Chance me - UMich, UChicago, Brown, Sarah Lawrence, Cornell, American, etc

Senior in high school CO 2022, first generation college student, lower middle class
US Citizen
Rural public high school
White female

Intended Major(s): Political science, history, pre-law, maybe even chemistry but not confident

Unweighted HS GPA: 3.9 (my school only does UW)
Class Rank: 4/23
ACT/SAT Scores: 1230 but applied test optional to all schools

AP Human Geography, AP Environmental Science, AP US Government, AP Lit, AP Chemistry, AP Statistics, Honors Chemistry, Honors Art, Honors English III

I took all available advanced & honors classes offered at my high school besides AP calculus

IB Middle Years Program Completion, History award (local), National Spanish Exam Premio Bronce, Highest Honors (all four years)

Class President 10th-12th
National Honor Society VP 11th-12th
National Art Honor Society 9th-12th, secretary in 11th and VP in 12th
Political Volunteer, writer, and Campaigner 10th-12th
4H Babysitting Club Teen Leader 9th-12th
Yearbook 11th-12th, editor 12th
Chess Club 11th-12th, president 12th
Barista 11th-12th
Sales associate @ candy store 9th-10th
Third parental figure/babysitter to my siblings 7th-12th

Very strong common app essay written about my father kicking me out due to political differences and how that made me more passionate about dedicating my life to politics and history. Supplemental essays were also very strong, reviewed by many.

Letters were written by my English teacher of three years, my science and math teacher of four years, and my art teacher/NHS/NAHS advisor

Schools I applied to
Safeties: Michigan State EA (admitted), Hendrix College EA (admitted), University of Vermont EA
Others: UMich EA, UChicago EA, Fordham EA, Sarah Lawrence EA, Smith RD, Harvard RD, Cornell RD, Smith RD, Yale RD, Columbia RD

My top choice school is University of Michigan and my guidance counselor is confident that I am going to get in but I’m not confident myself. UMich likes my school and typically lets in 6-7/40 applicants during a normal school year (my grade is the smallest in recent school history).

First gen will help - but I think Michigan is on the right side of 50/50 - maybe 60/40.

Fordham Yes.

Chicago - 1/3 chance.

Sarah Larence - Yes

Smith 75%

Harvard - 3%

Cornell - 15%

Yale 3%

Columbia 5%

GOod luck getting into UM but I forsee a bright future not matter where you end up.

Why Hendrix - just smaller (well except Sarah Lawrence) and different than others - but they should match Michigan tuition - it’s a strong school.

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Congratulations on your achievements.

No one here can chance you because we can’t see your full application…your essays, counselor letter, Letters of Rec, AP scores will all be part of the admissions decision. Anyone who gives you a percentage chance is just guessing with no data to support the estimate.

Does your HS use Naviance or Scoir? That, plus your HS GC will be able to best categorize your schools.

It sounds like you are not living with your father…what is your budget for college? Will your parents be filling out FAFSA and CSS Profile where required? Pay attention to those deadlines.


So what exactly are you saying? If the applicant were to apply 20 times to Columbia they would get in once? They need 19 other kids to have worse applications?

OP posters on CC are often well intentioned but provide a degree of specificity that implies false expertise. You are an impressive candidate!! You have seemingly identified a balanced (reach, safety and match) set of schools based on fit. I suspect this deliberate and thoughtful approach will be evident in your applications and bolster your chances.

I can’t handicap your odds at a specific school but am confident that you will have some acceptances and rejections but given your approach you will have choices from among schools at which you will thrive. Stay confident and strong!


Thank you for your reply! My school doesn’t use either of those things, so unfortunately I can’t use those to help me.

I am back to living with both of my parents and I am paying for college with my own money, receiving no financial support from my parents for both tuition and board. Most universities I applied to will cover at least my tuition (my family makes ~60,000 a year). We filled out both my fafsa and css profile and my EFC is 3300, but my pell grants cover most of that.


Thank you for your reply! I am anticipating some acceptances and quite a few rejections, but I suppose that’s what happens when you apply to so many reaches. I originally applied to only three schools, all of which were reaches for me so I’m glad that I ended up applying to many more.

Even if a school covers tuition, you will still have room and board to pay for four years, as well as other costs.

Have you run Michigan’s NPC? You should do so and tell us what they estimate for your COA: Net Price Calculator They do meet full need for Michigan residents. You should run the NPCs on your other schools too, but the ones that don’t meet full need, like Michigan State, Hendrix, and Vermont are unlikely to be affordable.

