Can I go from an OK undergrad school to a top 10 grad school?

<p>I'm a graduating (tomorrow actually) senior from a small private high school. I screwed myself over in 9th and 10th grade by being completely apathetic toward but managed to end my high school career with a 4.0 GPA and a 1940 SAT. I know this isn't great, but it only hit me that what I really wanted to do required good scores so I buckled down 11th grade year but only took the SAT three times. Anyway, I'm going to the University of South Carolina (it's the only instate school with a decent Arch/Anthr program) and plan to really turn around. I am probably doing a Freshman year research program (Magellan Explorers) there and even though I haven't graduated high school, am already the President of the Secular Student Alliance affiliate at USC and have already organized / hosted multiple events. I realize USC is an average school but I want to go to an extremely nice grad school for Anthr/Arch such as University of Chicago, Dartmouth or USCLA. Considering I am highly motivated and plan to do extremely well GPA wise, to be involved in as much research as possible for an undergrad, be president of student group (one of the caliber that brought Richard Dawkins to our campus last year) and plan to be active in freshman council/student government, is it likely I will be able to attend a top grad school? thanks</p>

<p>Lots of kids go from average public schools to top-notch grad schools. If you excel in your environment, maximize your resources, and stand out with a strong GPA, then you should have a solid shot at those schools.</p>

<p>I went to UC Santa Barbara and am going to a top graduate next year. One important thing to take advantage of (I think this applies to any field, but my direct experience is only in physics) is research opportunities. Also try to go to office hours and get involved in department activities so you can get to know the faculty better. They give good advice and maybe can eventually write you a letter of recommendation (which with GPA, research and test scores is one of the most important factors in admission). It looks like you are already on the right track with the freshman year research program. Good luck!</p>

<p>You slacked of in 9th and 10th grade and still got a 4.0? </p>

<p>I'm assuming that's weighed with your school's grading system...</p>

<p>Yes. Our guidance counselor is pretty terrible so I don't understand exactly how this works, but I know that in an average class 93 = 4.0, in honors 89 = 4.0 and in AP 85 =4.0</p>

<p>I went to UCSC, a mid tier-ish school and got into a couple top 15 grad programs, so it is totally possible, if you get the grades and do lots of work related to your intended grad studies. If you want to do archaeology, I'd highly recommend trying to work on a few digs over your summers. Arch grad programs are very very competitive.</p>

<p>Btw, I'm assuming you meant UCLA, not USCLA. USC (U of Southern California) is a private university in LA, whereas UCLA is a public university and part of the UC system. And has a very good Arch program. Dunno about USC though.</p>

<p>haha yeah I meant UCLA, i just am so used to typing USC (for u. south carolina) that i just automatically type it</p>