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What is Davidson Looking for? High stats kid waitlisted

STEMFocusSTEMFocus 6 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member

Hello,

2nd attempt at post, 1st one disappeared? Apologies if shows up as repeat

Child #1 recently waitlisted for Davidson Class 2023, trying to decide if child #2 should apply for class 2024. Trying to figure out if good enough fit for Davidson and chance of merit aid (have looked at common dataset, including list of important factors considered)

Child #1: 4.0 UW, > 10 APs, top 10% Class (school ranks in deciles, informally top 2%), NMS, near perfect SAT, perfect SAT2’s, state and national level STEM awards, extensive STEM research experiences, long term STEM club involvement (including leadership roles), co captain of sport with sportsmanship award (not college recruit), very strong letters of rec, URM, male, upper middle class. No volunteer work outside of club activities. Made formal visit to Davidson and noted it in Why Davidson essay. Applied for Belk

Accepted at 2 top 5 liberal arts colleges (with fellowship enhancements for internships, travel, etc), 1 top 15 university, 4 OOS Flagships, all with honors, 3 with significant $. Only reject was top 3 Ivy (using USNWR rankings for convenience in description, rankings were not important factor in our college selection). Turned out did not want to go far away from home for the LA schools and ended up choosing OOS flagship. Might have selected Davidson if had been accepted. Child 1 happy with where going

Trying to figure out why waitlisted? Very surprised given well above 75% for Davidson stats (going in even thought had small chance for Belk, and some chance for other merit aid). Thinking 1) dearth of volunteer activities, 2) too STEM focused for Davidson’s preferences, or 3) possibly yield protection by Davidson-they didn’t think would attend?

Child #2 has essentially same stats and STEM focus, although also more interested in other areas than Child #1. Strongly wants to attend small, LA college.

Quandary is should child #2 apply to Davidson given so similar to child 1 who was waitlisted, and that affordability is very borderline without also win merit aid. Are they simply a poor fit for Davidson given lack of volunteer activities and strong STEM focus? Trying to limit # schools apply to 10 or less, most with merit aid possible and a few need aid only schools. Any input would be most welcome. Thank you.
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Replies to: What is Davidson Looking for? High stats kid waitlisted

  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 6591 replies54 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Too many variables- on top of the ones that @wisteria100 notes, there are the year-on-year differences between who happens to apply and of course the differences between #1 & #2.

    Does #2 love Davidson? I would follow his lead- loves it / applies, if not / does not
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  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 41774 replies450 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Very important: if he likes Davidson, he should fill out the "request info form" and click on material sent to him regularly. This is tracked. He might want to follow up with questions to his regional adcom and/or professors (which he'll reference in "Additional information" or "why us").
    Unfortunately applying ED often means foregoing merit (since they don't need incentives to attract you) fortunately Belk requires early deadlines - November for the nomination, Dec3 for your application, but doesn't require an ED commitment.
    What does your son want to do?
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 33548 replies367 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    For child 1. you emphasize stats, awards, stem, and no service. These colleges like depth *and* breadth, some outside service commitment, beyond clubs.

    Also, though, where are you? Some areas have more than fierce competition and just have to be judicious in how many they take from there. It could be #1 was too focused, without balance, ex sports. You can always learn from that, fine tune with #2. Understand as much as you can about what different colleges do look for. That applies to the essay, too.
    Good luck.
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  • STEMFocusSTEMFocus 6 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
    Thanks all for the input! Concur with suggestions. To answer questions, #1 did apply RD, although submitted in October to try and show strong interest (also signed up for info, etc). #2 likes Davidson, but tied with multiple others for him. #2 1st choice is Williams et al, but affordability is uncertain (did NPC, but we have complicated financial outlook next few years). Area of interest is math/comp sci for both (double major depending on school), long term goal for both PhD and research related career. We are in south, within 4 h of Davidson. We are definitely depth (their choice from early age) with limited breadth, both do have sports (co captain, all district but not recruits) but otherwise STEM focus for extracurriculars, and little service work beyond clubs. Based on feedback, will likely have #2 apply to Davidson and see how goes. Thanks again!
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  • AlmostThere2018AlmostThere2018 1301 replies46 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited July 1
    My suggestion is to focus on teacher rec, peer rec and Why Davidson. essay. With so many high stat applicants, those parts of the app are what can make the difference. And yes, click through emails and visit, of course.

    When it comes down to it, though, with holistic admissions there's a level of subjectivity/randomness so no way to pinpoint reasons on why candidate A got in over candidate B. I think that's if a top college is really your goal you have to play the numbers game and apply to at least 10 hoping the decision goes your way in at least 1 or 2 cases. (And, I'll add the standard CC advice: have a true safety where the student would be happy and can afford to attend.)
    edited July 1
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  • STEMFocusSTEMFocus 6 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
    Thanks for your input!
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 33548 replies367 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited July 1
    Maybe you've seen this.
    https://www.davidson.edu/admission-and-financial-aid/apply/admission-policies/application-selection-process
    "Intellectual curiosity" is often a code for multiple interests, not just unilateral, and you'll see they mention service, as well as "depth and breadth."

