How should I improve my application for ivy leagues and prestigious schools?
I'm a junior in high school, and currently have a 4.0 GPA, though I'm not top 10 in my class(I go to a very big public high school, but I am in the top 10%). I'm in 4 extracurriculars (Student Gov., Junior Cabinet, National English Honor Society, National Honor Society), plan to join National German Honor Society next school year, and have been in very high-level orchestra programs since freshman year(including middle school). By the end of my high school career, I'd have taken 3 AP Courses, 9 Honors/gifted courses, and 5 courses at my nearby college. I have an 1190 SAT score but am planning to retake and get a better score(after the quarantine ends). I plan to major in International Relations with a pre-law career path. Are my current stats good enough for the schools I want to attend? What should I do to improve my chances of acceptance, besides dramatically improving my SAT score? Should I plan to take some SAT Subject Tests? Thanks for your help!
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It seems like you are already aware but you're going to need to dramatically raise your SAT score for ivies. I'd say by at least 300 points if not more. You should look at the requirements of the schools you want to go to but taking some SAT subject tests is probably a good idea as well.
So besides the SAT I think the biggest thing you need to do is regarding your ECs. Right now it looks like you have 4 ECs at school, a planned 5th one, and then orchestra. Do you have any leadership positions in those clubs? If not, focus on trying to get some leadership positions which can bump those up a bit. How high-level is the orchestra? To me that seems like the most impressive EC so far, based on both commitment, responsibility, and level. I'd really try to get some ECs that are close to your intended major. It could be difficult now with everything going on but internships, shadow opportunities, volunteering all would help.
Last bit is classes. How many AP classes does your school offer? Colleges, especially ivies, are going to want to see that you challenged yourself academically. If possible, you should take more AP classes. Duel enrollment/college classes can be viewed in a good way but if it's possible for you to take APs instead I would do that. The reason being most colleges know what to expect from a student who has taken an AP class since the curriculum is standardized while a dual enrollment/college class can have a varying degree of quality to them. They're often looked at as closer to honors classes by colleges I think.
Essays are the way to go at this point and you should ask teachers for a recomendation letter early so they dont get swamped but there is free SAT practice and that definitly helps too
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