Hi, my name is Julia and I'm a IB sophomore who really really really wants to go to NYU.
I plan to apply ED, but I'm not sure how much that increases my chances. My main interests are politics, performing arts, and media studies, which is why NYU just seems like the right fit for me. I've done a lot, but I'm not really sure what NYU is looking at in a candidate for their school, so here is what I have so far! I've played lead roles in major local theaters in my area, along with leading tech crews. I organized a voter registration drive for my country that registered <200 kids, and I'm the VP of a non-profit organization that teaches others about mental health advocacy online that has gained over 4000 followers. I have written multiple articles and submitted them to youth led online magazines, which have been published, and I lead webinars on current events and how to get involved that have over 100 participants. With all that, I still feel insecure about academics. I'm taking all the normal IB classes, with IB Theater and IB Film as my two elective courses. I do theater at my school and I'm very active in my student government and anti-racism organization. Should I start a club? My GPA is around a 3.85, and I've taken 6 honors courses and 2 AP classes so far, which I know is lacking but I transferred from a school that doesn't offer honors or AP, so all of those classes are this year. I would really like to see my GPA go up to a 3.90 (Which I think is achievable). What more do you guys think I can do? It feels like I'm just bragging but I'm genuinely worried that it's not enough. What should I focus on moving forward? Any PSAT or SAT advice? I'm worried that I'll spend all this time on NYU and I don't get in lol, but I really feel like it's the best school for who I am as a person. Really any advice, or any sophomore going through a similar thing, would be extremely helpful. Thanks so much for reading this!!
Hi Julia! First of all, applying early decision gives students who are already in range for admission a sizable boost (think a 20-35% improvement in chances and maybe even more). Given that you have impressive extracurricular activities and a solid GPA with relatively challenging classes, you definitely have a chance to get in, and applying ED will help you increase that chance by a considerable margin. Admissions officers will understand that your first school didn't offer APs or honors classes (just make sure to include this in the Additional Information section of your commonapp or have your guidance counselor mention it in your school report). Raising your GPA above a 3.9 will definitely help you, though. And make sure to keep taking challenging courses and get that IB Diploma!
At the same time, I wouldn't set your hopes and dreams entirely and only on NYU! There are other programs that might also fit your needs (think USC, UCLA, UMich, Georgetown, Tufts). I believe you likely have a good chance at getting into NYU, but I'd also do some research to identify a few other programs that would work for you. This way you won't be absolutely devastated if you end up not getting in.
For test prep advice, I recommend checking our many blog posts on this topic here: https://blog.collegevine.com/category/standardized-tests/. For your personalized chances of acceptance at NYU (and other schools), make sure to utilize our chancing engine by filling out your profile here at Collegevine and adding schools to your school list under the "Schools" tab above. Best of luck!
Personally, I think your extracurriculars are pretty good. They align with your interests, are admirable, and (as long as you enjoy doing them) are great all around!
Since you are only a sophomore, I personally think there is absolutely nothing to worry about in terms of your course load. The fact that you are not only in the IB program and have already taken 2 AP classes as a sophomore is more than enough.
I am being completely honest - I think you definitely have a shot with where you are as long as you keep the upward trajectory you are taking for junior and senior year, but if you want recommendations, here are some off the top of my head.
1. Get your GPA to at least a 3.9 (as you said, this would be beneficial and it is most certainly doable as you are only halfway through your high school career)
2. Definitely start a club! if you are into politics, maybe try something like a debate club? or a general politics club, whatever you feel like! You could also start a theater club separate from your school's theater department - the club could be for people who want to start in the theater profession but don't know where to start: you could give advice on auditions, stage presence, etc. (having you as president, someone who has had a lead role on many plays, would definitely make the club very appealing!!)
3. What other positions are in that non-profit? VP is absolutely incredible and is already more than enough, but if you can, why not try for a higher position? It would show colleges that you are passionate about the program and worked hard to rise up the ranks.
4. This is a combination of #2 and #3, but maybe start a club based on the non-profit? This could not only look great for you, but also expand the influence of the program and get you more influence there overall. In fact, maybe you could travel to other schools and talk to students to get the same club set up there as well. This is easier said than done, but by you opening up various chapters around your school district, your application would look absolutely fantastic.
5. About those youth-led magazines, why not try for a leadership position? Maybe a marketing director? An outreach manager? Really anything. In fact, if you feel the magazine could use a job in a certain area, reach out to the executive board and propose a new job opening that you could run - attach a resume and boom! (simplified process, but it's something 😊)
6. When COVID calms down and if you are financially able to, sign up for an NYU summer program. I'm going to be honest, this won't help too much and it could backfire for other schools (for example, Fordham university would wonder why you didn't do their summer program and think you don't have as much of an interest in them, therefore rejecting you), BUT! this experience could get you closer to NYU professors and give you a sense of the college. You could even do this for fun and not put it on your application. Since you are just a sophomore, i would definitely look at other schools too! But, if you keep circling back to NYU, there is this option.
7. Start studying for the SAT if you haven't already. Since you are a sophomore, you will most likely be taking the PSAT this october, which (if you score high enough) could qualify you for the National Merit Scholarship.
-You could study using: Princeton Review and Barrons textbooks (if you are more into learning through textbooks) and Khan Academy (for tons of practice problems)
-Try to take one practice test every weekend and do 10 practice problems a day (this is probably 20 minutes max of studying each week day and three hours over the weekend - it will pay off!)
Last bit of advice I can give you is to stick with your activities. Sure, you have a spike, but your activities also don't seem like your typical high schooler. Your resume is so interesting that i thought you were at least a junior. I'm actually a sophomore too at the moment, and I know college applications can be super stressful to think about (especially since most schools are bringing back the SAT requirement the year we apply 😥). As long as you are enjoying these activities, I wouldn't worry too much! I know we haven't met but I am honestly so proud of you for being able to accomplish all this!!
Let me know if I can answer any follow up questions. Good luck!! :)
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