Chance a Pacific Islander with low GPA (competitive high school) /good SAT/extremely strong extracurriculars for T30s and Cornell ED

Everyone is calling my list a long reach, can you give me an approximate chance? Like 1/10?

Can I just shotgun those universities?

You can do whatever you want to do with college admissions. As mentioned above…you have one probable sure thing in that list…and a bunch of more reachy schools.

Just make sure you have TWO probable admissions…because if it comes to that, it’s nice to have choices.


Yes, absolutely.
But before that, you need several targets/likelies and safeties, 3-5 of the former and 2 of the latter.
Once that’s done, go for it. Just keep your odds in mind. We wish you all the best but hope you don’t forget matches and safeties, because reaches (especially reaches for everyone) are completely unpredictable.


I have a few thoughts reading this thread.

First of all, I think that you need to spend a lot of effort looking at safeties. You need to make sure that you apply to at least one and preferably two universities that you WILL get accepted to, that you can afford, and that you would be happy attending. “Be happy attending” applies many things, including a good program in your intended major. I think that you probably need match schools also.

If you want a good chance to get admitted to a “top 30” university, then I think that you need to understand the differences between the top 30 universities, and know which ones would be a good match for you. If someone from, lets say Cornell asks “why do you want to attend Cornell”, then you should have a good answer if you want them to admit you. Any “good answer” will show that you understand the university.

I do not like the idea of applying to a major that you do not intend to stay with. I do understand that many top universities (Harvard, MIT, Stanford come to mind) do not admit by major. At MIT you can pick your major at the end of your freshman year. However, trying to outsmart the admissions staff at a top university seems like a dangerous game – they have been doing this for a lot longer than you have. If you apply as a music major to a school that has a poor music program but a great business program, if they ask “why?” you might not want to be answering “because my intent is to switch to business”.

You should check how difficult it is to change majors in the UK schools before you apply to them.

Also, I hope that your dad is going well. I do understand that there is a huge range in terms of how treatment for cancer goes over the years.


If people say in this thread that UF/FSU are low reach/matches, aren’t CMU/NYU low reaches/matches, since private colleges are more holistic?

Please read this thread. Read all of it. It’s old, but is a must read. And this kid had exemplary stats….but no sure things on his first application list.


I give you credit for keeping your eye on the prize!

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FSU similar ranked schools with similar chance for you are Penn State and Pitt

NYU while ranked similar to UF, NYU had just over 100,000 applicants and admitted 13000. UF had 52000 applications and admitted 14500
UF half the applicants and admits slightly more students than NYU


NYU’s acceptance rate might be a bit inflated just like Columbia because people want to go to NYC

Even at colleges with more holistic or subjective admissions, high school record is still typically the most important factor. Also, the reason that the most selective colleges consider subjective criteria more is because they have so many applicants who have top-end stats, which are basically necessary, but not sufficient, for admission. Without top-end stats (like your GPA and class rank), your chances at the most selective colleges would be lower than typical.


Several “holistic” schools we visited had AOs that said they were asked if there was a fire in the admissions office and they could only grab one item from each applicant to make their decisions what they would take. Each one said it was the transcript because it gave the big picture of an applicant’s history - what they did in the classroom for 3.5 years - as opposed to the snapshot of a test score or a biased LOR.

@prestige123 I agree with those who said you keep looking for loopholes to justify your opinion and desired outcome. Unfortunately, facts are facts. You posted asking for help and several people are trying to help but you need to listen to what you are being told.


Columbia Admissions once said the easiest way to cull the files is to cut the “why” essays that are basically “Ivy League+NYC”.
NYU definitely uses the attraction toward NYC and will shuffle any halfway decent applicant to one of their many programs, including Liberal Studies etc… but most students who want NYC are better off attending a cheaper college and interning there or, even better, finding a job there once they’ve graduated, can go to bars and clubs, and can afford most interesting opportunities in the city. NYU is the biggest culprit of high student debt and their professional outcomes can be disappointing outside of Stern (for instance, in another thread, salaries for engineers were listed, we had to guess which universities had what salary, and whereas most clustered around 75-85k there was one outlier at 54k, which turned out to be NYU.) In your case, being full pay will help, but if you get into Steinhardt, LSP or Gallatin, will your parents be interested in spending 75k for a likely lower annual salary? (Steinhardt is great for music, not so much for econ…) If you want Stern, apply to STERN. If you want Economics, apply to CAS for whatever major.
Read about both NYU and UF – NYU’s selectivity is quite unlike UF’s. At UF, the fact you’re from Florida AND from a pipeline school helps, even if odds are even wrt your admission. Apply to NYU but be clear with yourself (and ask your parents) whether they’re willing to pay for a college other than Stern or CAS.


