Check admissions stats from students at your high school

Hi everyone,

Most of you probably know this, but it was a surprise to me when we went through it the first time. If you look at general admissions statistics for a college at one of the many sites that list them, what you get is not necessarily at all applicable to students from your particular school. Looking at the Naviance page for your particular school can illustrate this. For example, Pomona, Cornell and Washington University in St. Louis, all highly selective colleges, seem to like our kids and take a fairly large number. On the other hand, Dartmouth, Penn, Tufts and Williams seem to hate us and take almost none. Suny Binghamton, our in state flagship, is very erratic, taking some with low credentials and wait-listing many others with much higher stats. Its important to know these things because it changes the calculations about which schools are actually matches and safeties.

If a mid tier college suspects that you are using them as a safety it will be a likely deferral EA. Unless you show interest in some way (a loci) it will be a denial later on.

Remember that admissions to selective schools is holistic, not just based on numbers. Colleges want to love the student who lovers them, not the student using them as an “if all else fails” safety.

" Suny Binghamton, our in state flagship, is very erratic, taking some with low credentials and wait-listing many others with much higher stats."

It can also depend on what major the applicant is seeking. Someone applying for say an education degree may be accepted with lower stats than someone applying for an engineering degree. The problem with statistics is that you don’t know.

@Ivvcsf Thats exactly my point. People make decisions based on the general statistics. The overestimate or sometimes underestimate their chances. I’ve seen kids in our town use Bing as their only safety. Its not a good idea. I’ve seen kids with ACT scores of 34 talking about Johns Hopkins as a match. Its not, its a high reach from our school.

This quote is from a popular college site:
“A college is considered a safety school if your admissions test scores fall above the 75th percentile for students enrolled at the college.” This is just bad advice. Checking the statistics from your own high school can give a much more realistic view.

Whoever wrote that has no idea about selective college admissions. And s/he obviously never checked the decision threads here on CC.

This is pretty much a common sense in this forum. If one has been here reading posts, one should know it.

An even bigger surprise for some folks, is when they look at stats for where the kids from their HS actually end up attending. The local CC was number 1 by far at Happykid’s “Newsweek top 100” high school, followed by state flagship, and then the other in-state publics. Getting in is one thing. Figuring out what is actually doable is another.

So true. My first kid was auditioning for top musical theatre programs with a 5% acceptance rate that seemed utterly unpredictable. So with my second kid, I thought, “Great! With grades and scores and Naviance data, it should be easy to make an educated guess about admissions.” WRONG! In the case of high-stats students looking at top schools, there is no such thing as a match. Your excellent record gets you a ticket to the lottery, that’s the only way to think of it and still remain sane.

By knowing the stat from your school, you can only know your within range stat is not the reason for rejection.

High stat kids have the intelligence, grades and scores to be accepted nearly everywhere. The more selective the school or the major the more high stat kids apply thus the more difficult it is to be accepted. The difference between the 25 percentile and the 75 percentile at very selective universities can be pretty narrow and in my estimation is not a strong predictor of admission. The other tools universities use to select students are differentiaters but they are usually so subjective as to be useless as predictors. The same can be said for selective majors. One might easily get accepted to UIUC with good grades and scores but it’s no assurance of acceptance to engineering or CS.

UIUC does a good job of showing this

The 25-75 range for the ACT
Overall: 27-33
Engineering: 31-34
Education: 24-28