New and desperate, please help me

<p>Hello guys. I was searching the web for some knowledgable people that can help me with my college choices and I think I hit paydirt right here! </p>

<p>Well here is my story. I am a junior at a pretty prestigious and competitive high school. My GPA is horrible as I admit I have been doing a lot of slacking throughout high school. This second term though, it finally hit me how much I messed up and I want to know if I have any hope left for being accepted in a good university.</p>

<p>Here are my "stats":
GPA: **My school does not do the 4.0 scale, but my overall average on my transcript is an 87.7%. I really hope to raise this during this second term of junior year and first term senior year, but I am really not sure if it is too late right now.
Took it March, did not get score back yet.
SAT II: None so far, planning to take US History and Math II during June.
EC: Pretty weak here..Rowing club 2 years, VP of school computer club, 1 season of cross country, 217 hours volunteer hours, and some tutoring/daycare jobs (not sure if these count as ECs).</p>

<p>Long story short, I am just very concerned as I do want to get into the best college I could. Can any of you guys give me an idea of what college I should be aiming for? My major interests are really up in the air as of now. I am thinking of either business or some computer hardware major. Do I have any chance at Cornell or Carnegie?
I know my SAT score is still unknown right now but I am just very anxious to know what I should be working for.</p>

<p>Thank you for any input.</p>

<p>cant do much without ur sat but with that gpa and a real plethora of meaningless ecs i would say that prob. cornell and carnegie are high reaches, very unlikely imo. however if u get a great score on the sat and sat iis bring up ur gpa and have killer essays/recs you have as good a shot as anyone. whats ur class rank that would help also</p>

<p>Thank you for the reply.</p>

<p>I would just like to ask, what do you mean by "meaningless" ECs? What ECs are considered to be meaningful? I thought the computer club thing might help me as I mentioned the possibility of a major involving computers.</p>

<p>Anyway, if we put my pending test scores aside (let's just assume I do well on those), how much do I have to raise my GPA to have a fair shot? I felt good after the SAT I took a couple weeks ago, so as of right now my GPA is my primary concern. At this point I don't think a 90 is feasible as I will have to get around a 96% average during my two remaining terms. Will schools like Carnegie and Cornell not even consider me if I don't meet a certain GPA criteria?</p>

<p>EDIT: And oh, my school does not do class rank so I honestly do not know. There are about 800 juniors, and I am guessing my rank is not too high considering the level of performance of my peers. I am guessing at least top 50%. I do realize this does not help me at all. :(</p>

<p>hello - your grade average I would say translates to about a 3.7 which is very good - you should have lots of options. the main think to remember is that there are LOTS of good schools all over the country. you just have to be realistic as to which schools you apply to, and don't apply to too many REACH schools. I have found with my daughter, who is a senior getting acceptances right now, that the biggest indicator is the school's acceptance rate. Schools over 50% would be TARGET schools for you, under 50%, or under 25% and you have to have some OUTSTANDING grades, SAT scores, ECs, or have discovered the cure to cancer, in order to get in. People need to quit focusing and obsessing over the same top 25 schools, where they get a million applicants, and an outstanding student looks average. Go to the library and look at the fat college books, state by state, and look for some with realistic sat , act and gpa goals for you.</p>

<p>It is very easy to pick your dream, or reach schools. What is much more important is picking your safety schools, as this is where you know you can get in, so it is REAL.</p>

<p>Thank you so much BayAreaCAMom. I really do appreciate your insightful input in my situation. I completely agree with everything you said.</p>

<p>Your remarks have brought up yet another unfortune that is bogging me down; my knowledge of the right schools, or lack of knowledge that is. My college advisors are of no help and some senior friends of mine have told me they have steered kids the wrong way far too many times. I have began researching schools on the Internet (such research has led me to here) and have not found too many helpful websites. Until now, I have been referring to the collegeboard site for some statistics regarding the colleges that seem to appeal to me. Is that a good site or is there better?</p>

<p>I was reluctant to visit the library as I thought the content in their books might be outdated. If you guys think that is a good idea though, I will certainly pay my local library a visit. </p>

<p>If it is possible can you guys list some schools that may be more within reach and fits my desire for a business/computer major. I did not know a 3.7 is good by the way haha. I hope with my 3.7, I still have a shot at Cornell and/or Carnegie. These schools appealed to me ever since the beginning of sophomore year. But please, I rather be realistic than anything, so some nice on "target" university suggestions would be very well appreciated.</p>

<p>Thanks again to everyone!</p>

<p>hey bayarea how is an 87.7% average a 3.7. .877X4.0=3.5
by meaningless ecs, i mean that you arent showing a passion where you focus much of your time, they are seem to disconnected if u know what i mean. Its true that cornell and carnegie mellon wont toss out an applicant with a lower gpa just because of that but it does make its significantly harder</p>

<p>Is there a part of the country you're interested in? How big do you want the school to be? How urban? How focused on sports/partying?</p>

<p>Look at RPI, Worchester Polytechnic, Northeastern, Syracuse, Boston University, and George Washington U. You should have a high chance of admission at all of them. For higher ranked schools, check out Rice and U Rochester. How about USC?</p>

<p>My recommendation would be to buy a college guide book or two. Those books can give you almost all the information you can possibly get without visiting the campus (which is important for determining if the school is a good fit). The two I have are Fiske Guide to Colleges and The Insider's Guide to the Colleges. I highly recommend both of them.</p>

