Am I going to my safety?

I am uncertain how the test-optional and low(-ish) AP scores will impact things and have not seen your essays or LoRs, so my estimate of the range of outcomes is fairly wide. I would guess your ECs are better than average, you seem a good writer in the threads and the URM status will help (those schools are where they are in terms of Hispanic representation because they actively seek students from diverse backgrounds). That said, aside from the three Ivies and Pomona I would expect you have a > 10% chance of acceptance at each of the other schools (and >30% in a couple of cases). The probabilities are somewhat correlated, but different essays, different readers/admissions offices and different school priorities . . . and the number of applications suggests somewhere between a 80% and 97+% chance of getting into at least one of your target / reach schools. Getting into 2 or 3 seems the most likely outcome to me.

I like your approach of applying to a large number of target schools. If there were schools you liked more than Binghamton and were less selective than (or comparable to) Bates / Colby / Wesleyan those would have been nice to have, but you can’t apply everywhere and you can’t know in advance which school is best for you.

My daughter is in a similar boat. Binghamton is her one safety school. She has 10 target / reach schools (including Pomona and Swarthmore . . . and 8 other schools not on your list but over a similar range of selectivity) and a similar profile to yours.

Good luck.

If you’re hoping for med school, or if you want a wide-ranging choice of majors if you were to change your mind, I think you should seriously consider Binghamton, assuming you get in. SUNY Binghamton is arguably the most selective of the 4 SUNY “flagship” state U’s - always has had the reputation of being the best-ranked SUNY. It appears that you know how to do well in school, will probably do very well at Binghamton. When you go to apply to med school, the admissions committee there will think, “Oh. Here’s a Hispanic male who clearly went to his flagship state U to keep costs down, and he’s done well there. We can take him.” Whereas applying from Genesco to any med school in-state, they’ll wonder why you didn’t go to Binghamton, and as for out of state med school admissions committees? They’ll either have never heard of it, or be suspicious of the rigor/competitiveness of it.

Of your safeties, your best bet by far is Binghamton, if you’re thinking med school, and Binghamton, if you change your mind/major.

And then there is money. It’s way too late in the game to be applying for school scholarships specific to Hispanics. And if your parents are college grads, I suspect that your family is middle to upper middle class, not going to qualify for much financial aid. So you really have to consider how much schools are going to cost you. Binghamton is going to cost you 27K/yr, even without any type of Regents or merit money.

I know you want small. But you can make Binghamton feel smaller, by how you choose your major. As for the pre-med basic science classes, they’re not going to be tiny seminars even at Genesco. At Binghamton, you will meet more students at your level, who wanted a more selective university, and qualified for it.


@leavingLI : any update?

Nothing yet. I think I have to wait until late March, early April for the decisions. But, thanks for asking! I will update as soon as I hear.

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I agree with what you are saying about Binghamton. So many kids from my high school and Long Island go to Binghamton and I was hoping to meet students from all of the country and world. If it comes down to Geneseo and Binghamton, I will look hard into research opportunities and pre-med advising before I make my final choice. I’m also waiting to see if I get into the honors program at Geneseo. If I don’t, then that may tip the scales towards Binghamton (if I don’t get into any of the other schools).

I am fortunate that my parents are taking responsibility for my undergraduate costs. They estimate they will take out about 50k in loans if I go to a private college. They want me to have the best experience possible, for my interests and personality. My mother got a full scholarship to Columbia as a first generation student, and she says it was the best experience of her life.

SO many students think that going to their flagship state U will be a continuation of high school, because many good students from their high school go to the flagship state U - because it’s the best educational value for the money!

But what they don’t realize is that there these schools are enormous, and you wind up meeting many, many new people there. Besides, more of the people from LI are probably going to choose Stony Brook over Binghamton.

If you get into a leading private school, and they give you enough money to make it the same as, or only a little bit more expensive than Binghamton, sure. And I DO think that you’re going to eventually get into at least one of the private schools on your list. Whether you get money from them is going to depend upon your family’s finances, and the school’s generosity. But I do think that you’ll get an offer from at least one, and probably several of those schools. I don’t think you’re going to get into Brown, Stanford, or Yale. But I do think you’ll get into Haverford and Vassar, and maybe some of the others. Whether a degree from Haverford or Vassar would be worth more to you than the degree and the medical research opportunities available to you at Binghamton is arguable. And you should definitely read about what went on at Haverford early this fall - I mean the strike.

