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Karate and Ivy League?

MammawMammaw 6 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
edited September 22 in What Are My Chances?
My daughter is a high school freshman. She's a straight A, homeschooled student. She will not be taking any AP/IB classes nor will she do any summer camps at University as we cannot afford it. She will take the PSAT, SAT and ACT to prove her academics. She has honors for English, History and Science. She wants to be a Physical Therapist.

She started taking karate at age 8. At 14 she is a black belt. She is a 4 time National Champion, 4 time Jr. Olympic Champion. She has trained at the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid and trains regularly with an Olympic coach. This will be her first year entering International competitions and she will be trying out for the US Team in 2020. She is too young for the 2020 Olympics and 2024 will not be including karate as of now. Her focus is competing internationally. She teaches underbelt classes and spends 16-20 hrs per week between teaching and training. She travels the country competing and has more state/regional medals then I can count. She is very dedicated. She was voted Captain of her competition team. She is helping to organize and run the state Championships.


She mentors an 8 yr old girl that has incredible talent. She coaches her at competitions and trains her in weapons.

She is a Girl Scout and has created a self defense class for girls. She gives free seminars on situational awareness and self defense for kids.

She shadows her own Physical Therapist 3 hrs per week. She has a lot of health issues and that is one reason she chose a career in PT.

She doesn't have a ton of EC's that are meaningful. She's volunteered at the animal shelter and local food pantry but nothing on a regular basis.

What are her chances at getting in an Ivy?
edited September 22
25 replies
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Replies to: Karate and Ivy League?

  • MammawMammaw 6 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
    I want to add that we live in a rural county of South Carolina. We have to travel 45-60 mins to get to any type of extra curricular classes.
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 23010 replies17 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    She will not be taking any AP/IB classes nor will she do any summer camps at University as we cannot afford it.

    Her chances aren't high anyway (no one's are since it is very difficult to get into an Ivy), but not taking any AP classes or doing extra academic challenges will not help her. Almost all Ivy applicants have very high gpa's and many have perfect test scores.

    She will have MANY good opportunities if she's a NMF or top 1% student, they just may not be at in the Ivy league.
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  • MammawMammaw 6 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
    edited September 22
    Well, she's in 9th grade and still have the rest of high school to add academic challenges. I just don't know what kind to do. AP classes are not within reach.
    I don't know if it hurts or helps that she is Asian.
    edited September 22
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  • SybyllaSybylla 3821 replies48 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited September 22
    .
    edited September 22
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  • sgopal2sgopal2 3495 replies49 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    You've got a few things working against you: 1) Asian and 2) home-schooling. The karate sounds impressive. But none of the ivy league schools have varsity sports for Karate.

    So at best, Karate will be seen as an impressive EC. It won't get her foot in the door more easily. The lack of college level (AP/IB) classes along with the home schooling will be a distraction. They will want more understanding of how she can handle college level work.
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  • makemesmartmakemesmart 1491 replies14 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Your daughter is such an accomplished youth, hats off to her!
    I don’t know about her chances, but I can see her succeeding in many things in the future.
    PT is a graduate degree, part of the Allied Health schools in many universities.
    I also think her dedication and achievement are remarkable.
    Good luck with the US national team tryout! What an achievement!
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 23010 replies17 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    If you are homeschooling, you can make the courses are rigorous or as easy as you'd like. Why can't you make a course an AP level and have her take the exam or is she able to take AP classes at the local public school? Are there state programs or a community college where she can boost rigor? Are there state online courses (like Florida has Virtual School) when she can take online AP courses or foreign languages?

    You are a long way from actually applying so it's not possible to give a 'chance me' response. All we can say is that the admissions rate for Ivies is under 10% and that almost all of those admitted have taken a very rigorous academic path, all have very high test scores, and most have that 'something extra' that gets them noticed by the admissions committee, whether it be science prizes or athletics or a legacy connection or being the daughter of the president of the US. That's her competition.

    Right now all you can do is develop the most rigorous program and do well on the standardized tests. Will you be able to teach math, science and English at the highest levels?

    IMO, don't get fixated on the Ivies. USC is a great school and has a top honors program.
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  • Rivet2000Rivet2000 1085 replies2 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I think that the most important thing is that she does the best at what’s available to her. Anything that she can do to bolster her academic credentials would be good. She may not have access to AP classes, but she could study for and take some AP tests. You should also investigate summer programs at Universities because some do provide financial assistance. Needless to say, her standardized test scores will help assuming she scores well.

    Her ECs are her ECs, and actually I think she has some good ones. Conventional wisdom says you need a bunch on “meaningful ECs” but when you read through CC you’ll see that so many kids have very similar sounding ECs actually making it hard to differentiate themselves. Your daughter’s story: rural, home schooled, karate expert (with Olympic potential) is actually more unique than many I see on CC.

    Getting in to any top school program is difficult. Encourage her to always do her best and I’m sure you’ll find a great spot for her.
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  • MammawMammaw 6 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
    I didn't realize you can take an AP test without taking the classes first. Her standardized testing at the end of 8th grade put her on 11/12th grade level. Academically she is very smart. I will definitely look into the AP testing. I don't know if she is Harvard smart, but she isn't a slacker.

