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Chance Please! Yale SCEA.

SmtyWrbgrmnjnsnSmtyWrbgrmnjnsn Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
edited August 19 in Yale University
Hi! This is my first post on CC and I just wanted to get a general feel of what I should improve/focus on the most as the admission season kicks off. All criticism is welcome, and even applying this to the general admissions climate of the Ivies would be awesome!

Possible Major: Yale's Ethics/Economics/&Politics
Race: Asian
Gender: Male
State: FL
Income: 100k-150k
Applying Financial Aid: N
School: Private/Co-Ed/College Prep
ACT: C: 33 E: 35 M: 34 R: 33 S: 31 W: 11 (I didn't really have too much time to study/retake standardized tests because in the beginning of my junior year, my mother was diagnosed with late stage breast cancer, and I had to juggle school with an already heavy plate, but I'm not really sure how to explain that without making it sound like a pity/sob story)
SAT II: Math I: 740, US History: 710 (I know, yikes! Should I submit these? I'll be retaking them soon.)
AP Exams:
Sophomore Year: AP Music Theory (3), AP European History (4)
Junior Year: AP Macroeconomics (5), AP Microeconomics (4), AP US History (5)
Senior Year Courseload: AP Stats, AP Lang, AP Comp. Gov, AP US Gov, AP Comp Principles, AP Psych.
GPA: 4.00 Unweighted
Class Rank: School does not rank, but I believe the Top quintile (20%)
Honors/Awards: National Honor Society, 2017 West Point Leadership Award, AP Scholar, School's High Ranking Scholar Awards, Headmaster's List
Recommendations: One is from my Economics Teacher, who has known me for 6 years, and another is from my English Teacher. I hope they'll be good! My debate coach also wants to send in an extra if he can, and if I need another rec, I plan on asking my an Emeritus Trustee for a great state school.
Essays: I have a few ideas, I think they'll be good!
I helped write the Topic Education paper for the Cross Examination Debate Association with my coach (PhD), which was on critical race theory.


Co-Founder/CEO of a conservative political organization that strives to tie together a polarized America by promoting intellectual diversity.
- 10k followers on Instagram
- Pending Endorsement from the Republican Congressional Committee
- Endorsements from many Senators, Congressmen/women, and other notable figures/public figures
- Has a website of 60+ staff writers that contribute Op-Eds
- Partnered with a local Congressman at an initiative to better the lives of Veterans.

Intern for local Republican Party

Chairman of local chapter of Teenage Republicans
- Attended National Conference representing chapter

Social Media Director for a fairly notable NGO/Think Tank that works with North Korean defectors and promotes democracy, human rights, and other basic freedoms in North Korea via radio from South Korea.

Boy Scouts
- Current Junior Assistant Scoutmaster
- Eagle Scout, (2016)
- Eagle Scout Bronze Palm (2017)
- Started from Tiger Cub (2006)
- Interpreter/Mandarin
- Arrow of Light Recipient, Highest Ranking Honor to a Webelos Scout
- Senior Patrol Leader, Highest Senior Leadership Position in Boy Scout Troop
- Troop Guide
- Patrol Leader
- Troop Bugler
- Quartermaster
- Den Chief, Training Cub Scouts for transition into Boy Scouting
- National “Buckskin/NYLT” Leadership Training Certified
- 2015 Unit of Excellence Award
- 2015 National Camping Award
- United States Military Academy Corps of Cadets Congratulatory Letter
- U.S. Army Youth Certificate of Recognition
- Scouting CPR Certified

