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Good/high match schools for Ivy applicants?

TrapNumenTrapNumen Registered User Posts: 82 Junior Member
My reach schools are all Ivy, and then I have Vanderbilt, WashU, and Rice as "midtier" schools which I would like to attend should I rejected from the Ivies. Are there more schools that have the resources and educational potential of those three schools (or possible slightly lower)? I'm trying to fill schools between my reaches and my safeties. I've researched into it but I feel like I'm missing lots of great schools. The "midtier" range would be schools with anywhere from say 15-35% acceptance rates I am aware Vanderbilt is a bit below the given range but I would appreciate suggestions for more "match" schools.

Replies to: Good/high match schools for Ivy applicants?

  • AlexandreAlexandre Super Moderator Posts: 24,108 Super Moderator
    edited August 30
    TrapNumen, you may want to revise your expectations. Rice, Vanderbilt, WUSTL are all reaches, no matter your credentials. Any university that admits fewer than 20% is a reach (30% in the case of public universities if you are OOS).
    Post edited by Alexandre on
  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 Registered User Posts: 31,520 Senior Member
    If you have Ivy-level stats, matches would have acceptance rates in the 25-35% level, not lower than that, and safeties would be in the 40% range. Rice, Vanderbilt, and WashU should all be considered reaches for all.
    What's your full list?

    Anyway, look into Case Western (express interest), URochester, NYU, Wake Forest, Grinnell, Lafayette, Emory, Hamilton, Lehigh..?
  • twogirlstwogirls Registered User Posts: 5,860 Senior Member
    Northeastern, U of Miami, Tulane, U of Maryland....

    But we could use some more information.....
  • HapworthHapworth Registered User Posts: 49 Junior Member
    As others have noted, your "match" schools are not matches unless you're a tippy-top student *and* have a strong "hook" (under-represented minority (URM), conservatory-level musician, published author (not self-published), or some other amazing quality (qualities, usually) that make you a drool-worthy candidate for Ivies and near-Ivies). WashU in particular places a lot of importance on showing demonstrated interest, as it is tired of being treated as a safety school. WashU, Vandy, and Rice are not fallback plans where one lets out a deep sigh, shrugs her/his shoulders, and says, "Oh, I guess I'll have to settle for the purgatory of the mid-tier Vanderbilt!"

    I realize that this was not your intention, so I apologize if my response sounds snarky or harsh. That is not my intention! Perhaps you are the sort of student who will make headlines for getting accepted at all eight Ivies. But the CC board is filled with students who aimed too high. I recall a thread (and I have to admit that I was shocked myself) where someone's shy but high-achieving daughter with a near 4.0 GPA and nearly perfect SAT scores (but not much on the EC side) got rejected literally everywhere, not just to not just the private schools (everywhere from Smith to MIT), but also by her in-state flagship (true, that flagship, U. of VA is definitely in a class all its own).

    Further, without knowing more about you, we could list schools all day! (How about NYU? How about Rochester? How about Holyoke (if female)? How about the U. of Timbuktu? How about Belly Button Lint U.?). Sure, if you're arguably Ivy-considerable, a match might be Boston U. and a safety might be Fordham. Or a match might be Whitman and a safety might be Beloit? There are a gazillion possibilities. Who could possibly know?

    We'd all be thrilled to be able to help out more with additional information.
  • TrapNumenTrapNumen Registered User Posts: 82 Junior Member
    I made a thread similar to this in the past asking a different question and it appears I've made the same mistake. I'm new to CC and had never previously heard of the term "match" so that's where my use of it (or use of "midtier") doesn't align with the rest of CC. Vandy, Rice, WashU, etc are by no means "back up" schools, but I do consider them "midtier" schools-- (I'm going off the assumption that I get rejected from all Ivies) these are just schools that have considerable resources, schools that I've visited (or plan to visit) and liked, and have academic majors that I like. A more "modest" acceptance rate is what I was looking for as well (though Vandy, Rice, and WashU would certainly be at the high end of that spectrum). I by no means expect to get accepted to all three of those schools, but my idea would be that should I apply to 1-3 Ivies (Yale, Princeton, Penn), and then my safety school, and then the "midtier" is comprised of other top schools (I would like to apply to 6-8 in this tier), the idea being that the chance of not getting accepted to all of them is much smaller than the chance that one accepts me.

    I have one "safety" school-- OSU (I live in OH), and I only have one because of all the other schools in OH that I would consider safety schools (UCinci, UToledo, Dayton, BG), I would not attend them over OSU (and I am sure I will get accepted to OSU).

