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Should I sabotage my writing supplements for Ivy+S? Please advise.

lensonodalensonoda 108 replies10 postsRegistered User Junior Member
My whole life, my parents have pushed me to go to Stanford, or an Ivy League school. They think it is where I will get the best education, and that the name recognition will make me much more likely to get employed. Not knowing any better, I worked for a 4.0 uw GPA and did everything to the best of my ability with the unconscious intention of going to the most prestigious school possible (as if I was guaranteed acceptance ahaha). I definitely acknowledge that these schools are amazing academically and the alumni network is enough to make one swoon.

So it was to my dismay, after spending dozens of hours researching colleges, when I realized that these schools were not for me. Instead, LACs were environments I would thrive in- the undergraduate focus, small communities, and encouragement of exploration are all things I love. Though I do like the Ivies that I will be applying to (Brown, Yale, and Princeton), my parents think I'm rebelling when I tell them that I'd rather go to an LAC. They are immigrants who only read sources in their native language and think that US News rankings are definitive. They refuse to acknowledge the positives of LACs compared to Ivies, and dismiss me as ungrateful and ignorant.

I genuinely think that the culture of these schools isn't right for me, least of all Stanford, which is extremely STEM and career focused. Though I've visited countless times, I've always felt like just another tourist. California is my home state, and I feel trapped here. I know my parents would not let me have my independence if they were within driving distance from my college. My heart is set on the East Coast.

My test scores are high enough for my application to get a read. I am a strong writer, first-gen, have over 600 volunteer hours and the ability to put together a compelling application (which would put me at slightly lower than average in the applicant pool for these schools haha). The thought of turning in an application that is not my best work causes me much guilt, as I know people who would kill for a spot at these schools.

My college list right now does include 4 LACs that I would be completely ecstatic to attend. I know that the schools I don't want to go to are extremely hard to get into, and I have as little a chance as everyone else does. However, on the chance that I get accepted to Stanford or an Ivy, I will definitely be attending.

My parents have already said that the discussion is over and they don't want to talk about this subject anymore, so my college list is final. My EFC is 0 and all of the colleges on my list have a no-loans policy, so my parents will not be the ones paying my tuition. How much say should they have in what college I go to? Am I being ungrateful and childish after all? I am a junior right now so I still have a few months until I start on my applications.

I am really emotionally distressed and feel like I'll regret any decision I make at this point. Any help would be so, so appreciated. Thank you for reading.
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Replies to: Should I sabotage my writing supplements for Ivy+S? Please advise.

  • greenstudentgreenstudent 218 replies12 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    I can see the temptation to ruin your essays on purpose...are you paying for applications, or do you have fee waivers?
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  • AvancerAvancer 202 replies15 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    Seeing as OP has an EFC of 0, they most likely have fee waivers for Common App schools, CSS Profile, and SAT/ACT scores.
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  • lensonodalensonoda 108 replies10 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    @greenstudent @Avancer Thank you for understanding; I'm so grateful. I have 4 fee waivers from SATs already, and in the case that I need more, Ivies will waive application fees if I send them a letter explaining my situation.
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 33097 replies358 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    You have 10 months to consider this. Meanwhile, be sure you really know what those LACs will want to see in your app and supps, how you show your match (which is more than stats.)

    Stanford is much more tan stem and entrepreneurship. But yes, it can be intense.
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  • AvancerAvancer 202 replies15 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    Have you considered talking to your HS counselor about having them convince your parents that there are other options? You could possibly throw in some statistics about the correlations between mental health/happiness and college choice. Also, do you have any family members (cousins?) that have applied to college recently/are going to college? If so, what are their parents' policies on college selection?
    I am also sorta in your ocean, with my mom only wanting me to go to UCI (my scores and GPA aren't as good as yours haha) 15 minutes across town. Even though the school is good, I don't think I would happy there. Anyway, college is YOUR experience, not theirs. It seems as if they are trying to live vicariously through you, and while it might be understandable (my parents were immigrants too), it is YOUR life. I think if you got into Stanford and had to go there because of your parent's will, you would immediately regret that choice and would not thrive, and would be a waste of time. I myself considered figuring out a way to pay for my own application fees to Boston University and Northeastern University, because both have strong health sciences programs that I really wanted a chance to apply to in order to one day become a PA. My mom doesn't want me going out of state, or even a couple hours away, just because she thinks we won't get financial aid (which isn't true, since my parents are divorced and I could qualify for the Blue and Gold UC scholarship).

    My advice: You could either try your best on your essays/interviews; if I were you, I might regret not trying hard enough. Or, you could be mediocre and say you tried your best. Do your parents know what your writing style is like when it's strong (since you said you're a strong writer)? In a couple months when application portals open for the next season, I might bring up the conversation again, and ask guilt-tripping questions such as: do you care about my happiness and well-being? (honestly now that I think about it this sounds like bad advice but it would be something I would do if I was desperate)
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 77133 replies672 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    The OP cannot overtly fight with the parents too much, since the parents' cooperation will be necessary for financial aid forms needed for the OP to get financial aid.