- Co-Captain of a National Caliber Policy Debate Team
- National Speech and Debate Association Recipient of the Degree of Special Distinction
- Harvard Forensics Invitational Semifinalist & Octofinalist (two years in a row)
- Harvard Forensics Invitational 6th Speaker
- Wake Forest Policy Invitational Semifinalist & Octofinalist (two years in a row)
- Wake Forest Policy Invitational 1st & 25th Speaker
- University of Nevada Las Vegas Desert Invitational 1st Speaker
- National Debate Coach’s Association Baker Points Ranked 27th Best in the Nation
- National Forensics League National Qualifier (Four Years in a Row)
- Attended Debate Institutes over every summer since 8th grade besides pre-senior year- Ranged from 3-7 weeks,
Georgetown, Michigan State, University of North Texas,
- Summer Counselor, School's 1 Week Debate Camp, Past 3 years
- University of Texas-Dallas Debate Recruit

- Captain of School's Fencing Team
- Captain of Epee and Foil Team when studied abroad in England
- United States Fencing Association Nationally Ranked Fencer/NAC Qualified
- 1st Place at my City's Marathon (Continuous) 2008-2012
- Ranked Fencer for the British Fencing Association
- Quarterfinalist British Public Schools Team National Championships

International Study
- Spent a term in England of my sophomore year, went to school at an Oxford/Cambridge Feeder
- Studied as a Second Year- Placed in Top Sets.
- Studied in Mollet, Spain, located right outside of Barcelona
- (Will be exchanging with) a top-ranked university affiliated school in Beijing (Spring break of senior year)

- I've worked for my parent's business
- I was in my school's Jazz Ensemble, I played the Trumpet and Piano
- I am an admission guide for my school
- I've played the piano for 13 years, I've won a few awards here and there, mostly on the district level
- I'm a 1st degree black belt in Tang Soo Do,
- I used to draw when I had the chance, and most pieces I submitted would win 1st place ribbons at the state fair
- I was an intern at my local Cancer Center, which ranks very high in the nation, shadowing a doctor in Oncology
- I'm a choir pianist for my church
- I am a person that is very grateful, and I am very thankful to you if you read everything!

I have lurked on a few threads and I realize that these "Chancings" hold little to no weight, but I just wanted to get feedback from others that have more experience than me in the admissions field!
Thank you so much for evaluating me!

Replies to: Chance Please! Yale SCEA.

  • gibbygibby Registered User Posts: 10,157 Senior Member
    edited August 19
    Here's what I think is your best shot at Yale and any other college you are thinking of applying to:
    - Captain of School's Fencing Team
    - Captain of Epee and Foil Team when studied abroad in England
    - United States Fencing Association Nationally Ranked Fencer/NAC Qualified
    - 1st Place at my City's Marathon (Continuous) 2008-2012
    - Ranked Fencer for the British Fencing Association
    - Quarterfinalist British Public Schools Team National Championships

    Unlike "ball" sports, fencing is NOT given many recruiting slots, so fencing coaches are always looking for potential walk-ons they can recommend to Admissions. Have you contacted Yale's fencing team coaches and made them aware of your application? Have you done the same with any other college you are applying to that has a fencing team?

    Yale Fencing Coaches: http://www.yalebulldogs.com/sports/m-fenc/coaches/index
    Princeton Fencing Coaches: http://www.goprincetontigers.com/coaches.aspx?path=mfence
    Harvard: Fencing Coaches: http://www.gocrimson.com/sports/mfencing/coaches/index
    Brown Fencing Coaches: http://www.brownbears.com/sports/c-fence/coaches/index
    UPenn Fencing Coaches: http://www.pennathletics.com/page/staff-directory
    Columbia Fencing Coaches: http://www.gocolumbialions.com/SportSelect.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=9600&SPID=4049&SPSID=45281
    Cornell Fencing Coaches: http://cornellbigred.com/coaches.aspx?path=fencing
  • BKSquaredBKSquared Registered User Posts: 455 Member
    ACT score puts you in running. However, I would make one more push to make 34+. It sounds like you got a 33 under suboptimal conditions. A 33 is probably just under the overall average.

    Subject tests are decent enough that they shouldn't hurt you. Up to you if spending time to study for them is worth it. If you are going to allocate time to test prep, I'd spend the time on the ACT before the SAT II's.

