Poor grades for top schools?

So my first year of high school (10th grade, international), I received a D in French and a couple of Bs, (to which I do have some extenuating circumstances to “blame” it on). But I was wondering how much this will effect my chances at top schools? I know people from my country (Sweden) who have been accepted to top schools, and most of them have straight A’s or sevens (IB).

For reference, the GPA conversion looks like this according to some sites
B - 4.0 or 3.5
D - 2.0 or 2.5

Oh and also, how much does a good SAT score do? Like, can a 1500+ compensate for a bad GPA or how much does it weigh in the admissions process?

A few comments:

  1. Those grades are unlikely to get you into an elite school, especially as an international student. You have given us no idea what your "extenuating circumstances"are, if and how that information might be relayed to admissions officers, and if the circumstances will make a difference. in how your application is viewed (it is entirely your prerogative to keep that private).
  2. Virtually every admissions officer I've heard speak has said that the most important document is the transcript which includes grades and course rigor.
  3. A high standardized test score generally does not "make up" for a sub-par transcript.
    ----For a chance of admission to elite colleges (which often have an under 10% admission rate, and it is lower for international students) every aspect of your application (ex. transcript, standardized tests, EC activities, LORs, essays) needs to excel. ----Some admissions officers will see a high standardized test score a lower grades as indicative of a student who is not giving his/her all in the classroom.
  4. Focus on doing your best this coming academic year and then come back to CC with your results. You can probably get better advice at that time.

So after high school, I’ll have 23 grades in total. Assuming 2 of them are B’s and 1 is a D, do you think this same advice will apply? For reference as well, that’s like top 3% in the country.

I wouldn’t worry about the two B’s. The D would be a red flag. In the process of whittling down 30,000 applications to a couple hundred acceptances (about what’s left over for unhooked applicants), admissions is going to have to start looking for reasons to reject you rather than keep you. A D on the transcript is sufficient reason at that point.

Try if you want, but have true safeties and matches for backup.

What’s considered a hook? Only great ECs, or test scores/essays?

Test scores are not a hook.

The main hooks are: recruited athlete, underrepresented minority, child of alumnus/ae (legacy), child of major donor