Chances my 1470/4.0 daughter won't get in anywhere she applied?

Hi everyone, I’m sorry this is long. But I’m really hoping for feedback as I’m honestly starting to freak out. I didn’t attend college in the States the traditional way (international student, third-party scholarship, long story) so my experience with college admissions for my 2022 HS SR daughter was well-intentioned but perhaps not informed?

She’s now been deferred at the two reach EA schools where we thought she had the best choice for admission, and I’m wondering if I screwed everything up.

Does she have any chance of getting into even one of her remaining schools? Should I ask her to take ACT/retake SAT/write letters of continued interest, etc. to avoid striking out? Ahhhhh…….

Demographics : Texas girl who desperately wants to leave the South for college, non-minority but a first-generation American (child of immigrants who came here with nothing and succeeded). Attends a very competitive public school that places a lot of kids into prestigious colleges.

Major : Psych/Early Childhood Development, she has 5+ years of experience working with young kids and a strong explanation of what she wants to study/do.


  • 1470 SAT composite (740 verbal/ 730 math)
  • 4.0 UW GPA, 4.075/4.3 weighed
  • 10 APs, including AP Physics, AP English, several years of AP French, AP Enviro, etc. All 4s and one or two 5s on exams

ECs/Leadership: Varsity Track all 4 years (possible D3 walk-on, but not sure, season starting soon); Track Senior Captain; President of Psych Club, NHS, French Club, Performance Choir for 6 years/Choir Exec Board. Works 20 hrs/wk coaching a sport to young kids – got hired at barely 15 and since promoted from assistant to running her own classes and training others. Lots of Girl Scout service hours, including mentoring.

Essays (Good, I think – I liked them and I’m pretty picky, but I just don’t know if they are as “exciting” as they are supposed to be, or what colleges expect to see).

LORs – I’ve seen both of my daughter’s optional rec letters (after applications were done, of course) and they were great – one from a state political figure who’s known her since birth and thinks highly of her, and one from her boss who’s an athlete/child prodigy and talked about how well she’s worked with kids/developed curriculum/etc. Teacher letters should also be strong, but I don’t have any way to know for sure.

Cost Constraints / Budget – self-pay, can afford to pay as we go for any of the schools on her list, but would be more willing to pay full sticker for certain schools on her list and not others.

Her Schools – all were chosen after A LOT of deliberation based on location, programs she wants to study, track programs/club sport, and (for safeties) likelihood of merit aid.

  • Safeties:
    • UHawaii (accepted, almost no merit money, but just submitted for the big scholarships);
    • TCU (accepted, offered second biggest scholarship they have);
    • Missouri (accepted, offered decent merit aid);
    • UNC-Wilmington (accepted, no merit info yet).
  • Targets:
    • Trinity University (accepted, offered a very large scholarship and invited to interview for full tuition honors);
    • Michigan (EA) – (well, we thought this was a target based on their published stats, but she just got “postponed/deferred” today, so I guess not);
    • Syracuse;
    • Tulane.
  • Reaches:
    • Chicago (EA) (deferred to RD);
    • UVA (EA);
    • Middlebury College;
    • Tufts;
    • Bowdoin;
    • Vanderbilt.

Problem with the list (and I mentioned it to the kid before) is that she has a lot of reaches, not a lot of targets, and most of her safeties are schools she doesn’t actually want to end up attending. I had such high hopes for Michigan – the psych/child ed program there is EXACTLY what she wants to do, she wrote her heart out about it for her “why U Mich” essay, and her scores are well in their range. Now what? :frowning:

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Well, she is already in one of her targets, Trinity, with a good scholarship so that is a nice option. I would think she has a good chance and Syracuse, Tulane, and maybe Tufts too, but it can be hard to predict. Out of state at large public colleges can be very hard.


Thank you so much! Problem is, she really wants to get out of Texas, and Trinity, while a good school, is a “target” only as far as her numbers go. In terms of goals, she’s hoping to go out of state.

Tufts is her dream school (along with Middlebury) - what makes you think she has a chance?

Students do get accepted from deferred. Schools have had a hard time guessing how many students will actually enroll due to the Covid thing. Then waiving fees and test optional has caused the numbers of people applying to skyrocket. It is a really weird year. Mine keeps getting deferred to her targets when it is EA. We can also see the why. The schools seem to be admitting those on the lower end of their averages and throwing a lot of money to those that are at the high end. Those that are above their average norm they seem to be deferring in a yield thing. Then they are offering ED2 (if they have it). The school wants to see the student really wants to come and that they are not a second or third choice. It’s simply a game. She already has a pretty good option there with good money. MIZZOU happens to have really good education programs and Early Childhood stuff so from her safeties that is a pretty good option too. For the deferred school that she really wants she should do everything they ask for - give them more and let them know it’s her first choice. In other words - go for it.


She’s “in” 5 schools already. Would she not be happy at any of them?


Middlebury is a small highly selective liberal arts College with few places to begin with, and many of those were taken by early decision applicants. Same with Bowdoin. Chicago is also a very tough admit at regular decision round, and as noted UVA prefers in-state. Vanderbilt seems very focused
on high SAT scores, which will not help you. Tufts likely has the best relevant admit rate of your reaches, and being from Texas might help a little. A full pay application with those scores should get admitted to Syracuse, in my experience. Tulane, maybe, but would have preferred an early application.


Thank you so much! Good luck to all our kiddos! And agree - it’s such an odd year.

