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Chance 1.76 GPA & 1500 SAT: what would be a safety, match, vs reach?

SetaceusplumosaSetaceusplumosa 0 replies1 threads New Member

My friend previously posted for me to help me but it got deleted so I've made my own account now to ask once again. I'd really appreciate any responses!

I've already talked to my parents about possibly pursuing community college but my parents are super against it. Community college isn't ideal but I could spend a year or two there to raise my gpa before transferring to a better school for me (and what I want to study)

I'm looking into more local state schools that have accepted students with similar GPAs, but my parents are also pressuring me into applying to more selective schools. Is this worth my time?

I am looking for advice on which schools I should apply to, my chances at these schools, and what path I should take in college. (And maybe how I can convince my parents that community college isn't a terrible idea.)

Stats & Demographics:
State: PA Ethnicity: Asian

Weighted GPA: 2.76/5.0
Unweighted GPA: 1.76/4.0
Rank: school doesn't rank
SAT: 1500
SAT II: 580 in Chemistry (likely not sending)
AP Scores: Music Theory (5), USGov (4), Calculus AB (4), Chinese (4), Physics Mechanics (3)
Coursework: 9: all honors; 10: all honors + 2 APs; 11: all honors + 4 APs; 12: all honors + 3 APs (might change)

Intended Major: Environmental science/Ecology/Botany

Subjective Things:

- Multiple piano awards (golds, grand prizes, etc. in national-level competitions), including two that held winner's recitals in Carnegie Hall
- First place at small Science Olympiad invitational
- 3 silver keys total at Scholastic Art & Writing regional competition

- Piano, many awards, lots of time spent, passed level 8 exam for piano (9-12)
- President (12) of Art club (9-12)
- Editor in Chief (10-12) of Literary Magazine (9-12)
- Site Designer (10-12) for Art Website (9-12)
- Various community service (~20 hrs)
- Gardening/Plants hobby, tons and tons of house plants, many requiring high skill to keep
- Owner of online community for fans of popular book series, 10k+ members (9-10)
- Congressional District Youth Task Force: representing students from various schools to talk about issues w/ congresspeople (11-12)
- Science Olympiad member (9-10)
- Assistant for parent's summer art class (10-11)
- Petsitting/Babysitting: made ~$400

Essays: N/A

LORs: Since I did not do very well in any of my core classes, I don't believe my teachers will say very good things about my academic side, however they know me well and will probably write about my strong personality (says my friend), my passions and character?

Additional Information: My GPA is very lackluster because of mental health issues. I know it's not going to be a good excuse for top schools because they don't want "teacups", etc. but it explains why my grades have suffered so much.

My friend and I went over many schools that had good envirosci programs as well as state schools to try and determine if they were safeties, matches, or reaches based on their common data sets & our school's naviance scattergrams. There were also some on the list that my parents wanted me to apply to. We are still in the process of narrowing things down. Please let us know if these are accurate assessments. Note that for schools that didn't have holistic review processes, we put down as reach.

- California University of Pennsylvania *
- West Chester University *

- University of Pittsburgh *
- Allegheny University
- U Wisconsin Green Bay
- Lynchburg University
- Oregon State U
- University of Redlands *
- University of Maine
- Ithaca College *

- Cal State Monterey Bay (not holistic)
- Colorado College
- Sonoma State College (not holistic)
- Vermont University *
- Cal State Channel Islands (not holistic)
- UCR *

Super Reach/Ultra Reach:
- Brown *
- Cornell *
- Pomona
- Colby
- Northeastern
- Rice
- UT Austin *

*Probably going to apply to
12 replies
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Replies to: Chance 1.76 GPA & 1500 SAT: what would be a safety, match, vs reach?

  • surfcitysurfcity 2855 replies64 threads Senior Member
    I’m sorry but WCU is not a safety for you with that GPA and Pitt is not a match. Apply early to Pitt at least to have the best chance.

    DO you have an upward trajectory in your GPA at least? Otherwise it does not appear as though you are ready to handle college, on paper.
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  • NJCityNJCity 147 replies2 threads Junior Member
    Community College would be a great choice for you. Let your parents know that community college will be a guaranteed entrance to a flagship state school after you complete your Associates Degree. And you will save a bunch of money. Good luck.
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  • kidzncatzkidzncatz 1159 replies7 threads Senior Member
    You may possibly get into California University of Pennsylvania but even it is not a safety with that UW GPA. I think all of the other schools are reaches, many out-of-reach. I agree that community college is your best bet. As you know, If you do well there you will be able to transfer to a good school in a year or two. Are you receiving treatment for your mental health issues? Are they under better control currently?
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  • GumbymomGumbymom Forum Champion UC 31018 replies479 threads Forum Champion
    The minimum GPA to apply for UCSB and UCR as an OOS applicant is a 3.4 capped weighted UC GPA. For the Cal states, the minimum CSU capped weighted GPA to apply for OOS is a 3.0. Based on your Unweighted GPA, you do not qualify to apply for these California schools but you can use the calculator below to confirm:


    Capped weighted UC GPA = CSU capped weighted GPA. OOS applicants only get a maximum of 4 yearlong AP classes (8 semesters) of bonus points to their 10-11th grade a-g courses. With a 1.76 Unweighted GPA, you have probably to do not qualify for the minimum a-g course requirements needed to apply also. Cal states are test blind this admission cycle, so your SAT score will not help either.

