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Defeated by College Decision Results

plantmapplantmap 13 replies4 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 17 Junior Member
Hi everyone.

I just wanted to vent and ask for some hindsight into my college app journey.

I'm a girl going into engineering. My freshmen and sophomore years I interned at one of the top engineering departments in the US, and I actually contributed to their projects. I interned for a top comp sci company for half of my junior year. In my sophomore year I started my own engineering club with around 20 members. I've organized STEM outreach events at local schools. I have a part time job at a Jimmy Johns and 50+ hrs of volunteering at my local animal shelter. I'm in my 7th year of French and was the student leader of the French exchange. I'm currently taking French classes at my local university. I'm a good photographer (first place awards, input from art school reps.). I have a 4.0 uw GPA with rigorous classes. All my teachers adore me, I go to a competitive public school. My English teachers and school councelor said my essays were unique/flawless.

The only thing that totally sucked was my SAT score at 1350. Granted I took it during a year when one of my parents had a bout of drug abuse and wasn't allowed near the rest of my family for 6 months. We had no money.

I ended up getting rejected from 3 top LACs, an Ivy (I'm not mad about that because it's such a crapshoot), and waitlisted at another top LAC. I only got into a less selective LAC and into UW Madison.

I feel defeated because although I love everything I do, I just feel like it didn't get me anywhere special. I am so passionate about what I do. Like, there are so many kids who get into UW Madison with no activities and avg. grades. I did all this work and ended up at the same place they are.

Now I just keep thinking what I could have done differently. Was it all my SAT score? What if I had applied to this school instead? What did I do wrong?

I know I sound like an entitled, arrogant piece of crap. I know I'm being bitter. I know I'm being annoying by posting this. But I just need to vent.

I know many other kids are experiencing the same thing, and it sucks. There are so many qualified kids at my school who didn't get into top colleges and also so many kids who did get into top colleges by money or legacy. I guess I used to think hard work was a direct way to some top college and this all just hit me hard.

I guess I'm just inviting anyone's advice, thoughts, or experiences. Things suck y'all but I'm trying to tell myself I'll end up where I'm supposed to be.
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Replies to: Defeated by College Decision Results

  • DadTwoGirlsDadTwoGirls 5234 replies1 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 5,235 Senior Member
    At one point I worked on a software project with a team from UW Madison. I was *very* impressed by the entire team there -- professors and students.

    I understand your frustration. I would have expected you to get into more schools. However, do not underestimate UW Madison. You probably deserve to have multiple great options. However, you do have one (very well deserved) great option.

    The hard work that you have put into your academics means that you will be going off to university in September better prepared than many of the other students. Buy a good winter coat and good boots (unless you are already from Wisconsin) and I expect that you will do very well there. You will also find some other great students and some great professors there.
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  • Puzzeled101Puzzeled101 93 replies3 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 96 Junior Member
    edited March 29
    I am so sorry. Competition is incredibly brutal. So many factors are not in your control, and trust me its not your SAT score. I had a similar score as you, but I was able to get into a top selective research university (I just found that out) Needless to say, I have been rejected from many colleges, but at the end everything worked out. The decisions are not solely based on merit. Its not a meritocracy to its fullest extent. And thats what many people confuse it for. Schools are looking for types of students that they need, after you cross the academic threshold. Its more highly subjective and blatantly discriminatory, as the number of apps increase.
    edited March 29
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  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 41315 replies445 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 41,760 Senior Member
    Yes, I'd have expected you'd get into more colleges. :(
    But sometimes college admissions are mysterious.
    The difference between and your classmates is that they won't know what hits them when they start college in the Fall, whereas you're used to hard work and perseverance. 2/3 would be engineering major never make it - your work and dedication will help you be part of the 1/3.
    Nevertheless, you have two choices.
    Can you indicate what the LAC is and what you want to major in there (not engineering I assume)?
    Are both universities affordable?
    That being said, U Wisconsin is among the best nationally for CS and it's top-notch for engineering.
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  • 3SailAway3SailAway 399 replies5 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 404 Member
    @plantmap Just wanted to check in and say that I hope you are bouncing back from the disappointments. Also, I’m sorry about what you went through with your parent, and I think you must have very strong inner resources to deal with it so well.

    I also have the questions @MYOS1634 asked. Is UWisconsin affordable? I hope you can shift gears and start getting excited about going to college!
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  • plantmapplantmap 13 replies4 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 17 Junior Member
    Yes UW Madison is affordable with scholarships and aid.
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  • plantmapplantmap 13 replies4 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 17 Junior Member
    Physics was what I'd major in at a LAC. The LAC is need aware in admissions so I have a feeling that's why I was waitlisted because I'd need A LOT of money and the school itself is very expensive :/

    I just don't understand what I did wrong in the admissions process! It's very frustrating, I'd at least like to know the reasons as some form of closure. I feel like I've worked so hard to do everything I can, and I expected at least one acceptance to a "top school."

    I'm still brooding on it because especially in the last month or so (with the news and all) I'm realizing that college admissions is not at all a meritocracy, which is what had given me hope for so long.
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 6247 replies35 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 6,282 Senior Member
    UW is a great school for engineering! IMO, the larger schools tend to be stronger for engineering than the small LACs.

    If I had to guess, it was the SAT score that kept you out but it's water under the bridge. Bloom where you are planted. You have an acceptance at a fantastic school!
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  • MamaBear16MamaBear16 1102 replies13 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,115 Senior Member
    I want to let you know that you aren't the only one who feels like this. There are so many threads on this board that show that great applicants often don't get into their top choices. Don't let it define who you are. Take the colleges that accepted you and choose the one that fits you best and make the most out of those 4 years. Just an aside, but I live in CA and know 4 current students at UW right now who really like it there. I know that one already has a great job that he will be starting this summer in Chicago.
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  • plantmapplantmap 13 replies4 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 17 Junior Member
    I guess I'm just a bit scared of going to such a massive school as well. I'd like to continue interning so my fear is that I'll be lost amoung all the students! I also like the idea of smaller class sizes since I love getting to know my peers and teachers.

    I also want a job that I love and that makes decent $ when I'm older. Perhaps grad school as well. I just feel like other schools have better "connections" but at this point I'm thinking so far ahead of myself 🤭
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  • plantmapplantmap 13 replies4 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 17 Junior Member
    Thanks to everyone for your insight and support as well 😊 I really appreciate everything being put into perspective, I know it's hard to see the "big picture" at this age.
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  • plantmapplantmap 13 replies4 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 17 Junior Member
    Wow, that's cool! How does she get to know her professors that well? I'd like to reach her level haha
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  • MamaBear16MamaBear16 1102 replies13 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,115 Senior Member
    You didn't name the LAC, so I wasn't able to comment on it, but I think that LACs are great places in general. If you prefer a smaller student body then I would strongly consider it.
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  • plantmapplantmap 13 replies4 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 17 Junior Member
    It's Carleton. I have accepted the waitlist offer. I'm just really concerned that they won't be able to give me enough aid if even their admissions are need-aware. I love that school but I also don't want to be in loads of debt 😬

    Should I send them another letter of rec? My physics teacher loves me and would write a great one, but I don't want to seem annoying to the admissions office. I couldn't find any specific instructions on Carleton's website about the waitlist. Maybe I should email them asking if I should send additional materials?
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 6247 replies35 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 6,282 Senior Member
    I PM'd you.
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 6247 replies35 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 6,282 Senior Member
    I wouldn't send another LOR but if you've won awards or have additions to your application that have happened this semester, go ahead and email a letter of continued interest with the information, and telling them that they are your first choice (if they are).
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