Rambling, but would appreciate insight!

Hi! I was on these boards a few years back with my oldest, and am back now with my youngest - the finale! I barely could figure out how to post back then, so it’ll be something if I get this off the ground…

We had a great app process with my oldest - she was a high-achiever, did ED, got in, and it has been a match made in heaven with her school, thankfully.

My youngest is coming up the pipeline and has very high stats and a strong resume covering most bases. I’m not going to list everything out, because even if she invented a cure for Covid in our basement, you aren’t guaranteed anything in terms of entry into a Level 1 school. (<—- big part of my post, here)

Her dream school is a Level 1 school. She isn’t mesmerized by the Ivy aspect, because she toured others and only one checked “all of the boxes” on her methodical list and she isn’t wanting to apply to others.

She is also interested in a Level 2 school. We haven’t been able to see the campus, but hoping to get her there for an independent walk-around in a month. She has been advised to apply ED to the Level 2 school. (I hope she likes it when she sees it, and obviously, this whole scenario will change if she doesn’t)

Here’s my big, dumb, silly thing (in the grand scheme of things)… she will never know if she could have made it into the level 1 school. I asked her how she felt about it, and she replied, “that’s just something I’d have to get over, mom.” I think an alien must have birthed her, because where she is wise and mature, I’m petty and totally immature!!!

I know the importance of positioning and strategy and have read many a horror story of the kid with a 36, not playing their cards right and getting into safeties only, if they are lucky.

Rereading my words, it is very clear, to just keep moving forward. I’m sure in 2 years from now, she’ll be dolled up wearing whatever school colors, having the time of her life, blah, blah, blah… I guess my question is to other parents that may have been in the same boat, does that “what if” haunt you or your child?

@skieurope - I’d love for you to weigh in. Your comments are direct and to the point. You scare me, but in a good way.

Thanks everyone!

Can you describe why she’s not going for the level 1? Is it because she wants to concentrate on more likely schools a bit lower or use an ED?
You only mention that she only wants to apply to the level 1 school which seems odd to me even if she’s an Olympian with perfect stats. There is no guarantee.
I’m not sure what you are asking?

Unless she is a recruited athlete, why does she need to apply ED to the 2nd tier school if a better school is her dream school? You said someone advised her to do this but it isn’t clear who or why.

@Happytimes2001 Thanks for your reply… just to clarify, she is willing to apply to other schools and let the dream school go. The advice we have gotten (and I agree with the angle), if she goes RD to the level 2 school, they could think they are her “fall back” or just plain reject her. ED gives her a little boost at her #2 vs. getting rejected at both.

My question is more regarding letting go of the “what if” and moving past that… : )

Well, I think it depends on the kid actually. If you have a kid who is a super star and wants to attend #1, then apply. The trick is knowing if the kid is really a super star or is a super star within the context of a small group (like the local high school). You can see who actually gets into these #1 schools ( and many similar ones who do not).
Letting go is hard for a 17 year old. They might have that idea, what if I had applied to X. But if it’s not really likely then I’d show my kid the stats of the likelys, compare their stats and let them make the decision.
BTW, I am a long shot ( 3 Ivy degrees and come from a low SES background so I’m intrigued by the risk taking aspect of it all). But the world is also very different than it was.

1 Like

Honestly I would have her apply to wherever she wants to…“Level 1”, “Level 2” and also matches and her State U (which will have an Honors program if she wants to be at the Level 1 level).
If her ED is not truly her first choice, I would not do ED.


I think a kid can craft an application to even a “level 4” (if they’ve got stats for a level 1) that makes for a compelling “why us” argument. I’d not bother with early given what you’ve written- a well edited list of reach, match, safety, within the bounds of what you can afford, and kick the can down the road until you see what her options are.

Why hem her in early in the process? Some kids change a lot senior year…

I appreciate the comments! I feel like the major thing I’ve learned from these boards is that Level 1 is a dream for many, but the odds are very unrealistic. I think I have “play if safe!” ingrained in my brain.

I’m not sure if which state you are from for “representation” is even a “thing?” That could be in her favor.

Your D doesn’t need to be keeping up in a sophomore seminar right now since she’s only in HS. All she needs to do is to discover what she likes/wants, and to find a range of colleges that provide that- some easier to get admitted to than others. That’s it.

Admissions officers rarely accept kids who can’t “go to head to head”. Take a look at the retention rate of various schools-- the more competitive schools know what they are doing in terms of admitting kids who can keep up (a hefty majority of their applicants) AND providing academic support since even superstars can hit a speed bump.

