11 months ago

What can I do better? (Rising junior).

I have A’s all around, in every class. I’m taking as many honors and AP’s as my school offers and I can to keep my brain cells intact. (AP European History, AP Compsci, AP lang, AP lit, AP physics 1, AP physics C, AP Calc AB).

I’m taking many honors classes (H English 10, H trig/pre calc, and H Spanish 4).

I’m using a theme method to show I’m interested in engineering: (AP compsci, principals of engineering, Art 1, introduction to engineering, and robotics.)

Robotics is very competitive, only 30% of who apply make it in.

30+ hours of regular volunteering a semester.

Swimming team for my high school that has won many awards.

Honor roll every year since elementary school

Awards in foreign languages for 2 years

Invited to NSHSS (National Scholars of high school).

In many clubs

In CSF (California Scholarship Federation).

1120 on my Psat

What else can I be doing to help my chances into big time colleges like Lehigh, UC Berkeley, or MIT?

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3 answers

Accepted Answer
11 months ago

As far as I can tell it may help if you tried to get your sat and act scores up. It may also help to actually start something at your schools or in your community. Most prestigious schools are looking for students who are able to take initiative and show that they can be a good leader. For example if you just join a club, colleges will look at you as a follower and not on the initiative. If you start a club it will show you are on the initiative and have leadership/problem solving qualities. I know MIT is looking for people who are problem solvers, so by going out into the community and making a positive impact that affects it will help to show that you are willing to be on the initiative and change the world for the better. Also, Science is about discovery and revealing answers to questions. If you show that in your initiative, it will help your chances. You can also join scientific research that is going on in your community, to show that you are interested in the subject outside of school.

11 months ago

Hi @Claire21,

First of all, I must say that you have a very impressive profile which clearly represents you as a person who can take any academic load that comes your way.

If you're planning to apply to MIT and UC Berkeley, you must show curiosity, initiative, team spirit, and balance in life.

Reading the above, it is evident that you are curious and have team spirit ingrained in yourself.

But you must go one step ahead to represent your initiative and balance in life. So my suggestion to you would be to start a project which aims at making the world a better place and highlights your engineering skills. If possible you can have a team project. For e.g. you can make a surveillance drone for suburban areas to counter crime and lessen the burden on the police force or you can create any other robotic device which solves a problem in your society according to the country and place you belong to.

Hope this helps.


11 months ago


I would say the theme method is a good idea, however, you need to show that theme in your extracurriculars. Right now I'm seeing that your extracurriculars are pretty random and standard unless your clubs show a certain robotics theme. Explore some activities that can help you expand your interest in robotics, such as robotics competitions or starting a robotics club!

I would also improve your SAT/ACT scores, as 1120 on the PSAT doesn't bode well for schools like the ones you've mentioned.

Finally, I would suggest applying to internships or taking the initiative to start your own research on A.I./robotics. Make sure that these initiatives can also help the world in some way because top schools like applicants who they think can make a great impact in their industry later on in life.

All the best in your college application!

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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