    She is Asian, but raised by us who are white. We adopted her at age 2. She has physical issues which is why she goes to PT herself. She will need another heart surgery at some point in the next few years.

    While not an Ivy, she has her heart set on Duke. Her Olympic Trainer is in Raleigh and we went a few weeks ago to visit the campus when we were up there. She fell in love with it. Another school she likes is Rice, equally as hard to get into.
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  • cinnamon1212cinnamon1212 450 replies6 threadsRegistered User Member
    edited September 22
    I would guess the Ivies turn out very few to no physical therapists.

    Of course she could change her mind about what she wants to do, but I don't see the connection between Ivies and PT.

    Having said that, an international caliber athlete is very much what an Ivy would be impressed by. It doesn't matter that they don't have a Karate team.
    edited September 22
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  • MammawMammaw 6 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
    All the Ivy's have a biology major. She would then transfer to a different school for her doctorate in PT.
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  • sgopal2sgopal2 3495 replies49 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I think she's got an interesting enough of a story that will resonate. As others point out, there are many other avenues open to increase rigor via outside study.

    I'm not sure how Asian race is factored if she was raised by white parents. As you might have read in the news, it is generally more difficult for Asians. Part of this has to do with the fact that many Asians do the same ECs and tend to focus on the same STEM fields. Your daughter seems like she may break the mold, so the Asian race may not play such a strong factor.

    Duke has the TIP program, look into it. Also don't get fixated on any college, there are many other great ones out there. Good luck
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  • austinmshauriaustinmshauri 8942 replies334 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Sogopal2: You've got a few things working against you: 1) Asian and 2) home-schooling.

    Why do you think homeschooling is a disadvantage? The Ivies accept homeschoolers.

    OP the best choice for the program your daughter wants may not be an Ivy. Figure out your budget and target affordable schools that are a good fit for what she wants.
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  • tdy123tdy123 756 replies14 threadsRegistered User Member
    For IVYs and other T20's home schooled students should be taking as many standardized test scores as possible to provide context for what the grades on their transcripts represent relative to other students. "Mom gave me straight A's" is much more meaningful when backed up by 5's on AP tests, and great SATI and SATII scores.

    Keep in mind that IVY and T20 schools turn down thousands of 4.0gpa and 1600 (or close to it) SAT students.

    As to Karate, while it is not a recruitable sport at any of the IVY schools, the admissions offices are influenced by spectacular levels of achievement in most endeavors. Ranking high in the world in a sport (for example figure skater Nathan Chen, now at Yale) combined with great grades and standardized test scores can provide a significant boost to chances at top schools.

    Lastly, be very, very cautious about making decisions for a 9th grader based on grad school - let alone college major - intentions.
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 23010 replies17 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I'm not sure how Asian race is factored if she was raised by white parents.

    There isn't a box to check "Asian but raised in a white household" so it is not a plus or minus. My daughter was in this same situation and it did not matter one bit. There was NOTHING on her resume or application to indicate she was Asian - not her name, not her sport, not her clubs. She was a country music loving, surfer girl lacrosse player. She really doesn't identify as Asian despite my years of heritage camps and clubs, a trip to China, filling the house with books about China. Nope, she's American.

    If a student thinks revealing race will be a negative, don't do it. It is unlikely to be a boost at any of the elite schools as they have plenty of Asians in the pool.
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  • MammawMammaw 6 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
    She has done the Duke TIP program for a few years now.

    I contacted our local school district to sign her up for the AP Exams. I'm also looking into the CLEP testing, although not all schools accept them. That should back up her "mom-graded" transcript.
    She's known she wants to be a PT since she was 8 yrs old and started going to one herself. Yes, there's always a chance she will change her mind, only time will tell.
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  • sgopal2sgopal2 3495 replies49 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    The reason that home schoolers are scrutinized was nicely summarized by @tdy123. Since grades are typically given by the parent, the 4.0 may not hold as much weight as compared to a 4.0 from a local public HS.

    Homeschooling is not a bad thing. But just keep aware that the student will need to demonstrate competency elsewhere (CTY coursework, dual enrollment grades, SAT subject tests, AP test scores, etc).
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  • tdy123tdy123 756 replies14 threadsRegistered User Member
    @sgopal2 For adopted children and children of multi-ethnic background the ethnicity question on college apps can be fraught, particularly as certain answers are perceived as potentially impacting the student's chances at more selective schools.

    Here is what the Common APP instructions say about how to answer the question:

    https://appsupport.commonapp.org/applicantsupport/s/article/Why-do-you-ask-about-ethnicity

    "...The ethnicity question on the Common Application has been updated to meet the Department of Education reporting requirements. Answers to the ethnicity question are not required for submission. If you choose to answer this question, you may provide whatever answer you feel best applies to you or any groups of which you feel you are a part...."

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  • awesomepolyglotawesomepolyglot 3856 replies69 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Are the Ivies a good choice for a prospective PT?
    Rice has a very strong kinesiology program.
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  • MammawMammaw 6 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
    Columbia in NYC has an awesome DPT program.
    Rice is on the list. They also have a karate club, which is a plus.
    Boston University, Wake Forest, Rice and Duke are the ones she is interested in.
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