    UW GPA is fine, of course, but I noticed you did not list AP scores/courses in the core areas of English/Lit; the Sciences; and Math other than AP Lang for senior year. What did you take for English Jr year? I do not see AP Calc, Bio, Physics or Chem. What level courses did you take in those subject areas (Stats is not equivalent to Calc)? Did you not list them because you did not take the exam, scored a sub 4 or did you not take those classes at the AP level? You also did not list any foreign languages. If your school offers AP courses in those areas and foreign languages, and you did not take them, it will hurt your application (probably quite a bit) as course rigor is critical in the evaluations. Did you put yourself only in the top 20% percent because on a weighted basis you fall behind quite a few students in your class? Some relevant quotes from the Admissions website:

    "Academic Ability

    Yale is above all an academic institution. This means academic strength is our first consideration in evaluating any candidate. The single most important document in your application is your high school transcript, which tells us a great deal about your academic drive and performance over time. We look for students who have consistently taken a broad range of challenging courses in high school and done well. Your high school teachers can provide extremely helpful information in their evaluations. Not only do they discuss your performance in their particular class or classes, but often they write about such things as your intellectual curiosity, energy, relationships with classmates, and impact on the classroom environment. Obviously it is important to ask for recommendations from teachers who know you well."


    Yale does not have any specific entrance requirements (for example, there is no foreign language requirement for admission to Yale). But we do look for students who have taken a balanced set of the rigorous classes available to them. Generally speaking, you should try to take courses each year in English, science, math, the social sciences, and foreign language."

    "Ask Yourself These Questions

    When weighing your course selection for the upcoming year, here are a few things to consider:
    •Are my courses among the more rigorous ones available to me at my school?
    •Am I seeking challenge or avoiding it?
    •Overall, is my four-year high school program among the most challenging programs available at my school?"

    I believe the above is applicable to all highly selective colleges.

    EC's on their face look strong. I'd push the fencing angle. I went on the Yale Fencing page and was pleasantly surprised to see that Coach Haratunian was still there (I took fencing as an elective class and a good friend of mine was on the national championship team in 1982). There is a recruiting questionnaire that you can fill out as well as contacting the coach directly. If he doesn't have official recruiting spots, I would think he has some pull with Admissions. @sherpa will have more insights on the fencing recruiting process for Ivies.

    Essays and LoR's will also be critical. Do they, along with your EC's, paint a picture of a student “Who is likely to make the most of Yale’s resources?” and “Who will contribute most significantly to the Yale community?”

  • sherpasherpa Registered User Posts: 4,038 Senior Member
    Fencing might be your golden ticket to an elite college, depending on your skill level. If you're currently on the USFA Junior or Senior rolling point list, you'll certainly be recruitable at some very fine colleges. Even a Cadet ranking will help at some schools.

    What's your current rank? Best national result?

    In addition to the Ivy League coaches @gibby linked above, coaches at many other elite schools might offer you admissions support. Stanford, Duke, Haverford, Vassar, Brandeis, Johns Hopkins immediately come to mind and I'm sure I'm missing a few. (Note: Cornell only has a women's team.)

    After all, the Ivy League is just an athletic conference, albeit the strongest fencing conference in America, and there's no reason to limit oneself to one athletic conference.

    As a parent of two NCAA fencers (Princeton, Duke), I understand the process. Feel free to ask any specific questions you might have. Good luck!
  • YaleGradandDadYaleGradandDad Registered User Posts: 1,038 Senior Member
    Don't know much about fencing but I do know Scouting. Don't bog down your resume/EC list with all that fluff (Arrow of Light? Earned at age 11? Really?), Eagle Scout with Bronze Palm is all you need. Most AOs know what Eagle Scout means and the palm says you went above and beyond without quitting as soon as you attained that rank. I would be more interested in a one line description of your Eagle service project than the fact you were a Bugler.

