What will make-up for my "average" grades?

<p>Okay, so I'm a junior and I plan to apply to UPENN, University of Michigan, USC, Boston College, UC Berkeley, UCLA, University of Chicago, NYU, etc., but I'm worried it's too late to make-up for my lackluster grades (I swept my whole junior year with B's, although I did take nearly all AP's and Honors.) I also didn't do so well sophomore year, getting nearly all B's in my honor classes, except for a few A's. </p>

<p>SAT, AP exams, and Subject Tests are all coming up at the end of this month, so if I DID do exceptional on those exams would I still have a chance?</p>

<p>Okay, if one rated colleges on a scale of 1 to 100, the colleges you listed are ranked from 85-100. Realistically, you should be looking at colleges in the 60-80 range. You’re a smart kid, but having mostly Bs won’t get you into the likes of top tier schools like those UCs and and Ivy.</p>

<p>Even if you did really well on all your standardized tests, the only colleges you listed that I would bother to apply to if I were you would be Boston College, USC, and NYU.</p>

<p>agreatperhaps is right. You should, of course, try to do well on the exams. But that’s not going to make up for your grades. Top colleges like the Ivies and UChicago aren’t going to be okay with that.</p>

<p>but the thing is, you haven’t factored in my EC’s, essays, interview, etc.</p>

<p>I’m going to get on the train here and mostly agree with the above posters. Penn and UChicago are not going to happen. Your chances at Berkeley, UMich, and UCLA are definitely not too good just based on what sounds like a lot of Bs, particularly with all Bs Junior year. However, I’m not going to deal in absolutes on most of your list since I also don’t know what all your stats are or all facets of your app. agreatperhaps included USC as a possibility, although I’d stress that is is also quite selective with <20% acceptance rate. Boston College and NYU are solid choices that I’d definitely apply to.</p>

<p>I wouldn’t worry too much about subject tests. The schools you should be aiming for won’t be requiring them, although if you have already prepared for them then go ahead and take them. They can only help you out, and definitely shoot for 700+. The SAT should be your biggest priority however and can be a real game changer. It won’t be enough to suddenly make you competitive for the several of the previously listed schools, however it can be quite advantageous to have a 2200+ regardless. AP exams have virtually no bearing on admission chances but you should still do well atleast for the possibility of receiving some college credit.</p>

<p>Also make sure to try and do well 1st semester of senior year, as it could be just enough to get you into certain schools. The mid-year report can sometimes make the difference before colleges make their final decision. I honestly feel like that contributed a bit to some of my acceptances after my own lackluster junior year. But whatever happens, good luck!</p>

<p>Do your extracurriculars include dunking a basketball with two hands? Building additions onto libraries or academic computing centers?</p>

<p>If not, they won’t make up for grades that aren’t competitive. Extracurriculars activities help colleges choose among candidates who are academically well qualified. Except in the case of recruited athletes, they don’t allow applicants to leapfrog over other applicants whose academic credentials are stronger.</p>

<p>but the thing is, you haven’t factored in my EC’s, essays, interview, etc.</p>

<p>Unless you have some amazingly unique hook, those things aren’t used to qualify an unqualified student.</p>

<p>ECs, essays, etc, are used to down-select from a very large group of students to an accepted number of students.</p>

<p>I used to be in the same boat as the other commentators above, but then I read this article about getting into Yale college. The student who wrote it is a current student at Yale, so she knows about the process of getting into an ivy-league school. In her post, she says that the most important criteria other than the GPA is involvement in extracurricular and the second most important thing is the college essay. The college essay can really sway the opinion of the admissions team, so that might be something that you want to look into. Here is the site for the blog post: [CollegEnquirer</a> | Tara Tyrrell: Tips on How to Get into Yale University](<a href=“http://www.collegenquirer.com/tara-tyrrell-tips-on-how-to-get-into-yale-university/]CollegEnquirer”>http://www.collegenquirer.com/tara-tyrrell-tips-on-how-to-get-into-yale-university/)</p>

<p>“Other than GPA”</p>

<p>A couple of useful quotes from Jeffrey Brenzel, the Dean of Admissions at Yale. (These quotes are from a NYT piece that’s 5 years old, but I don’t think any of this has changed in 5 years.)</p>

