Will this one semester kill my chances

I want to go to a top tier school (top 15).
ACT: 35
GPA: 4.4 (weighted due to honors/AP classes); took maximum allowed by school each semester
EC: spend approx. 10-12 hours each week dancing for national ranked school dance team; Honor Society President; Student Govt. representative; NCL; played piano for 12 years; spent summer 2019 in Cocle, Panama assisting local community with renovating medical facility
Other: started non profit to teach and provide underprivileged children opportunities to learn various dance theories; started birthday yard sign business that has makes approx. $1200/week; work part time during summer as food server

Although I have a good gpa; I made 3 low B’s my sophomore year in honors math (81 both semesters, and honors biology (83/89 each semester). I also made two high B’s my junior year honors math (85/91 each semester); and AP Spanish (89/95 each semester).

Will I still be competitive for top tier schools, despite the number of B’s I have made? I would like to consider: Vanderbilt; USC; Columbia; Duke; USC

What is your unweighted GPA? I am just asking because that will be a crucial portion of your application.

Unweighted GPA is approx. 3.8. Why is the unweighted crucial? Why wouldn’t I received credit for taking an honors or AP class?

“Why is the unweighted crucial”

The issue is that different high schools in the US compute weighted GPA very differently. This means that it is very difficult for people here on CC to know what your weighted GPA means. Where I live it is not possible to have a weighted GPA of 4.4 given the number of B’s that you have.

Universities will look at the actual classes that you took and your actual grades. However, here on CC we do not get that much detail.

What is your intended major?

The schools that you listed are all at least reaches for you, and more likely high reaches. You need to find at least two solid safeties to apply to. If you are applying to two solid safeties, then there is no harm in also applying to a few reaches.

High schools weight in many different ways so unweighted GPA plus curriculum rigor is a better metric for comparison. Honors and AP courses would be factored in course rigor. Taking the two together is roughly equivalent to using a common weighting system. Many schools even do that - recalculate a weighted GPA in a common manner.

For example, in my D’s school, a 4.4 would barely be top 50% at graduation.

A 3.8 would be a relatively weak point of your application vs. accepted applicants at top 15 schools. 35 on ACT and ECs would be a strong point in your application. Every application is a basket of strong and weak points. The Bs certainly aren’t a big red flag, especially as most of them were Sophomore year.

The schools you mention have low admit rates and are long shots for almost all students. But strong essay/recommendations/etc. would put you in the mix with everyone else.

I go to an elite private H.S., and my GPA puts me in the top 5% of my class. College major will likely be something in liberal arts.

If 3.8 in your HS puts you in the top 5%, than it makes you competitive for any college.

What if my H.S. does not disclose class rank? I believe they only disclose the highest GPA in the graduating class. The school seems to think this helps the student in their process, but I don’t understand how it does. Any thoughts?

@BB2002 a lot of people i know went to high schools that didn’t have class rank and still got into great top tier schools. your gpa is still really good and i dont think those B’s in your sophomore year will mean much esp since you have great ECs and involvement

If 3.8 and above are pretty rare in your high school, have your GC address that in your LoR.

While applicants with a GPA of 3.8 are still competitive for the colleges that you mentioned, their acceptance rates are below average, and the average is already pretty low. However, if your high school has pretty strong grade deflation, your chances are likely higher than others with similar GPAs from high schools without grade deflation or with grade inflation.

Also - how did you translate your grades? Did you use partial grades (A, A-, B+, etc)?

3.8 with your grading system seems good enough for some of the schools like USC! Duke and Columbia might be impossible, but still some hope for Vandy

Glad you commented on your GPA because I was also going to mention at my D21 school the highest GPA is generally around a 4.5. Over the past 8years I have tracked them it has never gone over a 4.53 but it has gone down to a 4.48. Students are maxed at 3 AP/Honors per year so getting those crazy high GPAs I’ve seen here on CC is just not feasible nor is taking on average 3 AP courses prior to senior year. Honors Physics is taught using a college textbook As is the lesson plan but it’s NOT an AP course. School doesn’t offer AP Physics. So we have the rigor. Each school is different so flat out saying someone’s GPA is low for their target schools could be invalid. Best bet, compare to students in your school because with our stats, we tend to get at least 6 into USC and double digits in both UCLA & Cal every year.

Just looking at the grade, you could definitely still get into all of those schools with a 3.8 - it really just depends on your ecs, honors/awards, the rigor of your school, etc. Personally, I have a 3.7 but I go to a public hs renown by colleges for rigor (for context, we send a 10-15 kids to Harvard each year) and, as I have a passion for spoken word poetry, I’ve been able to achieve at a high standard in that regard (again, for context, one event is that I am speaking at the United Nations in the fall). So please don’t be discouraged to apply to top tier schools because of a few Bs - so many people still do and get in. Remember, these schools are competitive for anyone to get into.

I am assuming that your school has a college counselor. One of the advantages to attending

is the college counseling that you will receive there. The counselor will help you organize and showcase your EC’s, and craft a personal essay to best show the admin folk who you are and what you will bring to their campus. If you are in the top 5% of your class with a 35 ACT, you are in the running for any school. Many others will apply to these top schools with your great stats, it is the other things that will set you apart. Your college counselor is the best person to help you do that. They can also give you a better idea of how graduates from your school who are similar to you in stats fared in the admissions process at the schools you are interested in. Please find less selective schools that you love as much as the super selective schools on your list. Again, your school college counselor will be able to help you with this. Good luck to you! You have worked hard and have an impressive record. You will end up somewhere great!