Currently a junior--what are my chances?

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Discus: What Are My Chances?: September 2003 Archive: Currently a junior--what are my chances?
By Phantom (Phantom) on Wednesday, September 10, 2003 - 05:34 pm: Edit

I'm currently a junior at a prestigious public high school (ranked top 20 in the nation by Newsweek) and I'd like to know my chances for the Ivy Leagues, namely Harvard, Princeton (super-reaches), Columbia, Cornell, and U Penn and what I should do this year to improve my chances. I'd also like to know if the other schools I'm considering, NYU, Tufts, Georgetown, should be considered reaches, matches, or safeties.

GPA: 5.5 weighted out of 6.0 (weird GPA system, I know--basically I'm a straight-A student taking the hardest courses available; however, regular courses such as band, art, health, and the mandatory regular-level 9th grade courses are bringing my GPA down)
***Top 5% out of 150 students. No ranking system.
PSAT: have not taken yet, but I'm hoping to get Finalist standing.
SAT I: not yet, but I'm expecting to score 1540-1600 based on my scores in the 10 Real SATs book (i did get quite a few perfects).
SAT II: Chem-680 (bad, I know, but I'm not retaking)--I'm also planning to take Math IIC, Writing, and Bio sometime this year and score 750+.

Extracurricular Activities:

Editor on School Newspaper (9-12) (projected Editor-in-Chief)
Founder and president of chess club (11-12)
Quizbowl team captain-nationally ranked (top 50 out of thousands) (9-12)
Stage crew for school drama/musical (10-12) (projected technical director)
Youth Court judge (10-12)
2 week internship at County Department of Public Works (10-summer)
Nature Center internship (9-summer)
Tutoring for french, english, and math (9-12)
NY Mathletes High Scorer (by school standards)
AMC 10 high scorer (10) (confident of AIME this year; been doing alot of practice)
Small role in school drama (10)
Band/Pep Band (9-12)
Builder's Club (community service) (9-12)
Literary magazine head editor (9)
JV Soccer (9-10) (had to quit because of ankle problems)

By End of Junior Year:

AP Chem-4
AP Euro-5
AP American
AP Psychology (self-study)
AP Bio
AP Comp Sci
AP French (maybe)
***Probably AP Scholar with Distinction

Senior Year:
AP English
AP Calculus
AP Physics
AP Law and Govt.
AP Macroeconomics

I'm taking every single AP offered at my school (12), aside from the Latin/Spanish AP's.

I am an Asian girl. I think that I'm very 'well-rounded' but I'm lacking in national and regional honors. I'm hoping to obtain a good internship next summer (maybe with my state senator). Assuming I get great teacher recommendations and write a good essay when I apply, what are my chances and what can I do to improve them? I realize that I am a typical applicant with no real hook and I probably won't stand out. A little about myself which may or may not help: I have a sincere passion for learning and I love to experience a little of everything (I'm hoping that my essay will show this); I especially am interested in math.

Thank you in advance for reading this and (hopefully) replying.

By Pacman (Pacman) on Thursday, September 11, 2003 - 09:54 am: Edit

Your academics are pretty impressive to an average person, but not to Harvard admission officers. They reject tons of people with higher GPA and scores than you. It's not bad, but just don't depend on it getting you. It's EXTREMELY hard to get into a school like Harvard by just GPA and SATs alone, no matter how good.

You need some special recognition that'll set you apart from the rest of the applicants. Those extracurriculars you listed are decent but 90% of Harvard applicants have those. Try to do something not everyone do. You are getting into Harvard witht those typical school activities like those school "clubs". They are weak

You need something more solid. That AMC and AIME thing you talked about, I would study very hard for it. That should be your main priority because qualifing for the USAMO will almost GURANTEE you into Harvard. The math olympiad is arguably the most prestigious competition on the planet. Basically, you want to do something 99% of the people cannot do.

