I got rejected from everywhere except my 3 safeties, need advice

Hi everyone, I applied to 17 schools and only got into 3.
Accepted: Rutgers, Penn State, George Washington
Waitlisted: Boston College
Rejected: NYU, Northeastern, UChicago, UCLA, Georgetown, Princeton, Dartmouth, Brown, Cornell, Harvard, Yale, Columbia, UPenn

I was wondering if someone can help me to understand where I went wrong, and why I got rejected from schools like NYU and Northeastern that I had the stats to get into

Major: Politics/Political Science/Government (Depending on what the school offers)
Minor: History
GPA weighted: 4.1/4
Senior Year GPA: 4.83/4
Junior Year GPA: 4.33/4
Unweighted: 3.6/4, Junior:3.85, Senior:3.95
SAT: 1530 (Math: 780, Eng: 750)
Race: Indian
Strong LORs from teachers I am close to
9 AP’s taken
5 on European History, US Gov & Pol, Computer Science A
4 on US History
Taking 4 AP tests this year
National Honor Society, School Social Studies Honor Society
Meet Qualifications for Entry into: School Business Honor Society, School Computer Science Honor Society

-Played Basketball, Violin and Piano for 10+ years
-Public relations officer for School History Club
-Field Organizer for Senate Campaign
-Intern role on several Senate, House and State Senate campaigns, one of these campaigns was for the Jon Ossoff campaign that flipped the Senate
-Field Organizer for the Biden Inaugural Committee
-Founded a Pro-Biden political page that amassed over 1000 followers on Instagram
-Have organized community cleanups and volunteer often, have volunteered for Smithsonian and for Century 21.

-All essays and spent hours to perfect each one
-Personal essay was reviewed by English teacher and she said it was really good

Where did I go wrong? What could I maybe do to transfer into one of the schools I was rejected from. And is it possible for me to get the Cornell transfer option? or is it not possible to get it if you didn’t get one on ivy day.

Never understand why people claim to have been “rejected everywhere” when they have several perfectly fine acceptances. Congrats on GW, Penn State and Rutgers! These are excellent schools.
** editing to add— glad you changed your thread title, as you weren’t “rejected everywhere”… but still, GW is not a safety.


By “everywhere” I am talking about schools that I wanted to go to vs schools at the bottom of my list, Rutgers, Penn State and GW were quite literally my bottom 3 options

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I understand how this can be disappointing. It is hard to know the reason why you did not get in, but in general, most of your schools are reaches for anybody and a 4.1 overall GPA is below the threshold for the Ivies and the sub-ivies. GW is a very prestigious school. There are many students that are sitting and waiting to get off the waitlist there, so look at the positives and appreciate where you have been accepted. You can always start one place and then transfer if you do very well. Good luck to you!


Because there were 10000 other “yous” who also applied to the same schools. Imagine you are a school that can only accept 5 students from a pile of 100 that you are reading. They all have great SAT scores, EC;s LOR’s essays, and GPAs. How do you pick? What really stands out? Also take in mind financial need (you did not say if you were full pay or not). Maybe the schools have X people who also are politically involved. so now which one do you pick? How many kids from the Northeast applied? I need a kid from Colorado. The schools you applied to are lottery schools. Even NYU and Northeastern have very low admissions. There are kids who never saw a B, got 1600 on the Sat’s. and did not get into these schools.

you got into schools that are in the 30-50 acceptance range. Now you need to choose where to attend. and Yes you can try to transfer later. My D graduated from GW. The internship opportunities are wonderful if you want to work on the hill. Depending on your state (likely NJ?) is Rutgers your cheapest option?


You would need to have been offered this on Ivy Day. You can still apply as a transfer however.

On first glance I’d say your GPA may have been the culprit. But ultimately you applied to a large number of very competitive schools during an extremely competitive admissions cycle.

You’re clearly interested in politics and GW puts you in DC. It’s a great school in the political center of the country! Take that opportunity and run with it. If you’re unsatisfied with your experience you can go the transfer route but that’s far from a sure thing.

Good luck!


Love your safety.
And hugs to students who really got “rejected everywhere”.

You didn’t do “anything wrong”. You applied to competitive schools is a competitive climate, with a GPA that probably was only in the middle of their applicant pool.


I agree that you have some great options. Love the school that loves you…which school are you leaning towards?

I don’t think anything went ‘wrong’…most applicants don’t get into most of their reaches, many applicants don’t get in to any of their reaches. Also, many schools recalculate GPAs to unweighted, on a 4 point scale. You haven’t shared that stat with us, and hence, I assume that probably wasn’t competitive enough.


If you’re really looking for an honest answer as to “where did you go wrong” with respect to the schools you applied to, I’d say the biggest factors are:

  1. Not having a higher cumulative weighted GPA
  2. EC’s, etc. that are nice, but don’t really differentiate you
  3. Graduating in 2021

Point 1 is on you, point 2 is more difficult to control and point 3 is what it is. For kids like you with strong test scores and GPA’s and EC’s that are good but not great, this is an especially tough year for admissions. You’ve got a bunch of schools that are test optional so kids with great GPA’s and EC’s who normally wouldn’t have applied to elite schools or whose test scores would have kept them out, are getting in. It’s a zero sum game, those slots come from kids with stronger test scores who are weaker in other areas. Add to that a not insignificant number of class of 2020 kids who deferred and are now in this year’s applicant pool and this is a tough year to be an applicant who is reliant on test scores.

