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too many reach schools!

RJ2023RJ2023 Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
While compiling my college lists, I’ve found that I have very few match schools. I’ve been checking out some LACs, but most of them seem selective enough to still be considered a reach for me. I’d appreciate any suggestions for match-level schools to look into that I have a decent shot at. :-) Here’s my current list of schools I’m interested in applying to:

Reaches:
* ED: Stanford
* Rice
* Harvard
* MIT (my dad wants it more than me :P)
* Vanderbilt
Match(?):
* Georgia Tech (again, my dad :P)
Safeties (auto admit):
* UT Austin
* UT Dallas

Now comes the time for judgment. Here are my stats and some info about me.

~~~~~
Ethnicity: Asian
Gender: Female
Income Bracket: ~$150k
State: Texas (but international status)
School Type: public. above average but by no means very competitive

Class Rank: 12/600ish (would be higher but moving caused problems :( )
SAT: 1590 + 18/24 essay
ACT: 36 + 9/12 essay
SAT II: 800 Math II ; 750 Physics (planning to retake)
AP Tests: 5s on WHAP, APUSH, Lang, BC, AB Subscore, Chem, & Stats ; 4s on Physics 1 & Human Geo

Senior year course load: Multivariable Calculus/Linear Algebra, Organic Chem, AP Physics C: Mech, AP Physics 2, AP Gov/AP Macro, AP Bio, AP English 4

I don’t want to disclose too much about myself but here are some of my ECs and awards as well:
- HOSA (I achieved mastery level in an event at Internats this year! :) )
- Art (local + state recognition for artwork. I also attended a 5 week art school program this summer on a full scholarship!!)
- Taekwondo (I’ve done it for 9 years and compete well for fun. I’m a 2nd degree black belt.)
- Youth & Government (state level + leadership position)
- Research with university professors (started pretty late in HS, but I enjoy it so it’s fine)
- Comp Sci Club & learning Python
- National AP Scholar (meh)
- Possible NMSF, at least commended
- School student of the year awards in Physics, Stats, and English 3

I’m not putting any of my honor societies or clubs with minimal involvement on apps because that’s not an accurate representation of me.
My essays are going to be about my diverse life experiences (living in both farm & city India, South Africa, and many US states) & tying that to my diverse academic interests. Another potentially unique topic is how I developed alopecia (incurable) & other autoimmune disorders as a freshly immigrated child and the decade-long impact that had on me, as well as how reading books, fanfiction, and creative writing helped me bounce back from that and eventually develop into who I am now.

~~~~~

College Criteria:
My ideal setting would be a suburban/more natural campus with a safe city environment easily accessible.
I’d prefer schools that have a few thousand undergrads or less, but I know some bigger universities can also provide that communal feeling while having dozens of thousands of students, and that would also be acceptable.
Obviously, I want to go some place with high-level academics, but even though I’m a STEM-leaning kid, I don’t think I’d enjoy the type of school where 99% of people are math and physics nerds. I enjoy meeting and being around people with a diversity of academic interests, since I’ve always had those as well.
Along with being strong in STEM, I would love it if my college or university promoted and placed value on participation in the arts.
I’m also not super decided on what I’d like to do as a major or a career, so universities that don’t make you declare your major for a year or two are definitely a preference for me.

Another note: I’m an international student because of my citizenship status despite the fact that I’ve lived in the US for all of my formal education. So financial aid and admissions processes for international students are also a big component (the reason why UCs aren’t on my list :( ).

Sorry for the long post, but if you have any suggestions at all (or just want to talk, I’m here to make friends lmao) hit me up!
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Replies to: too many reach schools!

  • kalonskalons Registered User Posts: 642 Member
    hmmm... have you thought of carnegie mellon, case western reserve, uofrochester, or emory? there's also brandeis and tufts!
  • Groundwork2022Groundwork2022 Registered User Posts: 1,494 Senior Member
    As you noted, your stats give you auto admit to Texas state schools. So you kind of have safeties there. If you had a particular major in mind, you'd need a couple safeties that would guarantee you'd get into that particular program, but you are essentially undecided. While it never hurts to have extra safeties, if you're happy attending an auto admit, I think you're in good shape!

  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff Registered User Posts: 2,725 Senior Member
    edited July 2018
    Welcome to University of Michigan! Yes bigger then what you want but it's not really that big. You will spend most of your time on central campus(which is smallish) and it's a beautiful campus. My daughter goes to a LAC with under 2,000 kids and doesn't find Michigan feeling to big. My son goes there and it doesn't seem to big for him. It's laid out nicely. Everything is walking distance or somethings is a 10 minute bus ride. . There are areas for nature and wonderful opportunities in just about anything including stem and music, research. World class professors..