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Fair - I should have titled my question “will she get in anywhere else she applied” - because, you’re right, she’s clearly at the very least going to be able to attend college :blush: And she has good options.

But I’ve always said that setting expectations is the surest road to disappointment, and that’s where she is, I’m afraid. She got her hopes and dreams set on going out of state, specifically to one of the more selective schools on her list. She isn’t excited about any of the schools she’s in already except for UHawaii and I draw the line at sending her that far away for that much cash, at a school that doesn’t fit her goals as well as some others.


The big question is, dream or not, can you afford Tufts? They offer no merit aid. Total cost is $84,600 per year. Is it really worth that?


Meaning that she does not want to attend Hawaii, TCU, Missouri, UNC-W, or Trinity where she has been admitted? Seems like if she only wants to attend reach schools, that would be risking a big letdown.


Thank you again! I apologize in advance for the dumb question, but how do the schools know if we’re intending to be full pay? I’ going to guess that it’s pretty apparent from seeing the FAFSA forms, but is that how they figure it out?

Many schools are need-aware in admissions. She could get a lot of money from Trinity, maybe even a full-tuition scholarship-you will have to decide if the price difference is worth it to you.

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Based on your daughter’s stats I don’t see any reason to panic. They are terrific and any school should be lucky to have her. The process is random and getting worse each year - sit back and enjoy the ride. I know that’s easier said than done - as I went thru this with my son 2 years ago and he got waitlisted and ultimately denied at every reach school. I am going thru it again with my daughter - she had lower stats than my son and got deferred at Northeastern, and just got accepted to U of M. You never know what is going to be in that decision letter. Your daughter will wind up in a great place based on her great achievements so far.


An excellent question. It’s definitely a “can” vs. “should,” with a heavy sprinkling of “is any school worth that?” I paid less for my entire law school education (with scholarships though, and a while ago) than Tufts charges per year of undergrad.


If you are full pay then with those stats, I can pretty much guarantee Tulane will accept her.
OOS public ivies are hard to get into. They don’t have revenue targets.

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So - I think your classifications are off.

It’s easy to say a school you got into is a safety - but

Hawaii, TCU, Mizzou, UNCW, Trinity, and Syracuse are safeties.

My question would be - why did she apply to TCU and Trinity if you don’t want to be in Texas?

My second question is - how did you develop this list? You may be the only person ever to apply to Hawaii and UNCW - and then you have small LACs.

Michigan - OOS - definitely not a target so you learned that, and Tulane, unless you ED’d not a target. They turn down kids who get into higher ranked schools - but they are all about ED and EA with HUGE demonstrated interest.

Your other schools are reaches - but they are reaches for reason.

So Tufts, Bowdoin, etc. - these are going to be well over $300K and that’s without inflation. And you know, college costs more than they tell you - let’s say $3-5K more.

So - do you want to pay? If Trinity or TCU are $175K, do you want to pay $325K? Or Mizzou is going to be dirt cheap - so let’s say it’s $100K, do you want to pay more than $200K more? Most publics today have Honor Colleges.

So you you ask - how does the school know you are intending to be full pay? Did you do a FAFSA and CSS? If you do them, they “assume” you will apply for aid - but then they look at your FAFSA and /or CSS depending on the school - and determine if you qualify for aid. Tufts, is one, for example - a full pay family is golden - not a lock to admissions - but 2/3 of their kids are full pay. It’s for lack of a better phrase - a rich person’s school.

I worry about your GPA - you say 4.0 UW - but only a 4.3 weighted with 10 AP.

I’m going to assume your child, with 10 APs, has huge rigor and a solid SAT (above Middlebury 25%). So if you ED’d, you likely were in. And if you are willing to pay full and there was a favorite, you should have applied ED. These schools fill up to half their class this way.

But your #s are strong - and you’re going to have great options. In fact, you already do.

Texas is a big state - no clue where you live - but boundaries are artificial. My point is - Fort Worth and San Antonio might as well be different states - they’re entirely different.

And if my kid had your #s, I’d still have them put in apps at Arizona and Alabama - because $20K a year in total at their Honors Colleges far outweighs $80K plus at schools on your list - but i’m a cheapskate when it comes to spending hundreds of thousands of dollars with no guaranteed outcome afterward!!

No reason to panic - and your daughter has wonderful, albeit oddly disparate options with more likely to come.


She’d actually go to UHawaii or UNC-W, but they’ve offered her basically no merit, and I can’t bring myself to pay full price there when comparable schools in-state or nearby have offered large scholarships.

But I think my main question is - did I screw it up by thinking that her stats were fine at the schools she’s actually interested in? Should she have taken the SAT again, or taken the ACT? She’s a bright kid and could probably improve. But she has major anxiety and I didn’t want to put her through testing more than necessary. I never thought these scores, given her ECs and GPA, would keep her out of competitive schools. :frowning:

Congrats to your daughter on getting into such a great school!!! So happy your house has a cause to celebrate today!

I’m definitely in for the ride, however it ends up coming out at the end. Just want to make sure I’m doing all I can for the kid, in terms of advice/help/etc. Some days, it’s exhausting…[have kids, they said. it’ll be fun, they said… :smiley: ]


Try not to second guess at this date. Throw in a few more applications if you find places still accepting them, and come May a list will be released of colleges with openings remaining. The time for SAT tests is over, focus on the fine choices she already has


For Tufts class of 2025, middle 50% for SAT verbal was 720-770 and Math was 740-790. I’d say it’s a reach but not unlikely. Has she demonstrated interest at Tufts (visits, virtual sessions, etc)?