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Bucknell, Villanova, Lehigh and Lafayette....Disappointed in Admissions Process

sm1966sm1966 3 replies4 threadsRegistered User New Member
edited March 29 in Parents Forum
I write this as a frustrated parent whose "S" was waitlisted at Bucknell, Lehigh and Lafayette (strong interview according to "S") and did not get accepted at Villanova. HS Guidance counselor thought Buknell would be a TARGET school and the others may be reach schools because of low acceptance rate.

Here are my "S" stats: 1480 SAT; 770 Math 2 Subject Test; Unweighted GPA: 3.6980 and Weighted GPA: 4.7915
Honors Algebra 2,; Honors Pre-Cal and AP Cal A/B; AP Physics and AP US Government
National Technolgy Honor Society, National Honor Society and Social Studies Honor Society
4 years Swimming (3 Varsity letters and 1 year Captain); 4 years Lacrosse (2 Varsity letters) 2 Years Football; 1 Year Cross Country

Eagle Scout.

HS Recommendations from Math Teacher and Wood Tech Teacher as well as Guidance Counselor.
Did not apply ED to any of the schools bc need a Financial Aid package. Applied to the Engineering School at all 4 schools; Mechanical Engineering (liked that Lafayette and Lehigh were offering new accredited programs in Biomechanics/Bioengineering respectively).

Was wondering if admissions people, parents or fellow students at these school could provide me with some understanding as to why he was waitlisted at Bucknell, Lehigh, Lafayette and didn't get into Villanova. I just don't get it an either does my "S". Any feedback would be appreciated. Thank You.
edited March 29
82 replies
Post edited by skieurope on
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Replies to: Bucknell, Villanova, Lehigh and Lafayette....Disappointed in Admissions Process

  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 6953 replies48 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Bucknell's acceptance rate is less than 25%. They actually have the lowest acceptance rate of all these schools.
    Your GC was just flat our wrong in saying this was a target, especially for engineering!

    I'm surprised that he wasn't accepted at "Nova but I would have put the other schools as reaches (for nearly all students, not just your son).

    The only thing that jumps out at me in terms of stats is lack of rigor but that could be a function of what's offered at his HS, which shouldn't be counted against him. Not sure where his lower grades were but the 3.7 GPA could be an issue if the Bs were in STEM classes.


    I'm so sorry and hope that your son also had some safeties on his list that he can get excited about.


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  • EASmallEASmall 16 replies0 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    I am so sorry for you and your son. I know this is a stressful process. I agree with the above poster...Bucknell has the lowest acceptance rate of the schools you mentioned and should not be considered easy to get into for ANY student. All of the schools on your list are highly competitive and selective. I hope your GC had him apply to some less competitive schools. I am thinking there are 2 things possibly at play here. First (and I do not mean this to sound offensive...your son's stats are outstanding and both you and he should be proud)...but it sounds like he doesn't have an "X" factor. To put it bluntly, sure he has great stats, but so does every single kid who is applying to those schools. What does he have to set him apart and make him stand out?? Again, I am not saying this is the case, but trying to help you shed light on what happened. Secondly, he might have been the result of yield projection. I am thinking specifically for Lehigh. May daughter's friend just got into Lehigh the other day and her stats are not nearly as good. I think she got like at 1220 on her SATs. (She did not get into Bucknell though.) But she made it clear that she would attend if admitted. Your son's stats are actually higher than Lehigh's mean. So they may have thought he was using them as a "safety" in case he didn't get into a better school. Again, this is just what comes to mind when reading situations like yours. I hope he got into a school that he is excited about.
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 6953 replies48 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    In my book a target = match. Bucknell is a reach for all students, definitely not reasonably likely.
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  • 1stTimeThruMom1stTimeThruMom 242 replies7 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    I think your son undershot. Did you look at Naviance? Did you visit the schools? He sounds like a very accomplished young man. This must be tough. What are your safeties?
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  • wisteria100wisteria100 4190 replies47 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Your S’s profile certainly aligns with these schools, but in the RD round they are all very competitive as they fill a large portion of their class in the early round. You don’t list a language class. Did your S take 4 years of foreign language? Schools do look for that. And most schools look for recommendations from a teacher in a core academic subject, so the rec from the wood tech teacher may have been discounted.
    Your S needs to work the wait lists hard now. Send a letter of continued interest with any updates since the apps were submitted. If 2nd semester grades are good, send those. Make it very clear that he is very interested in attending. Good luck.
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  • PublisherPublisher 7721 replies80 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited March 29
    Probably waitlisted because he did not apply ED to Lehigh, Lafayette or Bucknell and did not apply EA to Villanova. May have been placed on waitlist because financial aid funds went to others & his stats & ECs suggested that he would have generated acceptances.

