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Deferred from Princeton SCEA (Class of 2024)... Will this help?

benandjerrys101benandjerrys101 111 replies5 threads Junior Member
Hi all! So I had a very disappointing and sad night on Thursday when I received my deferral decision from Princeton. I have already posted my stats on another post, but I will do so again. I won't go super into detail.

ACT: 34 composite
Subject Tests: 700 Literature, 730 Bio, 750 Math Level II (I realize this is a weak part of my application)
AP Exams: I took the most available to me and my schedule (AP Bio: 4, AP Lang: 5, AP World History: 5) and I am taking 4 APs this year (the most I could fit) AP Calc BC (only 10 kids in my school qualified for this class), AP Lit, AP Spanish, and AP US History

Really too many to list but I'll put most important
1. Band - French Horn
I have been playing since the fifth grade and am the best in the district. Made multiple district festivals throughout middle school and high school in Massachusetts (one of the most musically competitive states). Auditioned for the All-state music festival last year after recommended to and got in! Played at Boston Symphony Hall. Just received first chair for the district concert this year and will audition again for all states. I also played multiple solos at Carnegie Hall. I take private lessons and am section leader at my highschool of course where I lead sectionals, plan section meetings, have lots of responsibilities. Will highlight this more in the job portion but I teach french horn lessons to middle school students.
I played a live audition at a Princeton professor's home (organized by me) and received the utmost of compliments. He said he was very impressed, that I sounded better than most of his students at Princeton, that I'd fit right in, he'd love to work with me, hoped I got in, etc. He did, however, say before I even played, that he did not have much of a say. Still am unsure if he even tried to contact admissions or anything (was a super laid back guy, had a chill attitude so I really don't know)
I did submit an arts supplement of course.
My supplement was centered around my band teacher who was very important to me.

2. Jobs - Snack bar all 4 years of highschool, 13 hours a week + Private lesson french horn teacher + Model
Yes the last one is a little weird but after being scouted in NYC I signed with an agency just to experience some new things. I have recently taken a break due to school and commitments I find more important, but I was asked to walk at Boston Fashion Week and also have been in multiple shows in Providence. A modelling agency in NYC asked to sign me but I declined due to school commitments. I did not highlight this in my application (it took slot #10) but I think it adds more color.

3. Clubs - NHS, President of Multicultural Club, Officer (after interview process) of the Spanish National Honor Society (I run a club of 60 kids... it's kinda rough to be honest), Humanitarian Project (volunteering club, have done up to 100 hours with this and NHS and Summer service trips)
Summer trips to West Virginia (building homes) and to New Jersey

4. Sports - Did Crew my entire freshman year, had a natural knack for it, but due to medical reasons, I was unable to continue. I moved on to Winter and Spring track in my sophomore and junior year. Ran hurdles and sprinted. Wasn't very good but it kept me active.

I feel like I'm missing something but I'm moving on.

- Band related: Received Rookie of the Year award my freshman year and received Most Valuable Player my Junior Year
- SUMMA Awards (school, awarded to kids who excel in a certain class and have good characters) Got one in AP World History and Honors English
- THIS DID NOT GO ON APP: Got the highest score in my school on a Wordwright challenge (hard to explain but it's a reading comprehension challenge) and this led to my class getting 9th out of 694 schools in the challenge.

White female from an affluent town, very grateful for my opportunities :)

- Common App: Wrote about a very personal and harrowing experience that affected me all throughout my junior year where my younger brother had a terrible illness that still affects him from time to time today. Don't want to explain in detail as it is too touchy but the essay was very well-written, deep, and describes my mindset perfectly. Just shows how I can overcome things and how I learned to appreciate family
- Pton supp: LOVED this essay. I wrote about my band teacher and my development of love for music (which he helped with). Also mentioned me playing at Carnegie Hall. All about me learning to have confidence. Trying to be as humble as possible here, but this essay made everyone that read it cry. Friends, family, and my counselor -- an English major graduate from Yale, teared up and did not hold back words of praise. I am just very extremely proud of it :)

Neuroscience (after taking AP Bio I fell in love)
Did mention in my interview that my school has a serious lack of science ECs which can explain the lack of it on my resume. Am trying to improve this though.

Went extremely well. We really connected and I think I had great answers.