<p>Ancalime, also look at Case Western, Purdue and RIT.</p>

<p>GPAs seem to be the most subjective part of the college application process. Our high school equates an 88% to a B+, which is equal to a 3.3 at our school, so I was wrong on the GPA estimate of 3.7 (which at our school is an A-, or a 90%). So, I would guess you are somewhere in the range of 3.3 to 3.5 (per the other computation in an earlier post) . But every high school, and every college admission dept, computes the GPA differently, so no one is comparing apples to apples. That is why the SAT or ACT are so important.</p>

<p>Don't get overwhelmed. Just find some fat books listing zillions of schools and go page by page, or skip states that don't interest you. I caution you, though, to not get too interested in too many schools with lower than 50% acceptance rate, as they will be hard for you to get in to. I think Carnegie and Cornell are in that area, and therefor those are your 2 REACH schools, and you probably should not add any more to that category (or maybe one more). </p>

<p>Our high school recommends applying to 8 + or - 2 school, or 6 to 10 schools. So you should have 2 or 3 REACH (where you probably won't get in, or they have a very low acceptance rate), 2 or 3 SAFETY (where you will for sure get in, and be realistic here), and the rest, 2 to 6 TARGET schools, where you have a 50/50 chance of getting in. </p>

TOTAL - 6 TO 10</p>

<p>The admissions process keeps getting tougher and tougher each year, as more kids apply, and more kids with very high stats. So, I believe that the average GPA and the average SAT score ranges that you will find in the books are way low, as they are now 2 or more years old. Even the online stats at and (great sites, be sure to check them out!!!) are low, so be careful. Find schools from these books where you are solidly in the middle of their averages, and that have a higher than 50% acceptance rate, and you will have a good TARGET list. Then you can start researching those schools more in depth to see which ones appeal to you.</p>

<p>Good luck! It can be a fun process, but don't let it consume you!</p>

<p>Thank you again everyone. You guys are all very helpful and I appreciate all of your advice.</p>

<p>@teenage: I am honestly not concerned with the population of the school nor where it is. I just want to get into the most prestigious university possible that will compliment my business/computer interests well. If I did have to choose, I would say I want a social environment with a large community.</p>

<p>@OneMom: those look like good choices. I will look into each thank you. What do you think about Binghamtom?</p>

<p>@steelerfan513: Thanks, I am about to order the Fiske book you mentioned!</p>

<p>@poi: Thanks will consider those schools!</p>

<p>@BayAreaCAMom: Thank you again. I never planned to apply to too many schools. I will keep your numbers in mind. Are Cornell and Carnegie that much of a reach though? Is there anything I can do to have them more in scope? I can do very little about my average, I hope to make it at least an 89 after my first term senior year. Will this help any?</p>

<p>It might serve you well to figure out exactly * why * you like Cornell and Carnegie, besides the prestige factor. Once you've outlined your preferences, you can start looking with a clearer mind.</p>

<p>Have you tried using the Counselor-O-Matic at the Princeton Review website?</p>

<p>Well the only thing I am really concerned about when looking at colleges is the prestige factor and how well they fit my major interests. I am really not at all concerned about such things as location, environment, cost, male:female ratio, etc.. </p>

<p>So Cornell and Carnegie appeal to me because they present great oppurtunities for taking a major of my choice and they are good schools. I'm not sure if there are better choices but I have basically heard a lot of good things about these schools and they seem to be reasonable, reachable schools.</p>

<p>I have done the Counselor-O-Matic entering a 3.5 for my GPA. It suggests Carnegie is a good match school while Cornell is a reach. This does give me some hope but what does my GPA really translate to in terms of the 4.0 scale? Is it as simple as ((my grade)*100)/4.0?</p>

<p>Oh and one more thing, is it true that Carnegie Mellon does not consider the freshmen year grades? I searched this very forum and this is what I am led to believe. If this is true, that does raise my GPA considerably. I am just wondering if this still applies now, it seems a little too good to be true..</p>

<p>Thanks again to everyone!</p>

<p>Colleges will take your transcript and recalculate your GPA themselves. Different high schools use different scales, so it's hard to compare your actual grades using the 4.0 scale. Listing your actual grades (like 87% or B+ average) would be easier to use for comparison.</p>

<p>Understood but schools like Carnegie Mellon will not look at my soph, junior, and first term senior grades if available? THey will exclude the freshmen grades in their calculations of the GPA? If so this gives me much hope.</p>

<p>I have also reviewed the statistics of the acceptances/rejections of applicants to Carnegie Mellon from my school. It seems many people wit sub-par averages along with only a mid to high 80's GPA are getting accepted. Is Carnegie Mellon not a big reach after all?</p>

<p>You can search on College</a> Search - SAT Registration - College Admissions - Scholarships too. They seem to have basic info on almost every college in the U.S. </p>

<p>If you start working hard, you should be able to get into Carnegie....I think. Cornell will still be a big stretch, but it will have to depend on SAT, EC's, etc. </p>

Rowing club 2 years, VP of school computer club, 1 season of cross country, 217 hours volunteer hours, and some tutoring/daycare jobs (not sure if these count as ECs).


<p>Yes, those count. You do need more EC's, but I don't think it's that bad.</p>