Chance Me at T20s (Poly Sci and Math, ROTC Scholarship)


  • US Citizen
  • Rural Ohio
  • Small Private School
  • Male, White and Latino
  • Applying for ROTC and NROTC scholarships (schools are aware and I have already interviewed at several), legacy at WashU

Intended Major(s) Political Science and Math

GPA, Rank, and Test Scores

  • Unweighted HS GPA: 3.95
  • Weighted HS GPA (incl. weighting system): 4.35/5.0 (.33 weighting for honors and 0.67 for APs).
  • College GPA 4.0 (Dual Enrollment
  • Class Rank: 2/42
  • ACT/SAT Scores: 1560 (780M 780V)

APs: Calc BC, Physics C, French, Econ, Chemistry, English Lit, Computer Science A

DE: Financial and Managerial Accounting, American Gov, Intro to Psych, Bioethics, Linear Algebra, Calc III -Designed independent study class on political philosophy

Hardest possible schedule every year.

Awards Harvard Book Award, Eagle Scout, some regional awards from various orgs and major school awards

JSA: Was a national director last year and will possibly be again this year

National Director at another similar organization (withholding for identifying details)

Eagle Scout, Order of the Arrow Chapter Chief (300 people in chapter), member of the council board of directors where I planned some major events and led a program that got scholarships for Eagle Scouts at 15 local universities.

Spend 5 hours a week on a research project utilizing machine learning to identify markers of depression in social media posts.

Academic Challenge: Team Captain/President and won regional tournament (some awards)

Mock Trial: Team Captain, and ranked top 10 at states (some awards)

MUN: won a couple of gavel awards early in high school

4 Year Varsity XC and two-year team captain

Was a part of student council for two years but did a lot more organizing on my own. I led a fundraiser last year that raised $14,000 for a local food bank and created a mentorship program between our middle school and high school.

Going through EMT-B school right now

All Recs will be 9/10 or 10/10. Essays are 9/10.

Cost Constraints / Budget
Plan to have full-tuition ROTC or NROTC scholarship


  • Safety *
    OSU (In-state EA), University of Alabama (EA)
  • Likely (would be possible, but very unlikely or surprising, for it not to admit or be affordable)
    -University of Michigan (EA),UNC Chapel Hill (EA), William and Mary, Emory, Boston College
  • Match
    -Notre Dame, West Point, Naval Academy, Swarthmore, Tufts, WashU
  • Reach
    Harvard (REA), Yale, Stanford, Duke, Northwestern, Brown, UPenn

I’m not really one for chancing, but I’d say that your categories a little off. Most of your likely schools are more like matches or reaches–I’d say Michigan, William and Mary, and BC are matches, while UNC and Emory are reaches for everyone (esp UNC out of state). I can’t speak for the service academies, but the rest of your matches are also reaches for everyone. You have two good safeties, but your list is so so reach heavy, and it’ll take a ton of effort to apply to all 20 schools you currently have listed.

Congratulations on your achievements.

I can’t chance you but agree some of the schools are not categorized correctly. UMich OOS, UNC OOS, Emory and all the matches are reaches (generally schools with less than 20% acceptance rates are reaches for all and adding ROTC makes them even reachier).

With that said, I do think you will see some acceptances across this list of reach schools, with or without ROTC. BUT I count 18 applications (not counting OSU and Alabama). Everyone one of these apps will have supplemental essays. I encourage you to refine this list further because I don’t think you will be able to do an adequate job on 18 applications demonstrating fit for these schools (and remember, the schools are the only arbiters of fit).

Regarding WashU legacy, I don’t know whether there is a legacy bump in RD…that is something you need to find out.

I agree that OSU and Alabama are highly likelies as long as they are affordable. If you are happy attending one of those, you don’t need more matches.

What is your budget? Do you need ROTC for these schools to be affordable? Have you run the net price calculators on all these schools, and they look affordable (without ROTC)?


Congratulations on your achievements you have obviously worked very hard.

I don’t mean to kick the can and answer with a question but has your school previously sent kids to your reaches? Being 2 of 42 is great but can be interpreted in a number of ways. Given your circumstances I think your application will have to be contextualized versus your immediate peers and the broader applicant pool. Anything you can share?

How have kids “like” you done before or is this a road not previously travelled? Guidance counselor comments yet?

FYI service academy requires some forethought and specific prep. Choatiemom may be a resource.

Lastly how would you pay for the Ivies (ROTC ranks are very small)?

With regards to the categories that people have mentioned, I don’t care too much. I am perfectly comfortable attending one of my safety schools, the likely and match categories do not mean much to me tbh. I will likely not apply to many of the schools currently in the match and reach columns due to a lack of time and genuine interest. To respond to @Mwfan1921, ROTC should actually make some of the reach schools easier; the scholarship is separate from any individual school, and 1. Fills a demographic (ROTC is dying at many T20s) and 2. Signals to a school that I can pay full tuition. I don’t need ROTC for these schools to be affordable, however. I will only be applying for need-based aid at need-blind schools (just to see if they’re generous).

My school technically doesn’t rank, but we send 2-3 students to T10s every year. School is definitely known by elite universities and has excellent relationships with several on my list.

Yes, service academies do require quite a bit of forethought and specific prep. The reason I have so many reaches is that I have been told to expect a likely letter in the next month, and I am prepared and excited to have the opportunity to go. Realistically, I am expecting to make a choice between my instate, a service academy, or an HYS type on an ROTC scholarship, but I am comfortable with any outcome. Thank you all for your insightful advice.

You certainly have your act together. I am hardly qualified to chance you but if I could I would bet on you succeeding and getting into several top choices.

Hope it goes your way and I admire your willingness and desire to serve the country!!

Congrats on a fantastic background. You’ve opened yourself to great opportunities and you’ll make bank at Bama. So that’s smart in case you decide not to pursue ROTC.

No doubt you can get into any school on your list. And you’ve planned well.

As others have said, each match you’ve listed is a reach. But it’s ok because you have OSU and Bama. Chapel Hill OOS and Emory are also reaches. Make sure to apply at Oxford for Emory which will give you better odds. You do know Emorys ROTC is through Ga Tech so you might find that inconvenient.

I say stick with your plan. There’s tons of really smart kids at OSU and Bama so if that’s your downside, you’re still in great shape.

Yeah, Bama is a fantastic option because of the National Merit scholarship package plus their Blount and Randall programs. Honestly, that package will be hard to turn down even if there are acceptances from Ivys and the like. Thanks for the advice on Emory; I will keep all of that in mind.

You’d be a very strong applicant for WashU ED. The legacy benefit dwindles greatly during the RD round. Do you have a plan in case you get deferred from Harvard EA? Especially in the ED2 round?

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