Only Accepted to 2/19 Colleges.. why?

Hi! I’m still coping and I know why (thinking stats) but I thought my extracurriculars and essays would make up for subpar stats. Here I go with my profile…


  • Domestic student
  • Asian
  • live in a relatively competitive county, mainly stem focused though
  • public school
  • seeking aid, income around 120k


  • 3.86UW GPA
  • 11 APs (including senior year)
  • 4.52 weighted GPA
  • 1440 SAT (test optional some places and submitted some other places)


  • 1.3 mil followers on tiktok where I post study tips and productivity motivation. Worked with major brands like Grammarly, pentel, vera Bradley, photomath, etc. signed with an agency. (9-12)

  • future business leaders of America. Secretary soph year, pres jr year, fundraising chair senior year. Went to nationals 10, 11, and 12. State champ last year. (9-12)

  • speech and debate. extemporaneous speaking and original oratory competitor. captain 11 and 12 grade. 3x national bids, multiple medals. (10-12)

  • law firm internship summer before jr year. Assisted paralegals and attorneys with insurance contacting and basic law firm stuff.

  • county wide student council. LAC committee member sophomore year, Vice President junior year, creator of my own mentorship committee and chair for that committee. Speak for and lead all middle and HS student in my county (58,000+). (10-12).

  • board member and financial literacy instructor of a women in investment NPO. (11-12)

  • video engagement and marketing intern for an NPO that aims to help students navigate resources for post secondary plans. (10-12)

  • executive student government school board. Raise money for fundraisers, plan homecoming, chosen as 1 of 12 students to serve from the school. (10-12)

  • mock trial. Served as a witness and attorney, became captain my senior year. (10-12)

  • creator of small organization outside of school where I hosted panels and workshops to promote the field of business within women. (11-12)


  • my grandmother passed away suddenly my junior year and my dad works most of the day so I had to take care of my brother who is in elementary school because my mom had to go to india for a month which slightly influencer my grades (I lost my 4.0) so I wrote about that

Additional extracurriculars:

  • after apps were submitted I was hired as a paid marketing and social media lead by a restaurant holding company in my area for three restaurants to create content and work on promotional items


  • I sort of included this in the extracurricular portion but they were all from FBLA and speech and debate.

Additional supplements:
I completed research under a program in my district on government welfare reform. I compiled a 35 page synthesis paper and received a 100% on it. I submitted the abstract a couple places.


University of Pennsylvania ED (reject)
Uchicago (EA, defer, reject)
UMD EA (accepted + scholars program)

Ivies (all reject)
Duke (reject)
Stanford (reject)
University of Michigan (reject)
New York University (reject)
Vanderbilt (reject)
UNC Chapel Hill (waitlisted)
Barnard College of Columbia (waitlisted)
Boston University (waitlisted)
George Washington University (accepted with a merit presidential scholarship of 22k a year)

Final thoughts + essay:
I wrote my common app essay about how I hated the sound of my voice and I turned to pens and stationery as a sanctuary. I began my TikTok account by posting simplistic videos without my voice but after gathering the courage to include my voice in a TikTok, my following base grew exponentially and I was helping thousands of students. I discussed how I was able to help others and realize my voice was a powerful tool on social media but it also allowed me to find my place in the business world and academically.

I’m disappointed to say the least, especially given how I’ve dreamed about this for years. I’ll be choosing UMD as it’s in state and essentially free for at least a year. I’m going to 100% transfer. I regret not applying to some schools like USC, northwestern, UC berkeley, georgetown, etc. but I can apply next year.


Admissions seem unpredictable at those rejective schools.
Best wishes at UMD & hope you enjoy Scholars, it’s really good. Are you in Smith?


yes, smith! it’s not a bad school! thanks for ur best wishes :slight_smile: hoping a waitlist pulls through but I’m intending on transferring but I’ll def make the most out of my first year

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Congratulations! You should be extremely proud of your acceptances at UMD and GW with scholarships. Both are excellent schools!

The short answer is the majority of your schools have incredibly small acceptance rates. And the ones you wished you’d included still fall into that group. Aside from maybe UMD, you had no safeties or matches on your list.

As an aside Berkeley doesn’t give FA to OOS students and aid for transfers in general varies much more widely so do your research prior to making your transfer list.


Please go to UMD with the intention of doing well, and staying there. It’s a great school! Many many people from would love to be in your shoes.

You have a fabulous and affordable acceptance. Congratulations.


I will also add that UC Berkeley only accepts Junior level transfers and as noted they offer little no financial aid to OOS students.