    As for stats I think I am a relatively generic Ivy applicant (I'll provide a truncated version):
    35 ACT (1st try), 780 Math 2 SAT Subject Test (1st try), 770 USH SAT Subject Test (1st try), NMSF, AP Scholar, top tenth of class (possibly valedictorian depending how senior year goes), took hardest curriculum offered, 4 Varsity Letters across 4 sports, 200+ volunteer hours, club leadership positions, and participated in research at local university. I teach myself piano and chess but those are more for fun.

    I visited CWRU as well as CMU and couldn't see myself at either of those places, they attract very similar student bodies. In a university, I am looking for research, mid size (say, 3,000-12,000), and my interests are primarily in science (particularly biomed engineering or a BSE in molecular biology). As for cost, it'll obviously be expensive but with reasonable help from FAFSA I don't think there should be an issue.

    I have thought about Rochester and NYU, as well as UPitt (I don't think I'll apply to UPitt since they don't accept the common app). UVA and UMich are schools which I will also apply to, and I know that for an OOS student it will be nearly as difficult as Rice.

    Again, my intent is that if I have enough schools in this mid tier, that I will get accepted to at least one. All the schools I have named (VU, UVA, UMich, WashU, Rice) I would be thrilled to attend, I'm justing adding more schools into the mix as an additional safe guard.
  • twogirlstwogirls Registered User Posts: 5,860 Senior Member
    edited August 30
    The schools that you refer to as "mid tier" may appear to be matches on paper, but they are considered reaches. You have outstanding stats ( congrats!), but so do many...many who apply to these same schools. You might get accepted... you may get rejected... or you might get waitlisted. My co-workers son had similar stats and was waitlisted to most of the schools he applied to. You really need to add some other strong schools that were mentioned such as Lafayette, Lehigh, Wake Forest, etc. OS is a good instate safety for you ... but only if you would be happy attending. You would make the honors program and attend school with strong students like yourself.

    What will your parents pay towards your education? Have you used the NPCs? And what do you mean by "with reasonable help from FAFSA I don't think there should be an issue."? FAFSA does not award you FA. The schools award you FA.... if you qualify... once you fill out the documents. The schools that you reference require both the CSS profile and the FAFSA. Will your family qualify for financial aid?
  • HapworthHapworth Registered User Posts: 49 Junior Member

    Thanks for posting more info. Yes, your profile is very solid. And, no, I wouldn't expect you to get shut out at all of your matches, even if those matches are reaches, no matter how confident you are and wish to define them as matches. :-)

    But I do think you're in a great position in this sense. If you are truly okay--not just okay, but very happy--attending THE Ohio State University (must not forget the "The"!), then great. I agree that you will be a shoo-in there! If you're quite happy with OSU then you will be fine because you'll still be happy with your college destination if all those reaches/matches do not come through.

    That said, it looks like you prefer universities, not LACs, so I won't go there. Vandy and WashU are reaches, no matter what you feel. This is especially true for WashU, which (and I was not joking) takes demonstrated interest very seriously. In essence, if you apply to WashU, be prepared to convince their admissions people that you *love* WashU, that it's your dream school, that you are meant to be there (and, yes, they'll be able to see through someone faking it). Perhaps more than any other school (though the competition is fierce, with Northwestern, Tufts, and Vanderbilt in the mix), WashU gets treated by high-achieving students as a safety school, leading to WashU (and others) rejecting lots of high-achieving, bright, well-rounded and talented applicants. You should be showing demonstrated interest/love to all schools, of course.

    For you, Ivies and near-Ivies (Duke, Stanford, U. of Chicago, Vandy, WashU, Northwestern) are all technically reaches. Matches might include Rice, Emory, Notre Dame, USC, Wake Forest, Rochester, Case Western, NYU, Brandeis, Northeastern, Boston U., and so on. For public universities, since you are from Ohio and are already considering Michigan, maybe other Big Ten schools (Universities of WI, IL, IA, and MN, as well as Purdue) could be in the mix since many have strong science focuses. None of these places are small or mid-sized as you said in your stated preference? There's RPI (6K undergrads)? GA Tech (15K undergrads)?

    I'm not sure about UVA being a match, but at least you're aware that as an OOS student it is brutal to gain admission to UVA or William & Mary. These two public universities are already very difficult for VA residents to get accepted into, let alone for OOS students.
  • WISdad23WISdad23 Registered User Posts: 806 Member
    Some students seem to fall into a trap. They are certainly capable of doing the work at top colleges to which they apply. But they are "uninteresting" (read that as you wish) and really have little chance of admission. But they are obviously gunning for the top, have expressed little interest in other schools - how can one express genuine interest in a dozen schools? So instead of Harvard it is Ohio State. That is why you are getting pushback on your list. You need more true matches.
  • carachel2carachel2 Registered User Posts: 2,510 Senior Member
    "reasonable help from FAFSA" --what does that mean? What is your EFC?
  • twogirlstwogirls Registered User Posts: 5,860 Senior Member
    edited August 30
    I think it is very important that you add 2-3 schools that are not quite as "reachy" as the schools that you consider "mid tier."

