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How to improve the chances of chances threads?

tokenadulttokenadult 15970 replies1501 threads Senior Member
edited January 2014 in What Are My Chances?
Hi, everyone,

I'm wondering what tips you have for students who are posting "What are my chances?" threads. What kind of information helps a student get a helpful answer? How much information is TOO MUCH information? (Some students later regret posting personal information that allows them to be identified in real life.) What makes a chances thread interesting to read? What makes a chances thread funny and encouraging? What makes a good reply to a chances thread?

I figure you regular readers of this forum have a lot of good ideas on this subject. Sharing with the new participants may help everyone enjoy the threads more.

P.S. Good luck to all of you applying this year. Please let us know whether or not you exceeded the chances predictions you received in replies to your own threads.
edited January 2014
141 replies
Post edited by tokenadult on
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Replies to: How to improve the chances of chances threads?

  • tokenadulttokenadult 15970 replies1501 threads Senior Member
    Thanks for the helpful replies. There is a lot of good advice here.
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  • JohnC613JohnC613 1444 replies136 threads Senior Member
    don't come off as conceited (OP) or condescending (repliers)
    I generally don't read chance me's by juniors.
    If you chance someone, don't put yourself into it/use it as a chance to brag about yourself. "well, consider I'm applying and got a 2300, you're 2200 will hurt"
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  • tokenadulttokenadult 15970 replies1501 threads Senior Member
    Thanks for the further comments. This forum will be more useful for the students who follow these tips.
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  • blqgirlblqgirl 107 replies9 threads Junior Member
    Right on, faustarp.
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  • Student615Student615 1865 replies20 threads Senior Member
    Also, if you have a 4.0, 2300+ SAT, and a slew of extracurriculars, you don't need a chances thread-- you know you have a decent shot anywhere.

    So true. In many cases, the type of schools that these students are applying to have unpredictable admissions anyway. Unless circumstances are exceptional or you're looking for advice on your list, there's just no point. I do think it's fine for a student with high stats like these to ask for advice or suggestions, i.e. "I love my safety, but I'm overqualified and I know that some schools tend to dislike this. Does anyone know if this school has a reputation for doing so, or have suggestions of similar safety schools?" That's no problem in my eyes, but "I have a good GPA, good scores, and good other stuff. Can you chance me for every Ivy? ...bump...bump...bump" is not going to garner a lot of helpful info.

    Finally, I originally neglected the OP's question about what makes a good reply to a chances thread. A few thoughts:

    - Be considerate and polite. Be honest, but be reasonable. Remember that there's someone (a 16-18 year old, at that) on the other end of the thread. If something reads strangely, try to give the benefit of the doubt and ask for clarification.

    - When possible, expand on your reply (either after each prediction or just once overall) rather than leaving it at simply "accepted/rejected" or "safety/match/reach." Is there a particular weakness in the applicant's profile that makes you think every school will be a reach? Is there something the applicant might be able to do or re-frame in order to better her chances? Is the applicant lacking a true safety, or could she be shooting higher?

    - Don't hesitate to address the positive!

    - Consider saying a little something about where your opinions are coming from. It could be as simple as prefacing your predictions with "Based on numbers alone..." or it could be more anecdotal, like "I used the same safety, but was rejected even with high stats. I don't know if they have a reputation for this, but be careful."

    - Pet peeve here: please don't write out "REJECTED" in all caps (as in "School A: Probably accepted; School B: Accepted; School C: REJECTED). It's just not nice.
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  • tokenadulttokenadult 15970 replies1501 threads Senior Member
    Yes, being nice always helps the replies.
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  • ticklemepinkticklemepink 2720 replies44 threads Senior Member
    I absolutely agree with the posters about "hypothetical" situations.

    The other reasons why I don't read "Chance Me!" threads is that there is just TOO much stuff to digest- honestly, try to put down things that truly makes you stand out- leadership, employment, special honors/awards, passions, etc.

