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What I did wrong?

pynpyn Registered User Posts: 292 Junior Member
edited April 2009 in College Admissions
I hate blaming luck on anything. It would help resolve my feelings if I knew something concrete that kept me from my dream colleges. I feel not only horrible for not getting in, but I also feel bad that I am feeling bad, since I still got into good colleges, just not exemplary colleges. If possible, please give me your feedback; please do not comment if you are going to say it's a crapshoot or it's chance.

Rejected from H, Y, P, Penn CAS & Vagelos LSM, Columbia College (legacy), Brown (waitlisted)

Previously: rejected from S; accepted to USC, UCLA (OOS), UCB (OOS), Vanderbilt, Rice, Duke

SAT 2280 (790M/720CR/770W)
SATII 800 MathII, 800 Chem, 780 Bio
AP 5 - Chem, Bio, USH, Eng Lang
Rank 21/579
Competitive HS: Several HYPSM and other ivy/top10ish acceptances
UWGPA 3.95
WGPA 5.65/6.00
Asian Male

Yearbook 9, 10, 11, 12 (Editor-in-Chief x2, Student Life Editor, CSPA Gold Medal)
Red Cross 10, 11, 12 (Co-President, Webmaster)
Asian Club 12 (founding officer, Publicity Chairman)
Volunteer @ highly ranked medical school
JETS 11, 12 (TEAMS, Science Olympiad)
web service creator (2 million hits/month, 200GB/month)
AP Art (sent art supplement)
*insert applicable honor societies*

Rice University Summer School x2
Rhodes College Summer Writing Institute x1

Freelance Graphic Designer 9-11 (varies)
Math teacher 12 (15 hr/wk)

USNCO Honors (top 100 in nation)
Science Olympiad Regionals (1st Physics, 2nd Ecology)
TEAMS Regionals (1st)
VASE Regionals (2x Gold, advanced to state)
National Merit Finalist (now a Scholar, but wasn't in app)

Obviously not incredible. I would not say bad...

I don't feel these were stellar.

I definitely tried to spin my profile to be not another Asian male interested in science. (thus the art aspect, and the internet/entrepreneurial aspect)

In my eyes, I see myself more and more as a mediocre applicant. In my school environment, I feel pretty unique, but apparently I am not, and some people I thought were kind of bleh in that aspect were accepted. Honestly, I was shocked at Brown a bit... my hopes were kind of up but not extremely up due to the 20% increase in applicants. I guess I thought I was a student of Ivy-quality, but now I am realizing that I'm not (not that it's a bad thing, but I'm coming to reality instead of living in a fantasy world).

I kind of feel better after that rant. ~sigh~
Post edited by pyn on

Replies to: What I did wrong?

  • DwightEisenhowerDwightEisenhower Registered User Posts: 1,704 Senior Member
    Honestly, you probably didn't do anything wrong. College admissions are competitive and even moreso this year.
  • ElizaBElizaB Registered User Posts: 658 Member
    Um, USC, UCLA, Cal, Vandy, Rice, and Duke are all exemplary schools in my book. And pretty much the rest of the world's book. You should be proud that you were accepted to such fine institutions.
  • RobertoGonzalezRobertoGonzalez Registered User Posts: 257 Junior Member
    Dude, you got into Rice and Duke. That's extraordinary by anyone's standards.
  • AccessAcademicsAccessAcademics - Posts: 90 Junior Member
    You made a valiant effort at spinning your application, but your efforts are actually a pretty good example of how having some objective assistance from early on could have helped you. I don't at all mean this in a critical way, but you still come across as a geeky, technically-minded (Asian) kid. I'm a geek myself, so I don't mean that as an insult. The only problem is that geeky, technically-minded kids are a dime a dozen these days.

    Some things that someone in your position might consider pursuing: sleep away summer camp counselor or backpacking/wilderness survival courses, hands-on mission/volunteer work in an impoverished foreign country, or spearheading a charity effort for some sort of cause. The kind of competition you're up against includes kids who are literally starting NGOs in foreign countries at the age of 12.

    But ultimately, Rice and Duke are GREAT schools! I'm sure you'll be happy wherever you end up. And by the way: You are a student of Ivy League caliber. And isn't Duke right up there in the rankings with one of the Ivies? (Not that I give the rankings that much credence.) Thousands of "Ivy caliber" students get rejected every year.
  • DunninLADunninLA Registered User Posts: 4,272 Senior Member
    OP -- when 75% of the applicants to the schools that rejected you are academically and emotionally qualified to attend and succeed, the adcoms are in a really tough spot. About 10% of the kids are academic superstars with credentials. About 15%-20% are hooked athletically, via legacy, or via URM status. OK, so that leaves about 65% of the admittance slots to open competition in which 1/20 to 1/10 is admitted. Think about those numbers.

    All that to say, in that environment, those who comprise the admitted few to those spots are those who made an EMOTIONAL CONNECTION with the adcom via their application. Not academic connection, but emotional. Not unlike dating. You obviously connected, via your application, with the adcoms at Rice and Duke.

    Oh, and if it is rankings that float your boat, Duke is ranked higher than all but three or four of the Ivies, isn't it? Highre than Penn? Higher than Brown? Higher than Columbia? Higher than Dartmouth? Higher than Cornell?
  • hmom5hmom5 - Posts: 10,882 Senior Member
    I'd say what went wrong is that you were born in 1991, you were born an ORM, you probably come from a state that's well represented.......

    Columbia does surprise me. Are you a legacy as in one of your parents attended as an undergrad?
  • xiaohyoleexiaohyolee Registered User Posts: 158 Junior Member
    wowww... if this was a chance thread, i wouldve said you couldve been accepted at hypsm but, its possible that, even with the art and web design (which i would actually think to be very "asian"), you still came off as a typical asian. in addition to the fact that you did not do as splendidly on the parts of the app that try to get at what "kind" of a person you are (essay and rec), a admin might think you were the kinda person who was just good at academics and extracurriculars and colleges are not only looking for that. they want a genuine person (not saying that you're not genuine) and someone who they feel would really bring something (other than just academic greatnessto a school)
  • tinuvieltinuviel Registered User Posts: 319 Junior Member
    @hmom: what's an ORM?

    The schools you got into are fantastic. Don't mistake low acceptance rates for academic exxcellence- you'll do just as well at Duke and Rice as at HYP. Most people would kill to get some of those acceptances :)
  • DunninLADunninLA Registered User Posts: 4,272 Senior Member
    tinuviel --

    I would guess that ORM is an acronym for Over Represented Minority. I hadn't seen that either before. I infer from that construction that Asians are considered to be at a DISadvantage in college admissions, despite the smaller population compared to ... I guess Caucasian.

    ORM can also I think refer to Jewish, which in comparison to the national population, is the cultural/religious identification of a disproportionately large number of elite college students.

    So, I would say ORM = asian and jewish...
  • NorthstarmomNorthstarmom Registered User Posts: 24,853 Senior Member
    You made a mistake by being born so you graduated from h.s. this year, instead of later or earlier, when admissions would have been easier.
This discussion has been closed.