<p>WRT noodles’ post #8, above, MidwestMom is right: those things matter next most after the transcript<a href=“at%20least%20at%20Yale”>/U</a>:

</p>

<p>WRT overcoming a “weak” transcript,relative to the rest of the applicant pool (once again, at least at Yale, but I don’t expect this to be much different at other highly selective colleges):</p>

<p>

</p>

<p>[Q</a>. and A.: College Admissions - NYTimes.com](<a href=“http://questions.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/12/17/qa-college-admissions/#h]Q”>http://questions.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/12/17/qa-college-admissions/#h)[SfpEai,4]</p>

<p>The above Yale article, paragraph 1 sentence 2 reads:</p>

<p>

</p>

<p>How can that be interpreted as “upbeat” for a less than great GPA?</p>

<p>Mostly "B"s and a sprinkling of "A"s probably equates to something like a 3.3-3.5 UW GPA, am I right? That GPA is in the lowest quartile for probably every school on your list. Realistically you’re going to need a 2100 SAT minimum to get college admissions committees at those schools to start to feel good about your chances. Though Michigan, UCLA and Berkeley might consider you if only for the out-of-state full price tuition check you represent.</p>

<p>Do students get into these schools with less than stellar profiles? Of course, but it’s foolhardy to act as though you’re going to be that person.</p>

<p>I always struggle with posters who want to talk about their “amazing” ECs. The obvious question becomes did participation in all these ‘amazing’ ECs come at the price of a lower GPA? Unless you’ve garnered regional or national recognition for your participation it’s unlikely that they’ll make up for a low GPA.</p>

<p>Come back when you have your SATs. But right now, based on what you’ve told us, I’d pick three from Michigan, UCLA, Berkeley and BC, but realize that these are reach schools. Make sure and have some match and safeties.</p>

<p>I remember you now, midwestlaxer! You asked basically the same questions three months ago, and I even made my same “dunk a basketball with two hands” comment then. Over and over, you got the same frank answer that your grades wouldn’t qualify you for admission to highly selective colleges.</p>

<p>Now you’re back in April, and the only thing that’s changed is that you’ve got two years of basically all B’s (10th and 11th grades), instead of just one. And you still think you should be a candidate for elite colleges and universities.</p>

<p>Since there’s apparently only one answer you want to hear, let me give it to you: Yes! Colleges and universities of this caliber routinely fall all over each other competing to enroll students who can’t seem to get A’s in school, but have “amazing” (yet unspecified) extracurricular activities! Because, after all, that’s what these elite academic institutions are all about: extracurricular activities. Scholarship and academic success are just kind of a sideline for places like Penn and Chicago and BC and Berkeley.</p>

<p>I implore you: if you have a shed of wisdom in your being, don’t take that advice. Instead, take these two threads as the dope slap into reality that knowledgeable posters intend them to be.</p>

<p>In a thread back in January you said you had a 2350 SAT - was that true, or is that what you’re hoping for? You also posted a list of several ECs, and boasted that they are better than most IVY applicants - but I doubt they are. ECs will only boost you so much, and that only happens when they are quality over quantity. They don’t care that you served on several boards - they care what you DID as a board member.They care what you have done with the resources you have been given. They want to know what your priorities are - and how they fit in with their own institutional goals.</p>

<p>You had a goal after Sophomore year to improve your grades, and you fell short. What does that say about any promises you make on your college applications? Your expectations for college applications seem to be like your expectations for your grades this year - either you don’t have what it takes, or you’re not truly focused on the goal. Either way, I doubt you will get into any of your top choices. Those that do get in with your grades do so because they managed those grades while overcoming seemingly insurmountable obstacles: they had to work 20 hours a week to help support the family, they had a parent with a terminal illness, or their own serious illness, they had an abusing drug addicted parent… they had no control over those obstacles. If you argue that you were involved in all of these outside activities, remember you had a choice. You chose the wrong priorities, if you wanted to get into a top school.</p>

