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GoEaglesGoEagles Registered User Posts: 38 Junior Member
edited December 2010 in Transfer Students
I am a freshman at a top 20 college interested to further climb the USNEWS ladder (don't worry, I'm not transferring out simply because of rankings).

1. Do most colleges see 1st & 2nd semester final grades or just 1st semester?
2. Does the fact that I attend a top University help admissions?

I am interested in applying to my dream schools that I failed to be admitted to in HS: Brown, Duke, UPenn.

Currently have a 4.0
Post edited by GoEagles on

Replies to: Transfer to BROWN/DUKE/UPENN

  • Boldyreff1Boldyreff1 Registered User Posts: 172 Junior Member
    1) Don't know
    2) I think absolutely

    Great, will do the same if not admitted :D
  • tsakashvilitsakashvili Registered User Posts: 193 Junior Member
    I think I can provide some answers to your questions and a few extra pointers. First, to give a bit of background about myself, I applied to all three of those schools, as well as several more. I was accepted to Brown and Penn, and was waitlisted at Duke (I took Brown's offer of admission before Duke told me whether or not they would accept me from their waitlist). My point in saying this is that I was in your shoes last year, and I understand some of the challenges and questions you may be facing right now, as well as how to answer them. If you have any questions about this whole process, feel free to PM or email me.

    For your first question, the answer is mostly yes. If you apply as a Freshman transfer, then colleges will only see the grades from your first semester. There are however two catches. First, some colleges will ask you for a midyear report that states the grades you have about half way through the second semester. Of the three schools you're looking at, I seem to recall that Brown didn't want a midyear report, but that Duke and Penn did.

    If you've done well in the second semester, a midyear report can help your application. This is because good midterm grades will help demonstrate that your good first semester grades (assuming they were good) weren't a fluke, but rather part of a broader trend. Conversely, bad midyear grades can harm your application, precisely because bad midterm grades can lead colleges to think that any good first semester grades were a fluke. Overall I doubt that midyear grades will make or break your application, but they do provide a good incentive to keep up your hard work during the second semester for the little bonus they provide.

    Beyond that, colleges will ask for your second semester grades after you've accepted their offer of admission. It's not a big deal, and the colleges will only rescind your offer of admission if your second semester grades were significantly lower than your first semester grades. So long as you don't screw up your second semester classes, you'll be fine. Overall, the midyear report and second semester grades are trifling issues compared to your first semester grades. They matter, but your application will sink or swim based on your first semester, not really what comes after.

    As for your second question, attending a top university helps in the sense that it shows colleges that you made it through a respected and rather demanding university. It'll probably give you a slight leg up over similar candidates from much weaker schools. However, the windfall from a top university is still fairly small, and the actual rigor of your curriculum counts for more. To illustrate this, I'd say that many, probably most schools, would be more impressed by someone who got a 4.0 doing a rigorous pre-med or engineering program at Michigan State, than a similar candidate who got a 4.0 doing urban studies courses at Northwestern.

    Beyond these answers, I have a few other points to make. The first is that you should probably consider applying to more schools. The three you've mentioned are all very selective, and there's a decent chance that you'll get rejected from all three. If you're comfortable with the idea of staying where you are and/or would really only want to go to these three schools, then stick with them. If however you want to get out of your school and pursue a more rigorous education, better opportunities, or what have you, then you might want to boost your odds of getting out by expanding your playing field. Dartmouth, Cornell, Pomona, and Swarthmore would be some good options. Chicago and Columbia could also work, provided you're willing to face the challenges of their extremely demanding core curricula.

    Beyond that, it's good that you're not just transferring for prestige. That said, you'll probably want to further develop your reason for transferring. In transfer admissions, people are generally looking for a good reason why it isn't feasible or desirable for an applicant to stay at their current school, and what specifically they would gain by transferring to their school. If you can give an objective, well thought out, and precise answer to both questions, it will help your application stand out, and give the admissions officer a good reason to accept you.

    I hope this helps you, and again, if you have any issues with this process or want to hear what I learned from applying to these places, feel free to email or PM me.
  • GoEaglesGoEagles Registered User Posts: 38 Junior Member
    Wow thanks for the reply!

    Where did you apply form and what were your stats?
  • GoEaglesGoEagles Registered User Posts: 38 Junior Member
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