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Class of 2025 - worth applying ED with subpar grades/scores?

guitarguy719guitarguy719 3 replies4 threads New Member
edited June 17 in Brown University
Brown is absolutely my top choice school. I'm considering applying ED, but I'm not sure if I would even have a chance, or if it would be a waste of an early decision when I could use it to get into a lower reach. In other words, I'm not asking if I will get into Brown with these stats, I understand that schools with acceptance rates in the single digits are unpredictable, I'm asking if it is even worth taking the chance of applying ED.

White male, middle class, rural (live on a farm)
Prospective English and theater concentrations
Full IB Diploma candidate - the most rigorous curriculum my school has to offer
GPA: 3.85 unweighted, 4.03 weighted as of end of junior year. 4.0 both semesters of junior year
33 ACT - 35 English, 29 Math, 35 Reading, 31 Science

Orchestra, 1st violin, all 4 years
Varsity tennis, all 4 years
Jazz Ensemble, 3 years
Chamber Choir, 2 years
School newspaper, 3 years
School's mass band, 3 years
Varsity Knowledge Bowl, 3 years
Founder of my school's Writers' Guild
National Honor Society member
Several minor and three lead roles in theater - one in Fall play, Spring musical, and an opera
Staff member of and twice published in my school's literary magazine
Started and operate a candle company with my classmate
Alum of the Iowa Young Writers' Studio, Summer Residential Program
Completed a course in fiction writing from a local literary center
Self-published a collection of short stories
A tutor in my school's writing center
I've played the guitar for 10 years or so
~250 hours of working at local movie theater

Excellence in Chinese III, IV, and V awards
"Honorable Mention" award in the NPR Student Podcast Challenge
Excellence in Theater Award
Award given to the highest-ranked submission of my school's annual literary magazine
1st place in talent show, Freshman year
3rd place in talent show, Sophomore year

I think my application is competitive besides my test scores and grades -- will Brown even look at my app? I'm aware that my scores and grades are far below the average of accepted students. I am entirely rooted in humanities, particularly English. Math has always been my biggest weakness, and I think it's worth noting that it's by far my lowest score on the ACT, and all grades that haven't been an A have been in my first 2 years of high school and math classes.

edited June 17
15 replies
Post edited by CCEdit_Suraj on
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Replies to: Class of 2025 - worth applying ED with subpar grades/scores?

  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 8199 replies87 threads Senior Member
    Worse than getting turned down would be getting in and not being able to afford it b/c Brown thinks your family can afford to spend more than your family thinks it can.

    Have you talked about finances for college with your family? If they can pay for Brown straight up, great. If not, you need to know what they think they can afford to spend on college (this will affect all your apps).

    You mentioned that you live on a farm- if it's your family's farm, and farming is the family business, I would contact Brown FinAid and ask them how that will affect the EFC (owning a business can throw off the NPCs that each college has on their website).

    As for your app to Brown: your ACT doesn't rule you out- it's in the (low end) of the middle 50%. Your math subscore is in the bottom 15% of accepted students- so, not ideal but not impossible.

    But: do your GC & recommenders see you as a star in your class and your school? If so, and Brown is really the one you want- and if you get in you will be able to afford it- then take the shot.
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  • Groundwork2022Groundwork2022 3743 replies91 threads Senior Member
    Despite your clickbait-ish title, your stats are not "subpar". If you can afford Brown, you should go ahead and apply ED.
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  • baeriabaeria 57 replies1 threads Junior Member
    I think shoot your shot at Brown. However, before doing so, fill out the NPC calculators to make sure it is affordable. Make sure to have an EDII ready to go after. Also, apply to some rolling admissions safeties.
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  • AustinSanJuanAustinSanJuan 13 replies1 threads New Member
    I can’t imagine a much stronger application than yours. Admissions is totally unpredictable, but I think you have as good a chance as anyone. If you can afford it I say go for it! Good luck! I am strongly considering applying ED to Brown for the class of ‘25 so maybe I’ll see you around :-)
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  • coffeeat3coffeeat3 181 replies1 threads Junior Member

    My answer will be "it depends" if you want to use your ED on Brown. My daughter has so much overlap with you it is a bit eerie and she may apply to Brown ED. She is an urban kid now and dreams to be rural and live on a farm! Obviously I have 'mom' biases - but your stats and EC's are strong, show passion and presuming you want to study in their Creative Arts program. We sat through a presentation at Columbia and they said that it is sad to see the trend of Humanities majors/applicants decreasing and more kids going toward STEM - so ya for Humanities/English kids. :)

    My daughter's school usually sends 1-3 students a year to Brown out of 80 kids. Her college counselor told her she is "in the range" to apply and it is within a possibility. That is about as good as it is going to get with their acceptance rates and strong applicant pool.

