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Likely Letters for URMs?

SuperGymnast_04SuperGymnast_04 Registered User Posts: 44 Junior Member
I'm a URM (African American) female hoping to head into chemistry. I'm looking at some competitive Top 20/Ivy schools.

Do universities send likely letters to minority students? I had seen that happen sometimes on CC and in other places. Does the minority have to do something exceptional (come from a very underfunded school, overcome poverty, cure cancer) or do they get one for just getting diverse?

If so, how could I maximize my chances of getting one? ;)

Thanks so much for your help guys!!
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Replies to: Likely Letters for URMs?

  • LindagafLindagaf Registered User Posts: 6,924 Senior Member
    I am sure some URMs have received likely letters, but race has nothing to do with it. Not many people get them. My understanding is that very desirable athletes get them occasionally, as well as truly outstanding students. Maybe a dozen people will get one from any one college. Maybe far fewer than that. The best way to get one is to be truly outstanding. By the way, it's helpful to be URM, but it's not a golden ticket to Harvard or where ever.
  • nynycasino1234nynycasino1234 Registered User Posts: 244 Junior Member
    edited July 14
    Did not receive letters but were called by current students in September from H for both older daughters. Both kids not athletes. Just left a message to apply early and if any questions called the current student who left the message, but I thought it was just routine matters. Not sure, both kids got admitted in early round on full financial aid, Not URM but asians.
  • skieuropeskieurope Super Moderator Posts: 27,139 Super Moderator
    edited July 14
    Maybe a dozen people will get one from any one college. Maybe far fewer than that.
    It's more than that; for those schools that send them, and not all schools do, it can be in the couple of hundred range.

    While specifics will vary by college, likely letters will not be sent in the EA/ED round except to athletic recruits. Athletic recruits will get about half the total likely letters. You will not get a likely letter simply for being URM.

    Additionally, I need to stress, most accepted applicants will not get one. So don't sit by the computer refreshing your email in the hopes that one comes. Good luck.
  • planner03planner03 Registered User Posts: 1,184 Senior Member
    edited July 14
    I admire your confidence! To be concerned enough about likely letters to start a thread you must assume you will be admitted to top 20 schools--before the application cycle has even launched!

    Just as a data point 4,139 AA students applied to Cornell last year, all of whom believed to some degree they were Ivy caliber applicants. How many do you think got accepted, nevertheless received likely letters? Do you feel you will be in the top 1% or less of all AA college applicants?

    You have mentioned Penn as your top choice. They received 4388 AA applications and 38,918 applications overall. Yes, they send like 200 likely letters, not specifically to URMs though. Can you stand out amongst 38,918 applicants? That is top .0005.

    I am only trying to temper your expectations and have no way of knowing whether you will get a likely letter or not, but right now your focus needs to be on assembling the best possible applications. Good luck!
  • nynycasino1234nynycasino1234 Registered User Posts: 244 Junior Member
    edited July 14
    @planner03 , asking questions is not a bad idea. My kids know multiple kids who received likely letter to a college; college list including Ivies, but all of those students were recruited atheletes
  • planner03planner03 Registered User Posts: 1,184 Senior Member
    edited July 14
    @nynycasino1234 I think she is putting the cart before the horse, that's all--I did not tell her that she won't get a likely letter. But the focus right now needs to be on the application and gaining acceptances. I think a lot of URMs are convinced by completely misinformed people that if they have decent stats they are pretty much auto-admits to top colleges, but the numbers don't lie. How many of those 4139 applicants to Cornell were told they would surely get in because they were URMs? I mean it's a lesser, Ivy after all!