    I would not call Georgia tech a match for any out of state student.

    Good luck.
  • scubadivescubadive Registered User Posts: 981 Member
    GT is a reach especially for out of state nowadays and they provide virtually no merit aid. If you are looking for an academically diverse school its liberal arts program is small. For example they do not have an English department. Its also smack in the middle of midtown atlanta which is an urban area of Atlanta. While its not like UT or NYU as it has a defined campus its not a surburban setting. GT has music and film studies but not art classes.
  • lvvcsflvvcsf Registered User Posts: 2,278 Senior Member
    From an academic perspective someone with your stats does kind of fall into either the reach or safety catagory. Reach because any of the schools where your grades/scores would be a match are very selective and stats while important are just one of the determining factors and safety because you would be statistically much higher than average in schools with higher acceptance rates. I agree with @kalons suggestions and maybe some other schools with acceptance rates in the 20 - 40 percent range. As was mentioned if you are happy with your safety options you are in good shape. Money is another consideration when choosing a school and a true safety is affordable. Good luck. I think you'll do great!
  • TheGreyKingTheGreyKing Forum Champion Williams College Posts: 2,052 Forum Champion
    Matches for you:

    Brandeis
    Skidmore
    University of Rochester
  • GreymeerGreymeer Registered User Posts: 628 Member
    edited July 2018
    After reading what you wrote, I don't think you need to worry about your safeties. You'll be accepted by most of the reaches. Since you are in Texas, I think Rice will easily accept you.

    In fact the schools most likely to reject you would be MIT and Tech. Why? Because the essays you write for those schools will let them know how wishing washy your goals are.

    You might want to include Duke and Northwestern.

    Your criteria matches:
    Size (~3k): Rice, MIT (undergrad 4k)
    Campus (suburban): Stanford, UTD (sort of)
    Students (non stem): Harvard, Vanderbilt, UT

    Colleges by size: Rice,.. MIT, Vandy,.. Stanford, Harvard, GT, UTD,... UT

    Colleges by STEM%: GT, MIT, ...Stanford, UTD,... Rice, UT, Vanderbilt, Harvard

    Colleges by SAT: MIT/Vandy, Harvard, Stanford/Rice, GT... UTD, UT

    Defined (bordered) green urban campus: Rice, GT

    Undefined green campus: Harvard, Vandy

    Undefined non green: MIT, UT
  • AlmostThere2018AlmostThere2018 Registered User Posts: 1,116 Senior Member
    edited July 2018
    You mention having a few thousand undergrad students or less, but you don't have any colleges that size on your list. (Well, Rice is close to that size.) You'd be an excellent candidate at LACs and even the top ranked ones tend to have somewhat higher admit rates compared to Ivies, Stanford, MIT -- make them a little closer to matches. (With the exception of Pomona and Swarthmore this year which went under 10% admit rate.)

    Check out this recent thread for LACs in/near cities: https://talk.collegeconfidential.com/college-search-selection/2090086-lac-suggestions-that-are-close-to-a-decent-size-city-p1.html

    Because they are smaller, it's important to find right fits with LACs so spend some time learning as much as you can and would be awesome to visit some this fall if possible. If you register with them, they might invite you for a fly-in.

    If you decided not to do ED at Stanford, I think you'd be excellent candidate for some very prestigious full ride scholarships.

    I will put in a plug for Davidson where my D is starting next month; it's in a suburb of Charlotte but is a classic small college town feel with a big campus for its size and a lot of nearby nature. I think you'd be a good candidate for their Belk Scholarship. https://www.davidson.edu/admission-and-financial-aid/john-belk-scholarship. (You have to get your school to nominate you, just fyi.)

    You should also consider applying for the Robertson at Duke and/or UNC, and the Morehead at UNC.
    For the Morehead, your HS has to be on their 'list' to nominate you. The Robertson anyone can self-nominate. These are also full-rides, plus leadership development, internships, etc.

    Good luck!!

  • AlmostThere2018AlmostThere2018 Registered User Posts: 1,116 Senior Member
    edited July 2018
    Sorry -- I should have been more clear. Some of the full-rides I mention are not open to a candidate if they apply ED to another college. I know Morehead is this way.

    If you get accepted ED to Stanford, they will give you some need-based aid based on your income bracket. So if it's your true first choice and you've run the Net Price Calculator, go for it ED. Just wanted to let you know that I think if you apply RD you will be in the position to have some great need- and merit-based scholarship options and weigh them against one another. I'd suggest talking it through with your parents and GC to decide what's best.

