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What are my chances of getting into an Ivy League/ Top 20 college with a 3.5 gpa?

digitalreformdigitalreform Registered User Posts: 21 New Member
I am currently a sophomore and my current gpa is a 3.5 UW and a 4.2 W. I go to a very rigorous magnet school. It ranks high in my state and I am in the IB program. I know my gpa is pretty low, but I am in the top 12% in my class. I am also taking honors classes online in order to boost my gpa.

I am a black (Nigerian) female and I want to become a neuroscientist.

extracurriculars:
International Students' Association club
Biomedical Club
Robotics club
member of the Teen Advisory Board at my library
I was a contributing photographer for an online magazine in my freshman yr
I volunteer as a part of the PeaceJam confrence yearly
I volunteer at the library during the summer
Secretary of my city's Gavel club (for teenagers)
member of the Joe Berg Society (seminar series)
I also do freelance photography on my spare time (I might write about it in my college app essay idk lol)

Please be as honest as possible. My gpa has been bothering me for quite a while now.
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Replies to: What are my chances of getting into an Ivy League/ Top 20 college with a 3.5 gpa?

  • HiEthanHiEthan Registered User Posts: 24 New Member
    So if you're in the top 12% of your class, you've got a decent chance, it'll depend a lot on other parts of yor application. But, you're a sophomore, so you've got 3 more semesters to bump your GPA. No college is going to look just at the pure GPA, they'll look at it in context. Getting it up can't hurt, and you've got the time to do it, but other parts of your application will be just as, if not more, important.
  • a20171a20171 Registered User Posts: 863 Member
    most of these schools look for top 10% I think a CDS said 95+% of students had a 3.75 or above
  • digitalreformdigitalreform Registered User Posts: 21 New Member
    edited March 8
    does anyone else have more advice????

    are my extracurricular activities good enough as well? thx

    :)
  • digitalreformdigitalreform Registered User Posts: 21 New Member
    @a20171 so do you think a better class rank percentage would soften the blow of my bad gpa?
  • a20171a20171 Registered User Posts: 863 Member
    edited March 8
    If you can pull it up to a 3.7/8 from now until end of jr year and get your rank up to 10% it would help your chances a lot
  • beepybeetlebeepybeetle Registered User Posts: 415 Member
    edited March 9
    For ECs, try to get into positions of office within clubs. I don't think the Ivies have been reporting the average freshman admit's GPA on the CDS (for recent year s anyways), but like previous posters said, get good grades for the rest of the year and for the entirety of Junior year, knock your SAT/SAT II/ACT out of the park, then come back and show off those acceptances :)
  • digitalreformdigitalreform Registered User Posts: 21 New Member
  • 3puppies3puppies Registered User Posts: 1,007 Senior Member
    I agree with the prior advice. You are smart enough to know you have an URM hook, but that only goes so far. Elite schools want to know you can do the work there, there are a lot of kids with 4.0 UW GPA and perfect SAT scores who don't get in.

    I don't think your EC's are super impressive, but they don't have to be.
  • spaniardguyspaniardguy Registered User Posts: 51 Junior Member
    I can tell you are a very strong and competitive applicant!! Don't give up and keep working hard... Hard work always brings good consequences!
  • digitalreformdigitalreform Registered User Posts: 21 New Member
    edited March 15
    @3puppies what extracurricluar activities do you think will be impressive enough? i am applying for an internship at a local hospital of mine so that I can have the opportunity to develop a science fair project. Next year, I'll be applying for a computer science internship at Citi. I am also going to be running for a leadership position in my Biomedical club. If I get into those programs, would it help my application a lot?
  • 3puppies3puppies Registered User Posts: 1,007 Senior Member
    An internship while in high school is almost always worthwhile, and leadership positions are desirable - but the point is that your activities show something about you as a person. What are the things you care about?

    The more I have talked with admissions folks at elite schools, the impression kept getting stronger that they truly could not care much less about all the clubs that people join, just to be able to say they are in clubs, or they had a leadership position, etc. They understand all too well that things like NHS may be a very active, service oriented organization in some schools, but very perfunctory, almost meaningless fluff in other schools. Teen Advisory Board at the library may not mean much in some high schools where the kids almost never do anything, but in other schools/libraries, the TAB commit to fundraising and helping get signatures to get state money on a half-million dollar expansion. A library TAB group that gets together bi-monthly to play games is not the same as the one that gets together twice a week to help develop a new library web site.

    Elite colleges are impressed by kids whose activities mean something for them or for their community. Try to identify what needs are not being met, and figure out how to solve them - and remember the colleges can often smell the difference if an activity is completed for the right motives.

    I don't mean to pick on you or your EC's - I must have missed your freelance photography when I glanced earlier, as that sounds pretty cool. But I am sure that you realize colleges will know the difference between saying you love photography mostly because you like selfies for InstaSnapTwitFace, versus you talking about the joy in getting your shots published in a newspaper or magazine, etc.

    How about using your photography them to take pictures of the crumbling ceiling tiles and rusty pipes in the library or school? Then try sharing those pics with the town Board of Ed or Board of Finance to stop their proposed maintenance cuts, or to advocate for long overdue needed improvements.
  • digitalreformdigitalreform Registered User Posts: 21 New Member
    edited March 19
    Edit: I'm in the IB Program. Does that make my 3.5 gpa more understandable?
  • appcolleges7appcolleges7 Registered User Posts: 58 Junior Member
    You seem like an amazing applicant, but there are also people in the IB program who have 4.0s. My only advice is that you increase your GPA by the end of junior year, bc junior year grades matter a lot! Make sure you have a good SAT/ACT score, and I think you can get in to several top 20 colleges (as long as your essays are phenomenal)!
  • rowdyfriesrowdyfries Registered User Posts: 19 New Member
    I would really appreciate if anyone would could predict my admission decisions from Yale, Brown, and Cornell
    GPA AND BACKGROUND
    3.92 GPA
    White female, New York
    ~80k income per year

    COLLEGE DECISIONS SO FAR
    Accepted at Bard, Syracuse, Williams, Sarah Lawrence, Boston Univ

    CLASS RANK
    3/130

    SAT
    1490 (new) 760 math, 730 english

    SAT II's
    730 Chemistry, 780 US History, 800 Lit

    AP CLASSES
    AP US History (5) AP Calc (3) only have 5 AP's at my school

    SENIOR YEAR CLASSES
    AP Literature, AP Calc BC, AP Bio, College French, Independent Study English, Band, Advanced Econ


    EXTRACURRICULARS
    Debate President (11-12)
    Band (9-12)
    Jazz (9-12)
    Student Newspaper Editor (10-12)
    Started a new club to welcome new students (11-12)
    NHS (11-12)
    Bowling Team Captain (9-12)
    Write for local paper (10-12)
    Math club co-founder


    AWARDS
    Highest average in a bunch of stuff
    Chosen and attended Girls State
    STAC All east for Bowling
    Many LD debate wins
    chosen and attended 2 Leadership conferences
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