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Chance me (homeschool, strong ECs, SLACs)

stressabtcollegestressabtcollege 5 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
GPA: 4.0 UW, 4.2 or 4.3 W
ACT: 29 composite in July, about a 32 this month, could be 31/33
estimating about a 36/35/28/30 R/E/M/S
AP: US Gov and APUSH (both 4s, will be taking 4 more this school year and expect to get 4s or 5s on all)
Honors: 5 courses (all social studies/ELA)

- Government youth council
- Leadership role in state chapter of a nationally well-known youth-led social justice organization
- Leadership position (volunteer) for four youth-led productions by non-profit
- Dance (5 hrs/wk)
- MOOCs (social and political issues, sociology, politics, finished all with 98-100%)
- Won award for a small business I ran (9-10)
- Member/leadership for several small clubs
- Top 5 in state Speech competition
- Family responsibilities
- About 150 volunteer hours

- Homeschooled, almost completely self-taught (and self-accountable). Currently taking some co-op classes. Math all online.
- All As. A- in math, everything else an A or A+.
- Extra credits in SS/ELA (5 ELA, 3 history, 2.5 gov/econ, 2 social sciences)
- Took most rigorous courses available to me
- Only one year of foreign language
-Underrepresented/ underperforming state. My 29 on ACT put me at the 96th percentile

What are my chances for:
- UNC Chapel Hill
- UCs (Davis, Berkeley, Irvine, SD, LA)
- Sisters women’s colleges (Barnard, Smith, Wellesley, Bryn Mawr, Mt Holyoke)
- U of Washington (small/niche major program that fits well with my courses/ECs)
- UT Austin
- Brown (definite reach but good with homeschool)
- UMich (small major program that fits well with my courses/ECs)
- Oberlin
- Reed
- Rochester
- George Washington Uni

I am looking at several safeties that are guaranteed admits. I’m trying to narrow down targets and reaches.
12 replies
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Replies to: Chance me (homeschool, strong ECs, SLACs)

  • stressabtcollegestressabtcollege 5 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
    I have strong LoR, one from elected official
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  • stressabtcollegestressabtcollege 5 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
    If there are other schools that you believe may fit me, I’m definitely open to recs. I’m hopefully looking for a politically engaged student body and strong programs in Social Sciences and Law/Government
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  • BookLvrBookLvr 137 replies3 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Follow up questions for clarity:
    1) Who is assigning you the grades that gives you a 4.0 UW, 4.2 or 4.3 W? You mention some co-op classes and math all online. Does that account for all of your classes?

    2) Have you tried looking through a large college guidebook such as Princeton Review? These schools list recommended courses. I am 100% sure there is SOME flexibility for particular circumstances, but I think the one year of foreign language is probably the biggest challenge you are going to have in terms of admissions. My daughter is looking at three of the schools on your twenty school list, and I think they all recommend four years of language.

    3) Who will be writing
    A) Your guidance counselor letter?
    B) Your teacher letters?

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  • stressabtcollegestressabtcollege 5 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
    1) All of the courses I’ve taken (online, co-op, self-paced but formal curriculum) had tests, quizzes, and other graded work (writing was all with a teacher) that made up my grades for those classes.

    2) I’ve definitely looked through those. I have more than enough credits for all other areas, but I’m worried about that. I enjoy learning languages in my free time, so I do have decent fluency in two languages other than my first, but I’ve only done one official one credit course for foreign language. I’ll mention the other languages in addt’l info and I hope to take some tests for that to prove proficiency in the hopes that I can get that waived at some of these colleges.

    3) A) The colleges all did not require an counselor recommendation if you’re homeschooled. They ask for some form of a personal, non-academic recommendation letter. I have a very strong one ready to go, and I’ll be getting an additional one as well.
    B) The teacher recommendations will be from the formal courses I’ve taken.
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  • BookLvrBookLvr 137 replies3 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    I would also highly recommend taking for example an SAT II type test in your second language...if it is a language in which such tests are available. My perception based on things I've read is that colleges care even more about standardized testing for homeschoolers than they do for traditionally schooled individuals.

