2 years ago
Admissions Advice

How qualified would I be for Ivy League Schools?

Here are my "stats":

ACT: 34/36 [34 E, 35 M, 32 R, 34 S)

PSAT: 1400/1520

GPA: 3.91/4 | 4.41/5


- USABO Certificate of Merit (top 30% nationally) --> National

- Commended Scholar (most likely) --> National

- HOSA SLC Research Poster in Neurology 1 Place --> State

- HOSA SLC Anatomage Tournament 3rd Place --> State

- Science Olympiad Cell Bio (4th) & Disease Detectives (2nd) --> State


- Neolth Lead Student Mental Health Ambassador (11,12) --> Neuroscience

- Codeucate Intern/Volunteer (11,12) --> CS

- TurnUp Activism Intern/Volunteer (11) --> Social Activism

- Neuro Elevation Editor in Chief (9,10,11,12) --> Neuroscience

- ENGin Volunteer (11,12) --> Social Activism

- Alzheimer's Association (10,11,12) --> Social Activism/Neuroscience

- Helyx Initiative Podcast (10,11,12) --> STEM; concentration in biology

- Computer Science Club President/Co-founder (12) --> CS

- USABO Club President/Founder (12) --> Biology

- Developed an app spearheading patient pharmacological negligence, available on iOS (11,12) --> CS + Bio + Healthcare


- NCSSM Summer Ventures in behavioral neuroscience @ ECU, composing research paper and receiving certification for excellence

- HOSA SLC Research Poster, spearheading crippling standards of pediatric neurology, analyzing records to draw correlations in cognition.

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@AmyR6 months ago

Hi @Keshav_Sax You have such an excellent stat .. I am so curious to know what you decided upon.. Do you mind sharing?

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1 answer

2 years ago[edited]

Hi @Keshav_Sax,

Thanks for your question. I'll try my best to answer.

There are 8 Ivy League schools. Your academics are excellent. You have a lot of angular depth into STEM ECs versus the kind of typical Ivy profile of admit. If you are interested in applying as an engineering major at Cornell, UPenn, or Columbia Fu School, I think your academic/EC narrative is very competitive. Why? Because these 3 Ivies have separate engineering colleges that have separate admissions processes. Engineering schools love stats, numbers, and evidence of doing research.

I do not think you would be a strong candidate at Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Brown, and Dartmouth. I think Cornell and UPenn are more apt to accept you than Columbia because there is a 32-unit core curriculum requirement for a CC degree. This core curriculum is required regardless of your major, so you might not want to take 2 full semesters of liberal arts classes that are requirements if you don't enjoy reading classics, history, religion, philosophy, ethics, and art. The Columbia supplemental essays are a way for CC admissions officers to cull from the fray, well-read, actively engaged students who know what going on in the world. They want students who have a pulse on the world.

I don't think it is a stretch to think that Ivies are trying to admit future leaders who will be successful. They want to admit someone who will be a successful alumnus, leading to future donations and endowments. And Ivies admissions are generally not a meritocratic process. They are experts at using holistic evaluations and coming up with score cards and matrices and rubrics that classify applicants like race horses at the track. So you will find that an IVY score card from 1 to 5 or 1 to 6 will typically include these categories:

-Academics - GPA/Rank/Test Scores/Course Rigor/Intellectual Curiosity

-ECS and Co-curricular activities - Arts, clubs, community service, leadership. Tier 1 and Tier 2 activities are most impressive.

-Athleticism - Varsity sports and club sports

-Recommendations and Essays

-Personal Character - Impressions from 2-minute introduction video, Alumni Interviews, any evidence of fame, notoriety, or activism from social media searches, etc.

I would consider yourself someone who has a narrow STEM focus versus someone who possesses juxtapositional depth or someone that is STEM-focused but is also a musician that combines both interests into some kind of "spike".

As an ORM over-represented minority (I'm assuming you are Indian) your ACT is on the low side for Ivies. I would re-take the ACT and aim for a 35 or 36 if you decided to move forward and apply to the Ivy League.

Besides the Colleges I mentioned at Cornell, UPenn, and Columbia, I think you would be a better fit at a school like Stanford, JHU, RICE, MIT, and CalTech.

You would be more compelling at Stanford versus an Ivy school because they are looking for more angular students versus a well-rounded student. Stanford really cares about intellectual vitality and you a lot of depth and breadth into your STEM ECs.

Plus Stanford favors public school applicants more than Ivies who prefer more Private Day and Private Boarding school applicants.

For your average Ivy admit, attending Harvard or Yale, sometimes isn't all about getting the best education. It's about being part of a very old institution with traditions (Harvard/Yale football games, homecoming), rites of passage (like joining Greek life and secret societies), networking with peers from wealthy powerful families through social functions like dances, balls, charity events, joining quirky clubs like acapella groups, 150-year-old satire newspapers, comedy groups and enjoying the future benefits of joining Alumni Clubs like the Harvard Club or Penn Club or Yale Club in NYC.

You seem less interested in such things. You don't play a varsity sport, you don't have traditional leadership roles like student body president, or editor of the newspaper, and you don't have community service leadership roles like serving on a Board of Directors or starting a non-profit. You don't sing, act, dance, or play a musical instrument.

And therefore as a really angular STEM-focused HS student, I don't think Ivies, in general, are looking for you and you wouldn't feel like it was a good use of your time. Hogwarts sounds fun but you seem like someone that wants to invent or create something.

Good luck.

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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