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09/04/2019

Can I get into Ivy Leagues?

QUESTION
Can I get into Ivy Leagues?
2140 Sat Score
720 Math
720 Reading
700 Writing

Plan on taking 3 subject tests

3.9 GPA (unweighted 4.0 scale)
Many honors classes, 4 AP classes. I got a 5 on AP Language, the rest I’m taking senior year.
Class rank 14 of 200 (4.18 weighted). EXTREMELY competitive class. Above average school.
Very strong junior year.

Chess Club, president and founder
Literary Magazine, president and founder – www.hanoverlitmag.com
Student Council Executive Board member (one of seven officers)
NHS, member
Chorus, member
Drama, member

90+ Hours of community service split between two local churches
Babysitting
Organized a tutoring program through NHS.
Volunteered as a writer for some sports blogs. I learned a lot about writing from the editors, allowing me to accelerate my ability quickly as they critiqued my work.

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I’m applying to Yale and Brown, but have low expectations (these are ridiculously hard to get into, I know). Cornell and Columbia, however, are a little less selective. Do I have a shot at these? Also, what do you think my shot is of Amherst College, Williams, Tufts? And could I call BU a safety school?

Thanks!!!

ANSWER
I think you have a decent chance at all the Ivy Leagues you selected. It’s hard to say because they really do pay attention to your EC’s and personal statements too, so really put a lot of thought into those essays!

By grade only I’d say you have a 30 – 50 % of getting into any of those schools. For a little more stats based estimations, I suggest you go to www.collegeprowler.com. Look up the school, click on the “Admissions” tab under About the School, and look at the graph (make sure to uncheck all options on the graph except Accepted). You have to make an account, but I found it helpful when I was applying for schools. Don’t be discouraged if you have a low chance of admission, if you have around a 30 – 50 % chance, like I said, it can go either way depending on your EC’s and personal statements.

BU has spotty admissions. I know people with stats like you that got rejected, yet my friend who had a 3.9 WEIGHTED GPA and 1700 SAT was admitted.. So I don’t know if I’d trust them as a safety. I think you have a decent chance at all these schools, but you should have a few safe schools where your chance of admission is in the 70 – 90% chance of admissions.

That said, really put a lot of thought into your personal statements and you will probably get into the schools you want. Research the schools and tailor each essay you write to fit what that school looks for in a student. Ex. If Columbia is looking for the worldly, ready to explore kind of student, you need to write an essay that makes you seem like that kind of student. I’m not telling you to lie; just figure out the traits you have that fit with the school and write about that. And, of course, almost every one of those schools will have the “Why do you want to go to our school?” question. Research all the programs and all the professors of the school. Find the programs you would like to be a part of that are special to the school or the professors that you admire and talk about them. If you’re sincere in your enthusiasm and love for the school, they’ll see it and they’ll take you over that kid who has a 4.0 and 2200 SAT who really just considers it their backup or third choice. Remember that admissions officers have to read hundreds of these, so make it concise. No flowery language. Every word should add meaning to your essay. If it doesn’t, it should be cut. To get that sort of conciseness, you need to write and rewrite and rewrite and rewrite. So start early. What worked best for me was to write it, leave it for a day or two, come back with a fresh mind and rewrite. After the 2nd or 3rd draft, I’d have someone read it and use their comments to improve on it again.

Anyways, sorry for how long it was, but good luck!

*NOTE: Try to make your EC’s sound as nice as possible. Don’t lie. Because, even if they don’t find out, I think that’s silly. But DO try to make them sound good. Like, even though I put “intern at doctor’s office” I didn’t really get to do anything besides work as basically the receptionist / aid doctor in translations.