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Hi. This is my first time posting on here though I've decided it's time for me to get some real answers because I've been stressing out so much over the past month that I swear my hair is gonna start turning gray.
I apologize if the post is a bit long, but I have to get a lot off my chest and describe my situation.
I'm a junior in high school, two weeks away from finishing the first semester of that year. I don't know what exactly my cumulative GPA is right now, but it's not great. All I know is that by the end of this year I'll either have a 3.3 or a 3.4. By the end of senior year, I'll have maybe a 3.59 at the most.
The thing that killed my GPA to that level is that everyone - teachers, parents, ESPECIALLY parents - all told me to take AP classes, take honors courses, take everything challenging. Doesn't matter if I get worse grades, a rigorous courseload is by far the most important thing that colleges look at.
So I soaked it all up, and I took harder classes. Basically since 7th grade, I've been taking almost every difficult class available. I've always been 2 years ahead of the regular math class, I took honors English/History courses from 7th to 10th grade, and in 11th grade I'm taking AP US History, AP Environmental Science, and the 2-year-higher math class.
Now that college is looming in the near future, I started researching on this. To my dismay after a month or two of reading up about stuff, I realized one thing: a rigorous schedule doesn't matter at all compared to the importance of the infamous GPA. Now, I was angry with myself, I was sad, I was ****ed for having taken on more difficult classes at the expense of my grades, and I was disappointed at the skewed information I had received from everyone. If I'd taken regular classes with maybe one AP, I'd still have a 3.8-4.0 GPA and I wouldn't be worrying about a thing, AND my life would've been a hell of a lot easier. Instead, I'm stuck with this.
I'm really not the brightest student, especially with math, so I probably shouldn't have pushed myself in those areas, but like I said, I thought it was the most important thing to do in school and my parents basically gave me no choice in the matter. Now there's really no time to fix it. In addition to this, my parents have extremely high standards which they violently live by, and they also don't have a realistic outlook on colleges, so those two things are a dangerous combination.
So I want to brace myself for what to expect - and warn my parents, if only to lessen the blow when it comes down later. These are the facts about my high school career and my plans for the future:
- honors and advanced classes in EVERY year, including two AP's junior year
- a 3.3 or a 3.4 GPA by the end of junior year if I'm lucky
- a 207 and a 211 on my PSAT test - which I've heard roughly translates to about 2070 and 2110 on the real thing - I also plan on taking SAT/ACT prep courses before taking the real thing in several months
- a volunteering gig at the University of Washington medical center/hospital - I have the potential to get 200-300 hours by the end of the summer, by the time I start applying to schools.
- a part-time job at a retirement home that pays 10.50 per hour
- at the moment, no in-school extracurriculars, but I fully plan on joining several clubs that interest me and putting the most I can into them
- as far as out-of-school extracurriculars go that don't involve volunteering, I've been taking an art class for the past 8 years and I have a very large portfolio of somewhat professional artwork to prove it
I've also resolved to completely dedicate myself to schoolwork - so my GPAs will show an upward trend by the end of junior year and in all of senior year (4.0s for those last couple semesters if I'm lucky) and I've heard that can be an important variable.
I've honestly got little to no idea about what I want to do in life, though I did have a few ideas about focusing on Political Science and maybe trying something involving international relations (my uncle's an ambassador so this isn't a totally random idea). The reason I'm mentioning this is that since I haven't decided on what to do in life, I also don't really know what colleges to search for or try to get into.
I live in Washington so basically the only thing I'm shooting for right now is to try and get accepted into the University of Washington - which I mentioned I volunteer at, at their hospital. Three years ago my friend got accepted into it with a 3.1 or a 3.2 cumulative GPA, but from what I've heard they've upped their standards a ridiculous amount in those three years. I've heard rumors that they don't accept anything below a 3.8 GPA, or a 3.5 - like I said, they're rumors, but they worry me.
I've also heard that a lot of people take the route of taking a year or two at a regular college before transferring to more prestigious schools - which would be a really great reassurance for me, if it weren't for the fact that I might as well kill myself before my parents kill me for even considering going to a lower-tier college instead of the best possible option.
So, in closing, I know this site is full of people who can speak from experience. I don't know what I'm really looking for - some brutal honesty, a final verdict on my chances of acceptance into a good university, maybe some reassurance or guidance too. I seriously would love some suggestions on what I can realistically do in order to up my chances of acceptance into a school like UW - really, I'd love to get accepted into UW, it's the only goal I have at the moment regarding universities.