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Going into Junior year, had bad grades freshman year, how screwed am I?

skrrrtskrrrtskeeetskeeetskrrrtskrrrtskeeetskeeet Registered User Posts: 25 New Member
Freshmen year I had a few Bs and some A-'s. This past year I made all As/A+'s. I am going to be doing my school's IB program for the next 2 years of high school and I plan on working as hard as I have to for all As. (Unlike my freshman year)

Info about me so far:
Current class rank: top 5% (Hopefully will go up)
ECs:
Swimming team (Average swimmer)
Speech and Debate Team (made nationals this year)
Science Olympiad Team (Our schools science olympiad team is pretty bad but if I get the events I want this year I could do well)
Boy Scouts (got my Eagle)
I also have a job as a lifeguard (I know high level colleges don't care about most jobs because if you are making money from your immense hours of working for others that must mean you have poor character, right?)

My plans for the future include starting a club (either premed based, CS based or political) and joining NHS.

Test Scores:
PSAT: 1350(630 on math 720 on reading) (I will be taking this again and my score should be much better)
SAT: 1450 (710 on math 740 on reading)

I swear I'm not bad at math, but I took Algebra 2 this past year. (My school wouldn't let me take Alg 1 in 7th grade for reasons unrelated to grades, which were As in middle school).

At the time of taking the PSAT I had virtually no Alg 2 education and at the ti.e of taking ths SAT I had no education in trig.

I will be taking the SAT as many times as possible to get the highest score I can (should be above 1520 I hope) and I will be taking the PSAT again to try to be a NMS semi finalist.

My question is, what other ECs could I do starting this year to improve my chances of getting into top schools (Stanford, Brown, Johns Hopkins, Princeton,Georgetown, Northwestern, etc)
I want to do premed and major in Biology or something similar (Biochemistry or Bioengineering are possibilities)
Also, how much will my Freshman year grades hold me back? Can I score high enough on standardized tests to still have a chance of getting in to schools like these?

Schools I want to apply to currently: IU (safety), University of Alabama, those top schools listed above, Notre Dame, Duke (both of these are very competitive but not as crazy as the ones listed above).

Again, I feel that ECs are where I need the most improvement since I will already be improving academically as much as possible.

I see these other posts with crazy ECs like lab research and internationally competing in Math/Physics/whatever Olympiads and building houses in Haiti and starting huge nonprofit charities and even class president (which I have little chance of being because some basketball player always runs and its basically a popularity contest - I go to a regular public school, not a prep school.)

Opinions and advice are appreciated.
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Replies to: Going into Junior year, had bad grades freshman year, how screwed am I?

  • liveforbooksliveforbooks Registered User Posts: 21 New Member
    It's really hard to tell but if you have really good essays and a really strong upward trend then you stand a chance at some of the schools on your list but to get into some schools like Stanford and Johns Hopkins you need a lot more science ECs like lab research.

    So, simply put, raise your test scores as much as possible and strengthen your grades now, your ECs and your essays and you still have a chance.
  • robhamilrobhamil Registered User Posts: 7 New Member
    Stanford actually does not look at freshman year grades! All California schools, public and private, don't consider the grades you get freshman year, so you have a better chance of getting in out west!
  • DadTwoGirlsDadTwoGirls Registered User Posts: 1,435 Senior Member
    "All California schools, public and private, don't consider the grades you get freshman year,"

    I am pretty sure that this is true in Canada also.
  • ConcernedRabbitConcernedRabbit Registered User Posts: 141 Junior Member
    I believe that Princeton also doesn't care about Freshman grades...
  • psywarpsywar Registered User Posts: 562 Member
    @ConcernedRabbit where did you read or hear Princeton ignores Freshman year grades?

    Unless you have an updated source, I believe they care. We know they care about class rank (which is comprised of all four years) and a Princeton rep told my son and I that they did evaluate all four years. In years past (prior to 2011?) they did state that they didn't factor in Freshman year, but that language has been removed. Or at least it was for my son's year (Class of 2020).

