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Generic chance answer for super-selective colleges

ucbalumnusucbalumnus 77680 replies678 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
Here is a generic chance answer for super-selective colleges:

1. Are you a development applicant (related to huge donor)? If yes, depends on the agreement between the college and donor.
2. Are you a recruited athlete? If yes, depends on the coach's pull with admissions. Note: likely letter means likely, not safety / certainty.
3. Do you attend a prep school with privileged connections to the college? If yes, the counselors at the college should be able to give you an honest assessment (which may not necessarily be what you hope it is).
4. Are your academic credentials top-notch, meaning 4.0 or close to it unweighted GPA, counselor rating of "most demanding" course selection and "outstanding" or better overall, top-end test scores, no deficiencies of things required by the college, no deficiencies of things recommended by the college except where not available? If no, the college is an unrealistic reach.
5. Based on the college's statements on its web site, do you appear to be what the college is looking for? If no, the college is an unrealistic reach.
6. Are you a legacy (if considered by the college) or URM (if considered by the college); or did you achieve despite severe disadvantages/barriers/limitations on achievement; or are you recognized at the state/national/international level for achievement/championship/award, etc.? If yes, the college is a reach.
7. Otherwise, the college is a high reach.

Your essays and recommendations will be important, but most applicants (except those who answer yes in step 3 above) have no way of knowing how their essays and recommendations compare to those of other applicants to the college. Hence, there is no way for applicants who reach step 6 or 7 above to call a super-selective college anything easier than a reach.
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Replies to: Generic chance answer for super-selective colleges

  • CU123CU123 3532 replies65 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I'll my blurb about applying ED or not.

    The most important factors are 1. Are you academically qualified to go (depends on school (3.8+/32+ for most top schools, but the higher the GPA/scores the better) 2. Are you hooked (athlete/URM/FG/legacy in that order, multiples would be super hooked) 3. If not 2 then do you have anything that sets you apart (National competition placed/won, unique abilities/EC). If you don’t have 2 or 3 than forget about SCEA/REA at HYPS, give yourself the best shot by EDing somewhere.

    I do know one person who didn’t have 2 or 3 above but made it in. She was deferred SCEA, admitted RD. Stats 35/4.0UW/4.5W/state champion in her sport although not a recruited athlete, plus numerous other ECs. You can see that just with this sample size of one how difficult it is to get in on the SCEA round.
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  • CU123CU123 3532 replies65 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    So as you can see from my post ED is the last bastion of the unhooked.
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  • geekgurlgeekgurl 217 replies122 threadsRegistered User Member
    For #4, my school did offer biology and many schools recommend 1 year of each of the three sciences. I took 2 years of physics and chemistry concurrently, but couldn't fit biology to my schedule because I was taking an additional course (computer science). Should I explain this in Additional information section? I'd have taken it if I could.
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  • PublisherPublisher 7721 replies80 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Maybe I misunderstand #5 in the original post in this thread, but if I am reading it correctly, then I disagree.
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  • cusnewcusnew 62 replies8 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Yeah, I disagree as well @Publisher . Most of these generic answers can really affect a person too much.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 77680 replies678 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    What do you disagree about #5?

    For example, Stanford's web site has this: https://admission.stanford.edu/apply/selection/index.html . Now, if a student did not have academic excellence, intellectual vitality, and extracurricular achievement, that may be seen as a mismatch for Stanford. But what students who have a realistic chance of admission to a super-selective college do not have those things?
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  • PublisherPublisher 7721 replies80 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I have concerns with both #3 & #5 above.

    With respect to #5, it would be very difficult for a student to self assess this area of broad, fluid and contextual qualities.

    In my experience, #3 does not recognize the realities of college advising/counseling at many elite prep schools.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 77680 replies678 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    What would you say instead?
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  • PublisherPublisher 7721 replies80 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited August 2018
    It is not an approach that I would take.

    With respect to #3 & to #5, they are both subjective assessments that are too likely to be incorrect. I have often even seen absolute number requirements ignored by honors colleges & special programs.

    I try to approach chance me requests by focusing on one's strengths & weaknesses & whether or not that particular school is a match for that particular student. Although also a subjective approach, I encourage students to apply focusing on their strengths & focus on finding those strengths and communicating them in an attractive fashion. Guess I see college admissions as more of an art than as a science. Not so with law school admissions however.
    edited August 2018
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  • CU123CU123 3532 replies65 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited August 2018
    Subjective is the hallmark of holistic admissions.

    @publisher I’ll agree that elite private HS has an advantage in counseling, but I believe that is covered in post #1. Most chance me threads have so little depth that it’s simply unrealistic to do what you may be trying to do. So “generic” advice is about as good as it gets.
    edited August 2018
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  • PublisherPublisher 7721 replies80 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Usually in order to respond to a chance me post one needs to ask more questions of the poster. The issue is what are the right questions to ask.
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  • CU123CU123 3532 replies65 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    So have you seen anyone post there complete application to include essays if not your really doing them a disservice. Ask all the questions you want you will still not be able to give them an accurate chance of admission to super selective schools.
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  • PublisherPublisher 7721 replies80 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited August 2018
    Never wrote that I was. I am just trying to give them their best chance of admission to their targeted fit schools.
    edited August 2018
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 33421 replies363 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I get #5. If you don't know the college, haven't looked into what they say, how do you make your best presentation to them? This is not about chances or anyone assuring you you're a shoo in. It's about your own match, the not so awful steps to figure that out. After that, the adcoms decide if they have a spot for you.

    I might not say it makes that college an unrealistic reach. I'd probably say it makes your own application (and hopes) unrealistic.
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  • JohnGaltIIIJohnGaltIII 199 replies10 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    edited August 2018
    Harvard recently had to admit the truth in documents released because of an admissions lawsuit. If you are not connected or an athlete a lottery ticket may be a better investment than a Harvard application. The same is true for most Private universities in the top 20.

    Special circumstances students get a HUGE advantage over regular applicants.
    athletes are admitted at 86%. This group makes up about 230 students per year.
    (Note this means recruited varsity athletes, not just having athletics as an extracurricular.)

    Legacy students are admitted at 33.6%. This group makes up about 774 students per year.
    (Note these students are usually highly qualified in their own right - they may just get a second look and slightly preferable treatment.)

    Dean and Director's interest list are at 42%.
    (There seem to be no particular criteria for being included on this list, but they include applicants "encountered at recruiting events" and applicants "related to donors to Harvard." I believe this is not mutually exclusive with the other groups - ie you can be a legacy athlete on the dean's list.)

    If you're reading this, you're most likely not a special circumstances student
    edited August 2018
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  • gallentjillgallentjill 2385 replies84 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited September 2018
    I am somewhat confounded by many of the "chance me" threads. How is it possible that the student with a 35 ACT and 800 on every math test he has ever taken, can't look at the published statistics and figure out the answer himself? Its different when a kid with less stellar stats asks about whether their own particular circumstances might open the door. I understand those types of questions. But the rest....are they sincere inquiries or simply a chance to brag about the 35 ACT and the high GPA? Its not as if we can read the applications or the essays or give any kind of answer beyond what the published statistics state.

    I do occasionally answer posts like that, but only to make sure the student is aware they need a real safety.
    edited September 2018
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  • lemonlululemonlulu 214 replies3 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    @Kadel1023 , those who have 200 higher SAT, 0.5 higher GPA, and state champ in whatever sports, still a snowflake in elite school. LOL
    lot of successful people don't rank top5% in their high school class.
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  • Kadel1023Kadel1023 112 replies12 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    @lemonlulu

    Yes. I was trying to be comical, nothing more.
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