Only accepted to safety schools, thoughts?

<p>I'm currently high school senior, and now that the college process is over I wanted to share my situation and see what people's thoughts were. Based on my academic profile, I wanted to know what people think the weak point(s) in my application were and how I could improve if I reapply later on. I honestly feel that luck was not on my side, but I'm not sure if that's just me being subjective.</p>

<p>Here are my stats:
GPA: 3.9 unweighted (school only gives letter grades, never received lower than an A in any academic class)
SAT: 2170 (W: 780, CR: 710, Math: 680)
SAT II: Spanish: 770, Math 1: 650, Lit: 670
School only offers 4 AP's, took AP Spanish, as well as 3 college courses (received A's in all of them).</p>

<p>Extracurriculars:
-Newspaper Editor (past 4 years)
-President and Founder of school club that has raised $5000 for an orphanage that I volunteered at
-Received Travel abroad scholarship to Korea
-Participated in Prestigious Creative Writing Program (Kenyon Review Young Writers)
-I have been dancing outside of school for 10 years (ballet, modern, tap etc.) pre-professional program
-Club soccer throughout high school</p>

<p>Hooks: I am white, middle class, from a big city, I go to a very good somewhat artsy and alternative public school. However, I am trilingual (Italian, Spanish, English), and have spent many years living with family in Italy and attending public school there.</p>

<p>Schools applied to: R= rejected, W=waitlist, A=accept</p>

<p>Pomona-R
Swarthmore-R
Georgetown-R
Bowdoin-R
UPenn-R
Dartmouth-R
Northwestern-R
Middlebury-R</p>

<p>Williams-W
Haverford-W
Vassar-W
Kenyon-W</p>

<p>St. Olaf-A
SUNY Geneseo (Honors program)-A
SUNY Stonybrook (Honors program)- A</p>

<p>Thanks for your help/input!</p>

<p>What exactly is the problem?</p>

<p>Your safeties are presumably schools you can afford and which have the academic offerings you want, so you had three choices and are presumably will be attending one, right?</p>

<p>st olaf maybe cold weather wise, but you probably will be very happy, learn a lot and feel like part of a family there more so then the other schools! it is not about the classes ,biochem will be hard at any school. where ever you go just go with the mindset you are looking forward to an awesome four years and all the ups and downs that come with it! do not go off to college with regrets of I wish I could have gone here or there!(you will find out that rankings mean little) I think st olaf would be a great choice as would the others .
p.s. st olaf has a 93% or so freshman Student Retention rate that is a statement about a happy campus!</p>

<p>Your stats are good but not great for the second block of schools, probably a little low for the first block. But, your second block of schools still includes only highly selective schools. I think if you’d have included Pitzer, Sarah Lawrence, or Bates on your list, you might have seen some other acceptances. </p>

<p>If you’re thinking of taking a gap year and reapplying, consider getting some feedback on your essays – maybe there was something that had a less than favorable reaction there? If you’re up to it, studying to improve your math score could also help. Can your guidance counselor give you some frank feedback on the strength of you application?</p>

<p>Good luck – and the schools you’ve been admitted to are all good schools, where you can also get a fine education.</p>

<p>Are you still on the WL at those 4? Are you continuing to show interest?</p>

<p>Have you been in touch with profs. or anyone else from the college that you met at the Kenyon Writing program? If not, I’d suggest you do that now. Otherwise, pick the school that appeals to you the most, go, and do great.</p>

<p>Your safeties are good schools!! In making your college list presumably you picked safeties you were prepared to attend, because presumably you researched them and found them to be a fit. If that is the case, hopefully you will attend one and have a superb four years. I also concur with comments about St. Olaf, you will get a fine education within a wonderful, close-knit community. </p>

<p>To take a gap year and apply again, presumably for more prestige, seems unnecessary and burdensome, to me, because your safeties are all fine schools. What if the same thing happened next admission cycle, would you just keep on taking gap years and re-applying year after year in hopes of a new outcome?</p>

<p>My advice is to stick with one of your safeties and give it a chance! If, truly, it isn’t working after a year, apply for transfer to another school. But you really should give one of these three excellent schools a chance and stop feeling badly about “prestige,” as this is really what this is about. We are really all saying you have three fine options here.</p>

<p>Yes, admissions is stressful and can be a crapshoot. But sometimes it isn’t just luck. You were probably competing against students with slightly stronger apps, in ways that ONLY the admissions officers of those schools can explain. It isn’t always just about scores and grades. Therefore, a perusal of your resume doesn’t give us the option to give a hard and fast answer to “why”? And, as hard as this is right now, this is not about your worth as a person or as a student. Good schools accepted you! Don’t dismiss your fine, available opportunties.</p>

<p>OP, what did your high school counselor say? If other people from your year or last year with similar GPA and SAT got similar results, that’s one thing. If they were getting accepted, then it’s more likely bad luck. The Middlebury rejection surprises me because of your strength in foreign languages. </p>

