Rejected by GaTech. What went wrong? Please help

50-60 range of US News includes Purdue, RPI, Rutgers, Maryland and Washington. If one of the publics is the safety and it’s in-state that makes sense. RPI has lower national reputation than the top 20 but still awesome. Those publics are real tough OOS for CS, especially UDub and Purdue.

1550 range test score and all those math and coding competitions makes one quite spiky. Our MIT admits were #1 and #3 in the class, female and top musicians and leaders. Another was all-state swimmer who set our HS record for backstroke. He’s swimming at MIT.


Of course none of these schools should be considered safeties for CS!


I think Pitt is in the 50-60 range also. Another fine choice.

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Exactly! Top 50-60 in USNWR’s ranking (which should be taken with a large helping of salt, anyway) hides the fact that many of them have highly respected CS programs with tons of applicants, making them not safeties for most OOS applicants.


I might have missed it, but I’m unclear what a 4.6 GPA is. What scale? What weighting system?


There is likely quite a bit of difference in admit rate for CS versus non-CS at most schools. Can be true of other majors as well. It’s not unheard of for a school to have a 70% overall admit rate, and a single digit rate for CS.

Another thing to remember is that schools in general, and Georgia Tech in particular, look at your application through the lens of your major. Admissions departments are really aware of kids trying to get in through the back door to competitive majors. A friend’s super qualified, super smart son had a rough admission session. Applied for CS. They had the same thought. Why did he apply for such a tough major? Not only was that what he wanted to study, his entire résumé, including a related internship at a top global company, was CS related. I don’t think anyone would have bought it if he had tried to apply as an English major :-). He ended up at an excellent school but one without the prestige they expected and has been a great fit.


I am sorry your daughter was not accepted. She sounds amazing and the work she has done in high school is so awesome.
My two oldest kids are both engineers. One went to the lower ranked (safety school) and one went to a top 15 university. Both are working in aerospace and had multiple offers from top companies. Where ever she lands, making good grades, involvement in campus, and securing internships will be the best way for success.


I am so sorry this happened. Hugs. She will find her place.
As others have said, there may be nothing “wrong” at all, just the extreme competition!
Some thoughts: what is her unweighted GPA, or how many A, A-, B, B+ etc, and in what classes? Do you know approximate rank(look at your school’s profile–it should give some sense of how many kids are in each GPA range: depending on weighting, 4.6weighted could be top of the class or below avarage(on one of those 6 point scales or similar).
Does she have any outside -CS/math ECs, such as volunteering or contribution to the school community ? What APs did she take? With a 1580 and all 5s on AP tests so far, the AIME, etc, schools will expect she would have taken all the hardest AP courses they offer.

I am not trying to nitpick at all–just throwing out possibilities. Again, it absolutely could be nothing other than just too competitive a pool.


She has an acceptance. She has two deferrals. And she still has about 16 other pending applications.

Hang in there. She will grow where she is planted. And she will do well.


It stinks when your child is disappointed. And when you feel they worked so hard and aren’t getting the love from the schools you were expecting.

We had one admissions officer from a highly rejective school tell a group we were in that they get calls every year asking, “Whey wasn’t my child accepted? Whey were kids in their class accepted with lower grades and test scores?” His answer: You need to realize that when AO’s are reviewing applications and making decisions it’s sort of like they are trying to build a team. For instance, if you are trying out for a football team you might be an amazing quarterback, but if the team already has a quarterback, you might not make it. And instead a wide receiver might make the team instead.

The college application process is very frustrating and unpredictable.


UIUC is such a case. 63% overall admission rate, 6.7% CS admission rate. GT’s gap is smaller. Note that UIUC and GT are tied at 5th on US News best undergraduate CS program ranking.

Pretty unbelievable. Check out this official UIUC blog


All great info. Pitt currently at #62 with VaTech FWIW.

