Reject Train Going Full Speed

I’ve just been hit by waves of rejections - hopefully, one of the remaining fourteen colleges will come through…but do I even have a chance now?

ED Rejection: UChicago

RD Rejections/Waitlists:
MIT (waitlisted), Bates (Rejected), Bowdoin (Rejected), WashU (Rejected), Johns Hopkins (Rejected), and now Case Western is something up and what I felt was a somewhat low reach for me (Case Western) is feeling really far out of my zone (I hope to not come across as ignorant or elitist or high headed).

Yet the hill only gets steeper…
Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Penn, Princeton, Brown, Dartmouth, Columbia, Cornell, Stanford, Notre Dame, Duke, Northwestern, Rice, and Carleton…was I overestimating myself and had the illusion that I was even competitive? I thought perhaps applying as a STEM major to the LAC would distinguish myself even just slightly. This most likely will not paint a good picture for me, but a very significant factor for choosing these school was the complete financial aid and relative sympathy towards need-requiring DACA/undocumented students in the US.

Are schools just really looking for different students and specific niches to fill? Or Did my essays just crash into a mountain? Did letting them know my circumstance and need for aid dig my grave?

(On a tangent, I was accepted in-state UIUC, but they have told me due to my status, I’ll essentially paying sticker in-state price - after I get my permanent residency this summer (hopefully, or at least by the end of this year), could I reapply for financial?)

You can only go one school. So chin up. You might be pleasantly surprised.

But the good news it’s not a brain tumor. You can recover and reorganize, even if this next round didn’t go as planned.

There is also a list of schools that offer slots after the May 1st date. And some are top notch. And not always but sometimes aid packages can be worked out.

Would uiuc sllownyoynto defer. Maybe a semester until the money is situation is cleared up.

@privatebanker Do you have a list of some sort for those colleges?

It’s just disheartening to be going to a school where the average household income is $250,000+ and these kids can easily settle for $25k per year tuition to state schools whereas I can’t even afford my community college - can’t even apply for FAFSA…and unfortunately the private schools that would hopefully meet all my need are also extremely difficult to get into.

I think maybe you over-estimated the specialness of your circumstances in helping you stand out from the crowd? Most of your schools are reaches or super reaches for almost everyone. You should have multiple match and safety schools on your list when you need financial aid. Did people not tell you that or did you not listen? If you strike out for schools with aid this year, I would take a year off to work and reapply. Waiting a year for college isn’t a bad thing and you’ll end up with better financial aid if you reapply as a freshman to a list of schools who will love you, as opposed to a list of the schools everyone “reaches” for.

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I have been thinking about you @hkimpossible and I am glad you posted. This is a stressful time waiting, experiencing rejection, and then waiting some more. You still need just one school to say yes.

Regarding green card-didn’t your dad receive his green card recently? If so, can’t you apply for the immediate residency green card? Is that why you are hoping it will come thru this summer?

Even if you get your green card, UIUC may not be the best choice. Yes, you could reapply for fin aid when your residency status changes, but the issue is UIUC is relatively expensive and aid packages typically include lots of loans (37% on average)—it just doesn’t make sense to go into that much debt. I would rather see you take a gap year and reapply next year for freshman admission to schools that will give you huge merit for your stats, such as U Alabama, where you would likely get honors college too. (and their application for 2020/2021 will open this July)

I don’t know if there are any large merit schools where admission is still open, but you should do some research on that. I am sure other posters will chime in too. If you get to May with no acceptances, there will also be the NACAC list of schools that still have openings, and some will have aid available.

Meanwhile, try to focus on other things and stay positive…of course I know that’s challenging, but you will get through this, and there are many people on CC rooting for you.

It’s the NACAC list, and it won’t be published until May; I would not expect any of them to be cheaper than community college.

I will get you the link. The list doesn’t come out until may 1st and you have to act fast.

The state of ri treats undocumented students as residents for tuition at the university of ri.

Maybe other schools do as well.

And California seems to have empathy for your situation. Perhaps a Cal school expert called @gumbymom can give you some ideas. I’m reaching st straws here because I don’t know much about all of this. But ca has a lot of state schools and cc that might work but the financial end is out of my wheelhouse.

Also taking a breath and regrouping for a semester or gap year is not a last ditch thing. It may be a brilliant move as your residency issues clear and you have time to make some more informed choices. You’ve come to the right place.

That is what I said.

Regarding community college, a gap year might be preferable because OP has high stats and will get merit at many schools, especially if he has a green card by then. This strategy could decrease the risk of getting poor transfer fin aid. OP lives in Illinois so CCs are relatively strong, but expensive.

There is rarely much aid at the schools on the May 1 list, unfortunately

@HKimPOSSIBLE @privatebanker: Since you are not a California resident but instead an Illinois resident, California school options such as the UC’s, CSU’s or even community college would not work as an Out of State applicant. OOS costs would be high with no financial aid so full sticker price again. California does give financial aid to undocumented/DACA students, but they need to be California residents that have the following and you cannot relocate to California with the intention of receiving in-state tuition or benefits:

Attendance for three full-time years or the equivalent at any combination of the following:

California high school
California adult school (including non-credit courses offered by a California community college)
California community college (maximum of two years of credit bearing courses can count toward this requirement)


Three years of California high school coursework and three years of total attendance at a California elementary school, California secondary school, or any combination of the two.

