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Low Stats Students Applying AND Getting Accepted, Aren't They? Where Art Thou?

BenniesMom1BenniesMom1 87 replies3 threads Junior Member
edited January 17 in College Admissions
I just responded to a post regarding being surprised at receiving scholarships or something like that and thought I'd start a thread - Since I AM wondering !! So here's what I said... copying/pasting for the most so I don't reinvent the wheel.... So here goes. (with some additions).

I was thinking of starting a thread with folks with low stats cause ALL the stats I've seen on here are waaaaaaaaaaay above what my kid has. Waaaay above !! Surely there are others out here who have less than stellar stats but are still getting into their non-safety schools, reach schools even (Honestly, with my kid's stats, EVERY school is a reach :open_mouth: ) or schools their counselor didn't think they would get into?(That's a whole n'other post for a different day. If left to his counselor, he would be headed to a state school, which he adamantly told her he did NOT want to go to, because he had a 100% chance of getting into that one and I think the only one she THOUGHT he would get into. This Momma kinda took her out of the picture cause frankly, she had my kid depressed and thinking he wouldn't be going to college. AND she recommend schools which didn't even HAVE his intended major. :neutral: According to him, she was genuinely surprised and maybe a tad bit shocked when he told her of his first acceptance. BUT, I digress and like I said, that's a story for another time. Would love to hear other's take on that though. ) Anyhoo, back to low stats and getting in.... Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller? :wink:

GPA 2.3 (and this is cause he worked hard this last semester, has 2 AP classes, and brought it up a tiny bit - applications GPA even lower )
ACT : 23 (took it only once cause standardized tests stress my kid out. He did better on the ACT than the SAT his counselor kept insisting he re-take. I KNEW he would do better on the ACT cause Math, his nemesis, is only 25% of the score whereas on the SAT, it's 50%. If you remove his Math score from the ACT, he would have a 29-30 Composite Score - yes, that's how bad he is in Math)
CLASS RANK - 122/127

CTRL C and CTRL V mostly from this point on what I wrote on the other post so if you've read that post, you can skip this ;) - Or you can read again cause I might have been more verbose than I already am.. 😂

SHOCKED that my kid got an Academic Scholarship ( vs Music Talent Merit, which we're hoping for and confident he will get somewhere) at a LAC in PA. His stats GPA 2.3 (and this is cause he worked really hard this last semester and brought it up a bit - applications GPA even lower ) and ACT 23 certainly does NOT lend itself to academic scholarships so this was a BIG surprise. Apparently his ACT, which low by all standards I've seen around here (maybe the low stats folks just aren't posting?? Don't be shy low folks. Sharing is caring and it just might help someone else ) was above the average for this school, which was 22, I think. Still, blend that with his low GPA and didn't think it would come up to ANY $$ for academics, so definitely a BIG surprise. And speaking of surprises, surprised that he got into WVU which states ON their website under admissions that for out of state students, the requirement is a minimum 2.5 GPA. Again, I guess his 23 ACT took him over since their mid-range was also a bit below that? I wish I knew how these admissions departments worked. Not complaining, mind you, just befuddled.

He (and I) knew it would be an uphill battle for him to get into any music school within a university setting (and he does NOT want to go to a conservatory cause he figures he'll be missing out on the whole "college" experience and wants to have other options) since a lot of them focus heavily on academics BEFORE getting to the talent/audition portion. Like he told an Admissions Counselor he interviewed with, " I can play! I just suck at Math" (I still laugh when I think about how he just blurted it out and was so frank about it. I'm still surprised when he gets accepted before his audition (three so far), which, since I have no clue how these things work, can only attribute to his essay... which is titled "I just want to play" and somewhere in there he mentioned that his grades were low cause he spends so much time playing, but it makes him happy. And who doesn't want to be happy? Something like that...sounded good to me 😉 And it's true. He REALLY does play everywhere and anywhere and since he's looking at going in as a performance major, that might be what admissions folks look at just as much as academics ? Here's hoping. There are some, though, which have requested mid-year grades even before auditions for consideration. Hoping that his mid-year report is enough to tip the scale cause his TOP choice, is one of those. 🤞 He still has to audition, but being accepted into three colleges academically ( one of them in his top 5) is encouraging for the ones which take talent into consideration as much as academics. He cast a VERY wide net with the applications because he KNEW his academics would prove to be a challenge for acceptance. This whole admissions process has being super eye opening for this Momma who just got IN and got scholarships without even applying back in the day. Folks came looking for me, based on my ACT scores and GPA. It was a very very loooooooong time ago. I'm old :P

Your thoughts are greatly appreciated.

