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How I Got Rejected Nearly Everywhere

Objective:

SAT I: 1480 (750M, 730 EBRW)
ACT: 34 (35E, 32M, 36S, 33R)
SAT II: 700 Math II, 680 Literature (Did not send anywhere. I took these way too late as in the latest I could possibly take them and did not study as I should have).
GPA: 3.91 UW, 4.29W, 4.64 W on UC Scale (Applied to Berkley OOS)
Rank: 17/600 (Top 3%)
AP: Human Geography (5), World History (4), Chemistry (3), Calc AB (4), Calc BC (3), US History (4), Psychology (4), Lang (5)
Senior Year Courseload: (All AP) Literature, Statistics, Government, Physics 1, and Macroeconomics. Received all A's and a 5.0 W/4.0UW for the mid-year report.
Awards/Honors: AP Scholar w/ Distinction, 1st Place State Winner in Finance (DECA), International Finalist in Finance (DECA), Short story published in a regional literary magazine (reached a bit here)

Subjective:

Extracurriculars
- DECA (9-12, major awards won)
- Track and Field (10-12, Varsity Middle-Distance)
- National Honor Society (12, Volunteer work, 90 hours total)
- BETA (11-12, 150 hours total volunteer work). Taking into account NHS and Beta overlap, just over 200 total hours.
- Political Discourse Club (12, President and Founder, talked about politics and stuff)
- Math/Science Tutor (10-12)
- Church Volunteer for Vacation Bible School (10-11, Summer only, 2 weeks, 30 hours/week)
Job/Internships
- Publix (12, Cashier/Bagger, 25 hours/week)
- [Insert Business Name] Internship (11-12, welding and electrical circuitry, summer, 4 weeks at 40 hours/week)
Recommendations
AP Literature Teacher: 9/10, she really loved me and wrote a touching letter about my passion for learning.
AP Psych Teacher: 6/10 (assumed), He loved me as well, but I don't think he wrote that great a letter. Decent, just not great.
Counselor Rec: 7/10, Better than I thought. Concise but good and thorough for not knowing me well.
Interviews: In every single one of them, save Princeton, the interviewer told me I was a great candidate and should be proud of what I've accomplished. From what I can tell, that was just them being nice when I had no real shot. I thought I did well, but apparently not.
Essays
I poured my heart into my essays and had my Lit teacher, as well as my counselor and parents (lit teachers), read and give me feedback on them. I take pride in my writing, and I put a lot of work into them. I want to say they were 10/10, however, considering my results, I'd place them more at 7-8/10. Still, I loved my essays.

Other

Applied for Financial Aid?: Yes
Intended Major: Economics/Physics
State: Georgia
School Type: Pretty good mid-sized school. Had a few Ivy acceptances.
Ethnicity: White
Gender: Male
Income Bracket: 150k
Hooks: None (ouch)

Reflection

Where were you accepted/waitlisted/rejected?
University of Georgia EA (Accepted Honors College)
Georgia Tech EA (Deferred to Accepted RD) - Attending
Vanderbilt RD (Accepted)

University of Chicago EA (Deferred to Rejected RD)
Columbia ED (Rejected)
Harvard RD (Rejected)
Yale RD (Rejected)
Princeton RD (Rejected)
Stanford RD (Rejected)
Dartmouth RD (Rejected)
Duke RD (Rejected)
University of Pennsylvania RD (Rejected)
Berkley OOS (Rejected)


So, as you can see, I was pretty much rejected from every place I applied to. Now, one of the most glaring reasons is because I went extremely Top-Heavy in my applications. I applied to one safety school and then essentially went all out because, well, I thought I had a good chance at getting into one of them. Turns out, I should've had more match schools for myself, who would've thought?

Hooks were probably my next glaring issue as I was completely unhooked, which is crucial at the top schools. Plus, my subject test scores were poor due to my poor planning. I thought I'd be fine, but for the top schools, you need to have essentially an immaculate application with no glaring weakness like I did.

My advice is to not get too cocky like I did. I really did think I had a chance as an unhooked applicant with no subject tests, but the reality is that your chances are already astronomically low, don't give them reasons to make it even lower. I should have applied to more matches, however, I'm generally happy where I wound up honestly. Remember to keep your expectations grounded and know that your success isn't determined by what school you get accepted to - that's up for you to decide.



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Replies to: How I Got Rejected Nearly Everywhere

  • intparentintparent 36291 replies644 threads Senior Member
    Along with a top heavy list, I think fairly mainstream ECs, along with good but not great test scores impacted your results. GTech is a very good result, so you have a good school to attend this fall.
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  • onthewestfenceonthewestfence 251 replies8 threads Junior Member
    Congrats on your three offers. GT and Vandy are excellent offers. That being said, your test scores, specifically both SAT I, II, along with AP Chem and Calc BC were simply red flags and too low to have applied to all of the reaches. Be happy at GT and move on to a great adventure during the next four years.
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  • damon30damon30 1147 replies5 threads Senior Member
    Your sense of entitlement is amazing.

    The OP has 85 threads, including the one where his parents thought GT was "too dangerous".
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  • happy1happy1 23366 replies2314 threads Senior Member
    Thanks for sharing and hopefully others down the road will heed your advice to seek out more match/safety schools.

    Fortunately things worked out very well for you -- enjoy GaTech!
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  • PublisherPublisher 9628 replies121 threads Senior Member
    edited April 2019
    Your results are fine. Univ. of Georgia Honors, Georgia Tech & Vanderbilt are all outstanding options.

    So you got rejected by ten of the eight Ivies. At least you tried !

    With respect to essays, I would love to read one of your application essays. I am constantly amazed at applicants who have been told that there essays were strong, great or outstanding, yet clearly were lacking in some respects.

    P.S. Yes, I realize OP was only rejected by six Ivies & four Ivy equivalents.

    edited April 2019
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  • LittleStitiousLittleStitious 37 replies0 threads Junior Member
    I am glad you realized how tone deaf your initial post and title were. I know someone with higher gpa and ACT than yours and Vanderbilt was her dream school, and she was crushed by getting rejected in ED. You should be grateful for the excellent options you have.
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  • MeddyMeddy 552 replies36 threads Member
    Perspective is everything. Half full/half empty. I say half full. Congratulations!
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  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 42378 replies455 threads Senior Member
    How did you make the decision between UGA Honors (a top honors college), GTech, and Vanderbilt?
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  • PublisherPublisher 9628 replies121 threads Senior Member
    @MYOS1634 : OP has another thread in which he seeks advice about Univ. of Georgia Honors versus a joint degree program offered by Georgia Tech & Emory in biomechanical engineering (BME).
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  • Jleto18Jleto18 231 replies85 threads Member
    @MYOS1634 Vanderbilt is about 15k/year more expensive than the others as they are in state, so it was off my list almost immediately. For UGA Honors vs GT, I just liked the vibe of GT more. I'm not much of a party person, and the culture at UGA just didn't really fit me. Plus, aside from Physics, I'm considering BME, and GT's BME program is exceptional. UGA's engineering department is still new and doesn't offer as many majors.
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