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

ninjadadninjadad Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
Could we please get your help for a good college list?

After our DS ’18 completed this Spring semester with low GPA, we had to come up with a whole new college list. Many of these schools listed below used to be his “match”, but now they have become “reach”.

He is taking college classes as dual enrollment with 60 credits when graduating next year. He is interested in Computer Science.

His test score is good but his GPA is hurting him very badly.

We are wondering if we can get some help as to whether this list looks impossible or if you have any other modifications/additions. What do you think about this list?

Thank you for your time!

Here are his stats:

ACT Composites: 34 (one-sitting), 36s on both Math/Science
SAT II's: Math II: 800, Physics (will take in June)
Unweighted GPA: 3.3 => Dual enrollment, all college classes for Junior/Senior

Strong ECs (Paid internship, Eagle Scout, Research, Governor’s program, FTC and others) with lots of community involvement and State/National awards.

We are looking at these schools. Most schools will be early actions.

Huge Reach:
Cornell (ED) => We know this is Huuuuuuuge reach, but his sister currently attends there and it’s his dream school.
U Michigan

Georgia Tech
U Rochester
Case Western

U Mass Amherst

Virginia Tech
U Kentucky

Any help is appreciated. Thank you for your time!

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

  • billcshobillcsho Registered User Posts: 16,695 Senior Member
    Where is your home state? For UMich, you better check if the dual enrolled credits will be counted or not. I know a student from California with dual enrollment at a CC there that none of the credits were accepted by UMich. On the other hand, the uwGPA appeared low for UMich. I am not sure if they will compensate the GPA by college level courses enough for UMich as they consider GPA to be most important (and as important as course rigor).
  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 63,509 Senior Member
    edited May 16
    Are you a resident of any of these states? And are finances a concern at all?

    You say that these schools might have been matches before this term? What happened THIS term to make that no longer the case?
  • momofthreeboysmomofthreeboys Registered User Posts: 15,342 Senior Member
    Michigan puts alot of emphasis on GPA (over test scores), so keep that in mind. Hopefully that 3.3 is unweighted and billscho makes a good point, regardless UofM would be a reach It sounds like he reached abit too much with his schedule this year? Does he have a plan for senior fall classes? There are a couple good threads (below is just one) that are long and follow kids with average GPAs and hopefully someone will chime in with suggestions of colleges/unis that take a holistic look at applications and will consider the college classes taken as a HS junior and have admissions offices that aren't over-run with applicants.


  • ninjadadninjadad Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
    @billcsho Thank you for your response. We are in KY. We will check if they take some credits. We are not expecting all the credits to be transferred, but hopefully some general ed ones will transfer.

    @thumper1 Thank you for your response. We are in KY. Finances are a concern. We will let DS work as co-op for a year and every summer as paid interns. His GPA after last fall was unweighted 3.6, and now it got lowered.

    @momofthreeboys Thank you for your response. The link is helpful. It's encouraging to see others with similar GPA still end up with a good school. He has plans for the fall, and he is confident he will get better grades.

  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Registered User Posts: 82,545 Senior Member
    What is his WEIGHTED GPA?

    How much can you pay each year?
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Registered User Posts: 82,545 Senior Member
    The link is helpful. It's encouraging to see others with similar GPA still end up with a good school.

    Be aware that he may not get a great FA pkg at those schools.

    He has plans for the fall, and he is confident he will get better grades.

    His fall grades won't matter much. His apps will go and transcripts sent before first semester grades are in.
  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 63,509 Senior Member
    edited May 16
    here is my suggestion...if your son does apply ED to Cornell, he needs to have ALL of his other applications either submitted or ready to submit. He does not want to miss deadlines for possible merit awards whochnveyrnoften are well before ED decisions are released.

    Plus...if he does not get accepted ED to Cornell, it would be better to have everything else all submitted. It's no fun writing college applications after a rejection from the top choice school.

    If he does get accepted, he can just withdraw all those other applications.

    But still...what is it that made his GPA drop? Is this something that could potentially happen again his senior year?
  • ninjadadninjadad Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
    @mom2collegekids Thank you for your response. His weighted GPA is around 3.6. This includes all local high school classes + AP classes + college classes (for junior year so far, and this is from an accredited university, not community college). 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.
    "Be aware that he may not get a great FA pkg at those schools." => I think you are absolutely correct. No guarantee.
    "His fall grades won't matter much. " => If he gets deferred, we may send updates, though I am not that hopeful once deferred. Unfortunately, it's almost too late...

