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Is it pointless these days for unhooked, high stat kids to apply to T40 schools?

OceanIsleOceanIsle 297 replies14 threads Member
edited January 19 in College Search & Selection
College Confidential is admittedly a self-selecting group, but it seems rampant that high stat kids are being rejected from most selective schools.

In crafting a list of schools, a student is encouraged to include safety, match, reach. Is it worth the time and expense for a “traditional” kid with high stats to bother with visits, essays, subject tests and overall time invested these days? Or is a student who has no “spike” better off focusing on lower tier schools?

Assume that this student has no opinion either way about prestige. Also assume we aren’t discussing cost for this question (student either has wealthy parents or would qualify for need-based aid).
edited January 19
178 replies
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Replies to: Is it pointless these days for unhooked, high stat kids to apply to T40 schools?

  • brantlybrantly 4081 replies72 threads Senior Member
    You know how you can determine whether to "bother"? Look at your high school's track record. Has anyone (unhooked) from your child's HS ever been accepted to a T20 or T40 school? If so, how rare or common is it?
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  • Darcy123Darcy123 425 replies6 threads Member
    I think you have to be careful with those stats @brantly My kids' school has the best "success" with Stanford. But that is purely because they pick up 1-2 athletes most years. If you're not a recruited athlete, you could be very misled by looking at prior success. No one had been accepted to my daughter's school in the previous 5 years - with 1-2 attempting most years - not a lot of data.
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  • roycroftmomroycroftmom 3426 replies40 threads Senior Member
    I have seen plenty of unhooked high stat kids from our school get admitted to T20-40, and even T15 if they apply ED. Above that, not so much.
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  • merc81merc81 10947 replies179 threads Senior Member
    edited January 19
    If you define top-40 through selectivity level (e.g., https://amp.usatoday.com/amp/40090323), then you will find at least some colleges that would be receptive to a well-crafted application from a qualified general applicant.
    edited January 19
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  • brantlybrantly 4081 replies72 threads Senior Member
    Darcy123 wrote: »
    I think you have to be careful with those stats @brantly My kids' school has the best "success" with Stanford. But that is purely because they pick up 1-2 athletes most years. If you're not a recruited athlete, you could be very misled by looking at prior success. No one had been accepted to my daughter's school in the previous 5 years - with 1-2 attempting most years - not a lot of data.

    That's why I specified "unhooked."
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  • TheGreyKingTheGreyKing 2226 replies104 threadsForum Champion Williams College Forum Champion
    edited January 19
    There are many kids of that description at Williams College. Every top college has many unhooked high stats kids!

    It’s just that there also are many more unhooked (and even hooked) high stats kids who are waitlisted or rejected, too. That is what it means when admission percentages are low.

    It has been our experience (among our relatives, kid’s friends, and children of our colleagues and friends) that early decision seems to improve the odds.

    It certainly is not “pointless” to apply. The only way to be admitted is to apply. But it would be foolish to apply ONLY to such schools and not also to match schools and safety schools that one would enjoy attending. Craft a deep list, with colleges of interest at varying degrees of admissions difficulty.

    Good luck!
    edited January 19
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  • OceanIsleOceanIsle 297 replies14 threads Member
    “If you define top-40 through selectivity level (e.g., https://amp.usatoday.com/amp/40090323), then you will find at least some colleges that would be receptive to a well-crafted application from a qualified general applicant.” ~ @merc81

    That’s another thing I have wondered. What do people mean in general when they say T40 or T20 or T15? Is there a commonly accepted source to find those rankings? I’ve seen USNWR referenced too. Obviously this can be subjective.

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  • allyphoeallyphoe 2525 replies61 threads Senior Member
    My unhooked high stats kid was accepted ED to a T20 LAC. There was nothing "crafted" about either her application or her classes / ECs - she was completely disinterested in hoop-jumping. Her very short Common App essay about grammar and fancy clothing was written in 30 minutes and submitted with no revisions, and it was exactly who she is.

    I attribute her acceptance primarily to fit - she happened to be exactly the kind of kid the school she liked best attracted. Her overnight visit comment was that the majority of the students seemed to have the temperament she has - smart kids who liked to learn for the sake of learning and didn't care much about what other people think of them.

    Also in her favor:
    - she really wanted to go to a women's college, which coincidentally meant she was looking at schools with higher acceptance rates than their ranking would otherwise imply

    - she lives in a less-represented state, where there might be one or two students from our state at the school at any given time

    - although the school theoretically doesn't consider need or interest, her ECs indicated minimal likely need and she did two-day visits two years in a row (so she knew what she was getting herself into, and was unlikely to transfer out due to poor fit, which is a concern for women's colleges)

    I think there's a big difference between T5 LACs / T20 universities and everyone else.
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  • chmcnmchmcnm 386 replies4 threads Member
    edited January 19
    Define Unhooked? Is it the same for every school? For example, ED. If the ED acceptance rate is statistically more than EA or RD then is that considered a hook? I think it is. Even a 2% bump in odds for ED is boost considering some of these schools accept less than 10%.

    Geography too. S20 has gotten better scholarships from schools further from home. Coincidence? He's not applying to T20 schools but these are schools in the T25-60 range. We're a donut hole family.

    Is it worth it to apply to a T20 if you're unhooked? Probably. You have to understand that it's a lottery ticket to begin with. Try to research the schools, find what they're looking for in an applicant and craft your app and essays for that school AS LONG AS you think the school is good fit in the first place. After that have a few safety/match schools on the list.

    edited January 19
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  • Rivet2000Rivet2000 1200 replies3 threads Senior Member
    Most applicants are rejected from the high-selectivity schools. But, that doesn't mean that "unhooked, high stat kids" aren't accepted.
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 29934 replies59 threads Senior Member
    No, it’s not pointless. Such a student died have a chance with excellent grades, high test scores, taking difficult courses. And a sterling admissions package, but no hooks. I’ve known a number of kids who were so accepted.

    It really comes down to the numbers. Look at the acceptance rates. When you are looking at single digit accept rates that include hooked applicants, and also understand that most applicants have excellent credentials, you understand that the chances are very low because there are simply not that many seats left relative to those applying. It’s really as simple as that.

    But there are kids who are accepted each year without some hook. My youngest had no hook, and was accepted to two schools that tend are consistently listed on the USNWR as top 20. One you g woman I know was accepted to Amherst, her sister to Cornell— no hook and over represented minority. My neighbor who is Korean, has sons who recently graduated from Harvard, Yale and Wesleyan. No hooks other than top notch students. The one who went to Wesleyan was not accepted to HPY had better academic record than his brothers, the one everyone thought would be accepted to one of those schools. Sometimes there is no telling how these highly selective schools choose their students.
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  • merc81merc81 10947 replies179 threads Senior Member
    What do people mean in general when they say T40 or T20 or T15?

    On CC it seems that posters often use these terms without an identified reference point. However, selectivity seems to underlie most categorizations. For approximations based on this characteristic, try the link in #8, or an alternative such as https://amp.businessinsider.com/the-610-smartest-colleges-in-america-2015-9#aoh=15794814524610&referrer=https://www.google.com&amp_tf=From %1$s.
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  • hebegebehebegebe 2790 replies39 threads Senior Member
    Perhaps a third of our high school class goes to T40 schools. Almost all are unhooked.
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