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GUEST STUDENT OF THE WEEK: ski_racer, a high-achiever in high school, was rejected by some of the elite schools she applied to. This rejection was the best thing that happened to her as she got to choose her own path. Learn how she fell in love with her safety school, ASK HER ANYTHING!
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Feel I'm Not Good Enough [Northwestern, CMU, JHU, WUSL, WU]

beantherebeanthere 3 replies2 threads New Member
Would appreciate any advice, and possibly looking for another safety school.

My background:
Middle-upper class white suburban family. Both parents have advanced degrees. I've lived in Ohio my entire life and currently attend an early college STEM school, and have been taking college courses since Sophomore year. I am a member of LGBTQ+ community, though I'm not sure how to mention that in my application.

HS Courses GPA: 4.0
College GPA: 2.87
Overall Weighed GPA: 4.05 (I think)

ACT Composite: 32 M: 28 S: 33 R: 34 E: 33
Hopefully will be retaking Math in September

Mock Trial: 2 years, lawyer both years, moved on to Regionals 1 year.
Student Council: 3 years, project lead all 3 years; received a Student Leadership Award from a national organization for my project
GSA: Secretary (2 years), VP (1 year)
Volunteer Club: Founder, 2 years
Drama Club: 2 years

Outside of School
Science Museum Volunteer: 5 Years, 80 hrs/year
Library Volunteer: 5 Years
Religious Youth Group Chapter: Social Action VP (2 years), President (1 year)
Religious Youth Group Region: General Board (2 years)
Synagogue Religious School Teachers Aide (4 years)
Camp Counselor: 1 summer
Rock Climbing for 6 years

Schools Applying To:
OSU (guaranteed admission)
Northwestern (Dream School) ED
Caltech (Big Reach) EA?
Carnegie Mellon
Case Western
Johns Hopkins University
Washington University in St. Louis
University of Washington (Safety)

I'm looking for non-college town colleges (after visiting Purdue I realized I want a city vibe). University of Cincinnati, Miami University (OH), and Purdue are big no's; and I'd prefer not to be in the south.
10 replies
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Replies to: Feel I'm Not Good Enough [Northwestern, CMU, JHU, WUSL, WU]

  • DadTwoGirlsDadTwoGirls 6652 replies2 threads Senior Member
    OSU is a very good university. Being in-state it should be a bargain. If it really is a safety (you and your guidance counselor would know better than I) then it is a great safety -- which is the first place to start in university admissions.

    Are you sure that the University of Washington is a safety? Your high school GPA is great (assuming that it is unweighted), but you are out of state and it is quite competitive for out of state students.

    I would think that Caltech would be very unlikely partly because of your college GPA and partly because of your math score on the ACT. Caltech has a lot of students who got an easy 800 on the math part of the SAT, and they still find it to be a very challenging university.
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  • beantherebeanthere 3 replies2 threads New Member
    As an Ohio resident, I have guaranteed admissions to OSU, and my high school has the highest main campus admission rate of the state. It's a great school, I'm just unsure of how I'll feel attending college in my parent's backyard, and their MechE program isn't the greatest, with 4-year graduation very rare.

    I honestly don't know much about finding a reasonable safety school but noticed my ACT is higher than the University of Washington's mid-50 and falls within the mid-50 for Engineering.

    Caltech is mostly because my dad wants to say his kid applied to Caltech, and I know I have a very slim chance of getting in.
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 10391 replies122 threads Senior Member
    You need to send all of your transcripts including your college courses. That GPA could be a big red flag for the reach schools.
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  • 2plustrio2plustrio 394 replies7 threads Member
    edited August 2
    Since you said Washington University, what about SLU? My friends daughter is there for mech E and really enjoying it. While Jesuit, the focus is not on religion but more service learning, helping others and volunteering (which you already have done). They are very open and accepting.
    edited August 2
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  • sgopal2sgopal2 3915 replies52 threads Senior Member
    Mention the LGBT in the essays, and how it affected your life. While its not a hook, it will help the admissions people understand your context.

    Could you explain the low college GPA? Seems to contradict your HS GPA. What happened? This needs to be explained in the application, or they will assume your HS is not that rigorous and you will have a hard time in college.
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  • beantherebeanthere 3 replies2 threads New Member
    edited August 2
    I'm done with High School classes and started as a "full-time" college student spring semester. I had a really rough semester with Calculus once it moved online this past semester, including the loss of the tutoring center.

    Part of the issue was the professor made some grading mistakes and refused to listen to/work with his department chair (it was a course of all students from my school, but appears as a college course on a college campus) which costed me a 3.0 GPA.
    edited August 2
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  • whidbeyite2002whidbeyite2002 304 replies1 threads Member
    @beanthere, unfortunately, University of Washington will not be a safety for an out-of-state mechanical engineering applicant. However, UW’s supplement includes a diversity essay, and this is the perfect place to talk about your involvement with the LGBTQ+ community.
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  • coolguy40coolguy40 2942 replies8 threads Senior Member
    An out of state safety school is a contradiction. They're not safeties. They're considered financial reach schools. It's not uncommon for kids to start at a distant school and a parent gets laid-off, or has a business failure, forcing the student to come back home. COVID-19 has accelerated that scenario times 10,000. Working in higher-ed myself, enrollment is way down and kids are starting at community colleges. I can't say that I blame them. Who wants to pay $30,000 a year to take online classes?

    If I were you, I would go to OSU, because it's close to home. If something happens to the money supply, you can still commute to school and take out student loans.
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  • MWolfMWolf 2750 replies14 threads Senior Member
    beanthere wrote: »
    It's a great school, I'm just unsure of how I'll feel attending college in my parent's backyard, and their MechE program isn't the greatest, with 4-year graduation very rare.

    If COVID 19 flares back up, you'd likely be happy to be closer to home,
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  • mom2boys1999mom2boys1999 183 replies14 threads Junior Member
    Your college GPA is going to be a huge issue. How can a college believe you are able to manage college work when there is clear evidence contrary? And blaming the teacher is a poor way to frame it. You definitely need to work on that reasoning.

    ACT won’t be offering single subject tests so if you want to work on that math, you need go sign up ASAP. There’s a lot of problems and issues with the test given the epidemic.

    How are you going to afford all the out of state schools? Have you ran net price calculator?
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