People Tell Me I Have No Chance-I Hope They're Wrong

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Discus: College Search and Selection: August 2004 Archive: People Tell Me I Have No Chance-I Hope They're Wrong
By Catalinaword (Catalinaword) on Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 05:27 pm: Edit

Hi, I have posted on here quite a bit, but I am starting to narrow down schools and see which ones are realistic and a good fit. Please only post constructive comments, no mean stuff. Thanks

just some background:

Go to a good private catholic school (on scholarship), single-income home, move a lot (mom is in the military, transferred junior year), Female, African-American


SAT: 1220
SAT II: haven't taken yet
EC's: Tennis, Basketball (off-season too)-Most Improved Player Award, Track and Field, Swimming, Theatre & Drama, Tech Assistant, Orchestra-1st Clarinet (5 yrs), Media Arts Club, Published poetry, awards as well (nominated by english teacher then published) Literary Magazine, Japanese Club, Private lessons in Japanese, College Course in Japanese Language and Custom (I've always been pretty focused on wanting to do something in Asian Studies or International Relations in Japan), volunteer at the Food bank, and Native American Preservation Group, one summer internship in Nigeria volunteering at a hospital, Columbia University-Global Politics, volunteeered at the District Attorney's office all summer...some other smaller projects

Super Reaches:

George Washington University
UCLA-in state

Pennsylvania State University
Fordham University (never visted)


Please tell me if this is an okay list, or if its completely unrealistic, if you have any other schools please post...also any questions please ask

By Arthurd (Arthurd) on Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 05:30 pm: Edit

I'd say your matches are matches and your reaches are reaches... not sure if by CSU you mean Chicago State or California State or what, but you could probably use one other safety and maybe one less reach. Your list looks fine to me though.

By Catalinaword (Catalinaword) on Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 05:32 pm: Edit

Oh its Cal State...probably CSU Monterey Bay since I'm interested in marine life as well

By Arthurd (Arthurd) on Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 05:33 pm: Edit

I'd say go for it.

By Sbhopeful (Sbhopeful) on Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 05:40 pm: Edit

I think your major selling point are your EC's! They seem VERY strong, and if you can pitch to the Adcoms that you're dedicated to them (definately incorporate the Nigeria Hospital internship in your essay if you can!!), then you should be fine on your matches. Bump up your SAT's a tad, and do moderately well on your II's (670-700+ range if possible), and you'd have a good shot at GWU, but UCLA may require more of an SAT boost (they are more numbers driven and my gloss over your fabulous EC's).

Georgetown may be a bit more difficult (as they are well known for their IR program). Personally, I don't know enough about Vassar to comment.

You seem very capable and passionate about IR and government in general. Pitch that, and you definately have a shot.

By Catalinaword (Catalinaword) on Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 05:45 pm: Edit

Thank you so much Sb...the internship at the Nigerian hospital is the central focus of my essay because it really changed my life (sounds corny but it did). I am retaking my SAT and I'm really hoping to go to UCLA, Georgetown has just been a dream forever but I would be very happy at any of the schools on the list.

By Flopsy (Flopsy) on Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 05:53 pm: Edit

Yeah, I'd say UCLA and Georgetown are reaches...

By Alphamom (Alphamom) on Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 07:15 pm: Edit

Pomona might be interesting for you. Worth visiting and interviewing I think before you apply.

By Davidrune (Davidrune) on Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 07:21 pm: Edit

What state did you go to? Lagos, Oyo or was it Abuja? I used to live in Oyo state.

By 80drofnats (80drofnats) on Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 07:42 pm: Edit

UCLA is a huge, huge reach, georgetown is a semi reach, george washington is match, i know white kids with worse stats than you that got in.

