Where are the best matches for my child? [international, 3.95, swimming athlete, environmental science]

Thanks for your comments, at previously stated, D24 will really visit these colleges for the first time this summer, and gain a better understanding of each.

@collegemom3717 suggested dropping Stanford which is there for sentimental reason (double legacy) & Dartmouth (strong sports culture). In the end, they could indeed get dropped.

@Baltmom23 is absolutely correct that the selection of the early round schools will potentially have a great impact on the outcome. This impact is somewhat reduced by the fact the UCs and Canadian schools (Toronto & McGill) have completely different schedules, and can be essentially considered EA rounds.

Not sure why Bates is not on the NESCAC list with or instead of the other Maine schools. Excellent academic reputation(12% acceptance rate-only slightly higher than Bowdoin and Colby), very competitive swim team, good environmental studies program and most importantly-need aware! Since you are full pay, your daughter would be very desirable in the ED rounds and support from the coach would only bolster that! (Oh and a leader in the test-optional movement for over 50 years).


Double legacy at Stanford possibly moves the needle from lightening strike to blue moon


@Lkunk498 … there is not obvious reason why Bates isn’t on the list or replacing one of the other similar LACs, besides the fact D24’s high school has a cap of 10 college applications. D24 is pursuing swimm recruiting at many of these schools, and coaches will assess whether she’s a recruit or not. Of course if she is recruited, that renders this list immediately obsolete.

Oh, I think it might be at least a “when pigs fly” situation. :joy:

@NiVo i would urge you to read the thread I’m linking below. It’s especially important for students applying to mostly reach schools. It’s from 2007, but the thread is very on point. I realize you have a couple of schools that are probable sure things. But this thread highlights how important that actually is…and what a journey it is to actually get into the elite schools. For reference….this student was a top student in his class, top SAT scorer, and a NMF. He had great awards and such in high school, and took a very strong course curriculum. He got zero acceptances the first time around (@ucbalumnus will remind us that the schools applied to didn’t include a true safety). He took a gap year that was very productive. He applied to different schools and was accepted to all except one repeat. He got his degrees from MIT. But the story is well worth reading.

And acceptances have gotten even more difficult.

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@thumper1 your point is well noted. For the same reason, D24’s list contains two levels of safety

  1. Toronto & McGill are Canadian Universities which implement a very clear cut admission process driven almost solely by grades/ expected IB/SAT rather than ECs/awards/extra-curricular achievements

  2. UC list includes UCs with an admit rate far superior to 50%

… more importantly yet, the author of your non admit thread achieved a perfect outcome with a productive gap year, which also isn’t a bad outcome

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Exactly…but his senior year in high school was not a happy time. But yes…he totally landed on his feet.

So the thread has two good points.

  1. Have a definite sure thing that you know you can afford and would love to attend.

  2. There is nothing wrong with a gap year if things don’t go as you hope. A well thought out gap year (as you can see this kid had).

And yes…you do have those sure things…:crossed_fingers:t2::crossed_fingers:t2:


List shrunk substantially with swimming season. Next deadlines are swim meet, definitive expected IB grades, another SAT attempt, college pre-reads.

McGill, F&M (pre read passed)

MATCH/REACH/STRETCH: Pomona, CMK, Swarthmore, Carnegie Mellon, Washington St Louis, Bowdoin, Colby, Bates, UCs, Stanford

List will be shrunk to no more than 8+UCs by summer. Outside of UCs/Stanford, the remaining schools will only be included if there is strong coach support/tip

Not sure F&M is safe. I’d say match.

I would say all your match/stretch/reach are reach - unless you have a coach backing.

Don’t you have a 1480 SAT? If so yes F&M will be safe and it will not hurt you anywhere.

Good luck.


I think it is in the safe category bc of passed pre-read though it’s unclear if an offer was made.

A passed pre-read alone does not guarantee acceptance.

Stats are good for F&M but is it safe for international?


My understanding is that strong coach support is one school only. Several coaches may offer, but you will have to accept only one of them and other coaches will move on. Does that mean those will be eliminated?


As this OP is posting on two threads and declined to clarify on the other thread about whether an offer was made, the assumption is that it hasn’t at this point. (There was also a mention of two passed pre-reads on that thread but only one here, which is another mystery).

I would say it’s difficult for people to provide relevant advice and “chancing” categorization without more definite information.

A passed pre-read means a very likely (almost certain) positive admission result contingent on coach support. But it doesn’t necessarily mean “safe” without that.