The problem is that you want med school. Assuming similar GPA and MCAT, I don’t think that you would be considered a more attractive applicant coming from any of those schools vs Binghamton. However, I do think you would be considered a LESS attractive applicant coming from Queens College, or Geneseo.

Don’t be afraid of the size of a big university. You can easily make connections there by simply going to office hours, and volunteering to medical research, as well as through any clubs you might be interested in. Maybe there is a group for Hispanic kids interested in going into medicine. You’ll meet people through your floor. Did you get into the Binghamton University Scholars program? That should help make it feel smaller, too.

Wherever you wind up, you’re going to do extremely well - because you did so well in high school.


I don’t think there is any reason to believe an application coming from Bing, Geneseo, CUNY Queens would be regarded differently from an application from Vassar or Haverford.
However, the environment and the opportunities at each will be quite different.
For people who care about SUNYs, Bing, Geneseo, Albany, and SB are the 4 “academic” ones. In keeping with the SUNYs principle that each college has an area of unique strength (while being good elsewhere), Albany is known for Business and social science, SB for STEM, Geneseo and Bing for traditional liberal arts in 2 different environments (LAC and large university), and Bing additionally for its very selective School of Management. Buffalo has pulled up in addition to these 4 by focusing on Engineering and doing an excellent job there. The CUNY system is respected, too, but it will not be the residential experience you’re looking for and you can choose between two stronger options.
Geneseo will have more personalized pre-med advising (probably no pre-med advising available at Bing till 2nd semester sophomore year: advising time is tight, no sense in wasting it on students who may end up with a C+ or B- in General Chem. May seem harsh but tuition is kept low by rationalizing everything.) Geneseo professors will also be more likely to involve you in research, since you wont be competing with grad students for access. On the other hand, Bing will have more research opportunities overall, especially in terms of large or nationally-funded projects + especially if you’re in Honors and get to know your professors better through smaller classes. There’ll be more clubs and groups, more sections of the same class.
Now, if you get into Vassar or Haverford, it’s a whole other kettle of fish. First, because these are literally life-changing, unless you’re already upper middle class. (The term “life-changing” used in a study that indicates this type of colleges is specifically for working class or lower income kids, children of immigrants, first gen college students, and URMs). It’s not about whether attending Vassar will make it easier to get into med school but for everything else, that is so intangible it’s taken for granted by kids from upper middle and upper class backgrounds (also, note that between Vassar full pay and Bing at 1/4th of the price, they still choose Vassar overwhelmingly so there’s got to be a reason, even if for them it’s not, in fact, “life changing”.) Your mother is offering to pay because she lived it, personally, and knows from experience what I’m talking about.
Second, it’s quite possible your FA package will be better from one of these colleges, especially since SUNYs package loans, even with Excelsior.
Third, because there’s grade inflation at some private colleges. And no, the algorithm that makes the first cut doesn’t adapt to the college. A 3.65 from Brown (barely average) is treated the same as a 3.65 from a college where the average GPA is 3.1. (The reasoning is that the students are probably more accomplished and competitive at the famous private college where the average is high. Or simply the first cut algorithm is not meant to do more than eliminate the clearly unqualified, which 3.65 wouldn’t be anywhere regardless of average GPA at the college.)
Finally, most students who intend to attend med school change their minds along the way or don’t make it into med school, so your choice has to balance factors in case you do apply and in case you don’t.

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Thank you for your assessment. I hope you are right and I will have two or three options. Good luck to your daughter as well!

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Thank you for your insights. I agree with you that Binghamton has really developed into the top SUNY school, especially for premed. A favorite doctor of my mother´s, an endocrinologist, started at Binghamton and highly recommends it. Interestingly though, his daughter who is also a senior, is looking to go to college out of state. Personally, I am a cheapskate and can appreciate a good value. I am far from happy with the thought that my parents will incur debt if I go to a private college. But I am torn because a large university setting is just not in my comfort zone. I suppose I could adjust, but having the option of not having to will be very tempting. I guess only time will tell what my options are.

Thank you for your insights. They make complete sense and they are why this whole process is so difficult. Just a couple more weeks before I start hearing whether I will have any viable options other than the SUNYs. Fingers crossed. Will let you know!!

