I got rejected from 15 out of the 16 schools I applied to

To begin, I’m devastated.

I honestly thought I’d have a better turnout than what I did at present, but 15 straight rejections really took a toll on me. Maybe I’m bad at dealing with failure but I just don’t have any energy left anymore. I just want to know what I did wrong in the process and what I can do for the future.

I applied to:

MIT
UChicago
Miami University in Ohio
Amherst
WashU
Bowdoin
Brown
Haverford
Columbia
Dartmouth
Yale
Harvard
Princeton
Caltech
Johns Hopkins
RIT
St.Olaf

And got rejected from all but Miami University in Ohio. I didn’t even get into the honors program.

Here are my stats:
4.18 WGPA, 3.8UW (Context: I spent the first half of my high school in a school that offered no APs or IBs and so I just had to take what courses I could)
1430 PSAT, National Merit Finalist
34 ACT Superscore
International Student (Living in US but external passport)

APs:
AP Calc BC (5)
AP Lang (5)
AP Stats (5)
AP Chemistry
AP Physics C: M+EM
AP CSP
AP Lit

ECs:
Cross Country and Track (10th Grade)
Volunteered to raise funds and awareness for building a spray park and playground in town square (9-10th Grade)
Peer mentor (9-12th Grade)
Founded two mentoring organizations, one that got 400 members nationwide and one that is district wide to help students affected by COVID 19
Research Internship in Cosmology at my local university under the guidance of a professor
And a few others.

Essays were solid. Had them reviewed multiple times by my counselor + English Teacher. Recs were great too. Managed to get a rec from my prof for my internship too.

I know I’m not that great of a profile but gosh couldn’t I have got something more? The University I am currently accepted in didn’t even let me in their honors program. What happened?

You are the second student to post something like this today. That is concerning, and I think likely a sign of this crazy admissions year.

I’m so sorry that you’re in this position. I do think that your list is reach-heavy for anyone, as most of the schools listed have low acceptance rates. My limited knowledge on some of these specific schools tells me that you did have at least a few matches, but maybe not many clear safeties. And perhaps this admissions year has taken what you thought were reaches into a much lower acceptance rate. So, for example, if RIT received a huge increase in applications and therefore their acceptance rate dropped significantly, what was a match became a reach. Our expectations may not be reality this year, unfortunately.

But I understand that it sucks and you’ve worked hard and expected more. Perhaps a gap year to reevaluate your options and hope that this all settles back into something more “normal” and predictable?

I hope you find your place.

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I understand your disappointment, but Miami Ohio is a fabulous school, with great outcomes and a great college experience. International students face long odds in college admissions, especially if they need fin aid (which we don’t know if you do).

I hope that you choose to attend Miami Ohio and make the best of it. Good luck.

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As a non US passport holder, it’s likely you were assessed in the ‘International’ pool, making already competitive schools even more competitive… in a really competitive year.

You can attend Miami OH and give it your all, or maybe take a gap year and re-apply, but unless your status changes, you may get a similar result. There will also be a list of schools released in early May on NACAC which still have spaces - often some very good schools, so have your app ready to go.

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Your list is almost all top schools, and it is a weird year because of deferrals last year due to COVID. Very low admission rates. The admissions decisions don’t say anything about who you are but it is hard not to feel that way. Hope you feel better in a few days and can start thinking about Miami OH.

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You can only attend one school and Miami of OH is a wonderful option!

It was a crazy year with huge increases in applications to all the top schools and yes, being an international, cuts your chance of admission even further.

I know a ton of students who have gone to Miami and LOVED their experiences and have gone on to have wonderful careers. Join the admitted students’ social media pages, buy some swag, and get excited about the road ahead. It’s a great one!

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I know this is hard for you, but frankly, I think you were lucky to get into any of them. Your stats are good, but they are not exceptional. There are posts like this every year, covid or not.

You made the same mistakes that tens of thousands of others make. You assumed that you had a good chance because you’re a good student with good stats. You applied to a whole lot of reaches and figured one might work out. It’s not a game of chance though. It’s holistic admission and a whole lot of people who have amazing everything would have also been denied at all those colleges.

Read this for some perspective:

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The laws of probability, as I remember, show that your chance at all those reaches is the same as the chance at one. In other words, applying to many doesn’t increase your chances at any of them.

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I’m so sorry for your disappointment. Miami of OH is a wonderful school. We know several kids who attended there and absolutely loved it. What a beautiful campus! Also, I believe you can apply to Honors after your first semester (or year) so maybe look that up if you think it will make it a better fit for you. Give yourself a few days to absorb then buckle up and embrace the school that loves you!

I agree with the other posters so won’t repeat, but I do want to add something for future applicants who may read your post. Only apply to schools you will be happy to attend! I stressed this over and over to my D, and I got that tip from reading here on CC.

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Were you seeking significant financial aid ?

Did you apply to all of the schools (17) listed in your thread starter post ?

Were you rejected by RIT & St. Olaf ?

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I understand where you are coming from, and I agree. Here’s the thing that makes this way more bitter though:

My friends who had similar profiles got into many of these schools
I’m international, these were some of the only schools I could apply to to get some aid.

If the factors were different I’d have applied to way more colleges that I liked and possibly been a little bit better off, but money was the restricting factor for me here.

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I’d love to attend any of the schools posted there, and I have absolutely no complaints about attending Miami. I know it’ll be amazing.

I’m more just stressed and demoralized by the rejections.

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I’d love to attend Miami Ohio! The rejections are what are eating at me right now.

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Hoping your demoralization is short term. It is very natural but will pass. Maybe getting involved with Miami FB and even seeing if you can do a virtual visit or virtually attend a class would help. My nephew went there and has a great job now.

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Haha, can’t believe I passed stats thinking if I apply to 20 schools with a 5% acceptance rate I’ll get into one.

Thank you for your comments, they really do help!

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Rejections are no fun at any age but can be especially difficult at 17-18. I understand and feel for you. But you can’t let it keep you down for long. Join the student social media groups…dive into a GroupMe or Discord group, start connecting with other students and get excited about all the new friends and adventures that await. You’ve got this!

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Are your friends international students looking for financial aid?

If not, you are comparing apples to hay: they aren’t in the same food group at all.

International takes your chances to - on average- 10% of a domestic students changes.
Financial aid knocks off another major %

Add in that your ECs (at least as presented) are …not dazzling, your UW GPA & essays are strong but not dazzling…frankly, I’m impressed that you got Miami.

“What happened” is that your expectations were unrealistic to start with. IRL you applied to 3-4 realistic schools and bunch of high reaches. If you had applied to 3-4 high reaches and 12-13 realistic schools you would have had more choices- but at the end of the day you can only go to one school- and you have a good one.

Congratulations!

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Lots of great advice here. Just wanted to add that one of the best students we admitted to our Ph.D. program last year is a Miami-Ohio graduate. I know some brilliant colleagues with Ivy League degrees (if that matters) who teach there. You’ll receive very-high quality education there–it’s time to celebrate.

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I am really excited to attend, I know the school will be good for me!

I am just questioning my rejections, why they happened and what I could have done different.

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Some other notes:

I AM REALLY EXCITED TO ATTEND MIAMI!

The post was not intended to badmouth Miami as a school AT ALL, and I pre-emptively apologize profusely if it did.

The intention of this post was to have a way to vent out my frustration and get some answers to the results. I am not trying to badmouth any college here, really. I’m super grateful for what I got.

I just want to know where I went wrong.

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