If any of these publics are in-state, it can feel like a safety but yes CS is currently the toughest major for admission so it’s a tough admit at flagship publics and technical privates with direct entry. I was amazed at the applicants that were deferred at Michigan. 1500+ SATs and 4.0s OOS into arts and sciences.

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OP- there is something you can do, right now, to help your D. Start talking about five positive and exciting things about the college that has accepted her. Right now.

It is easy to dismiss the " low ranked safety school". But that’s not what this institution is…it is a university which accepted her! Yay! It likely has thousands of students who are loving their experience there, and tens of thousands of young alums who are off working in interesting careers, and hundreds of faculty members in cool disciplines doing fantastic research and great teaching in subjects she knows nothing about. She’s going to college…and that is something to cheer about.

Every minute you spend grinding away on why she wasn’t accepted is a minute you could be spending researching and talking about the great opportunities at the college where she’s been accepted. Study abroad option? Fellowship opportunities! Morris dancing Sunday nights and free salsa lessons taught by members of a professional dance company?

Every college has fantastic things going on every day. You guys need to change the channel away from the place that rejected her and towards the one that accepted her. With luck she’ll have some choices in April…but start building some love for this college “just in case”.



just need to add - girl we know 2019 college grad from a midwest state school in CS - is Killing it with her job; salary well over 6 time$ her age. Not a ranked school; but she learned so much, worked hard, took internships. Your kid will do great if they keep working has hard as they have.


I share this link all the time! People don’t understand the different acceptance rates. I wish more schools published stats like UIUC does.

To the OP: an early deferral or rejection to a place you thought you might get in can be scary. DS was deferred from Northeastern EA last year, and while the crazy applications numbers explain why that happened, it was hard to take and made him extra nervous (our research had shown he was in the running for merit there, so a deferral was not really on our radar - it should have been). Luckily he got some good news as well, and was able to know that he’d be happy at one or more of the other EAs he’d been accepted to (he got into Case and Purdue EA - he showed Case a lot of love). I hope more positive news comes quickly and that the wait isn’t too long. Good luck.

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Great that she sent in a LOCI but if Case is a place she would be happy to go, a LOCI may not be enough. They use metrics to track interest – have her open all the emails from them, click on the links, and spend time on their pages. You should do the same for any emails they send you.

Attend virtual events, and if an in-person visit is at all possible, that would be a good idea too. Case does not want to be anyone’s safety, so the buzz is that they tend to waitlist (or reject) high-stats students who don’t express a lot of interest – interest that consists of more than a LOCI.

And if your daughter ends up without any choices she likes in April (I don’t think it will happen, but it has happened to other high-stat kids), there are schools that have late admissions that woo high-stat kids with great merit money. University of Arizona is one to check out in that regard.


For schools that admit by major, there is often a significant difference in acceptance rates. But, many of those schools make it very difficult to switch to CS once accepted, so applying to a less competitive major might get a student in the door, but they may be shut out of the major they want. That is not true of all schools, but is definitely true of some.

I thought you mentioned that she applied to USC. Did she apply EA or RD there?

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This is a frustrating process. Take time to help her prioritize the options she has and to not miss opportunities.

For those pending, she may be able to show some additional interest that matters to them.

For MIT, the FUN thing is usually not great fun, but maybe she can use that to update some other AOs about recent accomplishments.

The acceptance she has may not be ideal and probably should not have been included if it is not really an option, but she should not overlook deadlines for special programs or scholarships.

Too many kids miss basic outreach from colleges they may end up attending and then wonder why their roommate has some research fellowship or big scholarship when they had a higher grades or rank than the roommate.

Did she apply to your instate flagship?


I just wish UIUC had published the OOS admit rates. CompE will not be a 23% admit rate; news through the grapevine is that it was around 10%. Similarly CS OOS admit rate would likely be sub 5%.


OP, if your student is evaluating various schools for CS from the RD pool, here is some data you may be interested in: