Match D23, High GPA, Missed Jr Year, Goal is traditional Undergrad + Grad School/Research

US Citizen
WA State resident
Public HS, small town, low achieving, low percentage college bound
White Female
Missed Entire Junior Year due to Extreme Medical crisis - still graduating on time

Intended Major(s)
Natural Sciences: Biology, Chem or Physics. Wants to do research. NO Healthcare career goals

  • Unweighted HS GPA: 3.9
  • Weighted HS GPA (incl. weighting system): N/A
  • Class Rank: HS doesn’t rank
  • ACT/SAT Scores: None due to illness - taking SAT this Aug and Oct

Only has 2 years of High School Classes on Transcript.
2 yrs Foreign Language
Math: Algebra 1 and 2, Geometry and Trig - all A’s
Science: Biology, Chem, Physics - all A’s
Credit for 3 yrs English, Social Sciences
No AP’s due to illness and AP’s were not offered to underclassman

National Medal in her Club sport

Choir - entire life
Unique Club sport - since childhood - plans on competing during college
Summer Volunteering with getting free Lunches to Kids at parks - 3 summers
Mentors freshman at high school - 3 years
Foreign Language Club
Theater, Musicals

Working on Essay now. Very good writer. Thoughtful and passionate topic.
One LOR from Biology teacher who loved her
One LOR from Vice Principal/Counselor explaining her medical situation and how it affected her transcript.

Cost Constraints / Budget
Ran many NPC’s
Budget is $40k - $45k per year for Tuition and Room & Board for no debt or very little.

OTHER Preferences:
Snow, Cold weather or at the very least 4 seasons
Blue state, would maybe settle for Purple
10k-ish students or more
School Spirit, sports and solid greek system
Lots of kids living on campus


University of Nevada Reno
University of Maine
Colorado State University
Western Michigan University
Washington State University


University of Washington (was her dream school and is in state so have to at least try and apply)
University of Denver
University of Vermont
University of Connecticut
Michigan State University
University of Delaware

She has a couple of things going for her, apart from a good GPA. Schools in the Midwest and East might be interested in her being from WA. Her rural school may be of interest. And her whole year of missed school might, in this case, make her app more noticeable.

Some of her reaches are more like matches. I think she will get into most of those, but I am concerned about her being offered enough money to make them affordable. U Conn is quite stingy, for example. I also think she can consider getting another teacher recommender. Quite a few colleges like two teacher recs. She’s doing the right thing by having her counselor explain the medical crisis.

I think she can perhaps put some reachier schools in her reach category, but if she needs a lot of money, which it seems she does, I think she has to be open to other schools than just more than 10k students and Greek Life.

But there are a couple of obvious contenders which she can consider. U Alabama is probably possible and meets most of her requirements, but not cold, and might need a good test score. What about Creighton? Gonzaga has tons of school spirit and offers good merit aid, as do some other Jesuit schools. Check out the schools in this list.

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None of your suggestions are in blue states and are unlikely to be acceptable. U of Rochester? Syracuse? Trinity (in Hartford).

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Gonzaga is in WA. I also mentioned that given they need substantial merit aid (seems like the case) she might have to broaden her wish list.

U Roch, Syracuse, and Trinity are all very unlikely to give enough money. Trinity is pretty selective, U Roch and Syracuse are quite stingy also. All are very expensive.


Thank you! I will encourage her to seek out another LOR. Teachers in general love her but she’s been absent awhile due first to covid and then her missed Jr. year.

That helps a lot to contemplate that her missed Junior year could be at least memorable. I mean, which year is worse to miss than that one for a college bound student?! FWIW her medical issue is one that when AO’s see it - and she plans to give them more detail - they won’t hold it against her and there is every reason to believe that it hopefully shouldn’t interfere with her ability to succeed in college…

I’m purposefully excluding details to protect her privacy.

We just visited UW today and attended their hour-long admissions presentation. For the coursework the main thing to check is if she meets the CADRs:

English - 4 credits (4 years)
Math - 3
Social Science - 3
Languages - 2, must be in same language
Science - 3 (2 in lab science)
Senior year math based quantitative course - 1
Fine, visual, or performing arts - 0.5
Elective - 0.5

Will she end up with a total of 4 credits of English? If not, I would suggest contacting UW admissions to ask about her situation. I got the impression from the admissions presentation that they are strict about the CADRs, however this is a special situation.

If she WOULD meet the CADRs, her GPA is strong for UW, and they don’t care about SAT.

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As some of your posts in the Class of 2023 thread indicated that your daughter has experienced some difficulty performing at the same high level as she was before her medical crisis, she may perform better with a more intimate environment. As I result I’ve included schools that are 5k or higher for their undergraduate populations, though I would strongly suggest that you visit some colleges smaller than that to see how she feels about them in person (particularly if they were in a bigger city) as she may avoid some of the rural, middle-of-nowhere small school blahs. The percentages by each school represent the percentage of students participating in sororities. I’ve bolded the schools whose percentage was in the double digits, and the lowest of those was 15%.

