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High score, low GPA nightmare - Seeking advice for college list please?


Replies to: High score, low GPA nightmare - Seeking advice for college list please?

  • svcamomsvcamom Registered User Posts: 140 Junior Member
    @ Ninjadad, Does your son have ADHD ? He sounds very bright but he might be bored. Having him do a gap year is a very good idea. A job where he has to interact with lots of different people would help your son to mature and develop focus. This work experience would be very good for him and help him in college.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 63,578 Senior Member
    How do his grades in college courses compare to those in high school courses?

    What level college courses has he been taking? I.e. frosh level (which most high school AP courses overlap with, such as single variable calculus), more advanced than frosh level (e.g. multivariable calculus), or below frosh level (remedial, such as math lower than calculus)?
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Registered User Posts: 82,627 Senior Member
    edited May 17
    What is his weighted GPA with only high school classes? (Not college classes)

    >>> We have already looked at NPC on each school and we can get by with tuition payment as long he works as co-op, summer intern, and FWS

    I wonder if a student doing a co op could do FWS? Could they? Usually a co op is a job, often a full time job. Likely there wouldn't be a WS job that would fit with that.

    Did the NPCs say you'd qualify for FWS? and even so, there's no guarantee that a school would award him FWS.

    I would not count on getting a co op or summer internship until the student is a rising junior. How will costs get paid if your student doesn't get an internship or co op during frosh or soph years?
  • wis75wis75 Registered User Posts: 12,483 Senior Member
    Whoa, folks. Getting so-so grades in AP/Honors/college classes instead of A's in regular classes does not mean the student has learned more. The top students will be able to do well in the top classes. There is a reason to use unweighted grades- as some schools do. Being gifted and bored can happen. But knowing how to study and do the work is necessary for college success.

    It sounds like your son is learning some hard lessons about doing the work to get the top grades. Good study habits are needed for success in any college, regardless of ability. Your son's recent gpa may make many of those good schools on your list improbable because there are too many students with better credentials for the finite number of places available. Test scores represent potential while grades reflect the actual performance. Not having as good a knowledge and skills foundation or good study habits can make college difficult for even the brightest/gifted. I wonder if even his college classes challenged him enough to want to do well.

    Your son will not be served well by attending an LAC just because he can get in instead of attending a school with better programs in his intended major- such as CS. He will want to stretch his mind and likely would do best where he can do advanced work in his major instead of exhausting the available courses.

    Maturity comes later for some. My gifted son did better in college because he was not bored (his senior year had some lesser grades because of not doing the work despite top test scores...). A gap year would not keep your son's brain active.

    I recommend he discusses things with his HS guidance counselor. These professionals would know where kids with his profile have been able to go over the years. You may also want to speak with the GC yourself to ask questions. Remember that HE is in charge by now.

    Is this HIS college list? Or is it yours. He needs to be in charge of the process. He may just have to prove himself at one school to be able to transfer to a more elite one. It sounds like his college level work may not be impressive to schools with his gpa.

    I will not edit my post but rather leave you with some ideas to consider. Good luck to you and him.
  • LBowieLBowie Registered User Posts: 1,726 Senior Member
    edited May 17
    ^Unless I am misunderstanding, the advice to take regular level classes and aceing them goes against what I have heard at every single college info session, including a more in depth workshop hosted by a local university that I attended. They really seem interested in students challenging themselves with rigorous courses, so long as they are not struggling in those courses. This student has a B+ average. That is pretty good! How precipitous was his drop in grades? The first post doesn't really detail that, but if they went from A to B with the addition of more rigorous and competitive courses, is it really that awful? Is there an indication that the student has slacked off in study habits or just that the grades went down? It seems inevitable that on any like thread, an attention disorder will be mentioned, and fuel to the anything-worse-than-an-A+average is concerning fire will be added.

    The parent asked about a list of schools to apply to and what others think of that list. That was the original question. He's interested in Computer Science. My view of the list is that schools are a little mixed up in terms of category. Other than that, there is a good mix on there that he is likely to be admitted to some.
  • billcshobillcsho Registered User Posts: 16,768 Senior Member
    ^ The grades are not bad, just hurt the chance for college application. The same case for overachieving students taking tons of AP and suffer in GPA.
  • compmomcompmom Registered User Posts: 8,369 Senior Member
    edited May 17
    There really is information missing here. Why is your son taking college classes? Was he bored in high school? How involved is he, still, in the local high school? What classes was he taking at the college? Would he be able to continue there?