YIKES ! That's a long post. If you read all that, Bless Your 💖
edited January 17
11 replies
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Replies to: Low Stats Students Applying AND Getting Accepted, Aren't They? Where Art Thou?

  • BenniesMom1BenniesMom1 87 replies3 threads Junior Member
    Hmmm... can't edit, but I do want to add that he DOES have stellar recommendations, at least I think he does. One of them, from our parish priest, I did read and while it was all true, even I was like WOA. That's a great kid !! 👏 If I were an admissions counselor, I'd want him in my school too. Tis unfortunate I'm not involved in this decision... HA !
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  • LindagafLindagaf 9890 replies538 threads Senior Member
    Congratulations to your son!

    A few comments here, which aren’t intended to denigrate your son in anyway.
    -Many LACs, especially less selective ones, are desperate for men. So I am sure being male helped him a lot. Being honest, I have to say that if he was a female, I’m not so sure he would have been offered any kind of money.
    -You say his GPA went up. Many colleges are 1.) more forgiving of guys’ GPA’s, and 2.) like to see an upward trend.
    -Yes, his recommendations might have been strong and that could have helped him. Teacher recs are considered very important or important at many colleges. You can google common data set, section C7 to see what that college considers in a student’s app.
    -No idea what instrument he plays, but it could be that they need a kid who plays that instrument. Referring to section C7 again, that school could also consider talent as very important or important.
    -His choice of intended major might have been a boost to his app if that major is undersubscribed at the school.

    At the end of the day though, they liked him enough to entice him with money, so obviously the stars were aligned for him. It’s always inspiring to see a kid come out on top. Best of luck to him.
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 35227 replies399 threads Senior Member
    Thing is, if you're exploring for -and finding- the right matches, a lot becomes more explainable.

    The very top colleges need kids whose academic records show they can handle the ongoing demands of a tougher college. That leaves thousands of other schools.

    There's so much focus on CC on stats that people miss the bigger picture. Why not get to know a range of colleges well enough to get some read on the types they like. Then you can tinker with, "They'd like *me* for their class because..." That's much more than a flat look-back.

    In the end, you need to match. And in holistic, that's much more than stats or CDS. You do need the academic skills so you aren't desperate to keep up. But there are so many other bullets you can use in presenting yourself.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 80154 replies720 threads Senior Member
    He still has to audition, but being accepted into three colleges academically ( one of them in his top 5) is encouraging for the ones which take talent into consideration as much as academics.

    Does the audition affect whether he is admitted to the college, or just to the music performance major?
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  • NJWrestlingmomNJWrestlingmom 1456 replies2 threads Senior Member
    My S17 was probably about a 2.7/2.8 (our school did a 100 point scale). Take out gym, it was probably lower! He got an 1150 SAT (or 1050? I can't remember now??!). Male and an education major (I'm sure both very helpful).
    He applied to our state schools, some PA state schools (PASSHE, not Pitt or Penn State), and a few LAC. He went 9 for 9 on acceptances. Only got merit at 1 (Lycoming), and ended up at one of our state schools.
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  • taverngirltaverngirl 1339 replies38 threads Senior Member
    I have a low stats kid, 3.0 gpa (barely) but a 32 ACT. Engineering major, which makes it more difficult. So far he's doing well in the admission game, 7 out of 9 acceptances, all with surprisingly good merit, one honors college invite (maybe due to his ACT score and the fact that he's really strong in writing and humanities courses??). Awaiting two more RD decisions, but he'll be a happy student somewhere come fall. Best of luck to your son!
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  • BenniesMom1BenniesMom1 87 replies3 threads Junior Member
    Lindagaf wrote: »
    Congratulations to your son!

    A few comments here, which aren’t intended to denigrate your son in anyway.

    At the end of the day though, they liked him enough to entice him with money, so obviously the stars were aligned for him. It’s always inspiring to see a kid come out on top. Best of luck to him.

