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Low GPA, low SAT/ACT scores , looking to do engineering.

lbassett_21lbassett_21 10 replies1 threads New Member
Hi everyone,

This is my first time posting on here (woo!) and I am here to share my experience with the college admissions process. Let's start with some stats:

School: Private religious college preparatory high school in CT

GPA: 2.79 unweighted. There is a progression from freshman year (2.4 --> 2.74 --> 3.24) which helps.

SAT: 1120 (560 math and 560 reading/writing)

ACT: 22 (English 21, Math 23, Reading 22, Science 23)

Level of classes: No AP or IB classes taken. A couple of honors classes in the mix.

EC's: Captain and Lead Programmer of a FIRST robotics team, Summer School teaching job, Very involved with school clubs/activities.

Major: Computer Engineering

Essay: Very personal and deep from personal struggles. I would rate an 8.5/10

LOR: Required Guidance counselor (Not 100% on this one), Math teacher 10/10, Job employer 8/10, Mentor on FIRST team 10/10.

Schools (and results so far):

Central Connecticut State University (Rolling) - Haven't applied yet. More of a safety school and a cheaper option.

RIT (RD) - Application sent, just waiting to hear back. I like their programs, not the location though.

Roger Williams University (EA) - Application sent, waiting for a response. I love the campus, hate the engineering program (general engineering degree with a specialization) but they are building a brand new engineering building opening next year.

Seton Hall University (EA) - Application sent, waiting for a response. The campus is nice, I was not aware that their engineering program is a 3-year physics degree there and then another 2 years at NJIT for engineering. Not a fan.

UMass Dartmouth (EA) - Accepted. I like the engineering program and professors! Not a fan of the campus (really depressing) and the location.

Wentworth Institute of Technology (Rolling) - Accepted. Currently my number one choice. I love the location, the coop program, the professors and the small school in a large city vibe. Dorms are a little iffy though.

Western New England University (Rolling) - Accepted (They sent their decision ridiculously quick. 9 days). I love their campus and their engineering program/professors. Not a huge fan of the location.

WPI (RD) - Haven't applied yet. I like the location and the school. I've done a ton there in the past and it's nice. I think the academics might be a tad bit too rigorous for me personally.

My experience has been that its really difficult to find a school for engineering, especially with lower stats such as myself but I feel like I have a few good options at the moment. If you guys have any other colleges that might be good to look at that would be awesome.

Thank you!
23 replies
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Replies to: Low GPA, low SAT/ACT scores , looking to do engineering.

  • tdy123tdy123 1005 replies18 threads Senior Member
    @Arovok is likely correct about WPT and RIT

    From WPI Common Data Set

    Percent who had GPA of 3.75 and higher 80.70%
    Percent who had GPA between 3.50 and 3.74 14.39%
    Percent who had GPA between 3.25 and 3.49 3.49%
    Percent who had GPA between 3.00 and 3.24 1 .42%
    Percent who had GPA between 2.50 and 2.99 0.00%

    Average high school GPA of all degree-seeking, first-time, first-year (freshman) students who submitted GPA: 3.89

    Percent of first-time, first-year (freshman) students with scores in each range:
    700-800 31.55% 61.32%
    600-699 58.53% 35.23%
    500-599 9.81% 3.46%

    RIT doesn't publicly disclose their CDS, but did report an average SAT of 1409
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  • lbassett_21lbassett_21 10 replies1 threads New Member
    @Arovok @tdy123 Thanks for the replies! I do agree that I do not have the odds in my favor whatsoever and am almost certain to be rejected from RIT and WPI but isn't that the point of a reach school? Both of them are not super high on my list so I'm not too worried about not getting into either of those schools.

    Community college is a really great option for most people in my shoes (grades wise) but personally I do not believe its the right option for me. I appreciate the advice but after being accepted into a couple of schools already, I do not plan on taking that route. Also, on a more subjective note, I could care less about the prestige of a school, I just want to get a good education at a place I can be happy at, regardless if that is an ivy or a community college.
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  • PrdMomto1PrdMomto1 248 replies5 threads Junior Member
    Do you want to stay on the east coast?
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  • lbassett_21lbassett_21 10 replies1 threads New Member
    PrdMomto1 wrote: »
    Do you want to stay on the east coast?

    Preferably. The furthest I'll go is probably DC from CT.
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  • ArovokArovok 51 replies3 threads Junior Member
    edited December 2019
    @lbassett_21 Reach schools usually are schools where you fall on the lower end of a school's profile, but not borderline unobtainable (I don't mean to sound like a jerk, I'm sorry if I sound like I am - I'm just going off of their admitted statistics and don't want to fluff the truth). As for the schools you have been accepted into already, I do not know anything about them so I can't speak to how good/bad their engineering programs are. I just took a look at your current top choice, Wentworth, and it seems very solid and a great choice for someone in your position.

