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Why do people with high stats get rejected...

OhhibyeOhhibye Registered User Posts: 65 Junior Member
edited October 2014 in Cal Poly San Luis Obispo
since Cal Poly is the school I've been wanting to go to, I've been doing LOTS of research on past experiences of those who had applied and then got rejected.

I know of many people (both from reading their experiences online/people I know personally) who have had VERY high stats, yet got rejected.

Someone I knew last year recently told me that they had a 4.3 GPA, a 33 ACT, a 2140 (around there) SAT, took summer college courses, had a job related to their engineering major, and had over 20 hours a week of ECs with a leadership role, but still got rejected for mechanical engineering.

I understand that mechanical eng. is REALLY competitive, but this person literally had almost perfect stats, yet got rejected?? Doubt they were lying to me because this kid is one of those serious overachievers, so I doubt he exaggerated or anything. At least he got into Berkeley, but it just shocks me how Cal Poly denied him?

Then there was someone else who applied for computer science, had slightly lower stats. APPLIED ED, 4.1 GPA, 30 ACT, 20+ hours of EC with leadership role. They got rejected too for both ED and RD!

Also someone with 4.05 GPA, 31 ACT, not sure about their EC hours, applied for some type of engineering (I forgot which) and got rejected as well....

It honestly scares me since I'm planning on applying for an engineering major and my stats would be considered a joke compared to those I've mentioned above....

What I'm wondering is are there other factors other than the numbers itself? For example: gender, race, school/area they came from, family income, family education level, etc.? Even though I find it unfair how someone with low stats may have a better chance of getting in just because both their parents didn't graduate from high school........

I know technically it would be "illegal", but it really makes no sense how these *almost* perfect people get rejected. So if these people with high stats get rejected, what is Cal Poly even looking for? People with absolutely PERFECT scores and GPAs? It seems to make no sense to me.


I've read that sometimes they reject very overqualified students because they think they'll end up going to an Ivy League or Cal or something, but if that's the case, how does the average admittance stats remain so high? And also, explain the people with high stats who applied ED who got rejected..


**oh yeah, and the GPAs I mentioned were their CSU/Cal Poly calculated GPAs.

Replies to: Why do people with high stats get rejected...

  • GumbymomGumbymom Registered User Posts: 19,256 Senior Member
    @Ohhibye: Through my research on SLO, I have seen many references to the "Tufts Syndrome" that SLO practices. Meaning that many very High Stats applicants will use SLO as a backup to UCB/Stanford/UCLA etc.. and SLO know this, so they either reject or waitlist these applicants, knowing they will probably receive other offers. My son had 4 friends with high stats for ME last year, only 1 accepted, other 3 rejected and are currently attending UCLA/UCB and UCSB.
  • eyemgheyemgh Registered User Posts: 3,837 Senior Member
    If, as they preach and I haven't found any hard evidence to the contrary, they are all automated, the easiest explanation would be that the applicant(s) missed something minor, like a performing arts requirement. Cal Poly will deny admission without explanation if an applicant is missing a required course.

    I don't believe there's an intentional rejection of highly qualified applicants for two reasons. First, I know highly qualified applicants that got into ME. Second, the admission statistics are too strong to have many rejections of highly qualified applicants, especially when you consider that there are several majors in the college of engineering that aren't very selective.

    This certainly is just conjecture on my part as one can never really know for sure.

    What I would recommend to you is to follow the footsteps of those who have been admitted. Be absolutely certain you have fulfilled all of the requirements. If CP is without a doubt your number one choice, apply ED. Then, as I recommend to EVERYONE applying to schools where admission is selective, no matter how strong their application is, have a school that you know you will get into, that you know you can afford, that you know you'll be happy at in your back pocket. You just never know how things will play out, so it's nice to have options.

    Good luck!
  • MangiafuocoMangiafuoco Registered User Posts: 422 Member
    edited October 2014
    How do you know that those GPAs were their Cal Poly SLO calculated GPAs? Did they really tell you their Cal Poly SLO calculated GPAs? I think your friends may have a really unhealthy obsession with grades if they actually memorized all their GPAs from all the different calculation methods that each school uses.

    I do not remember my Cal Poly SLO GPA because Cal Poly SLO's method for calculating GPA is different from all the other schools' methods. I only memorize my 9th to 11th grade unweighted GPA, my 9th to 11th fully weighted GPA, and my capped UC GPA.

    Cal Poly SLO rejected me, but I had a low GPA, so the rejection makes sense. I am too lazy to calculate my Cal Poly SLO GPA, but my unweighted GPA is 3.66 and my SAT score is 1520 (reading and math).
  • OhhibyeOhhibye Registered User Posts: 65 Junior Member
    edited October 2014
    I'm sure it was their Cal Poly GPAs, since they mentioned it was in their experience they wrote about. And for my friends, they said it was the GPA that they had to recalculate, so I assume it had to be their Cal Poly GPA since they wouldn't have to recalculate it if it was just their regular weighted GPA the school already automatically tells you. Plus, they just graduated this year, so I don't think they would forget their GPAs by a big amount. I memorized my unweighted, weighted, CSU, Cal Poly, and UC GPAs, but that's because I calculated them recently.
  • blueskies2dayblueskies2day Registered User Posts: 753 Member
    There is always something. The admission process is totally automated at Cal Poly, a human never sees your application. It's all numbers. ECs count for virtually nothing. Class rigor and GPA counts a lot. People don't realize that there are a lot of students that have AP BC Calc junior year and Multvariable senior year, maybe they topped out at AP Cal AB. There is always something that is a little bit lower than those that get in, but unless you see the entire app for yourself, you can't judge.
  • 2018dad2018dad Registered User Posts: 1,162 Senior Member
    edited October 2014
    OP:
    If you search, there's a thread last acceptance cycle about this. SLO accepts by major. Some of their programs have an acceptance rate that's lower than Berkeley and UCLA's overall acceptance rate. BME, Computer Science and most of their Engineering majors are very competitive. A student with a 4.0 GPA and 2200 SAT that applied to CS can be rejected but a student with 3.0 GPA/ 1750 SAT that applied to English can be accepted. That's just one factor.

    Also if you don't know their SAT subscores, you can't really rely on their SAT since SLO only considers Math and CR. A student with 2140 SAT (670 M, 670 CR, 800 W) will receive lower points than a student with 1900 SAT (700 M, 700, CR, 550 W).

  • rhandcorhandco Registered User Posts: 4,275 Senior Member
    I teach college (not at SLO) and I can tell you that the major you are applying for is KEY to admissions at almost every college.

    We take students with as low as a C average and not college prep, students who can't even take pre-calc first semester as a freshman.

    The competitive departments at our school won't even look at students that aren't college prep. They won't consider a HS unweighted GPA below 3.0.

    Obviously it is not as drastic at some schools, but those with great reputations in individual departments can pick and choose. If they want 50 students in their major entering as freshman, and they get 500 applicants (the case for a competitive department), it's totally different than a program that is lucky to get 10 students in their major each year (the case for our department).

    This can work for or against an applicant. I also think that some schools see very high stats, especially high GPAs, and think "yeah, but does this person do anything other than schoolwork?".
This discussion has been closed.