How do colleges view CIE grades?

<p>Hey,</p>

<p>I did my exams (A-Levels and IGCSEs/O-Levels) under the CIE board. The tests and exams set at my school (generally) were in the same style as proper CIE exams. As is the grading system.</p>

<p>According to this (<a href="http://www.cie.org.uk/docs/recognition/AICE%20FAQs%20Factsheet.pdf%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://www.cie.org.uk/docs/recognition/AICE%20FAQs%20Factsheet.pdf&lt;/a&gt;) document on CIE's website, a B at A-Level is equivalent to an A-/B+ in the American system and a C is equivalent to B. At least, these are the "suggested equivalent grades".</p>

<p>I understand that there is nothing I can do about how colleges will look at my grades but if they are looked upon from that perspective, then the hole I dug myself into isn't one that I can't get out of.</p>

<p>What purpose are you asking for?</p>

<p>For the purpose of automatic merit scholarships, they may or may not take your grades on face value. The thing is, American high schools don't all follow the same grading scale either. At some selective private American schools, good grades are harder to earn than at an average public high school too - but the students don't get their Cs upgraded to a B either. (In fact, if colleges reported adjusted grades in their statistical data sets, they would be accused of forging data!)</p>

<p>Your school grades will probably be interpreted in the context of your school. How do your grades compare to the grades of your classmates? That's what the School Report and Counselor letter of recommendation is for. The more favorable you compare to your classmates, the better off you are. Your teacher letters of recommendation may illuminate your strengths and weaknesses in a positive way as well.</p>

<p>For what it's worth, I'd like to share my own experience in the admissions process. I went to high school in Germany, with a grading scale from 1-6. According to WES, 1-2 converts to an A, 3 to a B, 4 to a C, and 5-6 to an F. Half of my transcripts were 1s, the other half 2s and 3s with a few 4s and 5s sprinkled in. That was actually the highest grade point average in my class!</p>

<p>The rest of my application looked as follows: I had a 34 on the ACT, 800s on SAT Subject Tests, I took a couple of university classes in my senior year in high school through a gifted program, I won an award in the German national math competition, I was head of our high school student newspaper, did martial arts semi-competitively, and worked a part-time job (while classes were in session, full-time during breaks). </p>

<p>I applied to ~10 colleges and universities: a few big Ivy-type universities and the rest liberal arts colleges that gave financial aid to international students. I was accepted with financial aid to two of the liberal arts colleges. That's it. I assume that it was the combination of my so-so-looking grades and asking for financial aid that held me back. I did not apply for merit scholarships at lower-ranked universities (because I didn't want to go to the US badly enough to settle for a third-rate university). I am not sure how my grades would have affected scholarship outcomes.</p>

<p>P.S. Check your "Questions about teaching in US high schools" thread.</p>

<p>Hey,</p>

<p>I appreciate the personal details. ;)</p>

<p>For both automatic merit scholarships (I'd rather study in Leipzig but the former could end up costing less and it would be easier to apply to grad school from an American institution) and how liberal arts colleges would look at them. But yes, what you said makes sense. </p>

<p>As for how my grades compare to the rest of my class, I really don't know. For the first two years, I was definitely in the top 20 out of 40. However, those were the strongest students in my year. Out of all 200 students who took the exams, I <em>guess</em> I was in the top 25-30? For the other 2 years, I did pretty badly. It was mostly Cs and Ds with As "sprinkled on". Well, it looks like I'm screwed. </p>

<p>Note: my school only ranks for the first 3 years of secondary school. I'm already having transcript issues with them right now, so I don't know how favourable the counselor recommendation will be. But my teacher recommendations are definitely going to be excellent...I just lost my way for a while. Which is quite unfortunate when it comes to getting into college, haha. The good news is that if I ever get a bad grade, it will probably not be my fault. ;)
On the flip side, it wouldn't have taken much work to get those grades up at the time but I didn't know they'd ever matter. It doesn't excuse my idiocy, mind!</p>

<p>That said, I have no clue what UA-Huntsville would consider a 3.0 GPA, so perhaps I should call them and ask. </p>

<p>Another issue is that the lowest passing grade for A-Levels is an E (I happen to have a few of those). If your Abitur grades are anything to go by, I reckon those will be evaluated in context? Colleges have a sense of the rigor of European qualifications, so view them accordingly?</p>