    No denigration felt/taken.😉 THANKS for your feedback and good luck. And yes, the stars were/have been definitely properly aligned for him. He plays the clarinet, by the way, with LOTS of music related ECs.
    EconPop wrote: »
    @BenniesMom1 ,

    Many of those threads are about higher-stats students than mine -- those applying to HYPSM and Bowdoin/Rice/Chicago, instead of the 2nd state flagship, 110-250 ranked schools that might make up a big chunk of our (the collective "our") lists. I'll probably post such a thread to help future parents/students in the same boat as my son.


    I get it. She has a massive caseload, and looking solely at my son's stats and having an idea of our budget, she has a good professional idea of the 5 best options from the standpoint of high chance of acceptance and affordability.

    Her plan seemed to be, get in get out, get an acceptance, forget about this one and move on to the next kid.

    My son and I had/have larger plans for my him, than simply accepting a lukewarm choice. We, too, cast a VERY VERY wide net. I'll get into exactly how wide when I finally get around to starting that Journey thread.

    Good luck and please keep up the hard work!!!

    PS - The GC has been nice throughout. She's been helpful when called upon, and fairly prompt to send whatever we needed. She even sent scholarship opportunities she selected for him. It's just that Son's search needs a whole nother level of effort, and that's more than she has the time/inclination to fully participate in.

    Can't wait to read YOUR journey thread. All I gotta say is "Samesies"
    👏And I get it... The GC really HAS quite the load of students to handle and likely rushed through his session. Her ultimate goal is to get ALL the kids into SOME college. But when my kid(ANY kid) leaves her office depressed about getting into college and just lost motivation all together, that's not cool. It took quite the effort to get him out of the dumps and the "woe is me" state of affairs and have him actually excited and looking forward to going to college. It's been quite the process. The old adage "if you want something done right, you gotta do it yourself" came in to play here. I became what I THOUGHT his GC should have been. I now know that there is no way she could have done it with the amount of students she has to deal with, lots whose parents are NOT as involved as we are. Anyhoo.... water under the bridge. Every acceptance he's gotten, I go... HA. Ms GC. Take that!! Then my kid reels me in and says, Be Nice, Momma. She genuinely is happy for me when I get in. hmmm.. Anyhoo, If I wasn't so old, I'd probably go back to school to be a GC myself so I can properly help kids through this process. The kid has gotten into 4 colleges already - got another acceptance today- and is looking forward to and getting excited about digging into the college life. Momma's happy too, albeit sad that my "one and done" will be leaving home soon. 😢

    HYPSM ??? What exactly IS that? I'll take your VERY VERY wide net and raise it 4 !!🤣Common App couldn't hold my kid's net, that's how wide it was. Thanks again for the feedback and I'm REALLy looking forward to hearing about the journey. I might do one myself. My niece graduates next year and I'm already "counseling" . She has the stats and ECs already to get into Ivies (and wants to) so it will be a totally different journey.

    Thing is, if you're exploring for -and finding- the right matches, a lot becomes more explainable.

    There's so much focus on CC on stats that people miss the bigger picture. Why not get to know a range of colleges well enough to get some read on the types they like. Then you can tinker with, "They'd like *me* for their class because..." That's much more than a flat look-back.

    In the end, you need to match. And in holistic, that's much more than stats or CDS. You do need the academic skills so you aren't desperate to keep up. But there are so many other bullets you can use in presenting yourself.

    True that !! Honestly, I almost walked away from CC because it seemed so heavily focused on stats !! Glad I stayed, though. Been very helpful and eye-opening. Definitely explored and found what HE thinks are good matches. He's met with ALL the clarinet instructors of every school where he applied to (except one) so has a good feel for which would be good match for HIM. Sooooo many schools out there worth exploring. Found some hidden gems (and killer instructors and music departments) in our neighboring state's school system which would have gone untapped if just left up to stats (and his counselor, but I'm over that... maybe) Thanks for sharing.


    ucbalumnus wrote: »
    He still has to audition, but being accepted into three colleges academically ( one of them in his top 5) is encouraging for the ones which take talent into consideration as much as academics.

    Does the audition affect whether he is admitted to the college, or just to the music performance major?