    Agree with BKSquared's comments about course rigor. Even successful prospective humanities majors to Yale usually take calculus and AP science classes if available at their school (presumably true for you in a private college prep program). If a 4.0 UW GPA only puts you in the top 20%, there must be many kids with more weighted classes that you did not take. I'm also a bit surprised that you got more 3's and 4's than 5's on your AP tests to date while maintaining a 4.0 GPA. Talk with your guidance counselor the pros/cons of self reporting those scores. Good luck on the process and though new to this site, I hope you find it helpful.
  • SmtyWrbgrmnjnsnSmtyWrbgrmnjnsn Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
    edited August 19
    @gibby Thank you so much for your response! I have yet to contact any fencing coaches at these universities because I thought fencing would be more of a minor activity considering that I haven't had the time and resources to compete intensively on the National Circuit. I will now definitely reach out to see if I can have a shot for them to put in a good word for me at the admissions office!
  • SmtyWrbgrmnjnsnSmtyWrbgrmnjnsn Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
    @BKSquared Thank you so much for your response! I should've attached a more descriptive list of my courseloads, which was careless on my part.

    For English, we aren't permitted to take AP courses until our senior year, thus my transcript is just reported as English IX, X, & XI until this year.

    My classload for every year prior is below:

    English IX
    Honors Geometry
    Honors Physics & Engineering
    Honors Latin II (Had 3 years of Latin in 6-8th grade including Honors Latin I)
    World Religions I
    Physical Education/Health
    Freshman Seminar

    English X
    AP Music Theory
    Algebra II
    Honors Latin III
    Fundamentals of Business
    World Religions II

    AP Microeconomics
    AP Macroeonomics
    Honors Chemistry
    AP US History
    English XI

    AP Statistics
    AP English Language
    AP US Gov
    AP Comp. Gov
    AP Psych.
    AP Computer Principles

    For my language, I was offered a spot in AP Latin my junior year because I was the "highest ranking scholar" in my class and Summa Cum Laude on the National Latin Exam prior, but due to my family's situation I had to give it up to free time elsewhere. How much would this hurt me? I genuinely have a really strong passion for Latin and I want to continue pursuing it well beyond high school, but I was just caught up in the bad timing.

    For the top 20%, this is based on weighted and unweighted GPA's coming from our college counselors, as officially, our school is on an unweighted scale, and sends an unweighted grade point average to all colleges. Though my AP scores were not as high as I wanted them to be, I was able to maintain A's in every course I have taken to date.

    I do understand that my transcript might be a bit lighter than those competing with me, especially leaning towards STEM, which is why I do want to get a very strong recommendation from my counselors, and my teachers, (both of whom knew about my situation), to put me in the right context. Is there a way I can explain to the admissions office that though my classes may not be as rigorous as some of my competitors', it's not because I'm lazy? How should I explain that I would often times miss Fridays, the weekends, and Mondays for National debate tournaments almost every single week/every other week during the school year, which warrants for my inability to have as much study time as my peers?

  • SmtyWrbgrmnjnsnSmtyWrbgrmnjnsn Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
    Hi @sherpa ! Thank you so much for your response, much appreciated! The thing about fencing for me, is I don't think I'm at the Caliber that colleges like Yale would necessary deem "recruit-worthy". I started very young (age 8), and attended many tournaments (TONS of SYC's like Virginia Beach and Capitol Clash) but throughout high school, I never really had the time and resources (my parents did not have the time to travel with me anymore) to go to any more big tournaments, thus I pretty much hit the brakes in Y14/16 with an E rating because Florida local tournaments don't exactly have the best opportunities to rank up. I did, however, have the freedom of joining the fencing team when I studied abroad in England, as the school had the resources to send me to various competitions there. Though my USFA rating is far from impressive, I was able to gain a C in England, and become appointed as the captain of their Epee and Foil A Teams from day one. It's definitely far from your children, whom definitely both dominate in D1 schools, but would it still be worth it to reach out to these coaches, or would I just seem like a joke trying to find a spot on their team/sway admissions in any way?

