GREAT grades, nothing else?

<p>I was talking to another mother the other day, and she was going on and on about how brilliant her son was (where have we heard this before??) and how he was taking the most challenging courses and doing very well in them. He's my son's age (freshman, 15 yrs.) and I asked him if this fellow does anything besides work. He said that he did a JV team but nothing else, really. His mother was talking about Stanford. Where do kids like this go to college?</p>

<p>DKE, pardon my repetition, but my dearest friend's son is like that. Great grades, very good SAT scores and nothing else at all. No extracurriculars, no sports, no community service, unspectacular essays. He is in senior year and applied to places like MIT, Cal Tech, RPI, Penn State and a couple of others. He has been denied everywhere except Penn State and RPI. He received the RPI medal which came with $15,000 but apparently nothing else. They are absolutely shocked and devastated. Obviously, those two schools are great, but the family can't afford them and they had no financial or academic safeties because they thought their son was so stellar that he'd get full rides everywhere. Sincerely and completely believed this. No joy in their Mudville.</p>

<p>Son has a peer in HS like this. He rarely did anything, but sit at home and study. He did take one outside evening class with one of his parents, so I guess that went on the application, and the schools do not need to know that he attended with mom or dad!</p>

<p>He was rejected by many of the elite schools, but he was accepted to WSTL and he is attending.</p>

<p>Probably not Stanford. Try flagship state U, where he can get in on his gpa and test stats. This mom needs to realize there is a surplus of kids with great grades and test scores who also find time for music, sports and academic activities. If her son is all she says he is he couldn't stand the boredom of nothing to do without adding in all the extras. There are plenty of students who have time for many EC's plus time to goof off, read and do nothing and outperform hers academically. Hopefully her son can do more than just school work; I know of no HS, public or private, in the country that isn't based on the concept of a well rounded education, he is short changing himself if he doesn't add those to his education. BTW, there are plenty of top test scorers with near top grades and tons of good, varied EC's but no wow factor to set them apart from the others who end up at their flagship schools. Even being a well rounded NM finalist isn't good enough (this is not personal experience as my son would not apply to most elite schools, so we will never know where he would have been accepted). PS-what is WSTL?</p>

<p>Many large state universities make admissions decisions solely by GPA and test scores.</p>

<p>wis75-I believe she's talking about Washington University in St. Louis, commonly abbreviated as WUSTL.</p>

<p>Penn State's admission decison is 2/3 gpa and 1/3 SAT.</p>

<p>"Penn State's admission decision is 2/3 gpa and 1/3 SAT."</p>

<p>This must have changed recently then, since S1 had the reverse, great SATs and mediocre grades. Of course we were OOS, no financial aide and double legacy. But still his grades were barely a 3.0. He did go on to do well and graduate with honors, but HS grades were not all that great.</p>

<p>I have a newphew like that -- got into every school he applied to -- all major, international-caliber research universities. (He did not apply to Stanford.)</p>

<p>This kid is playing on a school sports team at the highest level ordinarily available to a high school freshman.</p>

<p>That's not nothing.</p>

<p>Thats what I was thinking. As a Freshman, my son was on a JV team (track and cross country) and it took up a lot of time. I don't think he had any other ECs at that point.He actually didn't have that many other ECs throughout high school. But I think he is pretty well rounded.</p>

<p>wis, yes, I did mean Washington University St. Louis when I wrote WUSTL.</p>

<p>If CC is good for anything, it is good to let people know the falseness of 2 often-held beliefs: because Junior has great grades, he will get in anywhere he wants; and because Junior has great grades, he will certainly get a full ride scholarship.</p>

<p>Very often, neither is true...</p>

<p>And CC can help with the corresponding belief - that if your child has perfect SAT or ACT scores Harvard, Princeton and Stanford will be competing to get your darling in the door.</p>

<p>He does sports and he's only a freshman! Cut him slack, once he understands the importance of ECs, he'll have no trouble adding activities to his repertoire.</p>

<p>"This must have changed recently then, since S1 had the reverse, great SATs and mediocre grades. Of course we were OOS, no financial aide and double legacy. But still his grades were barely a 3.0. He did go on to do well and graduate with honors, but HS grades were not all that great."</p>

<p>Nope, I believe it's been that way for a while. Was it university park? Also, being a legacy pulls a lot of weight. The average for incoming students at University Park is between 3.6-3.7, so consider your S1 lucky.</p>

<p>yeah hes only a freshman...I dont remember do many ECs when I was a freshman...unless you count JV sports, or math / science team, or.......yeah</p>

<p>While near-perfect high school grades and SAT scores will not necessarily even get you accepted at some elite universities, all is not lost for such "boring" or "one-dimensional" students. If such a student attends a fairly strong state university and continues this trend of near-perfect grades and test scores (GRE scores) while majoring in physical science or engineering, then acceptance at essentially any school in the US with full funding through PhD is very likely. For example, if a student attends Penn State rather than MIT as an undergrad but then is able to graduate with a 3.9 GPA in engineering with comparable GRE scores, then free grad school at CalTech, MIT, Stanford, UC Berkeley, etc. is extremely likely.</p>