<p>The only “weakness” I see is taking one AP course out of the four offered.</p>

<p>One other possibility: what does your high school’s profile look like? Does your high school typically send some students each year to the schools you applied to, or did you apply to an unusual list? </p>

<p>Regardless, the schools that accepted you are getting a great student who’s clearly interested in a variety of things. It’s the other schools’ loss. :)</p>

<p>Nothing useful to add, but you seem to have already lived an amazing life! I have a kid who did club soccer and editor, and can’t imagine him doing all that other stuff too!</p>

<p>I have a friend whose dd15 goes to Hunter College(high school in NYC) and MOST of the students there apply to SUNY GENESEO as a safety… so that speaks to the quality of the college.</p>

<p>You way over-applied to stretch schools and way under-applied to match schools. </p>

<p>For the LACs, for example, you applied to US News schools numbers 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10 and 14. But only one in the 15 to 50 LAC group (which are still selective schools). Not a good idea no matter what your stats are. </p>

<p>You applied to #6 Bowdoin but not 21 Bates or 21 Colby. 4 Pomona but not 18 Mudd, 29 Scripps, 37 Occi or 42 Pitzer. 3 Swarthmore and 10 Haverford but not 25 Bryn Mawr, 29 Bucknell, 40 Lafayette or 42 F&M. 14 Vassar but not 49 Skidmore…</p>

<p>Your stats and ECs are very good, but your test scores are not stellar for the schools you applied to. Keep in mind that most schools weigh SAT CR and M more heavily than W, and some don’t consider W at all. You knocked it out of the park on SAT W which elevates your CR+M+W, but your SAT CR+M is 1390–very good, but again not stellar for schools at this level–and two of your SAT subject tests are sub-700, again good but nothing that’s going to knock their socks off. Given those scores, I’d say every school you applied to was a reach, except Kenyon, St. Olaf, and your two SUNYs—and you were accepted at 3 out of those 4 and waitlisted at Kenyon. Look at the acceptance rates at the schools that rejected you; they’re all under 25%, as are those at most of the schools that waitlisted you (except Kenyon at 39%). Any school with less than a 25% admit rate I would just automatically count as a reach even with stats around the top quartile, and your stats were not that high for these schools.</p>

<p>Kenyon I’d rate as a match given your stats and its somewhat more generous admit rate, but sometimes you don’t get into your matches (and you had only one true match), which is why you have safeties. I think if you had applied to more schools with a 40%+ admit rate–e.g., Macalester, Lafayette, Union, Trinity, or on the research university side U Rochester, Lehigh, or Boston University–you’d likely have gotten into some or most of them.</p>

<p>A safety is supposed to be a school you’d be happy to attend, if it comes to that. You’ve been accepted at 3 very good schools. Attend, be happy, learn, and make the best of it. Nothing is to be gained by feeling sorry for yourself for not getting into reachier schools. You could take a gap year and reapply to a different batch of schools, but I’m not sure any of your realistic matches on the second round would be so much better than the schools where you’ve already been accepted as to make that a sensible strategy. </p>

<p>Also, if SlitheyTove is right in construing what you say about APs to mean you took only one out of the 4 available AP classes, it would be difficult for your HS GC to check the box that said you took the most challenging curriculum available to you. That pretty much takes you out of contention at many of the highly selective schools on your list.</p>

<p>Your ECs were very good, but your academics probably didn’t match up to those schools’ standards.
Which college will you be attending next year? (:</p>

<p>Totally agree with BC.</p>

<p>The feedback of those stretch schools was extremely consistent. So there’s no reason to expect that you would do any different with that list of schools on a second go-round. </p>

<p>Your choice is to (i) pick one of your safety schools or (ii) wait a year and then apply to those match-type schools that you didn’t apply to (but should have).</p>

<p>If you really don’t like St. Olaf (#53 LAC), don’t go there. But if you like it, do you want to wait a year just for the chance that you could perhaps attend a different LAC that is ranked in the 30s or 40s instead?</p>

<p>Safety schools are the only ones you should be expecting to get into. Matches you should know there is a chance, but never certain. Reaches you should never expect to get into, even if you go by the mantra of “apply to 10 reach schools and chances are you’ll get into a few”. Now I applied to many reach schools, but I had comparitively better GPA, rigor, and test scores than you but I was never expecting to get into any of them. I was rejected by 3 of my reach schools, and waitlisted at 3 reach, 1 match and accepted at 3 reach, 1 match, and 4 safeties. So I had more safeties and less reaches. I am glad you are passing on your experience, and hopefully it will help other applicants notice the type of school lists they should have. I hope you chose St. Olaf, it looks like an awesome school! And don’t be down about where you didn’t get in, be excited for where you were!</p>

<p>You didn’t have a lot of matches. You will still be happy at your safety, and everything works out they way it should. (Same thing happened to my daughter, so I know what I’m talking about.) I wish you luck and happiness!</p>