I am going to send a letter of continued interest really exaggerating how. badly. I want to go to Princeton. I love the school so so so so so so much. I can truly see myself there. In my letter I plan to update on these things:
- I recently enrolled in a Harvard edX course on the fundamentals of neuroscience with graded assignments (on top of my schoolwork) and I will receive a certificate. I am really excited for this!!!!
- I have a connection at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston and will be shadowing (hopefully) a neuro doctor there and am trying to pursue a summer internship
- They don't know much about me playing for the professor -- I did mention in my interview but I want to exaggerate it more as it shos just how interested I am in the school. Probably will mention it in my letter
- I am going to reach out to a neuroscience professor at Princeton because I am genuinely interested in what they do there and their research. If this interaction goes well, I'll mention it in my letter and try to name-drop.

Most of all I am going to emphasize just how badly I want to be a Tiger.
Please, leave any suggestions below to improve my chances of being admitted after being deferred! Any opinions are welcome :) Thank you
36 replies
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Replies to: Deferred from Princeton SCEA (Class of 2024)... Will this help?

  • UGG2023UGG2023 247 replies4 threads Junior Member
    Please realize Princeton might not be looking for any French horn players this year. Your stats are good but they could fill their class 5 times over with applicants with your stats and ever those with perfect stats. Your EC’s are not remarkable enough for Ivies in my opinion. Do you want to go into music or neuroscience? If neuroscience, your EC’s don’t reflect that. You could have found science EC’s outside of school or taken summer classes in neuroscience before senior year. There are kids that apply that have interned in labs already, have work published, have state or national recognition, awards, etc.
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  • happy1happy1 23313 replies2306 threads Senior Member
    edited December 2019
    It is a good idea to write a letter of continued interest -- but you would be best off keeping it short and sweet. And don't harp on how much you want to go to Princeton so it sounds like you are begging -- it isn't a good look for any applicant.

    I hope things work out for you but from looking at other posts you have I think there is a fundamental flaw in how you have gone about your college search -- you have been way too focused on the hyper-competitive schools that must be considered to be reaches for any unhooked applicant and you have not paid enough attention to finding those amazing match and safety schools -- they are out there if you spend the time and energy to find them.
    edited December 2019
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  • gRw110gRw110 36 replies0 threads Junior Member
    I have commented on your deferral on another thread. I agree with comments #1 and #2 above. I think your test scores and the number of AP courses taken are subpar for any Ivy league, especially for a top Ivy like Princeton. Sorry it hurts but it's time to move on. How did you pick neuroscience as your major? It's a really hard subject even in a state college.
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 35213 replies399 threads Senior Member
    edited December 2019
    "looking at other posts you have I think there is a fundamental flaw in how you have gone about your college search"

    Sorry, but I agree. I'm going to be honest, based on experience. It's like you have 3 wheels on track, the last one isn't. And it seems to be throwing off your perspective. And then, your approach.

    No, you don't write, "really exaggerating how. badly. I want to go to Princeton." That's cheezy, anyone can say it, it's not what gets one in and can move the needle in the wrong direction. (And the deal is, "Show, not just tell.)
    They want kids who understand what they expect and can deliver it, who have been exhibiting the strengths and various involvements, all along. Kids who wouldn't think undying love is what tips.

    Be careful your essay is relevant to an admissions review. Often when kids write of family, they offer little that shows *they* are a match for the college, the traits that apply in college and that adcoms look for. And more.

    Nor is modeling a special something extra. It's nice, you can mention it, but P is looking for a sort of thinker and doer, the types who show they are activated toward goals, as well as other things, some fun. Kids whose records show that. Nor is it about best in state or All-State or 1st chair. Again, nice, accomplishments, put it in, but it's not not pull, when they've got thousands of top performers applying. Consistent hours in a medical environment, responsibilities (not just hours,) would top shadowing (which is just following along.)

    It's not how much you can truly see yourself there. It's totally whether, based on your full application package, they can see you there. What bullets in your description above (and other threads) make them say, "We want this one?"

    Of course, you may get in. But you also need to realize many top performers are getting solid 5 APscores (and it most matters for what's related to the major.) And when their hs don't offer much stem opportunity, they go find it, outside the hs box.