Your Pell grant should be around 3K with a $3.3K EFC. Then, you can take out the $5,500 Federal Direct Student Loan (any loans beyond that will be on your parents). Room and board costs will be at least $12K at many schools…so you have a gap of at least $7-$8K to pay, each year. How will you be able to pay that? You will also have additional costs beyond that, including books, incidentals, travel, and health insurance (if you aren’t covered by your parents’ health insurance).

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Let’s not derail OP’s thread. Bottom line assigning probabilities of acceptance is a fool’s errand with or without full information. And we clearly don’t have full information on any chance me posts…so garbage in, garbage out.

Let’s focus on helping OP find an affordable college option.


I am planning on continuing my job as a barista through my senior year and the summer before my freshman year in college then I will look for employment while enrolled as a freshman whether it be through a work-study program or other source. My number one hope is to get into a school that pays for my tuition or best case scenario both tuition and room and board.

For UMich I would plan on living off campus with my friend and partner as it’s most affordable for all of us, we’ve been doing a lot of research on apartments in the Ann Arbor region.

Thank you for your reply!

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Might I “suggest” users focus on the OP and not throw shade at each other. The posts I deleted have no place on this site.


First of all, you seem to be a very promising young woman, with the potential of receiving merit aid from some good colleges that always look for top students to further raise their own stats - in addition to qualifying for need-base aid.

As far as some of the elite schools - everyone applying will have comparable U/W grades, and of those >90% will not be admitted for no other reason than limited availability. So while it’s perfectly fine to “dream big” and throw your hat in the ring, you might want to seek out a few more schools that offer honors colleges, merit aid, etc.

If I may qualify a few things?

I understand that you’re applying test optional - but there is somewhat of a disconnect between your exceptional UW GPA, and the standardized test results?

What were your AP scores for those you took last year?

Did you mean “except for” AP Calc, or did you take all those “in addition to” to AP Calc?
I’m asking because I don’t see any math-level mentioned.

In reference to the SAT score, yes there is a major disconnect between my score and my gpa. I practiced for a very long time but it seems that standardized testing just really is not for me…

I only listed the APs and honors courses I’ve taken over my high school career, not the complete list of classes but I took math all four years of high school plus algebra one in 8th grade. My senior year math class is AP statistics.

Did you take any of the AP tests and if so, what were your scores?


Absolutely. That certainly does happen!
That’s why I asked about your AP scores (5s? 4s? 3s?) as a yet another measure vs. your school’s grading?

That’s implied.
I was trying to figure out whether you had taken AP Calc A/B or possibly B/C - or neither, as this could be one relevant factor for some elite colleges.

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What this generally means is that, for every 100 applicants who are similar to the OP in profile, there are roughly 5 places. It could be anywhere from 2 to 15, but based one what people have see from applicants who have been accepted, that is roughly the number

Whether the OP is one of those 5 depends on factors to which we are not privy, such as institutional priorities for this year (the hypothetical trombone player), who is reading the application, etc. The more applicants that a college is accepting who are of the applicant’s type, the more likely it is that the applicant will fulfill those unpredictable (but not random) factors.

Add to that the general unpredictability of what the applicant pool will look like.

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The OP is saying that most schools she is looking at meet 100% of need of the total COA. That includes room and board and other costs.

One detail that is confused in the OPs understanding - her Pell grant is already figured into the EFC number, so Pell will not cover the EFC. The EFC is after all aid packages s applied. So yes, she could take out a subsidized or unsubsidized student loans to cover that amount depending on how the different offers are developed, but many colleges still include the student loans in the aid package to get to the EFC.

Agreed…I was pointing out some of the schools on the list that don’t meet full need and asking how OP will afford those as she will have to pay at least room and board, and quite possibly some portion of tuition at those schools. The schools that don’t meet full need on OP’s list are Hendrix, MSU, UVM, Fordham, and Sarah Lawrence…so those schools are unlikely to be affordable. OP needs to run the NPCs at all schools on the list.


Agree, thanks for clarifying.

It is hard to compare financial aid when you actually have everything back. Speculation is a whole other level :slight_smile:

Pell is always applied on the financial aid side, not the EFC side unless merit and other aid stacked and covered a substantial part of the met COA. The OP was hoping to apply that to the EFC which is doubtful.

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