    I don't like to see a laundry list of APs- I don't want to know every single AP you've taken but if you're strong in a particular area and major in that- list any relevant APs (You want to major in English, I expect to see AP Lit, and/or AP Language) so I know that you're going in the right direction. But at least list how many APs you've taken and perhaps if you know, how many your school offers.

    Don't need to say "GREAT recommendations"- we all konw how fabulous you are so we'll assume that your teachers know how great you are and as discussed in another thread elsewhere, they're not AS important as your transcript and SAT/ACT scores.

    Thanks for the thread- if posters can follow some of the suggestions, I'd be happy to actually read them :)
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  • Wneckid99Wneckid99 864 replies61 threads Member
    student615 is completely right. dont do chances unless you have TAKEN the SATs or ACTs
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  • AlumotherAlumother 6109 replies130 threads Senior Member
    Tell the same story in your chances thread that you want the admins to see. Give the GPA, weighted and unweighted. Tell us the level of difficulty of your courses. Tell us what you are taking senior year. Synthesize your activities. List your awards succintly. Then summarize - if your reaches accept you, why? Why will they do that?

    Then we can help you assess your understanding.
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  • lita444153lita444153 46 replies1 threads Junior Member
    exactly, this will help
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  • NewEngSocSciManNewEngSocSciMan 762 replies28 threads Member
    Another suggestion for posters is to give the selectivity of your high school, as well as how other students from that high school do. By this, I mean that those who respond to chances threads ought to have some idea of the context of your high school.
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  • asdfjkl1asdfjkl1 1911 replies39 threads Senior Member
    What about essays? I mean, they're so important and never EVER mentioned.
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  • goolscigoolsci 184 replies12 threads Junior Member
    I know people never follow this, but don't do a chance thread after apps are due everywhere and its just waiting time. It will just make you nervous and it's too late to apply to more safeties and matches
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  • CalcruzerCalcruzer 4756 replies76 threads Senior Member
    I think kyledavid80 gave the best summary.

    The six other things I would suggest are:

    (1) that the poster be receptive to the replies;--since if we say we don't think you can get into a school, it is not because we hate you or feel like being rude that day, but rather because it is our intent to tell you the truth, suggest how you might possibly improve your chances, and may wish to suggest a more appropriate school for you where your chances of acceptance are better;

    (2) if you aren't chanced imediately, don't bump the post twenty times and insult us for not telling you your chances at the University of Southern Missouri Technical State in Springfield County, MO. It is just possible that (a) we've never heard of the school you asked about, or (b) we don't know what the criteria is for acceptance are at the school--and therefore prefer not to post rather than guess at what your chances may possibly be,

    (3) if you are applying for a school where legacy matters, let us know if you qualify as a legacy, (and if you don't know if it matters, just tell us where you are a legacy--where your parents--or, in some cases, siblings went/are going to school);

    (4) if you are the first in your family to attend college, tell us;

    (5) if you are low income or a URM (under-represented minority), then let us know that, since we can then put your accomplishments in context--which allows us to better estimate your chances; and

    (6) if your parents work at the school, tell us that.

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  • moizuhkmoizuhk 375 replies22 threads Member
    Theses are the factors that colleges most usually take into account:

    Rigor of secondary school record
    Academic GPA
    Class rank--If your school doesn't rank give us an idea like top 5%
    Standardized test scores
    Extracurricular activities--Only things you will mention in your application
    Talent / ability -- Do you have exceptional talent in some area? Please dont tell me you are president of Debating Club. Thats an EC.
    Character / personal qualities -- this will be difficult to tell but give us an idea as to how you've expressed yourself in the essay or what your interviewer might have told you about your personality (they usually do)
    Alumni/ae relation -- or any sort of close connection
    Geographical residence--Not all colleges consider
    State residency--Not all colleges consider
    Religious affiliation/commitment--Not all colleges consider
    Minority status
    Volunteer work
    Work experience
    First generation college student
    Level of Applicant's Interest--Not all colleges consider
    Financial Aid -- especially for international students

    Telling all this will significantly help
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