Northwestern or Notre Dame odds

Hi all…rising senior is looking at these two schools. She would be need to choose one to apply ED. We know they are both a reach with. 33 ACT and 4.0, ranked top 10 out of a class of 350. Several AP’s, Catholic, varsity swim captain, some leadership, hundreds of hours of service., and so on, much like every other kid applying to these two schools. As both of these meet full need, (and we do need), that doesn’t help us decide. Her plan at this point is Urban Planning, so graduate school is in the cards either way. From the common data set, it looks like Notre Dame would give her better odds. Thoughts?

She has two things going for her that will likely matter more at Notre Dame than at NW: Catholic and varsity swim captain.

A few comments in no particular order:
– ND does not have ED. It has non-binding Restrictive early action.
–Have you run the net price calculators for both schools? The college’s idea of meeting full need may be different from your idea of what your full need is.
–Does your child have a preference between these schools?
– I generally don’t recommend applying binding ED anywhere unless 1) an applicant has an absolute positive top choice and 2) there is no need to compare financial offers between schools. I am not sure either of these conditions are true for your rising senior.
–IMO I would apply to ND Restrictive Early Action so you retain the opportunity to compare financial offers between different colleges.

If focused on these two universities, then apply ED to her preferred school.

What attracts her to Northwestern University ?

Does she want to swim competitively during her college years ?

P.S. Although both Notre Dame & Northwestern University are outstanding schools, I think that your daughter should consider universities which offer an undergraduate major in her field of interest.

I suggest looking at the Univ. of California at Davis for Environmental Policy Analysis & Planning major with a concentration track in City & Regional Planning.

Other schools to consider include: Iowa State University , the University of Illinois, Cal State Poly in Pomona, Arizona State University & Mankato State in Minnesota.

@Buchholt : I do understand that UC-Davis may be unaffordable for a non-resident, nevertheless, an examination of the undergraduate offerings that I noted above may prove to be helpful in refining your daughter’s career & undergraduate interests.

As a resident of Wisconsin, your daughter may be eligible for in-state tuition at schools in Iowa, Minnesota & Illinois.

Your daughter may get a tuition free education at ASU–a school which offers a major or majors in her area of interest.

P.S. With an interest in urban planning, internships & externships are important, therefore, majoring in this area during one’s undergraduate years is quite important.

A somewhat related major is Public Policy Analysis. If interested, then consider Duke University. I believe that it is one of Duke’s largest majors by undergraduate enrollment.

We live in Indiana and our local schools send many kids to ND – the word about EA at ND is – talk to your admissions rep whether to apply EA, they will consider your record and give you individual advice for what you, specifically, should do. Apparently, EA is more competitive than RD and we’ve at least heard, though don’t know real life examples, that students can get rejected rather than deferred and for that reason, admissions may advise someone to wait for RD because of the risk of outright rejection. So, the higher acceptance rate for EA at ND may be because applicants have already been pre-screened and advised not to apply of they would likely not get in. We know students who were advised not to apply EA who were then admitted RD.

The swimming will matter only if the student is competitive enough to swim NCAA for the school, as a recruited athlete. That’s a matter of Swim times and the coach, not just whether the student wants to swim for ND.

I have no clue as to whether there is or is not a slight edge or even an impediment to apply EA to ND. My experience with the process was a big goof where the app got out early but Non SCEA which was noticed after release, and this great university was notified immediately early in the process. Student still accepted EA. Notified again of the gaffe , but the decision stood. Several students from that school get accepted and go to ND. Most of them do apply EA and it is their top choice. Our GC did not notice any additional difficulty in applying early though same admonition against applying early still strongly given—don’t if need stronger grades and test score showing that first semester senior year , because they may not make it into the consideration.

The other huge factor against applying early to any school is when that school does not defer all such applicants. Some kids really take that denial hard and it can demoralize them for the rest of the long Admissions season and senior year ahead. The hormones, they are a popping in teens and young adults and depression and despair, panic and rage are demons that flit in and out during this time. Denial, rejection can really inflame them further. I always recommend pairing Selective early applications with a highly likely accept school, maybe several. SCEA on part of ND eliminates the ability add so many of the Catholic schools where these applicants would be considered “quite the catch” with merit money in the offering as well. A state school with rolling admissions can be added into the mix, however.

An outright denial early from ND can be a serious litmus test as to how competitive the applicant is. My one kids very much knew where he stood after the early process with a deferral from Georgetown, accepts from BC and Binghamton and an accept with much merit from St Bonaventure. He then could temper his RD applications accordingly. I’m not sure if he would have bothered with the ivies or Willians had he been flat out rejected by Georgetown. I don’t know if that would have been a bad or good thing. It would have certainly been another information but to digest.

My young has stats close to OP’s DD and I considered him at the edge of acceptance at ND. ND was a reach for him absolutely, any way you look at it, as is with OP’s DD.

I think in this case , if there would be no regrets in going to NW, no longing wishes about ND, I d recommend an early bid to NW. it would leave things open for ND and NW for Rd if deferred. There is a bit of premium conferred on the applicant for ED by NW. it leads to a bit less of a possible drama and depression at the Early results time, if another EA or rolling app, perhaps several are also in the mix and are acceptances.

I’ve been in and out on this board for several years. Comparing stats of the older siblings and friends to this year’s class, I do think you should look at an EA or ED.

Being Catholic is no guarantee for getting into ND these days. And there’s some thought among Catholic circles that a Catholic high school is not working in favor at certain Catholic universities. Given the opaque nature of college admissions, we may never know.

NU is particularly hard to get into RD, so yes, ED for that reason might be advised. A 33 ACT is a just-barely-there in the most recent admitted classes at NU. Also note: NU Financial Aid is said to put more weight on the family’s home equity in the CSS Profile in coming up with their final numbers. This may not apply to your case. Be sure to run NU’s calculator specifically and don’t assume another elite’s price-tag is about the same.

But I really think you should talk to your daughter about finding a school that shines in her passion area and ED/EA to one of those. Sure, she might change majors, but then again she might not. She is interested in a cool field–why not get started now rather than wait for grad school? Look around for lists and articles on colleges with urban planning–within a minute, I found several to dig into.

Final thoughts on Financial Need: With any school you are applying to, if in doubt about the calculator or your financial situation, just call. We have done this with each child, with at least one school they were looking at. And if the financial aid office can’t or won’t help talk you through your situation, that is in itself a sign.