    What is your school's track history with Brown? Are there a lot of legacy kids applying from your school? My daughter knows of 2 legacies at her school and unsure if they are applying - 1 will most likely be a NMF, interesting, smart, kind the full deal and has a influential, public figure parent that is the alumni. The other student is a double legacy and would be 3rd generation Brown - so if either/both apply - it would impact my daughter's chances for ED.

    Have you met with your area's admission rep yet? If not, email and start a dialog. You may want to listen to the podcast Inside the Yale Admissions Office (on itunes) and find it helpful to hear how applications are reviewed and the importance of the role your AO officer plays in your application review.

    Lastly, what other schools are on your list? Do they offer ED2, so if you do not get into Brown or don't want to risk being deferred - do you have strong ED2 options? Lastly - can you afford Brown and have you run their calculator to understand your financial picture and if they don't meet your desired need - would you still be able to attend?

    Good luck!
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  • LindagafLindagaf 11303 replies603 threads Super Moderator
    Your grades and scores are not subpar.

    Sure, apply ED. And yes, they will look at your application. That’s why it’s called holistic admissions.

    Assuming test centers are open, ACT will be offering section retests in September. Your score is worth submitting, so consider retaking the math section.
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  • hypersnap7hypersnap7 6 replies1 threads New Member
    You have an outstanding application package. If I have to nitpick, what is your class ranking with a GPA 3.85? I assume your school is not a feeder school for Ivy's so Brown/any T-20 would weigh heavily in your class ranking.
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  • guitarguy719guitarguy719 3 replies4 threads New Member
    To answer some questions that I’ve seen, there are no legacy students at my school that I’m aware of, I go to a really small school and the last student to get into Brown got in about 5 years ago. As for my class rank, I have a graduating class of 40, so class rank and percentiles are not made public as the top 10% would only be 4 students.

    My unweighted GPA for each sem goes like this:
    Freshman: 3.69, 3.80
    Sophomore: 3.83, 3.85
    Junior: 4.0, 4.0.

    First semester Freshman year was by far my lowest, but it’s probably worth noting I was in the midst of moving into a new home after my house burned down.
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  • coffeeat3coffeeat3 181 replies1 threads Junior Member
    @guitarguy719 - Sounds like your school doesn't have a track record with Brown and I would highly encourage you to find out who is the admission rep for your area and begin a dialog. My daughter's school has already attended hosted two sessions (one in person and one over Zoom) with the Brown rep for our area. For students without this resource, it will be your responsibility to reach out and ask questions. The admission reps at most schools are wonderful and want to meet the students - it is all new now with Covid and no on campus visits, so a great opportunity to learn more over email or zoom.
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  • Brown79Brown79 30 replies2 threads Junior Member
    I wouldn't be overly concerned about Freshman year shortcomings. Likewise (to a lesser extent) for Sophomore year. Admissions isn't "hiring" based on where people were at three years ago.

    Math acumen doesn't matter as much to Admissions if you won't be needing it. It can cut the other way for EC's: If you have a big achievement in something neither related to your academic interests nor relevant to leadership potential, it may not count for a lot.

    Legacy status isn't a big deal at Brown, at least relative to the other Ivys. I've had well-qualified double-legacy interviewees turned down, and there are plenty of examples (that I mostly can't talk about) involving legacies of the "rich and powerful" as well. Coffeeat3's daughter isn't at the sort of disadvantage it might seem. Her daughter probably won't get in, and you probably won't get in, and if I applied now I probably wouldn't get in, and none of the 19 people I interviewed this year got in... but that's simply because almost no one gets in. Perhaps half of the applicants I interview would do fairly well there academically, but there's just not room.
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  • PikachuRocks15PikachuRocks15 515 replies2 threads Member
    I'm an incoming First-Year at Brown who applied ED, was deferred, but accepted RD. I highly recommend that you apply to Brown ED if the following are true:


    2. You're confident that you can craft a well-thought out application by the ED deadline, which is November 1st.

    3. You and your family can afford Brown (run the Financial Aid calculators if applicable.)

    At my school, multiple students applied ED and RD to Brown, however, only me and another student admitted ED were admitted to Brown. This year in particular (from watching YouTube videos about decisions,) I've noticed that Brown admitted quite a few deferred students, likely because we all loved Brown (which is why we applied ED) and would probably attend if admitted RD (look-up what a letter of continued interest is for deferred students/waitlists.)