By Arc (Arc) on Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 08:02 pm: Edit

tiffany....don't sell yourself short. although your SAT's and GPA aren't outstanding, your EC's can help you stand apart because you've done some good and interesting stuff. furthermore, there's your're a black female and your mother's in the military. that alone will help you quite a lot, not to mention the fact that you have moved a lot, which will also work to your advantage. i'd say don't limit yourself to even have a decent shot at some of the ivies...cornell, columbia, penn, dartmouth, etc.
good luck. let me know if i can be of more help.

By Thedad (Thedad) on Thursday, August 19, 2004 - 09:45 pm: Edit

I think your assessments are very realistic and I agree with others about your EC's being your selling points.

I'd just point out that Pepperdine is a great contrast to your other schools in social and philosophical terms.

By Catalinaword (Catalinaword) on Friday, August 20, 2004 - 10:42 am: Edit

I went to Abuja in Nigeria, I also wanted to go to Lagos but it is a lot more dangerous and didn't want to take any chances. When I visited Pepperdine, I did feel like it was a very superficial school but I'm still applying there just because I wanted another pretty good school that I may be able to get into, in California.

By Catalinaword (Catalinaword) on Friday, August 20, 2004 - 11:00 am: Edit

I also think because I'm African American and I love to study about Japanese culture and have been taking Japanese for a long time, that might add something different to my app. Thanks for your response Arc, I was thinking about applying to another super reach like Columbia maybe but thought it would be just a waste of money. I might rethink that though.

By Tlaktan (Tlaktan) on Friday, August 20, 2004 - 11:36 am: Edit

Ahh. Nihongo wa wakarimasuka?

Japanese is a very hot language, I must agree. I too am applying for Georgetown (I actually went to my counseling office today, and they got the return card back for my transcript.. Dean Gallucci signed for it [double-uhoh]..) so good luck, and godwilling, hopefully we'll see each other there.

By Calif (Calif) on Friday, August 20, 2004 - 12:04 pm: Edit

Given that you're looking at Pepperdine, you may also want to check out the University of San Diego (USD), which would be a safety for you.

By Catalinaword (Catalinaword) on Friday, August 20, 2004 - 02:11 pm: Edit

Hai, soo!, Tambien hablo un poco espanol! Anyways I really hope everything works out for you...I will look at USD, but would it really be a safety?

By Catalinaword (Catalinaword) on Friday, August 20, 2004 - 02:12 pm: Edit

Tlaktan, did you already submit your application?

By Tlaktan (Tlaktan) on Friday, August 20, 2004 - 03:44 pm: Edit

Yes, Catalina, I have already submitted P-I (Part I) of my application, along with the Transcript (if I get rejected, at least I have Dean Gallucci's autograph.. hehehe).. Part-II will be going in pretty soon. SAT scores should already be there, as well as my AP scores. :-D

Oh well.

By Catalinaword (Catalinaword) on Friday, August 20, 2004 - 04:23 pm: Edit

I assume you're applying you think its best that I send Part I now? I'm confused...please explain

By Tlaktan (Tlaktan) on Friday, August 20, 2004 - 05:12 pm: Edit

Yes, I am applying Early Action to Georgetown. It really doesn't matter when you send the EA forms, as long as you just do it. I am a early freak, if I don't do it ahead of time, I know I am going to procrastinate. Better early than late.

By Dadofsam (Dadofsam) on Friday, August 20, 2004 - 05:34 pm: Edit

Catalina: if marine biology is a strong interest, in addition to Monterey Bay, look at UC Santa Cruz.

By Catalinaword (Catalinaword) on Saturday, August 21, 2004 - 11:07 am: Edit

Thanks, I actually used to live in Monterey Bay so I know a lot about Santa Cruz. Tlaktan, what other schools are you applying to?

By Tlaktan (Tlaktan) on Saturday, August 21, 2004 - 11:34 am: Edit

I am applying to the University of Wisconsin, Madison, the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Northwestern, Notre Dame, NYU, Northeastern, American, URochester, George Washington University.. and a few others.. I feel I am forgetting a few.. UMD-CP, UCLA, UCB (I fare a bit better with the UCs..)

