GPA: 4.2 weighted (On a scale of 5 for AP and Pre AP courses)
Rank: Top 25 percentile.
Winter semester Junior year Grades/ Course:
B Pre AP PreCalc,
B AP Chemistry,
B AP Biology,
B AP English Language,
A AP Computer Science II,
A AP US History,
A Pre AP Physics.
Standardized test scores:
SAT Subject Math II: 750
SAT Subject Physics: To be taken.
SAT Reasoning: To be taken in October 2012. Sophomore year: 2000 (690 math, 690 critical reading)
Likely TX National Merit Semifinalist.
Liklely NHRP Scholar.
He has decent ECs, but nothing spectacular.
For example, #1 Chess player in his high school.
Participates in a sport as a junior on the National level.
What are his chances of being considered academically qualified at Penn? He is interested in studying engineering, mathematics and economics. Also, any advice you can share on courses and tests he should consider taking in senior year will be apprecaited.
Come on guys (214 looks no answers), this is not a valedictorian or even someone in the top 10% in his high school. He has more Bs than As in Junior year. His end of sophomore year SAT scores (taken before he took the NMSQT) is marginal.
On the other hand he attends one of the more competitive high schools in TX, where he took a fairly rigorous course load of science, math, computer sci./ AP classes in Junior year. He will probably be a National Merit Semifinalist PSAT: 219 (CR: 740, W:760, M: 690). He has a SAT Math II of 750. So we can, perhaps expect an SAT score of 2200+. As such, do you think he could academically handle the course work at Penn engineering?
Last edited by perazziman; 07-29-2012 at 08:02 AM.
Although his course selection is very rigorous in his junior year, the 4 B's aren't encouraging. Also, Penn applicants are typically at least in the top decile of their class. Obviously this doesn't exclude him completely from being accepted, it is a hindrance as Junior year is very important in college admissions. Do you know how he did on the AP tests? If he got 5's that might suggest grade deflation.
Also, based on the SAT score of 2000 (sorry, but I don't like basing things off of assumptions and what you expect he will get), he isn't in the range of UPenn. Their lower end of the spectrum is a 2020, and with the addition of less-than-spectacular grades, it will make it very difficult to get in.
Another thing of note is the EC's. You said that they're decent, but I wish you provided more information. If being the best chess player in the high school is his top EC (other than sports), things aren't looking good.
With all of that said, based on the information that you provided, I think his chances are slim. I hate to so brutal, but I'd rather be honest than give you false hopes. If he does get his SAT up above 2200+, it may increase chances a bit, but again, his EC's are lacking. Also remember that essays and recommendations are a very important part of the application.
My advice for you and your son would be to look at some college colleges that are more in range for your sons ability. Just make sure they are a good fit and that you can afford them. Best of luck!
Thanks Pixels for your candid and honest opinion. His real school choices are Northeastern, TX A&M and UT Austin. Penn is what I would describe as his hail mary pass, since everyone should have a reach or two.
To answer your questions, we do not have his AP scores. We are in Europe, where scores by phone is not working. (I have called over a dozen times). I can add that he attends a competitive school, one of top ten producers of NMSFs in the State. The school is sending 4 to Stanford, 2 Harvard, 2 MIT, 2 Princeton, 1 Yale, 1 CalTech and several to other top schools this year. So, getting an A at his school is not easy.
I agree the end of sophomore year SAT score is weak. Also, I agree the Jr year PSAT (CR:74, W:76) and SAT Math II subject test 750 is probably not the best proxy for what to expect on the Oct SAT.
Thanks for input on ECs.
Last edited by perazziman; 07-29-2012 at 02:06 PM.
Do you think it is a complete waste of time applying or that it could even hurt him if he gets accepted/ attends? The last thing I would want as a parent is to put him in a school from where he flunks out, at the end of the year.
If he gets his SAT above 2100+, then yes, definitely give it a shot! With spectacular essays, there is a small chance. Top-tier admissions are so unpredictable, so you never know. Also, judging from his grades, I think he'd do just fine at Penn. As for the SAT, is he doing any practice? I'd highly suggest the Official Study Guide from the College Board. It has 10 practice tests, and doing them really helped me on the SAT.
As for the SAT, is he doing any practice? I'd highly suggest the Official Study Guide from the College Board.
The quick answer is, no. He took the first two tests on the College Board Guide about a month ago to establish a baseline, so he could begin his prep. He scored 2400s on both tests, so that was it, he is not prepping for the SAT. Over the summer, he is focusing on practicing spanish (in Spain for the last two months), reading business news, playing chess and solving math problems out of some books that his friends told him about. He wants to participate in math competitions in senior year.
Also, judging from his grades, I think he'd do just fine at Penn.
Just got back from Europe and found out he got three 5s and one 4 on the AP tests. So, this is what Spring semester Junior year performance looks like:
B Pre AP PreCalc (87%),
B AP Chemistry (AP score 4),
B AP Biology (AP score 5),
B AP English Language (AP score 5)
A AP Computer Science II (AP test not offered)
A AP US History (AP score 5),
A Pre AP Physics.
Standardized test scores:
NMSQT: CR 74, W 76, M 69
SAT Subject Math II: 750
SAT Reasoning: To be taken in Oct
SAT Physics: To be taken in Nov.
The fact that he's a URM helps his chances a lot, though I'm not sure how much. A friend of mine (URM, inner-city, female) was accepted to Stanford Engineering with a 2100 SAT and lack-luster EC's. Anything can happen with these top tier schools. I am applying Penn ED come Fall, so lets get our hail mary acceptances! Good luck to him.
My experience coming from a competitive school is that admissions may be more forgiving about grades than they would be otherwise. For example, at my high school, I have heard of kids getting accepted to Ivy league/comparable schools with ~3.6 unweighted gpas if they had taken the most rigorous courses and had good test scores.
However, I think in these circumstances, class rank matters more. These students were all in the top 10% if not the top 5% of the class.
What I find concerning about your situation is the class rank and the junior year grades. Junior year is the most important year they look at, so the fact that they are mostly Bs is concerning. I also think that only being in the top 25% from a public school would be a very strong disadvantage in applying to Penn.
I wouldn't say that he shouldn't apply or that he wouldn't be capable of work at Penn, it's just very competitive.
I also think that only being in the top 25% from a public school would be a very strong disadvantage in applying to Penn.
He transferred to his present school from a high school where he would be in the top 5%, with his current grades. Also, I doubt anyone at that school had the AP scores or the rigor that he had. He would probably be the only NMSF at that school too.
Class rank is a way of evaluating a student's performance in the context of the school they attend. Most students at Penn were at the top of their class in high school. Statistically speaking, I think something like over 90% of students were in the top 10% of their class.
Schools do vary so for a competitive school they might be more forgiving if you are ranked lower. Also, schools rank differently, some based on weighted gpa and some weighted so that will be considered as well.
It also seems like since your son has moved, he is in a unique situation that would probably cause admissions to look at his class rank differently.