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Bad College News So Far: How Can I Improve My Outcomes?

CCEdit_TorreyCCEdit_Torrey 35 replies347 threads Editor
Despite a perfect SAT score, this student hasn't been accepted anywhere yet. The Dean offers advice. https://insights.collegeconfidential.com/rejected-from-colleges
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Replies to: Bad College News So Far: How Can I Improve My Outcomes?

  • RiversiderRiversider 934 replies111 threads Senior Member
    edited December 2019
    He’ll see better results in RD but he should apply to a couple of real safeties (at least one with rolling admission for peace of mind and another one with acceptance rate above 50%) and instead of focusing on Stanford, Harvard, Princeton, MIT, look at similarly good schools like Vanderbilt, Rice, Hopkins, CMU, Williams etc.

    He doesn’t have to get in all of “T 20”, just one of them so no loosing faith. Yes, some things in this process are against him but many things support him as well. He is clearly hard working, driven and intelligent, he just needs to spruce up his application and apply RD. Best of luck to him and everyone else in his position.
    edited December 2019
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  • TheBigChefTheBigChef 668 replies6 threads Member
    It's December 30th. Unless this kid is planning on taking a PG year, it's a little late in the day to be asking how he can improve his outcomes. As far as what happened, he made the classic mistake of overestimating his qualifications when it comes to getting into schools like Stanford, Harvard, Yale, and Princeton. At that level, being ranked 28th in the class and "only" getting three B's is nothing to brag about. He doesn't say anything about EC's either - so that could be a problem as well.
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  • usma87usma87 408 replies3 threads Member
    Agree with @TheBigChef - this process was a wake-up for me as a parent of two high stats kids. I was thinking "how could they not accept him?" Low and behold he was accepted to 2 out of 8 schools. If I had to guess, his essays were so-so and we have no hook (caucasian male, CS major, middle class family). As I have said many times, the 'dream school' is just that, a dream. It may turn out to be a nightmare. The other reality, undergrad school is not that important. If you want to go to grad school, that is where it can be more important.

    On a side note, I had a high school classmate that scored 1600 on the SAT and was shocked when he was turned down at Stanford and Cal. Maybe it was that GPA of less than a 3.5 that showed them his level of motivation. Unfortunately for the student this thread is about, heavy dose of reality incoming. Without a strong hook, selective schools will choose other students. They will all turn down plenty of 4.0, high test score kids.
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  • TomSrOfBostonTomSrOfBoston 15273 replies1034 threads Senior Member
    edited December 2019
    @usma87 With a sub 3.5 GPA she should never have expected to be admitted to Cal and Stanford.
    edited December 2019
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  • usma87usma87 408 replies3 threads Member
    @TomSrOfBoston - exactly my point. Even back in the 80's, there was no way a perfect SAT would overcome the GPA. He just assumed that the SAT would open the doors to the highly selective schools. Even back then, that was a fantasy. While the subject of this post isn't in the same predicament, there does appear to be surprise that a perfect SAT is not getting the interest/acceptance that the student expected.
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  • sunnyschoolsunnyschool 1374 replies31 threads Senior Member
    edited December 2019
    I've never heard anyone define schools as "T-20" outside of these boards on College Confidential which attract status-obsessed applicants; and the "T-20" seems to be a definition mostly used by certain cultures.

    Agree, classic mistake here. NO notable extracurriculars mentioned, only Ivy and "T-20" applications to the most competitive major (CS), by a student in a very competitive "bucket". And, FYI to OP, Stanford is a dream school for lots of super-qualified kids; Stanford is known for taking unique kids that are "national/intl champions of something" and not necessarily 1600 scorers.

    OP needs to come to senses and apply at other schools and not perceive them as "safeties". Or, do a gap year and reapply...but do something in the gap year where he learns and progresses as a person, since that didn't seem to happen in high school where he was likely grade and score obsessed and not balanced with extracurriculars and team oriented activities.