By Northstarmom (Northstarmom) on Saturday, August 21, 2004 - 11:47 am: Edit

Your ECs are wonderfully strong. I also suggest taking a look at American U, which might be a good safety, and also might offer you merit aid. It has a strong international relations program. One also can minor in Japanese.

Even though you haven't expressed interest in the Midwest, I suggest that you look at Macalester in Minneapolis. It's very strong in international relations, and is also where Kofi Annon graduated. It has good need-based aid.

Being African American with a demonstrated interest in Japanese and Japanese culture also will make you stand out in a good way.

You don't need more ECs. You need to when you write your college apps focus on the ECS and interests that have been most important to you. The most impressive are those having to do with international affairs.

By Catalinaword (Catalinaword) on Saturday, August 21, 2004 - 01:03 pm: Edit

thanks northstarmom...i haven't considered American U, I've received a lot of mail but still don't know much about them. I'll look into that. I've also never heard of Macalester, seems worth checking out as well.

Tlaktan, are most of those schools safeties for you?

By Tlaktan (Tlaktan) on Saturday, August 21, 2004 - 01:16 pm: Edit

Haha. Funny. U/W - Match/Safety, Mich - Match/Reach, Northwestern - Superreach, Notredame- Superreach, NYU- Match/Reach, American- Safety, NEU - Safety, URochester - Match, GWU - Match, UMD-CP, Match, UCLA - Reach, UCB - Reach.

No, they'renot safety.

By Northstarmom (Northstarmom) on Saturday, August 21, 2004 - 01:23 pm: Edit

Take a look at University of Delaware, too. I recently talked with an African American undergrad who is studying Japanese there. His interests are similar to yours, and he seems happy there. He says the Japanese department is very small and close.

I am not personally familiar with U Del, but have seen a lot of good things about it on message boards. Check out their merit aid, too, in case you qualify.

Most students, particularly African Americans, do not self study a foreign language like Japanese in their spare time. Typically students who do such study are doing it related directly to their cultures, such as when Chinese-Americans study Chinese or Jewish students study Hebrew.

That you have chosen to do this, and to do it in a language that has no direct connection with your culture, makes you extraordinary, and many colleges would appeciate this.

My guess is that your main problem with selecting a college will be finding a place out of state (if that's your preference) that will give you as good a financial deal as you may get in-state. However, the out of state colleges that offer merit-based full rides might do this.

Also take a look at UNC, Duke, Emory and Washington University of St. Louis. All offer amazing merit aid. I do not know about their courses in Japanese and international relations, but look at their sites and find out.

Some people probably will post in response and say that they are reaches for you. That's true. However, all look for students with unusual passions and interests. They all are also interested in having a diverse student body in all meanings of the word "diverse." You would have a lot to offer their campuses.

Make sure that you look at the bios on their top merit scholars, too. Usually you can find such info on the colleges' web pages. I think that your EC strengths are similar to those students'.

Since you have a scholarship to a Catholic private school, I also assume that you aren't upper middle class or wealthy. If you qualify as being low income that also would be a plus because elite colleges are trying to add more low income students.

I do think you have a chance at the Ivy, but here, I have concentrated on other top colleges because the ones I listed also offer excellent merit aid, and that can be a sweeter deal than the Ivys' need-based scholarships.

Oh- Wake Forest is another school to take a very close look at . Their top scholarships include paid summer experiences abroad. I know someone who turned down Harvard to accept one. Every summer this student has had at least one wonderful summer experience abroad courtesy of Wake Forest, a school that also is trying hard to recruit underrepresented minorities.

By Catalinaword (Catalinaword) on Saturday, August 21, 2004 - 04:35 pm: Edit

Thank you so much Northstar Mom I really appreciate all of your help. You are correct in assuming that I'm not upper middle class or wealthy at all. If I did not get the scholarship for my school I could not dream of attending there. Anyways I will check out those schools you listed and any more you can think of would be great!

