College choices, and chances of admission? (Strange case)

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Discus: What Are My Chances?: September 2003 Archive: College choices, and chances of admission? (Strange case)
By Benspinspace (Benspinspace) on Tuesday, September 02, 2003 - 10:28 pm: Edit

Hey guys! I've posted here before about numerous things, and it's finally time to start cracking on college applications.

I was wonder if I could have some advice, criticism, and anything else you feel like saying about my choices and list of colleges.

Quite frankly, I would be happy at one of my two safety schools, UNH. But, I would also be nearly as happy at my other safety school, UMass Amherst. Therefore, that opens up the entire rest of my college list- and my parents virtually insist that I apply to plenty of colleges- for reach schools. Please don't flame me for my selections... just offer some wisdom. I'm applying to schools vastly greater than my academic stats would suggest, and it's for fun and possible success. You guys know better than me though!

I'm only going to send my weighted GPA and rank to colleges. My weighted GPA is 4.3, and my weighted rank is third decile. However, I don't know if my weighted GPA is on the same scale as other schools. Basically my courseload is mostly honors, with a sprinkling of APs and non-honors. My grades reflect this- being mostly Bs, with a sprinkling of As and Cs. However, my Cs were really just my freshman year (excepting one in my junior year for that I feel I made up for with an A in the course at a local college).

My SAT was a 1350 (700 verbal, 650 math). I'm retaking it... I'm an idiot and my SAT was after a rather sleepless, restless night, with no studying beforehand. But still, no "expected score" guarantees there. My SAT II was 700 Math IC, 700 Writing, 650 French.

My extracurriculars are a huge part of my life. I've been acting for years, and I've had lead roles (including most recently Curly in Oklahoma). I'm the vice president of the theater program. I've been in my school band... I'm drum major. I'm also in my school's Honors Choir... I'm the president. I have arranged music for the Honors Choir as well... right now we're drawing up plans to perform it at concerts. I founded a jazz combo group at my school. I have played guitar since first grade, and piano since third. I play banjo, harmonica, and bass guitar competently as well. I compose my own music, and have been doing so for countless years, and I have many written songs. I've been on the math team since sophomore year (currently I'm going to try out to be captain). I'm also a big computer guy... my main source of income is computer work. I repair/build computers... I program on computers... I develop websites, I design and program computer games, et cetera. I've taken horse riding lessons my junior year (and will this year as well). Another activity of mine is art. I love and cherish art, and I've been drawing since as old as I could hold a pencil. I have thousands of pages of cartoons and comics that I've drawn... I've posted hundreds of cartoons online, as well. The humor lacks to the point that I'm too ashamed to post the URL, but it's still something that I poured hundreds of hours into. I'm well educated in all kinds of computer graphics programs- 2D and 3D, stillframe and animation.

I hope you don't consider this a "laundry list" of extra-curriculars... every one of these has a reason for being on there, and has important personal meaning to me.

I had some incredibly fun volunteer work with SCA... the Student Conservation Association. It was 28 days of work, 8 hours a day. That's how they even told us to work out the hours- thus, I have 224 hours of volunteer work.

I've also attended various educational summer programs. Is this a factor at ALL in college admissions? I went to Bennington College's July Program, the SCA environmental trip, DigiPen's Summer Workshop program, and UNH's SYMS (Summmer Youth Music School) program.

My work experience is mostly freelance computer work. Yet, I also have worked at a food court for a short stint during a winter, I have a job at an apple farm doing 8 hours a week, and I teach guitar.

Three special notes before my judgment:
a) My heritage is part white, part black, and part native american. I believe this qualifies me for minority consideration.

b) My father went to Yale undergrad, my sister went to Yale undergrad, and my grandfather went to Yale Law.

c) My mother, as mothers do, believes I am capable of anything. Thus, she is forcing me to apply to Harvard and Columbia. Why not- I'll do it just for kicks. Statistically I'm sure that 0% of people with my academic stats get into Harvard or Columbia. My hope for Yale is with the legacies, of course... but feel free to tell me otherwise.

My list of colleges (in the descending order of most selective acceptance rates)

Yale EA
Carnegie Mellon
UMass Amherst

So there you go. I would greatly appreciate any constructive input whatsoever. And if you really have reached the end of this... thank you for your time.

By Benspinspace (Benspinspace) on Wednesday, September 03, 2003 - 06:57 am: Edit


By Nhfrenchie (Nhfrenchie) on Wednesday, September 03, 2003 - 08:21 am: Edit


My opinion of course:

1. Your stats are pretty good. For elite colleges however, they're not in line with your competition. However, as you may have heard already, part of the selection process is a "crap" shoot...So, don't be dismayed at trying it out anyway.