    To the OP: Will they be cooperative with the financial aid forms if you do not get into any of the schools they prefer but you do not?
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  • Wilson98Wilson98 397 replies3 postsRegistered User Member
    Does your final list only include Stanford, 3 Ivies, and 4 LACs that have no-loan policies? If so, it doesn't sound like you have any schools that are safeties, and possibly none that are solidly a match.

    I'd say to just apply to the 8 schools above, plus a couple of safeties, go ahead and tank the Stanford if you really don't want to go there, try your best everywhere else, and see what happens. If your problem 13 months from now is that you've been accepted at Princeton and your top LAC and your parents want you to go to Princeton, then come back and ask for advice on how to deal with that.
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  • aunt beaaunt bea 9802 replies62 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    OP, I am very familiar with your type of parent. No amount of intervening from any other person will change their mind.
    My advice, do your best.
    Then when you do get your rejections; these do happen. You can show them HOW TOUGH it is to get in anywhere.
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  • austinmshauriaustinmshauri 8741 replies321 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    I received a 1510....
    This is my college list (might go through some narrowing down later)

    Reach: Stanford, Brown, Yale
    Target: Hamilton, Bowdoin, Bates, Colby
    Safety: UCSD UCSB, CSU Long Beach

    Did you end up applying to all these schools? I think students with $0 EFCs need to be more concerned with finances than fit. It would be fun to leave CA and attend college on the East Coast, but if you don't do well on your apps you're cutting down on your already limited opportunities. I'd do your best on all of them and resolve to do well wherever you end up.
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  • LindagafLindagaf 9017 replies489 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    I like your list ^^^ if that is where you are still applying. You most definitely need a safety, so keep a UC and CSULB on your list.

    The dilemma you are facing is more common than you think. Some good friends had their hearts set on their brilliant D going to an Ivy. She got into none, but did get into a tippy top LAC, which is where she really wanted all along. She is thrilled and LOVES her school. Her parents are now 100% on board. I think you must make it crystal clear to your parents that you much prefer the LACs, how difficult it is to get into those schools, and that your LAC list inlcudes some of the best LACs in the country. IMO, your LAC choices are more prestigious than the CA schools on your list, except for Stanford.

    Most adults here on CC are not fans of sabotaging apps, or of going behind parents' backs. I personally think that doing those things is never ideal, but I also think it's your life to live and that it is wrong for parents to force their children to live out THEIR dreams. However, if your parents contribute and need to sign forms, you need to be careful of not totally ignoring their wishes.

    I think your first stop should be your GC. Tell your GC can what you have said here. I agree that it's a good idea to try to bring your parents into a meeting. Your parents need to understand that you can have the best grades and test scores possible and still be denied. The rejection rate at Stanford is 96% and there will be more amazing students than you who will be rejected. Down the road, the people who matter will know about those LACs and will know that you received a great education. Be sure your counselor is aware that you want to go to an LAC, before the meeting.

    Let's assume your parents will not see sense. If you submit subpar essays to various HYPS schools, they will not know (unless they insist on writing your essays. Yes, that happens.) Also bear in mind, your counselor is supposed to sign off on your paperwork acknowledging that what they are submitting on your behalf is true. If you say unequivocally that you do not wish to attend HYPS, etc...the counselor might, especially if you make it clear, state that you are being forced to apply to those colleges. Then you may not have a problem. Maybe you will forget to list all your ECs on your HYPS apps. There are so many reasons why a student can be denied admission to those schools. Every app you submit via Common App can be changed as needed.

    There are downsides, esepcially if you change your mind later, so be very sure before you hit submit. Remember you can also update your apps as needed with acheivements or any other important information. AOs do read those emails.

    Good luck, I hope you get into your top choice.
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  • merc81merc81 10163 replies151 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited February 2017
    Some LACs, here included together with universities, would be more statistically competitive than, for example, your home state's UC-Berkeley, so this could be persuasive to your parents:

    http://www.businessinsider.com/the-50-smartest-colleges-in-america-2016-10

    LACs and universities similarly appear together here in a survey result related to academic rigor (though the survey's title may overstate the reality of these schools in some cases):

    https://www.princetonreview.com/college-rankings?rankings=students-study-most
    edited February 2017
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 33097 replies358 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited February 2017
    10 months before the next RD deadline. Or before ED results come out. 13 months until results come out in 2018. Lots can change. In fact, it's commonly said that kids change so much between now and this Sept. Then again between Sept and mid Dec.

    But right. Chances at the tippy tops are always iffy. Use this time wisely. Know what your preferred targets really look for and want. Keep grades and rigor up. And look at whether you need to fine tune activities. Make this time count.

    Far too soon to worry about throwing an essay. More useful is to work on getting in to some nice LAC, with the right aid.


