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Accepted to Only 2 Out of 17 Schools - and What I Learned

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Replies to: Accepted to Only 2 Out of 17 Schools - and What I Learned

  • SkullingGirlSkullingGirl 5 replies3 threads New Member
    Dear Berkeley2020,

    I'm a parent whose son was accepted to UCB (Regents') Engineering and did not go; he attended Vanderbilt. He loved his school, did well and was exposed to a wide range of people and ideas that helped him grow in new directions. He ended up working in a not for profit in SF after graduation and collaborated with UCB students and faculty and raved about them. He even shared how great an experience that would have been to go there.

    I appreciate your post; it shows deep self reflection and awareness. Each point was compelling but the first one about lacking personal passion in your essay stood out the most. You have to be authentic when describing who you are, what you care about, what you want, and it actually does come through in an essay.

    Thank you for sharing what you learned about this difficult process. I hope your first year at UCB is going great.



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  • iamnotaaroniamnotaaron 27 replies7 threads Junior Member
    @OnlyBerkeley2020 Tell us about your experiences so far at Cal!
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  • happy1happy1 23260 replies2303 threads Senior Member
    @iamnotaaron This thread is a year old and the OP has not been on this site since May, 2016,
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  • momcincomomcinco 1047 replies23 threads Senior Member
    Just saw this, thanks to its being reposted in another thread. OP you are an amazing person. I am so happy for you that it is working out at Berkeley! It shows so much maturity and thoughtfulness that you came back to post your experiences for other students' benefit. Congrats...and enjoy!
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  • GregAlllenGregAlllen 1 replies0 threads New Member
    I believe that you may not have submitted references or the references were terrible. A good guidance counselor would have given you a heads up. Did you ask your guidance counselor if your teacher references were good? Did you tell your teacher references about your grades in their class? Your ACT scores/SAT scores? Did you ask your teachers for a good reference? Because short of horrible references, missing deadlines or misspelling common words in your essays, your results are impossible. Did you apply to CMU's regular program? Or only their highly qualified not even MIT entrant folks get into program? I ask because botching references and essays and you still would have gotten into CMU! I personally would like to see one of the Ivy applications and all the rejection letters before believing. By the way, did you follow-up with each school to be sure they received all your materials...did you follow-up on the wait list? Did you write back to those who rejected you schools and ask for a further review? If not...you are right, you didn't care enough. Let none of us make this mistake.
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  • TTGTTG 1663 replies14 threads Senior Member
    ^^^Bumping, because this thread is important. Students with similarly high stats--and not even nearly as high ones--will get into excellent schools. But those couple of dozen exceedingly competitive schools (with RD acceptance rates under, say, 15-20%, are just extremely difficult for EVERY SINGLE APPLICANT. It is possible for outstanding students to go 2 for 17, even with several schools that seem like matches/safeties on their list.

    Finding schools that are not only excellent but also a GREAT FIT and being able to convey in a compelling way why it would be a great fit, and why the student would be a great fit for the community, are really essential when applying to any school, but especially such competitive schools.

    Everyone goes gaga over Ivy League schools, even though they are just a bunch excellent schools among many excellent schools. Students apply to them just because they are Ivies. But I think it would be very difficult to convey to Penn, Columbia, and Dartmouth that they are just the right fit, and the student is just the right fit. They are so, so different. How could one successfully pull that off? How could I convincingly tell Dartmouth admissions that their quaint little mountain town in rural VT is just where I belong, and will thrive, and then then convincingly tell Columbia that being able to hop on the subway for a quick trip to Times Square is really just what I'm looking for? Now if I love Dartmouth, maybe I could look at other Ivies but also at other excellent schools that are like Dartmouth. Then I will be able to convey my interest effectively and will probably find more success.

