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Chance a senior for top and mid-ranked LACs please!

extremelystressedextremelystressed 14 replies1 threads Junior Member
Sorry, this is going to be really long but I'm just really stressed and feel like I have a situation that warrants it. Thank you to anyone who replies.

Female, white, northeast, highly competitive top 2 in state public school, first gen, low income (<$50k)

Intended Majors: Psychology, Studio art

ACT: 35 first try

UW GPA: 3.3, school doesn’t rank, online calculators say it's a 3.8/4.0 W

Coursework: All classes in school are either honors, AP, or IB.

Freshman and sophomore year: only honors, no APs allowed. Freshman year took 8 classes that counted for GPA and 6 that didn't. Sophomore year took 11 classes that counted for GPA and 8 that didn't.

Junior year:
Core classes: IB World Lit 1 HL, IB History of Americas 1 HL, IB Spanish 4 SL, Advanced Physics, Anatomy, Calc 1.
Electives that count for GPA (1 trimester each): BioPsych, Developmental Bio, Marine Bio, Hematology/Oncology. 3 electives that didn't count for GPA.

Senior year: AP Psych, AP Bio, AP Stats, IB World Lit 2 HL, IB History 2 HL.

Not part of school schedule: National/State EMT certification class: 7-15 hrs/wk, from September 2019 to January 2020. This is why I dropped Spanish.

Awards: National Merit Commended Scholar, Honor Roll

Fast food job since August 2019
Intern at clinical psych office August 2019 to June 2020
Town ambulance corp volunteer EMT since March 2019
Independent psych research since sophomore year
Co-founded an awareness board club for a specific underrepresented religion and personally create flyers, have food drives, clothing drives, raise money and donate it to a temple (grade 11 to present)
Co-taught a club for basic life support to underclassmen (grade 11)
Senior member of diversity club that organizes a whole day of acceptance including scheduling logistics, school wide group performances, bringing in ~30 speakers every year to create a workshop and talk abt their topic
Unicef grade 10 to grade 11, did normal unicef stuff like bake sales, events, raised ~$2000
Administrative assistant at language school/religion school, grade 9 to grade 10
In total 400+ hours of volunteering, including tutoring underprivileged kids in math, being staff at school events (teaching middle schoolers) consistently every year and summer, mentoring foster kids, church, and EMT

Essays/LORs/Other: i’m a v good writer (for high school age) i know essays will be above average. possibly a stand out, i’m not sure if i’m keeping the one about lessons learned and success in spite of personal struggle (undocumented sh*tty parents, broke af, they didn't know anything and since elementary school I had to do absolutely everything on my own) or if i’m going to put that in additional info. Letters of rec from counselor and two teachers, range from either ok or very good. I think I'm going to quickly get a LOR from my research teacher too, since I've known her since sophomore year. Also Amherst requires an arts teacher LOR for their arts supplement, so I may be able to use that but idk how good it will be.

Schools applying to:
1. Bowdoin
2. Amherst
3. Bates
4. Grinnell
5. Vassar
6. Haverford
7. Hamilton
8. Wesleyan
9. Skidmore
10. Macalester
11. Brandeis
12. Dickinson
13. Connecticut College
14. Muhlenberg

Financial aid isn't a problem especially for CSS profile schools as you'll see below lol.

Lots of reaches I know. I think I have enough safeties and matches that I won’t be screwed over.
Do I even have a chance at my reaches? It’s not like my low GPA is in a sh*tty small public school, it’s with a really stressful rigorous environment and classes.
And not 2 be cliche but my home life is pretty bad and dysfunctional, my parents are undocumented, would be divorced if they didn’t have kids, we are literally so broke everything I have is due to almost $90000 in credit card debt (yes ninety thousand). My mom used to threaten suicide every other month and threatens calling the police on either me (for what) or herself (?) and has disparaged me about everything for years. Example: My first SAT was bad so she reminded me all the time, then later told me to shut up and stop "bragging" about my ACT even though I just told her what it was. They took all of their stress out on me, I’ve had a suicide attempt and multiple crises. My counselor is mostly aware of this, I'm also going to show him my essay.
Sophomore year, which has my lowest grades (4 C's and the only time I ever got C's) my parents were either yelling at each other or me every week, threatening divorce and kicking me out for getting Bs (????). My mom is p psycho, she found out I'm gay by connecting her phone to the text messages on MY phone and spent months reading every text I ever got or sent, then berated me. She told me to get out then said she would call the police if I didn't stop packing my things. She told me all the time that I wouldn't even get into community college. When I was in elementary school she would keep everyone up until 3am bc she wouldn't stop screaming at my dad. When I was around 7, she got super drunk once, screamed at me she was dying, going to kill herself, and that it was my fault while I cried.
In general, you get my point that that's the kind of person she is.
I didn't even know what our income was until this October bc my parents are so obsessed with looking rich, they have no money but max out all their credit cards. I could have applied to Questbridge, fly in programs for first gen and low income, and other things that could have actually helped me so much. This sounds like a lot of complaining ofc but I'm going to actually be positive in 80% of my essay.

