Chance me for HYPSM

US Citizen, Public High School, Asian Male; Junior, graduating early (June 2022)

Intended to Major in Math (minor: Computer Science, Economics)

Unweighted GPA 4; ACT 36; SAT 1560 (math 800)
~ 10 APs, almost all 5s
Completed 3 years of Calculus in college, including multivariable calculus & linear algebra

Qualified for USAJMO once, USAMO twice; consistently placed very high in contest math across the nation; Lots of experience teaching math camps. Several national awards. Decent ECs.

Good essays; reference letter strength unsure (waived right to view them; had mostly remote contact with teachers due to remote learning for 9-10th grades; currently in in-person school in 11th grade). The stem letters will likely be strong.

Upper middle class; will pay sticker price which will drain all of my parents’ savings and leave my younger sibling with little.

Applied EA to MIT, Caltech, UChicago, the results of which may influence where I’ll apply for RD. Had a fine interview with MIT. Applied to state public school as a financially sound alternative.

I would like to know my chances to HYPSM, which may still sway me vs. my state public school. I also really like CMU and WashU. However, since I’ll be paying sticker price that drains my family’s resources, it will be a tough choice no matter what.

You probably gave as good a chance as any, maybe higher at MIT and Caltech with the math experience. It’s still a long shot for anyone.

If the above is true though, why choose any of them. Your current success is very valid evidence of the likelihood of success in the future no matter where you go. There are lots of schools where you’d get a good education and job potential and lots of aid. Don’t put your family in distress.

That said, economics/CS from MIT is pretty powerful. You could pay them back a portion of it from your wages. That would leave you in a hole though. Good luck!


Nice to see another 2021-22applicant with a similar background.

Your chance at HYPSMC would be higher than the average applicant. I think you will get into at least one T20 university. Apply to EDII at WashU or CMU could be a good choice if you are happy to. Vanderbilt and Rice could go on to your list too.

Are you applying for any merit scholarships?

You have a really good chance at top schools but if your siblings are “left with little,” that would seem to be a problem. So your parents are willing to spend all their savings on you going to a “top” school?

Many state universities are excellent in the fields you want to study. You could do doctoral work that is fully funded, later on, at an elite school.


Seems to me you should only be applying to schools that offer merit…or your in state. You are draining finances and leaving little for the next siblings. That’s a lose lose. Your parents need to afford life. Your siblings will no doubt want a chance.

It may be too late for some but the WUSTL, Emory, Vandy, Duke and more do have merit opportunities. Or try a second level school that will love to have you like a Rochester, CWRU or Brandeis.

You could go to Arizona for near free tuition. Get in the Honors College. Miami of Ohio would be aggressive too. With your background, faculty may take you under their wing and as @eyemgh said, you will be successful because of you, not the school.

Finally, look at Washington and Lee Johnson Scholarship. It’s a great school and a total free ride. You have 10 more days I believe.

Crushing your family financially is never a good move. Who knows, you may become a multi millionaire or even billionaire. But even if so, you’d cause many years of strain on your family plus you will, depending on how far behind your siblings are, potentially severely limit their options.

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Thanks for your advice and suggestions. I cannot apply Early Decision to commit to an 80K/year education. My parents had HYPSM education/work experience themselves, which means they both value that experience AND do not think it’s indispensable. My state school has an honor’s program that routinely sends people to HYPSM for graduate/professional schools. Thanks for all the suggestions about merit scholarship. I’ll look into these for the RD applications.


Have you considered international options at all? You’d be a strong candidate for Oxford/Cambridge, although I know you’re young and going that far might not be desirable. On this continent, U of Waterloo in Canada is a tippy-top Math/CS school that recruits top performers in math contests. These options would all cost more than your state flagship, but less than full-pay at an HYPSM-type school.

Your state flagship w/ honors college is a good option. Tough to pass up the super-elites, but it sounds like you have good perspective on how that may not be worth the financial strain.


At our state university, you would probably get a full ride for merit.

Oxbridge would have been an interesting option for the OP, but applications closed 15 Oct. imperial is still an option. Three years @~50k, so a meaningful savings ove 4 years @ ~75k

Did I miss something? Are you applying to any of HYPS?

Have you run the calculators at HYPSM to ascertain that your family does not quality for any FA? The upper “limit” in parental income to qualify for FA parental income with one student at P is around $180,000? Families with multiple students are (have) qualified for FA with income of around $250,000. I think that you are a competitive candidate at any college, and among those on your list, especially, CMU and WashU. Your score and GPA stats are great, and if you can make yourself outstanding with your essays, I’d say a higher than the published admit chance at P. Your “Lots of experience teaching math camps”, might be useful to demonstrate (prove) your commitment to serve others.

My teacher suggested Oxford to me earlier this year, but I am not ready to move to another country yet, especially with international travel restrictions/uncertainties these days. I have not yet applied to HYPS; I’m waiting to hear from the EA schools and my state University to make an informed decision. I did apply to CMU and WashU RD - it’s hard to resist these two given their connection to chess, which I love. With regard to financial aid, I submitted the necessary documents to MIT, so I’ll find out if there will be anything. Thank you all for your helpful ideas. I appreciate your input!

You sound like a stellar candidate with a better than usual chance at HYPSM. If you do not qualify for any aid at these, however, they may not be realistic options. In good conscience I can’t suggest that someone drain their parents finances for any college - not would it be fair to a younger sibling to leave them with little for school. Have you looked into Purdue - their cost is quite a bit lower than HYPSM and they have a strong STEM programs (I can’t speak to math, specifically).

You are an impressive candidate. Your chances are well above the typical admit rate on all of the top schools, but nothing is guaranteed ! You should hopefully get into at least one of your top choices, maybe more. Spend a lot of time on the application essays, and best of luck!

Agreed on how qualified,.thoughtful and brilliant you are as a candidate. The only question I had is if only having 3 years of certain subject areas - foreign language, social studies, etc - could impact your outcome. Have you figured out a way around that? @Mwfan1921 , any thoughts?

Generally I’m not a fan of students graduating early, and am not sure what is driving OP’s decision. With that said, the schools on OP’s list are used to seeing pointy candidates, some of whom graduate HS in three years (or less).

It seems OP’s bigger issue is financial, and I don’t understand what their budget is, nor if the parents will even fund an $80K school at full pay.

I agree with other posters who have suggested merit hunting, limiting debt and not putting OP’s parental retirement in jeopardy, and also leaving funds for the younger sibling. It would be helpful if OP ran the NPCs of the schools on the list and let us know those estimates, and what their budget is.


Go to your local community college. Crush it there for 1-2 years and then transfer. You’ll have an excellent shot at the T20 schools. Don’t put your parents finances in the hole.

Another option: have you considered the military? ROTC would cover your college expenses in return for a service commitment. It can be a great option for some students.

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