    Then again, I wouldn't jump the gun - dwell on it, think long and hard about it - engineering, pretty much universally, is one of the most difficult majors. Chances are, your classes *will* be significantly harder at Wentworth than at your high school. Is this something you are ready to take on? If you decide it is, by all means go for it, just be ready for the challenge to come.
    edited December 2019
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  • lbassett_21lbassett_21 10 replies1 threads New Member
    @Arovok No no you don't! I apologize if I sounded like one too. Numbers and facts are key and I appreciate them (I haven't seen all of them tbh, just averages). I might as well revoke the application for WPI and save my money. I have little to no chance and I probably would not go there.

    I have absolutely been thinking about it and I'm fairly confident about taking on the challenge. My math and science classes have always been my highest grades and its really just a couple classes that hold my GPA down. I really enjoy it and I do it daily for robotics so I have a bunch of experience already. It just feels like the right path for me but its definitely not the right one for everyone!
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  • ArovokArovok 51 replies3 threads Junior Member
    @lbassett_21 Oh you didn't at all, you're good. Although, I'm not sure if revoking the application = money back...would check before you do that.

    In that case, Wentworth sounds like your best bet - there is always a possibility of transferring from there to another institution if it doesn't work out either. I just don't want you to pay a substantial amount of money to go to a university if you don't think you are ready.
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  • lbassett_21lbassett_21 10 replies1 threads New Member
    Arovok wrote: »
    Although, I'm not sure if revoking the application = money back...would check before you do that.

    I luckily haven't sent in an application to WPI so no money spent.

    Wentworth gave me a pretty good merit scholarship (surprisingly) that helps with the cost a substantial amount. I know it's not a super prestigious school and at the lower end of most people's list but it's a pretty good fit for me I believe which will hopefully guide me to have a successful future.
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  • menloparkmommenloparkmom 12486 replies541 threads Senior Member
    edited December 2019
    Be SURE that the Engineering programs at the colleges you are applying to ARE ABET accredited.


    Otherwise you will be wasting your time getting a degree in Engineering from a college without ABET accreditation , as it will make it much harder to get an Engineering or Engineering related job .
    edited December 2019
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  • Tigerwife92Tigerwife92 87 replies1 threads Junior Member
    edited December 2019
    @lbassett_21 you may want to look into taking some of your more challenging gen Ed's at the CC over the summer. If English comp or history are your stumbling blocks, you may benefit from the smaller class sizes. Depending on the relationship between the college and the CC, the credits may transfer, but not the gpa. (Always check with both schools to make sure)
    edited December 2019
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  • taverngirltaverngirl 1232 replies37 threads Senior Member
    edited December 2019
    What about UMaine or UHart? Or maybe Quinnipiac? My son has a low gpa as well (3.0) and is also going into engineering, 32 ACT. He looked at and applied to several of the schools on your list. Here is where he applied/where he's heard from:

    Catholic U - awaiting
    Central - awaiting
    Clarkson - awaiting
    UHart - awaiting
    UMaine - awaiting
    Manhattan - awaiting
    UMass Dartmouth - accepted (also not crazy about the campus but seemed like a solid program)
    UNH - awaiting
    Quinnipiac - awaiting
    Stevens - awaiting
    Wentworth - accepted

    Others he visited but didn't apply to and might be of interest to you: Widener and Hofstra.

    Best of luck with the rest of your applications!
    edited December 2019
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  • Propinquity4444Propinquity4444 137 replies32 threads Junior Member
    Maybe try Penn College of Technology as a safety.
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  • FarmerMomFarmerMom 88 replies18 threads Junior Member
    I would apply to Clarkson and University of Dayton.
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  • RockySoilRockySoil 169 replies1 threads Junior Member
    I have a brother with an engineering degree from Wentworth and he has done very well for himself!
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  • lbassett_21lbassett_21 10 replies1 threads New Member
    @Knowsstuff Thank you so much for the reply! I really appreciate all the advice that you have given me. I will absolutely take advantage of all the resources that I have available to me and definitely start using khan academy more!

    The cost is not a huge factor personally (luckily) and the coop experience will absolutely help offset the remaining cost for me. Also, the scholarship that they seem to give everyone will help with costs immensely.

    So far I have eliminated Seton hall for its 3/2 program and also WPI for its unrealistic possibilities and probably a bad fit. I did just hear back from Roger Williams and was accepted but most likely will not attend because of my major choice and also the scholarship that they provided (it was $500 lower than what they post as the min online, like huh???).

    Anyways, again I appreciate the response and I will absolutely take advantage of everything you mentioned! Thanks!!!
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  • lbassett_21lbassett_21 10 replies1 threads New Member
    @FarmerMom Thanks for the reply! I was going to send in an application to Clarkson as an option but decided not to because of distance and also interest levels. I will definitely take a look at the University of Dayton, as I've never heard of it personally. Thanks for the suggestions!
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  • lbassett_21lbassett_21 10 replies1 threads New Member
    Hi, @taverngirl thanks for the reply! I have not looked into UHart, Quinnipiac (I don't think they offer CE from my knowledge) or UMaine much and I definitely will. It's always very nice to hear that I'm not alone when it comes to lower grades in my intended major! Your son looks like he has a great list with a bunch of great schools. I hope he finds the one that is the best fit for him in the near future!
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