    @thumper1 Thanks again for your reply. Yes, we are planning on doing exactly what you suggested. For his GPA drop, there's always a risk of it happening again. We realize that... We are trying to let him learn "how to study" in this high school junior/senior transition period as he really didn't have to study much in his freshman/sophomore years. This is turning out to be the hardest thing for him to learn...
  • TTGTTG Registered User Posts: 647 Member
    Your son's record looks very, very much like that of someone I know, a fairly recent high school grad. My question would be, why do you think there is a gap between demonstrated ability (test scores) and academic achievement? This is an important question.

    Is the decline in grades a recent phenomenon, or something that has been consistent over a long period? If recent, it might be important to explore if there is some outside-the-classroom factor. If more long-term, what seems to be the issue? In the case, I mentioned above the student was never motivated to work hard in school. Grades were pretty good because they attended class every day as a matter of course and were smart enough and could write well enough to answer test questions well. But they almost never did homework or put any effort into take-home papers. As a result, a lot of "A" test grades turned into "B"'s on the report card. They were accepted to a couple of schools on your list and attended one of them. They were suspended after freshman year for poor academic performance. In college, unlike high school, most work is done outside the classroom. This student had always been unable/unwilling to do homework and write papers. It caught up with them.

    I share this story because getting accepted is not the endgame. Each semester freshman year will cost at least thousands of dollars and probably tens of thousands. Are you confident that your son will be motivated enough to attend classes, study, and complete labs/papers; organized enough to get to class and do all this work; resilient enough to keep working at it if he misses a paper or fails a test? All of these things are essential to success in college. How well would he have done them this year? Enough for you to think he is ready to do them with your family not there on a daily basis and with all the distractions that campus life offers?

    If not, you might want to discuss a gap year with your son. The person I've been referring took a year off and worked in a national park (with guaranteed and subsidized housing). They grew tremendously from the experience. There are many other things that a student can do, but I do think work is important. Lots of students--especially males--feel disaffected from school. It can be hard for a young person (especially a male) to visualize the rewards that are being promised when they are 15, 16, 17 years old when those rewards (a college degree/good job) are years and years away (very long delayed gratification). It might seem like a huge thing to put off school a whole year, but it goes quickly. It is much harder on a student if they do not succeed freshman year. If they return to the school, their GPA will probably always be low. It can be hard to transfer to a comparable school.

    Just giving you something to think about from someone who has tread the same path. Good luck!
  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 63,509 Senior Member
    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.

    Federal work study is a form of need based aid. You son will need to have this in his financial aid package to get a FWS job.

    But he should be able to work somewhere while in college.

    Some schools have co-op programs...and others simply do not. You need to research this.

    He should plan to work during every summer...and vacation...and it doesn't really matter what kind of job he gets.

    I guess I'm going to be the voice of concern here. Please try to get to the root of his grade drop. Is it that the courses are too challenging now? Is it that his time management isn't good? What's the missing link? Was it one course that was particularly poor...or were all of his grades just lower? This will be important as he transitions to college...as you have noted.

  • LBowieLBowie Registered User Posts: 1,723 Senior Member
    His grades aren't that awful. He has a B+ average unweighted and it seems like he is taking rigorous courses. If he is challenging himself, that will work in his favor. With that said, I would not call RPI a match. I would move it up a category to match/reach. And at the same time, I would not call Northeastern a huge reach. I think it's within reach. Perhaps a reach but not a huge reach. Are you confusing it with Northwestern?
  • SybyllaSybylla Registered User Posts: 1,457 Senior Member
    edited May 16
    Right, NEU is less reachy than your georgia tech group. Some of your list is a problem if money is an issue, have you run NPCs? GT for e.g doesn't throw money at OOS kids, is your list made with money in mind? ARe you anxious about admission or merit money?
  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 63,509 Senior Member
    Well...Cornell doeant give merit money...and Northeastern gives few merit awards and only to top admitted students. The rest is need based.

    If cost is a factor, I agree, you should run the net price calculators for an estimate of your net costs.

  • JenJenJenJenJenJenJenJen Registered User Posts: 798 Member
    @ninjadad Have you considered looking at LACs? Lots of them have a lot more girls than boys attending (like a 60:40 ratio or so) and in the attempt to get more boys, they end up accepting boys with lower scores/GPA/whatevers than girls. THis makes it harder for the girls to get into those LACs, but it's a boon for boys like yours who are obviously bright and deserve a shot.
  • hannuhyluhannuhylu Registered User Posts: 257 Junior Member
    Go where its free studies prove it doesnt matter much where you attend.
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