Chance me for Dartmouth ED

…and this is fine. Many people on this site will attack you for expressing interest in both a small, rural college and a large university in an urban area. For some reason, they can’t comprehend that many high school students could succeed in both. I am sure you would do very well in either situation. Apply wherever you like and don’t let others discourage you.


No one attacks. People suggest one narrows in. Sure it’s possible but if someone really has preference, they might not be comfortable. We applied and were accepted to Miami of Ohio. The minute we got there, beautiful campus and all, my daughter eliminated it. Just not enough around for her.

Elon, she planned to apply to but same thing. GW - no campus. She wanted urban but it was too urban.

You are right some could prosper in all. But many have a comfort level whether it’s size, weather (Hanover NH is a bit harsh), Greek, sports, ruralness, access to city or airport or otherwise.

Many have not even thought about these factors. They’ve thought about rank or brand name or otherwise.

So someone questioning whether an OP has a preference or realizes an extreme at one place or another - there’s nothing wrong with that.

In the end people are here to guide with the best of their knowledge. You have a different opinion. That’s valued too. But no reason to bash others in the meantime.

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First of all, nobody is attacking the OP for being interested in small/rural and large/urban.
Second, OP’s issue is NOT a personal preference, chocolate vs. vanilla question- the OP’s issue is finding a college which the family can afford (a completely different conundrum than what you are implying).

OP can apply anywhere in the world. But the posters here have tried to be helpful because focusing on a 1-2% probability college vs. finding a place where the stats put OP at the top AND will get enough $ to attend seems like a giant waste of time. Sure, apply to Dartmouth. And then find 10 other schools which are likely admits and get the price tag to where it needs to be. Apply to 45 plus schools??? That’s a recipe for doing a poor job on the 44 colleges where OP could likely get enough money to make studying in the US feasible…

So Fladadk4q- go ahead and be loving and encouraging. But perhaps a dose of reality in that love might be more helpful. Some of the schools on the OP’s list admit a small number of international students per year, most of whom are full pay. Period full stop. It’s not helpful to ANYONE to pretend otherwise. And some of those are legacies- again, not helpful to pretend otherwise.

I’d be dancing for the Bolshoi if just wanting something really really really badly was enough to gain admittance to a highly selective institution which gets its pick of the cream of the crop.

Here is what was told to the OP:

"Your list of schools is quite random ranging from smaller LACs in rural locations to larger universities in cities.

How will you write the “why this college” for schools with such diverse characteristics. Who helped you craft this list, and what criteria were used?"

You went off on all kinds of tangents but my response was partially to the vocal segment of this board that believes no student could possibly be happy at both Dartmouth and Columbia. It was mostly to the OP, and other high school students, who want to apply to schools with different characteristics.

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If you are citing an “attack”, boy, it’s a mild one. “Quite random” ? That’s not even vaguely hostile!

Although there are many different characteristics (Dartmouth v. Columbia, Cornell v. Caltech, or pick your own pair) all of these schools have a few things in common. The two obvious ones are that they are statistically difficult to get admitted to, AND are extremely expensive. Any adult who doesn’t help kids understand either of these factors is really misrepresenting the current state of play. No, I’m not attacking you- but this is the reality check that most kids that do “chance me” threads desperately need and aren’t getting in real life.

There have been countless threads by International students who read “need blind meets full need” on their favorite college and assume that means it’s a cakewalk. There have been dozens and dozens of threads by kids who assume that they’ll get to college, get a part-time job making $50/hour coding, and pay their tuition that way. And the saddest- the kids who have been promised a lucrative job “under the table” to help make ends meet once they get here. Hey kid- wanna get your visa revoked? Work a job “under the table” and wait for DHS to find you.

If you find the vocal segment upsetting, ignore them. But add your own dose of reality to the dialogue- reality- a 70K per year college for a kid whose family can pay less than a third of that-- is going to be challenging. And falling in love with ONE college- ED- and doing a half-hearted job on another 30+ applications, is not the way to approach that challenge.


Not arguing your point on the capacity for a kid to thrive in diverse environments because I agree it depends on the kid. I would however suggest that sort of “diversity” of schools becomes more problematic when the intention is to submit 40 applications to a largely elite cohort of schools that require multiple supplemental essays and in order to be competitive need the applicant to present as authentic and detailed.

OP should be aware of the time challenges they will face and the need for quality over quantity.

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I’m really hoping the 2 users in posts 41, 43-45 above are done debating each other.

For future reference, the correct course of action if someone attacks an OP would be to flag it for a moderator to review. But in this case, please don’t, because the moderator does not view it as an attack.

Completely agree with @1oneofeach. I have a friend in admissions at the local UC, and she would describe this kind of activity as an “embellishment” of time. Either, you never went to classes and spent all of your time doing these EC’s, or you started these activities as a young child.

Plus, they would wonder why you have such significant migraines that they significantly impacted your grades, and yet those migraines did not impact those extracurricular activities. If I wondered that, then you can bet an experienced admissions counselor is going to look at it and wonder how much is true and how much is not.

Please give the admissions committees some credit. Don’t BS.
These are smart people who also went through high school and college. They know what it takes to be involved in organizations and athletics. They know that students do need to sleep and eat.

Take the experience of what everyone here is telling you and actually consider it.

Forty applications is not the way to do it.

You need a lot of money if you want to attend school in the United States.

You need to streamline your application.

You’re going to need letters of recommendation from your teachers who can attest to all of the activities that you’ve listed.

You need great grades. Not above “average grades”, but great grades if you want someone to pay for your education.

