Does Top 5% Make up for a Somewhat Low GPA?

<p>Would being top 5% at a competitive public school make up for a 3.74 UW(4.15 W) GPA? </p>

<p>Or would this low of a GPA kill one's chances at an Ivy/MIT?</p>

<p>(FYI= ACT 34 super, 32 single sitting, Math 2 780, Chem 720)</p>

<p>If the school is that competitive you can get a better answer from the school GC, or look up Naviance results.</p>

<p>The guidance department is not the best and they only started using Naviance a year ago. The stats in the system so far are limited and do not give one much to go on. </p>

<p>(What is the accepted definition of competitive? I might have used too strong of a term to describe the school.)</p>

<p>Others have claimed that the super-selective schools like top 2 (not percent), though there may be some chance down to the top 2%, for unhooked applicants.</p>

<p>sVM: from my experience, the rank will not outweigh the unweighted GPA, even with oodles of honors and AP’s</p>

<p>Unfortunately, top schools want “A”'s for the most part…of course, a few B+ are fine, but when comparing applicants, unless one is top 2%, rank won’t matter…</p>

<p>I do agree that your own Hs Naviance is a better indicator of this phenomenon…</p>

<p>I think perhaps top 5% is indicative of where the student falls within the rest of his class and it definitely looks favorable. However, I find it hard to believe that a student not at least in the top 10 or perhaps top 5 can find themselves with a chance at an Ivy/ MIT unless they have some really impressive extracurriculars.</p>

<p>I have never served on an admissions committee, so I can only give you my best guess, but I would think that rank would be most important. All these top schools tell you what percentage of their admitted class was “top 10%” - none tell you what the average GPA was because an A in one school or one class is not the same as an A in another.</p>

<p>Also, for IVY/MIT you need some serious EC’s (or research for MIT) in addition to the 10% rank and super high SAT’s.</p>

<p>"Would being top 5% at a competitive public school make up for a 3.74 UW(4.15 W) GPA? "</p>

<p>Keep in mind that some schools, like Stanford and UCs, do not include 9th grade in their GPA calculations, and others weight it minimally, so if the lower GPA is related entirely to that year, and shows an upward trend, the 3.74 may not be what they are using to make a decision. </p>

<p>And yes, some private schools for example, have very rigorous curves where a 3.74 would be the top of the class (as it sounds like in this case) and colleges know this. It shouldn’t stop you S or D from applying - they just have to have the usual matches and safeties like everyone else.</p>

<p>Some of it depends on the size of the class, ie how many kids did better than 3.74. But, the real point is that a holistic college is going to take a deep look at the whole app package, incl ECs, real impact and responsibilities, how relevant the APs are (to the major,) essays and LoRs.</p>

<p>Certainly a safety is needed. Using Dartmouth as an example, 40% of admits in 2011 were Vals and 10% were Sals. [Dartmouth</a> College - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia](<a href=“]Dartmouth”> Also I’m not sure any of the Ivies superscore the ACT. [Colleges</a> that superscore the ACT College Admissions Counseling](<a href=“]Colleges”></p>

<p>How can there be 10 replies and no one has yet mentioned the rigor of the courseload?</p>

<p>In my mind, the rigor will determine whether the 3.74 is competitive or not. If you have taken half a dozen AP classes while others in the class have ranked higher by taking easier courses then you will should be in great shape. If this is the case, be sure that your GC notes this in his LOR.</p>

<p>Also, another consideration is the size of the class. The top 5% of a class with 60 students will still put you in the top three and the rank is less meaningful. However, if the class has 800 students, then there are up to forty classmates ahead of you and your ranking will be more difficult to overcome.</p>

<p>FWIW, I would define a “competitive” high school as one that has 100% of seniors going to 4-year college and 10% or more gaining acceptance to highly selective schools in a typical year.</p>

<p>His class is about 330 students. </p>

<p>He has taken all honors and 6 APs. (2 fours, the rest fives). Heavy science/math load. </p>

<p>He has 6 B+ grades. All of them 89%, ugh! Three were in freshmen year, two sophomore, one junior. </p>

<p>MIT is his extreme reach school and they super score. </p>

<p>He does have safeties on list.</p>

<p>His EC’s are quite good, with lots of leadership and heavy engineering focus.</p>

<p>His school sends about 90% to college and always has at least one Ivy and many other top schools in the mix, but I guess it would not be considered competitive.</p>

<p>90% going to college (assuming you mean four year college) is quite high; an average high school probably sends about 25-30% of graduates to four year colleges, with more going to community colleges (some on transfer-to-four-year-college plans, others on associates degree or other course plans).</p>

<p>However, top 5% of 90% means top 4.5% of the college-bound population. Looking at the numbers, MIT and similarly selective schools are not accepting the top 4.5% of the college-bound population. The numbers are not in his favor at MIT and similarly selective schools – such schools would not be a sure thing even for a valedictorian with sky-scraping test scores, so an unhooked student significantly down the GPA / rank scale has a significantly lower chance.</p>

<p>So, now the ques is: what are those B’s in? If it’s non-STEM, it can matter less. for a math-sci kid. And, do his ECs include both the depth in STEM and some nice breadth/depth in the hs and community? </p>

<p>Take a hard look at the CA and make sure his approach all makes sense- that the “whole” is a STEM kid with both a range of math-sci-engineering experiences and some nice breadth, he’s got the focus and the ability to challenge himself, but is also grounded and interesting. You can look up posts from adcom MITChris, to see how he talks about candidates. But, the running theme at competitive colleges always includes wanting kids who are both academically capable and likely to engage on campus, add to the sense of community there.</p>

<p>He is top 5%. But, some of those 15-16 ahead of him (and others in the area) may be his hs competition at those colleges. So, he needs to make holistic work for him. Good luck.</p>