Hi! I wanted to check in and thank everyone for their incredibly helpful words of wisdom and encouragement. I wish I had found this site before the college application process. It would have saved me so much angst. I was really naive and relied on one website, College Vine, which gave me really skewed results, even going so far as telling me I had over a 60% chance of getting into Pomona and Bowdoin! I have spent the past several weeks, stressed like countless of college applicants, waiting for decisions and hoping I would end up in a college I could feel some enthusiasm about attending. This site is such a wealth of information, making me realize how many great colleges are out there, as well as outstanding opportunities for merit aid. At the very least, my misguided approach to applying for colleges will help my younger brother in a few years when it is his turn to make his college list. He will know to head to CC first to see others’ experiences and advice.
In the end, I am happy to report that I was fortunate enough to have some excellent options and I have decided to go to Wesleyan University in the fall. Below I am listing my results, which clearly have no rhyme or reason. I was disappointed that neither of the SUNY schools did not offer me any honors or entry into the research immersion program, as I may have given them more consideration. Queens College offered me half tuition and placement in their honors college but ultimately it was not my preferred college experience. Thanks again everyone!

SUNY Geneseo - accepted
SUNY Binghamton— accepted
CUNY Queens College- accepted

Targets (as defined by CollegeVine, though I’m thinking they are more reach schools):

Amherst College— WL
Bowdoin College- rejected
Bates College—WL
Colby College - WL
Haverford College - WL
Pomona College - rejected
Swarthmore College - accepted
Vassar College - accepted
Wesleyan University - accepted
Williams College -WL

Brown University - rejected
Stanford University - rejected
Yale University- rejected


Excellent choices! Congratulations your acceptances and wishing you a fantastic 4 years at one of your favorites, Wesleyan!


Congratulations! You ended up with amazing acceptances, and you should be very proud. Best of luck at Wesleyan!


Great acceptances! Congratulations! Enjoy Wes!


You ended up with 6 acceptances, including 3 great ones :+1:
Can you explain how you made your choice? It may help current seniors trying to figure out this type of choices or future seniors wondering… :wink:

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Swarthmore, Vassar, Wesleyan

You did even better! Really happy for you!

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I knew I preferred a liberal arts school. I could not see myself in lecture halls with hundreds of students. I pictured myself learning more and being more engaged in a small class environment. Even if I had gotten into any of my reach schools, it would not have been a foregone conclusion to go to any of them. Tbh I just applied to them as more of an ego thing, to see if I could get in. But among the three LACs I had to choose from, I favored Wesleyan because I think I fit the best in there. Swarthmore’s Campus was beautiful but I felt it had a very bland or tame vibe. Ultimately though, I was put off by their intensity. They are proud of their difficult classes and grade deflation. Their gift shop even sells shirts saying ‘Harder than an Ivy” or “it would of been an A anywhere else.” I know college will be difficult but I don’t look forward to it being intentionally difficult. My brother’s baseball coach is a Swat alum and confirmed his experience with grade deflation. He actually recommended that I not go there if I wanted to have a more “normal and fun” college experience. And as a pre-med student, I have to be concerned about my GPA. I just didn’t want the extra pressure. I want to enjoy myself in college too. Vassar also had a beautiful campus and very lively vibe. But when I contacted the Vassar track coach about walking on the team, he responded that they had a small team and could not accommodate me. And they have no throwers on their team. I throw shot put and discus and look forward to expanding to javelin and the hammer throw. The Swarthmore and Wesleyan coaches both enthusiastically welcomed me to walk on the team. (Wesleyan also has a crew team and I’m thinking of inquiring of doing some training with them during the track off-season. I know they usually have an extra boat of rowers to compete against the main squad in practice. It’s a great workout and I have a rower’s body type so I may wind up being good at it.) Basically, Wesleyan has everything I am looking for. It’s small, but not too much; it has an eclectic mix of students (artsy creative types, athletes, and other high achieving students); it has an open curriculum ( a lot of its graduates double or even triple major); it appears to have a lot of research opportunities in STEM and strong STEM offerings; and the campus has a bustling, vibrant vibe to it (it’s located in a very busy suburb close to Main Street). Wesleyan also gave me the best financial aid. My parents and I will incur some debt but it is tolerable for us (about 25k at the end of four years). So hopefully Wesleyan will be everything I am imagining it to be and then some!


Thank you such your thoughtful, informative answer, and, again, congratulations!

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Congrats on Wesleyan!!! It’s a wonderful school (and my bestie is going there who is absolutely epic and I’m sure you will love her, her name’s Ava :slight_smile:). I’m sure you will do wonderful things there.


But I encourage you to stay on the LAC waitlists as well. I’m biased, of course, but I really hope that you get into Amherst. :heart: