Chance me Darty ED & 14 other schools (yikes)!

PLEASE BE BRUTALLY HONEST, I really want feedback and my parents don’t know how to help ):

I posted on reddit so if u saw that, ignore this lol


  • New England
  • Semi-comptitive public high (around 8% accepted to Ivies yearly)
  • East Asian Female
  • Upper middle class

Intended Major(s) Environmental/Economics

GPA, Rank, and Test Scores

  • Unweighted HS GPA: 3.99/4.0
  • ACT Scores: 34; high stem, low english ):

*11 AP classes (relatively rigorous at my school), 5 exams, one 5 and four 4s


  • National Sustainability Award
  • National Earth Science Olympiad Finalist
  • National United Nations Award for Service
  • National Gold Community Service Award


  • Founded Agricultural Start-up; worked on for about two years
  • Environmental Engineering Research Assistant
  • Climate Analysis Research Intern; one year
  • Varsity Skiing; winter
  • Varsity Rowing; fall/spring
  • Community Service for Dana Farber Cancer Institute; raised like $30k
  • Interactive VR/AI design/programming project; millions of uses
  • Environmental Health initiative; raised like $10k and built protective equipment
  • Environmental Blog; blogged for a few years
  • Freelance web design; four years

Average/Good Common App and LORs; Great supps

Cost Constraints / Budget
did not apply for aid

ED Dartmouth - Env Sci major
EA UMich - Earth and Env Sci major
EA Colorado College - Env Sci
EA Colorado Boulder - Env Engineering
EA UNH - Env Economics
RD Harvard - Env Sci/Public Policy
RD Columbia - Sustainability
RD UPenn - Wharton Business/Env Sci
RD Cornell - CALS Env Sci
RD Amherst - Env Sci
RD Williams - Env Sci
RD Pomona - Env Sci
RD Tufts - Env Sci/Public Policy
RD Boston University - Env Policy
RD Northeastern - Env Studies/Economics


you’ll probably get rejected at harvard, columbia, pomona since your stats are kinda low

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I think you certainly have a chance. You have rigor. You have strong scores etc. great ECs.

Can you expand upon your agricultural start up. Accomplishments/duties. Is it still in existence ?

Your list is very reach heavy but you have safeties. If you can afford them and would be satisfied attending, then CU Boulder and UNH are your worst case.

What worries me is when you have a Dartmouth and Harvard/Columbia. Very different.

All are presumably cold weather/close to skiing but then you slip in Pomona etc. What factor did you use to construct the list ? Surprised not to see Middlebury on it given the major. Or Bowdoin.

I think you can get in anywhere. But you can also be rejected everywhere short of the two publics. I think Col College would be your next likely.

A lot will depend how you package yourself unique to each school. But perhaps that start up experience, if impactful, can make the difference.

If it were me, I might add a school or two a notch below. You’ve reached high and low in my opinion but not much in the middle. Like a William and Mary or U Miami although neither is in ski country (though neither is Pomona). Or on the LAC side a Carleton or easier to get into Macalester.

I bet it works out as is tho. But when you are applying to nearly all single digit (or under 20%) acceptance rates, I would be a bit cautious and hedge a little.

But if UNH and CU work for you (you’d be excited to attend), then you are good as is.


I don’t feel comfortable explaining more my activities but I see what you mean. Harvard for the sake of being Harvard and there’s a significant number of people from my school accepted there so I’m just taking a chance. Dartmouth and Columbia both have a unique focus on sustainability which is what I am interested in, but I totally get the big difference in environment/location.

You’re right about Pomona, I haven’t thought much about it but I may switch with Middlebury since it is so much closer to home, and the majors do align better.

I assumed BU and northeastern were my matches since the majority of people at my school and in my family goes there/went there (though idk if legacy counts at those schools). Thank you for your insight, it’s incredibly helpful!!

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Do you think I should still apply?

You say you go to a public HS - where 8% get accepted to the Ivies and many/most get into BU/Northeastern?

That seems odd for a public school - which I’ll assume since you listed UNH is in New Hampshire. That’s the portfolio of where grads go of a pretty decent private school.

Because you are applying RD to BU and NEU, I would say your odds of acceptance are not great. NEU accepts 20% but far more early so RD will be far lower… BU is also difficult RD - but you have a test score there which is average - except only 42% submitted test scores last year - so that will help you.

Good luck.

Only someone on CC would say this. A 3.99/34 is not “kinda low” by any measure. It is by definition very high. The question is, is it high enough for schools where the majority of applicants have high stats. The answer is…maybe. By the law of averages though you’ll likely be passed over. Many 4.0/36 students are. It’s not about GPA and test scores once you get into that realm.


Pomona tends to be recognized for its programs in both environmental studies and public policy:

For a northeastern alternative, look into Hamilton.

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My comment wasn’t related to the viability of Pomona. it was related to most schools are in ski areas and if not, like a Michigan are cold weather - and Pomona stood out as totally opposite.

I was asking the question of how the list was composed and why certain schools were chosen. In my mind, I also questioned Michigan…because I don’t think the OP would want to ski on a 50 foot vertical hill.

But I wasn’t questioning the viability of the school at all - just its place on this list.


For what its worth, Pomona is about 20 miles from Mount Baldy Ski Resort and about 65 miles from Snow Summit and Big Bear. Not sure if it still happens during Covid, but the school used to have an annual Ski-Beach Day where students ski in the morning and beach in the afternoon.


Your stats are of course excellent. I think that you are competitive anywhere. However, you do have a lot of reaches.

I think that your chances are very good at UNH and it is probably a safety if you are in-state. UC Boulder, BU, and NEU also seem very likely. One daughter got into all three with marginally lower stats and fewer APs. If you are comfortable with any of these schools then you are probably fine. UVM and U.Mass Amherst would be other possibilities (which I think would need to be RD at this point).

Most of the rest I would put as “reasonable reaches”. For the top schools such as Harvard you are competitive, but so are the vast majority (perhaps 80% or 85%) of their applicants and of course the acceptance rate is very low.

Naturally, a 3.99 GPA is truly excellent. But at the Ivy’s the original poster will be compared with plenty of applicants who scored 5s in every AP Exam, and have 36s in at least 2 ACT categories, at most one 35 - and there won’t even be a spot for 90% of those.

So for the “reaches” on the list, some stats really are “kinda low”. But overall, this looks like a great student who probably will be able to choose from a number of acceptances from the other half of colleges - and one can always catch a lucky break with the Ivys.

You can always see how the EA/EDs work out. But since I see Columbia College on your list, you could consider also applying at Columbia University’s Barnard College.

Barnard makes its own application decisions trying to identify exceptional young women, using different criteria than Columbia College. Courses, facilities and faculty are mostly shared between the different undergraduate colleges at Columbia University - and result in a Columbia U degree.

Just for clarity - you’re a US citizen?

Thanks for the list! I’ll look into Hamilton!

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Yes, does that make a difference?

For admissions, it absolutely does.

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You are certainly a competitive applicant at any school. But if you are applying to any school just because of it’s name your chances of getting in are slim to none. You need to demonstrate why the school is a fit for you and why you are a fit for the school.

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It isn’t the stats that keep a student with those qualifications out. Once they hit academically qualified, there’s a “good enough” level. It’s random intangibles that the school cares about that determine if students get admitted. Given the original list, I’d say nearly all are reaches, but that’s the case for anyone. They get too many fully qualified applicants to accommodate.

EDIT: I would add that the OP should not make the mistake of assuming volume will change the odds. They are independent, just like rolling a die always has 1:6 chance of a specific number no matter how many times it is thrown.


The above, at least with respect to ACT scores, does not appear to describe Dartmouth, which posts a middle-range ACT profile of 32–35 for attending students.