    All of the other tips are good as well. Get to know your teachers. They really want to root for you. And choose teachers to write recommendation letters who you think will effectively convey what fine attributes you will bring to their school. A teacher might be great and think a lot of a student, but might not be able to strongly convey it. take that into account.
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  • TTGTTG 1663 replies14 threads Senior Member
    Whoops! Mind freeze. We usually hop across the river from VT when we go there, so I usually have VT on my mind. And, yes, I would think they'd chuck my application out if I put that on there.
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  • jzducoljzducol 768 replies14 threads Member
    By now we can all agree that OP has amazing personal qualities beyond stellar academics. He or she didn't deserve to be rejected by so many schools. But perhaps I missed something during the five pages----we don't know OP's demographics. I know this is politically incorrect on this board to ask but in the interest of being helpful to future applicants we probably need to know this info to learn some real lessons. Since top schools admit students by cohorts if the OP happened to fall in the toughest cohort like Asian American male from Ca this outcome was actually not unexpected; we have had several threads on this board every year, which had even more accomplished guys being rejected everywhere. Thanks goodness for schools like Cal where amazing kids like OP had a place to go and realize their full potential.
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  • OnlyBerkeley2020OnlyBerkeley2020 14 replies2 threads Junior Member
    edited August 2017
    You're right on the money; my demographic is indeed Asian American male from CA.
    edited August 2017
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  • legomanialegomania 10 replies2 threads New Member
    do you mind me asking what race you are?
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  • preppedparentpreppedparent 3341 replies10 threads Senior Member
    Dear OP. Don't beat yourself up too badly. You got into Cal --a world class university with a Regents! Not too shabby. Maybe you're where you're supposed to be. Enjoy Cal. Sounds like you're having a world class, top notch experience.
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  • LindagafLindagaf 9735 replies521 threads Senior Member
    edited November 2017
    OP has already said he is Asian American, in the post immediately before yours. Please read the thread, @legomania .

    @preppedparent the thread was started in April 2016.
    edited November 2017
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  • preppedparentpreppedparent 3341 replies10 threads Senior Member
    uh duh @LIndagaf. I went to an ivy, and yes I can read. I know that. Why do you presume I don't know?
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  • LindagafLindagaf 9735 replies521 threads Senior Member
    edited November 2017
    Interesting response. I simply thought perhaps you weren't aware and I was trying to be helpful. Many people don't notice the original posting dates on old threads.
    edited November 2017
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  • websensationwebsensation 2120 replies39 threads Senior Member
    I know OP's post is very old but I wanted to post something so that future applicants can keep this in mind. I have seen many applicants (many of them Asian Americans) get denied even from UCB with the similar stats as OP, especially if their intended majors are in competitive fields. I know one smart Asian-American student with 2350+ SAT, near perfect GPA, captain of track team, etc. who got rejected from all schools for Comp Sci field and got into "only" UC San Diego. He did very well there and has a great job waiting for him. At least OP got into UCB. A scary thing is he wasn't even going to apply to UC San Diego thinking there is no way he would get rejected from some schools which were ranked higher than UCSD. So always apply to one or two "for sure" schools. This kid's experience persuaded me to have my kid apply to two "for sure" safety Honors Colleges at state schools where our kid got near full merit scholarships, so in the worst scenario, he had his back-ups.

    The ironic thing is my kid wasn't offered and couldn't get Regents scholarship from top UCs, but he had pretty good chance to get into HYPSM. The evaluation standards differ for both.
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  • preppedparentpreppedparent 3341 replies10 threads Senior Member
    It's sad that Asian Americans are discriminated against in the college admission process. Many colleges have secret quotas for Asians and there's a lot of hiding behind the "holistic process," rather than transparency. It's only a matter of time before the Supreme Court ensures that MLK's dream manifests for all students. For naysayers, don't take my word for it, google Asian Americans and college admissions.
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  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 42308 replies454 threads Senior Member
    edited November 2017
    Preppedparent: UCs specifically do not consider race when admitting students.
    In any case....40% students at UCB are Asian American (24% White). About 37% at UC Irvine, 44% at UCSD. This roughly reflects the demographic make up of the state - o don't think you'd get the same numbers in New Hampshire.
    For UCs what matters is being the best in your high school or what you achieved within your high school.
    UIowa, UMaine look at your stats only.
    At other Universities, there are various components to admissions. There has to be balance between all groups the university wants to see represented.
    In addition, there are many highly ranked, highly selective universities where being Asian means being an underrepresented applicant (Carleton, Colby Grinnell...)
    edited November 2017
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