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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 Registered User Posts: 1 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.



  • iamnotaaroniamnotaaron Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
    @OnlyBerkeley2020 Tell us about your experiences so far at Cal!
  • happy1happy1 Registered User Posts: 18,209 Senior Member
    @iamnotaaron This thread is a year old and the OP has not been on this site since May, 2016,
  • momcincomomcinco Registered User Posts: 979 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!
  • GregAlllenGregAlllen Registered User Posts: 1 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.
  • TTGTTG Registered User Posts: 647 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.
  • wisteria100wisteria100 Registered User Posts: 2,992 Senior Member
    @TTG If you tell Dartmouth that rural VT is where you belong, you may end up being rejected because Dartmouth is in NH!
  • TTGTTG Registered User Posts: 647 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.
  • jzducoljzducol Registered User Posts: 145 Junior 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.
  • OnlyBerkeley2020OnlyBerkeley2020 Registered User Posts: 16 New Member
    edited August 22
    You're right on the money; my demographic is indeed Asian American male from CA.
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