    You can find this sort of help on many colleges' own web sites. But note: when they rank, say, rigor over writing, it's not absolute. All pieces need to be there. In holistic, there really isn't any one factor that reigns over all others.

    And about "subjective" reactions adcoms may have, remember that it's comparative. They see thousands of apps, have a deep understanding of what kids *can* do.

    Last, don't have #2 apply too early. If an app gets mixed in with Early apps, it is not looked at until later. I can imagine too early has its own risks.
    edited July 1
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  • homerdoghomerdog 4967 replies89 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    S19 was high stats and got into Davidson RD. He had his app in by the Belk deadline which I think was 11/1. He is well rounded. Advanced in math but won awards for his writing. Three season athlete, award winning artist, writer, community leader. He met with the Davidson rep when she came to our high school both during his junior year and senior year. We also met with her when we visited the school spring break of junior year. I think his recs were really good since I met with his teachers for conferences right before they wrote them and they told me what they intended to write. His Why Davidson essay was solid and personal since we had visited and he went to class. His common app essay was all about his friendships and was written in that Seinfeld type way with nothing really "happening" except he and his friends eating lunch...but it was clear how he treasures his friends and community and I think it spoke to the liberal arts schools on his list (which was almost all of his list). I don't think Davidson practices yield protection.

    I agree with the above poster that your S should focus on the essays and show Davidson what he will bring to their community. And try to get in touch with the admissions officer if he can to show his true interest in the school.
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 29250 replies57 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Your son’s result is the sort of thing that makes us all wonder what the heck happened. I would have predicted an accept, depending upon those SAT1 scores.

    Pure guessing here, in that Davidson does accept about half the class ED , and your son’s app was timed so that it got into this mix with RD being his thing. It was not a good place to be.

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  • gardenstategalgardenstategal 5609 replies10 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    One of the things to remember is that stats essentially determine who goes to the next round of review. Your kid certainly passed that hurdle. But at that point, it's about what that student will bring to the community. And how many other people will bring the same thing. It's easy to scratch your head over this if you see it as compiling a "score" rather than being the right piece in the puzzle.

    I would make sure that the essay really conveys a personality. That's often hard for good students to do and who are strong academic writers. But that's the place to be human, not an assembly of stats. And schools like Davidson admit people.
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  • STEMFocusSTEMFocus 6 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
    Thanks all for the additional comments. To answer one question, SAT1’s are both high 1500s (1 sitting), with SAT2s perfect for both (not the most important skill, but they test well). For child 1 we applied to 10 schools, 4 safety, 5 reach, and 1 match (Davidson). Got into all 4 safeties, 4 of 5 reaches, and wait list at Davidson. In retrospect, we really applied to 4 safety and 6 reach. I mis classified Davidson as a match, especially given large % of class from ED as noted by several responses.

    Child 1’s extreme STEM focus is simply who he is, his non stat related application aspects were arguably even stronger than his stats, but were definitely very narrow. Interestingly, that focus was specifically why he was accepted to several very high ranked schools he applied for. One top LAC offered him a $25K enhancement fellowship for research activities, and relayed to us at accepted student day that his research activities and extreme focus were why they offered him (his application conveyed who he was and they happened to want a student like him to round out that year’s class). That he didn’t get into Davidson simply seems to be a fit and perhaps some luck of the draw variance that you get with any very selective school, hence my thought I should have had Davidson as a reach. Also, applying RD in October was likely not helpful based on comments here.

    Child 2 will be searching for merit to try and get into a small school, instead of primarily going the OOS merit route that child 1 decided on. Will be looking at strong smaller schools like Davidson, Richmond, Denison, maybe Wake Forest, maybe Wesleyan or Furman, with at least small chance of merit $ and good math/comp. sci.; a few OOS flagship safety schools with high probability of $, a couple top LAC need only schools, perhaps 1 ivy with strong need $.

    One more thought. Homerdog, our kids applied to many of the same schools, your posts over past year were quite helpful. Best of luck to your son at Bowdoin, it’s a great school.

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  • citivascitivas 655 replies20 threadsRegistered User Member
    A common saying among admission counselors is that their job is to fill-out an orchestra, not simply finding the most talented individual musicians. If they already have their percussion section filled, they won't pick another percussionist no matter how much better his/her stats are than the students who they need fill out their woodwinds, etc. Not to be taken literally of course. But the point is if they already had others who were STEM-focused with similar stats among the same gender and ethic group, they will seek those with lower stats that have a different background (like creative writing, theater, volunteerism, etc.). STEM-focus and high stats tend to go together in high school, so it's not as unique combo. Whereas the theater student with the 1560 SAT, 5's in STEM AP's and hundreds of hours of community service is. And by URM I assume you don't mean Asian as that's that would be the opposite in this quadrant (thus the whole point of the current class action suit against Harvard and the previous rulings against the UC-system). With incredibly high stats like your child's, yield protection (i.e. turning down those they expect to take offers from other prestigious schools) is also possible, though I'm not aware of Davidson having a specific reputation for that.
    All that aside, anyone with such high stats still has a better than even shot at getting into Davidson. It just didn't go that way for your first child. But if your other still likes the school, it's worth definitely still worth trying. Good luck.
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