Some schools you may want to look into if you haven’t already:

  • Western Washington – 0%
  • Binghamton (NY) – 16%
  • Colorado State – 6%; you already have this on your list
  • Loyola Chicago (IL) this should fall into budget after merit aid – 15%
  • Montana State – 2%
  • Oregon State – 15%
  • Ramapo (NJ) – according to the last CDS, there were no classes larger than 50 here, 8%
  • Rowan (NJ) – 4%
  • Seton Hall (NJ) – 22%
  • College of New Jersey – 21%
  • U. of Montana - 6%
  • U. at Buffalo (NY) – 2%
  • U. of Maine – 16%; you already have this on your list
  • U. of Massachusetts-possibly a reach to get it in the budget, but it’s still feasible, 8%
  • U. of Minnesota – 9%
  • U. of New Hampshire – 16%
  • U. of Rhode Island – 16%

My son attends Binghamton which has a lively Greek scene(much to my personal chagrin, haha), but it doesn’t dominate campus life. Binghamton is aggressively recruiting OOS students right now and in fact, there are some Oregon parents posting on the social media pages at the moment. They might indeed offer enough money for this family.


AustenNut, I am so honored you took the time to weigh in! There are so many great suggestions here that we haven’t looked at yet - can’t wait to dive in to each and will do so ASAP!

Also, yes our daughter is still cognitively affected by her situation. The docs do tell her she has every reason to be optimistic for a return to full health in the coming year or two so she decided to aim for still going away to college next fall - albeit to a less competitive school.

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Thank you for the excellent suggestion! Being on the West Coast I am sometimes overwhelmed with the many options out East. We will do a deep dive on this Bing!

Yes, she will have all of the above needed credits technically but some will be Pass/Fail due to credit recovery. Now that she is finalizing her list and getting close to done with her essay her next plan is to reach out to AO’s in August. This is encouraging about the UW thank you so much!

Well, you’re already calling it Bing just like a local, so you definitely should check it out! It’s generally considered the best of the SUNY schools. It’s in a lovely area of NY state, not far from the Finger Lakes, Ithaca, Watkins Glen, and Syracuse. I think the best thing about Bing is that it’s quite racially diverse and has a big range of students. It’s definitely a very accepting and tolerant place.


Has she considered that perhaps a small LAC like Wilamette or U of Puget Sound might be worth looking into for her undergrad? If her medical team thinks she might need a year or two for continuing recovery she might be more cared for in a small environment and go big for grad school. Also consider her future medical needs. It might be easier to stay in state for better access. I work in peds rehab and for most of my patients the initial recovery is just the first step requiring specialist visits for many years after. I truly hope her recovery is quick and I hope your family is doing well, too. I see what a traumatic injury can do to the entire family and will keep you in my thoughts. Good luck with the college search!


I just saw this! Thank you for this! This what her docs say also. She’s from a small rural town and small high school and she feels stifled. She’s also a city girl. I was the same at her age but without the injury.

So I have at least pushed her to consider more mid sized and private universities. I told her the same thing - to go big for grad school instead! I’m going to keep looking for some LAC’s in big cities that might fit. I really want her closer to home for medical reasons but at the very least will help her build a new team in her new location.

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U. of Puget Sound does have 23% of students participating in a sorority…

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Update: I hope it’s ok to post this so late but we just added Syracuse to D23’s list today! That’s a big deal and we don’t do that lightly - her list is very very carefully vetted at this point in the search.

We decided she needed one or two actual reaches on her list in order to leave no stone unturned. Syracuse is a reach both academically (we think) and def financially. We are going to look for one more reach before the EA deadlines (besides UW since it’s in state for us and she was raised as a Husky.)

I am looking for two more options to add to her list: 1 LAC and 1 decent choice/match/safety in the pacific northwest closer to home which is a tall order for her. I’m looking back on everyone’s great suggestions again - thank you for those.


Is the list from post #1 (plus Syracuse), the current list? If not, what are the schools that have made it to the apply list?


Just something to consider, if her medical issues recur or follow up is needed-may wish to consider access


I have a friend who got in to UW with roughly the same stats as yours (maybe a few hundredths of a GPA point different) and similar course rigor. You can really play the UW essays to your advantage, especially in the personal statement section which asks you to describe how you have overcome a challenge. And for the second question, the diversity prompt, being from a small town in WA (would be even more compelling if in Eastern WA) could really lead to an interesting response. Best of luck!

Note: these were the prompt from last year when I applied, not sure if they have changed

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After a couple week break (and essay work) we are just sitting down with this wonderful thread and reevaluating the list with fresh eyes and a more invested D23. It is still fluid and Syracuse is the first add on and I think a couple originals will also come off. I will keep the updates coming if interested. Thanks for asking!