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Chance a Junior for T20 Engineering

popcornboy123popcornboy123 23 replies1 threads Junior Member
edited April 1 in What Are My Chances?
Demographics: Asian male, upstate NY, one of the top ranked schools in the state.

Rank: Top 5% at least, GPA: 4.0 UW 5.04/5.3 weighted (A few low As, mid As, will that hurt?)

SAT: 1570 (800 math, 770 Reading + Writing)

Subject tests: 780 Chem, 800 Math II, 800 Physics, 680 Biology (not submitting)

Major: Mechanical Engineering

APs: By the end of junior year, I will have taken 8 AP classes. I plan on taking 5 more senior year: Calc AB, Chem, Calc BC, lang, statistics, physics C: mechanics, computer science principles, gov.

AP exams all 4s and 5s so far.

Taking most rigorous courseload in school.


1. Internship at T30 university for engineering. Conducted own research project, as well as assisting professor and phD students. Presented at competitions and conferences. Published research paper in some open journals and international journals. Freshman year.

2. FIRST Robotics. All 3 years, current scouting lead. Our team made Worlds all 4 years. I designed the scouting app from scratch as well as the general website for our team. Our team won numerous awards and Chairman's as well multiple times.

3. Technology Student Assocation. President of our school chapter. We made states the past 2 years, nothing special there. Boosted membership and increased publicity for the club. Participated all 3 years.

4. Current internship at T100 school. Similar to the number 1, I'm assisting phD students as well as conducting my own research. Hopefully published in the summer. Field of AI/computer science and data analytics. Started last year, hopefully doing it until senior year.

5. Varsity track 3 years. Made states and districts, I'm not looking to get recruited. Designed the website for this team as well and one of the team captains.

6. Selective Paid Research fellowship program at T5 university. Helped develop an online platform, as well as general testing and implementation. Received a stiped and had an interview with the head of the program. This was last year.

7. Founder/President of Electrical Engineering Club. Established the club recently (about a couple months ago). Focused on empowering youths in the community about electrical engineering and particurly radios (I have a ham radio license). We use radios to communicate with people all over the area. Involved quite heavily. Also I use what I've learned from past internships/classes to educate peers.

8. Computer Solutions Club - President. We go to the school tech department to help with any hardware and software issues the tech department have with their technology. Not many members tho :(. 2 years.

9. SciOly - just a club member, nothing too special. Designed the website for the club.

10. NHS - again, just a member, performed tutoring and community service.

11. Hopefully I can get accepted into a summer program at T5 school near my area and perform research at their lab. Really hoping for this, but probably not.

12. Accepted into a program that allows me to take undergrad courses at state uni. Planning to take classes this summer if corona goes away. Taking a hard electrical engineering course taught by professor.

Awards: (MOST LACKING!!!!)

A lot of state science fair awards from military, companies, etc.

Honor roll.

National Merit Semifinalist (hopefully index of 223 is good enough for NY)

Robotics awards for our team.

Hack-a-thon award from NASA for SpaceApps Challenge.

Nothing really special like ISEF or USACO platinum or any olympiads :(

Essays: I started writing and brainstorming Commonapp essays. I'm pretty confident in my writing ability, but nothing is guaranteed. We'll see how this goes.

Schools: UCB, Princeton, Columbia, UPenn, JHU, Duke, Cornell + Pace and SUNY as safeties.

I feel like my A- and A grades are going to hurt me, as well as my lack of any national/international competitions or awards.

I know these top schools are basically a lottery, but as of right now my top choices are UCB and Cornell.

According to RogerHub, my UC GPA capped is a 4.67, UW is a 4.0, and W is a 4.67.

I don't think I'm standing out for top schools right now, so what can I do between now and senior year to strengthen my app?
edited April 1
13 replies
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Replies to: Chance a Junior for T20 Engineering

  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 9850 replies110 threads Senior Member
    You may want to revisit your list. This looks like prestige hunting vs the best engineering programs, with the exception of Cornell.

    What’s your budget?

    Would you be happy at a SUNY? What about match schools?

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  • popcornboy123popcornboy123 23 replies1 threads Junior Member
    What makes you say that? I have RIT and Syracuse University as my matches. I've done research on most of my reaches, and they are top engineering schools, with the exception of perhaps Duke or Columbia.
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 9850 replies110 threads Senior Member
    Glad to hear that you have RIT and Syracuse on your list too.

    What made you pick Syracuse? I don't usually think of them for engineering. If you like RIT, you may also want to consider Case Western.