2. As for the length of your list. I believe that you have way too many schools in order to give your application process the necessary attention that it will require if you truly want any chance at some of your choices. Try cutting it down in half. You're very heavy on the reach schools. By the way, legacies at Yale will help, but your no shoe in.

3. Lastly, you don't indicate in your post what you THINK that you'll want to pursue for a degree. From your interests, it appears that you enjoy music, computers, technology.....Depending on which way you believe that you'll end up pursuing your greatest interest in a career might make a difference in which schools you should make your priorities to apply to. For example, not all of these schools are the best choices for certain programs.....

Hope this helps!

PS. Obviously you are from New England area. NH? Is that why you have UNH on your list & do they offer something there that appeals to you?


By Benspinspace (Benspinspace) on Wednesday, September 03, 2003 - 02:59 pm: Edit

I'm unsure of what I want to major in, but you hit the two most likely candidates- either music (or perhaps other performing arts) or computers. Unfortunately they're quite different, but I've been researching schools for what feels like eternity... I'm mostly looking at schools that are either simply great (most of them), or excel in one area or the other.

UNH excels in (classical) music, and it's local, and it's cheap. It's basically my safety school (and I disdained the idea of going there until I spent 2 weeks there and realized that it really is a very good area).

Of the schools I listed, which do you think I should apply to? And also, do my stats make me a match for any of the schools I listed except for the bottom two, or am I essentially reaching for everything?

By the way, it should probably be noted that I started my college applications on July 1st, in anticipation of having tons of work to do.

By Nhfrenchie (Nhfrenchie) on Wednesday, September 03, 2003 - 03:37 pm: Edit


Why not combine both (love of music with technology)...There are some great schools that are not on your list which could more than adequately satisfy that (i.e. double major/dual degree or custom tailored major revolving Music Technology/Engineering)..

As for the fit based on your stats, I would say Brandeis, BU, & McGill. The others are reaches in varying degrees.

It's great that you started July 1st with the apps. Have you visited/going to visit each of those schools on the list? If not, the reach schools will note this. Applicants who are "qualified" and show the most interest in "their" school will fair better than candidates who don't take the time to visit, attend class where offered, sleep over, interview, etc.... With that many reaches on your list, I fear that just taking the time to fill out applications is not enough and that you'll run out of time to properly show interest in each....Just my thoughts of course! With so many students applying to "elite" schools such as on your list, you'll need every angle to improve your chances.

By Longhorn (Longhorn) on Wednesday, September 03, 2003 - 04:20 pm: Edit

Great stats give your best shot to Yale and others, because your stats are very not-laundry-list-like. I think its cool the way you have interest in music as well as computers.good luck.

By Xyz155 (Xyz155) on Wednesday, September 03, 2003 - 06:16 pm: Edit

just wanted to say that BU should be at the bottom of your list, nowhere near as hard to get into as everyone thinks.

By Benspinspace (Benspinspace) on Thursday, September 04, 2003 - 07:21 am: Edit

Okay, that's good- I was definitely planning on applying to UNH, BU, Brandeis, and McGill anyway. Do I have a strong enough chance of getting into one of these schools that I need not apply to another definite safety? (ie. crossing out UMass Amherst in favor of another school)

Also, from my remaning reaches, does anybody know if any of the colleges are basically "need not apply" for me? I mean- I know that some colleges are known to focus on the absolute top of the academic pools (such as CalTech) and some focus on leadership abilities (such as Yale), et cetera. Which colleges on my list would hate me? And are there any of them that would like me, and be more inclined to accept me based on what I've done with my spare time, in lieu of grades?

By Benspinspace (Benspinspace) on Thursday, September 04, 2003 - 11:48 pm: Edit

Bump- Please, what schools should I apply to for best chances of acceptance?

By Benspinspace (Benspinspace) on Saturday, September 06, 2003 - 05:07 pm: Edit


By Benspinspace (Benspinspace) on Sunday, September 07, 2003 - 05:40 pm: Edit


By Geoff848 (Geoff848) on Sunday, September 07, 2003 - 09:05 pm: Edit

i would say out of the 4 ivies u listed, you should choose one and apply EA, and not apply to the others. It appears as though you chose Yale above, and that would be a wise choice if you like it, etc. Also, out of your next tier, UCBerkeley, NYU, mellon, brandeis, chicago, just choose your top 2 and apply to those, and then all of the other schools on ur list. It will save you valuable app time, but still give you a wide variety of schools.

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