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Did I let my D down?

DadofB&GDadofB&G Registered User Posts: 239 Junior Member
edited March 2005 in Parents Forum
There is a saying in the field of construction bidding that when you submit a low bid which is significantly lower than the next bid, the difference between the two is considered “money left on the table.”

In a way, that’s how I’m feeling about the college admissions process right now; that my D has left money - or in this case admittances - on the table.

From reading threads on this site, I can say my D is a classic BWRK. Mid-1400s SATs (her main weakness), state-level recognition in one talent, a bunch of EC’s including yearbook editor, a varsity sport, a couple of officer positions in clubs, a 97+ average, and 2/300 class rank. A strong writer and a happy kid.

We spent a lot of time looking at colleges and decided to go mostly with LACs. She applied to 7 schools, including Colgate, Hamilton, U of R (matches), Franklin & Marshall and an in-state college (safeties), Dartmouth and Williams (reaches).

She ended up getting offers for the top scholarships from the schools at which she was accepted that have provided aid information. She was waitlisted by Williams today and I expect a rejection or waitlist from Dartmouth.

She never expected a “happy ending” from her reaches. What I still can’t believe is the offers from the matches. How can she be in the top few % of the applicants for Colgate and Hamilton and be at the bottom of the pack (or below) at Williams and Dartmouth? I guess I’m saying that we must have missed some other “tier” of schools that would have been more of a match for her. She will end up going to one of these matches and I’m very proud of her. She’ll have a fabulous time, I’m sure. And we can afford it. But she always wanted to go to a school where she wasn’t in the top of the class. She wanted to be surrounded by kids who were as accomplished or preferably more accomplished than she.

So, did we miss some other schools in between? Did we “leave some admittances on the table” by not doing our homework? I am feeling a little like I let D down.

I’ll be doing this again in three years with my S, who’ll have similar stats, I think. Any comments?
Post edited by DadofB&G on
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Replies to: Did I let my D down?

  • NorthstarmomNorthstarmom Registered User Posts: 24,853 Senior Member
    Wow! Sounds like buyer's remorse. And I thought it was just the kids that felt that way each spring.

    Your daughter has gotten some very nice offers. For all you know, she may also be getting one more.

    Meanwhile, since it seems that she was interested in going to a co-ed LAC in the NE, seems like she applied wisely. If she had been mainly after prestige, she might have been able to get into some southern LACs like Davidson or Washington & Lee. She also may have done well at a place like Grinnell or Macalester. However, considering it seems that she wanted the NE, I think that she has gotten some wonderful offers that probably match what she wants.And she got nice scholarships, too!

    Instead of feeling that you let her down, you should be patting yourself on the back. She has some terrific choices!
  • mattmommattmom Registered User Posts: 1,763 Senior Member
    Don't feel badly--pretty much the same thing happened to my very similar daughter last year regarding Colgate and the same reaches. Your are right to be proud of your daughter and I hope she is proud of her achievements, too.

    There are some LACs (both top ten and top twenty) you might have considered as closer reaches or almost matches, but whether they would have appealed to your D is a very individual call. Good luck tomorrow, though. The one thing I would suggest with your younger child is to apply to a few more schools in the reach high-match range, because at that high level of achievement, one or two of them may work out--admission can be very arbitrary. But in any case, there will be bright kids at your D's matches and she will probably thrive academically and be very happy as well.
  • maritemarite Registered User Posts: 21,586 Senior Member
    Congratulations to your D on her admission and scholarhips. Colgate and Hamilton are both very fine LACs that are not quite so difficult to get in as Dartmouth and Williams. There are a few colleges whose median SATs are a bit higher, but I don't think that it will necessarily affect your D's college experience. SATS are not the whole thing, and the difference is not that great. Williams at 1500+ has one of the highest SATs, but other colleges mostly have top SATs in the mid-1400s.
    If it turns out that she is more advanced and more motivated than her classmates, she should be able to get some guided independent study with some profs. Many students have said this was the single most important academic opportunity for them. Meanwhile, it must be a great feeling to have snagged top scholarships! Enjoy.
  • curmudgeoncurmudgeon Registered User Posts: 12,128 Senior Member
    Dang, I think you (and ,more importantly, she did great.) D will have stats comparable (with a higher GPA) and Colgate is one of her reaches. LOL. What you're missing is that her stats didn't keep her out of Williams or Dartmouth-sheer numbers of applicants did. I certainly wouldn't be thinking she was below their accepted student profile. It's just not true. In fact she's probably smack-dab in the middle. Rejoice. D received something from Colgate today (she's a jr.) and she was excited. She'd faint if she was ever accepted. Tell your D that there's a kid in Texas who is green with envy at her choices.Again, congrats.