    Here's the list of the top mech E schools for undergrad: https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges/rankings/engineering-doctorate-mechanical

    Rankings aren't everything but some of the powerhouses for engineering are the big state flagships, not the Ivies.
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  • popcornboy123popcornboy123 23 replies1 threads Junior Member
    Thank you I'm also planning on applying to Purdue and UIUC also as some of my matches.
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  • blossomblossom 10340 replies9 threads Senior Member
    Can your family afford your EFC? Run a few of the net price calculators-- today- before you fall in love with any more schools. Princeton is likely to be the most generous, Pace the least. So if you can't afford Princeton, the "need only" colleges on your list are a waste of the application fee.

    And why would you take both Calc AB and BC at the same time- does your school even allow that????

    Your profile is great. The answer is not "what you should do to make yourself more attractive to top schools". The answer is "figure out a list of schools which are going to fall in love with you just as you are and which you can afford" . Keep a few lottery ticket type colleges on the list if they are affordable, and focus on getting excited about your match schools.

    I am a huge fan of UIUC btw but Illinois residents would think you are nuts paying out of state rates when you have some fantastic SUNY options instate. I'm sure you've heard of kids who were admitted to U Texas at Austin and decided they'd rather go to U Albany "because it's close to NYC" which is sort of hilarious. Well- to a kid in Chicago, you applying to UIUC is sort of the same dynamic.

    Have you looked at Missouri M&T? Rutgers?
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  • popcornboy123popcornboy123 23 replies1 threads Junior Member
    At my school Calc AB was a prereq to calc BC. Also, I have looked into some SUNY colleges, and I am a big fan of them, particularly Stony Brook.
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  • blossomblossom 10340 replies9 threads Senior Member
    Stonybrook would be a great choice for you.
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  • popcornboy123popcornboy123 23 replies1 threads Junior Member
    However, I'm scared my low-mid As will hurt my chances. For example, I had a lot of 94s, 95s, and my lowest grade was a 92 in Calc BC. Will this hurt me?
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 82819 replies738 threads Senior Member
    Have you talked to your parents about what they will contribute, and run the colleges' net price calculators to check if they are realistically affordable?
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  • qhql2020qhql2020 51 replies11 threads Junior Member
    I cannot believe I just read this.
    I had a lot of 94s, 95s, and my lowest grade was a 92 in Calc BC. Will this hurt me?

    This is the reason why people clown CC and Reddit's ChanceMe sub. Humble bragging people who know the answer to the question.

    But in the weird case that you're not just flexing on the entire community, the answer is no. It's not going to hurt you, and you probably know that. No need to be coy about it.
    · Reply · Share
  • popcornboy123popcornboy123 23 replies1 threads Junior Member
    Firstly, I'm didn't mean to come off as humble bragging, so my apologies.

    Secondly, as you might have missed when I said my school's one of the top schools in the state, maybe even the country, so everyone here has incredibly high grades, like I mean mid-high As, so in comparison my GPA seems weaker. I know many people who have much higher grades in me, and so admissions officers might pick them over me.

    You shouldn't really be accusing me of being coy and bragging if you don't know the full background, but I apologize if you were perhaps offended.
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 9850 replies110 threads Senior Member
    You posted that you are in the top 5% of your school. Your grades can't be that much weaker but yes, you will be assessed within the context of your school.
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  • blossomblossom 10340 replies9 threads Senior Member
    OP- a little something I've learned from my friends and co-workers who have kids at prep schools/top boarding schools:

    Their college counselors know how to avoid "bunching". What does that mean? If the top 8 kids in the class are applying to Princeton, number 11 is going to get an enthusiastic recommendation for Cornell, and number 18 is going to get an enthusiastic suggestion to "check out Northwestern" and number 32 is going to be encouraged to look at Lehigh. These HS's are generally tough with high standards AND top students... and yet year after year, these students end up at one of their top choice colleges.

    Why? They are separated from each other early in the process to minimize what happens at my local HS where ALL the "smart kids" are applying to the same 12 schools. They are encouraged to fall in love with a realistic list of schools, not like at my local HS where one year it's "Stanford of bust" and the next year it's "Columbia or bust". So that the Stanford wannabee who ends up at CMU feels like its sloppy seconds (which it's not) and the Columbia Wannabee who ends up at NYU or Fordham feels like the world has come to an end.

    You can do this for yourself. Everyone at your competitive HS is in love with Brown? Take a look at Rice. Everyone is talking about MIT? Look at Michigan. Your list does not have to look like everyone else's list, especially if your fellow students are as hard-working and ambitious as you are. You are going to shine and be an outstanding candidate if you cast a wider net than your peers. If you are in the top 5% you really have nothing to worry about re: college admissions. The only possible mess up is if you choose the wrong list! Read some of the threads here- top kids, applied to ten schools, admitted nowhere. Yes, that can happen.

    But that won't be you because at least three schools on YOUR list are going to be places which would LOVE to have you!!!!

    You really can't meaningfully change your GPA right now- or suddenly become someone you are not. So focus on what's under your control- your list.
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