Help with Figuring out my chancesAnswered
Hi! I am currently a rising senior in India who was born in the USA. I am getting close to the admissions window, and am aiming high elite colleges like MIT. I have a lot achievements on my profile but would like to know how good my chances are since I want to apply in MIT for Early Action, and being recommended to apply Early Decision for Carnegie Mellon, which I like as well… but I want my best chance at MIT and am afraid applying ED1 might end up in a situation where I DO very luckily make it in MIT, but have been snatched by Carnegie Mellon. Please help me decide if it’s better to take ED2 if my chances are really good enough based on this list:
Always top 10 of my class, mostly 90%. ICSE Class 10th Board topper with 96%, putting me at the third topper
House Captain of my school- one of the biggest if not the biggest roles of leadership in my school of 3600 people. Represent school and my House (think of it like Harry Potter of sorts) in lots of activities.
Member of Tech Board/IT Department of my school. Includes work from troubleshooting to managing, running and coordinating school events in auditorium ranging from audio, dance performance, plays etc. It has taught me a lot of skills such as professional editor both video and audio, photo, excel, PowerPoint, and a sort of technical theatre person.
I have done charity work such as teaching underprivileged children math and helped in local blind schools.
Expert in Java, C++, C#, Python. Have attended a summer camp in Stanford for Game development as well as the topper of my class in computer science. (Will pursue computer science and/or engineering maybe)
I like to make retro games. I am also a pixel artist and chip tune and 8-bit music maker. Indie style mostly.
Professional Badminton player and tennis player.
Like to read, solve puzzles, learn new topics to expand knowledge and doing nerdy stuff.
Scored 4 on AP Computer Science A, 3 on AP Physics 1 and AP Calculus AB. Note though, my school doesn’t offer AP courses and I had to learn myself. Also I have taken the most difficult courses in my school.
SAT is currently at 1470, but hopefully will go up at least 1500 by the end of this month or in October.
And I am writing essays about my Muslim background, on how I had suffered from harassment and abuses because of it and how that inspired me to be the leader in my school and inspire others to do more.
Hope you can help me with this. Thank you so much :)
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I think you have a good portfolio, except for your AP test scores. Getting a 3 on an AP is immediately something you'll have to offer at least an explanation for, and I don't think "yeah I self studied it" will be looked upon favourably. I'd just not report your AP scores; you always have that option.
Your SAT should probably be like 1530+ too, but I think that'll be pretty easy for you to achieve. It sounds like you got a lovely essay topic ready, but your co-curriculars do seem rather weak in the context of MIT admissions. You haven't really done much that's all that distinctive, and distinguishing yourself from the other 20 qualified applicants competing for your spot is the most important thing you can do for MIT admissions. MIT calls that "applying sideways". Anyhoo, I don't think you seem like an average MIT admit, but I do think you have a shot. Good luck!
Chancing questions are not allowed on the Blog. So since you are new at this you should not ask these kind of questions, they are forbidden.
I can comment on some of the things you wrote.
1 Standardized test scores - If you are applying to MIT or CMU as a computer science major you are going to have to submit a 1570-1600 SAT. The CS major is not only popular, but some of the smartest kids in the world are your competition. And if you get stuck, I'd recommend switching to the ACT and aiming for a 36 composite score.
2. If you are applying as a CS major to MIT and CMU, you really do not want to submit anything less than a "5" on a self-study AP exam. That's the rule of thumb here on CollegeVine if you self-study and apply to a top elite college. The cutoff would be a "4" if you took the year long class. Therefore, do not submit your 3s and 4s.
3. I would get a 2nd opinion on your main common app essay. While no topics are off limits, whenever some one writes about their religious oppression, the political oppression, being bullied or harassed, or marginalized, I wonder if that is the best thing they can write about to inform and help the admissions officer advocate for them as a incoming college student. You never know who is reading your main and supplemental essays right? What if they are Hindus or Sikhs and have inherent biases? Why chance it?
4. You didn't mention your grades. So I'm assuming you know that to be competitive you are going to need perfect or near perfect grades.
5. You didn't mention your course rigor besides the APs you took. Assume that other students applying from India into the same schools are going to have taking maths above AP Calc A/B, like AP Calc B/C, Differential Equations, Multivariable Calculus, and other topics. Also most will have taken Physics 2 and Physics C as well.
My recommendation to you is to create a college vine profile and put all your grades, course rigor, ECs and demographics, etc into that profile. Then make a college list on CV and see how competitive you are with the chancing engine to these schools and the major you picked. If you do not score at least 20-25% chancing percentage at these schools, I'd reconsider the idea of applying SCREA or ED to them. The differential between applying early to MIT and regular decision is only 0.8% or the difference between 4.7% and 3.9%. There is really no major benefit to applying early if your academic narrative can use the extra few months to improve your stats and grades. And at CMU I don't think the differential is that much either like 9% versus 5%. (remember CMU is the #1 best CS program in the US to get into)
Your extracurriculars are solid, and your essay has the potential to stand out since many international applicants do not write identity essays. With that said, your profile is limited by your SAT score, which should be more in the range of +1550 to be competitive for MIT. As other answers have mentioned, computer science is one of the most competitive majors, and MIT attracts some of the brightest CS applicants in the world. Being an international student from India, which is a large and highly competitive applicant pool, will also lower your chances.
Taking all of that into consideration, I recommend applying ED to Carnegie Mellon and RD to MIT. CMU is a more realistic option, and combined with the boost of ED, you will certainly have a chance of getting in. MIT, however, will be a longshot even without an increased SAT score and a stellar essay. Applying RD will give you more time to add both to your application. Hope this helps!
You have about a 1-2% chance of getting into MIT. At this point, there isnt really anything else you can do.
Shoot your shot and have a backup plan.
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