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Chance me? (Northwestern, USC, ect).

TheGussATheGussA 38 replies16 threads Junior Member
(I made one of these a year ago but ignore that cus all my estimates were waaayyyy off).


Hispanic (and gay but theres not really a natural place to say that so I might not mention it). Student at a small online school. Graduating a year early.


Major:
Northwestern: Theater & Econ
USC: Business (Cinematic Arts) & Theater
University of Miami: Business & Theater (maybe).
University of Florida: Business and Theater (maybe).
Florida State University: Business & Theater
UCF: Business

SAT: 1280 last time :( retook it in October but I doubt I’ll increase too much. If practice tests are to be trusted I should score between 1300-1340.

SAT II: None

GPA: 4.0 UW, 4.9 W

AP Scores: AP Lang 4, AP US History 4, AP Macro 2.
I am taking AP Lit, AP stats, AP Gov, and AP Psychology this year.

Class rank: 1/80

EC:
Taking care of my ill mother. (abt 14 hrs a week).
Political Activism (Blog, attending meetings, meeting with my local reps ect. abt 4 hrs a week)
Youtube Channel (abt 5 hrs a week).
Social Media Management (accounts abt politics, labor, and mental health. abt 8 hrs a week).

(I love practicing Monologues on my freetime but I don’t have much free time so I don’t think I do it often enough to consider it an EC.)


Volunteering: ~100 hrs. (Writing about education for two non-profits).

Essay: Writing about how my dad walking out and my mom becoming ill forced me to create my own opportunities since I had to switch to online school to care for her (making it impossible to join clubs or do much politically as I was relatively homebound. also had to find ways to do community service from home ect). (I will mention my parents in passing as I will focus on starting my political blog from home, the political social media accounts, and how government assistance saving us made me become interested in politics).

Recommendations:
Counselor ~ Probably Average
AP Lang ~ Excellent
Chemistry ~ Haven’t even asked yet.

College Lists:

Reach
Northwestern (ED)
USC

Target
University of Miami (EA)
University of Florida

Safeties
Florida State University
University of Central Florida
Community College

Additional Info:
Low-income, single parent, $16k a year. Mom has two masters, dad has a bachelors (as far as we know).

Also here are my courses:

Middle School (These were high school courses and gave me HS credit)
Algebra 1 Honors
Biology Honors
Spanish 1
Spanish 2

9th Grade:
English 1 Honors
Algebra 2 Honors
Marine Science Honors
Spanish 3 Honors
Personal Fitness
Fitness Lifestyle Design
Emerging Technology in Business

Summer 2018:
English 2 Honors
Algebra 2 Honors

10th Grade:
AP English Language
Pre-Calc Honors
Physics Honors
World History Honors (School did not offer AP)
AP US History
Drivers ED
Sat Prep Course
AP Macroeconomics

Summer 2019:
Chemistry Honors

11th Grade:
AP Literature
AP Statistics
AP Psychology
AP US Government
Theater, Cinema, and Film production. (FA required for graduation + it’s fun lol)
Personal and Family Finance (School did not offer Micro after AP Gov :( it was either this or parenting lol).

Thank you so much! Any help will be greatly appreciated! :D
18 replies
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Replies to: Chance me? (Northwestern, USC, ect).

  • TheGussATheGussA 38 replies16 threads Junior Member
    I’m considering not applying ED to Northwestern to see if I can raise my SAT by December?

    Do you think this would hurt or improve my chances?
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  • coolguy40coolguy40 2342 replies3 threads Senior Member
    edited October 9
    Your grades are perfect, but the SAT might put USC and Northwestern out of reach. Since you're low income, you would likely be unable to afford them. Your list is good, but you'll need more safeties. UF is a low reach. UCF and FSU would be a match. U of Miami is a reach simply because of cost and financial aid.

