Should he shoot for an Ivy and risk losing second choice?

<p>My son (senior) would love to go to Yale, but not sure he has a real chance. Has one more ACT to take (at least) and his first score was 33. 4.15 weighted GPA and has taken every single AP class he could except one in high school. Senior year loaded with them as well. He has pretty good EC, but not a ground breaker. Will have great references because he has exceptional character and is very well respected by his teachers. Great writer and has some real good ideas for his essay.<br>
Unfortunately, his school is very competitive and he is ranked #40 out of 352...public school but well known for it's academics. That puts him at 11.3% in his class.
He wants to apply early action to Yale but is afraid that he will jeopardize his scholarship/fin aid offer or just getting in to his # 2 (Rice) and #3 Hillsdale. </p>

<p>Any help out there?</p>

<p>To be honest, he will not be competitive for Yale SCEA, which historically had many athletes, legacies, and off the chart qualified applicants.</p>

<p>Yale’s most recently available common data set (2011-2012) which reports data for the Class of 2014 states that 97% of students were in the top 10% of their class. It would be very safe to assume that the other 3% were hooked (athlete, celebrity/connected family, or developmental admit (read serious ongoing donations). So, unless your student is ‘hooked’ I’d have them focus on Rice and Hillsdale. Can he apply RD to Yale without 'jeopardizing a scholarship/fin aid offer? (not sure what you were getting at there) Everyone should have a few reaches as long as you have an otherwise balanced list.</p>

<p>Note: I know, I know, don’t slam me over the inclusion of athletes as hooked students that might end up in the 3%. Of all schools, in the ivy league the athletes are almost always required to be statistically admissible. If everything else is good, and a coach really wants them, falling slightly out of the top 10% isn’t going to keep them out.</p>

<p>Thanks for the insight. I see your point. He will probably end up with a 34 or 35 on the ACT and his GPA hurt because he was in a four year nationally recognized math program that, once invited, only about 12 kids complete after four years (7-10 grade)…in our entire small/med size mid west city. He pulled B’s mostly, but stuck with it because a rep he met from Yale years ago said she would rather see rigor than perfect grades so he never gave up. Had he dropped it he would be higher up. I’m assuming these details don’t matter because he wouldnt get that far.
What I meant by risking his chances at the other schools is that he would miss out on their early action pops.</p>

<p>Unweighted matters more then weighted (though his weighted on the low side). Yes, rigor can excuse a couple Bs but if his GPA is like a 3.7 it is really not enough to help. I would say 3.9 would be ideal, maybe a 3.8 but all his classes and not just math would need to be honors and AP. Also in recent years rigor is becoming more of norm, just like strong ECs don’t set applicants apart much these days.</p>

<p>I agree that Yale is going to be a slight reach. Good recommendations are not very hard to get (I have a teacher this year who will basically give you a good recommendation if you get an A or high B in her class), so that will not set him apart, which means the only thing he really has going for him is the ACT score if it does go help.</p>

<p>Yes, like I mentioned he took all the AP classes his high school offers but one. Will have a total of 9 after this, his senior year, and will be National AP Scholar. I just spoke with my bf’s daughter who was waitlisted at Yale but accepted UChi instead. She was barely in the top 30% of her class so I am starting to think aksing people on College Confidential is more of an opportunity to be told you probably can’t make it. The original question was whether it was smart to let him SCED at Yale which would leave him for RD at Rice, etc. I am definitely going to let him go for Yale, just wondering on the timing. Also noticed that only about 50% of the students came from schools that rank students, so that top 10 might not kill him. Idk.</p>

<p>No point in doing early action Yale. There is no need to jeopardize anything for a school that is just too much of a reach. It would definitely be smarter to just RD it with a list of more realistic choices as well.</p>

<p>Even Rice is a reach if you aren’t in the top 10% or don’t have any ECs that stand out. Also, don’t necessarily count on his ACT improving (It’s already good though), but it would certainly help if it does. I’m guessing that he isn’t using the SAT so as to avoid taking/sending in subject tests? </p>

<p>His unweighted GPA sounds low (less than 3.8?), and his weighted GPA is also on the low side. Also it won’t matter if he is a national AP scholar senior year which would be after admissions.</p>

<p>I don’t want to sound cynical or pessimistic, but at this point I see 0% chance of him getting into Yale and a small chance of getting into Rice. But then again, I’m only going off what you mentioned in the thread</p>

<p>As other posters mentioned if you apply SCED to Yale you are wasting one of the only arsenal you have in this crazy process called admissions. With that ACT Yale SCEAD is impossible. But as you said if it can come up to 35 or 36 he has good chance. Use your ED somewhere else where it is safe.</p>

<p>I’m going to disagree about his chances in SCEAD. He may not be a shoe-in, but he has a decent chance. It sounds like his school is a strong school, and if Yale is familiar with the school’s profile and reputation, that will be taken into consideration - top 50% in some high schools is far better than top 10% in certain others.</p>

<p>He needs to think carefully about his own ranking. Is Yale a solid #1, or just sort-of #1. If it’s solid apply early. If not, apply to the others early. I’m not convinced that applying early gets you a boost at many schools, so I don’t think applying RD will reduce his chance at the other schools, but if he’s worried that he won’t get into any of the three as an RD applicant, he needs to think this through.</p>

<p>Make sure he mentions that math program on his applications - if it is that rigorous, and that few complete it, that will be an impressive addition, and may set him apart at any of the colleges.</p>

<p>With ACT of 33 apply SCEAD to YAle ?</p>

<p>I don’t understand what you risk from Rice. You are applying RD, correct? You can send in application early, but check RD.</p>

<p>If it helps, my sister, also an accomplished but not extraordinary student got into Yale SCEA with a 32 ACT and ranked in the top 15% at her competitive public school. Other than a few dedicated ECs and a well thought out but not incredible essay, she had no other extreme qualifications. Same happened with my cousin, same ACT, same extracurricular situation. I still thought these were merely coincidences before three more distant relatives (no legacy) got in SCEA with everywhere from 31-33 ACTs. So it IS possible for him to get into Yale and you should not listen to those who claim that SCEA is reserved for athletes and legacies. Go for it!</p>

<p>First off, thanks for all who read the post entirely before commenting. Hopefully he will bump up a point or two on ACT- he is also doing writing. I will look up his SAT score, but he was hoping to bump this up sufficiently to submit it. He retakes in a week.<br>
As far as what is at risk, my understanding is that your chances are better with ED at any college. I think he is already “in” at Hillsdale, and his counselor ranks his writing and interviewing skills as the best she has seen in quite some time.<br>
And, 73% of freshman at Yale last year had ACT’s 32-36 and another 25% had 27-31, so I can’t imagine the ACT would drop him out automatically.</p>

<p>I’d say that he should go for Yale. Are the odds against him? Of course. But the odds are against everyone. The ABSOLUTE BEST THING YOU CAN DO TO HELP RAISE HIS CHANCES IS TO MAKE SURE THAT HE HAS ECs THAT ARE RELATED TO HIS MAJOR. That is what Yale wants to see: students who are so passionate about what they want to study that they do tons or EC’s related to their chosen majors. Other than that, of course, essays can be the deal breaker, so make sure he has a good one! Good luck!
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Can anyone chance me for Princeton? Much appreciated.</p>

<p>Thanks so much for your input…good advice re: tieing the EC’s into the major and essay. That is doable in this case. I wish I were qualified to help chance you, but sadly, am not!</p>