Rejected by GaTech. What went wrong? Please help

My daughter got rejected by GaTech CS, not even deferral. She was extremely disappointed and she thought she had a decent chance. Her GPA is around 4.6, and took >10 AP classes including senior year, all 5 before senior year. SAT 1580. EC focused on math and coding competition. 3-times AIME qualifier, qualified for MPFG, USACO silver. we know CS is competitive but rejection without even deferral is hard to understand. So what went wrong? EC is not strong? or something is wrong with the recommendation letter? What is GaTech CS looking for?


Are you a resident of Georgia?


No. forgot to mention. OOS CS. Did not apply for financial aid.


@Mwfan1921 do you know if GA Tech gives large preference to instate applicants?

And re: not applying for financial aid…I think GA Tech is need blind but maybe @Mwfan1921 can clarify that too.

Your student is a strong applicant…and hopefully has a number of other great schools admissions pending. Or maybe even an acceptance already.


I believe the OOS acceptance rate was 13% last year vs 35% instate. There is a significant preference given to instate applicants.

At highly rejective reach schools, which GT is, especially for CS, it’s impossible to know “what went wrong.” It could be something as simple as too many other strong students from your child’s region.

Hopefully your child will have other acceptances!


Our good friends’ kid was rejected by GT last year. He was high school valedictorian with a 36 ACT (one sitting) and is now a freshman at Yale.

You can’t explain these decisions. The application numbers are too high for the colleges to get it right every time. Just move on.


You just can’t know in most cases. The acceptance rate is low, they admit only about 17% OOS. There are many applicants as strong as your daughter. I was looking at the UNC thread yesterday and the qualifications of many rejected students was crazy good.


@VirginiaBelle can provide detailed information.

GATech is legislatively mandated with the goal of enrolling 60% residents in the freshman class.

GT also uses a holistic admissions review. Only Admissions knows what they are prioritizing to create a balanced class.

While GT does not admit by major, like any institution they must keep area of interest in mind and weigh against institutional resources in that department.

Hugs to your student. There is so much we have no way of knowing since we are not AOs. I know it is disappointing, but please do not take it personally. Your kid sounds amazing!


I wish we could pin this to a banner for everyone on CC.


I’m sorry to hear your D was denied, but with a 17% overall acceptance rate last year (13% for OOS students), Ga Tech is a reach for all students, even those with strong profiles like your D. CS is also even more selective, and although Ga Tech doesn’t admit by major, they do have to keep things somewhat in balance (however they define that).

Here is Class of 2026 data: Georgia Tech Admission Announces Decisions | News Center

I would let your D mourn this loss for a day or two, but then mentally move on. Has she been accepted anywhere yet? What is her affordable safety school?

Good luck to both of you.


DS is at GT now and from speaking to many of his friends at GT, as well as many from his very highly ranked HS, there is little rhyme or reason to most of these decisions.

Your daughter has an incredible application and there is nothing wrong with it based on your description. IMO it often comes down to which “bucket” she is in and how many others were in that bucket. While GT is a great school, it is just like the others and has many issues…by no means perfect.

She definitely should have been accepted at GT and I am certain she will thrive wherever she lands!


I’d amend that to…she could have been accepted…but she wasn’t. And agree, she will thrive where she attends college.


Thank you. She only got 1 safety school so far which is less prestigious than Gatech. Although she applied to 20 schools in total including EA, she is getting nervous now as she applied to CS for most of these schools.


Congratulations on her acceptance, would she be happy to go to that school?

Is her list of 20 schools balanced including match/target schools as well as some highly likelies? And I mean balanced for CS admission, which is a whole different animal.

Has she received any other denials or deferrals? If you would like to share the list, there are many posters here with good knowledge of CS admissions.


I think when you get to the level of Georgia Tech out of state it really is a crapshoot. I’ve read multiple threads where people were rejected from Georgia Tech and Purdue but got in to Illinois and Michigan. Or any combination of the above.

Also, remember that as a computer science major she has applied to one of the most competitive schools in the country for the most competitive major in the country. Georgia Tech is hard for all majors, but CS is next level due to demand.

My one question where does her GPA put her in her class? That is an excellent GPA but at some schools its valedictorian level or higher, it at others it’s the middle of the class. Do you have any idea about that? That would be the only thing I can point to because your child is an excellent candidate. I’m sure she will have wonderful opportunities elsewhere.


For computer science…really my understanding is the “prestige” of the school doesn’t matter.


You’ll never know why you get accepted or rejected. Was it an essay, geography, too much of the same type applicant, etc. But when one is applying to one of the top schools in the country and from OOS - it’s a reach. And one needs a balanced list. A safety for this student may be a Florida or Va Tech where for others those wouldn’t be. Aid will have nothing to do with this.

If your student did the best they can, then great. Hold the head high and move on.

No doubt they have other great options, academically or financially. There are kids who get into Ga Tech that will choose a local flagship or another OOS because with your stats they get big money. Or kids that get turned down to Ga Tech that end up Ivy.

It’s the kid that matters long term and it sounds like yours is a go getter and will be fine wherever they end up.

But your post is a great example of:

  1. Never fall in love

  2. Certain schools are not safeties . Period. End of story. For anyone.

Best of luck to your student. I’m sure they’ll be fine. Their achievements are not for nothing, I assure you !!!


What school(s) has she been accepted to and who is she still waiting on?

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I am biased by seeing what it takes to do well on AIME and USACO.

I’ll admit I am in the minority but I would add that a 3xAIME and USACO Silver should be an auto-admit. GT needs more kids at that level in my opinion.


@yearstogo i agree this sounds like a strong applicant. But we don’t know everything on that application.

I suppose their school counselor could reach out to the adcom from their region to see what shortcomings this application had.

ETA…there are so many other strong CS programs (and some NOT at highly ranked universities). I think I would review the application list this student has…and move on from GA Tech.