    I would also double check that info about homeschoolers not needing a counselor recommendation. My daughter's significant other was homeschooled and he did need a parent to write a counselor letter. (I will also state, however, that he applied to an entirely different list of colleges than the ones you list above.)

    In terms of the UC system, I found this fairly recent thread on College Confidential which seems relevant!

    I would also use this resource, as I think talking to a network of people who have already been through this process would be immensely valuable.

    Best wishes for a very successful college search!

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  • Mom2aphysicsgeekMom2aphysicsgeek 4573 replies56 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    If you want a brutally honest assessment, I have been homeschooling my kids for 25 yrs and my 6th student is a sr this yr. I would put your profile on par with hers and I do not consider her an extremely strong, competitive applicant. She has siblings who have been extremely competitive, and they had accomplishments that stood out across top students (high levels of academics like having completed numerous 300 level math/physics courses or 15 foreign language credits, top test scores, international awards, representing the US in an international olympiad, etc)

    Your 1 foreign lang credit and your test scores will hurt your app at top schools. If you don't have 2-3 subject tests, you need to plan on them. U Roch required them a couple of yrs ago, but I haven't looked recently. Most top schools are going to want them.

    You have a solid profile and should have a good application season if you refocus your energy to more match and lower reaches.

    (Do you have any financial restraints? UCs in particular are not going to offer you any aid.)
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  • stressabtcollegestressabtcollege 5 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
    @BookLvr My second language is more niche and doesn’t offer mainstream standardized testing like that (however, the colleges I’m looking at for the most part have a program in it).

    Thank you for that info, I will email and confirm.

    I appreciate those resources! Thank you very much!

    @Mom2aphysicsgeek Thank you for your honesty. I don’t have any sort of admissions counseling or help, so I appreciate it quite a lot. I definitely don’t have anything like that, but I’m hoping explaining some extreme extenuating circumstances will help explain to colleges why I didn’t have the ability to pursue some opportunities that I had along those lines. My ECs are also considerably stronger than they sound (I had to heavily undersell due to internet safety, but I’ve had two admissions at the Sisters women’s colleges tell me that they’re some of the strongest they’ve seen. That’s probably true moreso at politically-focused colleges like the Sisters, however.)

    Assuming I get a 31, I’d be 98th percentile in a vey underrepresented state. Do you think that will help?

    I’ll be taking two SAT II later this month. Based on practice tests I should get somewhere between a 700 and 800 depending on the test.

    Thank you very much for all of your help!
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 34060 replies376 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited September 17
    It's not the percentile in an underrepresented state, but where the score puts you in the applicant pool for your own target colleges. After all, you're applying to a college with its own structure and expectations and often, highly qualified peers, once there.

    And the only "extenuating" that really helps is when classes are not available. But the very nature of homeschooling, incl your case, is you're online for classes. That can mean virtually unlimited choices.

    Whenever adcoms comment positively on something, all kids need to consider that tentative. Each applicant has a full package to present.

    Other languages you've got some/any proficiency in don't replace actually taking those courses. Many otherwise strong candidates get dinged for dropping their foreign lang studies.

    And don't assume any tippy top is particularly "great" for homeschool admits. It's great for kids who knock adcoms' socks off, considering the flexibility HS kids have in their curriculum choices and the sorts of addl experiences the best of them have accrued. It's still crazy competitive.

    Make sure you know what your reachy colleges look for, as much as you can.
    edited September 17
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 34060 replies376 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited September 17
    Just looking at Smith, eg, the *average* ACT Composite seems tobe 32. But that's inside the middle 50%, Many on CC say you want to be near or above the 75th percentile, which seems to be about 33. But they're going to review your actual subscores. And the most important are those related to whatever major you state an interest in.