Submitting an art portfolio, been drawing since i was 9, pretty good, got into studio art class that requires pre approval of talent.
Went to language and religion school from 3 yrs old to 14 yrs old. Got 98% on the language national certification exam and diploma.
CPR/BLS certified.
Can use Adobe photoshop and illustrator
Played softball for 10 yrs, quit freshman year bc of knee surgery, then bone fractures and chronic weak bone density. This could be a personal challenge topic, bc I was super dejected for months and then I put time into my new ECs and personal growth like art, writing, biking.

Also all my worst grades are in stem classes, I have all A's and A-'s in humanities. Since I'm going to be a humanities major, do I have a better chance? My top choices are Bowdoin and Bates - Bates cares much more about first gen and demonstrated interested, while Bowdoin only considers first gen and doesn't consider interest so would ED2 be better for Bates? I would be fine with applying ED to either school.
I'm really just stressed about how bad my GPA is and if anyone may have any experience with schools considering everything else.
31 replies
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Replies to: Chance a senior for top and mid-ranked LACs please!

  • PublisherPublisher 8750 replies100 threads Senior Member
    edited November 12
    Overall, you are a very strong applicant.

    Bowdoin & Amherst are tough for every applicant.

    I think that you will do well at Vassar College.

    Have you considered Smith College ? Bryn Mawr ?
    edited November 12
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  • HippobirdyHippobirdy 469 replies1 threads Member
    Are you a US citizen or permanent resident or do you have DACA status?
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  • merc81merc81 10590 replies164 threads Senior Member
    If you peruse the Common Data Sets for these schools, you'll note that Haverford, in particular, seems to select heavily based on class standing (and, by inference, GPA). Among your highly selective choices, Bates, Vassar and Wesleyan appear to be more accommodating with respect to GPA.
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  • extremelystressedextremelystressed 14 replies1 threads Junior Member
    The list here is my final list. Thank you for responding!
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  • extremelystressedextremelystressed 14 replies1 threads Junior Member
    I'm a US citizen, born here.
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  • extremelystressedextremelystressed 14 replies1 threads Junior Member
    School doesn't rank but that's probably a RIP anyway then. Thank you!
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  • circuitridercircuitrider 3406 replies170 threads Senior Member
    edited November 12
    You may want to take a look at colleges that favor students from the northeast:

    hamilton - 68%

    bates - 64%

    edited November 12
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  • merc81merc81 10590 replies164 threads Senior Member
    edited November 12
    So that you know, your original post was read with care, and with an appreciation for your passion and turbulent circumstances. This, as you'd understand, makes it challenging to offer succinct advice. Nonetheless, your best approach seems to be the one you have pursued. By putting your effort into college selection and your associated applications, you will have a good chance at the best possible direction for yourself at this time.
    edited November 12
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  • extremelystressedextremelystressed 14 replies1 threads Junior Member
  • extremelystressedextremelystressed 14 replies1 threads Junior Member
  • circuitridercircuitrider 3406 replies170 threads Senior Member
    You're welcome!
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  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 6915 replies60 threads Senior Member
    Conn Coll & Muhlenberg look likely, but imo not safeties, as they are not need-blind for admissions, and apparently you will need full financial aid.

    Where are you in your class? I know your school doesn't rank, but I have yet to met the student who doesn't know whether they are in the top group of their class. At a guess, are you in the top 10%? 25? 50%? If a 3.3 UW puts you near the top of your class that will make a *very* big difference in how you are evaluated.