    Your test scores fall within Brown's score range, and more importantly, at Brown and other similar colleges, test scores/GPA/courses are how admissions assesses your capability to cope with the curriculum at their college. Once Brown's confident that you'll succeed at their school, they look to the other parts of your application for evidence of HOW you will (through your essays, alumni interview, letters of recommendation etc: all explaining how you've taken advantage of your high school's resources, will thrive at Brown and utilize the Open Curriculum to its fullest, and will make Brown proud to call you its alumni in the future.) :smile:

    Hope that helps! Good luck with college admissions!
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  • Brown79Brown79 30 replies2 threads Junior Member
    edited September 11
    > I've noticed that Brown admitted quite a few deferred students < FYI, the most common disposition for Brown ED applications is to be deferred to RD -- not all that many are denied outright during ED. So applied ED/deferred/accepted RD is very much in the normal course of things.

    > they look to the other parts of your application for evidence of HOW you will (through your essays, alumni interview, letters of recommendation etc < NEWS FLASH: Brown just announced (at least to the interviewer community) that there will be no interviewing of Class of 2025 applicants. The interviewing program is suspended for at least a year. Here is the most relevant excerpt:

    "The COVID crisis has exposed the vast digital divide that exists in the country and that limits the ability of many students to have stable and secure internet access. We also acknowledge that not everyone is comfortable in an interviewing environment, especially a virtual one. Our goal, in such a difficult year, is to make every effort to reduce anxiety rather than amplify it. To that end, we have created a series of new options for applicants this year.

    To ensure that access to this type of opportunity is equitable across our applicant pool, this year we hope that all who are interested will instead choose to submit a two-minute Video-Portfolio [in order to] share more about themselves beyond the written application."
    edited September 11
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 35696 replies403 threads Senior Member
    edited September 11
    I think you'd benefit from two things. First, when it comes to a "most competitive," you need to know the school better, what they value and look for. Not just that you "love" some college and here are your details, love 'em or leave 'em. After all, you may choose where to apply, but they choose the class.

    Second, forget the back patting or "go for it" encouragement, the formulaic endorsement. You need enough of that understanding (above) to have some strategy, so you can form the best app/supps. Best way is to scour their web sites, the info they put forth, what they show, the sorts of kids they may tout, special programs, etc.

    Your gpa is a little lower- the impact depends on what class(es) you got lower than an A in. Your math 29 is low-- but you aren't applying for stem. And, you do have a very nice range of activites relevant to English and theater concentrations. You seem to have pursued that energy (I don't say "passions," that's empty.)

    We can't decide for you. But I think you have a right to apply, a good show of how you got involved, contributed, tested yourself and won some attention.

    Now, it's about doing this leg work, ensuring affordability-- and what you do convey in your app and supp, hitting just the right notes. Be savvy. Pay attention to any "Why Us" questions- don't go off track or generic. (The Why Us can be implied in various supp questions. Top colleges like to see you understand your match and answer accordingly- not heavy handed, but informed.)

    Then, as I told my kids, it's out of your hands. I do wish you luck.

    Adding: volunteering has been tough in this time of covid. Any chance you've done more than tutoring? Eg, any role mentoring other actors or something outside school, some community thing or via a religious org?
    edited September 11
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  • PikachuRocks15PikachuRocks15 515 replies2 threads Member
    @Brown79 This year, Brown deferred ~25% of the applicant pool vs. ~60% last-year, so students had a higher chance admission-wise compared to earlier years (this was also why I chose not to apply ED2 to Vanderbilt, although I ended up getting into both RD, so I would have always regretted not waiting for Brown RD if I had applied ED2.)

    I commented on this thread a few weeks back, before alumni interviews were cancelled. For this year, just replace "alumni interview" with "video portfolio." :smile:
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