What a grind! Chance D21 to T50 and LACs

Hi. This is my first post on CC. I’m interested in getting your thoughts on D21’s chances during the upcoming RD process. Thanks in advance.

White Female

Public School north of Boston

Upper Middle Class (Parents AGI $250K)

529 w/ $200K balance (I’ve been saving for D21 and D19 since the day they were born)

English / Neuroscience Double Major

Grad School is a definite (she loves to learn, especially reading and writing)

She’s thinking Pediatric Neurologist but who knows with an 18 year old

Loves Open Curriculum

3.9 UW / 4.35 W GPA

Rank: 5/250

6 APs; all other Honors

Test Optional

4 Years Spanish

3 Years Varsity XC Track (Senior Captain)

4 Years Indoor Varsity Track (Senior Captain)

4 Years Spring Track (Senior Captain)

Not recruited athlete

3 Years Class Secretary (elected)

National Honors Society

3 Years Best Buddies (Senior Year - Executive Board Member)

3 Years part time job (8 hours per week)

Great LORs

Very Good Essays

Applications Pending:

Brown (deferred ED)






Wash & Lee

Wesleyan (CT)



Holy Cross



Conn College

Union (NY)


Accepted EA to Richmond, Providence (w/ 30% Merit), and Stonehill (w/ 47% Merit).

D21 realizes that there a lot of Reaches on her list. My advice to her was simple: if you don’t try you’ll never know, so go for it! She’s exhausted from the grind of submitting 20 Applications and now the suspense is killing her. Thanks again.

Hey there! I definitely think your daughter has a solid chance of getting into some reach LACs and maybe even an Ivy! We seem to have very similar stats (4.0 UW GPA, 6 APs/rest honors, high class rank), though I applied with a test score (not super high, 1440 SAT). I applied to a lot of the same schools (Brown, which I also love, Amherst, Bowdoin, and Conn), with a LOT of reaches as well.

FWIW, I just recently got a “likely letter” (or rather a version of it) from Colby (~9% accept rate), and since your daughter has similar stats that definitely means she has a shot! With that being said, my EC’s are somewhat different, with my focuses being performance and public policy (you are welcome to check out my own chance post for more info). But right now, there is nothing you or your daughter can do but wait (trust me, I know it’s excruciating). Best of luck and keep me posted on how everything goes! :slight_smile:

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She has a lot of safeties for her on there, too. I think she will definitely get into Pitt, Union, Connecticut College, Villanova, Bucknell, Holy Cross. I’d say she’s a match for Boston College.
Low reach or match for Colgate, Wesleyan, Washington and Lee, Hamilton. Reach for Tufts. High reach for Bowdoin, Amherst, Columbia, Brown.

She does have a chance at the high reaches.

My concern is, if she’s thinking med school, you have to think about preserving some of that college fund for med school, too, even with your decent income. That’s why I would have also had her apply to UMass Amherst, to weigh that likely honors college admission (plus the Adams merit money) against the value for money of wherever else she got admitted. I would say that half of her list would not be worth more than UMass Amherst, unless they gave her so much merit money that it would bring it down to equal or less than the cost at UMass Amherst.

I hope she gets into Tufts. It would probably be an excellent place for her. The other students would be at her level, they have strong neuroscience and research opportunities. You’d just have to promise her that you won’t drop in unexpectedly!


Hi PerformingDude, Congrats on your likely letter from Colby! Have you visted Colby yet?
It is a beautiful campus and a great school. D21 had both Colby and Bates on her original list but took them off because she thinks ME is too cold and wanted to add more targets including Union and PITT. Her dream is Brown and then she has Amherst, Wesleyan and Holy Cross has her next tier. Best of luck and keep us posted as you hear back over the next month or so.

Here is what I think -

Brown, Columbia, Amherst - 0 is most likely
Bowdoin, Tufts, Hamilton, Wash Lee, Wesleyan, Colgate, BC - 3/4 is most likely
Holy Cross, Bucknell, Villanova, CT College, Union, Pitt - 5 is most likely

Good luck and congrats in advance!

I wouldn’t count the applicant out for Brown, Columbia, or Amherst. Brown is somewhat selective with who they defer, so that is an accomplishment in of itself. I would not be surprised if the applicant landed one of these schools.

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I hope you are right, because I always want people to get in where they want to go. Fun to see the results when they come in.

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Thank you! I actually have not visited Colby to do a tour yet, although I am pretty sure I have been to their campus before (I live in Maine so it is pretty close, and yes it can get pretty freaking cold!). It wasn’t originally high on my list, but the Presidential Scholar program (which is what the email that kind of serves as a likely letter invited me to apply to), is really cool and I came across a really neat professor, so it’s definitely moved up (especially now, since it’s the only reach I have heard back from)!

I believe Brown only defers around 30% of their applicants, and it was a REALLY competitive pool for ED (I read through the ED thread). So, it is definitely a possibility that they will accept your daughter RD (they might just want to get other apps from the area to compare). I am definitely confident your daughter will get into Holy Cross (unless their are super stingy with their yield rate). Wes and Amherst are definitely within reach! Let’s keep each other posted!

