Econ major REJECTED ED! Am I Top-Tier Material?

Hi there! I’m a current senior applying as an economics/ business major to some of the top schools in the nation. I have pretty solid SAT scores and GPA but my ethnicity (being an Asian male) seems to work against me at these schools. I applied to Columbia ED and was rejected last week, so I am kind of doubtful whether some of these schools are even realistic options at this point. Any advice or feedback is much appreciated!

Target Schools (in no particular order):
Amherst, Brown, UC Berkeley, UCLA, Carnegie Mellon, Dartmouth, Duke, Emory, Harvard, Penn, Princeton, Stanford, USC, Vanderbilt, WashU Stl, Williams, Yale, Notre Dame, Rice, NYU

(I know it’s extremely long and most of these are truly top-tier but I need help narrowing it down and deciding which ones are realistic options. Also looking for more mid-tier schools to fall back on.)

SAT I: 2330 (single sitting- 770 R, 760M, 800W)
SAT II: Math 2- 800, Literature- 740
GPA: 3.97 unweighted (challenging private HS)
Rank: none (school doesn’t rank)
AP: took 12 APs, passed all with mostly 5s (average score of about 4.4)

Major Awards:
National Merit Semifinalist
National AP Scholar

Extracurriculars/ Work Experience:
Paid technical job at engineering company- 9, 10, 11
Paid marketing job at local startup- 12
Marketing guest writer for large business sites- 12
National Honor Society- 10, 11 (VP), 12
Investment Club (co-founder, VP)- 10, 11, 12
USTA regionally ranked tennis player (not good enough to be recruited)- 9, 10, 11, 12
Red Cross Club- 10, 11, 12

Generally strong personal statement, I am a good writer and picked a rather unique topic

My teachers know me well and both like me, I also have an additional rec from my boss at work (very very positive)

General comments: I aspire to become an entrepreneur so I prefer mid-large, more urban schools with strong alumni networks. I plan to study either economics or business for undergraduate. I’d appreciate any advice regarding where to apply and what to expect! Thank you!

You are finding out what lots of other students have discovered in the past. The applicant pool for the very top schools is VERY competitive, and most people (even highly qualified ones) don’t get in. I don’t know that you have a true safety on your list, but you likely will have several acceptances. No one can tell you anything else.

Why are Amherst, Williams and Dartmouth on your list if you want to study econ/business at a “mid-large, more urban” school? If you do want a smaller college on your list, then the University of Richmond might be a more appropriate, somewhat less selective choice (cost considerations aside). It’s a solid LAC with a well-regarded business school located in a ~mid-sized city. It’s also one of the least selective of colleges that claim to cover 100% of demonstrated financial need.

If you want a larger, urban school that is less selective than most of the ones you listed, but still highly regarded, then consider:
Boston College
Miami University
Case Western
George Washington
Boston University

(I’d expect at least one offer from the schools you mentioned. Still, you need a more balanced reach-match-safety list, unless you’re willing to risk a shut-out.)

No safeties at all? Is starting at a community college your safety plan?

For the serious study of econ, these analyses can be useful: “US Economics Departments”; “Economics Departments at Liberal Arts Colleges” (from IDEAS, available online). Brandeis, Northwestern and the University of Rochester are three schools not mentioned thus far that may meet your criteria, perhaps more so than a few on your current list.

You stats are excellent and you should be a competitive candidate for the schools. BUT, the schools you listed as target schools must be considered to be reaches for anyone who isn’t the child of a major donor, a recruited athlete, a Nobel prize winner etc. The Ivy and equivalent schools get enough applicants with perfect or near perfect stats to fill their classes many times over. That would be the case even if you were not an Asian male. And I agree with the comment above that there are schools on your list that don’t meet your stated criteia. IMO you should expand your application list to include at least a few schools that will be more of a sure thing. Perhaps Villanova, BC, Bentley, GW, URichmond, Tulane, and maybe Fordham as a safety.

And for a bit of unsolicited advice, you should really consider if you want to be an economics major or go to an undergraduate business program. They are not the same. Economics is a liberal arts course of study and is very theoretical at the upper levels. In a business program you will take a business core with classes in subjects such as accounting, finance, IT, management and then major in one of those disciplines. Look online at some school’s programs for both economics and business and see what is more appealing to you.

@ucbalumnus lol sorry I forgot to mention I have already applied and been admitted to ASU (Arizona State) as my ultimate safety, although I’d like to find a few more which may be better than ASU as safeties.

@tk21769 @happy1 thanks for the advice! I was indeed considering Boston College, as well as a few business-specific schools like Babson and Bentley. Any thoughts on which of these offer good merit-based scholarships?

@merc81 Yes I was considering Northwestern as well! I’ll take a look at that list.

@intparent @happy1 Thanks for the feedback! I suppose I should begin cutting down on my list by first removing the rural schools like Amherst and Dartmouth but it’s rather hard to bring myself to do so, knowing that they are perhaps the schools of highest merit which I have a reasonable chance of acceptance more than HYPS. I do think an urban school will be more useful for potential entrepreneurship opportunities in the long run, however.

You would likely get generous merit aid at Fordham. Not sure about the other schools.

MIT is no more selective than some of your current choices and should also be considered.

For safeties:

Look at the application dates closely. I know Alabama’s closes tomorrow for scholarships (you would get at least full tuition).

@merc81 indeed, I may have overlooked Sloan-- although my chances are slim, you have a point that it’s about equal to quite a few others on my list

@“Erin’s Dad” Thanks for that resource! I thought USC was one of the only top schools to offer good NMS aid, but now I might consider a few others like Boston University and Northeastern as well

Did you consider Cornell
Very much in league with your list and with a strong Econ programme.

For an Econ/Business major, I would add Middlebury, Claremont McKenna, and Chicago to your list, and remove Vanderbilt, Rice, and at least 2 (if not all 4) of HYPS, which are significantly more selective than Columbia ED.

Okay, Rice and Vanderbilt are not more selective than CMC or UChicago.

@goldenbear2020 I appreciate the direct response, and I definitely hear what you’re saying. I agree on the HYPS point, I may keep a couple but trying all 4 is probably not the best allocation of time/effort. I’ll take a look at Middlebury as well.

I dont think goldenbear2020 was implying that Rice and Vanderbilt are more selective than Claremont or Chicago.
Clearly, they are not.
The way I read his post was, HYPS are more selective than Columbia ED…am i right,goldenbear 2020?

Middlebury is an excellent school but it is a rural LAC so may not be what you want in a college.

stagalum: That’s how I read it also.

I think @goldenbear2020 's point makes sense and I understand what he/she is saying. I’ve added a few more mid-tier schools to my list, but does anyone have any other thoughts or advice on applying to HYPS in particular, such as whether I should forget them altogether as a waste of time/energy or try a couple or even all 4?