Chance Me Plz

I’m applying as a Junior transfer to a bunch of schools: Harvard, Princeton, Columbia College, UT Austin, UPenn, MIT, Stanford, Cornell, BU, BC, Notre Dame, NEU, NYU, and UF.

Current School: Lake-Sumter State College (Community College, was only realistic option at the time because of money + taking care of family)

High School: Bergen County Academies (Is considered a top high school in the country but idk if that matters)

Race: White (Child of immigrants but idk if that really helps)

Gender: Male

Home state: Florida

SAT/ACT: Not submitting except for MIT, which requires it (Taking on March 11th, predicting 1450+)

High School GPA: 3.1 (Will explain later)

Class rank (H.S.): n/a

College GPA: 3.81/4.00

High School ECs: DECA (competed nationally), President of Relay for Life Club, Captain of Cross Country Team Senior Year, National Spanish Honor Society, and a TON of part-time jobs (tutoring, landscaping, deckhand, cashier, tech repair, and maybe 3 others)

College ECs: Founder/President of Relay for Life Club, Phi Theta Kappa Member, Interned with Microsoft over the summer and won 2 awards in a hackathon competition to make a product and pitch to Microsoft Executives, a bunch of similar part-time jobs (tutoring, landscaping, deckhand, cashier, tech repair, etc.), created my own small tech repair shop on eBay, and joined a local company where I (basically) single-handedly brought them from brick-and-mortar to a complete digital storefront, making yearly revenue from when I started in 2020 from 200-250k to nearly $20 million as of December 2022.

Intended Major: Economics (With specialization in entrepreneurship if possible)

Academics: Made President’s List Fall 2022 and have all A’s this semester (will send Mid-Term Report)

Hooks: Throughout all of high school until today, both of my parents have been battling breast cancer and non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, forcing me to pick up a bunch of jobs to help pay bills, treatments, food, etc. Also was the primary caretaker of my parents from sophomore year of high school to about 9 months ago (

Potential Problems: In Spring 2022, I withdrew 4 classes because of rising medical bill costs for my parents treatments, forcing me to pick up more part-time jobs in the area, but idk if that would be a good reason to explain 4 withdrawals, which I’m pretty sure is a ton.

LOR: Teacher 1: 7/10; Teacher 2: 7/10; Microsoft Employee 1: 8/10; Microsoft Employee 2: 9/10; Employer at company: 15/10

Essays: I’m fairly confident in my essays, as I think I explained my growth from my current situation well so 8-9/10.

I wanted a chance me because idk if I’m coping too hard that I can get into these schools, even with a bunch of quality EC’s but not a quantity of them.

Thanks in advance!

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*Junior Transfer for Fall 2023

What does the transfer advisor at your community college think? Does this CC have any articulation agreements with four year colleges because those should be explored.

If you haven’t been working with the transfer advisor, I think you need to see them ASAP.

I think your list is a bit top heavy…but I’m not an adcom

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You will be competitive, but I agree the list is reachy. How about adding a more likely Florida 4 year school or two?

Are you applying for financial aid? What is your budget? Have you run the net price calculators for these schools (even though they are set up for incoming first years, they should be accurate at the meet full need schools on your list).

Your reason for the withdrawals is fine. I don’t think many of these schools will ask for your HS transcript, so no need to explain anything related to that gpa.

Your background doesn’t scream MIT to me, are you sure you want to spend time prepping for and taking the SAT? Seems there may be better things to be spending your time on. Just something to think about.

  1. Is UF a safety- for both admissions & affordability? if so, you are all set-

  2. Can you afford all of these schools? UT-A OOS seems unlikely for a start. Run the NPCs.

  3. Why do you think that your LoRs will only be average? To me that is the biggest red flag you have. The colleges you are aiming for will have only a tiny number of seats, and a lot of people who want them. The academic LoRs that will much, much more weight than the ones from people you have worked with: AOs are admitting students, not hiring business people, and they will read lots of LoRs that say the applicant is the kind of student that makes teaching worthwhile.

  4. The odds on getting offers from H,P,S,MIT, Columbia, UPenn & Cornell are so small that if you haven’t already applied, and you don’t qualify for no-fee applications I would say don’t waste your $$. (Yes, Cornell has a high transfer rate- but a huge % of that is transfers from NY state CCs, with whom they have articulation agreements.) Also, I am very surprised not to see Babson on your list- it’s been the top school for entrepreneurially focused student for years.

  5. Your challenges at home are not a ‘hook’- a ‘hook’ is something the college actively wants- a special talent, buckets of $$ to give them, fame, etc. You have extenuating circumstances which explain other facts of your application. Similarly, withdrawing because family circumstances required you to earn more money is an extenuating circumstance, and is wholly legit.


