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A student who is admitted to college with statistics in the bottom 25% may not turn out to be in the bottom 25% of the college class because many students with better qualifications won't do their best, for one reason or another, and therefore won't have grades as high as one might expect on the basis of their statistics.
These are the stories that make me wonder: Is a student really better off to attend a high-ranked college and end up with a GPA well below 3.5? below 3.0
My daughter is a junior at Barnard. Her test scores put her below the 25th percentile for her school. Since she attends Barnard, she also takes classes at Columbia (usually 1-2 classes per semester) - where she probably is way below that 25th percent mark. She has earned A's in all the classes she has taken at Columbia, including one class with an A+. She will probably graduate summa cum laude (However, an A- will bring her GPA down, so its possible that she is only looking at magna cum laude)
The real question is what this young man's study habits are.
I know a young man whose test scores place him below the 25th percentile of one of the nation's top schools (think HYPSM) but who was admitted there, presumably on the basis of his other accomplishments. When we last spoke, he had not yet decided between that school and a public school where his stats would be far above the norm.