By Pacman (Pacman) on Thursday, September 11, 2003 - 09:57 am: Edit

Let's put it this way, if you qualify for the USAMO, then your grades or SATs...or anything else suddenly becomes not very important. As long as it's not too low, you are in. Because once they see "USAMO" on the application, they already ADMITED you. Just make sure you don't screw up TOO BAD in other areas.

There is less than 70 USAMO qualifiers per year per grade in the nation. Any college would have space for one of them.

By Phantom (Phantom) on Thursday, September 11, 2003 - 04:28 pm: Edit

Thanks for your advice. Unfortunately, I highly doubt that I can qualify for the USAMO this year even if I study super hard, although that is one of my goals for senior year (but it's too late by then, isn't it?) Is there anything else I can do to stand out? Also, I really do not expect to get into either Harvard or Princeton. What about places like Columbia, Cornell, and U Penn?

By Phantom (Phantom) on Friday, September 12, 2003 - 04:53 pm: Edit


By Zephyrmaster (Zephyrmaster) on Saturday, September 13, 2003 - 01:17 am: Edit

Wow... I feel dumb...

what's the USAMO?

My school is very far from the Top 20... :)

By Alimshk (Alimshk) on Saturday, September 13, 2003 - 11:33 am: Edit

You have average academic achievement for Harvard applicants. Only thing that stands out is Quizbowl rank.

By Phantom (Phantom) on Saturday, September 13, 2003 - 12:15 pm: Edit

Yeah, ok, I got the message that I'm most likely not getting into Harvard. In fact, I'm not even really aiming that high. Please...what are my chances for UPenn, Columbia, and Cornell?!!

Zephyr: the USAMO is the national math olympiad. In order to compete, you need to score very well on the AMC and the AIME (2 smaller math competitions). Usually around 250 people qualify for the USAMO.

By Alimshk (Alimshk) on Saturday, September 13, 2003 - 12:23 pm: Edit

You have good chances at UPenn and Columbia. Cornell would probably be the easiest for you to get in.

By Zephyrmaster (Zephyrmaster) on Saturday, September 13, 2003 - 06:49 pm: Edit

Zephyr: the USAMO is the national math olympiad. In order to compete, you need to score very well on the AMC and the AIME (2 smaller math competitions). Usually around 250 people qualify for the USAMO.

Bigger on the East Coast? Never heard of any of those tests.

By Rubenizm (Rubenizm) on Saturday, September 13, 2003 - 06:56 pm: Edit

we have amc every year, i do bad cuz i don't care.

By Phantom (Phantom) on Sunday, September 14, 2003 - 12:50 pm: Edit


By Phantom (Phantom) on Sunday, September 14, 2003 - 06:10 pm: Edit

bump for the last time, and then i'll let this die (anyone?)

By Chasgoose (Chasgoose) on Sunday, September 14, 2003 - 08:14 pm: Edit

Me too on the AMC, I know I won't do well on the AIME and it will just be a waste of my time so I never really try too hard on the AMC, just enough so my math teacher won't get pissed off even though I didn't make it. Last year I got a 99.5 the highest score you can get with out qualifying for the AIME. Needless to say, I was quite satisfied.

By Jimjunior (Jimjunior) on Sunday, September 14, 2003 - 10:26 pm: Edit

I have heard that USAMO is a near auto-accept, which is why my situation is so painful. I got a 139.5 AMC and a 7 AIME, for a 209.5 index. This score would have qualified me in many states, or in many different years but happened to be just off the cut this year. Very painful...

btw your stats are very impressive, if you manage to pull that 1600, with straight A's to back it up you'll have a great shot anywhere

By Phantom (Phantom) on Tuesday, September 16, 2003 - 09:54 pm: Edit

that really stinks! well, if you're a rising junior, at least you have another shot at it... if not, you can always include how close you were on your application. I wish you best of luck in the future. who knows, maybe you might even be a USAMO high scorer next year with some additional practice.

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