Hi, I just finished my freshman year at the #2 ranked private school in the US with a 3.3 GPA. Both my parents and all 4 of my grandparents went to Cornell so I have a pretty strong legacy and I am thinking of applying early decision since that shows my dedication to Cornell. For extracurriculars, this year I started a service learning project with a much more underprivileged school and it is going really well. I also am looking to major in Journalism/Sports writing at Cornell and therefore I have a leadership role in my school’s sports newspaper and also I am the president of the service learning board at our school. Outside of school, I play competitive travel hockey. Also, I am going to be a three-year varsity lacrosse player and captain senior year of our lacrosse team and a two-year varsity soccer player. I also run marathons with a blind runner and I guide him in these, which is really good. Also, my school took away AP courses so looking forward to my next three years of high school do you guys have any recommendations for courses I should take and things I should do. Now that you see everything I have to offer, can I get into Cornell? I know I have to step up my grades and do well on my ACT.
The problem is your 3.3 GPA. You are going to need to pull this up very significantly. Great ECs will not make up for a GPA this low at a school like Cornell.
The other problem is that Cornell is very selective. While the acceptance rate varies from year to year, it is below 15%. I haven’t seen specific figures, but I expect that the average GPA of students who apply to Cornell is significantly higher than 3.3.
You need to work very hard to pull up your GPA from now on. You also should take a close look at other universities. There are many very good universities where you can do very well. Usually even just having one dream school is a bad idea.
Finally, if you just finished your freshman year, then you are very young. You have a lot of high school still to go. You don’t have test scores. It will be easier to access your chances two years from now.
This is a good news / bad news thing. Good news is your school will be well known to Admissions, so the rigor will be known and there may be some allowance for a softer GPA, and Cornell likes legacies in general. Bad news is that you have a ton a pressure w/ all those Cornell grads assuming you will get there also, being a stand out in your class is going to be hard, there are no mitigating factors (you will have had the best of the best in terms of college prep) and a 3.3 is still a 3.3.
I love this piece of advice from MIT:
Take it to heart.
In the meantime, work on figuring out what is keeping you more in the B end than the A end of things.Grade 10 is a really good year to do that: you have learned your new school in Grade 9, and things will get noticeably harder in Grade 11, so use Grade 10 to figure out ways of studying that are more effective for you.