    If he had applied EA to Villanova--assuming Villanova still offers EA--your son would have received an early wake up call that would have alerted him to add schools to his list.

    P.S. It is fine to apply ED if in need of financial aid. If financial aid package is insufficient, then ED is not binding.

    Also, because all of your targeted schools are in Eastern Pennsylvania, your school counselor should have encouraged your son to add a couple of safeties and a couple of publics ( Penn State & the University of Pittsburgh, for example).

    FWIW: My nephew applied two years ago to Villanova & was rejected as a serious Catholic, URM, Eagle Scout, 31 ACT & 1450 SAT and offered geographic diversity. (I never saw his application, just heard about the result.)
    edited March 29
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  • sm1966sm1966 3 replies4 threadsRegistered User New Member
    Thanks Everyone!
    Your responses were helpful. My son was accepted at Renssalaer Polytechnic Institute, NJIT, TCNJ, Union College and Quinnipiac. All very good schools! He visited all of the schools he applied to except for the 2 definite reach schools of John Hopkins and Northeastern. We were aware of the competitive nature of these schools due to their low acceptance rates. However, we did think he had a reasonable chance of getting accepted into at least 3 of the schools (Lafayette Bucknell and Villanova) as his stats (GPA and SAT scores are at the top of each school's respective range.

    Another parent also said that the schools may have placed him on the waitlist because they thought he applied to them as safety schools and was not serious about attending their respective school Seems like that did happen and that is just not fair for a college to make such a presumption. I believe this is where my frustration comes from.

    His number 1 school was Olin School of Engineering, a reach school that emphasizes creative engineering thus was the reason he asked his Wood Tech teacher for a recommendation (today he wondered if that was a mistake). His stats were on the lower range particularly the GPA (Olin looks for a 3.9). My son took 3 years on Honors French and we thought the "it" factor was his rank of an Eagle Scout (only 4% of scouts earn this rank).

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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 6953 replies48 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Lots of good acceptances! Congrats on having many choices!
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  • mom2twogirlsmom2twogirls 2242 replies29 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Are all 4 of his acceptances places that would work financially? Those are some great schools! We originally had RPI on my d19’s long list but crossed it off because it wasn’t going to be affordable (could tell from the NPC). It was hard to cross off though because it looked liked an awesome place for engineering.
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  • MAandMEmomMAandMEmom 1628 replies10 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    The OP mentioned applying in the RD because of FA and this could have played a big part in the WL as well. Working the wait lists might not yield great results if there’s high need there and will likely result in disappointment regardless. I don’t think these schools are considered super generous.

    My S19 did not apply to Lehigh but the other three. Wait lists at Bucknell and Lafayette. In at Villanova. Stats are almost identical down to the Eagle Scout sans the athletes and a 34 ACT. My running notes don’t have acceptance rates but the act ranges in the following order from the CDS:

    Bucknell 28-32
    Villanova 30-33
    Lafayette 30-34
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  • gardenstategalgardenstategal 5566 replies10 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    With those acceptances, I would not give it another moment's thought! Nice options.

    Fwiw, most people come away from the process with a few head-scratchers.
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  • merc81merc81 10254 replies155 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited March 29
    Re reply #12, the current ACT middle range for Lafayette (from its CDS) appears to be 27-32.
    edited March 29
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  • LonghaulLonghaul 2616 replies137 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    A friend of ours got off Lehigh's waitlist last year within days after the May 1 commitment date. Work the waitlists.

    You were too optimistic of his chances. They are all lottery schools when you look at RD percentage of admits.

    He has some great choices. And Engineering is such a structured discipline most schools teach it all the same.

    Your family should be proud of all your son's accomplishments and not deterred by the results.
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  • njdadjetsnjdadjets 135 replies3 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    You are wasting money if you choose Quinnipiac or Union College over TCNJ.
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  • Happy4uHappy4u 208 replies2 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    @adlgel - I am so glad to hear she is happy! I remember her journey well. I understand how incredibly weird some college admissions/denials are, but where you go isn't who you are. In the end, leaving school debt free gives young adults so much flexibility to travel, buy a nice car, take a job for passion over pay, etc...
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