Agree with the assessment above. You need to cast a wider net and add some less selective colleges (unless you already gained admission to UF). Be sure to check affordability as well. You want to give yourself affordable options to choose from at the end of this process.

Also I would not bother to retake any standardized tests. The SAT/ACT are exams specifically meant for HS students so any score achieved after you have been in college will not be particularly meaningful.

Sounds like you have been wonderful to your parents. I wish you the best wherever you end up.


Thank you for responding!

  1. Yes UF is a safety and I’ve already been accepted into it. UCF also has an automatic acceptance thing through my CC that I’m into already plus both are affordable.

  2. The cost aspect of schools outside the ivys is something I haven’t looked into too much and I honestly don’t know how much need based aid those schools just below ivy level give.

  3. Compared to my one recommendation letter for the company I work with, I believed the teacher recs to be average but in a vacuum, they’re probably both 9/10s.

  4. I’m definitely going to look further in Babson and most likely apply there. As for the other HYPSM level schools, I know it’s a long shot but it’s something I personally just don’t want to regret never applying and knowing (a naive reason I guess but just something I’d want to know).

  5. I guess I misunderstood my “hook.” Would it be the business I was a part of then?

Do you think you must have a hook? The vast majority of college applicants are regular people without a special hook.

I don’t think it’s a “must-have” but is more so something I can center myself around to show what I’ve learned/done with it and how it has given me the abilities and skill set to further my education at School X.

Congrats on UF – it is a great (and affordable it sounds like) acceptance.

With that acceptance in hand, applying to top schools with the rest of your applications is just fine. Give the applications your all – but understand that they are reaches.

You sound like a wonderful person and a wonderful son. Wherever you end up I hope you take advantage of the opportunity and go on to do special things.


Thank you very much! It’s been a lot but hopefully this is the start of the things turning around


A hook is something that you are a part of, that the university needs or wants.

  • Underrepresented minority -African American, Hispanic, Native American and Pacific Islander.
  • Recruited Athletes and Olympians
  • Specialized talent- a special artist or musician nationally recognized for their talents: Oboist/Flautist, painter, dancer, etc.
  • Internationally regarded peacemaker=Malala, Greta, etc.
  • Child of a philanthropist known to give buildings or large amounts of money (Bill Gates and Steve Jobs kids)
    In other words, it’s something that you don’t initially have a lot of control over.

I also think your list is top heavy.

With those ivy schools, you have to hope that someone transfers out in order to get a seat. Those seats are limited.
I also think you are going to be surprised about how much it costs to attend these schools. Each school has a Net Price Calculator which you need to fill out to find out what your costs would be. Transfers typically don’t get much aid. Need based aid is given according to what they think you need. Not what you think you need. The colleges reserve their best funding for their freshman classes.
Good luck!


Thank you for responding!

This is the exact reason I posted, to gather more information from people that are more knowledgeable because I had no idea that transfers get less need based aid typically. Having everyone around you telling you you’re getting into all these schools is encouraging, though completely unrealistic so thank you for your perspective

You need to check EVERY college financial aid website yourself to find out their need based aid awarding policies. Some actually do meet full need for transfer students. Some don’t.

I think some of the very reachy schools on your list might meet full need for transfers…but they take very very few transfer students.

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YEAH! This is huge. UF is a very good university. CONGRATULATIONS!!!

When you are already in at two universities at this level, it makes sense that the entire rest of your list are all reaches. You can after all only attend one university at a time.

That being said, for now, “Harvard, Princeton, Columbia, UT Austin, UPenn, MIT, Stanford, Cornell” are all high reaches. I would be mildly surprised if you get into any of them. The other schools on your list are also reaches in my opinion.

I agree with this also. MIT is academically quite demanding, and I am not sure if I would want to step into it halfway through university. I would be tempted to just not bother applying at this time (graduate school, if it happens, is an entirely different issue).

To me this is about as good a reason as there is for having to withdraw from 4 classes (other than being sick yourself).

You did not ask about graduate school but I will add one more thing: Long ago I got a bachelor’s degree and worked for two years. Then I went to Stanford for my master’s. I loved it. The other students in the same program had come from a very, very wide range of undergraduate universities. It was tough to find two people who had gotten their bachelor’s at the same place. The one exception was a group from a pretty good public university that is ranked slightly lower than UF (and I think that this small group was mostly a coincidence). If you attend either UF or UCF to finish up your bachelor’s, then the possibility of sometime in the future attending a top ranked “famous” university for a master’s degree is still there.

And, you are already in at two very good universities.

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