<p>Bloom where you are planted!</p>

<p>And if it makes you feel any better, I know several who attend St. Olaf. They were at the top of their HS classes. I also know several others who applied to St. Olaf, also from the top of the HS class, that were waitlisted or flat out rejected. What I’m saying is that you should still feel very proud and honored that you got into St. Olaf. It’s very selective school that also produces some the happiest college students I know.</p>

<p>As others have said, too many reaches given your scores and academic rigor, not enough matches (really only Kenyon). </p>

<p>Unlike others here, I think a gap year is a great idea, especially if you are not satisfied with the results of your application process and have a good alternative in mind. Consider spending more time in Italy with your family there - if you have dual citizenship, see if you can find work. Or volunteer with an organization that has a mission you care about - that orphanage perhaps? Or another organization that is focused on child welfare? Or if you have a career objective that you’d like to test out, this might be a good time to look into it further.</p>

<p>You’ll also have the time to rethink your college list (and possibly study for and retake your SAT). Since most schools will superscore, you can keep the great writing score and focus on getting your CR and Math up.</p>

<p>If you still end up at a safety in the end, no harm done: You don’t get a prize for finishing a year earlier.</p>

<p>Thank you all for your helpful responses. I really appreciate everyone taking the time to help. I agree that I should have applied to more match schools, or more schools that are typically less common for people in my school to apply to. I considered applying to Davidson, Occidental, Trinity, Connecticut College and Boston College, but ended up not. I probably should have as I may have had a better chance at those schools. My parents were very discouraging of me applying anywhere without great financial aid, but I ended up getting a very good aid package at st. olaf, which is not 100% need-blind or need-met.</p>

<p>I agree that I should have taken more AP’s but my school really only offers math and science AP’s which is not really what I am interested in (although I have always done well in those classes). I took college courses in Theology and Poly Sci, mainly just because I was interested in them, but also to show colleges that I wasn’t just slacking off in my senior year. I also took an extra curricular french class and really went above and beyond what most seniors at my school were taking.</p>

<p>I think I was surprised to not get into Kenyon because I felt the writing program would be a huge help. I guess I was wrong about that. Last summer they really made the young writers feel like they should apply to Kenyon as a “safety”, and that they view young writers differently from the other applicants. I really fell in love with the school and was very disappointed. I initially felt my waitlisting might have something to do with finances. My family has a very low income, and a low family contribution on Fafsa, and Kenyon does admit that they cannot afford to be need-blind. A lot of kids got into Kenyon from my school. To be honest, most of them had weaker academic stats (lowers SAT’s and GPA’s) and less interesting extracurriculars. They are all wealthier than I am, which didn’t quite seem like a coincidence. </p>

<p>For a while I was really leaning towards going to St. Olaf, as I really liked it whenI visited. I do worry a lot about the Minnesota winters and the lack of diversity. Also, I was not thrilled with the classes I sat in on. The profs were great, but there was a lot of texting and hair twirling and students who had not done the HW. However, I do feel I could have a good experience here. That said, I do have a lot of opportunities open to me, I have 3 passports, and some money saved up from my summer job, and a part of me agrees with M’s Mom that I don’t have anything to lose by taking a gap year. I will not lose my scholarship at St. Olaf and I might try to remedy some of the mistakes I made the first time around.</p>

<p>I agree that my first block was aiming too high. This time I would re-apply ED to the schools I got waitlisted at, probably Williams ED 1 and Haverford Ed 2. I would also probably apply to Scripps, occidental, pepperdine, davidson, bc, cc etc. I would not re apply to any of the schools I got rejected from. I am still not 100% sure about my choice. I agree that I don’t want to do this for prestige reasons. I don’t just want to go to a brand name school. I just want to make sure that I am in a place with other highly motivated individuals and rigorous academics.</p>

<p>I don’t want to take a gap year just for the purpose of re-applying, but I do feel it could help me become stronger as an individual, while possibly helping my chances of admission. I do feel that ED would show these schools a greater level if commitment, especially from a student who was waitlisted and re-applied. My guidance counselor thought this was a good idea. Any thoughts?</p>

<p>Thank you all again, I’,m sorry this post was so long!</p>

<p>I think your post was wonderful. It was thoughtful, intelligent, impressively mature…All the things you clearly are. Though I said I think St. Olaf is an excellent school, you noted one of its drawbacks: the lack of diversity. And, if you WERE underwhelmed by the classes, well…it is important and significant that this was your response. Since you clearly did your homework on this one safety, don’t discount your feelings about what you discovered there on your visit. If the St. Olaf money will not be lost – as in you can defer for a year while you figure things out – maybe you should spend time re-doing your application cycle. Because CLEARLY you are aware of what the flaw in your strategy was: not enough matches!!!</p>

<p>You are approaching this with clear eyes and intelligence. Whatever you do: good luck!!!</p>