    Keep in mind that getting into a school is only half the battle. Getting the major you want is very different. Business is a popular major and UF and FSU have very selective business programs. Your safety school should not only assure admissions, but assure your choice of major too. I would add FIU, USF, and a couple of others as well. Good luck!
    edited October 9
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  • Techno13Techno13 223 replies8 threads Junior Member
    Are you planning to audition or submit a portfolio? For theater and arts majors this may be required-- and if really excellent-- might make up for lower SATs. I would think twice about stating Econ as a target major-- AP of 2 in Econ, no Calculus. I don't know anything about FL schools, but would agree NWU and USC are a high reach. I'd try to raise the SAT score or look for some test optional schools. There are more and more every year.
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  • 4gsmom4gsmom 767 replies26 threads Member
    There's no audition at Northwestern.
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  • honestlyidekhonestlyidek 8 replies7 threads Junior Member
    I am a high school senior as well, so I am not going to say anything about chances for schools, but I will give a bit of insight from my friends that attend these schools. I think people have already addressed the SAT thing.

    The thing I noticed was the extracurricular list. I think the situation with your mother could be used as an interesting narrative for some essays. For the rest of the list, though, just from my experience, is extremely lack luster for schools like USC and Northwestern. Just for reference, my friend attends Northwestern and during high school, his single mother had breast cancer. He was still president of three clubs and had an internship. That is not me trying to bring you down; I am just trying to give you some contextualization of who you are competing against for these spots.

    I would say even UMiami and UF would be considered reaches, but again, I am a senior in high school, so I am just speaking from experience. The SAT is the main thing. Your match schools and reach schools have 25-75th ranges going from minimum of 1330 all the way up to 1550.

    Also, graduating early, just from reading through other threads, is unfavorable to schools unless you have a legitimate reason for needing to graduate early.
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  • TheGussATheGussA 38 replies16 threads Junior Member
    Techno13 wrote: »
    Are you planning to audition or submit a portfolio? For theater and arts majors this may be required-- and if really excellent-- might make up for lower SATs. I would think twice about stating Econ as a target major-- AP of 2 in Econ, no Calculus. I don't know anything about FL schools, but would agree NWU and USC are a high reach. I'd try to raise the SAT score or look for some test optional schools. There are more and more every year.

    Northwestern's program does not require an audition and neither do most BA programs. Northwestern does not offer business which is why I put Economics down. If I do get into Northwestern though, my main plan is to focus on Acting after graduating. I'm just looking for a "safety" major and I felt like Econ would be a good one. I really enjoy Statistics but I feel like taking that on as a double major would be very overwhelming. I'm considering Political Science, but I am not sure how "safe" of a major that is. My mom will become my dependent very quickly so the luxury of "risking it all" isn't really on the plate but I don't want to give up on Acting either...
    coolguy40 wrote: »
    Your grades are perfect, but the SAT might put USC and Northwestern out of reach. Since you're low income, you would likely be unable to afford them. Your list is good, but you'll need more safeties. UF is a low reach. UCF and FSU would be a match. U of Miami is a reach simply because of cost and financial aid.

    Keep in mind that getting into a school is only half the battle. Getting the major you want is very different. Business is a popular major and UF and FSU have very selective business programs. Your safety school should not only assure admissions, but assure your choice of major too. I would add FIU, USF, and a couple of others as well. Good luck!

    I've been looking into adding one or two more safeties but I really do not want to add anything with a Nov 1 deadline since I am already quite overwhelmed.
    I am a high school senior as well, so I am not going to say anything about chances for schools, but I will give a bit of insight from my friends that attend these schools. I think people have already addressed the SAT thing.

    The thing I noticed was the extracurricular list. I think the situation with your mother could be used as an interesting narrative for some essays. For the rest of the list, though, just from my experience, is extremely lack luster for schools like USC and Northwestern. Just for reference, my friend attends Northwestern and during high school, his single mother had breast cancer. He was still president of three clubs and had an internship. That is not me trying to bring you down; I am just trying to give you some contextualization of who you are competing against for these spots.

    I would say even UMiami and UF would be considered reaches, but again, I am a senior in high school, so I am just speaking from experience. The SAT is the main thing. Your match schools and reach schools have 25-75th ranges going from minimum of 1330 all the way up to 1550.

    Also, graduating early, just from reading through other threads, is unfavorable to schools unless you have a legitimate reason for needing to graduate early.