    In case you can't tell -- I'm bullish on your opportunities! :)
  • RJ2023RJ2023 Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
    edited July 2018
    Thank you for all of your responses! I’ll do some more digging on the colleges that were suggeted. :) After considering feedback and looking into GT a little more, I think I’m going to try to convince my parents to let me omit it from my list. It doesn’t seem like a great fit for me nor would it be an easy acceptance. As for my safeties, UT would be affordable to my family without any financial aid since I’m in state, and UTD is likely to drop some merit money on me.

    BUT I think that at UT, I’m going to apply as a first-choice engineering major and to Engineering Honors, which should give me an additional bit of financial aid as well as a more rigorous experience. UT engineering is competitive so I think EHP might be a match or possibly low reach level goal for me?

    Also thank you all for the encouragement! However, @greymeer nobody from my school has gotten into Rice the past few years. The top 2 ranked students in ‘22 got waitlisted while a few more received rejections. The ‘21 valedictorian with stats similar to mine also did not get in. So I’m not going to pin too much hope on Rice.
  • RJ2023RJ2023 Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
    edited July 2018
    Thank you for all your responses! I'll look deeper into all the schools you guys suggested. After giving it a little more consideration, I think I'll convince my parents to let me omit GT from my app list; it doesn't seem like a great fit nor an easy acceptance.

    Also, even though UT is auto admit for me, I'm strongly considering applying as a first-choice engineering major or to the engineering honors program. Those would be relatively very competitive and much more rigorous, along with giving me a bit of money as well. [It's worth mentioning that I might be able to graduate in 3 years due to AP credits if I load up on classes as much as possible, and my family can definitely afford to pay in-state cost of living at UT. Also, I bet UTD would give me some scholarships if UT doesn't end up panning out.] I think UT EHP would be considered a match for me? If anyone has additional input I'd be happy to hear it.

    @AlmostThere2018 When I mentioned size, I forgot that I have a Texan's perspective. :)) Medium size schools would be completely acceptable, it's just schools like TAMU and UT with about 60k and 40k students respectively that I find somewhat intimidating. Any school with a 4-digit undergrad enrollment is fine to me! I hadn't heard of those scholarship opportunities either, thank you for introducing them to me. Robertson sounds like an incredible albeit extremely competitive experience; I think I might give it a shot anyway.

    @Greymeer and others: thank you for your confidence and encouragement! However, even the top ranked students at my school (one of them with stats like mine) have been rejected or waitlisted from Rice the past 2 years. I haven't heard of any Rice acceptances or matriculations in recent years, and the RD acceptance rate for '22 was sub-5%. That's why I'm not going to get too confident or pin my hopes on Rice, or any other single reach, for that matter. I am actually considering NU and Duke--but something that turned me away from NU was the idea that safety might be an issue there. I have heard varying things about safety, and other than that I was extremely interested in applying there, so I'm unsure right now.
  • intparentintparent Registered User Posts: 36,475 Senior Member
    GA Tech turned down some in-state students with ACT 36 this year. It belongs on the reach list.
  • intparentintparent Registered User Posts: 36,475 Senior Member
    I think they disclosed enough to be helpful to those looking to give them input and suggestions. :)
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 75,426 Senior Member
    edited July 2018
    Even if you are not a US citizen or PR, you may qualify for Texas in state tuition if you graduate from a Texas high school after a long enough period of attendance and living in Texas. Investigate carefully whether you qualify.

    http://www.thecb.state.tx.us/reports/DocFetch.cfm?DocID=9328&Format=PDF

    At many colleges, being an international student can make getting admission, financial aid, and/or scholarships more difficult.
  • scribbledininkscribbledinink Registered User Posts: 13 New Member
    I don't think you have too many reach schools but I do think GA Tech is a reach school which means you need more matches.

    Some recommendations are:
    Reaches:
    WashU (But I'm biased :D )
    Northwestern
    Tufts
    Emory
    Carnegie Mellon
    Swarthmore
    Haverford
    Pomona
    Harvey Mudd (Basically exclusively STEM kids but it's connected to the consortium)

    Matches:
    Wellesley (High match maybe low reach? Not sure about how you feel about all girls schools but worth looking into)
    Macalester (Pretty strong STEM. In a St. Paul suburb. Small, liberal arts. You would almost certainly get a decent amount of merit aid)
    University of Rochester
    Lafayette
    Scripps (Also a women's college but part of the Claremont Consortium)

    Keep in mind that with smaller colleges, it's harder to determine whether a school is a "reach" or a "match" because they rely less on scores and more on what type of student they need to complete their student bodies.
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