    P.S. there are very little results that I can really talk about for National Competitions, as the ones in the US are either local/regional tournaments, or Youth Circuits from when I was younger, which I don't think getting 3rd or 4th in Y10/12 is very impressive amongst these coaches. The only real accomplishments I can talk about are those in England, because I actually had the opportunity to attend British NAC equivalent tournaments and do fairly well.
  • SmtyWrbgrmnjnsnSmtyWrbgrmnjnsn Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
    @YaleGradandDad Thank you so much for your input! I'm sorry to bog down my EC's with the fluff as I just copied and pasted from my resume. Do you think I should really hammer down on Scouting, or do you think there's something else I should focus on with Scouting to strengthen my application?

    I'm really curious what people thought about my involvement in politics, and if that would benefit me in any way for admissions. I put it at the top because it's something I'm involved fairly deeply in and I just wanted to also get some input on how that looks on an application. I know politics and religion are touchy subjects at dinner parties, but I assumed this would be a bit different. How should I shape my application around this?
  • sherpasherpa Registered User Posts: 4,038 Senior Member
    ...would it still be worth it to reach out to these coaches, or would I just seem like a joke trying to find a spot on their team/sway admissions in any way?
    Definitely reach out to them, but don't expect any more than a "thank you for your interest, sorry but I can't help you, if you're accepted you'd be welcome to come try out for the team" type of response.
  • BKSquaredBKSquared Registered User Posts: 455 Member
    Rigor is relative to your opportunity at your school. Yale (or any highly selectives) will make their own judgment on rigor, maybe with or without input from your GC. Your GC report will also add color to this. My own personal bias is that putting up "excuses" (especially from the applicant) is the wrong way to go. I do think having a GC and teachers talk about commitment (time and energy) and achievement in certain EC's or specialized areas of study is a better way to go.

    I had not specifically commented on your politics EC's. They do clearly tie to your emphasis on the social sciences in your course load. On their face, they look interesting. The question will be your ability to convey to the AO that this was done at a high level of commitment, accomplishment and leadership. As I have commented elsewhere, and as most seasoned posters will also advise, the quality of participation in the EC is way more important than the subject of the EC. EC's are used to paint a fuller portrait of who you are beyond the numbers. Putting aside national awards and recognition which I put into a different category, they give indications of intangible qualities of the student in the holistic assessment. The questions on your fencing arise because recruited athletes enjoy a special advantage over general applicants since coaches may get designated quota's of students, which while the AO has to approve (really works more like a veto than an approval), the coach gets a very strong say.

    My final comment is make sure you have a good list of safety, matches and reaches. Yale is a reach for just about anyone. I wouldn't discourage you from applying SCEA, but it will prevent you from applying EA to other schools where you may have a higher probability of getting in (and thereby cutting back on applications to other schools that you rank below it). You can of course apply early to universities with rolling admissions and public universities that do not require binding admissions. Applying RD will also let you submit your first semester transcript which will hopefully show all A's in all AP courses (although I have to say, taking AP Stats and not AP Calc kind of stands out in not a good way).

    Best of luck.
  • IxnayBobIxnayBob Registered User Posts: 4,107 Senior Member
    The @SmtyWrbgrmnjnsn , a couple thoughts:

    Why not apply for FA? Are your family assets in line with the stated income? If so, you would probably get some FA. Yale is need blind; applying for FA will not hurt your chances.

    Will your GC be able to say that you took a most rigorous course load? I don't know your school, but I would think not. The GC might elaborate on your special circumstances. That's for the GC to do, imo, not you.
  • chunkyglasseschunkyglasses Registered User Posts: 7 New Member
    This is very unrelated but which school are you going to be doing an exchange in? Chinese student from one of "top-ranked university affiliated schools in Beijing" here
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