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


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

  • sorghumsorghum Registered User Posts: 3,507 Senior Member
    Sounds like Tufts syndrome, most of them thought you were so good you wouldn't attend if offered. Are you Asian? Hard to imagine such tough results if you are not.
  • FredjanFredjan Registered User Posts: 541 Member
    Your post is good advice, but I think you're beating yourself too hard.

    "1. I was not passionate enough in my essays."
    Ok, I agree that this was a mistake. Given all your skills, though, it sounds like you are genuinely passionate about learning.

    "2. I did not improve throughout high school.... I was never able to make it to the next level. I never made it to USAMO or camp for USAPhO."
    Not that important. You qualified for AIME. That's already pretty difficult to accomplish.

    "3. Going into a STEM field, I did not do research."

    "4. I did not build enough connections"

    "5. I was not active in the communities."

  • glidoglido Registered User Posts: 5,966 Senior Member
    There are a lot of applicants with high stats applying to those schools. I am not convinced that the reasons you listed were determinative. It only takes one and you got into a great school. Congratulations. Give yourself a break. By next October 15th, you won't care a thing about any of the schools you didn't get into. You will get a great education and make friends for life. You win.
  • shadyconceptsshadyconcepts Registered User Posts: 702 Member
    I wholeheartedly agree with this advice. Though my GPA is subpar, I was able to be admitted to Penn because I showed a lot of passion for the school (I continued to send update letters even after being deferred ED) and made an amazing connection with my English teacher, whose husband is an alumnus of Penn and he ended up writing me an amazing letter of recommendation. Passion and connections can take you further than you would expect.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 74,430 Senior Member
    cutepug wrote:
    I will never forget a kid that came out of a suburban high school outside of Akron, Ohio years ago. He was considered a god. #1 in his class, and president of a bunch of orgs, all kinds of awards... (I should add that his dad was an attorney and mom a teacher.) Well, he went off to Princeton and transferred to Ohio State after one semester. He told me that he struggled to get 'C's' at Princeton, and was surrounded by people "who were more talented than I ever imagined people could be." No matter how hard he tried, he realized that his peak performance was not going to result in anything higher than a 2.5GPA. He never should have been admitted. But I bet that had he been rejected, everyone in that high school would have been outrage.

    Ummm, "Cs get degrees", so it looks like he was solidly passing his classes (and he had to have been doing well enough to earn a high enough GPA to transfer to Ohio State). I.e. he was capable of doing the work at Princeton, although he was not among the top academic performers there (at every school, someone has to be in the lower half of the class).

    Most 4.0 GPA high school students are not going to earn 4.0 GPAs in college.
  • CaliDad2020CaliDad2020 Registered User Posts: 1,010 Senior Member
    @OnlyBerkeley2020 Great post. Very helpful/cautionary to upcoming students, I'm sure.

    A few things I've noticed watching my D and her friends go through this.

    You have to pick a couple of "safeties" (and in CA the UCs are not "safeties" anymore unless you are willing to take whatever campus you are given.) There is no "single" school you can assume you will get into. It's a drag to spend the time and money, but you need a couple that are not <20% admits. Those <20% have to pass over great students all the time - and you might just get unlucky and be passed over by a number of them.

    Second, demonstrated interest really does seem to matter. Yield is becoming more important. Schools want to spend less resources chasing students. If you can seem like you are really excited about a school, it seems to me, from observing a whole slew of applicants this year, that it can make the difference in more competitive schools.

    Lastly, you can only attend one school. The "acceptance" collections will go under the bed with the swim trophies and debate medals, never to be used again... One great fit school acceptance is worth 13 not-good-fit acceptances.
  • FijibluFijiblu Registered User Posts: 46 Junior Member
    @OnlyBerkeley2020 Great post, thanks for sharing! Did you apply ED to any of these schools?
  • OnlyBerkeley2020OnlyBerkeley2020 Registered User Posts: 16 Junior Member
    @Fijiblu I applied EA to MIT, UChicago, Caltech, and UIUC early, but was deferred to RD from all of them. Ended up being rejected from all of them in the end.
  • PurpleTitanPurpleTitan Registered User Posts: 11,910 Senior Member
    Which major at UIUC?
  • OnlyBerkeley2020OnlyBerkeley2020 Registered User Posts: 16 Junior Member
    @PurpleTitan Computer Science if I remember correctly.
  • PurpleTitanPurpleTitan Registered User Posts: 11,910 Senior Member
    Yes, that's their toughest one to get in to.
  • psywarpsywar Registered User Posts: 716 Member
    @OnlyBerkeley2020 happy for your acceptances, but with your stats I wonder if you had "bad" letters of recommendation? I wonder if your the teachers used tepid terms recommending you?

    You will shine in college, you willingness to evaluate yourself critically (perhaps too harshly) will serve you well.
  • memelovermemelover Registered User Posts: 66 Junior Member
    Hey there! Just wanted to say that your maturity and willingness to objectively examine yourself (though as psywar said, maybe too harshly) will help you go far in life. Also, reading through your resumé, I was thoroughly impressed --- it looks like you have the initiative and ability to succeed. Cal is an absolutely superb school, and I wish you well in your future endeavors.
  • OnlyBerkeley2020OnlyBerkeley2020 Registered User Posts: 16 Junior Member
    @psywar I doubt that I had "bad" letters of recommendation - after all it was those same recommendations that had gotten me the Regents' and Chancellor's Scholarship at UC Berkeley. I do believe that the one from my English teacher may have been very impersonal. My math teacher was a very close mentor of mine, and my English teacher was simply a teacher from the previous year.
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