Chance Me: Will I get in to MIT, Princeton, Northeastern, or BU?

If your school has Naviance, take a look at where your son falls in the scattergrams for BU and Northeastern. That, coupled with a conversation with the college counselor, will help determine if those are matches or near-safeties (many people say that BU is not a safety, but I believe your school data will be much more revealing).

On the other hand MIT and Princeton could be tough. Your son is qualified, but so are most of their applicants and I don’t see a “wow” activity to separate him from the pack. Absolutely apply though.


I’d be surprised if he doesn’t get into Northeastern and BU (assuming he isn’t applying for a niche program and doesn’t BS his essays). I wouldn’t go as far as to call them safeties, however. Those schools are probably matches.

MIT and Princeton are reaches, as you ought to expect, based on the information given.


Did he change schools midway through? most of his ECs are only 2 years- and the one that is 4 years is vague (SGA).

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Have you run the NPCs of each school to get cost estimates? Does he have at least one affordable safety?


For MIT and Princeton the obvious answer is that he is competitive, but so are 80% or 85% of the other applicants. I would say reasonable reaches.

For Northeastern and BU I would think that his chances of acceptance are very good. The obvious question is whether they will be affordable, and whether they will be worth the additional cost compared to Rutgers.

I do not know what SGA is.


SGA means student government association.

Thank you for all of the helpful replies so far :slight_smile:

I think Northeastern and BU will be fairly easy admits, but they are not safeties. Without more context about the extent of the ECs, and going from what’s written here, I don’t see Princeton or MIT happening. Nothing is standing out. The stats are fine, but as we all know, stats don’t get people in. Essays will probably be critically important and it isn’t about good writing as much as it is about demonstrating fit.

Liza, here is a helpful link for your student: Supplemental essay tips (plus the COVID question on the CA)


I am quite sure that he will get into BU and Northeastern, but he still needs a safety, so you’d better add Rutgers to the list. Can you afford to pay 75K/yr for 4 yrs? Would he be eligible for financial aid? If not, he is well-positioned for merit scholarships at less competitive schools, so you might want to work that angle, too.

Since he seems to like Boston, has he considered Tufts? He is most definitely qualified, but unless he shows a lot of “interest” in the school, they might reject him because they think he’ll wind up going someplace else. I saw this happen this year to a top student in my kid’s school, who did wind up getting into Princeton. You should have a talk with your son about the necessity of showing great “interest” in each and every school that he applies to. He doesn’t have to lie, just has to give each and every school the impression that he is very interested in going there, more interested in going there than to any other school in the universe. It’s aggravating that they have to play this game, but since the colleges are, the students have to, too.

He most definitely has the stats to get into T20 schools. But he doesn’t have an extracurricular that really stands out from the pack. It is not too late to do this! He could possibly do something this summer that would show great drive, creativity, and leadership. This might not help with MIT, but could help with other T20 schools. For MIT, he’d need to do some type of engineering project or research this summer that would be really impressive, and I just think it’s probably too last minute to arrange that, although if the summer project generates some form of recognition by late 2021, it will still help with regular decision applications.

During the pandemic, the extracurricular/charity flavor of the year was doing something over the internet that reached out to and helped people despite the lockdown restrictions. This summer, I think that activity could be helping disadvantaged kids, in-person, to catch up on their essentially missed year of schooling. If you live in NJ, you cannot be far from a disadvantaged area. He might want to look into recruiting a group of friends to run a tutoring program for disadvantaged kids. They might be able to piggy-back onto some summer youth program, like the Boys and Girls clubs, YMCA, town day camps, or church day camps, offering the kids a half hour of tutoring during the day, in small groups, running throughout the day. With help, the kids might get a lot of catching up done on essential math and reading skills, and if your son can recruit other good students to join him in this, he would have a fantastic extracurricular that is timely and relevant, that shows innovation, drive, leadership, and community involvement. This is just one idea, but I hope it makes your son realize that it is not too late to add in a significant and worthwhile EC this summer that will help his application. My son began his pandemic service EC in September, put it on his successful early action Ivy application for November. I doubt it hurt, probably helped.