    I apologize. But I said on another thread that you need an immediate deeper look into what it takes for any highly competitive college. The right perspective.

    I believe if you do that, you can learn how to improve what you present and how you show your match.
    edited December 2019
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  • benandjerrys101benandjerrys101 111 replies5 threads Junior Member
    Wow okay. I know I'm not an outstanding applicant or person or whatever. I have done my absolute best given my circumstances. I was unable to hyperfocus on school when my brother was hospitalized and my whole family fell apart. I have also applied to many matches and safeties that I have already stated. Not sure why everyone is looking past that. I am already admitted to UMass Amherst's honors college and am prepared to attend there in the fall if nothing else works out. I know that I'm not the typical ivy league admit, I realize that, but I am allowed to hope and dream and all I asked for was advice. I say this as humbly as possible -- I have no work published, I have no experience in a hospital, but I am so so hardworking... you may not believe me but I am ready to be in that competitive environment and ready to push myself beyond belief. That's how I still got all A+'s in my challenging school even when I came home and my life was in shambles. In addition, my school does not allow me to take 20 APs. Please understand that. Taking band also took away slots for APs. I wrote in additional info that I took the AP classes that I could (that interested me) and my counselor explained that I took the most challenging courseload available.

    I chose my neuroscience major based on my brother's neurological condition and because it fascinates me. No, I do not want to be a music major. I want to help people like my brother because their whole lives are put on hold because of a brain condition they cannot control.

    But no other school, no other IVY LEAGUE school, has excited me as Princeton has. I know its the farthest a reach can get and I know that my chances are so incredibly low, but I am going to try.

    I realize sometimes my responses have not displayed me in the best light but nobody online truly knows me or my character or my motivations. Thank you.
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  • benandjerrys101benandjerrys101 111 replies5 threads Junior Member
    gRw110 wrote: »
    Sorry it hurts but it's time to move on.

    I will not be doing that. "Moving on" and "giving up" is most certainly not a quality any ivy league looks for. But thanks for the suggestion.

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  • benandjerrys101benandjerrys101 111 replies5 threads Junior Member
    This thread has seriously made me bitter. People act as if I don't know that I am not the next Nobel peace prize winner. All I asked for was advice, not discouragement and useless words that I already knew/cannot change. A life without hope is a seriously depressing one and I feel sorry for anyone that gives up at the first opportunity or anyone that encourages that behavior.
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  • benandjerrys101benandjerrys101 111 replies5 threads Junior Member
    edited December 2019
    @gRw110 Also, according to your replies you're just another high schooler like me so... I'm a bit confused about why you consider yourself qualified to give me advice. I don't mean to be rude... but maybe you should focus on your own individual college process at the moment. Follow the golden rule: treat others the way you would want to be treated.
    edited December 2019
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 35213 replies399 threads Senior Member
    I'm sorry you feel bitter. But this tippy top admit scenario is fiercely competitive and it's good to be open to clarity. It's not about making you doubt yourself or whether you could win a Nobel Prize. It is about polishing. And the approach. That comes from having a good perspective. And coming to your own best decisions. That does take some openness to self review. We only know what you've told us. And, on an anon forum, others tend to remember various comments one made in different threads.

    No one said 20 APs. Or to contort yourself into a pretzel.
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  • jzducoljzducol 774 replies14 threads Member
    OP, I think BKSquared just gave you some great advice. IMO, the most difficult and the important thing now is for you to put Princeton out of your mind and focus your attention on finishing some quality applications to other schools during the next two weeks with finals and holidays distracting you as well. Your sending Princeton LOCI now vs a month later will not make any difference.
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  • happy1happy1 23313 replies2306 threads Senior Member
    edited December 2019
    @benandjerrys101 I'm sorry you feel that way. People here are trying to give you an honest evaluation -- there is no desire to make you or anyone "angry or bitter." Hopefully you can take the comments in the spirit in which they are given.

    The fact is with historically low acceptance rates, (Princeton being in the single digits) it is necessary for almost every unhooked candidate to consider Ivy and equivalent schools as reaches. I did think you came off as a bit melodramatic when you said getting a deferral from Princeton was "disappointing and sad" when in all honesty it should not have been a shock.