Why? You may 100% love it! It’s a great school, you’re basically getting a free ride, it offers a lot of opportunities…Why assume you’re going to want to leave before you’ve even tried it? Please try to go in with an open mind and a positive attitude. You will end up torpedoing yourself if you don’t, in my opinion.


There’s no way to know why someone was rejected. When you apply to schools with a sub 10% acceptance, rejection is the likely outcome.

It could be - depending on the school - gender, race, geography. It could have been your essay or LORs (some get from the wrong subjects…they don’t follow the college’s instructions). It could be lots of things.

If someone has 1.3 million followers on tik tok, it seems to me you can skip college and start cashing in the sponsorships!!! That’s impressive!!! You should be with Chegg or some other company cashing in.

Seriously, you did it right - you reached but had a few that were possible.

I would actually say you got lucky - I would have applied to a lower level school Neither UMD or GW are easy gets.

So you have a fantastic landing spot. Sorry it didn’t work out at others but that’s why people have safeties (although you had matches, not safeties). And you can only go to one - and oh you got a great one.

Best of luck


I’ve got two Terps now!
They have met some wonderful people. It took a lot of effort at first especially during the shut down.

They do know of students who did or hope to transfer; others are exploring study abroad and internships, bc can take lighter load with AP credits.

Bring a good attitude and others will respond in kind.

There is active South Asian group, my D22 has friends in it, another South Asian dance group went on to a big competition.
My D20 was in Scholars and met lots of interesting kids, too. Scholars has some good community service opportunities, too.
Really wish you a wonderful time.


In constructing your college list, you seem mostly to have avoided match colleges. With your concentration on reaches, your results do not appear to differ greatly from what reasonably might have been expected. However, of the matches to which you did apply, your success rate was respectable. To have increased your number of acceptances, then, you would need to have chosen to apply to more match colleges.


I’m sorry you are disappointed with your results. Unfortunately, admissions these days are extremely tough on almost all applicants. I agree with the consensus you have received … your list was really, really reach heavy. You have a couple matches and honestly I don’t know if anything on your list was a safety.

Your application highlight is your interesting extracurricular resume … congrats on all of your hard work and creativity! Your gpa and standardized score are good, but applying to such competitive universities, I don’t think they significantly helped you or hurt you, for that matter. And I know you did not submit your SAT to all of the colleges.

The major you applied for (if you specified), state of residence, the specific high school you attend (some of the super competitive colleges you applied to strongly favor certain high schools) and your request for financial aid are all factors that could potentially have played a part.

Since you seem determined to try to transfer (hopefully you will be really happy at Maryland and change your mind), I wanted to just make sure you were aware of a couple things:

As others have mentioned, the colleges you said you wish you had applied to (I’m assuming that you are thinking you may have had a good shot at acceptance) like Georgetown, Northwestern and USC are very much in the same ballpark as all of the colleges you were rejected from. So if you do decide to try to transfer, please know that you may want to expand the acceptance rate of the universities you apply to. And know that the transfer acceptance rate at many colleges and universities is significantly lower than the general first year undergrad acceptance rate. So my advice is research which universities are known to accept a good number of transfers, and avoid applying to universities who have a reputation of rejecting most transfers.

And specific to Georgetown, since you mentioned it, and in case you don’t already know, they require you to submit all standardized test scores. So if you are thinking of retaking the SAT to push for a higher score, you will still have to submit all of your other scores to Georgetown.

Here is a list of a few schools I thought you may want to consider for your “transfer list”. I don’t know and I don’t have time to research if any of these particular colleges are welcoming to transfers:

UVA, Wake Forest, William and Mary, Wellesley (slightly better acceptance rate than another women’s college on your list, Barnard where you were waitlisted), Scripps, Vassar, Rochester, Richmond, Miami and Boston College. I think this list includes a few more matches (not safeties) compared to your original list.

Good luck, we are all cheering for you!


The converse also may be the case. WUStL, to name one example, appears to accept transfers at twice the rate of first-year applicants.

thank you. I’m a business major, I think I forgot to specify.

i think a couple people in this thread confused me mentioning georgetown, USC, and northwestern as schools im looking to transfer to— I mentioned those as schools I wish I had additionally applied to. of course they’re in the same tier of being reaches but I would never know now if I would’ve gotten in. people get rejected everywhere but from one all the time so I wish I tried to those schools as well.

i understand my chances are the same if not slimmer at those schools for transferring, but I’m just going to try to put my best foot forward. and yes, I’m retaking the SAT next week actually. i have an internship lined up for this summer and plans to get my research published.