@Mwfan1921 that’s great info.

@Gumbymom Thank you for the input. Trying to help the OP But @Mwfan1921 has some good ideas.

CA has no need based FA for those not classified as state residents. CA is one of several states that has provisions for in state tuition and FA for those who graduated high school in the state after enough attendance, but that will not help the OP.

The OP’s state of IL is one of the worse places for need based FA.

Do your stats qualify you for a full-time anywhere?

Was your PSAT high enough for NMS?

@CaMom13 I was thinking that my stats and extracurriculars would stand out among my peers who have gotten into and have applied to the colleges that I have applied to - of course, my circumstances I think are pretty important to me, I think I was more worried colleges may find it suspicious how I stuck out like a sore thumb in my district.

@Mwfan1921 Regarding the green card, unfortunately, it is not immediate. My brother was also a DACA recipient but became a US Citizen through MAVNI (serving military time in return for citizenship - the program is now closed). He petitioned my father for a Green Card which was much quicker since this was considered a “direct” relationship (father to son). Unfortunately, indirect (sibling to sibling) petitions take much longer; maybe even years. That’s why my father is petitioning me, and USCIS is now reviewing our application for a green card and will hopefully get us an interview (for my green card) this summer or even earlier - though that is if all goes to plan…which I fear for almost every day with this current administration.

Also, yes, you’re right. Now looking into it, it seems like even the UIUC aid will have to be calculated with a large portion having loans - and the colleges that are still accepting applications…I’m not really sure nor do they seem to cover the aid I need.

@Gumbymom that’s the issue. UC schools would’ve been a much better option for me had I been DACA in California. Unfortunately not the case…and I don’t think we’re going to be moving any time soon.

@PurpleTitan I’m not sure if you mean full-time at a job or full-time for a college. If it’s the prior, I’m not really sure how to answer that. If the later, I think my stats qualify me for a lot of colleges, though I’m not sure if that was my overstatement. Here’s a link to a “chance me” of mine (though I’m not sure how much this will have):

@Mwfan1921 I honestly think if worst comes to worst, things will hopefully only get better for me as I will qualify for FAFSA and can actually apply to UIC/UIUC (if I have to again) or elsewhere. I also plan to continue my research and hopefully get some positions there where I’m much more involved that data collection. But right now, I’m just watching time go and hoping just ONE of the rest will take me as their student. It’s just nerve-racking as each rejection/waitlist comes through.

In general, it’s just disheartening. I’m struggling to name one kid at my school who has published medical research (not just as a test-tube cleaner OR even a published anything in general), or more than a handful of kids who had internship positions from my school. I’m taking the most rigorous classes in my school and doing pretty well in them. Not many students do community service besides “amnesty” club which they attend maybe half a dozen times a year or Habitat for Humanity which they claim leadership for going on an advisory trip to cut wooden planks for a day. And then on top of this college scandal…whooooiee. (this part was a total rant, probably misguided too, but still).

Would any states have reciprocity with Illinois that might have better financial aid options for OP? I don’t know the answer to this but it may be worth looking into.

Good, that is what I meant–your father’s direct relationship to you allows you to apply for an immediate relative green card. And you’re right, even though it’s called immediate it still takes months—but much faster than the normal years that it takes to get a green card.

Regarding UIUC acceptance, you can apply to delay that for up to 2 semesters. I assume UIC has a similar policy, you will have to check. So make sure you get that paperwork done, your GC can help. UIUC could work (assuming you get your green card) if, after your pell grant and $5,500 loan, they cover the rest with a grant, but that is not their typical aid package. If they want your dad to take a plus loan, I encourage you to not do that and go elsewhere.

What are your thoughts regarding gap year vs. community college? Are you open to a GAP year?

Keep us updated as the rest of your decisions come in.


Thank you for your honesty here, it can only help with the quality of advice.

And thank you for mentioning the Manvi program. I think it is a great idea and should include anyone here undocumented.

Since you brought this up. Two ideas came to mind. ROTC scholarships for one.

The other less known route is potentially though the Illinois national guard or reserves.

They have a program where if you go to basic training this summer, you join as an enlisted man but only as the officer path. They pay rotc tuition and you drill once a month and two weeks in the summer. All paid of course.

If you get the equivalent of your aa after two years you get commissioned. You continue to drill as an officer until you graduate. You can go into the regular army at graduation or stay and pay your commitment time in the guard there or another state They also help with grad school and med school potentially as well.

Just throwing it out there and maybe it will act as a manvi or expedited green card and money for school.

@Mwfan1921 Hello and thank you very much for the insight. As for loans, my parents (which I use to refer to my single father), are not really in a position to take out loans and would much rather not take out any loans and like you said, go to a different college that might offer a no-loan required aid package.

As for a GAP year, I’d much rather and will take a gap year than go to a CC if something comes through…just seems like a time to see what I did wrong with the admissions and try to make myself more experienced in the fields I like while doing research…without the busy schedule of school. Also, I’ll probably be helping out my aunt a lot at her cafe so there is definitely something for me to do.

I do agree that a GAP year would be more beneficial than CC. I assume your aunt pays you, so you would be able to save some money as well. It will be great if you can continue your research too.

@privatebanker 's suggestion of ROTC or national guard might be interesting as well—have you spoken with anyone about that (specifically your brother, or GC)?