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75th% and High GPA = Free Admission?

FakeName1332FakeName1332 150 replies25 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 175 Junior Member
Hi all,

The title might be a little misleading, so I'll try to explain it better: I'm wondering how great schools (not top-top) like USC, Northeastern, Northwestern, and Babson treat an applicant in the 75th percentile for test scores and a high GPA. For example, if you have a near perfect GPA, a really tough academic schedule, and scored a 33 on the ACT (75th percentile), would my chances at getting into USC (which has a 33 ACT 75th percentile) be really high (80%+ chance of admission)?

The reason I ask is because of an article that said: "a 75th percentile score and a high GPA, you have a very good chance at admissions." Obviously, this won't apply to top schools that get thousands of applicants that have these applicants, but I would like to know more about t20-t50 schools treat these applicants.

Thanks!
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Replies to: 75th% and High GPA = Free Admission?

  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 5898 replies29 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 5,927 Senior Member
    No. You need to look at the overall acceptance rate. Northwestern for example has a sub 10% acceptance rate. Even in the 75th percentile, chances for an unhooked applicant are just slightly above that.
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 28056 replies56 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 28,112 Senior Member
    You can look at your school Naviance charts to get an idea.

    Looking at several years of several schools’ charts, I came to the conclusion. That a kid with 34 ACT and close to 4.0 UW GPA, had excellent chances of admittance ED to Vanderbilt, Rice, JHU, Northwestern , Wesleyan, Cornell, Haverford, Emory. Not so much Penn, Dartmouth, Brown, Duke. Also those schools above that lead good chances ED, were tough accepts RD at that level.
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  • svlab112svlab112 521 replies6 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 527 Member
    Naviance can put your school’s acceptance information in context but is a relative measurement. Our HS has lots of top ACT scores and uw 4.0s but very little success at top schools.
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  • SybyllaSybylla 3392 replies34 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 3,426 Senior Member
    What does free admission mean?
    Are you full pay?
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 28056 replies56 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 28,112 Senior Member
    @svlab112 , does your high school have a lot of kids applying to the 50 most selective schools? In the NYC suburbs, in my area, I’d say most of the kids are applying to private colleges and universities rather than state schools. I have absolutely no data about West coast public universities because so few kids apply. No one my youngest child’s graduating year applied to any of the California public schools. Only a handful applied to West coast schools at all.

    So over the years, I’ve collected a lot of info on a certain group of schools. Ironically, I have very little info on the SUNYs, our state schools. Other than Binghamton and Geneseo, very few and no apps to the other state schools.

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  • bigmacbethbigmacbeth 401 replies3 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 404 Member
    A 33 is a great score. Well done! About 27,000 other students got a 33 on their ACT, and are applying to mostly the same schools. You have to make yourself stand out from the crowd. Lots of those with a 34, 35, and even 36 know they don't have a shot at the top-top schools, so add another 20,000 kids, or so. So, 47,000 kids are trying to steal your spot.

    So, I would say you have a shot at those schools, for sure, but it won't be your ACT score that gets you in. There has to be more, and hopefully you've got it.
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  • svlab112svlab112 521 replies6 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 527 Member
    @cptofthehouse HS has 96% college bound each year. We have much higher acceptances (than overall rates) into top UCs like UCLA and UCB. In general, top 20% apply to top 50 with little success unless recruited athletes (outside CA publics).

    Anecdotally, my kids were in application cycles for 2014, 2016, and 2018 and all 3 accepted to both UCB and ULCA but rejected from all top privates. I’ve been collecting/tracking information since 2012.
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 32224 replies336 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 32,560 Senior Member
    There's an expression I found when we were researching colleges with D1: "Where do you think all those tippy top kids go, when they don't get into the tippy tops?" This refers to the perfect stats, rigorous program, full EC kids, we speak of, all the time, on CC.


