Chance a rural boy w/ large business at harvard, gtown, upenn, vandy + more

so sorry in advance for the long post, haha. first time posting here :slight_smile:

Demographics: male, white, michigan, upper middle, rural public

Intended Major(s): applied as business/management/economics where applicable. will double major in IR or CS

Academics: 3.931 UW GPA, 13/92 rank

FYI: school only offers 5 AP classes and 0 honors classes, counselor wrote in LOR that i have the most rigorous course load in my grade because i take online AP/honors classes) - 4 APs + 1 Honors class not including senior year schedule

Senior Year Course Load: AP Lit, physics, newspaper, AP CSP, AP calc BC (online), AP micro (online), AP macro (online)

Standardized Testing: sent a 32 (36R, 35E, 29S, 27M) to gtown and umich (test optional elsewhere)

APs: APWH (4), bio (4), us gov (5)

Main Extracurriculars/Activities

  1. (9-12) Founder of E-Commerce Book Subscription Service - 22,000 customers/supporters, shipped 25,000 books worldwide, $1,050,000+ in revenue. Manage a team of 25. Routinely collaborate with NYT Bestselling authors and Big Five publishers (20 hrs/wk 52 wks/yr)
  2. (9-12) Team Captain of Varsity Quizbowl Team - Increased membership, teach strategy, host meetings and the first team to qualify for the National Tournament in school history (6 hrs/wk 8 wks/yr)
  3. (9-12) Head of Drama Tech Crew & Wait Staff - Design light, mic and music queues with director and two student directors. Manage a team of 6 for tech during musical season and a team of 10 during dinner theatre shows. My guidance led to shows placing 2nd at state competition junior year (24 hrs/wk 6 wks/yr)
  4. (10-12) Co-Founder of Tutoring Program - 30% of my district doesn’t have access to wifi at home so I co founded a tutoring program to give assistance after school to those who are struggling with their homework. Expanded worldwide junior year. (3 wks/yr 30 wks/yr)
  5. (9, 11-12) President of DECA Chapter - Restarted chapter after advisor left. Grew membership to 25 members junior year and then to 88 (more than ¼ of the student body) senior year. Recognition at Districts/State (4 hrs/wk 35 wks/yr)
  6. (11-12) Editor-In-Chief of the School Paper - Lead a team of 10 and do typical newspaper duties. Distribute 2,000+ copies bimonthly. Sold 20+ ads junior year bringing in ~$500 (7 hrs/wk 35 wks/yr)
  7. (9-12) Family Genealogical Researcher - Do genealogy work on my family. Have traced origins upwards of 40 generations and have identified 800+ direct ancestors. (9 hrs/wk 8 wks/yr)


  1. 2020 National Quizbowl Tournament Qualifier
  2. AP Scholar With Honor
  3. Quizbowl Top 10 Individual Scorer 10th, 11th and 12th grade for the region
  4. Finalized for ICDC at Michigan DECA States 2020
  5. 3rd Place DECA Entrepreneurship, 2019 Districts

Sent In Application Updates:

Company mentioned in 3 BuzzFeed articles and personal articles in Detroit News and Washington Times

2021 DECA States Qualifier, 2nd Place

Quizbowl 1st and 3rd Place wins 12th grade season and regional tournament, 2 national tournament qualifiers

Letters of Recommendation

Counselor, AP bio teacher, spanish teacher , precalculus teacher (gtown and MIT only)

super close with all four of them and I feel like they have really strong writing skills


Common App - talked about how as my business grew I found a new family within the book community.

Supplementals - super niche topics and all highlighted different aspects of my identity to my application.

family friend who is a former AO read over my essays and said they were really strong and unique



UMich LSA + Ross (EA) - $5k private merit scholarship (interviewed)
UNC Chapel Hill (EA) - semifinalist for Robertson Scholarship (interviewed)


  • Harvard (REA) - interviewed

Awaiting RD

  • Yale - interviewed
  • UPenn - interviewed
  • Brown
  • Vanderbilt
  • Duke - interviewed
  • MIT - interviewed
  • Northwestern
  • Northeastern
  • Georgetown - interviewed

Additional Information:

i am extremely humbled to apply to these schools, as the county where i come from only has a 17% rate for citizens who hold at least a bachelor’s. i am the first person in my school’s history to apply to every college on that list (except umich and yale) and am so, so, so grateful for my wonderful parents and supporters along the way.

just wanted to hear what everyone thinks about my RD chances :smiley:

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I think you have really good chances. You come from a rural area, you want to be a business major, and you have already created a very successful business in high school. Although admissions to ivies is a gamble for everyone, I would say you have a really good chance.

