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Help please! Need advice (T20 + Ivy admissions)

john3572john3572 6 replies2 threads New Member
Hello everyone, I'm a rising senior who is hoping to take a gap year after I graduate from high school next year, and I was hoping for some advice.

I skipped a grade (7th), so I've always planned on taking a gap year and ultimately heading to college at the normal age.

However, I'm unsure of whether I want to apply to college in the coming admissions cycle (for the class of 2025) and then defer a year from a college that I'm accepted into, or wait and then apply the following year during my gap year for the class of 2026.

I'm aware that these are both feasible options, but I'm unsure which will give me the better chance of admission into my top dream schools (top LACs, especially Dartmouth, Amherst, and Williams).

Right now, I have solid academics and stats (4.0 GPA, 35 ACT), but my activities and awards honestly aren't incredibly impressive (they're still fairly strong though).

I know that my extracurricular profile as an applicant will be much stronger if I take the second option, since I'm planning on an internship with a congressman and academic research abroad during the gap year. However, I don't know if I will be held to a higher standard given the fact that I would be on a gap year.

Any insight or advice would be really appreciated!
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Replies to: Help please! Need advice (T20 + Ivy admissions)

  • calikid327calikid327 6 replies4 threads New Member
    edited June 27
    I would highly suggest you ED to your #1 school this year (not EA). If you get in, great, you can decide when to attend. For example, Dartmouth had a 25% ED rate vs a 7% RD. Plus, the ED pool will be smaller because fewer people have test scores they want to submit this early.

    Beyond that, it's up to you, I would just shoot all of my shots this year and probably reapply next year. The issue is that at small LAC's, I would presume the admissions offices are smaller, so it may be more likely they remember you applied previously.
    edited June 27
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  • DadTwoGirlsDadTwoGirls 6525 replies1 threads Senior Member
    To me it seems that you could apply to the schools that you are most interested in this time around. If you get in, defer. If you are rejected everywhere, then next year apply to a wider range of schools.

    Of course this assumes that you are okay with being full pay. If you need financial aid then that changes things a bit. I am not sure whether schools let you defer financial aid, which might suggest waiting and applying next year.

    By the way, I entered university a year younger than most other students. I think that what you are planning to do is sensible.
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  • john3572john3572 6 replies2 threads New Member
    To me it seems that you could apply to the schools that you are most interested in this time around. If you get in, defer. If you are rejected everywhere, then next year apply to a wider range of schools.

    Of course this assumes that you are okay with being full pay. If you need financial aid then that changes things a bit. I am not sure whether schools let you defer financial aid, which might suggest waiting and applying next year.

    By the way, I entered university a year younger than most other students. I think that what you are planning to do is sensible.

    Thanks for the reply! I'll be full pay at all my schools, so I don't think that the financial aid should have an impact on my decision.

    My plan at the moment is to prepare this summer as if I will apply in the fall, but I'm unsure of whether to apply to my top choices this time around. I'm fairly sure that I'll be rejected from places like Dartmouth and Williams, and I'm worried that the AOs will remember me the following year.

    Do you think that this is true? Will being rejected previously impact their decision the following year?
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  • Groundwork2022Groundwork2022 3421 replies77 threads Senior Member
    "Do you think that this is true? Will being rejected previously impact their decision the following year?"

    Yes. One of the questions on the application is whether you applied previously.

    I would also encourage you to apply then defer. Your letters of recommendation are never going to be as strong as they are in your senior year. After you graduate, you drop in priority under the next year's batch of students. That doesn't mean it won't happen, but there is something to be said for making use of that advantage while you have it.
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  • john3572john3572 6 replies2 threads New Member
    "Do you think that this is true? Will being rejected previously impact their decision the following year?"

    Yes. One of the questions on the application is whether you applied previously.

    I would also encourage you to apply then defer. Your letters of recommendation are never going to be as strong as they are in your senior year. After you graduate, you drop in priority under the next year's batch of students. That doesn't mean it won't happen, but there is something to be said for making use of that advantage while you have it.


    I've already recieved two letters of recommendation from my Junior year. Would there be a problem with submiting those letters if I apply during my gap year?
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  • DadTwoGirlsDadTwoGirls 6525 replies1 threads Senior Member
    "Will being rejected previously impact their decision the following year?"

    I think that it is likely that they will notice that you have applied previously. However, I do not think that this will harm your chances.

    Your reaches are just that, reaches. They are reaches for nearly every student. You will need to apply to matches and most importantly safeties if you do not get into a reach before your gap year.

    However, I do not think that they have any problem with your applying both before and during your gap year.
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  • brantlybrantly 4265 replies77 threads Senior Member
    edited June 29
    You are in a much better position applying as a HS senior. I agree with @calikid327 . Apply early decision to your first choice this fall. That's one application, and if you get in you're done. If you don't get in, apply to a few more reaches, plus matches and safeties. At least you'll know where you stand and if you're not happy with the results you can make a new list the following year. You can even deposit at one school to hold a place just in case.

    If you reapply to colleges that declined you, of course they will know you applied previously. Applications are divided by regions, and there's an admissions person assigned to your region. Also, most apps ask if you've applied before. I think your chances of getting in as a freshman to a school that declined you just a year ago are slim to none. Your application really will not have changed much. Your internship with a congressman and academic research abroad will not push you over the line. These are amazing and exciting experiences for you, but they really do not put you in a new league. Most importantly, you will have only been doing one or the other of these experiences for about two months at application time. It won't have changed you at that point. The one thing I can think of that might make you a better candidate the second time is that you will be older.

    My advice to you is this: If you have to do a second go-round, find top colleges where your top-notch academics, top scores, and full-pay could be enough to get you in. Your competition for Dartmouth, Amherst, and Williams is students who have the exact same academic profile AND extraordinary out-of-classroom accomplishments or rare life experiences. I'm not saying don't try -- do ED for the first go-round. If it doesn't work, you'll need to blow your list wide open.
    edited June 29
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