    And FWIW my hope with my post was to try and direct you quickly seek out and apply a couple of really excellent schools that may be more of a "match" academically (URochester, Case Western, Lehigh are but a few examples). Note that even back with your chance me thread in October people commented that your list was reach heavy and were encouraging you to look at some of these schools. Of course it is your application process and your are perfectly free to take or leave any advice you get on CC but recognize that the advice has been pretty consistent.

    I am glad you have back-up plans and UMass Honors is a very nice acceptance so congrats on that. Good luck moving forward.
    edited December 2019
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  • benandjerrys101benandjerrys101 111 replies5 threads Junior Member
    edited December 2019
    @happy1 As I have said, I am already applying to two of the match schools you just listed (Rochester and Lehigh)...it is not as if Princeton is the only school I applied to...

    And of course the deferral was not a shock, when did I ever say that or imply that? It was expected and I told myself that all day to my family and friends and to myself before opening. But what kind of human person would not be disappointed after reading that letter?

    @BKSquared Thank you. Your post is extremely helpful and makes sense.
    edited December 2019
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  • bloomfield88bloomfield88 284 replies0 threads Junior Member
    The fact you were deferred at one of the most difficult admits in the world, not outright rejected should tell you, you have at least a shot at other Reach schools, so don't give up now. You've got a high floor at UMass in the bag.

    Don't waste a second of time on apps to schools you will reject to attend UMass in the end. No point in collecting admits, if there is no chance you will attend. Would I rather be at X than UMass? Nope, ok, drop X.

    If you go through all the schools and cannot find a single Safety/Match you prefer over UMass, then UMass is of course, your Safety/Match and just shoot for Reach schools that you prefer over UMass.

    If there is a Safety/Match that you definitely like more than UMass, then absolutely apply there. If accepted, that raises your already high floor.

    Keep soul-searching for those you might like even more. Use multiple resources for information. Picture yourself on each campus. Would I rather be at A and B than C? If so, maybe, let's keep A and B for now, but consider a replacement for C.

    Keep plugging away at upcoming apps, thinking hard about improving every essay you submit.
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  • saisrinath2001saisrinath2001 2 replies4 threads New Member
    Hi! @BKSquared. What exactly are objective hurdles?
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  • BKSquaredBKSquared 1507 replies8 threads Senior Member
    Grades, test scores, and rigor of courses. I would also assume that there has been an assessment of EC's, LoR's, awards and essays, and some level of rating has been achieved that moves you to the deferred vs reject pile, but not a high enough level to get you into the admit pile.
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  • roycroftmomroycroftmom 3384 replies40 threads Senior Member
    I am not sure that is a valid assumption, @bksquared. Some schools defer almost all applicants rather than reject them in the early round; Princeton historically deferred more than 80%. Acceptance rates after deferral were well under 5%.
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  • BKSquaredBKSquared 1507 replies8 threads Senior Member
    ^True, some schools like Stanford have culled the deferred list pretty aggressively, while others like Harvard, barely at all. Some minimum standard has been passed though since there are also rejections, although that bar may be fairly low relative to the applicants.
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  • therealdioxsistherealdioxsis 1 replies0 threads New Member
    I would like to share my experience as well. I got straight up rejected by Princeton in the early action round for class of 2024. My gpa is 4.4+ and sat is 1500. I have very similar ECs with you: I am a leader in band and have attended many honor bands. I also have major related experience as I am also the founder of a robotics club and have won many engineering competitions. I think my essays were very good and my interview went well. I’m just very confused on why I was rejected and not deferred. If Princeton defers 80%+ that’s means they must reject less than 5% of people that apply. I was sure that I would be deferred because my stats are at Princeton’s average. However I applied as a biomedical engineer. Does anyone think that just the competitiveness of my major led to my rejection. I’m confused on how to feel right now and am worried that my applications will be bad for the rest of my colleges.
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 23804 replies17 threads Senior Member
    In your letter of continuing interest, don't say "I reallyreallyreally want to be Tiger." Say "Princeton continues to be my first choice because the fantastic neuro/bio program/ the great way music is integrated into other departments/the opportunity to study in the ___ lab" or whatever your reason (short) is.

    All students have difficulties to overcome. Do not dwell on that. You've covered it in your application. Do not 'update' them with a medical position you are going to do in the spring. What's new, that you have completed, since your application?

    Good luck.
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