Got into Northwestern for CS with a Low GPA. ASK ME ANYTHING!

Zai Dawodu is a senior who recently graduated from Maryland. She has a 3.62 GPA and 1460 SAT score. Her extracurricular activities vary from Varsity fencing to working at a Swiss chocolate store.

@Doodoo27 applied to a lot a lot of schools (20+) and was accepted into 10 and waitlisted at 2.

The full list of schools she got into:

NYU( 30th in the US, 15% acceptance rate)
RPI(Got Scholarship)(55th in the US)
UofW ( 6th in the US)
UMD (16th in the US)
Penn State(30th in the US)
UPitt(Got Scholarship)(49th in the US)
Baylor(Got Scholarship)
Fordham(Got Scholarship)
Juniata(Got Scholarship)
Robert Morris(Pennsylvania)

She recently got off the waitlist for Northwestern so for now she plans on attending Northwestern to study Computer Science.

Zai plans on starting a college admission series on her [YouTube channel]( She recently featured in an Instagram takeover on the College Confidential official page, you can watch her live sessions here: [day 1](https://www.■■■■■■■■■■■■■/p/CAYczSTBVng/), [day 2](https://www.■■■■■■■■■■■■■/p/CAbAKoHBPev/), and [day 3](https://www.■■■■■■■■■■■■■/p/CAdjkp3hkNm/).

Zai is our Guest Student of the Week, so make sure to ask her all your questions!


From your other posts, I noticed that you are a female URM. You don’t think that helped a little?

Yes I am, but I also have other factors that work against me like my highly educated parent, going to private school, and my parents’ high income. My parents also happen to be Nigerian, which tend to be overrepresented in URM groups. I did get rejected from some other schools with similar acceptance rates.

Congratulations on your acceptances.

Agree that your GPA isn’t low.

URM status, access to private school resources, low financial need were all advantages.

Where will you attend in the Fall?

I don’t think 3.62 is a low GPA, but for computer science it’s definitely on the lower side.

I’m going to be attending NYU. Also I understand that being a URM helps me, but I also like to think I got in with my other accomplishments: Student council President, NCWIT National Honorable Mention, Harvey MUDD WISTEM Program, working at my school’s cafeteria, etc.

Please don’t take my comments as an attempt to take away from your success. You earned it, and have every reason to be proud. It is just that others may not have all of the same demographics, and it is important to give everyone a full picture.

Did you receive any financial aid?

Did you ED full pay at NYU? And you are instate for UW?

No I am not instate for UW and I am not fully paying for NYU, I got some financial aid but no scholarships.

Congratulations! Great info!

Congratulations for your acceptances, but, is not the same an URM that can pay 50.000 per year, and an URM that can pay 15.000 per year.

Can you share the name of the youtube channel? TIA

What do we you think set you apart from other applicants?

I have heard from experts that colleges have accepted people with 3.6 GPA and 1250 SAT over people with 4.0 GPA and 1600 SAT.

I’m a student who have 4.0 GPA and my extracurriculars were mostly 2 years of math team, science club, and participated in research projects such as History Fair for 2 years. I have earned the Academic Achievement during my Freshman year. My name was listed in the high honor rule for 4 years. I have also participated in a healthcare facility job shadowing project for one of my classes which, I job shadowed SDS, Anesthesiology, and Orthopedics for 3 days. I have also, tutored people online.

I have a small problem, I didn’t know about the AP’s and Honors until my Junior year. So the classes that I took were as the following:
Electives: Tech for Success, Beginning Drafting and Design, Personal Finance, and Health Occupations.
Math: Accelerated Algebra, Geometry, Algebra II, and Trig/Analytic Geometry.
English: English I->III and English IV technical writing (Dual Credit)
History: Human Geography, AAH, US History, General Psychology (Dual Credit), and Hon/AP Government
Science: Biology, PES, Chemistry, Hon Microbiology, Physics, and Hon/AP Chemistry II

The reason I didn’t know about Honors and AP’s is because I came here during my 7th grade so I was new to the system. I’m trying to aim on attending the Top 50 schools

@sonatarhia, Zai Dawodu

My first video should be uploaded tomorrow or Wednesday

@HopefulRealist1, I’ll state that as a minority doing stem that stand out, but I also tried to a lot of activities to show I really love CS. I took AP Computer Science Principles, participated in a few different free competitive coding programs(Koding with Klossy and Google CSSI), and even won an ncwit national honorable mention award. I think all these including my essays helped me to stand out and show Im more than just my gpa.

@Omar909 When you say you came here in 7th grade, do you mean that you emigrated here from another country? If that’s the case then you already have a reasonable explanation as to why you may not have taken as many ap and honors classes as other applicants. If you explain this in your essay college counselors will take that into consideration when making their decision. Also it seems like you’re already a great student anyway, so if you keep up the your grades and take more challenging classes in you senior year the you might not need to worry as much. Also you extracurriculars seem pretty good, so just focus on the ones you’re already doing.

Who wrote the title for this thread? 3.62 is not a low GPA.

To provide more information, how much are the scholarships that Zai was offered? Will Zai fence at Northwestern?

Not sure if it’s below average for CS but females are considered underrepresented for CS Majors so that could have possibly helped.

@Doodoo27 , congratulations on working very hard and earning your acceptances and scholarships to some great universities. I’m impressed that you were able to do so much (aside from schoolwork) and still excel in the classroom and on standardized tests.

I love your decision to switch from your original choice to Northwestern when you got accepted from the waitlist. 35 years ago, one of my best friends in high school went to Northwestern. She had a great time, learned a lot, and later got her PhD and is now a college professor. I’m sure similar great things await you.

Keep shining, young lady!

Question1: Why did you switch from NYU to Northwestern? Was is simply a choice of switching to a higher-ranked school or did you have other reasons?

Question2: now that you’ve dropped your original choice and chose Northwestern, is there another school that might accept you that would cause you to change again?