Could I get into Colorado College?

I am a rising senior in high school from Colorado, I come from a school that is not highly rated, except I’m in the IB program which has a 98% pass rate (for those of you not IB, that’s pretty damn good). My stats are below:

Weighted GPA: 3.79
PSAT: 1240 (I haven’t taken the SAT yet because COVID-19)
HL Classes: Spanish B, English A, History, Biology
SL Classes: Psychology, Math Studies
Band, Jazz Band, and Pep band all four years, I play 3 instruments
JV Tennis freshman and sophomore years, Varsity junior and senior years
I work a part time job at a restaurant
I volunteer at my local humane society every week

I’ve looked into it and I am below average, what do you think I can do to raise my chances?

This gets covered in a number of threads down the line. But let me provide a synopsis:

Your PSAT is low. That said, CC has dramatically reduced the contribution standardized tests makes in admissions decisions.

Typically, IB classes provide a bonus bump in GPA, and if that was the case with your HS, you are a bit low here as well. My guess is that the overwhelming majority of recent students were weighted significantly higher than a 4.2 GPA. Nearly everyone has an unweighted GPA of 3.75 or above.

That said, IB courses show that you are ready for college rigors. That likely counts more than anything.

The true key to admission to CC is your thoughts on the essays. Bare your soul. Agonize about every detail. The Admissions people make no bones about the fact that the essays can be worth in the area of 50% of admissions consideration. I can’t go any further there. But if you research CC enough, the answers are right under your nose. That said, having graduated in 2019, I was studying the school since 2015, and ‘got it’ finally as I was writing my essays. The essays will indicate whether you ‘get it’ or not.

The essays each year are essentially the same:

  1. Why Colorado College
  2. Describe an original class you would want to take / teach.

The first is entirely personal. If you can’t already answer that, you are not going to like the second.

The second, IMHO is the key to the whole application. It illustrates whether you have really researched CC or not. Read the course catalog to see some of the incredibly interesting classes, and how they veer away from typical academic topics. Understand, too, that CC loves environmental experiences, not just classroom. Every single class has an opportunity to take a ‘field trip’ to see primary resources or processes. Due to the fact that we never have a second class which could present a time conflict, some classes might have a night session or a double length session. If your imaginary class truly understands CC, it will incorporate those elements. Of course, CC always strives to make interesting classes, so choose a class from deep down in your soul. A class named ‘Journalism in post- WW2’ American might be an interesting class, but also could be something taught anywhere. A class named ‘The Impacts of Geology on the Economic Development of Manitou Springs’ might be better. My essay covered Buckminster Fuller and the Dymaxion Philosophy. I’d still love to take or teach that class, 6 years later.

If you can really impress with the essays, you can likely augment scores that are not astronomical by at least 10%. CC wants curious, self-motivated students. Every 4th Year student has to present either individual research, or a faculty led practicum. You are not there to memorize by rote answers. You are there to develop questions.