Chance Me - Ivys/T20

Asian and Hispanic
Top 5 NJ private high school (not Lawrenceville)

Intended Major - Economics

GPA, Rank, and Test Scores
~3.8 UW (I don’t know weighted yet but probably 4.2-4.3 . Had a terrible freshmen year 3.3 UW, but have a super strong upward trend)

SAT: 1480
Physics 1 (1, am not reporting)
French (4)
English Lang (5)
US History (5)

Senior Courses (AP)
Art History
Calc BC

BSA (Eagle Scout and was my troop’s Senior Patrol Leader)
1st degree Taekwondo black belt
Cross Country all-years
DEEP (service project initiative to teach financial literacy and investing to kids in Paterson)
Summer finance externship at a major bank through my school
Forensics (extemp and public forum)
School’s leader for the Euro Challenge
Led a team in the Wharton Investment Competition
Leader my school’s investing and business & economics clubs

My essays and LORs are really good. My college guidance counselor really liked my essay on libertarianism/economics, even though he agrees writing an essay on politics is risky. It’s hard to explain, but my LORs are both 10/10, I know that almost as a fact.

Cost Constraints / Budget
None. Full tuition/cost at all schools.

Reaches: UPenn, Brown, Vanderbilt, Williams
Matches: USC, Boston College, UCLA, NYU, UVA, UNC, UC Berkeley, University of Florida, Wake Forest, Claremont McKenna
Safeties: UIUC, IU Bloomington, University of Minnesota

Are you a junior?

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Some of those matches belong in the reach category (for example, USC, UCLA, and UC Berkeley, possibly also NYU and UNC out of state can be tough, I think). Your list is therefore pretty top heavy, imo.


These analyses may help you refine your choices:

I’m not an adcom. But here is my opinion.

USC, BC, UCLA, UVA, UNC, Berkeley, Wake Forest and Claremont McKenna are not matches…they are reaches.

UVA and UNC have very low acceptance rates for OOS students. Both UCLA and Cal are very tough admits.

University of Florida has also become a lot more competitive for admissions.

What is your state of residence? Is your instate flagship one of the publics you have listed here? If not…why?


Would you be happy to attend one of your safeties? And are you looking for economics or for business? If the latter, than UIUC is not a safety, either.

I live in NJ.

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I’d be applying as an econ major at UIUC.


UF, UNC, UVA are not matches for anyone anymore. A 3.8 and a 1480 will not be super competitive OOS for UVA and UNC. UF doesn’t consider residency so that’s a maybe but still a reach. Wake Forest should be a reach too. Sounds like you need to add some more safeties as your list in very top heavy.


First off, you go to a top private school - so this is not really the best place to get the best answer. You know where is - your guidance counselor. They know where kids like you go.

Secondly, you’d have to figure out your weighted based on the school - most will use a +.5 for Honors and +1 for AP - but not all and again, at a private school, a regular class may be considered by schools as rigorous, etc.

Since you asked - on paper, I’d say - the Reaches are reaches. The matches - are different size/level schools than the reaches so I’d ask why?

The UCs are test blind so they won’t see your SAT - and your matches are reaches - except Florida. And maybe Wake. They are not assured - but your odds are good.

Agree with your three safeties. Well maybe two of them - some see UIUC as tougher - so maybe it’s a match. IU and UMN are great - but why them? Why not Rutgers or Ohio State or Tennessee or Alabama or Colorado or wherever? Why these publics?

Your list has warm schools, cold schools, big, medium, and small - other than names - what are you actually seeking? Have you been to these? Do you know much about them, etc.

What is the end goal? A job, grad school, etc? You don’t necessarily need a big name.

And there are different facets of econ - what do you want to study?

While you are full pay? With #s like yours, you don’t need to be. If your parents can pay $20K or $40K, would that matter to them vs. $80K+? Some can pay - but would prefer not to - so I would square that away with your family.


You have some chance because you said you are an urm. I am guessing you are from MKA. I am guessing Wake is a possibility if you ED into it. And maybe another of what you think of as a match. If you were not urm, it would be harder. As someone said, your GC is the best bet to give you guidance.

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Regarding size, tbh, I just really don’t care at all. I’ve visited the bigger city schools like UF, USC, UCLA, etc., and Williams, Brown, etc., and could see myself at any of them.

I choose IU and UMN because they have top-ranked/known econ programs and have pretty good recruiting, plus their acceptance rate of course.

I plan on getting a job in finance out of college, though their is a possibility I might do a grad program in Europe like my brother (who went to UConn).

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I’m a URM… in part, as I’m also Asian, Also, not from MKA (think Newark Academy, Delbarton, Rutgers Prep, Pingry).


We had kids that went to one of those schools recently. I think last year Wake took 6 kids. So I thought it is a possibility. Wake also places reasonably into Wall Street. Known to be a party school.

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Not sure Asian is URM. It might depend on where in Asia.

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No, I’m Hispanic AND Asian (Indian), hence why I said: “URM… in part.” Although it might not matter after this Summer.

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Regarding Williams as one of your reaches I would suggest either applying ED or substituting another school as an RD reach. This advice was offered by the guidance department at one of the NJ high schools you mentioned to top tier students.

In their experience Williams and other tippy top LACs typically take 1-3 students in the ED round (often athletes, legacy, etc) and are reluctant to offer RD slots. I personally know several students who applied to a reach list such as yours and gained admission to several Ivy plus schools in RD round but got wait listed or rejected from Amherst, Williams and Bowdoin. They clearly had the credentials (and in some cases on paper were stronger than the ED accepted students) but were denied in RD.

Those elite LACs want to be top choice and get their fill of top NJ prep kids in ED thus allowing them to avoid giving out scarce RD acceptances to kids likely to choose ivies.


If you believe you would like to work in finance, consider economics departments that offer courses in topics such as accounting, corporate finance, international finance, financial economics and financial econometrics. Significant math coursework through a mathematics department also would be advisable for this intended career.

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These so called Matches: USC, Boston College, UCLA, NYU, UVA, UNC, UC-Berkeley, Claremont-McKenna are all REACHES.
Wake Forest and U of Florida are borderline Reach/Match.

Thus, you have too many reaches, not a well balanced list, and need Matches/Targets.

(I’m a college counselor, btw)


What would you consider “matches” for me?