    I feel like this is fair but I think more context on my mom's situation is shown in the essay that may help. Primarily, I am almost completely homebound as a result. I can rarely leave the home and I have to be here almost 24/7. It's the main reason I'm doing online school. My online school doesn't offer any clubs and I really couldn't get an internship given the circumstances. I tried to get a job to help our financial situation but being home-bound makes everything significantly more difficult. I've made my peace that I probably won't get into Northwestern, but I do want to try. I mean that's why it's a reach lol. The University would do a lot for me which is why I feel it is at least worth a shot.

    And yeah, I know graduating early will ultimately hurt me. But like I said, my mom will become my dependent. I kinda feel a need to finish both HS and College early so I can start working full-time. Because I really don't want to end up working full-time in college and I'm definitely not trying to have to drop out.
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  • Genevieve18Genevieve18 173 replies2 threads Junior Member
    Statistics as a major instead of Econ could work well since you really enjoy it. Why would it be more overwhelming as a double major with theatre than Econ? It's more math-focused but less finance-focused.
    Your SAT is the one main weak spot, as you know. Have you taken a practice ACT? Just wondering if you might do better on the ACT, though I know time is short. Have you done SAT studying on Khan Academy's site (free and online)?
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  • TheGussATheGussA 38 replies16 threads Junior Member
    Statistics as a major instead of Econ could work well since you really enjoy it. Why would it be more overwhelming as a double major with theatre than Econ? It's more math-focused but less finance-focused.
    Your SAT is the one main weak spot, as you know. Have you taken a practice ACT? Just wondering if you might do better on the ACT, though I know time is short. Have you done SAT studying on Khan Academy's site (free and online)?

    My SAT math is a bloodbath which is why my score is so low. My English is almost 100 points higher than my Math. I read that the ACT has harder math which does worry me.
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  • TheGussATheGussA 38 replies16 threads Junior Member
    coolguy40 wrote: »
    Your grades are perfect, but the SAT might put USC and Northwestern out of reach. Since you're low income, you would likely be unable to afford them. Your list is good, but you'll need more safeties. UF is a low reach. UCF and FSU would be a match. U of Miami is a reach simply because of cost and financial aid.

    Keep in mind that getting into a school is only half the battle. Getting the major you want is very different. Business is a popular major and UF and FSU have very selective business programs. Your safety school should not only assure admissions, but assure your choice of major too. I would add FIU, USF, and a couple of others as well. Good luck!

    I’m trying to keep everything through Common App. Do you think UNF & FIU are good safeties?

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  • TheGussATheGussA 38 replies16 threads Junior Member
    Update: I was able to increase my SAT to 1350. Does that help my chances? Or are they still around the same?
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  • Genevieve18Genevieve18 173 replies2 threads Junior Member
    That's definitely stronger! How is your math now?

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  • MWolfMWolf 1688 replies10 threads Senior Member
    TheGussA wrote: »
    Update: I was able to increase my SAT to 1350. Does that help my chances? Or are they still around the same?

    Since you've moved into 90th+ percentile range, it helps your chances, at least in the Florida colleges, especially since it pushes you into, or to the top of, the mid-50% of these colleges.

    I would hazard that now UFL is a high match, rather than a low reach, while FSU and UCF should move into the low match designations. Assuming, of course, that you're a Floriday resident.

    University of Miami - is a match now, but you likely won't be able to afford it.

    USC, NU - no change.

    Have you thought about applying to a couple of the selective colleges which are test optional? Many are full need met, so you may be able to afford them. Since th erest of your profile is fairly strong, you should check them out.

    Here are the test-optional colleges, but you'll need to check which will actually meet full need: https://www.fairtest.org/sites/default/files/Optional-Schools-in-U.S.News-Top-Tiers.pdf
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  • TheGussATheGussA 38 replies16 threads Junior Member
    That's definitely stronger! How is your math now?

    680 english, 670 math.
    MWolf wrote: »
    TheGussA wrote: »
    Update: I was able to increase my SAT to 1350. Does that help my chances? Or are they still around the same?

    Since you've moved into 90th+ percentile range, it helps your chances, at least in the Florida colleges, especially since it pushes you into, or to the top of, the mid-50% of these colleges.

    I would hazard that now UFL is a high match, rather than a low reach, while FSU and UCF should move into the low match designations. Assuming, of course, that you're a Floriday resident.