    If not, imo, a female with a 3.3 UW GPA (even with a super ACT) is not going to find Vassar (or Wes; not sure about Bates) as easy an option as suggested above.

    As you finish your apps make sure to pull your ECs together- you have an awful lot but as presented it seems like a hodge-podge of random things. Pull them into an order that reflects their relative importance, and helps the AO make sense of what you do and how it fits with your overall profile.
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  • joecollege44joecollege44 178 replies13 threads Junior Member
    you are a strong applicant, and you will do well wherever. If you don't have a real preference for the true reaches on your list (Amherst, Bowdoin, Haverford, IMO) then I would not use up your ED boost on those, where your GPA might be a dealbreaker. I also wouldn't use it on Dickinson or Conn College or Skidmore, since I think you can get into those RD (not a guarantee, though), unless you are sure one of those is your favorite. I think Bates and Vassar would be the places where applying ED would have a decent shot at pushing you in. By the way I also think Grinnell and Macalaster are likely to accept you, since your Northeast geography adds some diversity.
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  • thumper1thumper1 75458 replies3308 threads Senior Member
    How much less than $50,000 is your family income? If near that, your family contribution will likely not be $0. How much can and will your parents pay?

    You have lots of colleges that meet full need in your list...but this does not make them auto admits for you. What is your true safety? One where you are absolutely sure you will be admitted, AND where the cost to attend will be affordable for you?
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  • MWolfMWolf 1787 replies11 threads Senior Member
    A question - what classes did you take that didn't count for GPA?
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  • extremelystressedextremelystressed 14 replies1 threads Junior Member
    @collegemom3717 I honestly don't know, our counselors give 0 indication as part of some stress-relieving thing. We don't know who would be valedictorian and so on either, we don't even have one at the end of the year. Everyone's unsure which leads to everyone also lying lol. If someone says they got an A- in a class it makes sense to think they actually got a B+ or B bc everyone is nervous abt looking dumb.

    Muhlenberg is 100% a safety as they've accepted every single person from my school who's ever applied (even kids with 2.5s). I hope I won't be crying in March after saying this if I turn out to be the single exception in 15 yrs lol.

    ty for your advice!
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  • extremelystressedextremelystressed 14 replies1 threads Junior Member
    @joecollege44 That's pretty much what I was thinking. Amherst and Bowdoin are my favorites, but I don't think ED2 would boost me at all. If I don't get in RD I probably wouldn't have ED either.

    I really like Vassar but it's a little too close for me to feel comfortable. I'm going to go with ED2 to Bates because it's still a school I'd love to go to and I might just get in if my essays are good enough.

    Also I've either visited and interviewed at all of these schools or only did an off campus interview with schools I couldn't visit. I have showed interest and had good conversations everywhere, so I kind of don't want to use ED on a midwest school in case they really want more northeast kids and I make their cut.

    ty for your advice!
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  • extremelystressedextremelystressed 14 replies1 threads Junior Member
    @thumper1 like $45k. fafsa report said i'd prob get a pell grant of $4.2k.

    every net price calc for schools says the expected cost per year is ~$8k. My parents said theyd worry abt it later lol i have no idea what they would actually pay out of pocket. If I got into one of these schools, even for $10k a year I think I'd literally work my ass off at multiple jobs to pay that and loans off.

    Muhlenberg is 100% admit rate in the last 15 years for kids from my school even with 2.5 gpas, and I'm sure I'd get good aid and they have great scholarships I'd qualify for.

    ty for responding
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  • extremelystressedextremelystressed 14 replies1 threads Junior Member
    @MWolf non-academic electives. i.e. photography, architecture, journalism, etc. the electives that do count are in various science subjects.
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  • hviewerhviewer 48 replies3 threads Junior Member
    Being from the NE (especially NY and MA) is a big disadvantage at the NE LACs. I think it's very unlikely you'll get into Bowdoin and Amherst, even with ED. (My D with 102 GPA and 1560 was waitlisted at both LY). Other schools will be tough too because of your GPA, but perhaps if you show a lot of interest in Bates and Hamilton you may get in. I would say Dickinson and Muhlenberg are likely, but I have no idea if they'll give you the aid you need. Skidmore is probably a no - they're very sensitive to need - two highly qualified students I know were rejected LY because they required a lot of FA, yet two less qualified full-pay students got in. Good luck!
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