Tlaktan: I like GWU too, I visited over the summer. Do you want to go the Mount Vernon campus?

By Tlaktan (Tlaktan) on Saturday, August 21, 2004 - 04:42 pm: Edit

Unfortunately, due to my awkward schedule, I cannot go visit colleges until December of this year. Bah. Humbug. That's when most visiting tours are over, but I'll live.

Yes, I do want to go to the Mount Vernon campus of GWU.

By Catalinaword (Catalinaword) on Saturday, August 21, 2004 - 06:00 pm: Edit

Yeah, I think I think I want the Mount Vernon campus as well, its a lot more like a traditional campus. Although since you're applying to NYU you're probably ok with it either way.

By Admissionsrep (Admissionsrep) on Sunday, August 22, 2004 - 11:17 am: Edit


You are really selling yourself short. I have seen students with GPA's, scores and extracurriculars, similar to yours go to Princeton, Brown and U Penn.

I have also seen some of these same students turned down by Georgetown. Georgetown reserves so many spots for Jesuit students. We have a Jesuit school in my area that routinely gets 10 students accepted at G'town, many of whom are not outstanding students.

One of my good friends use to be an admissions officer at G'town; he left in 2003. He has told me that G'town gives less weight to applying early than other schools. If this is really where you want to go, go for it, but if you think you would like a school like UPenn as much as G'town, applying early to U Penn will carry a lot more weight than applying early to G'Town.

I think you should seriously consider adding the University of Pennsylvania to your list; you get the city experience you'd get at Georgetown and students just love UPenn. If you go ED at Penn, I like your chances. Of course, I am assuming that you will have excellent references and you write a decent essay.

The fact that you are attending a very respected private Catholic school will not go unnoticed by your schools. This will give your 3.6 GPA more weight. Of course, schools will look very carefully at whether you have taken a demanding curriculum; this often makes or breaks applications to selective schools.

I would also take a great look at Wesleyan University.

Don't shortsell yourself, your lack of confidence may come through in your application and that isn't a good thing.

Best of success

By Catalinaword (Catalinaword) on Sunday, August 22, 2004 - 11:38 am: Edit

Thanks a lot for your advice Admissionsrep, I do want to go to Georgetown but I will definitely consider UPenn as well, I even know some people who go there I guess I just didn't think of it. Do you think that I might have a chance applying to Columbia early decision? Or do you know anything about the weight they give to early decision applicants? I would really appreciate it if you can think of any other schools I should apply to! Thanks

By Northstarmom (Northstarmom) on Sunday, August 22, 2004 - 12:25 pm: Edit

I do not suggest that you apply ED anywhere.
First, as an underrepresented minority with exceptionally strong ECs and solid SATs (for an African American) plus a good private school, you are in great demand by colleges, including top colleges. There is absolutely no need for you to tie up your options early by getting an ED acceptance.

You don't need the boost that ED can offer.

You also can benefit by having the variety of options that you are likely to attract. This includes various offers of excellent merit aid.

You say that money is a factor when it comes to your college education. For anyone for whom money is a factor, it's not wise to apply ED because you would not have a chance to compare offers and to potentially negotiate to get the best possible offer from your preferred university.

Assuming that your e-mail works, I will send you shortly info from a newspaper article about how much top colleges want to recruit URMs like you. When I say "like you," I am referring to your scores as well as the fact that you are African American with strong and unusual (Japanese!) ECs.

By Catalinaword (Catalinaword) on Sunday, August 22, 2004 - 12:39 pm: Edit

Thanks for the advice Northstarmom, the e-mail address in my profile should work so I'll be looking for that article!

By Catalinaword (Catalinaword) on Sunday, August 22, 2004 - 08:07 pm: Edit

admissions rep can u answer my previous post? thanks

By Catalinaword (Catalinaword) on Monday, August 23, 2004 - 02:10 pm: Edit

Northstarmom, do you think I should apply any where Early Action?

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