    University of Miami - is a match now, but you likely won't be able to afford it.

    USC, NU - no change.

    Have you thought about applying to a couple of the selective colleges which are test optional? Many are full need met, so you may be able to afford them. Since th erest of your profile is fairly strong, you should check them out.

    Here are the test-optional colleges, but you'll need to check which will actually meet full need: https://www.fairtest.org/sites/default/files/Optional-Schools-in-U.S.News-Top-Tiers.pdf

    I attended a seminar with the University of Miami a few years ago and they said they’re meeting 100% need for Florida residents who apply EA/ED starting this year.

    I’m not particularly excited for USC but I am for Northwestern so I might as well shoot my shot there.

    Yeah I’m looking into test optional colleges. Quite a few of them are knocked off my list by residency requirements though, so I haven’t really found many matches (albeit I haven’t looked tooo much). I would love to apply to NYU but they’re pretty nortorious for awful financial aid.

    I’m considering taking the SAT one final time in December. I’ll have more freetime so I feel like I could clip 1400 (barely). However ED and some RD will have already passed by then, so I’m not too sure.
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  • TheGussATheGussA 38 replies16 threads Junior Member
    ^^^

    I can’t correct that but I mean a few days ago not years.
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  • aquaptaquapt 2033 replies38 threads Senior Member
    If you want a higher-reach private U than Miami, with good financial aid, that's a good place to combine performing arts with business/econ, I'd look at U of Richmond. It's need-blind and meets full need. Your SAT is still a bit below their average but it wouldn't be the ultra-long-shot that Northwestern would be. Also it's not ridiculously far from home, which could be important given your situation with your mom. Run the Net Price Calculator and see how it would look money-wise. (If the NPC results are favorable and the school appeals, also consider that the Early Decision acceptance rate is significantly higher than Regular Decision. They have both EDI and EDII.) Richmond has both a major and a minor in both theater and business administration, so you'd have a lot of flexibility to combine the two without necessarily doing a full double-major. Really excellent performing arts as well as a strong business school.

    I just don't think you've had the time and bandwidth to build the kind of record you'd need to get into Northwestern or USC. As others have said, Miami is already a reach; Richmond is probably around the top of the realistic-reach range. (And maybe Wesleyan, given that it's test-optional... but test-optional only helps so much when you haven't had four years of high school to prove yourself in rigorous college-level classes and build a strong EC resume. )

    Have you looked at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg? They have a Business major and both a major and a minor in theater. You'd have to see whether you could get a good enough aid package but you'd likely qualify for some merit so a full-need-met package is possible. Again, run the NPC to get an idea what your costs might look like.

    Also, New College of Florida has concentrations in theater and in econ/finance that could be combined - your stats are solid for admission there, so it could be a nice public-LAC alternative to the large in-state public U's.
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  • TheGussATheGussA 38 replies16 threads Junior Member
    aquapt wrote: »
    If you want a higher-reach private U than Miami, with good financial aid, that's a good place to combine performing arts with business/econ, I'd look at U of Richmond. It's need-blind and meets full need. Your SAT is still a bit below their average but it wouldn't be the ultra-long-shot that Northwestern would be. Also it's not ridiculously far from home, which could be important given your situation with your mom. Run the Net Price Calculator and see how it would look money-wise. (If the NPC results are favorable and the school appeals, also consider that the Early Decision acceptance rate is significantly higher than Regular Decision. They have both EDI and EDII.) Richmond has both a major and a minor in both theater and business administration, so you'd have a lot of flexibility to combine the two without necessarily doing a full double-major. Really excellent performing arts as well as a strong business school.

    I just don't think you've had the time and bandwidth to build the kind of record you'd need to get into Northwestern or USC. As others have said, Miami is already a reach; Richmond is probably around the top of the realistic-reach range. (And maybe Wesleyan, given that it's test-optional... but test-optional only helps so much when you haven't had four years of high school to prove yourself in rigorous college-level classes and build a strong EC resume. )

    Have you looked at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg? They have a Business major and both a major and a minor in theater. You'd have to see whether you could get a good enough aid package but you'd likely qualify for some merit so a full-need-met package is possible. Again, run the NPC to get an idea what your costs might look like.