You need a great essay that describes who you are.

You need to be realistic about your chances when you apply. Applying to 40 universities, which are all completely different universities, isn’t a game. Throwing the spaghetti on the wall and seeing what sticks isn’t the way to do this.

No two universities are the same in the US.
Let me repeat that, no two universities are the same in the US.

There are regional differences, cultural differences, food differences, geographical and topographical differences. I haven’t even mentioned the weather. It does affect people. I personally couldn’t live in Seattle because of the constant rain and the clouds. It does affect your mood.

Our eldest went clear across the country, to upstate New York, for school from sunny Southern California. She was aware that she would get intense cold weather. What she didn’t expect was her daily awareness of the region.

She was used to having a fresh salad every day in Southern California. She was unprepared to have frozen vegetables as part of her diet because fresh salads just weren’t available in fall, winter and early spring, at her school, nor at any local restaurants. When I visited her, and I asked for a salad at a restaurant, they looked at me and said “you want a salad???” When I got was chopped iceberg lettuce strips with mayonnaise on top. She missed the freshness of local fruits and vegetables. She had to get used to that for four years.

Afterward, she just came back home to sunny Southern California.

You can’t do that. After fours years, you need to return to your country after receiving your diploma. The American universities will educate you but they won’t immigrate you, which is what a lot of international students don’t understand. Getting into a US university does not mean that you now have a golden ticket to permanent residency. It means that you get an education. And that’s it.

It is vastly different, hard, and very, very expensive. That’s what people are trying to tell you here.

Oh, and this little insult to every American kid:
“getting a 4.0 uw is easier in america so even my high A-s count as a 4 according to most sources, my overall should be a 4.0.”

Are you really that arrogant to believe that every American kid is on a different playing field for admission? They all take the SATs. My kids did not find getting a 4.0 all easy. No they didn’t have severe migraines, but they did have severe asthma, one had kidney problems and had to be bagged once a month at the hospital, one had frequent dehydration from the meds she took, yet they all still made top grades and test scores.

My kids always carried either a laptop, or a book, with them, at all times, during every family function, event, and extracurricular activity, just to use their time to study. They, however, had something that you don’t: they gained admittance into the top 20’s.

If that attitude continues, you’re gonna find yourself one lonely kid, with poor grades. (The college profs often give group assignments for course grades. If you can’t find people, within the class, who want to work with you, you’ll be out of luck.)


I will take a little different stance here. I actually think you have a decent shot at Dartmouth.

If this is a real EC and the founders are willing to vouch for you through a peer/additional recommendation then IMO it will make a difference.

Your ECs are all over the place and one might think that most of them are fillers/not serious. I would pare these down and put them in buckets.

There are a few college consulting “outfits” that specialize in making students like you look more human. I would do some research and find funds to help them help you.

Also, Dartmouth’s psych department had a pretty damning scandal not too long ago. They will be thrilled to attract good students into the program.

Good luck and stay humble.

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Thank you so much for taking out the time to write out a reply.

To address some of the things you’ve pointed, the majority of the places I’m applying to have no supplementals; I’m fairly confident in my ability to write out supplementals for 18ish universities because I have a lot of backlog from shotgunning successfully to multiple summer programs and formats I’m using but if that feels like too much I’m perfectly open to editing my list.

As for the embellishment part you’re right, this is a draft of what my ECs look like ideally by the end of this year so some of the details are inflated but the vast majority of them are done and true and I wouldn’t have posted them to chanceme had I known I’d receive genuine advice from so many people and would not be able to edit my post whatsoever.

But as for this part:

Oh, and this little insult to every American kid:
“getting a 4.0 uw is easier in america so even my high A-s count as a 4 according to most sources, my overall should be a 4.0.”

Are you really that arrogant to believe that every American kid is on a different playing field for admission?

I’m not sure why you picked this when I’ve provided no context for how my school operates or what I meant by a 4.0 in my system’s language but what I meant to say was that my school unusually deflates grades; the average american high school relatively inflates them. The deflation will very likely be a part of my counselor’s statement, and is the reason I’m comfortably in the top 3ish% my freshmen year for example (competitive HS), when an aggregate of 90 is NOT a 4.0. I was referring to the technicality that a 4.0 uw refers to straight As. No part of what I said was a comment on american high school rigour or how easy your kids found school. I have severe asthma with a history or hospitalization too, I don’t find school extremely easy.

They, however, had something that you don’t: they gained admittance into the top 20’s.

If that attitude continues, you’re gonna find yourself one lonely kid, with poor grades.

I’m happy for your kids but I’m not sure this was warranted.

FWIW at many US high schools a 90 average would equate to an A- or a 3.67 UW GPA. Also not all US high schools weight GPA.

Admissions officers umderstand different grading systems and look at each transcript in the appropriate context.


I have been reading very similar posts from international students, who really do not understand how America works.
Let me give you a small anecdote, so you understand what you are facing. One private NYC school sent 50 kids to Ivy and 80 kids to T20 for this year. One school. The kicker? This NYC school isn’t in the top 10 of private hs.

So, when you say US grade deflation compared to your country’s grades, this, that, or whatever, I say proof is in the pudding. Good luck.

You have three requirements to meet:

  1. You need to sound authentic regarding your ECs – have someone in authority vouch for each of them
  2. You need to fold the ECs into a coherent narrative
  3. You need to show credibly that the 12th grade dip in grades is due to genuine extenuating circumstances that have since abated.

Academics are primary.
ECs are secondary, unless you have done some earth shattering thing.