Does the 2nd tier school offer ED2? If so, take your shot at the the 1st tier school ED1 and if your daughter gets denied or deferred, apply ED2 to the other school (although ED2 admission rates are usually lower than ED1 rates). If the 2nd tier school doesn’t offer ED2, then you and your daughter have to make a decision. Apply to the 1st tier school ED and risk not getting into either school (because it will be harder to get into the 2nd tier school RD) or apply to the 2nd tier school and always have to wonder if you would have gotten into the 1st tier school. With my DD, we opted to apply ED to the 2nd tier school because we thought it very unlikely that she could get into a 1st tier school. She got in and we believe that we made the correct decision.

1 Like

Question:Does she herself refer to it as a “level 2” school? (What even is “level 2” - outside the top 10, 20, 30?)
When you say she was advised to apply to the “level 2” school ED - by who? Her school counselor?

Also bluntly - I’ve read the long post a couple of times and I’m still not sure if the possible “what if” regret is coming more from you or from her. If it is from her and she would certainly rather go the “level 1” then assuming the “level 2” school has ED2 (most of the one outside the very top tier do) I’d agree with applying early at choice 1 and using ED2 at choice 2.

Hmm, explicitly not at the schools we were looking at. Binding is binding and the schools still get what they want out of ED. A number encouraged ED2 if it meant the student would have a stronger application (waiting on test scores, mid year grades, awards etc)

@blossom I edited my post and erased the part where I was doubting if my daughter could go up against other Ivy bound kids, because I felt mean. Thank you for putting things into perspective!

@TheBigChef I feel like you have walked my future walk!

No ED 2 available, unfortunately.

I’m sorry, I think I should be using “Tier” instead of “Level.” The schools are ranked any way you slice it. :wink:

@SJ2727 For sure, the potential “regret” is stemming more from me vs. her - no secret there! Besides asking her how she’d feel about foregoing the long shot #1, I have kept everything to myself. (and my husband, who keeps wearing merch from said #1 every chance he gets! :woman_facepalming:t3:)

Highly selective schools such as UChicago which offer ED2 may see many applications from those who didn’t get through ED1. Thus admission rates could be lower in such schools compared those of tier2 schools.

So I’d say, if it’s her decision and she knows what she wants (this may be more the question at that age), accept it. Be happy for her to be happy rather than what gives the parents more bragging rights.

@Samroy i don’t really understand your statement but no matter as I know what we were told directly by schools, and I believe Chicago is the only “top tier” school to offer Ed2 anyway.( Most schools do not allow reapplication into ED2 from those who were rejected ED1, you seem to be implying that Chicago does?) OP is looking at “level 2” for ED remember

I don’t really think in terms of tier or level or whatever. If a kid likes challenge, then rigor might be important, but that is part of “fit,” which is the priority, not place in any ranking system. I think it helps not to view the whole thing so hierarchically.

it sounds like this can be entirely in her own hands, as long as finances aren’t part of it.

You might be overthinking things too. I would think she can apply to any schools she wants to apply to, RD. If she visits and/or communicates (visits depending on COVID) as school will be much less likely to view her as seeing them as backup.

If a kid stresses and it helps to do early decision, fine. And if she already likes a school, regardless of “tier”, then that’s fine for early decision too.

You don’t want to base all this on spending the rest of your life being able to say your kid got into a top school. Honest, you can be a successful parent even if your kid goes to community college :slight_smile:


I was just suggesting a situation where this could be true:
“although ED2 admission rates are usually lower than ED1 rates”.

Yes, Chicago is the only highly selective school (or the one which attracts a ton of applications with all sorts of EA/ED1/ED2 options) that accepts ED2. It all depends on what @2018_2022mom considers Chicago as (T2 or T1).

I was almost in your situation with my D21. It isn’t necessarily a matter of giving up bragging rights, either - what if that Level 1 school would have been the better fit?

So we relentlessly collected information about the tippy top and the other also selective but not single digit acceptance rates level. We knew she couldn’t do any visits so had to really find information. We found it more helpful to see what students didn’t like about the schools than what they did, which we already knew. Lucky for us she found a couple major concerns about the tippy top. (And since then we have only confirmed more that it wasn’t the right fit.) At the same time, she fell in love with the other school. She applied ED1, got in and is very happy. (Also, she is in STEM and after I saw Gladwell’s analysis of what can happen to STEM majors at the tippy tops, I was extra happy how it turned out!)

It isn’t just the matter of “using up” the ED1 on a tippy top, it is the possiblity (and after this year maybe a very high possibility) of getting deferred! Then what? I really feel for people in that situation not sure whether to wait out the deferral or use an ED2.

So my hope for you is that she can continue to learn more and more (even without visits) which could result in the problem solving itself.

1 Like