    As an aside, what did her aid package at Colgate look-like? I didn't think there were any scholarships in the merit sense of the word, only need-based.(I'm heading to their website to see what I've missed.)
  • DadofB&GDadofB&G Registered User Posts: 239 Junior Member
    Thanks, Northstarmom and Mattmom. After re-reading my post, I admit I sounded like I was crying in my beer (believe me, I don't cry when I'm drinking beer). I'm happy and so is D. I just still have a hard time understanding where my kids fall in the scheme of things. Not something I'm likely to get a definitive answer about.
  • NewHope33NewHope33 Registered User Posts: 6,208 Senior Member
    Um, there may be another explanation. My DD was accepted by all her preferred schools and waitlisted by the others. All were academic matches. My suspicion is that DD demonstrated more enthusiasm (EA/ED, visits, interviews, faculty connections, letters, phone calls, etc.) for the preferred ones.
  • DadofB&GDadofB&G Registered User Posts: 239 Junior Member
    Curmudgeon (or do you insist on the lower case "c"?), Thanks. You're right;Colgate doesn't offer "merit" aid. She was an Alumni Memorial Scholar. However, the aid package she got was roughly 10K higher than our FAFSA would have indicated, so my feeling is that she got merit $$$, whatever they want to call it.

    NewHope, You may be right, but it's hard to show a lot of interest at Williams. They don't do evaluative interviews, although DW took her to visit. However, she certainly didn't make follow-up calls, etc.
  • sybbie719sybbie719 Super Moderator Posts: 22,605 Super Moderator
    DadofB&G,

    Welcome to CC and the parents forum.

    First of all congratulations to you and your daughter for her wonderful acceptances at Colgate and Hamilton. The Dartmouth decision is not in until tomorrow so it ain't over until it's over. I hope that she realizes that at schools like Williams(over 5,000 aplications for a class of 500 kids) and Dartmouth (0ver 12,000 kids for a class of 1,170), everyone that applies has the qualifications to get in. She should be no means consider herself to be at the bottom of any pack. Many people will be rejected/ waitlisted because of the sheer number of applicants for so few spots. So it is not because of anything she has done. From what we have seen so far it has been a bit of aquirky admissions process here students are even being waitlisted from schools which they considered to be safeties. If she carefull chose 7 schools from the perspective that if she only got into one she would be happy with the admission and attend, then she did nothing wrong.

    If she is still interested in attending Williams, then she should take a place on the waitlist and come up with strategies to get her into the admitted pile. She should demonstrate that the school is her first choice, possilby have her counselor intervene for her. If she has had any accomplishments, better scores, awards, grades, she should also make the school aware of it. We all love our kids so it is very disheartening to watch them want something and it not come to fuition. While we sould always dream dreams, some times we must be flexible enough to dream a new dream.

    You will drive yoru self crazy contemplating should haves and would haves instead of dealing with the here and now which looks pretty good. No matter what the out come you love her you have supported her and have been supportive of her through this process. You rejoiced with the acceptances and said dratz on decisions that did not go yorr way. Your daughter may be down in the dumps for a moment, but she will soon realize what great choices she has and will be excited about the prospect of attending in the fall. keep this post. read it one year from now. You will probably ask your self what was I thinking because your daughter will be happy and flourishing at school and all of this willbe a faint memory. GIve your kid a big hug and go out to have Ice cream (Doc Cangel would be so proud of me :)
  • DadofB&GDadofB&G Registered User Posts: 239 Junior Member
    Sybbie, Thank you for your kind words. I'm rather embarrassed in that I think I'm more affected than my D. I do absolutely know things will work out. I don't know about accepting the waitlist spot - I think it might be time to move on, since the odds are so difficult. And now I am having a beer. Without tears.
  • ohio_momohio_mom Registered User Posts: 4,045 Senior Member
    It has already been said but I just want to reiterate - the more competitive the school, the greater the crapshoot factor. They had a program on the History Channel about card counting in blackjack. Well, here we're counting our cards, but we're still not going to take the house all the time.