    See: http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/princeton-university/1934062-does-the-highschool-you-attend-matter.html#latest
  • theloniusmonktheloniusmonk Registered User Posts: 498 Member
    The colleges that don't calculate freshman year grades for GPA will look to see if you've taken the required courses and your grades in them. Bs and A-s won't be an issue especially if you have done better, but if you got a C say in a core class in 9th grade, that could be an issue.
  • ConcernedRabbitConcernedRabbit Registered User Posts: 141 Junior Member
    What I meant was that Freshman year grades would not be factored into GPA, which is something that this student seemed to be stressed about. If a potential student gots C and Ds, I don't think that they would be (or should be) applying to Ivy league school in the first place. However, this is not the case with this particular student. She is only concerned that the B's that she got Freshman year will hold her back from these top schools, which is not the case since these grades do not factor into her GPA at Princeton. She also does not have any grade that is alarmingly low.
  • GumbymomGumbymom Registered User Posts: 17,508 Senior Member
    OP if you are interested in California public schools (UC's) make sure you run the Net Price calculator since OOS students receive little to no financial aid to attend. Assume you will be paying $60K/year for the privilege. Also make sure you meet the a-g UC course requirements prior to applying and plan on exceeding these minimums to be a competitive applicant.

    The a-g subject requirements:

    History/social science (“a”) – Two years, including one year of world history, cultures and historical geography and one year of U.S. history, or one-half year of U.S. history and one-half year of American government or civics.

    English (“b”) – Four years of college preparatory English that integrates reading of classic and modern literature, frequent and regular writing, and practice listening and speaking.

    Mathematics (“c”) –Three years of college-preparatory math, including or integrating the topics covered in elementary and advanced algebra and two- and three-dimensional geometry.

    Laboratory science (“d”) – Two years of laboratory science providing fundamental knowledge in at least two of the three disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics.

    Language other than English (“e”) – Two years of the same language other than English or equivalent to the second level of high school instruction.

    Visual and performing arts (“f”) – One year chosen from dance, music, theater or the visual arts.

    College-preparatory elective (“g”) – One year chosen from the “a-f” courses beyond those used to satisfy the requirements above, or courses that have been approved solely in the elective area.
  • psywarpsywar Registered User Posts: 562 Member
    edited July 17
    @ConcernedRabbit
    She is only concerned that the B's that she got Freshman year will hold her back from these top schools, which is not the case since these grades do not factor into her GPA at Princeton. She also does not have any grade that is alarmingly low.

    I agree she shouldn't be worried about a B or two freshman year, but where did you see Princeton does NOT factor in freshman year grades? I don't see that anywhere in their admissions site.

    According to Princeton's admission FAQ (https://admission.princeton.edu/faqs#academic-preparation) they say:
    Do weighted grades or class rank matter in the evaluation of applicants?

    In trying to get a sense of the strength of the academic program you have pursued in high school, we look at your transcript course by course and consider all the information your school provides about your academic performance. We also ask the school official completing your School Report to comment on the rigor of your academic program in the context of what is available at your school. Weighted grades or class rank can be another measure of the strength of your academic program as compared with other students who also have many As, but we give equal consideration to applicants from schools that don’t weight grades or rank.

    In the above text, it seems to me they consider ALL information, e,g. freshman grades. The above and my conversation with a Princeton admissions rep (at the school) gives me the belief that they DO consider freshman year grades.

    I'm willing to be corrected, if you have a source for them NOT looking at freshman year grades...

    Thanks!
  • harvardlaw2023harvardlaw2023 Registered User Posts: 10 New Member
    edited July 17
    I can't believe you just joked about being an "evil cis gender white male." Have some respect. White people have had an advantageous status in the USA historically, not as much now- that's why URM are valued.
  • lookingforwardlookingforward Registered User Posts: 22,705 Senior Member
    A lot may be joking, including: "I know high level colleges don't care about most jobs because if you are making money from your immense hours of working for others that must mean you have poor character, right?" OP has much to learn.
  • ConcernedRabbitConcernedRabbit Registered User Posts: 141 Junior Member
    http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/princeton-university/1514810-how-does-princeton-calculate-high-school-gpa.html
    ^TheKongo says so.

    http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/princeton-university/1161394-princeton-freshman-grades.html
    ^The second sentence

    Honestly, it could very well be all hearsay. I don't plan on applying to princeton, so I don't have a great understanding of it, I'm just echoing what I've heard others say.
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