    I think people often suggest that high scores with a GPA lower than predicted by those scores, can be a red flag. A kid with lower scores and higher GPA than predicted, is seen as having a good work ethic. Is there a reason that grades dropped, other than increased difficulty or increased workload for the college courses?

    Of course we will speculate about ADHD, learning issues, depression, anxiety etc. etc. but that is just because there seems to be some missing information here. Has the gap between ability and performance always been an issue, or is it a short term one? Does he require parental support and help at all?

    Then again, the high scores cited were in math and science. How does he do in other areas of study? Does he have problems with history, English, other subjects that demand verbal skills?

    Because some feel these grades are fine, I converted the 3.3 to an 82.5- I have a better feel with that numerical range. If a kid does really well in math science, but not in those more verbal areas, a GPA might be lower but the work ethic okay....is this the case here? Maybe there is no problem, and he is just heavy on math skills and not on verbal.

    Computer science is an area of study in which there is a sequence of courses, that usually takes 4 years regardless of what courses your son might have under his belt. So again, it is easy to wonder why he took 60 credits worth of college classes rather than going to high school. I am assuming giftedness had something to do with this course, but you haven't said. Was he homeschooled at any point?

    Northeastern has certainly come up in the world, and they do have a Coop, but the degree takes 5 years. He might want to look at some of the Colleges that Change Lives (book, website, fairs).

    Anyway, feel kind of at a loss in responding due to missing info, but wishing him good luck!! He is clearly bright and with your support will most likely find a school to thrive in.

    ps UMass Lowell is an interesting option too...
  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 63,992 Senior Member
    Go where its free studies prove it doesnt matter much where you attend.

    @hannuhylu What does this mean??
  • LBowieLBowie Registered User Posts: 1,726 Senior Member
    Yes, more info, please. Did the student have straight As for two years followed by Cs in the third year or did he have mostly As and some Bs going to mostly Bs with some As. I would be more worried if it was the former and less worried if it was the latter with regards to college admission.
  • garlandgarland Registered User Posts: 15,085 Senior Member
    ^^^How is a 3.3 an 82.5? In GPA scale, a 3.3 is a B+. 82.5 is a B-.
  • roycroftmomroycroftmom Registered User Posts: 649 Member
    for what it is worth, in my experience, your son will have better admission results if he uses his ED card wisely at a school where he actually has a real chance of admission (which, unfortunately, does not include Cornell). Large public universities rely very heavily on statistics, and I don't think your son has a good chance at some of them, including VA Tech. Moreover, universities with direct admission to computer science have lower admission rates than overall admissions. Smaller private universities will take a more holistic approach to admissions and improve his odds, particularly if he applies ED but you should consult your counselor/naviance for your school's results.
  • RightCoasterRightCoaster Registered User Posts: 1,700 Senior Member
    Computer science is very competitive at Northeaster, WPI and RPI.

    You should add RIT and Clarkson to your list, they would like that 34 test score. Maybe get some Merit money with that score.

    In my recent experience with NEU admissions I doubt your son is going to get a ton of money there. The CS program is really excepting some super top notch students there. The merit money is going to kids with high test scores, high GPA,diversity etc. They want the "total Package" kids and are willing to pay for them. The rest of the kids don't get much of anything.

    The good thing your son has going for him in the north east schools is that he is from KY and good for geographical diversity and his test score is solid.

    Good luck.
  • beebee3beebee3 Registered User Posts: 81 Junior Member
    @garland, I think @compmom computed 3.3 out of 4.0 into a 100 point scale.

    3.3/4.0 = 82.5/100

  • garlandgarland Registered User Posts: 15,085 Senior Member
    Okay, but that's not how grade equivalents work. A 3.3 is a B'+ and an 82.5 is a B-. The numbers don't directly compute. For instance, 50 is a failing grade, but 2.0 is a C. So the comparison formulated like that isn't useful.
  • JHSJHS Registered User Posts: 17,073 Senior Member
    I translate @hannuhylu 's post by adding punctuation, as follows: "Go where it's free. Studies prove it doesn't matter much where you attend."
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