Chance Me - Princeton, Harvard, T20s

US Citizen, East coast
Public High School, slightly competitive

Intended major(s)
International relations/political science major, journalism at two schools (only schools that offered journalism, most colleges don’t offer it)

GPA, Rank, and Test Scores
UW GPA: 3.84
W GPA: 4.53 (for reference the valedictorian’s GPA is a 4.7)
Test optional

AP Seminar- 4
AP Lang- 4
AP Research- 5
AP World- 3
AP Physics (not submitting)

Freshman year got 3 Bs but have had all As since.

Mid year report: all As except one possible B+ in calc (worried about this b/c it is also not AP/honors calc my only non-AP/honors)

Senior APs:
AP Gov
AP Spanish
AP Lit

Published in major international newspaper, seal of biliteracy in spanish, National Spanish Exam gold (two years in a row), letter recognized by Library of Congress

Editor-in-Chief, Varsity Captain of debate, research done on state level (processed for publishing; not yet published), intern at accounting firm for two years, President of FBLA, Student Council Liaison, Islamic Relief volunteer for two years, Photography club officer,

Strong essays, very strong LORs, valid reason for test optional

Cost Constraints / Budget
No constraint. But low income.


  • Safety*: Rutgers EA (accepted- aiming for honors college), University of Maryland EA
  • Likely*: American RD
  • Match: Northeastern EA, NYU RD, Boston University RD, Williams RD
  • Reach: Princeton RD (first choice), Brown RD, Johns Hopkins RD, Carnegie Mellon RD, Harvard RD, Yale RD, Columbia RD, Vandy RD, Northwestern RD,

I think your matches are reaches and your reaches are what I call wildcards or high reaches.

1 Like

Congrats on your achievements.

First off, great to have the Rutgers acceptance…is Rutgers affordable?

These statements don’t mesh…what can your family pay for college, per year? Do you qualify for a Pell Grant? Have you run the net price calculators at each of these schools to get cost estimates?

I can’t chance you, but NEU, NYU, BU, Williams are reaches, not matches. All have sub 20% accpetance rates, so are a reach for all unhooked applicants.

Have you demonstrated interest at American? If not, you should engage as much as you can with them…do virtual admissions sessions/tours/panels, reach out to your AO with a question that can’t be answered online, open emails then send you and click on links.

Is this your full list of applications?

As your decisions arrive, these sites may help in selection:

So you have a solid record and got into Rutgers - and that’s awesome. I assume NJ or Maryland is your home state ? Are you a URM?- could be helpful at some.

I’m not sure how you can be low income but have no cost constraint - do you have some sort of scholarship that will cover four years of school. These are not cheap.

If you’re not from Maryland,I would move UMD to match,.

AU - likely - if you’ve demonstrated interest. Did you apply for the Frederick Douglas? You say you are low income - they are not a school for low income students - in general.

NEU a toss up - I’d say no to match but you never know - and no to reaches - but again, you never know. CMU is another pricey one, etc.

That you got into Rutgers - anything else is icing on the cake - and perhaps I’m wrong.

Good luck to you.

1 Like

If you’re low income, the private schools will possibly give you an affordable financial aid package. The trick is to get in. Most or, potentially all of them will end up being rejections. And the one you get an acceptance at…might or might not turn out to be affordable.

If you DON’T get into the private schools, you have the publics. Your in-state public would likely give enough financial aid to be affordable…but not always. The ones out of state won’t…not without a scholarship. At public universities, financial aid is for in-state residents only, and the tuition is triple for out of state. I see Rutgers and Maryland on the list. One of those are obviously out of state, so the out of state school should be scrapped from the list.

The list isn’t too bad. And private schools are actually a good choice for low income. I would cast a wider net for private schools. Focus more on the “matches” than the super elite schools. Those are always a bit of a gamble, but they payoff if you get the right financial aid package. You seem to have a good safety, assuming Rutgers is in-state for you. Just make sure you’ve filled out the FAFSA and you know it’s affordable.

1 Like

Closing as OP made updated post