Do I Even Have a Chance at My Reaches? Refine My List?

As I’ve been refining my list, I am not sure if it is even worth applying to some of my reach schools. Here is my list so far:

Reaches: Stanford, UCLA, Berkeley, USC
Matches: Cal Poly SLO, Santa Clara, Pepperdine, USD, UCSB, UCSD, UCD
Safeties: LMU, SDSU, ASU (in state)

I think that 14 schools is a lot and probably too many to apply to, but all the UC’s are in one application so I would only be filling out 10 applications for the 14 schools. Is this still too many?

Regarding my stats and stuff, I have a 4.0 UW GPA and a 4.788 W GPA, 32 ACT score (taking again, I expected to get a 33 so probably a 33-34 superscore), average ECs with leadership positions, average volunteering, varsity tennis for 3 years, etc.

I’m sitting at the 25th percentile for my ACT score for my reaches… should I still apply? Is it worth all the time and effort if I really don’t have a shot?

My intended major is math education (or just math at schools without education majors), but I have recently become interested in political science (so maybe a minor).

Should I apply to 3 safeties? Or just 2?

I don’t need you to “chance me” but I was just wondering if my stats were high enough for these top universities. Thanks for any inputs/suggestions on my list!

If ASU is in-state, to me this suggests that the Universities of California are out of state. Is this correct? Are you okay being full pay at out of state prices for the UCs?

Do you have any budget limitations?

If schools are test optional due to COVID, or even better for those who no longer consider the ACT or SAT, having an ACT score at the 25th percentile seems like it would not matter. Just do not send them your ACT score.

@DadTwoGirls yes, I am out of state for all the California schools. I’ve talked to my parents and they said that they do not want me to consider cost when I am applying, but of course I know that it is a major factor. The UCs are very expensive, but the Cal States are not as much and my parents would be able to afford them (according to what they’ve told me).

Also, at what score should I consider sending it? If I retake and get a 33, let’s just say, would this be good enough to send in? Or would you still recommend not sending my score?
Thanks for the feedback!!

“at what score should I consider sending it?”

For each school I would look on-line to find its median ACT score. I would only send in your score if you get at least as high as the median.

I am not sure if other people have other strategies.

Are you eligible for the WUE schools? We are from the northeast so I do not know much about it but from what I have seen it looks like a good program.

While your parents might not care much about cost now, when they are facing a $300,000 cost for four years they might change their mind. In fact, it might be a good move to run the NPC for a few private schools on your list and show the results to your parents.

I would definitely apply to ASU in your situation. Being in-state it does look like a safety (but what do I know, we live more than 2,000 miles to the northeast) and likely to be very affordable, in addition to being a very good university.

@DadTwoGirls yes, I totally agree with you. I am eligible for the WUE schools, but I looked through all the schools in California and did not see one that I would be interested in applying to. ASU is a great school, and it is definitely affordable so that is staying on my list. My parents are divorced and both are remarried, so I have been told that NPCs are not accurate for my situation and even if they were, my parents don’t want to tell me their financial information (making it hard to gauge if they could up to 70k a year for these schools)

A money situation shared between two divorced parents can get ugly, and you probably don’t want to be caught in the middle of that. A scholarship at ASU is worth its weight in gold, because you have guaranteed money in writing, for all 4 years. Everyone wins.

As a current parent with (soon to be) two college students, I wholly agree with the recommendations and advice to consider costs and finances when making your decision. The last thing you’d want is to get into a situation where you have to drop/transfer due to finances. I also agree with the ASU “ace in the hole” advice/recommendation. With your credentials, you might get a significant scholarship, where you might be able to graduate debt-free. As far as the reaches go, sure - apply. But, if you get into USC, would you be able to potentially afford the $75K per year? Best wishes and good luck in your journey.

@SDC9160 thank you for the advice! Yes, I definitely agree that ASU is by far the most affordable school and I would be happy going there and leaving debt-free. As far as the other schools, I may as well shoot by shot and see if I get in (although I’m a junior this year so I have a while to think about it!)