    Also, New College of Florida has concentrations in theater and in econ/finance that could be combined - your stats are solid for admission there, so it could be a nice public-LAC alternative to the large in-state public U's.

    I’ll definitely look into all of these colleges. Thank you!

    I feel like I could set myself up as a decent candidate for top colleges, so I am considering taking a gap year. I would probably look for a part-time job during nighttime. I have made some connections with my local political party & I might be able to snag an internship with a candidate for the state house. I would also see if I could stretch my time & take an acting class and maybe do community theater. I would also retake the SAT. Do you think that could help me boost my chances?
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  • coolguy40coolguy40 2342 replies3 threads Senior Member
    edited October 23
    I like to be honest. I'm not sure a gap year is going to help. Stats won't change if you put off college. If you get a rejection now, you're going to get the same rejection a year from now. The average SAT score at Northwestern is about 1500, which means your application is going to get tossed in the recycle bin.

    You did GREAT in high school and you have a ton of options available.
    edited October 23
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  • aquaptaquapt 2033 replies38 threads Senior Member
    Have you tried an ACT practice test? It might be better to try a different test, vs. taking the SAT a third time - some people find themselves better-suited to one test than the other, so giving the ACT a chance in December might pay off - if you could get a 30 or better, it would be stronger than your SAT.

    The things you're thinking about doing during a gap year are all good, and might strengthen your application a little, but that decision overall would beg the question of why you rushed through high school to graduate a year early in the first place, only to take a gap year. I'm not sure the payoff would be great enough to make it worthwhile unless you truly, genuinely wanted to spend a year that way, not just as part of a campaign to get into a more competitive college. You sounded as if you had fairly compelling reasons to head off to college a year early; does your rationale for a gap year carry more weight than your rationale for accelerating your path?

    To compare the high-reach of Richmond to the super-reach of Northwestern: here's the Class of 2023 profile for U of Richmond. https://admissions.richmond.edu/studentprofile/index.html You can see that the path to acceptance is fairly steep... and then compare to this Class of 2022 profile for Northwestern. https://admissions.northwestern.edu/documents/northwestern-class-of-2022-facts-and-figures.pdf Also notice how skewed both are toward filling their classes with ED and EA candidates. (Another point in favor of Richmond is less only about 6.5% of its students are Hispanic/Latino, whereas the percentage is double at Northwestern - so your "URM bump" would probably be more noticeable.) Your grades are great, but colleges look at grades in context and especially OOS schools that are completely unfamiliar with your small online school may suspect that it's grade-inflated. Your decent AP scores help to validate your grades, but you only have two passing scores on the books so far. This is why going test-optional will only be semi-helpful; the reality is that when you get your grades through a more "alternative" channel, test scores become more important as a way of cross-checking whether grade inflation is in play.

    I'm not trying to be discouraging - you have a lot of demonstrated strengths, an unusual and well-expressed story, and obvious passion and initiative. A lot of excellent colleges would love to welcome you. I suspect that Northwestern may be out of range, though. Even Richmond is a stretch, but I can see that potentially working out when you combine the diversity you would add to their class with the strengths you can show them, *and* potentially a slightly higher ACT or SAT-retake from December. (The EDII cycle would allow you to get that done before applying... and you could always shoot the moon at Northwestern ED1 first if you really wanted to give it a chance.)

    Another thing to consider when looking at "elite" performing arts programs is, what will your opportunities be when you get there? How stiff will the competition be for roles? At schools like USC and Miami, that have BFA programs, will you feel like a second-class citizen in theater if you're going for a BA or a minor? There could be advantages to a smaller school like Eckerd or New College, where you could potentially be involved in all aspects of bringing a show to fruition. Really depends on what kind of experience you want to have.

    You might also look at some additional "artsy" full-need-met LAC's, like Skidmore and Connecticut College, where your SAT is slightly above median and theater opportunities are terrific. But you won't find as much of a pre-professional business orientation at small LAC's like these - Eckerd is the exception to the rule in offering a business major.

    There's a lot to consider. I think you're doing a great job at thinking through all of the options, while juggling your roles as a student and caregiver.
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