A thread of interest

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Are my extracurriculars too generic?

If your ECs are things you like and enjoy doing they are fine. That is what ECs are all about. They are not about impressing colleges with some random list of ECs you think would better impress the colleges.

Plus…it’s not like you can change your ECs now, right?

Read my post from above. My kid had very impressive and well regarded ECs in music. She majored in engineering. It never dawned on her to apply for music just to gain admission. Her HS ECs had absolutely nothing to do with her college major or her probable future career. They were things she liked to do. Period.


At this point your ECs are what they are; the ECs (spikes aside) aren’t as important as the passion you have for them. The best thing you can do at this point is write essays that showcase your passion, passion for your ECs, passion for the school, passion for your future career and the “good” you will be able to contribute to the college and society. I’ll never forget the meeting DD had with MIT admissions sophomore year of high school: “if you decide to apply, please do not give us the application you think we want to see, give us the application that shows us your passion. We want to see what makes you tick.”


@prestige123 You’ve gotten consistent feedback from everyone here: Your odds of getting into a T30 university are low, due to the fact that your grades are lower than average for nearly all of the schools on your list, even some of the Florida schools, and grades are the most important factor to admissions officers. Low odds doesn’t mean there’s a zero chance - as you point out, you have a lot of other things going for you. But, there’s a reasonable chance that you’ll come out of this college cycle with only one acceptance - to FSU. And, there’s a non-zero chance that you could not get accepted anywhere. A lot of your comments seem to be discounting this possibility, and this could get you into trouble.

All of the pp’s are just urging you to do some risk management. Fast forward to next spring, and consider two potential negative outcomes: 1) you haven’t gotten in anywhere, or, 2) you’ve only gotten into FSU. In the former scenario, you will have obviously wished that you would have applied to a few more safeties. So avoid that outcome, and add in another safety or two, one of the ones that pp’s have suggested where you would be a shoe-in. And, in scenario 2, where you are only accepted to FSU - would you have wished that you’d applied to more target schools? If so, then you should add in some of the one’s pp’s have suggested - Lehigh, UVM, St. Olaf, etc.

This is all really just the basic advice that is given to all rising seniors - apply to a balanced list that includes at least 2 true safeties, 3-4 targets, and after that, as many reaches as you have the time (and money) for. Right now, your list doesn’t have any true safeties, and very few targets. Fix that.


If the arbitrary “T30” label is that important to you, at least look at the USNews Liberal Arts Colleges list for more realistic reach schools. Looking at the larger schools on that list, Colgate University, Wesleyan University, and University of Richmond - all in the neighborhood of 3000 undergraduates and in the top 30 - are all universities where your GPA is below median, but your SAT is at or close to the 75th percentile. Based on stats alone, you’re still looking at a toss-up for admission at these schools, but strong EC’s, strong essays, and high rigor could tip the balance in your favor (as well as URM status if they do consider you URM - you’ll need to investigate that school by school).

Colgate has the Upstate NY setting and climate that you like in Cornell, and it’s well-regarded for econ.

Richmond isn’t quite as “northeast” as you want, but it’s not deep south either and it could be a great fit in terms of strong music (and they recruit high-level musicians) and a business school with multiple undergrad majors. You can do an econ major within business or in arts & sciences. (This is also the case at Lehigh fwiw.) It definitely has the elite-private vibe and plenty of great connections to career opportunities. (The others as well.)

You’re doing a really good job of sounding like you’re not listening at all, but I hope you will take some time to process what people here have told you, and develop a more balanced list. You are extremely fortunate that finances will not limit where you can go. Don’t let your not-terribly-informed perspective on “prestige” keep you from finding a college experience that will give you all the opportunities you want, from career preparation to personal growth. There’s no need to peak at 18; tons of students in tippy-top MBA programs went to schools that you seem to think are beneath you. I don’t know who has encouraged this belief in you, but you would see it differently once you arrived and met the many highly-accomplished and ambitious students around you. Broaden your perspective. Take your shot at Cornell et. al. if you want to, but take a much closer look at appropriate low-reach, match, and safety schools. You might like what you see.


What ? #30 really isn’t #30?? :slight_smile:
Maybe OP can try the Niche, WSJ, or Forbes ranking. So of his top 30 are much much lower.

Can anyone chance me for Coca Cola?