    You should consider a community college as suggested.

    Best of luck.

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  • aquaptaquapt 2537 replies54 threads Senior Member
    No, applying to the very selective schools you mention really isn't worth your time. There is no reason for these schools to anticipate that you would succeed there. If you really want to graduate from a highly competitive school, go to community college and apply as a transfer.

    If you want to spend all four years at a 4-year school, you're going to need to look at schools where your test scores are way above their averages and where admissions are very holistic. What's your budget? If you can full pay for private colleges, then you may have a shot at some four-year schools that are strong in environmental majors and that are likely to be hurting for full-pay students in the next few years. I would particularly consider some with more "alternative" models, since the traditional model of high school doesn't seem to have inspired you and/or worked well with your mental health needs. How about Warren Wilson, or Prescott College? Maybe Washington College in Maryland or St. Michael's n Vermont? Northland College, Sewanee, College of the Atlantic, and St. Lawrence would be appropriate Reach/High-Reach schools for you, not Brown/Cornell/etc.

    There are some community colleges that have dorms and residential experiences, if that's a priority. (For example, Finger Lakes in Upstate NY would give you a good path into the SUNY's and Cornell; and Harcum College in PA could be an in-state option for you. College Express has a long list of CC's with housing - I can't post the link here as it would be blocked, but you can Google it.)

    The bottom line, really, is what would be the best situation for your mental health in the first few years after high school. Would a few more years at home be better for you, or do you need a change of scene? You do seem to enjoy the hands-on aspects of horticulture, so my sense is that a school like Warren Wilson might be ideal, both because of the immersion in nature and the arts, and also the structure and hands-on-ness of the integrated work program. But, consider where *you* think you would thrive, because that will be the foundation for making college go better, academically, than high school has.
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  • 2plustrio2plustrio 441 replies7 threads Member
    edited August 2
    Your parents need convincing?

    You tell them the facts and that your GPA will not get you into a selective college. Also remind them that you will be saving them at least 20,000 by letting you start at community college.

    But maybe they know they need to kick you from the nest so you learn to fly. That I get.

    Now, my son had a horrible gpa in high school and mental health issues but I knew him staying at home was not the right choice for him. So, he ended up finding a tech school (associates degrees) in state that had a dorm. While paying for the dorm wasnt cheap, the tuition at the tech school was much cheaper than a 4 year university. In my sons case, his gpa went up to a 3.0 and hes succeeding academically. He had a mental health break this summer but hes back on track and taking only 1 class in fall (thats all he can take with his major right now due to covid).

    edited August 2
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  • coolguy40coolguy40 3027 replies8 threads Senior Member
    A 1500 SAT isn't going to make-up for a 1.7 GPA in a selective school. Even most non-selective schools won't do it. If you're in Texas, you could try UTSA. You can also try UTEP. They have open admissions, and they'll let you in regardless of GPA or SAT scores, as long as you're expected to graduate. That's assuming you can pay the out of state tuition. It sounds like your parents are willing to pay the money to put you in a 4 year university. Those are a couple to consider.

    UT-Austin is not going to happen.
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  • fintech3753fintech3753 83 replies0 threads Junior Member
    edited August 3
    I am sorry but I have to agree with the earlier comments on this thread. Life happens and I know things could have been tough, so I am not judging you as a person by your GPA, nor should you or anyone else. But please please please look at community college. Your 1500 SAT shows that you have strong intellectual capacity: go to your local community college for two years, work hard, and then you can transfer comfortably to your state school. I rarely ever say not to apply to schools, but the Ivies on your list are difficult for top 1% students to get into, so I'd say to really explore that as a strong opportunity.

    Community college is given this negative stigma, but it shouldn't. It offers so much opportunity and ultimately, where you recieve your bachelors degree is what ultimately will stick with you, not your two years at your local community college. Good luck!
    edited August 3
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  • LZHopeLZHope 68 replies17 threads Junior Member
    edited August 5
    Gosh, your stats are quite similar to mine.

    I had a 3.0 GPA in high school, though I won national-level competitions in piano and won second place in my state Latin Forum.

    I will be attending community college in the fall. Like the poster above me said, there is a stigma attached to CC, but don't let that hold you back. Stereotypes are meant to be upended; prove them wrong.

    I would even say you could attend Harvard in 4 years if you put your mind to it. Believe it or not, there are community college students that go on to attend Ivy League institutions.
    edited August 5
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  • Groundwork2022Groundwork2022 3737 replies91 threads Senior Member
    Another vote for the CC route here. If you look into it more, you would be surprised at the number of special programs there are with guaranteed pathways into four year colleges... even some that guarantee admittance to the state flagships. You will have to do much better grade-wise than you have, but if you do, colleges won't consider your high school transcript.
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