    Keyword: holistic. The holistic colleges do not admit based on stats alone. Except for recruited athletes, there is NO one with an 80% chance- or even 40%- without the full picture. That includes a full range of ECs and mastering all the written portions of the app/supp. That means, as they want it.
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  • boudersbouders 2417 replies166 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 2,583 Senior Member
    T20-T50 are still top schools. There are so few places at many of these colleges and universities that if all schools admitted purely on stats, which they don't, it would take the top 70 or so schools to absorb all the kids with ACTs of 33 or higher. So even the top100 schools get thousands of equally strong students. If you want 80% chance of admission, you'd have to look at the schools ranked over 100+.
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  • FakeName1332FakeName1332 150 replies25 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 175 Junior Member
    Thank you all for the information! I figured as such but was pretty confused by some articles that mentioned how top 75% test scores, great GPA, and tough courses are almost ensured for admission. I guess they must have been talking about lower-tier schools(?).

    Does this mean that the 25th-75th percentile test scores aren't too big of a deal? For example, if someone applied to USC with a 30 (25th)ACT compared to a 33 (75th), they wouldn't be at a big disadvantage?

    @momofsenior1
    Gotcha. Thanks. I figured that the overall acceptance rate would be misleading as I didn't really know who applies to specific schools. I am privileged in that I don't have to worry about the cost of application, so I figured that a lot of people would be applying to schools like Northwestern, even if they weren't qualified.

    @syballer
    Yes. I meant free as in the sense of easy/without obstacle rather than no cost. Poor word choice on my part-- sorry!

    @cptofthehouse
    That sounds like a great resource for me! Thanks for mentioning it. When you say "excellent chances of admissions," what % are you referring to? The reason I ask is that @lookingforward gave somewhat conflicting information: "there is NO one with an 80% chance- or even 40%- without the full picture. I'm sure you guys can understand my confusion here.



    Thank you all! After making a few threads with no responses, I was surprised to wake up to 10 alerts o.o


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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 28056 replies56 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 28,112 Senior Member
    I have a lot of kids. Spread over a lot of years. And they have a lot of friends. So I’ve had access to info to a lot of Naviance and even more informative admissions records on who gets in where and how. I can see that a kid with a 34 ACT and 4.0 UW applying ED to say Vanderbilt gets accepted 75% of the time from certain schools over the last decade. I can see that the same stats can result in less than 25% RD.

    So if my kid wants to go to Vanderbilt; it’s his first choice school, if finances allow it, and stats are as above, I’d feel optimistic about applying ED. It’s still not a certainty. Even a 1 in 4 chance of rejection is a very real possibility. And there is always the possibility, really probability, that some hook was missed, especially with Naviance data. So to be conservative, I’d say half a chance.

    For the kids in my son’s Graduating class , more than half got into their ED schools. Apps to Penn, Dartmouth, Williams, Amherst and other highly competitive schools brought down the numbers. Few, if any, kids applied ED to schools that were strong matches or safeties for them.
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  • FakeName1332FakeName1332 150 replies25 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 175 Junior Member
    @cptofthehouse

    Dang, that was really helpful. Thank you. It's a shame that USC doesn't have ED, as that would be my top pick at the moment. I'll check out schools like Vandy, Northeastern, and Babson for ED. I originally planned to do Brown ED but it seems like it would be a lot more beneficial if my ED was put towards a t50-20 rather than Ivy.

    Thanks!!
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  • bigmacbethbigmacbeth 401 replies3 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 404 Member
    @FakeName1332 And just make sure all the schools you apply to are affordable for you and your family.
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  • boudersbouders 2417 replies166 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 2,583 Senior Member
    @FakeName1332 Although USC doesn't have ED, if you get your application in by December 1, you may get an early acceptance by February 1 and will be in the running for major merit awards. Note that December 1 is also a final deadline for some of their programs. https://admission.usc.edu/apply/dates-deadlines/#/first-year-students
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 32224 replies336 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 32,560 Senior Member
    OP, we said before that the better info comes from the colleges, themselves. You need to dig there. Yes, some college that auto accept based on stats will be lower tier. Or rack and stack schools that are not holistic.

    Your interests seem to focus on holistics- and you will need the full picture they expect, not just stats. You'll compete against a vast number of Canadian applicants who have the stats plus all the rest.
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