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I’ll confine my comments to IVY + MIT.

Class rank outside of top 10% + no standardized test scores makes your chances very poor.

All undergrad at those schools (unless you applied to Wharton at UPenn) would be Econ - and a very mathy brand of econ at that - or CS. The schools are going to want to see that you have the math chops to pull it off if you are applying as a prospective econ major or CS major. If CS, strong demonstrated interest/achievement in coding would be something they look for as well. Most kids demonstrate their math chops with very strong math standardized scores/advanced course work + math related ECs like math team, etc.

“Test Optional” gives false hope to many.

Maybe it is really test optional for a low income, inner city kid in an area where schools are closed due to the pandemic and they have no options. For an Upper Middle class kid who has time to run a $1 million business, they are going to ask why no test scores???

Quizbowl doesn’t help (son’s HS was perennial national champ in QB and HB) make up for any deficiencies anywhere else. It’s a nice EC, but those schools aren’t looking to turn out Jeopardy champions.

The business might help at Wharton, but they’re sill going to be looking at the no test score issue when they’ll have many, many higher GPA/Class rank/perfect test score applicants to choose from.

UMich is a great school, and in many ways entirely comparable to the IVY + MIT. Good luck!

thanks for your feedback!

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thanks for your feedback! i indicated econ on my apps - only after this first semester of AP computer science principles did it pique my interest so there is no mention of this anywhere in my app: everything points to business. totally get the test optional factor. now to play the waiting game and see what happens, haha. thanks again!!

Personally, I’d like to see test scores. I think your business is exceptional. Your rank is very low for those schools. But I’d put you in the category of someone who has done a lot without a ton of resources. Rural category helps too.
If you have scores within the range that could help out your lower GPA. If not, then I’d say a reach with better possibilities at a school with business. Why aren’t you applying to Wharton?

thanks for your feedback! i’m worried my ACT math will drag down my application, hence why i didn’t submit it to schools besides umich and gtown. i did apply to wharton but i only mentioned penn in my post, i didn’t specify that. thanks again!

Have you been accepted to UMich Ross?


Congratulations! I just heard that the first wave of Ross admits came out today. That’s a great option, and being in-state makes it even more so!

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yeah, they came out an hour ago but i got a UPS notification from Ross on monday saying i had a package on the way so it kind of ruined the excitement haha. thanks!!! i’m really excited.

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I think you have an excellent chance at all of these schools with your background. By the way congratulations on all your hard work the last 4 years. I especially think you have a solid chance at Vanderbilt and Georgetown.

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thank you so much! i really appreciate it. :slight_smile:

I think your ECs are great, I think you have a decent shot at UPenn

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First, since you’re upper middle class, could your family afford any of the private schools on your list? Depending on what you and your family mean by “upper middle class”, your family would have to pay anywhere from $60,000-$80,000 tuition + room & board a year. Can you family afford it?

Second, none of those schools, except perhaps Wharton, is any better than Ross. In fact, most rankings, including Forbes, for what they are worth, rank Ross’s undergraduate program ahead of Harvard’s undergraduate, GTown, and way ahead of Vanderbilt. Only Wharton is consistently ranked ahead of Ross

Total CoA for Ross for you: $130,000
Total CoA for UPenn, Harvard, GTown, Vandy, etc: $240,000-$320,000

How does attending a program that is only slightly better, or not as good, but costs almost $100,000-$190,000 more, make sense? You are a prospective business major, so make a serious business choice.

As for CS, not one of the other colleges even approaches UMich in CS.

Seriously, you have been accepted to a very top undergraduate business program in the country, and the same college has one of the very top CS programs in the country. None of the other colleges on your list has this, but all cost over $100,000 more.

You should be basking in the glow of your amazing success in being admitted to Ross, not worrying about whether you will be accepted to a “lesser” college.

Congratulation, and if I were you, I would be shopping for Michigan sweatshirts.


hi there! thank you so much for your feedback. i didn’t really think of it from a business standpoint (ironic, right?) and you provided some really insightful knowledge. seriously, thank you so much - that really gave me a new outlook :slight_smile:

edit - my family can afford the private schools on my list