    @skieurope There are some likely letters just for URMs that are necessitated because the student is being invited to diversity visit with invites that are sent prior to regular decision day. Cornell is one. Also Vanderbilt and Duke, but again you have to be amongst the top AA applicants and I am not sure OP has any idea what that competition is like.
  • nynycasino1234nynycasino1234 Registered User Posts: 244 Junior Member
    edited July 14
    @planner03 My apologies if I came across as criticizing you; what you have explained, I wish that I have that art of skillful writing; but being a non native speaker of English, sometime my tone is still come acorss as not very friendly, me culpa; as you say for top schools, nothing is sacred
  • planner03planner03 Registered User Posts: 1,184 Senior Member
    edited July 14
    @nynycasino1234 I did not take your post as a criticism, not at all! And again, my intent is not to criticize the OP either, but to temper her expectations. There are a lot of shocked and disillusioned URMs on decision day that have bought into the myth that above average grades, scores and ecs are a guarantee.
  • nynycasino1234nynycasino1234 Registered User Posts: 244 Junior Member
    @planner03 just a question, if you know anything about it, how valid it is, I have no idea; does any student receive telephone call from current students to the new prospective students even before applications are filed? Is this common practice in other top schools too? Just curious?
  • theloniusmonktheloniusmonk Registered User Posts: 855 Member
    As planner03 says I have heard of URMs getting their decision earlier and get invited to diversity day, but for likely letters, I don't think race has anything to do with it.
  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 Registered User Posts: 10,164 Senior Member
    @planner03 There are some likely letters just for URMs that are necessitated because the student is being invited to diversity visit with invites that are sent prior to regular decision day.

    Not only URM. My child got an early accept and she's white. "Diversity" visits at most schools are not only for URMs.
  • planner03planner03 Registered User Posts: 1,184 Senior Member
    edited July 14
    @nynycasino1234 Yes, some schools do have students make marketing phone calls and I it is probably a work study job. My kids got various calls and found them really awkward and annoying, like any other telemarketing call.

    If your question is, are these calls in any way meaningful, then I would say no they are no different than getting a brochure in the mail.

    @OHMomof2 Well in that case OP has even less chance of getting a likely letter!
  • SuperGymnast_04SuperGymnast_04 Registered User Posts: 44 Junior Member
    @planner03 thanks so much for your thoughtful response- it's always important to keep expectations realistic. If I had the confidence you're suggesting, I wouldn't be on CC :). I'm no more confident about Ivy admissions than anyone else- that's why I want others' advice. I'm well aware of the insane competitiveness of the many other Ivy applicants and I certainly don't think I'll have any admissions preference for being a URM. You can tell from my chances thread that it'll take a miracle to get me into any of my reaches (don't worry, I do have plenty of matches and safeties!). Obviously applications/acceptances are the most important and I might not even get that far...but it is imperative to plan far in advance.

    I had been doing some surfing on CC and saw that some URMS and others had received likely letters. Not all the people I have seen on CC were athletes, either, and many identified as minorities. I simply didn't know what a likely letter was, who got one, etc and wanted extra information. You guys' answers have definitely helped me understand. I apologize to anyone if I seemed arrogant; I was just misinformed (google wasn't much help, either) and trying to get things straightened out.
  • planner03planner03 Registered User Posts: 1,184 Senior Member
    edited July 15
    @SuperGymnast_04 I didn't take your post as arrogant, the misinformation about URM admissions just really concerns me. I thought the numbers that I provided might give you some perspective and answer your direct question "do you get a likely letter just for being diverse?" Clearly the question to that is no because there are plenty of diverse applicants. Of course diversity helps, but you have to somehow stand out amongst the other diverse students.

    My biggest recommendation to you right now is to apply to as many diversity fly-in programs as possible, including PEEP as you already mentioned. There is a very strong correlation between being accepted to the fly-ins and being accepted for admission. However, not being accepted to the fly-ins does not mean you won't be admitted. If you have any questions let me know--my oldest son attended 7 fly-ins and had to pass on many more because that's all he could fit in.
  • lookingforwardlookingforward Registered User Posts: 24,575 Senior Member
    Different schools will handle fly-ins on a different schedule. If you go pre-application or pre-admit, you still need to be on your toes, there are no givens. A lot more will get invited than admitted.

    I think the number of LLs to non athletes is a much smaller % than half. Other than athletes, it's less about grabbing diversity kids than kids they find to be quite a compelling match. And it does have something to do with hoping these kids will yield. It's not ordinary.

    The real point us to figure out how to be that and show it. You need to be what *they* look for. And that's not just stats and what *you* want. Nor is it broad generalizations like "lots of community service" or "overcoming poverty."
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