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Chance me for T20s

7mehga7mehga 11 replies1 threads New Member
I got bad grades first semester of junior year and don’t really know where I stand. Brutal honesty is appreciated.

Demographics: South Asian, Female, CA. No legacy. Go to a big public high school (around 3000 kids)

Intended major: Not completely sure yet. Interested in econ, data science, CS, Product Design

Weighted GPA: 4.3

Unweighted GPA: around 3.7

GPA fell a lot after the first semester of junior year. Got 4 B’s cause of some unfortunate circumstances like my grandpa dying. Hoping it goes up after this semester.

Coursework: AP World (5), AP Calc AB (5), AP Pysch (self-studied, 4) Taking AP Chem, AP Physics 1, AP Calc BC and self-studying AP Environmental Science this year. Probably taking AP Econ, AP Lit, AP stats next year.

Rank: School doesn’t rank.

ACT: 34 (35 super-score). Breakdown (35 E, 32M, 36R, 33S). Might retake one more time in April.

Subject tests: haven't taken any yet. Planning on taking chem and math 2. Maybe physics.


1. Founded an international nonprofit that teaches coding.

2. Speech and debate: VP (helped start an elementary school coaching program and ran tournaments.) Have been debating since freshman year.

3. Founded an intiative to teach social entrepreneurship.

4. Blogger: Really into graphic design. I post some of my app redesigns and write about my experiences.

5. Members of a nonprofit - I mentor kids who are looking to hold tech events. Help with design and do outreach.

6. WAVE advisee: basically get mentored by tech professionals and am currently working on a project with my advisor.

7. LaunchX: Attended (selective summer program around 15% acceptance rate). I currently am an intern.

8. Ambassador: ambassador for an organization. I organize and promote events, as well as, help create videos for their youtube channel.

9. Entrepreneurship club: I founded a club to teach kids in my high school about business and entrepreneurship. Currently planning on hosting a camp for middle schoolers to take part in.

10. Kiva: founded a club on campus to teach students about micro-lending.

11. Tennis: played JV tennis for two years. Had to stop because of a pretty serious knee condition,

currently 250 hours of community service


a couple of local debate tournament awards.

Presidential Gold service award


English: should be very good (9/10), has written many recs for me before.

Math: also probably very good. (8.5/10) Very close to the teacher.

Schools: Claremont McKenna, University of Michigan, UCLA, UC Berkeley, UCSD, Northwestern, Swarthmore, USC, Georgetown, Amherst, Wellesley, Barnard

Thank you so much
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Replies to: Chance me for T20s

  • aquaptaquapt 2282 replies47 threads Senior Member
    Sorry about your grandfather and your difficult semester.

    You're obviously an excellent student with a lot of strengths. An off semester obviously isn't going to help, but the way the year ends will be more important than how it began. If you do well in the spring and do well on the AP tests, those B's will hurt a lot less than if the trend continues. Of course you know this. Make sure your guidance counselor understands *now* what's been going on with you; you don't want to be having a conversation in the fall like, "Hey, can I tell you now what to say in your recommendation about that little grade dip I had a year ago?"

    When you described your interests and then got to your college list, I was surprised to see so few schools with a real design piece to their programs. You sound like that's important to you. I can definitely imagine you in UCSD's Cognitive Science major, because there is a *ton* of CS+Design overlap there. This seems like potentially the best-fit UC for your interests; I expected to see other schools with similar programs on your list.

    Northeastern, for example, has a CS+Design combined major that would be right up your alley https://www.khoury.northeastern.edu/program/bs-computer-sciencedesign/ and they also have a very cool student-led design studio https://web.northeastern.edu/scout/ Are you NMSF? (NEU has pretty big auto-merit for that.)

    CMU IDeATe might appeal https://ideate.cmu.edu/undergraduate-programs/index.html - getting in as a CS major is very difficult, but the IDeATe minors are open to other majors as well, like Decision Science which overlaps with the business/econ realm, and CogSci which is very computational at CMU.

    In the northeast LAC vein, Vassar has the oldest freestanding CogSci department, and while it's not as design-y as UCSD's, it does offer coursework in analysis and modeling that dovetails with econ, so that might be interesting.

    U of Oregon would be a safety school for you but they have a great product design program https://artdesign.uoregon.edu/pd/undergraduate , and UO makes it quite easy to access a variety of coursework including CS classes even if that isn't your major, which is increasingly not the case at many schools. Another safety with great CS and design, and a really nice honors program (where a focus is Praxis Labs that focus on social entrepreneurship), is U of Utah. http://design.cap.utah.edu/programs/

    Cornell's DEA major in the School of Human Ecology is yet a different take https://www.human.cornell.edu/dea

    There are also some very interesting CS-adjacent design options at UW-Seattle:

    Since you like Wellesley, you might consider their crossover programs with Olin - either the engineering certificate or the 4+1 dual degree. The design focus of Olin's program seems like something you might like; in fact, applying directly to Olin (where you'd have cross-reg privileges at Wellesley and also Babson, which is one of the most entrepreneurial business programs) could be worth considering too.

    I assume it's the econ that's attracting you to CMC. The 5C's have "The Hive" which is slowly building up its offerings in design. (My 5C's kid is taking a graphic design class this upcoming semester - I believe it's the first time this has been offered.) I wouldn't say the interdisciplinary CS+Design stuff is as strong here as at some other schools, and it can be tough to get into CS classes as a non-major.

    Lehigh could be one more to look at. They have strength in design https://aad.lehigh.edu/design , computer science, *and* econ/business/entrepreneurship, and they encourage interdisciplinary study. Plus, Asians are underrepresented there so you'd get a URM bump.

    Lastly, an often-overlooked but top-notch CS/Design/Business-Entrepreneurship program is UNL's Raikes School https://raikes.unl.edu/ It's very selective and very innovative.

    Anyway, I realize I'm not "chancing" you - I don't think anyone really can other than to say few outcomes have been rendered impossible at this point. But if you can get excited about some possibilities across the range of competitiveness, then you can build a list with reaches, matches, and safeties, all of which you can love. That's the wise way to go about the process, even for people with flawless stats.
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  • theloniusmonktheloniusmonk 2638 replies5 threads Senior Member
    If you decide on CS, being a female CS applicant will help you, since you're a strong applicant to begin with. Places like Stanford, CMU, Berkeley don't the hide the fact they want to attract more female students into CS and engineering. This doesn't mean that you'll get into all those places of course, but don't overlook that. I'm not sure though that would help for some of the LACs you're applying to.

    UCB, UCLA - students with your profile typically get into one but not both, so check with your GC which of them your high school does well with wrt admissions. The 3.7 is a little worrisome, so explain it in the more info section, but don't complain or place blame. Take ownership and say you learned from it.

    UM OOS, USC, Northwestern, Georgetown - I think you have pretty reasonable chances at these schools, NU RD has gotten really selective though.

    Also for Georgetown, you'll need a third subject test, I'd take math 2, chem and maybe the English Lit one, since you seem strong in that area.

    The LACs on your list are probably going to be the the toughest for you.

    Good luck!
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  • 7mehga7mehga 11 replies1 threads New Member
    @aquapt thank you so much for all of the information! All of those programs look amazing and I will definitely do more research on them

    @theloniusmonk Thanks for the detailed answer! I am also pretty worried about the 3.7. Hopefully I can bring it up a little with this last semester.
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