since UMD is in state for me, it was my safety I guess you could say. i worked really hard in high school (like a lot of people) so it feels like everything went to waste. i could’ve been smarter in applying to more colleges (like the ones I mentioned earlier) just to shoot my shot, or just in general have been smarter with my list (stanford and uchicago and vanderbilt were all schools I wasn’t genuinely interested in and didn’t have the business program ideal for me) so yeah I made mistakes along the way. i did this process all by myself, thought about it by myself since I was in 7th grade.

i know I’m lucky to have what I have of course. I’m not going to make myself miserable my first year. however, my extracurriculars were my priority for so long and UMD just isn’t what I worked so so much for. given I want to go to into business (possibly consulting, a prestige heavy major), I really really want to get into a more prestigious university

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thank you for your kind words :slight_smile: it’s refreshing to see people proud of me haha my parents are so disappointed and all my friends look down on me. so many bets and expectations were on me in specific. i was known as the girl who “did all the activities” and who had a “bright future”. now it just seems as though I’m just average. i feel like I could’ve done less than half of what I did and would’ve ended up with the same results. not only have I disappointed myself but jsut so many people around me

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Oh dear, I am so sorry to hear this. It’s hard enough when you put this kind of pressure on yourself, but absolutely miserable when others put this pressure on you and make you feel like you’ve let them down if it doesn’t go the right way.

Please know that you don’t owe anyone anything. You are wonderful and worthy and smart and destined for great things…No matter where you go to college.

Maybe in terms of college admissions, but that’s not all there is in life. Your experiences made you who you are. They made you better, smarter, more outgoing, more empathetic, more savvy. That doesn’t go away once college admissions season is over. Those experiences - and the ways they’ve contributed to your personal and professional growth - belong to you, Your achievements don’t get erased or taken away from you because some college turns you down. Embrace your journey and be proud of who you have become through it.


I am so sorry your family is disappointed.

UMD Smith will open some great doors for you. The general public has no idea.

See Student Outcomes – SmithCareers


I can certainly understand how 17 rejections (or 15 plus two wait lists that are still in limbo if I read this correctly) would be disappointing.

One thing to think about: What do all of the schools that you applied to have in common? What do you want in a university?

The top universities are looking for students who is a good fit for them. If you can clearly articulate why any one particular school is a good fit for you, then I think that this is likely to come across somewhere in your application and thereby improve your chances. I think that it might be hard to articulate why all of the schools on your list are a good fit for one person.

I agree with other responses that you have been accepted to two very good universities. Many students have UMD and/or GWU as their dream schools. You can get a very good education at either of them.

If you do go ahead and try to transfer after one or two years, I would recommend that you think quite carefully about what you want in a university that you could not get at UMD.

I would also encourage you to take advantage of the many opportunities that will be available at UMD. You are likely to find that it is a very good university where you can do very well for a full four years.

Also, if you do very well at UMD and graduate with a bachelor’s degree from there, and if you take advantage of internship and/or research and/or other opportunities, then the top schools will still be there if you are at some point in the future looking to apply to a graduate programs. The top ranked graduate programs have students who got their bachelor’s at a very wide range of universities. I know several people who got their graduate degree at an Ivy league or “top 10” program after getting a bachelor’s at a school ranked equal or lower than UMD. I used to know a lot more of them when I was a graduate student at Stanford.


One of the two Google co-founders is a UMD grad. Anyone looking down on him? But since you asked what went wrong, here’s my 2 cents worth (pardon the bluntness):

  1. An SAT score of 1440 is not going to cut it for the Ivies or T10.

  2. Elite colleges re-calculate GPA using their own methods, so your weighted 4.52 is likely not 4.52 in their eyes.

3a. If you had athletic achievements instead of spreading yourself all over with multiple board memberships, that would be look better.

3b. Not all boards are created equal. If admission committees can’t get a clear idea of what an organization is about and what tangible results you created for the community within 30 seconds, it’s not going to mean anything.

  1. How was the quality of your letters of recommendation?

  2. How did you do during your interviews?

Hindsight is 20-20 but some doors close while others open. As a business major, you’ll likely need to get a MBA at some point. Other responses are correct when they say to think twice before transferring. Look at it this way: if you want a MBA from a M7 business school, you’ll need to have impressive work experience when you apply. And that means lots of networking. Would you rather stay at UMD where you can plan with the benefit of continuity or transfer to a new school just to start over?


IMHO, you should be writing about your strengths, not weaknesses. You need to sell yourself—that’s how you succeed! I worry that your essay came across as showing lack of confidence. Successful people are comfortable in their own skin…


Yes merc81 I agree, this is true.

iseeusee just needs to take time to thoroughly research which colleges they might be interested in which are also transfer friendly.

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