Definitely apply to your reach schools. The financials are the “un-fun” part of the process that will come into play once your acceptances roll in. And, you may end up with merit scholarships (my guess is Santa Clara, USD and LMU might come through with decent merit, given your current stats). Your credentials are strong. You’ll also have a strong safety school in ASU as well. My D21 has been accepted there and we’re going to visit for the first time in a couple of weeks. Looking forward to it! In the meantime, keep up the good work and best of luck to you.

You have to consider finances even though your parents are telling you something completely different. Things do happen to affect income (illness, job loss, emergency home repairs, etc.). You can’t predict that everything will remain the same.

The schools you’ve selected are very expensive. Your travel costs, move-in costs, health insurance fees and miscellaneous expenses will add up.

California is an expensive place to live. Most of those areas require a car since California has poor public transportation.

I don’t know if you’re aware that SDSU should not be considered a “safety”; it is very, very competitive for instate students, and because you’re not in state, you can’t consider it a safety. Local students are prioritized.

A safety is a school where you are guaranteed to be admitted, is AFFORDABLE, and would be happy to attend.

Having to pay $70k per year just doesn’t make sense to become a math teacher. California just doesn’t pay that much for its teachers; plus most of your salary would have to cover the expensive housing and transportation costs.

Berkeley the only school on list that has committed to going test free though all are test optional—most all schools seem to be this year. If money is not an issue; your parents will pay whatever it costs, there is no reason not to “buy some lottery tickets”. For the most selective schools, I’d send in scores only at the 25% and up point. For the less selective schools Zid send if the scores are at the midpoint.

@“aunt bea” thank you for the feedback! I was not aware that SDSU would not be considered a safety-- I was a little confused by the low acceptance rate with the low average ACT scores (where I am well above the 75th percentile).

SDSU is test blind so test scores are not a consideration this admission cycle. CSU GPA and HS course rigor will be the biggest factor. I would say you are solid match but since your college budget is still up in the air, not a safety. ASU is your safety.

SDSU has a 2 year on-campus living requirement for all new students (Freshman) and cost of attendance for this year is estimated at $42,000/year. Housing around the area is very expensive with an average $1600/month for a 1 bedroom apartment. My son paid $800/month sharing a 2 bedroom with 3 other students. My niece is currently paying $1500/month for her 1 room in a 3 bedroom apartment. Also consider the cost of flying into your college budget. If you move off campus, you will need a car and parking costs at the apartments can be expensive too.

Just giving you and your parents an idea of how expensive California can be just to live while attending college. You have some great stats and can probably get some merit aid at some of the private universities you are applying, but realize that SDSU does not give merit aid to OOS students.

Only AZ or CA? what about WA or CO, for example?

@Gumbymom thank you for the information! Both my parents grew up and went to college in CA (Santa Clara University) so I assume that they are aware of the extremely high cost of living there. Also, I am a junior this year, so do you think the test-blind policy will carry over for next year’s admission cycle?

@collegemom3717 since I’ve lived in AZ my whole life, I am very used to the warm climate (anything below 70 is fairly cold for me). Although I know that I could live in colder places, I am not sure if I would be miserable the whole time, so that it why I have narrowed down my options to very warm places.

Regarding test blind for next year’s admission cycle for Cal states, that will be determined next year. Hopefully everything will be better when you apply and test scores will be a consideration. Also why are you asking for chances if you are a Junior since CSU’s and UC’s only use 10-11th grades? You are doing great so far but until you complete Junior year, nothing is set yet and things can change by next year.

@Gumbymom ok, I guess I will see next year! I’m not exactly asking to be “chanced” so much as asking if these schools are appropriate for my list based on my current projection. I got all A’s last year and I am expected to this year too (the grading at my school is heavily dependent on classwork, and right now my lowest grade is a 99%), so that is not really what I was asking about. Once I finish this year, then I will calculate my UC/CSU GPA!