How much will my High School/First Community College weigh in my app?

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    I sent applications to some pretty big names; Amherst, Vassar, and Hampshire and hope to transfer to one of those colleges in Fall 2013. (I already got accepted to Drexel University as a fall back)

    The main reason I sent apps to those schools is because I researched their departments within the Geosciences and I’ve noticed a pattern of professors doing research that intersted me (i.e. climate change/ glacial melting/ small random earthquakes in the midwest). I also think a liberal arts school will bring me out of my comfort zone and challenge me to take versatile classes so I can be a well-rounded applicant for graduate school in the future. (Mentioned all of this in my common app)

    I’m in my fourth semester of community college and I hold a 3.88 GPA. For extracurricular activites I am the Founder and President of the Geology Club, Vice President of Service for Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society (our chapter has been published in the huffington post), member of the Environmental Action Society, and I work in the school as a writing tutor. I also hold a part-time job at a grocery store working 20 hours a week. I have no social life and barely make ends meet.

    Ok now the hard part. I did really poor in high school and ended with a 2.4 GPA (graduated in 2006). I went to a community college and did even worse with a 1.4 GPA (dropped out in 2008). I had no desire for college at that time. Fast foward three years later to 2011 where I am in another state and I start a brand new community college where I excel and contribute to my school.

    In my common app essay for ‘my time off from school’ section I wrote nothing negative. I wrote about how I became a retail manager and gained leadership experience. I realized that retail was no longer for me so I quit, found a part time job, and started college again.

    I also had my Geology Professor and Composition teacher write my letter of recs.

    My Question:
    I want to know how much my past school records (hs/first cc) will weigh during the app process, since there is a three year gap. I’m worried because these are some of the top liberal arts colleges in the country and I feel like I actually belong there because of my drive for learning.

    Do you think I even have a chance or am I destined for a mediocore school like Drexel?

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