    You need to be checking this, when setting targets. And looking or what adcoms value and look for. Not just whether a school is what you want or offers your major, but how you match what they want.
    edited September 17
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  • Mom2aphysicsgeekMom2aphysicsgeek 4573 replies56 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I agreee with @lookingforward.

    Do you know how to read schools' CDS? The Common Data Set shares the weight that different schools put on different categories. Geographic region is very unlikely to hold the same weight as test scores at any school. Test scores for homeschoolers tend to hold more weight as a filter. Your test scores are just not at a selective-competitive level. If they were 33+, then the level of competitiveness might increase to the realm of maybe possible vs. unlikely.

    For example, Look at pg 8 of Smith's CDS: https://www.smith.edu/sites/default/files/media/Office Images/Institutional-Research/Smith College_Common Data Set 2018-2019_Version 1.pdf
    Geographic region is "not considered." On pg 10, 82.8% have an ACT score of 30-36 with 53% in that range for math.

    Your ECs sound fine, but ECs are considered after the initial academic threshold hurdle is surpassed.

    Based on your ECs, MOOCs, AP tests, etc, it is hard to imagine compelling "extenuating circumstances" that bridge the gap that exists. Your education will be viewed as privileged b/c you had the freedom to pursue any academic level of coursework desired.

    I am not writing this to be a dream killer, just to share what I know from helping my kids apply to college and how admissions has worked. I think that if you step down a notch in your goals, you will find a lot of schools where you will be a strong candidate.

    BTW, you didn't answer my question about budget. Do you have any financial constraints or is money no object? If you are going through this process without parental help, you need to be aware of costs and ask your parents exactly how much $$ you have.

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  • HamurtleHamurtle 2523 replies33 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    UNC, UT-Austin, and UVA have mandates to take in-state students first, so those could be reaches.

    Michigan would be a reach as well. They have been waitlisting/rejecting students with perfect GPA/SAT per a lot of threads on CC.

    UCs for OOS are nearly the same cost as private schools, so if financial aid of any form is required, then remove them from your list.

    If you still want to apply to UCs, calculate your 10-11 GPA. Honors weighting will be for AP/DE/IB only.
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  • GumbymomGumbymom 27810 replies155 threadsForum Champion UC Forum Champion
    UC’s have a minimum 2 year Foreign Language requirement. Unless you are taking a 2nd year during application season (Senior year) or plan to take one of FL SAT subject tests, you have not met the minimum UC requirement and your application will not be considered. Do you also have a year course for Visual/Performing arts which is another UC a-g course requirement?

    UC GPA calculator: https://rogerhub.com/gpa-calculator-uc/

    Post Capped weighted and Fully weighted GPA.

    Just for reference:

    2018 Freshman admit rates for UC GPA of 3.80-4.19 capped weighted and not major specific:
    UCB: 10%
    UCLA: 9%
    UCSD: 34%
    UCSB: 38%
    UCD: 41%
    UCI: 38%
    UCSC: 70%
    UCR: 84%
    UCM: 95%

    2018 Freshman admit rates for UC GPA of 4.20 or above capped weighted and not major specific:
    UCB: 37%
    UCLA: 41%
    UCSD: 70%
    UCSB: 80%
    UCD: 89%
    UCI: 75%
    UCSC: 92%
    UCR: 96%
    UCM: 98%

    2019 UC capped weighted GPA averages:
    UCB: 4.23
    UCLA: 4.25
    UCSD: 4.23
    UCSB: 4.16
    UCI: 4.13
    UCD: 4.13
    UCSC: 3.96
    UCR: 3.90
    UCM: 3.73

    25th - 75th percentiles for ACT composite + language arts
    UCB: 28-35
    UCLA: 29-35
    UCSD: 26-34
    UCSB: 26-34
    UCD: 24-33
    UCI: 24-34
    UCSC: 24-32
    UCR: 21-30
    UCM: 18-26
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