Match vs. Safety - please help confirm list for student with 3.4 GPA

If she applies to Michigan State EA, she should have a response in plenty of time to apply to another in state school if necessary.

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Paola Peak. That’s funny. I live in TN and three year olds go there to learn. It’s more like Paola Bump :). Congrats on the quote !!!


If she does go with Theatre, then an audition might have more weight over academics. In the very least, a good audition could significantly boost an applicant’s profile. With English/Journalism, sometimes a portfolio can help.

With that being said, I agree with U Maine. If she’s interested in mid-size schools, then consider the public flagships of the Dakotas, Montana/Wyoming, and Nevada.

If she can’t get the her score to at least an 1180, I would also consider applying test-optional.

But let’s be honest. I scored a 1260 as a junior. That jumped up 40 points within a few months—and I didn’t even study. As she learns more in school, and if she preps for the SAT, she could earn a 1200 by October.

A 3.4 can also vary by high school. If she’s attending an above-average public high school, and she raises that SAT to a 1200, then UC Boulder and U Oregon/Oregon State become matches.


I was going to say the same about UNH. Apply EA and they send rolling admissions announcements from the fall through January.

I think UNH checks off a lot of boxes for her.

Also, a safety is not a safety if she does not want to go there, so remove all of those that she has zero interest in and look for a couple more or apply EA to the targets and reaches where possible. It boosts their confidence to get those early admits and she can relax a little.


Ft Lewis College - a small public liberal arts college in Durango Co, they have a lift on campus and Purgatory resort is a stone’s throw away. (Freshmen actually get a season pass to Purg) They also participate in WUE.

So Oregon is another one not mentioned yet. A smallish pubic WUE school in Ashland - which hosts a well knows Shakespeare festival each year. Mt Ashland is very close and Bachelor is a reasonable drive.

Both are worth a visit


Are there any other tools that we should be using to help with our evaluation of match / target schools? Right now, we are simply using data from the school’s common data set and also looking at the niche graph for comparable stats / major.

I always google college make + student profile.

90% of time you get the admission stats. It’s clearer for me than the cds. Often niches admin % are off but it’s directional.

My daughter applied to 21. I had her in at 16. She got into 17 ( issues a low reach) so I think using the data from cds or the school website will help a lot.

If one is majoring in engineering it’s more difficult. Those kids have higher stats.

If it’s a liberal art or business etc it will likely flow in line with your list except a school like IU which is a top b school.

Btw u noted access to internships…many/most kids today find on their own. That would be secondary to me as far as a choosing school point.

You have your safeties. Make sure you apply to 2 or 3. The guessing after that matters little as you have a home to go.

And if you struck out on all and you wont, there are safety schools you can get into may and later…just not on the list you provided.

Breathe deep. You’ve done a nice job segmenting.

Did I miss the major ?

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It seems to be true in our experience and with my son’s friends as well. I think your new categories are more realistic and agree with trimming the safeties and maybe other categories a bit too. Good luck.


She’ll almost certainly get into Utah (though not Honors). They are keen to add more OOS kids and they admit over 80% of applicants (pretty much anyone over 3.2 GPA). I don’t think there’s much need to search out a bunch of other safeties in the Mountain West. It’s a great school for outdoorsy kids, D18 loves it there and I’m hoping S23 will consider it. You can’t beat the skiing (30 mins away), but don’t forget the climbing, backpacking, rafting, etc also. SLC is a nice town with a booming economy and easy to fly into (it’s a Delta hub).

Utah is an easier admit than Boulder, and also much cheaper since you can get residency and instate tuition after the first year. No chance of admission at BYU though.


@tsbna44 Based on your analysis of the college data, were you able to make your predictions on grades and scores alone?

In other words, how much weight did you give to ECs, LORs, and essays? Assume an applicant has generally strong supplemental materials — not an outlier in either direction — and stats are within the 25-75 range, but closer to 75%. Would you predict acceptance or toss-up?

OP, to me, I think you are on track with your entire list and think the matches are numerous and solid enough, I am not sure you need more safeties.

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I think one uses the GPA and test score - but in general, I knew my daughter’s ECs were very good…much better than my son. So I see them either as good or not. They weren’t unique per se but they were typical - work, walking dogs, president of school humane society, leadership in youth groups at synogauge.

I “assumed” the essays were fine. Unique. Tightly written. But they are in the eye of the beholder. They certainly weren’t going to hurt. She answered the questions and didn’t have spelling errors.

If one is at 75% for both test and GPA, I would assume the student to be in - if they did the extras - apply early action if offered, demonstrated inerest if needed.

My daughter was WL at Emory (didn’t get off) and William & Mary (didn’t stay on). She was turned down UNC OOS and Rice - so these were tough.

She got into Washington & Lee which was the one I missed. It may or may not be related to we are Jewish and they are definitely seeking to grow.

The top schools rank wise (in addition to W&L) she got into were Florida, UGA, and Miami.

I think it’s fairly easy (at least on 80% of them) to pre-determine if you’ll get in or not. Yet, I read on other chains where someone clearly had little chance to get in somewhere and they are devastated they were turned down.

So basing in reality - as objective as one can be instead of assuming their kid is the best - definitely matters…if that makes sense.

Good luck.


Thank you! That is helpful. The major will likely be something along the lines of English/Communications/Advertising/Journalism.

Thanks. We love Utah and SLC for all the same reasons you mention. I think it would be a better fit for her than Boulder or CSU for many reasons. BYU is not on the list.