BTW, on the essay topic issue, since the moderator has closed your other thread:

After a couple of my son’s essay attempts that didn’t quite get it right, my husband, who has taught writing and knows how to get students to think about good writing topics, asked my son to think about the things that he loves doing. Son came up with several things that he’s really loved doing. Playing ping pong with his father and older brother, while growing up (his beloved big brother left home when son was only nine, and it really was very hard on son). This was really about the guys having fun teasing each other as they played. Playing music, his passion since he was nine. Discovering his budding passion for biological science and clinical psychology, which will probably become his life’s work. He managed to weave these three things together into a pretty good essay, that showed a lot about him - how important his family was to him, how much drive and determination and daily hard work over some eight years had gone into his music, and a glimpse of his growing interest in his future life’s work. It was all triggered by my husband’s asking him to think about the things that he loves doing, the things that make him really happy. This got his creative juices flowing, and led to the essay.


With those stats, he has an excellent chance at both Northeastern and BU, but keep in mind that practically all schools are concerned about yield. I am not the expert on how to convince schools they aren’t safeties, but others here can certainly help.

Unfortunately, I think he would have a very low chance of getting into Princeton or MIT, although higher than the overall admit rate (<5% for each I believe now). The problem is simply his demographic, white or Asian male, unhooked, with presumably a STEM focus. There are just not that many spots open to this demographic relative to the number of attractive applicants. With all the social engineering and other institutional priorities inherent in the admissions processes at these two schools in particular, I just do not see anything in the academics or ECs that is going to stand out enough. At least as you have presented them.

If you are full pay and there are other T20 universities that could appeal, I would encourage you to think in terms of making a binding ED application to the best-fit one. Your son’s academic record is superb, and combined with full-pay can be very attractive to many T20s or just below that in selectivity.

Good luck!


The one thing I would say you need him to work on is creating that “who am I” statement. What is it that makes him unique and them make sure that is woven into both his extra curricular activities and his essay. Whatever that passion is, it should show that it is something he is dedicated to and something that gives back to the community with.

"Bobby loves photography, his focus is capturing the everyday people who contribute everyday to our town, His work was excited in the local library for a Labor Day celebration and he won the Ansel Adams award for his portion of a small town. He also runs a weekend photography class at the local youth center "

The things like Organized Cancer Run are great assuming this is an event he started and ran, not something like “coordinated a team for the annual light the night walk”. (Not that that’s not important but wouldn’t stand out as a WOW).

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He is academically very well rounded. Columbia admissions likes that.


Why thank you, I am very proud of my son. Why do you think Columbia specifically would be a good choice? Are you biased?

It is very well rounded as a university ( college); outstanding courses available with a wide selection; excellent opportunities. the ‘Core’ is outstanding and provides students with academic skills in small classes which last a lifetime.

Biased ? No need to be. Just look up the webpage on the college and see its commitment to academics and to internship offerings. The careful details on the college’s web pages speak for themselves. You child is clearly a very academic and outstanding student with a wide range of excellence in studies. That seems parallel to what Columbia offers.

Compare its webapges with hose elsewhere and you can decide based on what you read.

If by ‘biased’ you mean ‘do you have a personal interest?’, based on other posts @Pandaboy1 seems to be a very proud Columbia alum.

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Do you have a source for this statement, that Columbia admissions like well rounded applicants? Saying this is not the same as saying that Columbia is a well rounded university, which you say below.

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Just read the college web pages on its academic philosophy, course programs, opportunities, connections to internships. That is almost all you need.

Good luck in your research.

So apparently the answer to @Mwfan1921 's question is “no.” :roll_eyes:


Sources ? I have helped a few students with well-rounded excellent credentials to obtain admission by writing references. How is that for a source ?

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