Chances for solid Junior / Rising Senior in the Northeast

Chance my son as I try to assist him in planning his ED applications, etc:


Caucasian male American in well-regarded public school in New York. (for example, in this year’s graduating class of 300, over a dozen are going Ivy, including 3 going to Yale).

Intended Major(s)
Political science

GPA, Rank, and Test Scores

3.9 unweighted, school does not really weight. School does not rank, but will be Magna Cum Laude
SAT: one sitting 1430 (710 verbal, 720 math, does not want to take again)


School does not offer AP exams until Junior year. Does not offer honors outside of multiple math tracks and an advanced foreign language track.
On the accelerated language track. Bounced between math tracks, moving to the accelerated but non-AP for senior year.
2 APs Junior year: AP US History and AP Environmental Science
Senior Year: 2 APs – Psychology and US Government. Also, SUPA Forensic Sciences. Dual enrollment classes in math (community college calculus credit) , dual enrollment Business Law, dual enrollment English class.
Also took a summer class at Cornell University, receiving 4 Cornell credits in US government.

Magna Cum Laude

3rd Degree Tae Kwon Do blackbelt
Incoming President of Mock Trial
Works 12+ hours per week at local art movie theater
Intern to State Senator
English tutor remotely to a Ukrainian student


Fair writer, expect solid but not necessarily spectacular essays. Expect very good teacher recommendations, particularly from AP US History teacher.

Cost Constraints / Budget



ED1 – Likely Boston University
ED2 – Likely Brandeis University
** Possible ED substitute for the 2 above, George Washington University

Safety: Syracuse University
Match: SUNY Binghamton, University of Maryland College Park, George Washington University
Reach: Boston University, Brandeis, Wesleyan University

Other: Semi-legacy at Boston University, I went to law school there.

Questions: Should he submit his current SAT score for ED at BU and Brandeis? How important would it be to try to increase the score? Chances of ED at BU?

A daughter with very similar stats got into Boston University in the RD round. She did submit her SAT which was slightly lower (1420 or 1410?). However, BU would have been full pay for us, and somewhere else was eventually deemed to be a better fit for us.

I think that your son’s chances are good, but I would not call it a safety. “Likely” sounds right to me.

Definitely make sure that your son has solid safeties. I have heard good things about the various SUNY’s but I do not know them.

I would submit his SAT scores. It puts him solidly in the range and there aren’t any questions as to why he didn’t submit, which might exist at some colleges.

Is BU his top choice, period? And is Brandeis his second choice, period? I would only use ED at a school that is a clear #1 for him. I do think he has a reasonable shot at them, too.


I’d say that he should submit those scores, because a decent score like that says more than going test optional. It certainly doesn’t detract from his applications to these schools. I’d say that those scores would support his application - he won’t get in because of the scores, but I think that they make his application more solid. If he doesn’t want to put in the prep work to try for a higher score, then I think you’ve got your answer there - you cannot make him prep for the SAT.

I would say that as a full pay student, he has a very good chance at Brandeis, and a chance at BU. I’d say that, assuming that he is sure that he wants to attend these schools (and why wouldn’t he?), they’re an excellent choice for ED rounds, in the order you have mentioned.

His matches seem about right. I would consider adding in another safety SUNY school, since what if he doesn’t get into Binghamton and you have a sudden shift in your finances?

1 Like

If the average SAT score of all applicants was 1442 and the average of the accepted students was 1491 at BU this year, wouldn’t he have a better chance of being test-optional with 1430?

The average SAT has gone up substantially everywhere over the last 2 years with the test-optional policy.

1 Like

Things could still change between now and the fall, but he has been touring for a while and BU is his clear top choice right now. Thank you for the feedback, it’s helpful.

1 Like

This is exactly what I was wondering. 1430 was very solid for BU in the very very recent past. But it seems scores have gone up dramatically in the last year.

Though, I have to believe 1430 is still a good score for ED rounds. (the 1500+ scorers surely aim for ED at Ivy equivalents?) Though I could be wrong… Maybe 1430 is a bit subpar for BU these days. I’m urging him to try for a higher super score, I do feel 1450+ would still be a much safer submit.


Thanks for the response. There will certainly be a few more schools when applications are finally submitted. Probably 1-2 more SUNY options. In addition, he may apply to Bucknell, Lehigh, U Mass Amherst, American U, University of Vermont, University of Rochester.

Stats similar to my D23 but she will have 9 APs. I think your list is reasonable. He should consider a couple more APs Senior year rather than dual enrollment. The only red flag for his reach schools is that his rigor will be somewhat less than others he is competing against so rest of application must be strong. You have a good mix of schools in your list. Hopefully your school has Naviance/ that will be a good indicator.

Wesleyan seems like an outlier on his list based on size, vibe and location, but if it’s a top choice, I would think he’d stand a good chance if he applies ED1 or ED2. Not only are they need-aware, but they also have almost half the number of male-identifying applicants compared to females. Their 2021-2022 CDS shows 8129 female applicants vs 4938 male applicants; they accepted 1400 women and 1100 men, 480 women and 430 men enrolled.

1 Like

Not sure why he liked Wesleyan. As we did the tour, I expected him to shrug and say “not for me” at the end. He disliked Vassar. But he liked Wesleyan for some reason. Still, it’s not 1 of his top choices, so not ED.
Right now, he is strongly leaning towards BU for ED1 and Brandeis for ED2, but he might consider George Washington for ED.

1 Like

Kid are so funny. My D was the exact opposite, loved Vassar, didn’t like Wes. Ended up applying to both RD got into Vassar and not Wes. Good luck with the process!

1 Like

Now you know why the main quadrangle doubles as an athletic field. The official tour leaves little doubt that Wesleyan was never a member of the Seven Sisters. :wink:

Has he thought about taking the ACT? Sometimes kids do better on that test. If he gets his score up a bit, he would be a solid candidate at BU. I can’t seem to find the current scores of middle 50 on the BU website.

I just found the middle 50 – but it was from 2019-2020 (Common Data Set):

SAT Total: 1360-1480

So his score would place him right about the middle (50th percentile). I imagine with test optional the mean and median would have shifted upwards.