I agree with most of this, but I’d be wary of foregoing other NESCAC schools for Bowdoin. It’s a recent development that Bowdoin has gone need-blind/full-need-met for international students, joining a tiny group of schools that doesn’t even include Stanford. This is bound to drive the already-low international admit rate down even further, as the many international students who need significant aid add it to their lists. OP’s daughter won’t be applying for financial aid, but with a need-blind policy, she’ll essentially be penalized as if she were. Could become a very tough admit relative to the other excellent NESCACS (all of them except Amherst) that are still need-aware for internationals.

Dartmouth is another that has gone need-blind for internationals, which could be another reason to leave it off the list. There’s no clear need to go head-to-head with all of the high-need international applicants that are shotgunning the need-blind schools.

In terms of the Claremonts, I agree that Pomona is the most desirable, but it’s also the toughest admit. Pitzer is very strong in all things environmental, and is a somewhat easier admit, and shares athletic teams with Pomona. (In fact, if she’s recruited, the coach may offer to support her at one school but not the other - I know Claremont Consortium athletes who had that experience.) If she likes the Enviro Analysis department at Pomona, Scripps could be another good option, as the Pomona EA major is open to Scripps students (this is what my daughter did). Scripps and CMC share athletic teams. “Introverted but not nerdy” is a very common personality type at Scripps! (CMC has more of an extrovert culture.) Also, Scripps and CMC have some decent merit scholarships, whereas Pomona gives no merit and Pitzer very little.


our understanding would be

1 passed pre-read + strong coach support (if she gets one) = ED (with near secured admission)

1-3 pre-read passed + coach support for tip / walk-on (if she gets it) = EA

RD application to UC/Stanford

To expect 3-4 offers of coach support at this point may be a bit advantageous. Did the Franklin and Marshall coach make an offer when they notified you of the pre read result? What about the other two schools where you had positive pre reads? If no offer was made then I would highly recommend your daughter asking the coach what the next steps are and where she falls on their list of 2024 recruits. If coach isn’t clear then I think it is safe to assume that full support may not be there, as coach is likely starting with other athletes.

Chancing with regards to an athletic recruit is messy because only the athlete and coach are privy to the conversations regarding the pre read and support, so unless you share the exact conversations being had no one can truly chance you at those schools. It may be better to ask on this thread for posters to chance you without the swimming hook since you and your daughter may choose to go that direction and posters could provide much more clarity there.


IME, it’s not uncommon for time to pass after pre-reads before some coaches ultimately decide who gets the full support/slots. There’s a lot of recruiting still to happen at some schools and in some sports, meaning the athletes who ultimately get offers may not have even had pre-reads yet.

Perhaps non-nescac schools will accelerate their timelines though, given NESCACs are not doing pre-reads until Aug 1. That’s what I would do, lol.

I thought OP was asking about chances on this thread not counting any coach help from recruiting.

I don’t disagree with this, but if OP gets a pre-read at Bowdoin, coach/AOs are highly likely to know their full pay status at that point. IME Bowdoin coaches, like many others, ask about financial need during recruiting.

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My take is that a tip still comes with the certain understanding of acceptance upon admission - don’t coaches have limited tips as well? Is the expectation different during the regular round?

I don’t believe the schools on your list offer EA, though some have ED2.


I don’t understand that response about tips and EA from the OP. If an offer of strong support is extended for the ED1 round and accepted, any other schools that had made offers may not be interested any more. Then, depending on how many ED round commits they were able to secure, those schools may be willing to extend an offer for an ED2 or RD application if the OP’s daughter ended up in the rare situation of not being accepted at the ED school when decisions came out in early mid December.

But the only programs likely to do this are going to be weaker athletically (and probably ranked lower academically) and don’t have the draw of others.

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  • international student
  • State/Location of residency: Asia
  • Type of high school: Private
  • Gender/Race/Ethnicity: Female-Euro-Hispanic-Asian
  • Other factors: swimming athlete (D3 swimming)

Intended Major: Environmental science

GPA, Rank, and Test Scores

  • Unweighted HS GPA: 4.1
  • Class Rank: n/a
  • IB expected: 43-44 / 45
  • SAT: 1480, awaiting new result

*IB: English, Math, Physics, Biology, Econ, Chinese
*Fluent in English, French, Chinese, German

*Swim team captain, Swim coach for Low Income NGO, Sports coach for disadvantaged children NGO, Leader of Everywhere Club, Natural/Regional swim competitions, Summer Job in Food and Beveragenclude leadership, summer activities

**Essays/LORs/Others: strong

**Cost Constraints / Budget; unconstrained

**Restriction: High School limits to 9 applications + UCs

SAFE (1-2 application will be submitted):
McGill (Bieler School of Environment)
University of Toronto
Grinnell (pre-read passed)
F&M (pre read passed)

Stanford (Doerr School of Sustainability)
Cambridge (Department of Earth & Science)
Carnegie Mellon (Steinbrenner Institute)
Washington St Louis
Claremont McKenna