<p>Does that mean your life is over? No! There are plenty of great schools that are slightly less selective. Given your HS grades, you would probably do better at one of those, even if you managed to get in at a top school. Set a realistic goal, and you’ll be able to reach it. The goal of college is to gain an education, and to graduate. If you’re getting B’s in high school, where you’re presumably one of the best students, how do you expect to do well in an environment where everybody is one of the best students?</p>

<p>Schools are evaluated on retention rates and graduation rates, among other things. They want to be relatively sure that accepted students can handle the course loads and graduate. High school B’s would indicate that you are capable of doing well at a lesser ranked school, but that Penn, Berkely, etc may be beyond your ability.</p>

<p>There is nothing wrong with going to a lower ranked school, and no one is saying that you are stupid - just maybe foolish to consider the schools you are looking at. Many people with GPA’s higher than yours attend lower ranked colleges and universities.</p>

<p>Pick some schools you are more than likely to be admitted to, go to one, and do the best you can. Your life isn’t ruined by not attending one of your dream schools.</p>

<p>Where’s the “like” button for post 12?</p>

<p>A strategic approach to your college applications. Apply EA. Target schools for which your stats fall in the top 50%. </p>

<p>Maximize your test scores, taking both the SAT and ACT and then re-testing multiple times on the one you score highest after using a site such as Number 2 dot com. Maximize your essays, starting with drafts this summer and including multiple revisions and reviews by others. Do something truly amazing this summer, especially if it’s in service to your community.</p>

<p>All of that might get you in to a very good college which would be a great fit for you, but is unlikely to get in to the tippy top colleges…but it’s your application fees, and you could win the lottery.</p>

<p>Go for it if you must, but be smart and do yourself the favor of having a solid Plan B set of EA acceptances to colleges you’d be happy to attend.</p>

<p>OP</p>

<p>The thing is, that most of the schools you’ve listed have more students with top grades, top Standardized Tests AND to ECs than they can possibly admit.</p>

<p>Unless you are a hooked student (recruited athlete, URM, etc.) it is unlikely that you will be admitted with your grades.</p>

<p>However – so long as you come up with a realistic list of schools to apply to (i.e., realistic matches and safeties), there is nothing wrong with applying to a couple of the ones you’ve mentioned. It will cost you a few dollars and a few hours time, but if you want to, just so that you know, the choice is yours.</p>

<p>With an academic record full of Bs and sprinkling of As, I would put you closer to 3.2-3.4 unweighted GPA. I don’t know what your SAT scores are like.</p>

<p>I would say you may have a chance when you:
(1) Come from a high school that AOs know about the rigor of your school e.g. top prep- and/or boarding school, or other top high school in the nation,
AND
(2) Are a recruited athlete in a sport where they are looking to fill with students,
AND
(3) You are not applying to the most competitive departments within each of those schools. Eg. Wharton vs CAS (at UPenn) or Stern vs LSP (at NYU)</p>

<p>If you have access to Naviance, you may be able to tell where other students have been admitted to and at which GPA, SAT/ACT level. As zephyr stated, it doesn’t hurt to apply but make sure you do have safeties as well. My son is a junior at a prep boarding school and just this year we have access to Naviance. So I can tell you that students with your scores have gotten in at these schools, but depends on the reputation of your school as well.</p>

<p>Previous post: <a href=“http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/college-admissions/1446437-re-taking-junior-year-worth-getting-into-top-colleges-ivy.html[/url]”>http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/college-admissions/1446437-re-taking-junior-year-worth-getting-into-top-colleges-ivy.html</a></p>

<p>Plans to do great in Junior year – and a mysterious 2350SAT which OP no longer discusses. OP believes if he asks the same question over and over, he’ll eventually hear a different answer.</p>

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<p>[The</a> Simpsons “One Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Blue Fish” Quotes - TV Fanatic](<a href=“http://www.tvfanatic.com/quotes/shows/the-simpsons/episodes/one-fish-two-fish-blowfish-blue-fish/]The”>http://www.tvfanatic.com/quotes/shows/the-simpsons/episodes/one-fish-two-fish-blowfish-blue-fish/)</p>

<p>But the thing is, that won’t work with college.</p>