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Naviance vs Common Data Set -- ED and College List

NoelCatNoelCat 4 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
Long post --- So here are my two questions --- With the background information below.
1. Is it worth EDing a school, if you qualify and it is your first choice if they have rejected every applicant but one from your HS? ( 1 out of 16 accepted)?
2. Should Naviance or common data set sbe your main guide to building your list of Likely, Target and Reaches?

Background Info:
My son is at a very competitive public HS. His weighted GPA ranks him somewhere in the top 10% ( that is as far as his school will go with rankings. ) He has a 35 ACT/ 4.6 weighted, 3.99 unweighted. I have looked at the Common Data Sets for the Schools that he is interested in and his stats put him at the 75th percentile or above at every school. Then we move on to Naviance, where he still doing well compared to his peers at his high school, but closer to the 60 percent mark for many.

Here is the problem - for many of the schools that he is interested in, most highly selective LACs, in which no one is getting in from his school. His top choice that he wants to ED, has rejected everyone from his school over the last three years, except one student that was at the low end of the range. Many kids at his school, encouraged by their parents apply to 20 - 30 schools Including all of the Ivies and the pluses. They also apply to prestigious LACs, especially if they have CS, or Bio. as they are mostly STEM majors. My son, different from most of his peers, is not interested in majoring in a STEM field.
Given his stats, the school that he was planning to ED should be a target -- but since it has a low acceptance rate 10 percent overall -- with a 30 percent ED rate -- it is a reach for anyone, he gets that, I get that, but I wonder if he should even try? Maybe it is better to ED a second choice school that he also really likes that not many of his peers apply to?
He has some good, even great ECs but has not cured cancer and is not the world companion of anything. We will not qualify for financial aid, so that is not a consideration.
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Replies to: Naviance vs Common Data Set -- ED and College List

  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 7242 replies56 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    He should ED to his top choice if it's affordable.

    You are smart to be looking at the overall acceptance rates and not just where he falls with is stats. That will help manage the expectations.

    As far as Naviance, I think it's hit or miss on accuracy because it doesn't take into account major (if a school applies by major) or hooks.
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  • Techno13Techno13 175 replies7 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    You are fortunate to have the choice. Our school doesn't even have Naviance and even if they did-- few students apply to elite schools. Pretty much all top students target UCs (okay, some UCs are considered elite, but you know what I mean). I would ED the #1 choice. Don't want buyers remorse.
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  • homerdoghomerdog 5044 replies93 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    We had he exact same situation. S19 wanted an LAC and our school has abysmal acceptance rates to the top LACs. I drilled our guidance counselor to find out if the few kids accepted were recruited athletes or if they applied ED or both. I tried to ask around town to find out if the accepted few were legacies. Found out that every single one accepted to top ten LACs were recruited athletes of which S19 was not one. He also was not ready to apply anywhere ED.

    In the end Naviance proved correct. BUT he got lucky. First, he was denied at Amherst and Williams. No one from our Chicago area school ever gets in. I don’t know what they want from us since these kids get into Ivies and other tippy tops but not those two schools. He was denied at both. He did get in RD to Bowdoin, Carleton, Hamilton, Davidson, Kenyon and Grinnell (and some universities too). His scores were above the 75th percentile at all schools he applied to and he did contact coaches to see if there would be a spot for him to walk on XC/track teams. He also had a strong art portfolio, was NMF, in top 5 percent of class (very competitive public high school with class of 750).

    So, I would say that Naviance tells you a story at your school. If those kids denied had very high scores and strong apps and still aren’t getting in then the college just hasn’t been interested in taking kids from your school. I believe S19 got into Bowdoin and Davidson because we visited and he showed as much interest as possible. His essays were very specific to the schools. He interviewed at Bowdoin but Davidson doesn’t give interviews. I think he’s lucky because no athletes were recruited to those two schools from his high school last year. If that had been the case, I don’t know if he would have gotten in. As for Carleton, Grinnell, and Kenyon, they all keep coming to our school and trying to get kids to apply. I wasn’t as surprised with those acceptances.

    Lastly, he was waitlisted at Midd. Our friends out east find it incredible that he was accepted to Bowdoin and waitlisted at Midd. But I wasn’t surprised. All kids waitlisted there from our school for the last three years unless they were athletes.
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  • Eeyore123Eeyore123 1425 replies19 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    If the students are applying to 20-30 top schools, they likely are not doing a very good job on most of those applications. That could be suppressing you school acceptance rate. The same thing happens at my DS’s school with USC. Many of the top students treat it like a low match or safety. They don’t do the work and they get rejected.
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  • sushirittosushiritto 3980 replies12 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    How many rejections were there from this prospective #1 ED school from your kid's HS? Are we talking handful or a dozen or more? The larger the amount of rejections, the more my answer would skew towards ED #2.

    Although history is not always a good indicator of future performance, the historical pattern of admission decisions tends to repeat itself, IMO.
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  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 4192 replies17 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    20-30 apps is a lot of applications at like $75. 00 /pop. Seems kinda silly if you ask me.

