Less that stellar GPA

<p>(My son placed a similar message as this on the college admissions thread, but got minimal response, so he asked me to try this on the parent's forum.)</p>

<p>Is there an Ivy or Ivy-caliber school that is known for placing more emphasis on SAT's and ec's, rather than GPA? My son will be a senior at a suburban New Jersey high school - he has a 3.6-3.7 GPA, SAT's are 2190, SAT II's are similar and his extracurriculars and references will be excellent (briefly, he founded and was president all four years of his school's PolySci club and is on the student council, etc.). His GPA is the most negative thing on his transcript. He would love to go to Penn, but my sense is that his GPA would probably keep him out. Is there another school where more emphasis is placed on SAT's and EC's? Thanks, everyone.</p>

<p>The US has thousands of colleges, and there definitely are colleges that would love to have your S. However, your S's chances are lower than the normal chances (which are low even for students with far higher scores and gpas) of getting into Ivies.</p>

<p>GPA is virtually the most important thing that any college, including Ivies, considers when it comes to admissions. Ivy pools are flooded with applicants who are vals and sals and have much higher SATs. Unless your S's ECs truly are extraordinary in those pools of outstanding students or unless your S has a very unusual background such as being from an extremely underrepresented region, Ivies would be a distant reach.</p>

<p>Being from NJ also will hurt him as the Ivies are flooded with extraordinary applicants from the NE.</p>

<p>You can get a good idea of what the competition is like by going to the CC boards for individual colleges and looking in the April postings to find out the stats and ECs of those who were accepted and rejected. </p>

<p>I suggest that you and he take a close look at schools in the second half of the first tier, which probably would be more realistic reach schools for him than Ivies and similar colleges.</p>

<p>You also could take a look at the extracurricular thread in the "chances" forum to see how his ECs may stack up at places like Ivies. Often things that seem extraordinary on a local level are very ordinary in the admissions pools at Ivies, where 90% or so of applicants have the stats indicating that they can do Ivy work. </p>

<p>Your S's ECs sound wonderful for many second tier colleges and possibly some lower ranked first tier colleges, but would not be extraordinary at Ivies, where the students with the strongest ECs have been national presidents of organizations or have gotten national/international awards or other recognition for their activities. </p>

<p>One last thing: Getting an Ivy education does not guarantee an excellent life or a lucrative career. Many Ivy graduates make a lot of $ because they come from wealthy families and went to work in their families' lucrative corporations.
They also may have done well after graduation because the same work ethic that got them into Ivies helped them do well in Ivies and graduate school or professional school. If they'd gone to virtually any other university, they probably would still have ended up just as successful.</p>

<p>I notice that you've posted as a student under the same name. Just so you know, it's OK for students to post here, too as long as they are respectful.</p>

<p>I think we all need to stop obsessing about Ivies or Ivies equivalents.
A student can get a terrific education at any of the top 50 universities and top 50 LACs.</p>

<p>A student whose GPA is 3.6 or 3.7 is pretty strong. What he should be doing is to draw up a list of schools that have what he is interested in academically, geographically, socially, etc... and are financially affordable.</p>

<p>Thanks to both of you for the thoughtful and helpful advice. Sometimes a bit of perspective is a helpful reminder.</p>

<p>Does your high school post last year's results online? Sometimes these are known as scattergrams, but they can also be just lists of statistics. At my daughter's school's web site, for instance, interested parties can look up each college and see the the SAT scores and GPAs of each applicant from her school who was accepted, wait-listed or denied (with names of students not given, of course, for privacy). Using those statistics, we were able to get a general feel for what each college is looking for. I say "general" because other factors come into play such as ECs, recs and essays, and those of course are not on the scattergrams.</p>

<p>Or your guidance counselor may be able to just give you a printout.</p>

<p>For us, this was the biggest reality-check we could have asked for.</p>

<p>And, as previous posters have wisely pointed out, there are lots of great schools in the country, and many of them would be appealing if given the chance.</p>

<p>Your S's stats and ECs would qualify him for merit aid at many universities. Take a close look at the merit aid thread pinned to the top of this forum.</p>

<p>If he wants to go to Penn, he might as well apply to Penn. The worst that happens is that he doesn't get into Penn (but probably will get into some other excellent school). He doesn't lose anything except the application fee.</p>