Do I still have a chance at Ivy?

I am a junior in High school who always had dreams of getting into an Ivy League school like Dartmouth or Harvard and my grades from the past 2 years show that, all A’s and B’s in honors courses. However in Junior year my grades slipped because in the first half of the year I went through some traumatic events within my family that left me extremely depressed and I ended up failing honors Algebra II and Honors chemistry and switching to the CP level. Now fortunately in the second half of the year I have gotten the help I needed and brought my grades back up including in my 2 AP classes. Looking back I deeply regret having let myself sink so low in the first half of the year and am working hard to get back to Ivy level and I am now asking for advice. I plan on having an extremely rigorous course load senior year, 2 AP classes again, honors courses and Career tech programs in the biomedical field. On top of that I am going to complete an honors physics course online as well as AP statistics course online. I have very good scores on my SATs and ACTs which I hope will make up for my some of my past academic failures. For extracurricular activities I lead the schools Ultimate Frisbee Club Sport and am the founder of the Economics club. I am also an NHS member and small business owner. I take part in and lead multiple service projects throughout the year. Can I still make it into a top tier school despite past academic failures?

Yes, depending on your current GPA and test scores. You said that you got “all A’s and B’s” thats a really broad range that can be anywhere from a 3.0-4.0. Give us some data for people to work around with because what you are saying is only giving vague information.

Please realize how little chance every student has at getting accepted at an Ivy. Kudos to you for making it through tough times and turning things around. Certainly you should continue on your path and apply, but please also focus on looking for other schools that will give you what you need to succeed in life. It’s time to start asking yourself questions about what school will be the best fit for you. Some of those would include:

  • What is it about Dartmouth and Harvard that are attractive (to find other schools with some of these qualities)
  • What size school do you want to be in
  • What part of the country
  • Urban/suburban/rural location
  • Are you looking for an Honors program
  • What are some possible majors you're considering
  • What are you looking for from campus life - strong sports, Greek organizations, social justice, religious environment
  • If you want to study abroad, will the school accommodate that in your major (some schools have special programs to help STEM majors study abroad without adding a semester)

And most importantly, how much can your family realistically afford to pay for school? One valuable exercise is to go to schools that interest you and find the Net Price Calculator (NPC) and plug in the numbers to get an approximation of what the school would cost. If you have financial need, certainly the Ivies are a good bet (if you get in) as they offer substantial need. If you are looking for merit scholarships, there are entire forums on how to find both guaranteed and competitive merit scholarships.

Getting into an Ivy is a great accomplishment, but realize how many outstanding students every year do not get into an Ivy. It’s important to have a mix of schools so you have an affordable option where you will be happy to attend.

Again, kudos to you and best of luck!