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Mount Holyoke- Could I get in? If I did, is it worth it?

stitchponystitchpony 91 replies18 threads Junior Member
Hi there- really hoping I can get some input on my situation.

I am 16 years old and in my junior year at a middle college high school (which means that I am enrolled at a small high school and a large community college concurrently). My school is a very small school with an outstanding reputation- it has received numerous bronze medals from US Newsweek for the "Best High Schools in America" category and has a very high API score. It is highly competitive, therefore, I am not in the top 10% of my class.

Now for a little bit about myself :) I am predicting my GPA to be around a 3.6-3.75 when I graduate. This is because I have a learning disability in math, so my low math grades have a negative impact on my overall GPA. :( The learning disability will also impact the math portion of the SAT, which I will choose not to submit if I do end up applying to Holyoke. (Although in the PSAT, my reading score was very high...) We'll have to see how the SAT goes- but in short, im not expecting anything special.

Ok, time to go back to where I mentioned being a middle college student. At the time I graduate high school, I will have earned not one, but TWO associate degrees in History and Geography from my community college. Only a handful of middle college students obtain ONE associates degree by the time they graduate high school, let alone TWO. This means that I will have earned over 60 units at the college with all A's/ some B's in all of the courses needed for my majors. I am very involved at the college despite my age, and I am the co-founder/current Vice President of my community college's Geography Club. As the Vice President of Geography Club, I will be a leading team member of our college's first annual Science Fair next spring, where we will be conducting research on the impact of climate change on various cultural groups. (Part of the reason I want to attend Mount Holyoke is for their Geography program in particular) I will also be joining the community college honors/community service society Gamma Beta Phi next semester. I have been a member of my high school's National Honors Society for all three years so far.

As for extracurricular activities- I have been a Girl Scout for 11 years and have earned my Gold Award- a MAJOR leadership and community service project. It is the highest honor a Girl Scout can receive, and very few girls ever get it. I am also an avid equestrian of 12 years and have received numerous local show circuit awards.

As for my letter(s) of recommendation(s), they will be excellent. I know I could get an outstanding one from the Geography department chair of the community college. My personal statement/essay will be very strong.

Overall, I feel that Mount Holyoke is a perfect match for me. I am a strong, independent, and creative young woman who is ready to continue making a positive impact on the world around her. Education is very important to me.

That being said, I am not rich. Going to Mount Holyoke and wasting all of the transferable units I have worked so hard for is something difficult to come to terms with. I don't know if I could qualify for much financial aid, and I don't feel that I am good enough to earn a scholarship (or am I wrong?).

So my question for you is- 1) Do you think there is a chance I could get in to Mount Holyoke? 2) Is it worth the financial expenses/loss of units?


If all other things were set aside, and I was somehow in a position where I could attend any college in the US, I know where I would go. Mount Holyoke.
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Replies to: Mount Holyoke- Could I get in? If I did, is it worth it?

  • staceyneilstaceyneil 1193 replies41 threads Senior Member
    edited May 2014
    Mount Holyoke is a wonderful school and sounds like a great match for you. Your GPA is okay and your academic achievements are impressive. I definitely think you have an excellent chance of admission.

    Financially, it is difficult to advise without knowing your situation. I understand it's hard to give up those college credits. Have you checked to make sure that NONE of those credits will transfer as an incoming freshman?

    You are a domestic student, right, not international (I'm assuming since you referenced USNWR high school ratings)? Have you run the Net Price Calculator for MHC yet? If not, do so... it will give you a much better picture of your actual situation. You will need some really specific information from your parents to run it. Also, if your parents situation is out of the ordinary (divorced, own their own business, more than usual assets, etc) the NPC may not be as accurate.

    The NPC will give you an idea of the need-based grant you're likely to get and what sort of loans/work study they will expect from you, and what your EFC (expected family contribution) will be. MHC is a 100% meets-need school for domestic students, so they will use their own formula to determine what your family's EFC is.

    MHC also has some merit scholarships. Is your GPA weighted or unweighted? I am certainly not an expert but I would be surprised if you got merit scholarships without a 4.0. I don't know, though. Perhaps the two associates degrees will count for something. But if I were you I would not count on receiving merit aid, but be happily surprised if your do!

