This post is not going to make me popular, but it is something I have needed to post for quite a while. I have been avoiding this board because frankly it has been angering me. A lot of posters seem to post information which I feel is simply inaccurate, especially in the "do I have a chance" threads.
One such thread just today had a poster say that being an international student "will help a lot." Where did that come from? At almost any university out there it is actually harder for international students to get in http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/international-students/531029-acceptance-rates-international-students.html
Additionally, most colleges including Notre Dame (last I checked) are NOT need-blind for international students. I think the person was just trying to be helpful and assumed that international would be a good thing as it increases diversity, but we must be cautious about making assumptions! We are on this board to help people, and the information we give must be accurate. Otherwise, what good are we?
Another trend I have seen is that, in my opinion (only time will tell) people have been far too generous in estimating people's chances. It is tempting to look at an applicant and compare them to yourself, heck, I do that, but keep in mind every applicant and their school is unique. Some schools are feeder schools, others like Brophy, while a fine school, only send a couple to ND a year. ND treats every school differently. For this reason, I believe sticking close to the averages is warranted. In another thread on here a few weeks ago everyone told a student that he/she had a great shot at ND. However, the student's estimated rank was the top 15% of his/her class. ND's average is top 6% and it is getting more selective every year. To me, saying that they have a good shot is irresponsible, and I said so in that thread. Just because their SAT looks good or their GPA is similar to yours doesn't mean that ND looks at it the same way. ND is looking for the whole package. If someone is that far away from any ND average (SAT/ACT/Rank) I don't think you can say they have a good shot, if anything, say it is a reach.
Giving people informed opinions is very important. When I came out of high school I asked my chances on a board like this (it was the Priceton Review board way back in 2002, I am ancient, and apparently crabby) and people told me the truth. I had a 1290 and was ranked in the top 15% and people said I was a reach (keep in mind, average SAT then was a 1340). They were right, I was rejected (and later transferred to ND). I appreciate their honesty, because I came needing an honest assessment. Getting such helped me find good match schools. We don't want people thinking ND is a slam dunk if it isn't, then they may only apply to ND and more selective schools. What we say matters!
Again, perhaps I am old and crabby, and I appreciate that everyone is trying to be helpful. I am not a mod, just a fellow poster, so I have no authority here. I just am saying that I think before you post something you need to make sure that it is true. Helping is great, but helping with the wrong information can be downright harmful!