    You also need to use the NPCs and ask your parents if the number looks realistic. If it is not, you need to add some other schools where you might get merit. You don't want to be accepted academically but rejected financially. What is your EFC?
  • HapworthHapworth Registered User Posts: 49 Junior Member
    Oh, I missed the OP's line about the FAFSA. I cannot tell from the OP's statement if finances are a big concern or not. Reasonable help from the FAFSA? Okay, aside from the awkward wording, which others have pointed out and explained, I'm not sure if reasonable aid (this is what the OP means) is in the area of 10 to 15K (his family can mostly handle the costs, but some FA would be nice) or if it is in the area of half the cost of attendance...or more!

    Trap, you certainly don't have to share details if you think they are too revealing. Even the EFC gives strangers a sense of your family's standing. On the other hand, knowing this would help a lot. For instance, the Ivies and other elite schools will take care of every penny of your demonstrated need (often not packaging loans as part of your FA, which is awesome), but they will not contribute one penny beyond that demonstrated need (what is left after you pay your EFC to a given school). Princeton's COA is $67,000. If your EFC for that school is 30K, Princeton will take care of the remaining $37K, and if that is more than your family can afford, you'll be in a serious bind. The elite colleges either do not offer merit money (all of the Ivies, plus Stanford, and a whole slew of NE colleges that state that they do not offer merit aid) or do not off significant merit aid.

    There are ways to improve things if finances are a concern, but the solutions often mean "dropping down" from the Ivies and near-Ivies and specifically targeting schools that offer merit aid (money given regardless of demonstrated need). But that's a whole different ball game often involving a whole different set of schools (hello, U. of Alabama-Tuscaloosa! hello, CTCL schools! hello, Bowling Green or Toledo or Wright State or Ohio U (I'm listing public schools in your state but have no idea if they offer significant money to in-state high achievers)). Again, knowing more information, if you're comfortable offering it, would help.
  • TTGTTG Registered User Posts: 647 Member
    edited August 31
    Congrats on your hard work and success! I'll throw out Wake Forest. The school has a brand-new (just fully opening this semester) Wake Downtown Bio/Health Sciences center in downtown Winston-Salem (about 4 miles from the very traditional campus). The idea is to bridge the med school, undergrad programs, and research facilities. The school has a new bioengineering program. It's in a renovated old tobacco factory and looks very cool. Labs are fantastic. A lot of development is going on in the neighborhood around it. Weather is very nice pretty much year round. Aid is awarded but is not as widely available as at an Ivy.


    It is certainly a match for you with the caveat that the school does consider interest and likes students to interview if possible. It offers Skype interviews. Both campus and Skype interviews fill up well ahead and end some time around December.

    Vanderbilt is very tough, probably tougher for some students than Ivies. I believe it's published Middle 50% ACT range for accepted students this year was 34-36. It also claimed, I believe, that every accepted student had a major leadership position. Wash U also puts an emphasis on interest, so good you visited. ED with interest seems considerably easier than RD there. I might vote for Rice as the school where undergrads get the best education. It is similar to Vandy and Wash U in terms of admissions, but maybe a hair less competitive (and I'm not sure how the flooding will affect the pool next year). I agree you have a real shot at one or more of these schools, and the Ivies, but just understand it would be unremarkable if you were denied or waitlisted at all six or so. And you do have to consider a situation where you are accepted to, say, Vandy and Wash U and Wake but do not receive enough aid to attend.

    You could succeed at any school on your list. It's just that more fully qualified students apply to a few dozen schools than they can accept. I use the example of a top LAC we visited a few years ago. At info session, rep said 70% of applicants were fully qualified and they were confident they would succeed at the school. Acceptance rate was then 14% (lower now). So only 1 in 5 fully qualified applicants were accepted. Good luck!
  • TTGTTG Registered User Posts: 647 Member
    William and Mary might also be a good choice for you. It's very competitive OOS but probably not as competitive as UVA right now. As an EA school, UVA is getting flooded with OOS applications right now. I'm also now sure how the recent events in Charlottesville will affect admissions this year.
  • AidaAida Registered User Posts: 227 Junior Member
    I wouldn't dismiss Pitt just because it's not on the common app. It's a very easy app and a great school.
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