    I would talk to your counselor at school. Maybe even have the principal call the school to find out what their looking for. It's always a nice touch to a lac.

    I might even be inclined to call the AO for that college that represents your school to ask what they are looking for. You might get good Intel to find out if it's worth EDing.

    You sorta always want to ED your top choice if of course you can afford it. But those odds just are not that encouraging. I would make a list of potential schools (excel is great for this). You might find out it makes more sense to ED another school with better odds of acceptance.

    It's a good question and look forward to seeing what others suggest
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  • homerdoghomerdog 5044 replies93 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    @momofsenior1 LACs don’t accept by major so that’s not an issue.
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  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 4192 replies17 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    It depends on the Lac. @homerdog
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 29411 replies58 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Those small schools are killers. They have so few real spots. If a large school has 500 spots for athletes, development, special requests, faculty kids, and they take 5000 kids, it still leaves a lot of seats. If half the spots go to legacy and URMs thats 2250 seats that are left. If all goes, 50/50 in gender all the way, it's about 1125 seats for men. That's spread over the whole country. When you have a college with 2000 kids and they have full faculty, lots of sports teams and orchestras and choirs and all of that stuff, it leaves, in absolute numbers very few seats.

    Some of my kids went to an independent prep school where a lot of the kids were well connected as was the school in terms of selective college admissions. The school was known for thorough rigorous academic prep and the kids they sent to college tended to do well and finish in 4 years. Even then, gaining admissions the to the WASP and W was tough. If two kids got into that group of highly selective LACs, you can be sure at least one of them was an athlete, alum, development or otherwise tagged. They simply did not have many free seats to give out and our area has ever so many qualified kids applying to those schools. Even though the area as a whole, does better than most of the country in getting those kids to those schools, the count is low because the number of available seats are low. And, yeah, we have a lot of the alumni living here too so legacy is overrepresented in the area. Trying to spread those measly number of seats to represent most of the country, throw in some international kids and bring in SES diversity is difficult for them to do. The "average" smart kid doesnt have much of a chance The average spots are taken by the tagged kids so that all that is left are the specialty.

    Things are shifting these days with the CS, engineering majors, business school apps way up. You can see the trend clearly, looking at the top universities that have released some of their data. Many have special apps with far lower accept rates to those majors. but the very top schools seem to be getting even more selective as more kids apply to them. It may be because there has been quite the increase in applications per student, especially among those who apply to the highly selective schools
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  • homerdoghomerdog 5044 replies93 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited September 16
    Also, you need to somehow find out who the kids are who are getting in from your geographic area For the greater Chicago area, it was pretty clear to us that most of the NESCACs take legacies, athletes or URMs. Random over represented type kids (read boring white suburban student) hardly ever gets in. We met all of the kids from the Chicago area this summer who are freshmen at Bowdoin. I think there were only ten. Every single one was an ED athlete or a URM except S19. Made me think the XC coach maybe gave him a little tip in RD even though he wasn’t officially recruited

    It’s really important for you to dig deep on this. You don’t want to waste an ED.
    edited September 16
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  • homerdoghomerdog 5044 replies93 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    @Knowsstuff which LACs accept by major? The ones with engineering? I don’t even think those accept by major.
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  • socaldad2002socaldad2002 1416 replies29 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I would also be careful that the Naviance results might not include all of the acceptances, waitlististed, and rejections each and every year. Who's inputting the data (student or college counselor). Garbage in, garbage out. In addition, it's sometimes hard to tell from the scattergrams how far the data goes back, 3 years, 5 years, 10 years?

    To the OP, I think a 30% ED acceptance rate (compared to 10%) is significant enough to apply ED. If you decide ED, make sure you cross your T's and dot your I's as the ED pool will likely include recruited athletes, URM, legacy, development cases, faculty kids, special talent, or some other "hooked" preference.
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  • caymusjordancaymusjordan 150 replies9 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Other than just applying ED, has he shown interest in the school? Do they know that he would be applying because it is genuinely the school that he wants to attend, not just his best shot at a selective school? I agree with above posters, you don't want to waste the ED, can he email the Regional Admissions Officer and ask him some questions? Has this AO come to his HS?

    Can he apply ED there and ED2 at a second choice? Do any of his top choices have ED2?
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  • cypresspatcypresspat 328 replies8 threadsRegistered User Member
    Good questions, OP. I often lament the limitations of Naviance data. On the other hand, it provides really key info that is available nowhere else. The common data sets each miss at least one key piece of information which would help understand one’s “chances.” It is clear that the industry does not want the power of that knowledge in the hands of the applicants. They wish to use things like acceptance rates to their own advantage. Each is a business, we cannot forget.

    I have scratched my head over results between two schools which should show similar results for our HS students. And, granted, sample sizes are always small, but for two of the non-HYP Ivies, our school posts a 29.5% acceptance rate for one and 0.0% for another. For one smallish university which is about four hours away, which I think has a super similar vibe to our HS, 26 of the 30 applicants were waitlisted in the past five years. 2 rejected. 2 accepted. Weird. But useful to know - ya think interest matters there???!!

