of your reach schools as a History major.
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  • B2I7N2GoB2I7N2Go 18 replies6 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    @Hamurtle I was considering that actually, would you recommend taking my SAT 2s in Literature and US history instead of Math 2 and biology? Or would it not really matter?
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 33603 replies369 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Lol, it matters. Adcoms will look to find your strengths in whatever major (or area) you tell them you're interested in. Not as easy as some think, to just say some "easier" major if the record shows otherwise.
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  • HamurtleHamurtle 2473 replies33 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I would take 3 actually-Math 2, Biology, and USH.
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  • CU123CU123 3543 replies65 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    You have a better chance than you think, your low income status which would be verified by using Questbridge will help you. Top schools are looking for those students who have faced adversity and done well. Make sure you apply for the fly in programs which will also signal the school that you come from a low income family.
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  • dropbox77177dropbox77177 264 replies0 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    edited September 10
    With your profile, I'd suggest Math 2 and history.

    Math 2 is easier than SAT math in that it has no "tricks" designed to catch you out. If you scored a 780 on SAT math, you should have no problem getting an 800 on math 2 provided you do some dedicated prep in the next month. You can usually get up to 5-7 wrong, or 6-9 omitted, and still get an 800, so a little careless error here and there won't hurt you as on the SAT.

    Literature is going to be hard if your EBRW is low 700s. Some of the subtle textual analysis sorts of questions tap into much of the same skill set that the reading section of the SAT utilizes. US history is not easy either, but it's mostly a memorization test and dedicated prep should ensure a high score. With a 5 in APUSH, you are more than capable of 750+ here.

    Once you get your scores back, you can think over your ED strategy, but you will have little time. If you love Stanford, you love it, but as an Asian male you are in the toughest demographic, and I am not sure they care as much as they say about "school context" such that your disadvantaged school would outweigh the demographic disadvantage.

    Williams is a terrific place - especially for a potential premed who has not had the experience of a super rigorous high school preparation in math and science. Isn't WoW coming up soon? Maybe that will help you think about this more. Financial aid is as good as you can get there; I think with a WoW invite applying ED will result in an acceptance. Williams doesn't require or even recommend SAT subject tests AFAIK, and at your income level, you would be fine not submitting them anyway. Good luck!
    edited September 10
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  • tgl2023tgl2023 86 replies1 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    For SAT subject tests, I (also) do not recommend taking literature, which is very hard to score above the low 700s.
    It seems like Williams is your best bet, if you apply ED.
    I don't know much at all about QuestBridge; there are some old posts on its pros and cons on CC.

    I would not characterize the Asian-American male HS students in this country as (post #10) "... held to higher standards..."; rather, these students have higher test scores and GPAs than other demographic groups, so the task for an Asian-American male HS student to stand out among his peers is more challenging. Beware that holding onto this (misguided) belief that you are simply held to a higher standard, can erode your confidence and keep you from working at your future positively. You seem to be a smart, articulate and hardworking young man; apply to schools of your choices, including the reaches, and run your own race. I wish you the best.
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