    And we can't even begin to talk about feasibility with just your SAT, the number of vol hours, and your confidence. It's more than that. You have lots of work to do, before worrying about choosing among results.
    edited February 2017
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  • merc81merc81 10163 replies151 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited February 2017
    You might also research statistics regarding . . . law school . . from competitive LACs to help convince them.
    For example:

    https://www.****/blog/top-lawyer-producer-schools-infographic/

    Or highly regarded MBA programs:

    https://www.****/infographics/top-feeders-mba-programs
    edited February 2017
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 77133 replies672 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited February 2017
    Be aware that UCs may not be as safe as assumed if your GPA is not top end (UCs tend to emphasize GPA over test scores). You may want to increase the UC list to include more of the somewhat less selective ones.

    Look up past admit rates by HS GPA (UC weighted capped) for each campus here:
    https://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/infocenter/freshman-admissions-summary
    edited February 2017
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  • lensonodalensonoda 108 replies10 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    @lookingforward I still do think Stanford is a great school, but I don't feel like it's necessarily a good fit for me. I will definitely try my hardest in the coming months so I can have more choices when it comes down to it.

    @ucbalumnus My parents have approved of the LACs on my list, after some convincing. They're lukewarm about LACs, but if I do not get into the schools from the top tier, they will still want me to go to college.

    @auntbea Thank you for your empathy. I do think that it would be interesting to see where I would end up getting accepted if I tried my best on the entirety of my application.

    @merc81 Thank you so much for the articles! I will casually send them to my parents when they are more open to discussion or receiving information.

    @mamaedefamilia That's true! I haven't yet looked into Princeton's majors, so I will do some more research. I assumed the no-loans policy would be guaranteed, so thank you for telling me about the gap- I'll keep it in mind. I have looked at and liked the Claremont colleges, but feel that if I get in, my parents won't let me go East. If I decide that location isn't as important within the next few months, I will definitely consider applying.

    @Wilson98 @austinmshauri Before, my list did not include Princeton, but had UCSB, UCSD, and CSULB. In a later discussion with my parents, they said they didn't want me to waste my time on UC apps if I'd pick LACs over them. They also didn't want me to be so far away from home, regarding CSULB, if I ended up staying in Cali. The UCs and CSU have since been replaced with SF State, so that I can live at home if none of the other colleges accept me. Princeton was added as a "hey, you might as well have one more shot at an Ivy".

    I think that I will try my best on all of my application and definitely the Common App essay, while sending in a few typos and run-ons in my Stanford supplements. Thanks to everyone for your help!
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  • lensonodalensonoda 108 replies10 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    @Avancer I've considered having them talk with my counselor. He himself went to UC Berkeley, so I'm not sure what his opinions would be on me so adamantly wanting to go to an LAC.

    All of my cousins are older than me and/or overseas. We have family friends who have gone to UCs, and know one person who went to Boston College. When I told my mother about Harvard's 5.4% acceptance rate, she said "It's not even hard to get in. xxx's test scores weren't good at all and she went to Harvard." xxx had an essay about being a first-gen, and how she wanted to go to Harvard to be an immigrant lawyer so that she could help people like her parents. The news of my first-sitting 1510 was met with a "You should retake it; that's honestly mediocre." I don't think they completely understand that "if I am smart" I will not necessarily get a 1600, and that schools they haven't heard of are not necessarily on the same level as community colleges.

    I'm sorry that you are in a similar situation. I thought Irvine was interesting during research, but I do agree that it doesn't appear to be the best fit for everyone. I'm glad that you're applying to some privates and hope that you get in! Those are pretty good schools and maybe if you show her some more statistics after you get accepted she'll be okay with it? I hope that the non-Irvine schools give you enough scholarships so that you can feasibly go to whatever school you'll be happiest at. Good luck!
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 77133 replies672 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    lensonoda wrote:
    In a later discussion with my parents, they said they didn't want me to waste my time on UC apps if I'd pick LACs over them.

    Are you sure that those LACs are more likely than the UCs (including the less selective ones) to pick you?
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  • mamaedefamiliamamaedefamilia 3408 replies23 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    @lensonoda Really, really, really keep those UCs on your list. I would hate a list with reaches + SF State as my only alternative. In addition to the ones you already mentioned, UCSC is reasonably close to the Bay Area, if they'd prefer that you be closer to home.

    If I remember correctly, UC system is a single application and then you check the ones that interest you. So I don't see a downside to applying to a bunch and see what happens. Given your SAT and your GPA, I'd give UCB and UCLA a shot also. Why not?

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  • hophop 973 replies2 postsRegistered User Member
    I'm in agreement with the others who say to do your best on all apps.
    Your best efforts will potentially provide you with the most options, which is really what you're looking for, right?

    Meanwhile, have you investigated Questbridge?
    https://www.questbridge.org/

    It may provide some great options for you, as well as letting you know earlier on in the process if you participate in and get 'matched' which is binding.
    Stanford is one of their partner schools, but they do not participate in the 'match' program, which gives you an out.
    If you decide to 'match' you'll be able to rank up to 12 colleges in order of preference. If you do not match, you will apply via RD.
    https://www.questbridge.org/high-school-students/national-college-match/rankings
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