Definitely! :slight_smile:

Hi. Thanks for the feedback! Based on our research, we were hoping that D21 would receive ~10 acceptances out of her list of 20 and I’ve ranked her chances very similarly. She took the Brown deferral really hard back in December and still has hope but understands its a long shot. Her HS Teacher Mentor is a Brown Alum and wrote her an awesome LOR that she submitted as a supplement in mid-January after the deferal. Brown aside, D21 would be so fortunate to attend any of these schools. I will keep you posted, thanks again.

These are the “selectivity ranks” for the LACs you listed as calculated by U.S. News:

:black_small_square:︎4. Amherst
:black_small_square:︎5. Hamilton
:black_small_square:︎8. Bowdoin
:black_small_square:︎10. Washington & Lee
:black_small_square:︎17. Colgate
:black_small_square:︎19. Wesleyan
:black_small_square:︎28. URichmond
:black_small_square:︎32. Union
:black_small_square:︎34. Bucknell
:black_small_square:︎62. Holy Cross

NA: Conn College, Stonehill

With respect to your daughter’s desire to study within an open curriculum, hope for an acceptance to Amherst or Hamilton (or Brown).

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Just want to chime in to say congrats to your D for her acceptances. Richmond is a GREAT school!!! Hopefully she can relax that she already has an acceptance there. Honestly I would put Richmond above some of the others she’s still waiting on.

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Hi Parentologist, Thanks for the thoughtful response. An acceptance to 1 of the high reaches would be awesome along with a handful from the match category. Personally I’m high on Holy Cross and Tufts for D21. As for Umass Amherst, its a great school especially from a value perspective but it never really gained any traction with D21; she thought it was way too big and at least 25 kids from her HS end up attending each year. We ended up adding PITT as a safety at the last minute for some of the same reasons you discuss about Umass. She really wants to put HS in the rear view mirror. She’s targeting small to mid sized school (<5,000) and is seriously considering running XC Track especially if she gets into one of the NESCAC schools although XC will not make or break her decision. I also agree that we need to be thinking about the $$$ especially if she is thinking med school, who knows as things change so much with teenagers. She has $200k in her 529 and we’re prepared to add another $50k in the next 4 years; the rest is on her (lol even though I’m a real sucker for my girls). I have a D19 that attends a mid sized private college in the Boston area that runs us ~$45K per year and she will get a Masters that will run ~$35k. Thanks again for your feedback.

Thank you Merc81 for the information. Her acceptance to Richmond was awesome early on and should serve as a great indicator for whats to come for her over the next 5 weeks.
If she could get into Holy Cross and at least one of Wesleyan, Bowdoin, Amherst, or Colgate we would be so happy.

Yup. I had a feeling that was the reason. SO many kids don’t want to go to their excellent enormous in-state flagship U because they don’t want the social angst of high school following them to college. They want a completely new beginning, socially, and so pass up their best value on college. What they don’t seem to realize is that these state schools are enormous, and the likelihood of their having much of anything to do with anyone from their high school is very small. Plus college is just so different, socially. There is no way that the gigantic in state flagship U would be years 5-8 of high school.


RD acceptance rates for white, upper-class females from the Northeast will likely be in the low single digits at the highly selective schools on your list (Brown, Columbia, Amherst, Bowdoin, Hamilton, Tufts), so all those are unlikely.

I agree with momofsenior that I like Richmond more than some schools you are still waiting on. Is Richmond affordable?

Did you apply to Pitt by Dec 15, the merit deadline? Pitt is great for pre-med.

I expect she will get some good acceptances out of the rest, but when I look at the set of HC, Bucknell, Villanova, Conn College, Union and Wesleyan…I would lean Richmond, but obviously will be up to your D and her preferences, same as if BC, W&L or Wesleyan come through.

Good luck, I know the waiting is difficult.

It’s hard to chance her at the schools that traditionally have weighted testing more heavily, like Tufts – where I would have thought she’d have a good shot with a high test score. Their curriculum is not so open, btw, but it looks like a great fit otherwise.

This is an excellent list, though, because she is certain to have good options, and probably merit, at some on her list like Union (which would also be a great fit.)

Your daughter sounds very accomplished – Congratulations on her hard work. We are north of Boston as well (but a much bigger HS) and kids with her stats (from our HS) are regularly accepted to many of the schools you list. If I had to guess BC, Bucknell, Holy Cross, Wash & Lee, Villanova, Conn College and PITT would all be a yes. Most years I’d say Tufts would also be yes (we send 5-10 there every year) but with the crazy #s this year who knows. The others are somewhat unlikely just because of the numbers this year. If your daughter is interested in grad school cost may be something to keep in mind - without merit or FA many will be 10-15k per year more than what you have set aside (including the additional funds you plan on). Will she be OK with owing $50-60,000 for undergrad?

I’m holding out hope but agree that the 6 you list are unlikely. Richmond came in at $62.5K per year and Providence at $50k per year so far. Yes, Richmond is on the high end of our budget. If she gets into one of the 6, especially Brown or Colombia, I am prepared to put my retirement off (planned for June 2026 at age 58) to allow her to attend with only limited debt of <$30k. For all the others affordability will be a factor in the decision process. She did not apply to PITT by 12/15 unfortunately; because it is so great for pre-med I regret dropping the ball on that one to be honest. We’re planning a week + of visits for mid-April including a visit to Richmond.

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Just wanted to say congratulations to you for thinking ahead and opening up a 529 college savings plan when the kids were born. This has given your kids a ton of college options and you are not really limited by finances. Well done…

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