    He's been accepted to 4 colleges which he hasn't auditioned at yet. For those you had to be accepted to the university and then audition for the department . If he bombs the audition, he can still attend and choose a different major. That's not happening, but the option is there. For the most part, the ones we are waiting for are dependent on audition results BEFORE making a final decision. Those are the ones he's more focused on. Talent is taken into consideration and weighs in on the final decision to admit. We like those !!
    My S17 was probably about a 2.7/2.8 (our school did a 100 point scale). Take out gym, it was probably lower! He got an 1150 SAT (or 1050? I can't remember now??!). Male and an education major (I'm sure both very helpful).
    He applied to our state schools, some PA state schools (PASSHE, not Pitt or Penn State), and a few LAC. He went 9 for 9 on acceptances. Only got merit at 1 (Lycoming), and ended up at one of our state schools.

    PASSHE schools rock ! Bennie top two choice Music schools and favorite instructors are in that system. In fact, 4 of his top 5 schools are in PA. Love the state!! Wow... 9 for 9 on acceptances. That's AWESOME. The goal is for him to attend one of your state schools. A lot of them are doing a reciprocal In-State deal for DE students so trying to ride that wave. I told my kid if he went for Music Education he'd have a better chance of getting in but he wants nothing to do with that. All he wants to do is play. Performance it is.
    taverngirl wrote: »
    I have a low stats kid, 3.0 gpa (barely) but a 32 ACT. Engineering major, which makes it more difficult. So far he's doing well in the admission game, 7 out of 9 acceptances, all with surprisingly good merit, one honors college invite (maybe due to his ACT score and the fact that he's really strong in writing and humanities courses??). Awaiting two more RD decisions, but he'll be a happy student somewhere come fall. Best of luck to your son!

    Thanks for sharing. And you're so right... at the end of the day, our kids will be happy students SOMEWHERE come Fall. Best of luck to your soon as well.
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  • EconPopEconPop 472 replies8 threads Member
    HYPSM ??? What exactly IS that?
    It's an abbreviation people here on College Confidential use for "Harvard Yale Princeton Stanford and MIT. It's used to represent the tippity-top wants for the high-stats students. Sometimes it's used to indicate only those schools, sometimes it represents another dozen or so schools in that category.
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 29928 replies59 threads Senior Member
    Your son has a hook. Music. One of one did too, and it made a huge difference in his prospects. Ironically, he did better at non audition schools and non music programs, where his strong music training and skills stood out. That he was a male and Full pay helped too, I’m sure. Yes, he got some awards but they were not substantial. A lot of schools do manage enrollment that way, I suspect, offering price sweeteners to get more full pay students.

    A cousin who needed substantial financial aid as had far better stats than my son during this time period applied to some of the same schools and was waitlisted at schools where he would have been above average in stats. No hook and needed money.

    Another one of my kids had low test (21 ACt, >1000SAT) score but strong GPA with difficult courses. I was told by GC excellent LORs and AP exams and SAT2s were above average though not sterling. (4 APs, >650SAT2s). We had the safety schools well covered and, yes, the GC made it clear that there should be at least one in place for everyone, but for hm, several advised as it can be very disheartening to get reject after reject.

    His accept rate was very high. Like OP, that does major state schools accepted him was the shocker. UMD-CP, Penn State, Pitt, UDelaware all accepted him. All reaches. Only one rejection out of his list.

    But...he had a niche major with a strong record of achievement in it. We went straight to the departments to make it stand out. We threw in 4 Fairtest schools and he was 4 for 4 there. He also made it clear what his course of study and plans were at each school and made sure the AO knew that as well as the specific department. Also, very directed LORs.

    I’m was still shocked at the big school accepts, especially Penn State, main campus. I don’t know anyone without a very strong hook accepted there with test scores that low. I didn’t expect ANY big school accepts. We broke the cardinal rule of early applications to those schools too, which, I think actually helped him.

    He was also full pay. He received two merit awards, both at Catholic schools.
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  • BenniesMom1BenniesMom1 87 replies3 threads Junior Member
    @cptofthehouse THANKS for your detailed response. Interesting info gleaned therin.

    The school which give him merit is also a Catholic school. He got into UD as well, but that's out state school and they take their commitment to instate students seriously so wasn't surprised there.

    What's Fairtest School?

    My kid definitely NEEDS financial aid. Didn't know that could be a deterrent. My eyes have been opened :(

    Just found out what "hook" is and I guess my kid DOES have a hook... a couple of hooks, really. The things we learn around here.

    Thanks again for the info. Made me go research a few things.
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