a year ago

Chances at top schools


I am currently a junior, and very excited yet nervous for my college applications. Before I start my plethora of questions here are my “stats” (as people like to call them) as of now.

-3.95 UW, 4.8 W

-Rank 7/500

-13 AP’s by graduation and 7 Honors

-Varsity Cross Country

-Variaty Track and Field

-Treasurer of NHS

-Treasurer of Key Club

-Vice President of Leo’s Club

-Link Crew Member

-Society of Hispanic Engineers member

-HSF’s YLI future attendee

-no SAT’s yet!

It is also important to note Im a 2nd generation Latino and often have to babysit my little brother (I take him and pick him up from school, make sure he’s fed and doing this homework). I hope to get president of SHPE before the year ends and/or create a MECHA club at my school as well. Alright, well here are my questions (prepare yourself it’s kinda a lot).

1. How much do colleges compare your application with other people at your school?

My school is in a very interesting situation. It is very top heavy with a very competitive top 20, but other than that everyone is very average to below average. That’s mostly because of the fact of the schools location, with an affluent neighborhood to the left of the school in the heights, and a less affluent neighborhood on the right. While there are 70% Latinos in our school, only about 25% make up our AP classes. It’s just really weird because the program I’m in at the school is miles different than the other programs. I’m just wondering if it’ll either help me, or put me at disadvantage in the admissions process.

2. How will my major affect admissions?

I would really like to get involved in a STEM related field, either engineering or computer science related. I fare better in my math and sciences classes than I do in my languages and history classes. Not to say I do bad in those classes, just I enjoy and have an easier time in math and science related areas. However, I felt as if I haven’t done enough extracurricular wise in those areas. I only have SHPE and also joined a coding club, but they haven’t had a meeting ever and I don’t include it on my list of things done. My school isn’t really stem based, meaning no robotics club, no cyber patriot club, only an okay computer science program. And making these clubs would be LOTS of work as there has to be some infrastructure set in place to make them happen and teachers to support them. In summary, I know these stem majors are pretty competitive to get into, and would like to know how they would affect admissions (also to know if there’s anything else I can do as a stem extracurricular).

3. I want to apply to the top colleges, but am truly truly scared of rejection.

I understand I am a minority, but I also understand that colleges choose their applicants far beyond ethnicity. Simply, seeing all these videos online of kids getting rejected for doing so much is just truly heartbreaking. Without sounding cocky, even though as of right now being a junior I’ve done more than the kids posting their rejection videos, I also am discouraged from seeing the kids getting accepted into these top schools doing absolutely insane things in high school (top of country type stuff). UCLA is my dream, MIT is like my dream and then some, and the cal states are my safety’s. I feel like I can be a competitive UC applicant but a pretty average to mediocre IVY applicant. Some of the richer kids in my grade can afford to take the gamble of the ivy’s as they can apply to as many colleges they want since money isn’t an issue, but I have to pick and choose which to apply to and hope for the absolute best. Do I have a shot?

4. How do I stand out in this last stretch? (this is my last question lol)

I’ve been thinking about college since I’ve been a kid. People tell me not to take it too seriously but I’ve literally waited for this moment my whole life. I have a general idea of what to write my essays about, but I also don’t want to be cliche. I mean in my school just simply me existing stands out. Being known as the smart, brown runner boy is kinda my thing. However how many other smart, brown runner boys are there in the country? Probably a lot I could assume. How do I distinguish myself enough in these applications? I’ve done everything in my power so far, but if there’s anything else I can squeeze out of high school so far I’m open to it.

So ya, excited but also terrified at the same time lol. What really hit me was when online (like a tik tok or an instagram reel) I saw someone say along the lines of, “When I got rejected I was like damn… I’ve put so much into my applications just to get rejected. Like I had a social life in high school and enjoyed my time, but there’s just some things I didn’t do normal high schoolers do. I’m not gonna get this time back ever again, and I wouldn’t have tried so hard if I would’ve known I was gonna get rejected in the first place.” After seeing the video it really hit me, I’m not going to get this time back. Like several times I could’ve gone to a party, but instead I played it safe and stayed home to study or train. A lot of my friends not in AP use their classes to flirt with girls or just tell jokes the whole period, but I just pay attention and make sure to do good in the class. Again it’s not like I only spent High School studying or working, I’ve had a good memorable time, but definitely haven’t done things the average high schoolers done. A lot of my friends and family are counting on me to do good in these college applications, and I want to represent them well. It may sound like I’m stressed, but I assure you it’s really not all that. I just really want to do my best in these times and hopefully reap the rewards. I know the path ahead and generally what to do, I just wanna smooth the edges and make sure I’m in the best position to apply.

(I know this is a lot I’m sorry, but hopefully someone with guidance comes across this)

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a year ago

I'm also a junior, so I can't offer much more than my own experiences, but I would say that you are doing quite well, with a plethora of academics/extracurriculars to your name. Here is the (short) list of advice I can give.

-Study for the SAT; I linked my PSAT scores on Khan academy and found it, particularly the full-length practice tests, to be very helpful. While a lot of good schools are test-optional, a good score can improve your chances.

-I know for a fact that MIT offers fee waivers, so that might be useful.

-As for your ruminations upon the college admission process and the omnipresent fear of rejection, they were quite poignant. Maybe think about incorporating some of that into your essay, when you do write one.

Anyhow, I hope some of this is helpful, and good luck in your continued academic career!


a year ago

Hello! First off, I know you're saying you're not stressed, but just in case...don't worry! I feel like you're good on extracurriculars in terms of clubs (and you're definitely good on academics), so try to focus on ecs outside of school. Colleges want to see how you show your passion outside of school.

Enter robotics competitions (try to make it to state), teach computer science principles to kids (maybe kids in the less affluent neighborhood), develop an app, etc. (the possibilities are endless)

Maybe try to get recruited for the sport you play (you would have a much better chance, especially during early admissions)

In addition, apply for scholarships and when applying to colleges, see if you qualify for an application fee waiver, so you won't have to worry too much about money

Hope this helps a little and best of luck from a fellow junior!


What are your chances of acceptance?
Your chance of acceptance
Duke University
+ add school
Your chancing factors
Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

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