Any unhooked applicants accepted w/o top 5%?

<p>Completely disregarding ECs, recommendations, essays etc, is it possible for someone outside of the top 5% to get in? (Not just Duke, but top schools in general)</p>

<p>My school only does unweighted ranking and my 6 APs this year really hurt me, since most seniors don't take as many.</p>

<p>After first semester senior year, I'm looking at an unweighted rank of 40/550 - barely within the top 10%. After looking at chance/decision threads, I realize that this type of ranking is virtually unseen on CC.</p>

<p>So my question is, do I still have a chance?</p>

<p>While I don't personally know an unhooked admittee not in the top 5% (though I'm sure they're out there), keep in mind that most colleges give more weight to the rigor of your courses than your GPA/rank, which are just numbers. Of course, you can't be failing all your APs, but the fact that you took on a heavy courseload will be viewed positively.</p>

<p>I wasn't in the top 5% of my class at a very competitive public high school and I got in regular decision last year.</p>

<p>Duke's CDS says that 90% of the student body were in the top 10% of their class. Obviously, this means that 10% weren't even in the top 10% of their class, let alone the top 5%. Plus, more than 50% of students didn't even report rank, so don't worry.</p>

<p>How much of an advantage do people with hooks have over "normal" applicants?</p>