Scared after a rejection & deferral - please chance me at t20 colleges

After being rejected from Brown ED and deferred from UMich EA (in state), I’m terrified of being rejected by many more colleges. What are my chances at Northwestern, WashU, Pomona, and / or Cornell (or any others schools that you might have more insight on)?

Chinese female from grand rapids, michigan

Intended major: biology


  • GPA: 4.15 weighted, 3.95 unweighted
  • SAT: 1450 (780m 670r/w)- only submitted to early schools
  • ACT: 34 (35m 35r 31w 33s)
  • Subject Tests: 800 math II, 800 another language
  • AP’s: Calc BC (5), Bio (4), Chem (4), Stats(4), Psych, Lit
  • HS Honors: not too important but took around 10 total throughout hs, taking dual enrollment multivariable calc currently

Awards (weak):

  • few instrumental awards (state and regional level)
  • ap scholar
  • national honors society
  • school awards


  • heavily devoted to an instrument (won few awards, multiple years of separate orchestra, attended several conferences)
  • assisted research on analyzing a pattern in brain waves
  • internship at a psychiatrist office
  • head organizer of a volunteer ensemble for senior homes
  • tutored underprivileged middle schoolers
  • founded outreach stem programs for younger kids through book fairs
  • private math tutor for 5 middle schoolers
  • volunteer music tutor at a local middle school
  • completed several online open courses related to bio and my passions: anatomy, neuroscience, and womens rights
  • two years of jv tennis, was going to continue to varsity for next two years but covid hit and season was cancelled


  • common app essay was a 8-9/10 (very subjective, however)
  • supplemental essays were very specific to each school, in my opinion, but this is also subjective and could easily been seen as just average by others

I think you have a good chance at UMich RD. Not entirely sure about the others.

Those schools will all be difficult for you. Did you apply to any safeties?

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Thank you, appreciate it!

Yes, I realize that they are all reaches and have been accepted to Purdue as a safety.


Purdue is great! Anything else you get is just gravy. I’m sure you will be happy at Purdue if that’s where you decide to go.


Is Purdue affordable?
Did you get into the Honors College (did you apply)?
Did you apply to any Michigan university beside UMich?
Being rejected from Brown ED is par for the course at this level of competition, but being deferred with these stats and achievements from UMich instate is not a good sign for Northwestern, Pomona, WashU, and Cornell. (Can your guidance counselor check and see if anything’s missing or “off”?)
If you’d enjoy having a choice between Purdue and another university, look for a college that’s still taking applications and within budget.
Finally, what do you want to do with Biology as a major (because it’s one of the majors with the lowest ROI: too many premeds who don’t get into med school - 2/3 of them, no positions for someone with just a plain Bio major at the BS level… but good prospects with Bioinformatics and Biostatistics).


Purdue is indeed a great choice. I hope that you get accepted to U.Michigan, particularly since you are in-state with great stats. Good luck with the rest but it is hard to predict.

It is indeed possible to get rejected at one school and accepted to a higher ranked school. In many cases you just cannot predict it.


I think you need more safety or match schools on your list. All those schools except for UMich have acceptance rates under 13% and will be looking for very specific things in the class of 2025 that none of us will have control over. My daughter was accepted in the class of 2024 for Brown but chose another school. She would tell you that schools with an acceptance rate under 15% is a crap shoot because it depends on what they want for that particular class. I want to emphasis that you have great grades, decent tests and solid ec’s. Unfortunately the schools you have applied to have had record numbers of applications this year. Those particular schools on your list will be even more selective in their decision making process. I wish I could give you better news but I think honesty is important during this time and would encourage you to apply to more match schools that you would be happy to attend.

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I would surprised if you didn’t get in next round. Who knows why you were deferred but… If instate apply to MSU… So underrated. Their honors program is very good with lots of perks like research as a freshman and mentorship…

Also look at Case Western if you can still apply. Purdue is also a great option. But the costs of instate would be the leading advantage.


I haven’t gotten my Purdue financial aid or Honors College (did apply!) decision yet. I have also gotten into MSU early, so I would have an in-state school that would be another possibility.
To be honest, I was very devoted to my Brown essays compared to UMich essays and some EC’s (research, online courses) could not go on my application for early schools. I would suspect that these might be reasons for my deferral, and I am planning on adding the missing EC’s on my letter of continued interest.
Also, I’ve wanted to go to premed with bio but know it’s super super tough and have a few backup plans in case things change.
Thank you so much on this honest input, I appreciate it!

Unfortunately, I realized that I need more match schools way too late in the application process but I would still be happy at Purdue or MSU. I seriously appreciate the honesty as it was what I was looking for and I’ll be on the lookout for open applications!

Who knows what UMich was looking for? I have gotten into MSU and it’s honestly such a great school the more I research about it.

MSU is great. Many Michigan and MSU grads are getting the same jobs at the same companies. I know of one example of this.


You just never know with essays. Many, many years ago I thought I wrote a very compelling and specific essay for Harvard. Thin envelope. I had a very bad tour at Yale. Only applied because my parents wanted me to, so I wrote a really obnoxious essay. Thick envelope, and parts of my essay were read by the Master of my residential college at the freshmen welcome dinner. Never owned up to being the author because I didn’t want to get beat up. You gave it your best shot. Purdue and MSU are great schools. Relax, the rest is gravy.


MSu (likely honors) and Purdue are terrific choices!
In fact, I’d pick MSu honors over Purdue, especially for a premed: dynamic classes, more opportunities due to being in honors, likely cheaper price… :slight_smile:
Who knows, you might even get into Purdue Honors making it an embarassment of riches? :smiley:
And, yes, you may quite end up admitted to UMich in the end (and perhaps even LSA Honors) but it’s impossible to know. You have everything you need to make first cut but after that, it’s really unpredictable at that level.
No matter what, with MSU and Purdue, there’s no bad choice.

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I think you are going to get into U Mich, eventually, be it regular decision, or off the waitlist. Don’t worry.

You sound like a terrific applicant, you already have a couple of safety acceptances that would be acceptable to you. I don’t think that you are going to get into any of your other reaches, but I do think you’re going to get into U Mich. If it’s not too late to do so, I suggest that you reach out to the orchestra conductor at each school you’re waiting to hear from, to introduce yourself. They will want you for the school orchestra. Maybe you can submit a late music supplement. This may be enough to get you over the hump to get in.


Sorry to hear about Brown. Its their loss. Your chances are best with UMich in the RD round. Other schools in the T20 during RD will be difficult unfortunately.

Best of luck!

Here are some other schools you might consider with deadlines of 2/15. Allegheny College, Creighton University, Emmanuel College, Pace University and Texas Christian University. With your grades, test scores and EC you most likely would get in with scholarship money. Good luck!

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Wow, thank you for this, I’ll definitely try connecting with the conductors at each university.

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