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Upward Trend?

TPJrNYTPJrNY Registered User Posts: 47 Junior Member
edited January 2013 in College Admissions
I see many people using "Upward Trend" as a hook for admission.

What is an upward trend and how important is it? Is it used to show admissions that although you slacked a bit, you're capable of doing better?

Post edited by TPJrNY on

Replies to: Upward Trend?

  • entomomentomom Registered User Posts: 23,662 Senior Member
    I see many people using "Upward Trend" as a hook for admission.

    And upward trend is not a hook, far from it, please use the Search function for 'hook'.
  • SikorskySikorsky Registered User Posts: 5,851 Senior Member

    Ugh..."upward trend." The way some people carry on about it on College Confidential, you'd think it's some kind of admissions talisman. It isn't. So don't go around thinking, "Dammit, I really should have tanked my first three semesters of high school so I could have an upward trend!"

    If there is an upward trend in your grades, then yes, it does demonstrate to admissions officers that you became more serious about your studies during high school. Which is a good thing and a bad thing. It's obviously better than being an indifferent slacker all through high school, but it's nowhere near as good as having been a dedicated, high-performing student from the beginning.

    How important is it? Well, it depends. If you are aiming for really elite colleges and universities (Harvard, Stanford, MIT, Northwestern; Berkeley, Michigan, UNC; Amherst, Swarthmore, Oberlin), an upward trend will most likely kill your chances. It will put you in line behind all the applicants who couldn't possibly have an upward trend because they were top achievers from day one. And these universities and colleges have more than enough of those applicants to fill their entering classes. In fact, it will put you in line behind those top achievers at colleges with more forgiving admissions standards, too. But because those colleges probably won't fill their freshman classes with only four-year stand-outs, they're more willing to take a chance on an academic late bloomer. And then, many of the 4000 colleges and universities in the US have open (or nearly open) admissions for anybody who meets basic academic requirements. At those institutions, an upward trend is of no value for admissions, though it might get you a merit scholarship or an invitation to join an honors program.
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