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Which college do I have the best chance at?

luca2fishluca2fish 10 replies4 threads New Member
Right now I am trying to select which college to apply to for Early Decision 1. So far I have:
Vassar
Middlebury
Swarthmore
Haverford
Amherst
Williams
Macalester

These are all reach, but ED will hopefully get me a little edge on RD.
I'm a homeschooled student with some AP courses, many honors courses, and duel enrollment courses on my transcript with a 3.9 GPA. I have many extra curricular activities, such as Internships, volunteer hours, clubs, and sports (Unique ones like martial arts and bowling).
I'm writing an few essays, one on how travelling the world has impacted my life and one on how bowling affects me more than most. I will be choosing one soon.

The main thing holding me back is my SAT scores. I have a 700 writing and a 590 math. I have taken AP calc in sophomore year and I did well in the course (so maybe the college could disregard the low math sat score). I simply don't test well when it comes to SAT math. I'm taking the ACT next Saturday to compare, but I don't expect the scores to differ much.

My question is, which of the schools that I've listed do I have the best chance at? Which school relies on SAT scores the least, and which has the least amount of homeschoolers? (If that's even something I could find out). I realize that given the information, you would be generalizing heavily. But any info is useful. Thanks so much.

P.S. I'm from Florida.
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Replies to: Which college do I have the best chance at?

  • Techno13Techno13 224 replies8 threads Junior Member
    I'm no expert, but Macalester. I believe it is the least competitive to get into. Still a reach. You can calculate each schools ED acceptance rate if you look near the end of section C of the Common Data Set. Every school publishes this on their websites. Have you considered a SAT retake? And I do hope you have some other schools to apply to if ED doesn't work in your favor-- good luck though.

    Also, I have seen that some schools-- not sure which ones-- weight SAT/ACT higher for homeschooled students. If you have good AP scores (4-5) be sure and submit them too.
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  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 6845 replies60 threads Senior Member
    Macalaster does have the highest admission rate of that group- but your SAT puts you in the bottom 25% of accepted students (only 7% of admitted students had a math score under 600).

    ACT & SAT can vary a *lot* for some people- maybe it will for you.

    Did you take the AP for Calc, or just do the course? Do you have subject tests? if no to both, the only external indicators that the schools have to go on is your dual enrollment marks and SAT.

    Those schools are all welcoming to homeschooled students- but a) they need to know that you can do high level work at a high level of intensity, and b) you are competing with seriously qualified students.

    Does your brief summary of your ECs undersell what you have? do you have some that show depth? ie, commitment over time, growth in responsibility, evidence of being a good team member / leadership / maturity / other?

    If not, without something more to give them, I would pick one or two as a super-reach, and then go come up with a new list, including some test optional schools and/or with higher admission rates.
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  • luca2fishluca2fish 10 replies4 threads New Member
    Macalaster does have the highest admission rate of that group- but your SAT puts you in the bottom 25% of accepted students (only 7% of admitted students had a math score under 600).

    ACT & SAT can vary a *lot* for some people- maybe it will for you.

    Did you take the AP for Calc, or just do the course? Do you have subject tests? if no to both, the only external indicators that the schools have to go on is your dual enrollment marks and SAT.

    Those schools are all welcoming to homeschooled students- but a) they need to know that you can do high level work at a high level of intensity, and b) you are competing with seriously qualified students.

    Does your brief summary of your ECs undersell what you have? do you have some that show depth? ie, commitment over time, growth in responsibility, evidence of being a good team member / leadership / maturity / other?

    If not, without something more to give them, I would pick one or two as a super-reach, and then go come up with a new list, including some test optional schools and/or with higher admission rates.

    I understand some of the schools I listed are more reachy than others.
    My ECs definitely show all the qualities you listed. I have been volunteering for years, got accepted into two competetive internships, and am the captain of my bowling team. I also have other ECs that show the diverse things I've done. But do you know if any of those schools have any less reliance on SAT scores? Or they all have the same weight.
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  • merc81merc81 10514 replies163 threads Senior Member
    edited October 19
    Since you didn't list any, can we assume you haven't taken SAT subject tests that would qualify under Middlebury's test-flexible policy?

    https://www.middlebury.edu/college/admissions/apply/standardized-tests

    As a reference point with respect to your general standardized testing profile, did you take the AP Calc exam?
    edited October 19
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  • wisteria100wisteria100 4219 replies47 threads Senior Member
    ED can provide a bump for a non-hooked applicant, but you would have to be in range to get that bump. You have excellent credentials but your SAT does put you out of range for most of the schools on your list. A few years back there was a poster who had similar scores to you in that the math score was very low compared to the reading. Poster applied ED to one school on your list and was rejected but then was accepted to Macalaster ED2.
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  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 6845 replies60 threads Senior Member
    you can get an idea of the relative weight of standardized test scores by looking at the common data set (section C7). For example, for Macalaster, test scores are 'Important' (v Very Important, Considered or Not Considered).

    But: heed @Groundwork2022's advice: be *sure* that any college you ED is where you really belong. It is a binding commitment, and these schools are more different than you might think- if you haven't visited them I strongly advise against an ED. I have heard first hand accounts of students who barely walked onto several of these campuses before telling their parents they wouldn't apply there- it just felt wrong (including from my own collegekids).

