uncletupelo - We heard that they have changed drastically in the last two years with a new director. My son’s academic stats were very high also - he was accepted to some other highly competitive schools and programs. I truly think his essay was his downfall. Activist type kids can be any political mettle - but they are looking for that particular type of kid, I think. My kid is not like that - he leans heavily towards science, not towards the social side of any of it. I’ve been talking about this with others, and there is a CC member who talked with a member of the HC admissions committee and they did say they are looking for a particular type for admission - not just academics. They are looking for world changers. My son would be doing that from a lab somewhere - and that wasn’t what they wanted.
For what it’s worth - my son had a 34 ACT, 1510 SAT - has 13 AP courses including AP Calc BC, AP Chem, AP Physics C, plus took three classes at University of Alabama at the same time. Adding in all the dual enrollment, his unweighted GPA ended up well in the HC range. He definitely has the academic chops.
SMBHC looks like a nice option for people - my son would have liked to be able to do it. He just wasn’t their cuppa, and that’s ok. He’ll do well elsewhere, and he’s got the six figure merit scholarships there also