    The problem with sending out more apps to competitive schools is that their quality may be diluted by the sheer workload. More apps is only better if they're all good apps. Starting earlier in the fall with the applications might be one way for your son to manage this.

    Anyway, drink your beer in joy rather than salting it! The results will all be in in a few days, and we will all be more relaxed.
  • curmudgeoncurmudgeon Registered User Posts: 12,128 Senior Member
    Sybbie, I thought you were channeling Cangel. LOL. Only you didn't use "chill".
  • NewHope33NewHope33 Registered User Posts: 6,208 Senior Member
    DadofB&G. A classmate of DD with stats similar to your daughter did get into Williams this year. She applied ED -- the ultimate expression of "interest." I admit that my suggestion is purest speculation. Fact-based explanations for acceptance/rejection/waitlist are often difficult to come by. I'm with the other posters -- congratulations on a wonderful outcome to your daughter's college search.
  • IlliniJBravoEchoIlliniJBravoEcho Registered User Posts: 1,110 Member
    Just b/c your daughter is one of the top applicants doesn't mean she will be one of the top students. It does happen but I got into the Campus Honors Program which only accepts 125 out of 715 applicants and 7300 freshman. I thought this was nice and I thought I deserved it. I did deserve it but there are so many smart people here that I have never felt at the top ever. You can't tell everything from stats and essays.
  • maineparentmaineparent Registered User Posts: 898 Member
    And to reinforce Sybbie's comment, some of the 500 slots at Williams were filled early...and filled by recruited folks, ie athletes, very important to Williams....
    it is a finer line than we understand between Williams & Dartmouth and Colgate and Hamilton.... maybe Middlebury and Bowdoin are in between them??
    definitely stay on a waitlist if she really wants the school and Williams is worth saying I will wait in my opinion!
    but, I agree with all of the above.... enjoy what you have and have fun buying her a sweatshirt with the school she chooses out of her final choices....don't do Monday morning quarterbacking, just not worth it...
  • AlumotherAlumother Registered User Posts: 6,239 Senior Member
    DadofB&G - I think Northstarmom's point about the geography is key. My Ds stats are very similar to yours, 1470 SATS, GPA I cannot figure out this weighted stuff but she has gotten straight A's and taken something like 7 APs which was the most she could do, also there's some legacy stuff, talent stuff, leadership stuff etc. Anyway, she wanted an urban or suburban, 5000+ school. So she applied to of course her HPYS contingency. We also looked at Tufts, Northwestern, NYU, and even BU. But after we toured, she looked at me and said, "Mom, if I can't get into one of these schools I really want then I'd rather stay in California."

    So she applied to very few match/safeties, and they are all UCs. I sort of tortured myself, because she was deferred EA from Harvard, and then while all her friends were getting their acceptances from Emory or Vanderbilt, or Georgetown, places we had not even looked at, she was just sitting there waiting to hear something. It was not fun.

    However, she took it much better than I did. Probably your daughter will bounce back really fast if Dmouth doesn't come through. And my D got into Berkeley, which is great. And even though I think as you do, if I had applied to more match/safeties she would now have the chance at more choice - in this case I took her at her word. She didn't want to go to Tufts. She didn't want to go to Northwestern. She is a wild-eyed liberal, so I didn't even take her to the South. Maybe Emory would have been a good alternative - OK, so I am a bad mother who could have done a better job. But here's what I tell myself. Let's say I convinced her to try Emory. Let's say she liked it. Let's say she got in. Now she has to face deciding between Berkeley and Emory!

    Your D got into great schools. There will be some kids there her equals and she will get great professor attention as marite said, even if it's not research, just office hours. My dad was a university professor - they love love love kids who are passionate and able. Probably they will invite her over for dinner and ask if she wants to babysit too:) If she wanted the Northeast for undergrad then she has landed very well.
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