Next steps for talented, hardworking student

GAP year students are eligible for QB. QB says ‘applicants must graduate from high school during or before the summer of 2022’, so a student who graduated in June 2021 did in fact graduate before the summer of 2022, and would have been eligible to apply for QB Fall 2022.

The student must not have taken any college courses during their gap year though (so have maintained incoming freshman status).

hkimpossible from the infamous reject train thread was a gap year student who applied thru QB in 2020.

OP can contact QB to verify, although I encourage them to apply to some of the NMF schools mentioned above and go to college this fall.


This is insane! I suspect it is his essays? Over his gap, have him apply to internships at startups - I know many that would take someone like him.

Best of luck! I am so sorry, he absolutely is qualified for many schools he was rejected from.

Yes…but that doesn’t mean he has a chance to be accepted to those schools if he re-applies.


It’s a blackbox, if it’s really his essays that weren’t up to par, fixing that would approve his chances quite a bit. I agree the chance is low, but worth it trying again to me considering the schools he got into.

Are you saying changing the essays can turn a ‘No’ into a ‘yes’ at a school that previously denied OP, all things being equal?

Of course we don’t know if the essays were problematic, the LoRs could be lacking.

Fundamentally there’s not much time, 6 months or so, before OP would have to get 2023 apps in, if they did take a gap year….that’s not much time to move the needle EC wise.

I highly recommend that users not PM essays to anyone they don’t know.

An alternative avenue for essay review is outlined below.


Sorry about that! I’m new to college confidential, used to just giving advice on Reddit, and I totally didn’t know this was against the rules. Sorry again!

That’s very fair. I guess I was going off the fact that USACO, USAMO, Google Code Jam are very good ECs already, in my opinion. I don’t know how much more he could improve there, so I made a (perhaps hasty) assumption it was something like essays.

On Reddit, there are several international seeking full aid types who have done it.

Or so they say…


True. But same could be said of cc.

I would think that the argument for a gap year would be, not so much that he could expect different results from the schools he did apply to this year, but that there are quite a few excellent full-need-met schools, less selective than the super-elites he chose but more selective than the schools now available to him, where a better-crafted application might be very well-received. Also, if he could apply through Questbridge, that could open doors as well. We also still don’t know what his own in-state options might be.

HOWEVER, it appears that NMF scholarships are now or never. I agree that UT-Dallas could be a great fit if he could make that happen. A good bird-in-the-hand would be better than gambling on a whole new admissions cycle. But if it’s a gap year vs. the kind of loans that VT or Penn State would require, then heavens yes, take the gap year! Those schools never had the potential to be affordable and should never have been on his list at all. (PSU isn’t even affordable for in-state low-income students!) It sounds like RPI is unaffordable as well (which makes sense since they do not meet full need), although pursuing it with their financial aid office is worth a try - it could be a good fit if the money worked.

So, first order of business is to pursue the still-available options for this year, i.e. UTD and the others mentioned upthread. See what the best case scenario is at RPI and whether it’s possible. If none of that works out, taking a gap year and reapplying does have potential, so long as he’s not thinking of it primarily as a do-over with the same list of schools; his prospects are better as a first-time applicant at schools he didn’t consider this year. But securing an NMF full ride this year would be ideal; he can always look at transfer and/or grad school options down the road. Rooting for this to turn out well; he sounds like an amazing kid who just didn’t know how to navigate the application process.


usamo kid should get a look from any school, especially t100 usamo. like, that’s one of the 100 best students in math. adding all the reasons I said above, he actually has a really good chance at a quant job.


this is more like it — the author’s son is actually a good candidate for quant and likely would get in regardless of the college he attends


Only if he gets an interview. The truth is that the big funds do not look past 10-20 schools.

Once he has his 1st job (however he gets it), school is irrelevant.

And there isn’t a perfect correlation between how well you do as a quant and how well you do in math competitions. Applying math to real life situations is another skill.

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I agree with this. The quant shops are very meritocratic in terms of hiring among the people they look at, but the toughest part for the OP’s son is getting considered.

It’s not impossible, as a top 100 USAMO score will be noticed, but will require substantial outreach to the firms.

I’m sure this was very challenging for your family. You have every reason to be very proud of your very accomplished son. At this point, don’t ask about “how many leaders we need in our community or country” as you put responded, instead simply recognize that colleges seek leaders in their pool of applicants. For your son to stand out, it is important for them to see he has experience as a leader. Wherever he goes to college, please encourage him to join some clubs and/or service leagues both to get to know other students and also to seek leadership opportunities. This will matter for grad school too. If he takes a gap year, he should consider starting or joining a group that provides tech and/or chess lessons to disadvantaged kids so that he can align his interests with making a difference. I’m hardly an expert but I think the “leadership piece” is what was missing from his story. Also, he could always attend one of these wonderful schools like Virginia Tech, etc and then transfer. Or he can stay and do very well academically and attend a top grad program. There are lots of resources and videos online (look at youtube) regarding crafting a compelling college essay to help if he takes a gap year.

@davidng - Thinking of you and your son! Hope things are looking up for you. How are things going so far this week?


I hope things are going well on your search this week. I just found out one of my son’s good friends is going to UTexas-Dallas on a full ride scholarship for CS. She, like your son, is a National Merit finalist. I hope you can get something similar! Good luck!


Sadly, taking a year off to determine if his essays weren’t up to par or he doesn’t fit into some other category, seems a bit wasteful.
Sounds like he has great abilities and has done many great things. What about attending a school this year and planning to transfer in a year or two?