    Finally, although there are schools where ED make a big difference (where a high % of the class is admitted ED), for most schools it's a tip more than a boost- as @wisteria100 points out, you have to be in range. These schools all have more than enough fully competitive applicants that they are going to have to say 'no' to. I actually have more faith in AdComms than many on CC do- ime, they are pretty good at recognizing a good fit. IMO, you will get more of a boost by figuring out where you are genuinely a good fit & applying there than from ED.
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  • luca2fishluca2fish 10 replies4 threads New Member
    you can get an idea of the relative weight of standardized test scores by looking at the common data set (section C7). For example, for Macalaster, test scores are 'Important' (v Very Important, Considered or Not Considered).

    But: heed @Groundwork2022's advice: be *sure* that any college you ED is where you really belong. It is a binding commitment, and these schools are more different than you might think- if you haven't visited them I strongly advise against an ED. I have heard first hand accounts of students who barely walked onto several of these campuses before telling their parents they wouldn't apply there- it just felt wrong (including from my own collegekids).

    Finally, although there are schools where ED make a big difference (where a high % of the class is admitted ED), for most schools it's a tip more than a boost- as @wisteria100 points out, you have to be in range. These schools all have more than enough fully competitive applicants that they are going to have to say 'no' to. I actually have more faith in AdComms than many on CC do- ime, they are pretty good at recognizing a good fit. IMO, you will get more of a boost by figuring out where you are genuinely a good fit & applying there than from ED.

    I am currently visiting all of the colleges on my list. I am leaning towards Vassar for ED1 and Macalester for ed2.
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  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 6845 replies60 threads Senior Member
    edited October 19
    There are some good alternative colleges near most of the ones on your list. Visit some of them as well. I'm assuming that this is your ED list- & therefore all the ones you know are the reachiest. Make sure you visit some that are likely and some that are certainties- you need some of each.
    edited October 19
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  • taverngirltaverngirl 1016 replies29 threads Senior Member
    Are you male or female? Being male will help at some of those schools, definitely at Vassar. My D (coincidentally homeschooled until hs) did far better on the ACT than the SAT; she felt the math was especially easier.Best of luck!
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  • privatebankerprivatebanker 5346 replies78 threads Senior Member
    I would swap many of these out with Bowdoin Bates Holy Cross along with Macalister

    These are top 20 lacs with test optional admissions.

    Maybe consider U Chicago too.

    And if not for ED. definitely the rd rounds Or Ed 2 rounds if they are part of the equation.
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  • MeddyMeddy 507 replies35 threads Member
  • merc81merc81 10514 replies163 threads Senior Member
    edited October 19
    Re #11, note that Bowdoin requires standardized testing for home-schooled applicants.

    https://www.bowdoin.edu/admissions/our-process/test-optional-policy/index.html
    edited October 19
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  • tdy123tdy123 816 replies15 threads Member
    edited October 19
    When applying to highly selective and selective schools, home schooled students should be taking as many standardized tests as possible to provide context for what the grades on their transcripts represent relative to other students. "Mom gave me straight A's" is much more meaningful when backed up by 5's on AP tests, and great SATI and SATII scores.

    That makes the "test optional" route a very poor choice for home schooled students at selective schools.
    edited October 19
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  • Rivers4Rivers4 93 replies2 threads Junior Member
    Colby College is test optional.
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  • PublisherPublisher 8514 replies91 threads Senior Member
    Based on your qualifications, concerns and list of targeted schools, I think that you have it exactly right by applying ED to Vassar College followed by EDII, if necessary, to Macalester College.
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  • luca2fishluca2fish 10 replies4 threads New Member
    edited October 20
    taverngirl wrote: »
    Are you male or female? Being male will help at some of those schools, definitely at Vassar. My D (coincidentally homeschooled until hs) did far better on the ACT than the SAT; she felt the math was especially easier.Best of luck!

    I'm male. Vassar seems like a solid choice for me. Do you know if I take the sat in early November, I will have time to submit them by the ED date for Vassar? And if I take it in December and do better, can I give that to Vassar and have that apply to my application?
    edited October 20
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  • luca2fishluca2fish 10 replies4 threads New Member
    tdy123 wrote: »
    When applying to highly selective and selective schools, home schooled students should be taking as many standardized tests as possible to provide context for what the grades on their transcripts represent relative to other students. "Mom gave me straight A's" is much more meaningful when backed up by 5's on AP tests, and great SATI and SATII scores.

    That makes the "test optional" route a very poor choice for home schooled students at selective schools.

    Most of my courses have been through online academies, (Wilson hill academy, Art of problem solving) and duel enrollment at my local college. I've done on all of them, and duel enrollment should show that I am capable of taking college level courses. Not many of my courses were taken purely at home.
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  • PublisherPublisher 8514 replies91 threads Senior Member
    With respect to submitting December SAT scores to Vassar College, Vassar's ED notification date is December 15th. (Vassar's ED application deadline is November 15th.)
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  • merc81merc81 10514 replies163 threads Senior Member
    edited October 20
    According to Vassar,
    Early Decision I applicants must complete required testing by November of their senior year.

    https://www.vassar.edu/admissions/apply/requirements/
    edited October 20
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