Chance me: T20 Asian Male 2024 - Econ and Math

No, you have plenty of great ECs. It means - so do thousands of other applicants to these low acceptance rate schools.

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Basically it’s a crap shoot. You are an excellent student, have great everything but so do a lot of other kids and nobody knows what the AO’s are looking for in a particular class under the “holistic admissions process”.

Your odds are better than Luke Sywalker’s Death Star run, but not by much.

May the Force be with you.

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I don’t think OP is the average excellent student. With that said Chicago is a reach even in ED. @hebegebe?

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In this case, the selection criteria for colleges tips toward those that are favored in recruiting by the employers you seek. However, these are generally reaches, as is getting into quantitative finance in general. What other plans do you have if you are unable to get into quantitative finance?

For preparing for math PhD study, the selection criteria tips toward how well regarded the math department is among math departments with PhD programs. Since you are also very advanced in math, it is likely that you would take graduate level math courses as an undergraduate, so check the offerings of those in additional to breadth and depth of upper level undergraduate math courses. Research as an undergraduate obviously helps.

For preparing for economics PhD study, the selection criteria tips toward economics departments with greater math and statistics emphasis in their economics courses, plus available upper level math and statistics courses like real analysis, probability theory, and upper level linear algebra. Research as an undergraduate obviously helps.

Nothing appears to be lacking in your application. You have an impressive background and should be a competitive applicant for any university. The issue is that there are more very well qualified applicants than there are spots available at the elite colleges. Unless you have a hook at a particular college (ex. recruited athlete, child of a huge donor etc.) all hyper-competitive colleges should be considered to be a reach for admissions.


Given that OP is in-state for Michigan and has that as a justifiable match, I don’t think it’s a problem to stretch a bit for ED, and UChicago is a reasonable stretch. The AIME scores won’t move the needle for UChicago, and the admission decision will be made based upon the rest of the application.

@HaknirDeathbrand, I think people in Michigan don’t realize how good they have it. The University of Michigan is one of the world’s great public universities. IMO it is the best public university in the USA after considering the combination of academics, school spirit, and the great college town of Ann Arbor.


“I’d love to go to U Chicago or any school better than it.”

I don’t even know what that means.

I was trying to say that even though umich is probably my best bet, I don’t want to stay in this town seeing the same people from high school for another 4 years. Literally half of my high school goes to umich :skull:

you have a 36 ACT and have taken College level classes already (O chem, Calc III). frankly you are pretty intimidating. I would not be concerned- you will get into plenty of top 20 schools (none, however, being worth spending the $ for full tuition when you are in state for UM).


If you’re looking for additional schools where you’d be extremely likely to be accepted (in case Michigan State gets the other half of your high school’s seniors), these are a couple of schools you might want to consider:

  • CUNY (Baruch, City College, or Hunter)…in combination with the Macaulay Honors College, the latter of which is not extremely likely, but definitely a possibility
  • DePaul (IL)
  • Fordham (NY)
  • Loyola Chicago (IL)
  • Southern Methodist (TX)

If this is helpful, your stats are similar to my sons who got accepted into UChicago this year. Your essays will be the differentiator, so make sure you spend some time on them.

If you do get into UChicago, you may look to see if you can take some Booth courses in Analytic Finance. That’s where most of the heavy analytic courses are, including Fama.

Good luck.

Just out of curiosity, what EC’s did he have?

The University of Michigan is a very good university. I have known multiple U.Michigan graduates and have been very impressed.

When I was a graduate student at Stanford, my girlfriend (also a graduate student) was a very recent Michigan graduate (I am pretty sure that she went straight from Michigan graduating in May to Stanford in September). She used to occasionally mumble that the teaching at Michigan was just as strong or better compared to Stanford. I will admit that she mostly said this during one particular class, which was the only class that I took at Stanford that had a disappointing teacher.

One of the very best and probably the most successful software engineer that I have worked with is also a Michigan graduate. He is very impressive, and a very nice guy.

Given 48,000 students at Michigan, I do not think that you will be running into your high school classmates unless you make an effort to find them.

You have a very strong application and I think that your chances for admissions to a top school are certainly realistic. You should keep in mind however that at the top ranked schools (Harvard, Stanford, MIT level) perhaps 80% or 85% of their applicants are also very strong, so admissions is hard to predict at the top ranked universities.

If you get into Michigan, given how strong it is and given the difference in cost, it makes sense to me that in addition to true safeties (such as Michigan State University) your other applications might mostly go to top universities on the Chicago, Stanford, Harvard, Princeton level. Have you thought about Liberal Arts Colleges? Something like Amherst College, Williams College, or Bowdoin College might be worth considering. Also, knowing which of these schools are a good fit for you and why might be helpful both in applying to the schools you will like best, and improving your chances of admissions. As such it is a good idea to think about what you want in a university.

One friend of a daughter went to the University of Chicago. His stats were similar to yours. He said that it was a lot of work. However, he was ready for it and it looks from your stats that you most likely are also.

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The AIME scores were…quite mediocre.

Just normal EC - Science Olympiad, Debate, Robotics, NHS. Some with leadership positions. Nothing on a national level. He did found a club on the side.

I agree with others that I’m sure there were many applicants with similar qualities. I think his essays were the differentiator. He very much tailored it to the themes of UChicago.

Look at their current advertising for prospective students and you’ll see what they are trying to stress, and you can overlay your stories with them.


Would my national awards help out with differentiation? (Deca,USNCO etc)

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It is a huge school! You wont be repeating high school there, socially.

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You seem to keep looking for an assurance that your accomplishments will guarantee you a spot at a hyper-competitive college. While you are a very strong candidate for top schools, no reasonable person can guarantee you will gain admission.

Focus on things in your control. I suggest that if you have a top choice school where ED is available (and cost is not an issue) then use that option. Work hard on your essays and get the best LORs you can.


I’m not sure what those mean, so I would not be the best person to ask. Perhaps someone else knows.

My son participated in things he enjoyed.

I honestly do not think that any of us can tell you. For those of us who did attend top universities (MIT, Harvard, Stanford, Chicago, …) I do not think that we can quite tell you how we got in either. We can guess, but it is only a guess. Perhaps stats similar to yours were part of what got us in, but it was not all.

I personally quite like the approach recommended in the “applying sideways” blog on the MIT admissions web site (a quick Google search should find it, let me know if this fails). The point is that you should do what is right for you, and do it very well. Then have faith. If MIT or some other highly ranked university is the right school for you, then this is likely to improve your chances to get accepted.

However, you also need to apply to safeties, and you should also keep in mind that the University of Michigan is a very, very good university. The average student at U of M will not be quite as strong as the average student at MIT. However, the top 10% of the students at U of M will be every bit as strong as students at MIT. Also, the top 10% of students at U of M is more than 3,000 undergraduate students, so they will be nearly as numerous as the undergraduates at MIT (more numerous if you count the top 15%).

What is under your control is to keep doing well in your classes, apply to universities that are a good fit for you, keep doing the ECs that make sense for you, treat people fairly, and keep the faith. The superb results that you have accomplished up to now are setting you up to continue to do well in the future. This is going to work out. We just cannot tell you whether it will work out with four years at Chicago, Stanford, Columbia, Michigan, Michigan State, or somewhere else.