    I'd also say that, even though test scores are optional, if you get high section scores it might strengthen your application. What did you get on the PSAT for the different sections? If your CR and WR are very high, and your math is just so-so (but not horrendous) you might want to consider sending them in anyway. Are you taking the SAT this month? Do you have time to study? (Or for the fall re-take? I would recommend that.) In the same vein, consider taking some SAT2 subject tests in areas you are strong. My D had to take 2 of them (because she was also applying to Wellesley and they were required) and she surprised herself by getting a 790 on the Literature test without any studying or ever having taken a Lit class. She then self-studied for World History last fall and got a 720. I think these strong scores helped her application. (Her regular SAT was 690/690/720 = 2100.)

    MHC's middle SAT score ranges are:
    CR 610-720
    M 610-700
    W 630-720
    That's not to say you HAVE to be in that range, of course. I happen to know that MHC is a school that spends a lot of time reading applications very carefully. They read all the essays, letters of recommendation, and carefully look at all submitted materials to see "the whole picture." Is your math disability a formal diagnosis that is known at your school? If so, you could meet with your CG and tell her how much you think MHC is the perfect school for you, and ask her to please include a note in her Common App report about how you are a strong student and it is only your math LD that has lowered your GPA. (Especially if it is, for instance, a working memory or processing speed disability that affects the computational part of math but you still grasp the higher concepts.....) Again, you can also write a simple explanation of your math LD in the "Additonal Info" area of the Common App.

    No one but you and your family can tell you if MHC is “worth it” compared to whatever other options you may have. I personally think MHC is an amazing school. My D will be attending in the fall and it WILL be a major financial hardship for us, however, I know that she will receive a world-class education in a warm, friendly, and supportive environment filled with passionate and engaged students and faculty. When she graduates, she’ll have an amazing alumni network to participate in for support and networking/job opportunities.

    Lastly, have you visited? Make sure you do. And try to arrange an interview next fall when the Admissions Rep for your region is visiting your area!!!

    Good luck!

    (P.S. There is a Mount Holyoke forum under Colleges and Universities/CC Top Liberal Arts Colleges that you may want to visit and post in, too.)
    edited May 2014
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  • mallory31mallory31 9 replies1 threads New Member
    If you will have two associate degrees, wouldn't you be applying as a transfer rather than as a first-year? Why so certain your units would not be transferable? (MHC, like other top LACs, welcomes transfers from community colleges.) You should check with admissions.
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  • stitchponystitchpony 91 replies18 threads Junior Member
    @staceyneil Hi! Thanks so much for your input! To answer some of your questions...

    SOME of the units (somewhere in the range of like 8-18) will transfer, but I will have over 60, so its not much. Yes, I am a domestic student (I live in California). I did not know about the NPC but I will check it out! Thank you!

    About the SAT/PSAT- I just took the SAT for the first time yesterday actually! I am planning to take it again in June and again in October.

    As for a campus visit, there is a possibility I may be able to visit the campus after all. Under normal circumstances, this would be a definite no, but we are flying out to New York City the week of Thanksgiving for a family reunion and I may see if I can convince my mom to fly into Boston, see Mount Holyoke, and drive down/take the train down to Mount Holyoke. I am really hoping it works out...

    Anyhow, im just really curious if it is worth it given my situation.

    @mallory31 There is a rule/law that says all students legally enrolled in high school at the time of admissions HAVE to apply as a freshman. But when you say Mount Holyoke "welcomes transfers", do you mean they give transfer credit?
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  • staceyneilstaceyneil 1193 replies41 threads Senior Member
    @stitchpony‌
    I would definitely make the visit happen if I were you. Not only to make sure it's a good fit for you, but also because showing interest, visiting, at a school like MHC will help your admissions chances. Run the NPC first, though, and make sure it's realistic financially. If so, I DO think it's "worth it given your situation".

    I highly recommend trying to time your visit so that the Admissions Office will be open. Call ahead and make sure there is someone who you can have a quick meeting with about your credit transfer situation. They may have some ideas. Of course you can do this over the phone (and absolutely should, if you cannot visit) but in-person might be even better for answers, plus it puts you "on their radar".

    MHC's Thanksgivng Break is Weds-Sun, Nov 26-30. Will you be able to schedule a visit before or after that? It would be extremely preferable. If you go during that time, there will not be many/any students around, you won't be able to have a tour, and, most importantly, the admissions office will likely be closed so they won't know you were there. (But definitely call then and see when they're closed. I may be wrong about them not being Fri/Sat)

    Study for the SAT. Spent the $80 for the college board online class and find the motivation to actually do all the exercises and practice tests and everything this summer. It will pay off.

