2 years ago
Admissions Advice

How do I strengthen my application over the summer?

Hi! I'm a rising senior this year with a 3.87 unweighted GPA (my school doesn't weight, but I've taken 7 APs and 5 honors classes so far, with 1 AP, 3 PSEO, and 2 CIS classes per semester this coming year). My current SAT score is a 1440, but I'm currently studying a lot for the August date to hopefully move that up.

I'm applying to some Ivies/other competitive schools and want to know how I can strengthen my chances! If you have any tips on things that might be good to feature in essays etc. to tie everything together, that would be greatly greatly appreciated as well. Finally, I'm planning to apply as a Sociology major, potentially with a minor in French!

Extracurriculars (as listed on Common App) -

1. Founder/Executive Director of a nonprofit helping kids get involved with advocacy; so far, we've educated 130 kids from 36 countries on the basics of activism and connected them with organizations to help get them involved. Have applied for/received over $5,000 in grants so far.

2. Community Development Coordinator at another organization helping kids learn about civics; was elected to + served a year on the leadership board before taking a role in community development. Was a founding fellow for their fellowship and have helped expand the org globally.

3. Youth Advisor (paid) on a research project at an Ivy League school (which I'm planning to apply to but isn't my top choice) centering around queer youth, mental health, and substance abuse. (For context, I'm queer + have struggled with mental health stuff so I think this could be a good focus point)

4. Varsity Attorney on my school's Mock Trial team which got 8th in state this past year

5. Youth Commissioner on my city's Environment Commission

6. Starbucks Barista (considering putting this lower, but it takes a lot of my time! Work 15 hrs/wk)

7. United States Chapter Director for a menstrual equity nonprofit; working to coordinate a product drive at my school this fall.

8. Co-Founder/Co-President of two clubs (debating which to put here, other will go in additional info!) one centers around teaching students about historical women in STEM (advisor is also writing one of my rec letters) and the other is a queer book club I recently started and am super excited about, for which we're doing our first read over the summer

9. Varsity Speaker (Original Oratory) on the speech team; I've placed at sections the past two years and won a lot of tournament-level awards, and may be coaching speech at a school for kids with special needs this fall.

10. Intern for my mayor's reelection campaign this past year, mostly focusing on community outreach. I was onboarded early due to outreach experience to teach new interns the ropes.

Honors/Awards (as listed on Common App)

1. Bank of America Student Leader

2. Bill of Rights Institute "MyImpact" Challenge Finalist/Award Recipient

3. President's Volunteer Service Award Recipient (Gold Level)

4. Hugh O'Brian Youth Leadership Conference Ambassador

5. National French Exam Silver Medalist (levels 1-3), Certificate of Honor Recipient (AP)


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1 answer

Accepted Answer
2 years ago

Your profile looks excellent. Your SAT score is a weak point (relatively speaking), but it seems like you're putting in serious effort to improve it. Of course, continuing to grow your non-profit (not just having more kids, but also being able to brag about their accomplishments after doing your program, maybe making an educational Youtube series, tiktoks, or a blog, holding in-person and/or virtual seminars or conferences, etc.) will make this activity look even more impressive. Growing your clubs, continuing to win speech and Mock Trial awards, successfully executing a menstrual product drive at your school, and so on will all just help you continue to improve your profile.

I'm curious where you see your "spike" or if you have one. Is it in advocacy? In Education? In a combination of the two? Speech and Mock Trial, do play into a spike in advocacy, I think! After all, they'll help you develop skills critical to effectively advocating for and supporting others. If you feel like you're doing too many activities at once, I'd identify a "spike" and hone in on the activities most directly related to it.

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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