Chances? I really need some advice

<p>Hey all,</p>

<p>So, I recently realized just how badly I’d like to get into a really great liberal arts school. I’m from Canada (Vancouver, BC), and we don’t use the 4.0 GPA system; instead, we use percentages. When I ‘converted’ my marks to the 4.0 scale, I was shocked - my grades are TERRIBLE. Absolutely horrid. I’d love to get into Bowdoin (perhaps Bard or Bates?), but I need to be realistic …</p>

<p>Basic info:

  • female
  • filipino
  • first generation college student
  • going into 12th grade this September
  • I attend a public school</p>

<p>Grade 10 schedule:</p>

<p>Financial Accounting 11 - 87%
Chemistry 11 - 81%
French - 92%
Band - 89%
English Enriched - 97%
Math - 70%
Social Studies - 92%
Planning (it’s a graduation requirement course in Canada) 94%
Orchestra (I take this as an extra course after school) - 84%
… 3.3 GPA …?</p>

<p>Grade 11 schedule:</p>

<p>Chemistry 12 - 70%
English Enriched - 93%
French - 83%
Band - 92%
Eng. Literature 12 - 81%
Math - 67% (Good God, I hate math)
Social Studies - 96%
… this turns out to be a 2.8 GPA …? (■■■.■■■.■■■) </p>

<p>My Grade 12 schedule is going to look something like this:</p>

<p>AP English
Psychology/Social Justice
Economics </p>

<p>I don’t plan on taking the SATs, as the math portion will make it impossible for me to get a decent mark. I’m thinking about taking the SAT subject test for English literature and possibly French (unlikely, though). I’ll be taking the AP tests for English and English literature. </p>

<p>I was in an accelerated academics program from grade 8 - 10 with 29 other kids. The program focused not only on academic achievement, but group leadership and teamwork. For those years, I participated in planning for all of our fundraisers. Does this help? … By the end of high school, I will also have studied French for five years.</p>


  • Graduation Committee president - I’m in charge of fundraising for my class’ prom and graduation ceremony, as well as planning Grad spirit events
  • Key Club member
  • During the school year, I volunteer as a piano teacher at the local elementary schools every week
  • camp counsellor
  • various other events (Children’s festival, conventions, etc.)
  • I have a part time job as a cashier and server
  • I’ve worked as a teacher’s assistant for elementary summer school</p>


  • Band - flute section leader
  • Orchestra - I played the violin in the school orchestra for 3 years
  • 3 years of classical guitar training
  • Classical Piano - 10 years … Royal Conservatory of Music exams (includes practical, theory and music history) - for my Grade 9 exam (there are only 10 grades in the RCM), I finished within the top 10% of all Canadians
    … I plan on submitting the Arts Supplement. Will this help my chances?</p>

<p>Finally, I’m a participant of the Duke of Edinburgh Award. Basically, the program has three levels: bronze, silver and gold - I will be receiving my gold award this fall. It takes roughly one year, usually longer, to complete each stage of the award. There are four portions which must be completed: Skill, Physical Activity, Volunteering, Expedition. </p>

<p>The program’s significant in that it requires consistent dedication to each section - ie: you must volunteer weekly throughout the year. This should show admissions that I’m a dedicated, hardworking individual, no?</p>

<p>I plan to use my experiences with the program (I’ve been on a weeklong mountain hiking trip with a group of 70 people[!!!] and a kayaking trip [beginners] through 25 knot winds >.<) for my essay …</p>

<p>Basically, I’m really going to be relying on my extra curriculars and my teacher recommendations (they’ll probably say something like “hard-working, respectful, and a tad too shy”). Would an interview, considering my poor grades, be a huge help?</p>

<p>I need some serious advice …</p>

<p>THANKS! </p>

<p>(ugh. I just realized how much I actually typed out.)</p>

<p>ok i'm pretty much a cc noob (and a college admissions noob in general) and my advice probably isnt what you want to hear but...</p>

<p>have you ever heard of Oberlin College? it's a great school for music, but it has that secluded, small private liberal arts college feel to it too. Oberlin isnt as tough in admissions as Bowdoin but it is considered a pretty prestigious (and great) school.</p>

<p>dont worry, my gpa is around the same as yours and i've become a mess regretting my life for the summer lol. you're def not the only one who feels like poop.</p>

<p>I don't think your GPA is that low...? The DoE will help some, and there are A LOT of good LACs with higher acceptance rates. Do a CC search and you'll find many threads for this purpose.</p>

<p>you will be restricing yourself greatly by not taking the SAT.... and the math portion is a cakewalk compared to the reading... imo</p>

<p>That really depends on the person. Nationally speaking, the average math score is higher than English. But I tend to get one or two questions wrong versus zero on the English portions.</p>

<p>But it is most DEFINITELY a good idea to take the SAT.</p>

<p>The math curve sucks..</p>

<p>No joke, Tzar09.</p>

<p>Thanks for all the input, guys. :)</p>

<p>Would taking the SAT II (US & World History, Literature) help a GREAT deal? Without them, I'd really be relying on the extra arts supplement, teacher recs, essay and interview (if I can even have one ...). </p>

<p>How is Bowdoin in regards to giving out financial aid to 'international' students? Also, what happens if you get accepted Early Decision, but the financial aid is not enough? Bowdoin's website says: "Both programs (ED I and II) are binding and assume that an applicant will attend if admitted, assuming that the financial aid is appropriate."</p>

<p>Bowdoin might be a bit of a reach because of your GPA (although honestly your grades are good other than math). </p>

<p>Bates might be a surer bet for you, and it is still a great school! I found it to be very similar to Bowdoin in many aspects, but with a bit less intense academics.</p>

<p>Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin is a fine liberal arts college with strong music program. It would probably be a match whereas Bowdoin may be a reach. I would apply to both.</p>

<p>Many other schools require SAT 2 scores, so I'd recommend taking a couple that you know you'll do well in. Bowdoin gives most of its aid to US students, but there are many scholarships that you can apply for for int'l students. I would look into that, because I highly doubt there will be a large package in it for you at pretty much any school.</p>