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  • stitchponystitchpony 91 replies18 threads Junior Member
    @staceyneil Ok. I think I am going to be able to make the trip happen. And good thinking with the Admissions Office, I will definitely do that. If we did go for a visit, it would be that Saturday or Sunday before, so we're good.

    Thank you so much for your input... this is my dream school, and I really want to make this happen.
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  • staceyneilstaceyneil 1193 replies41 threads Senior Member
    That's great news! Try HARD for Saturday so that the Admissions Office will be open...

    From their web site " Campus tours are offered on most weekdays and Saturdays. Reservations are not necessary; however, we recommend that you consult the calendar or call ahead to confirm tour dates and times." https://www.mtholyoke.edu/admission/visit/tours_interviews

    Don't worry about an interview on campus if you don't have time, although by all means schedule on if you do. You can always interview with your regional rep (best) or an alumna next fall (contact the admissions office in late summer to arrange.) https://www.mtholyoke.edu/admission/visit/mhc-near-you?state=CA
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  • dqdqdqdqdqdqdqdq 2 replies0 threads New Member
    As stated above, a visit (and if possible an interview) will really help your chances. My daughter was just accepted and will be attending MHC this Fall (2014). Like you, she also has a learning disability. Her GPA, also pulled down by math, was a little over 3.5, and her SATs were 510-M, 650-W, 740-R. I'm sure that 510 scared away some of the colleges she applied to, but Mount Holyoke seemed to really look at the overall application - she even received a hand-written thank-you card from one of the admissions staff, thanking my daughter for the privilege she (the admissions staff) was afforded in being able to read my daughter's application.
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  • stitchponystitchpony 91 replies18 threads Junior Member
    Hey, I know this post is a few months old now... but just as an update: I have been in contact with the Director of Transfer admissions at MHC. I have explained my academic situation to her and she reviewed my community college unofficial transcript... of the 62 units I have completed/in progress/planned, 49 of those units will transfer to MHC!!!! :D (assuming I get in and can go). That makes me so happy! She even said I could be done at MHC in 5 semesters!
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  • staceyneilstaceyneil 1193 replies41 threads Senior Member
    @stitchpony - that's great! One thing: I can't remember if you need financial aid or not, but in general (I don't know specifically about MHC) transfer students do not get as much finaid as freshman. Still, if you can graduate in 5 semesters it might be a savings even without any aid. But you might want to ask them about that, and run the numbers both ways, if that's a concern.
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  • intparentintparent 36292 replies644 threads Senior Member
    You should also make completely sure you understand how any credits that transfer in can be applied to any distribution requirements (not sure what they call them at MHC, can't remember, but they are the certain number of courses you have to take of each type -- eg, quantitative, foreign language, social studies, etc.) I seem to recall that MHC has a fairly robust set of these, and you want to make sure you can apply at least some of your transfer credits against them.
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  • stitchponystitchpony 91 replies18 threads Junior Member
    Yeah, that is a very good point. I am waiting for the Director to email me back so that we can discuss it... do you know if MHC has its "general ed" checklist type thing online somewhere so I can look at it? I've tried looking but haven't found anything. What I may do is take some college courses this spring and summer to try to meet as many MHC requirements as possible, checking with the Director to make sure they can transfer over before I take them
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  • stitchponystitchpony 91 replies18 threads Junior Member
    Yeah, im excited for it. They were way more flexible about it than I was expecting.

    Good to know about the transfer... I THINK I am still applying as a freshman (the Director and I are going to have a phone conversation sometime soon to talk about it) but im not sure yet. I am planning to apply for fin. aid and maybe hoping to get some merit money too.
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  • staceyneilstaceyneil 1193 replies41 threads Senior Member
    Here's the page for MHC distribution requirements:
    https://www.mtholyoke.edu/registrar/ab#distribution

    And here's a PDF of a chart the student use to figure out how they are satisfying those:
    https://www.mtholyoke.edu/sites/default/files/academicdeans/docs/distreqrefchart.pdf
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  • stitchponystitchpony 91 replies18 threads Junior Member
    THANK YOU!! I have been looking for that!
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  • staceyneilstaceyneil 1193 replies41 threads Senior Member
    This might also be useful, in the event you are applying as a transfer student, not a freshman. It's the financial aid page for transfer students:
    https://www.mtholyoke.edu/sfs/transfer
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