    For two of the UC’s, we see an equally large gap. For some reason, our kids do great at UCLA. Berkeley, almost zippo.

    I think if almost no applicant from our HS got into a selective school yet it was my kid’s solid #1, I would have a chat with the head of the GC dept to see if he/she knows what the dealio is here. Could be that while stats-wise, applicants have looked okay, but otherwise were just not strong candidates overall for that school in the past few years. Or it could be a total mystery and he/she has no clue.

    So, while your kid’s #1 is just that, I don’t think I would want him to roll the dice with a bad recent success rate (if a goal is to be admitted to one of several highly selective schools). If it is the ONLY school which meets his criteria, I guess he should go for it? But if my kid, I’d push him to figure out what he loves about it and find other schools which also have those features.

    In the end, colleges and universities all provide the exact same service. Different flavors, for sure. But sometimes i think we forget that they are not choosing between a horse and an airplane. They are choosing between a Volvo XC60 and a Volvo XC90. In the end, they both drive you down the road.

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  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 4192 replies17 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    @homerdog. Maybe I am not thinking of this correctly but many that have BFA programs such as Illinois Wesleyan, Knox, Mulenburg.
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  • homerdoghomerdog 5044 replies93 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited September 16
    In general I think it’s very important to know your high school’s acceptance rates to a school. It means more than each college’s overall acceptance info. We have a number of schools that repeat history each and every year. Vanderbilt? ED legacies all get in (seriously- even with stats lower than Vandy’s 25th percentile) and everyone else in ED is rejected. Then, they waitlist 20-30 in RD. Every year. If you take the WL spot, you get in. It’s a pattern.

    And like I said about Midd, all were WL’d. Same happened to S19 even though he had a terrific interview, a strong app that “worked” at very similar schools and he was above their 75th percentile in scores.

    I just tell these stories because I do believe that colleges have a general plan as to where they find their students.

    I would talk to guidance for sure. Get their take. And have your son reach out to the AOs. S19 was in contact with the coaches as Williams and Amherst and had emailed his AOs there once or twice with good questions. Both schools were very positive in their responses yet two big no’s in the end. History repeated itself.
    edited September 16
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 34060 replies376 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited September 16
    We never looked at Naviance and not all colleges had a CDS up, when D1 applied.

    I think posters are assuming a kid has a perfect shot, is really a great candidate for X, Y, Z, based on stats and some ECs, class rank and being a top dawg, but forgetting there's an app and supp to complete, a self presentation to make. And how that affects readers, looking for the traits, thinking, perspective and the sort of engagements and accomplishments any particular college likes.

    You have to show the fuller match and with 20 targets, that can be tough. Kids may not have researched, self-matched, or even well considered how to best answer a Why Us question. They can fall into generic answers to questions, assuming the college leap is same as being tops in your own hs.

    The hard news is that, even at a competitive hs, you don't get a broader view of what kids at other hs are doing, the savvy of their GCs, how they're encouraged to stretch, and much more.

    So how did we do this, without Naviance and CDS info? (We did have what colleges show about stats on their web pages, the class profile.) By looking at the nature and characteristics of her targets, trying to figure out "They would like you (over others) because..." And that's not just stats and some leader titles.

    OP, I think you're wise to ask your questions. But I don't think kids should use ED before they understand better what makes them a possible match for their colleges. The kids get to choose their targets, but the adcoms choose the admits. It's like any contest, do the due diligence.
    edited September 16
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  • tgl2023tgl2023 97 replies2 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    If a student is not a legacy, an URM or recruited athlete, then ED and demonstration of interest seem to be the must-do to gain acceptance at the top LACs, as there are so few seats overall. It is tough to choose on which one to apply ED. With your son's stat, I'd say he has a good chance at his top choice, regardless of its history at his school.
    We did not heed the warnings as painted by the discouraging data from Naviance, on the schools of our interest. We did not check much on CDC.
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  • dadof4kidsdadof4kids 650 replies63 threadsRegistered User Member
    If the typical kid from the school is submitting 20+ apps, including all the ivies, even selective LAC's may be using some yield protection. ED obviously takes that factor off of the table. If you get accepted, you aren't using them as a back up to the ivies.

    Just a thought about a factor that might be in play.
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  • cypresspatcypresspat 328 replies8 threadsRegistered User Member
    homerdog wrote: »
    I do believe that colleges have a general plan as to where they find their students.

    I think this has to do with efficiency and the need to trust GCs. My observation (no hard data) is that GCs have a big impact on applicants’ success. They can’t write glowing letters for EVERY kid or else their words would soon lose impact. They must be providing a trusted filter for AO’s. I doubt they ever write a negative letter, but a Luke warm one is probably just as harmful.

    Those who reliably describe applicants to AO’s in letters must be perceived as a valuable resource. That would make AP’s jobs easier.


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