    I highly doubt UWashington is a realistic option (for CS/Eng) -- almost impossible to get into CS there OOS. They even send out a letter explaining this. Last year students with 1580 SAT/4+ GPA/great EC's did not get into CS OOS because they prioritize these coveted, limited spots for in-state. UW will admit to another major, however, but it may not be in Engineering. In fact, all the Dean's suggestions are highly competitive schools except for maybe UNH. OP needs to apply to second or third tier schools if he wants a choice come April. There is *nothing* wrong with these schools and OP may find he is more successful there.
    edited December 2019
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  • dfbdfbdfbdfb 3987 replies24 threads Senior Member
    usma87 wrote:
    On a side note, I had a high school classmate that scored 1600 on the SAT and was shocked when he was turned down at Stanford and Cal. Maybe it was that GPA of less than a 3.5 that showed them his level of motivation.
    High school GPA is a much better predictor of college success (including first year college GPA) than test scores, and colleges know it. Unless that 3.5 was a result of something unusual (say, truly bombing 9th grade but then recovering and being spectacular in 10th and 11th grades, or a high school with an average GPA of 2.2 or somesuch), for schools like Stanford and Cal that have an abundance of ≥3.8 applicants, a 3.5 isn't just a red flag, it's a wildly waving red flag.
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  • Johnny523Johnny523 220 replies10 threads Junior Member
    dfbdfb wrote: »
    Mini-rant: Also worth remembering, there are plenty of Southern and "flyover" flagships that would have happily thrown piles of money at this student's feet, and the education for comp sci would have been at least as good as most if not all of the schools listed as places the student is applying. But no, no, a place like West Virginia or Iowa State is somehow not worth discussing, because we all want a Big Name™…

    This +1000. My son had much lower stats and is getting very nice merit aid from Arizona. This student would get free tuition there.
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  • blondeboynjblondeboynj 82 replies6 threads Junior Member
    facts! He should apply to Tulane and UMiami (two well-ranked and private schools) who are on the uprise and looking for high stats students to make them look better.
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  • blondeboynjblondeboynj 82 replies6 threads Junior Member
    Yall wrong though about "everyone having high stats". Only 1% of students get 1500+ scores. 1% of the 2 million test-takers a year is merely 20,000 students.

    The students problem isn't the numbers. Top schools will find those numbers "acceptable" and check him off the academic box.

    What the rest of his app needs to do is show potential, in college, his major, his field of interest, and career. This can be done a million ways, but its really essential
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  • minimickeyminimickey 69 replies0 threads Junior Member
    To say that it is a lottery for high stakes kids is not quite true. It is true that at top schools unhooked high stats kids will be in a pool where maybe 5 or 10% or so will get admitted RD - this is a statistical fact. But here is where marketing, messaging, micro demographics, specific skills or qualities the school is looking for etc come into play. There are some kids who write an essay that's so good that it will pull them in even when the rest of the profile doesn't stand out in the pool. And sometimes the AO will, at the margin, just take a liking to a kid. So there is an element of luck, for sure. Sometimes it does come down to a bit of coin toss between equally qualified kids. But that doesn't mean you should give up on writing an effective app - far from it.

    The stats are what they are - it is difficult for kids (and parents of kids) to accept that even with perfect scores and grades they face really tough odds, esp since many of these kids would have gotten in just a decade ago. But some will get in - by spending a lot of time focussing on the your app you may be able to stand out among many kids with great stats and increase your odds, perhaps significantly.
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  • CTDadof2CTDadof2 81 replies13 threads Junior Member
    Regarding the OP's assertions that he had a perfect SAT score and is of Chinese-American heritage, I just saw a comment a Chinese-American mother made in response to an admissions related article in the WSJ where she said there is a cottage industry in the Chinese language world of surrepticiously obtaining the questions asked on the current SAT and posting them online. Chinese students then drill relentlessly to memorize the answers to potential questions. It appears the SAT may have been effectively "hacked" so to speak by this group, which could have the effect of making schools suspect the validity of perfect scores coming from Chinese-American applicants.
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