Advice on chances at UChicago and Hopkins

My reach schools are Johns Hopkins and Univ. of Chicago and I am wondering about my chances, which will effect where I apply ED.

NY area
GPA: 3.6 (unweighted)
SAT: 1530 (780m, 750v)
2 APs last year, 4 APs now, honors classes, 2 PLTW classes, Ind. Science Research
National Merit Semi-finalist
3 sport athlete (football, wrestling, lacrosse)
3 year captain, wrestling, 3x all-section, top 30 NYS
Captain lacrosse, 2021 Hudson Valley all-star
Independent Science Research - 1st place & 2nd place at regional competitions
NYU summer pre-college (4.0 in 2 freshman Eng classes.)
Decent community service and jobs
I plan to be an aerospace engineer and know I will need advanced degrees. At UChicago I would major in Astrophysics.

I will wrestle in college. UChicago coach will support my admission, but not sure how much that means. I am not on the JH coach’s recruiting list, but I am hoping I can get on his radar.

I already have 4 “likely letters” through the recruiting process from very good schools that I am excited about, but I think I should (my parents REALLY think I should) try one of these reach schools. I think ED is my best chance. What do you think? Which may be a better chance?


Not sure why you would even consider UChicago if you want to be an engineer.

Fair question. UChicago reached out to me, which is why I started considering it. I decided to consider 2 schools that do not have engineering programs but do allow me to fulfill all the math and science requirements, while earning a physics or astrophysics degree. I would then pursue a masters degree in aerospace engineering.

Not sure I would try for either of these schools unless YOU were really interested in them. Your parents are not going to college. Both schools are academically oriented and will be challenging. Both offer world class education. Seems like you know how to play the likely letter game. If you can go through the process at either of these schools and get a LL before you need to commit elsewhere then you want to do so. But be sure you have looked them over and can truly commit to them.

I would not give up schools you are excited about, where you are actively being recruited, to study aero at either of these schools. And without coach support, your GPA is low for both.

…going to be tough enough to get the grades in physics for grad school while doing a varsity sport anywhere, much less at 2 schools that are best known for their work hard/work hard cultures #justsayin

And if you are going to grad school for engineering the ‘bump’ from a famous UG name is negligible. Not to mention that famous names to engineers are often different than famous names to friends & family.

You have 4 other options that you are already excited about: trust your gut.

The UChicago coach could be important. It is interesting that they reached out to you. My understanding is that the coach support is very helpful, but not a sure thing. At ivies they give out likely letters. Have you gotten a pre-read from UChicago?

UChicago does have an engineering program (Molecular Engineering) however it is quite new. The Physics department is world reknowned, so you shouldn’t have any problems in shifting to engineering for masters work.

I agree with much of the above. It would also be helpful to know what the other 4 schools are.

Thanks for all the advice. I guess I feel the pressure of trying to get into the “most competitive” school I can, but understand that fit is more important. The 4 other schools are Wesleyan, WPI, Case Western & Stevens. I had an amazing visit at WPI and there are many aspects of the school that make it a good fit for me. Also had an great visit at Wesleyan, which was my first choice for a while…now toss up between WPI and Wesleyan. There are things I like about CWRU and Stevens, which is why they remain on the list. I have not gotten the pre-read from UChicago yet but the coach was optimistic. Although there is a lot to like about UChicago, for a number of reasons I have been thinking the fit is not as good as all the others.

If you get a positive pre-read from Chicago, then its a very good sign that you will get accepted. However they might ask you to apply via ED to lock you in. The previous sterotypes about Chicago being a place where fun dies is slowly changing. The new administration is really trying to change the perception. Its still an intense place, but less so compared to years past.

Though the UChicago coach reached out to you, that would have been based upon your athletic stats, as he did not know your academic credentials at that time (unless you filled out the recruiting form). The fact that he is proceeding to give you a pre-read is excellent! I do believe that UChicago gives likely letters, though I would guess that you would have to switch to ED to get one. You may want to ask the coach if they issue LLs and what the procedure would be… or hopefully someone with direct experience with Chicago can add to this thread.

I think that some of the posters above (as well as myself) are concerned about your high school GPA. If you went to a really tough grading high school without much grade inflation, then, with your focus and strong interest in physics, you should be able to succeed at UChicago. Whether your B’s were high Bs or low Bs is also something for you to consider. In particular, consider how strong your physics and math grades have been. Things move quickly at Chicago…pretty sure they use a quarter system, so there is little time to relearn math/science you should have gotten from an advanced high school curriculum. All the schools you mentioned are excellent. UChicago is an amazing school. You have good choices to explore.