I have a cumulative GPA of 3.65 at a pretty competitive private high school. I had a 3.1 in sophomore year first semester, but I gradually pulled it up. Do colleges disqualify you just because of the 3.1? I got a 3.7, 3.8, 3.8, and much better scores after that. I’ll be applying to Princeton this year, but will this disqualify me GPA-wise?

In a vacuum, it is impossible to give a meaningful answer, but Princeton posts a handy little chart to show the effect of GPA on acceptance. The average admit % was 7.4. The admit rate by GPA was:

4.0 9.9
3.90-3.99 9.8
3.80-3.89 6.8
3.70-3.79 5.9
3.60-3.69 4.9
3.50-3.59 3.1
Below 3.50 2.0

There is a clear drop once the GPA goes below 3.9, so even if you use only your last three terms, the odds are less favorable.

But, that’s GPA in a vacuum- no test scores, no ECs, no recs, no essays, no explanation for a tough term.

Are you still planning on applying for PPE at Oxford?

Ivy leagues don’t have a minimum GPA needed for admission, so they can’t “disqualify” you in a strict cut-off sense in the same way schools like the UCs can.

However, you’ll be hard-pressed to find many people who were accepted to Princeton with a 3.65 GPA. It wouldn’t be unprecedented if you got accepted, but you’d need some killer essays, amazing recs, great test scores and outstanding ECs (talking more than just the typical band/varsity sport/FBLA/whatever) to be accepted. I would definitely look for a handful of safeties.