Go to Rutgers (assuming that’s your most economical option), bust your butt and take the money you saved and go to an elite grad school. There’s nothing wrong with any of the three schools you got into, make the most of it.


Your scores are high but your GPA doesn’t match that level, which can sometimes be interpreted as an issue with work ethic: an intelligent person who doesn’t work to potential. Not saying that is the issue, but speculation is what you asked for.

You have three great schools. College admissions do not measure you as a person. Rutgers, Penn State and GW do not belong on the bottom of anyone’s list. You just had a very top-heavy list with very tough schools to get into. Enjoy your time at one of your schools and don’t look back!

Just adding that it is a weird year with so many deferrals last year due to COVID. Very low admission rates at top schools. Please don’t take it personally!


Middle GPA, reach heavy list, OK ECs but not stand out, uber ridiculous competitive year…

…but you want to do govt/ politics and got into GWU!! Fantastic! Go there and shine and take advantage of all the school and DC has to offer!


what are your financial constraints? And in what world is getting accepted to three colleges “getting rejected from everywhere”?

You asked for feedback- and I’m going to give it to you. You applied to WAY too many reach schools. I just can’t imagine that you had the time to deliver a Northeastern application AND the Dartmouth application (two VERY different colleges) which would persuade an Adcom that you really and truly wanted to be there.

But that’s water under the bridge. If you can afford it, I think GW would be an exceptional option for you. If you can’t afford it, and you and your parents decide it’s worth thinking of a gap year to work, volunteer, etc. you could end up with an entirely different set of schools to apply to.

If you are not instate for Penn State, take that off the list (my opinion). Not worth the out of state financial upcharge. Rutgers is fantastic for poli sci and policy.

Take a day to lick your wounds, then get excited about where you DID get accepted, and how you are going to shine in college!!!


Thank you for all the replies, yeah I do understand my gpa was low and that this was a rough year. My GPA was low because I was a slacker my freshman year (3.4 weighted) and that held down my sophomore (3.7), junior(4.3) and senior(4.9) gpa, I thought I worked hard enough to raise it but I guess not enough. Really appreciate the help, I’m gonna make a decision between Rutgers and GW and hope to try and transfer.


I understand you are disappointed but don’t start at Rutgers or GW with the intention of transferring. Start college and knock it out of the park. You have great options here and neither school will hold you back from grad school or your career.


Here’s how you “do” GW- you take the foundational classes you need freshman year- a solid statistics sequence (very important for poli sci), more history, the intro poli sci courses. You spend next summer as an intern staffed at an agency (HUD, FDA, whatever). By fall of your sophomore year you’ll be juggling a cool part-time job AND your classes- working for a company which does polling for public policy campaigns and issues? By junior year you’ll know enough to understand which route you want to take- political, agency, think tank, policy. By senior year your professors will be asking you “Can I write you a recommendation for grad school?” and your former bosses (who you will stay in touch with of course) will be asking “where do you want to work and let me know if I can help you”.

And you’ll be wondering why you ever wanted to attend Dartmouth…


Don’t automatically assume that a transfer is merited; you might surprise yourself and have a great experience. As several of the other posters have noted, if you are interested in political science or related fields, being at GW could present great opportunities.

It is sad to see all these students who feel that they are validated as human beings only if they get into what they perceive as a “name” college or university. If you can make the most of what you have been given, then you will have been a success, irrespective where you attend college.


GW is a perfect school for your interests, and has a great reputation.

I can see now that your GPA in later high school was high, and colleges would have seen that. So I no longer think that is the reason.

I think you just had a top heavy list in a year where admission rates were historically low. All of the schools that “rejected” you had incredibly low admit rates. Your list is not diverse enough, that’s all.

I personally think GW should have been at the top of your list. Why wasn’t it? It is a very well-respected school in DC. If you want prestige (and it looks like your list reflects that) GW has it. Just not sure why you aren’t happy with that option and are already thinking about transferring.

It seems to me that you are equating admission to elite schools as a measure or your worth and won’t feel like a worthy person unless you “make it in.” Try thinking about fit. And I know I personally am impressed when someone goes to GW, especially someone with your interests. Go for it and try assuming you will stay.


GW is a really great school dont get me wrong. It’s just that through my research I’ve found that GW ranks lower than I thought for my major, around the Mid-50s, while every school I was rejected from is Top30 in my major.

Assuming GW is affordable, I agree with others…go there and knock it put of the park. Don’t go with the expectation you will be transferring to one of the Ivies.

You applied to every Ivy. Those schools are SOOOO different in so many ways. Except for wanting the prestige of the schools, there is very little in common with some vs others.

You got accepted to THREE colleges. Really your thread title should reflect that!

Celebrate your acceptances and move on.


These posts appear 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 didn’t have a bad freshman year would have also been denied at all those colleges.

Read this for some perspective: The original “Average” Excellent student graduates today