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Chance a Demoralized Loser for Penn?

triplenickeltriplenickel Registered User Posts: 246 Junior Member
edited April 2012 in What Are My Chances?
Hi guys.

I'm a Caucasian junior. When I was young, I visited UPenn with my sister for a college visit. I fell in love with the place. I honestly can't picture myself going anywhere else. However, there are some serious problems that I need to address. I'm not sure they're addressable, but still, I might as well ask you guys.

I would call myself a science and math nerd. I took differential equations as a sophomore and participated in a few well-known math competitions. However, I got a B in Calc AB freshman year, and a TON of B's in science classes. I have no idea what happens in science; something just doesn't click. My saving grace might be that the science courses I took were relatively advanced for my grade, but that's not really an excuse. Because of my egregious science performance, my GPA at the end of junior year is likely going to be between 3.6 and 3.7. I'm not sure I'm going to be in the top 10%, although my school doesn't rank.

Further complicating matters is that my resume is mostly science-based. I do SciOly, SciBowl and NOSB, and I've done pretty well in them. My sophomore year team went to nats for SciOly, and I received multiple gold medals on a state level. I'm also an officer in my school's math club. This is probably going to make me look really weird to colleges, because my extracurriculars are based on stuff I'm clearly not too good at.

Furthermore, I have no sport and no volunteer hours. I'm going to try to address the volunteer hours issue, but for now the issue is problematic.

The one thing that I'm praying is going to work in my favor are standardized tests. I'm a good test taker (I got multiple 800's on SAT II subject tests and a 2230 on the SAT I in middle school). If I get a 2350 or so, do I stand a chance ED next year?

Please don't sugercoat your responses. I need to brace myself for the inevitable.
Post edited by triplenickel on

Replies to: Chance a Demoralized Loser for Penn?

  • experientiadocetexperientiadocet Registered User Posts: 147 Junior Member
    Your chance is very slim, though not altogether lost. Given that your B grades are in the same subject(s) in which you excel in your ECs, your application could probably be interpreted as that of a smart kid who thinks he knows all there is about science curriculum and slacked off as a result. A 2350 would, of course, strengthen your application, but in a sense it could also harden the aforementioned notion. The lack of a sport won't kill you... but the lack of volunteer hours will. (We're in the same boat there, haha, going to be a long summer for us two.)

    If I may, I suggest that you give yourself the opportunity to fall in love with other schools. It was Brown that really caught my eye while I was touring-- and it must run in the family, my sister liked it a lot too. Fact of the matter is, everyone with their eyes on Ivy-quality colleges hope that their chances will be higher than they truly are. It is a mark of and tribute to your intelligence that you are not being disillusioned with the fact that your chances are low.

    Anyway, for more concrete advice... First, yes, do excellently on the SAT. Second, yes, address the volunteering problem, you must. Demonstrate commitment in it. Third, talk with your counselor and inquire about how schools might view you with respect to your school's grade distribution. Lastly, decide for yourself that you're taking initiative and doing these things because you want to go to a great college, not because you HAVE to get in to Penn.
  • triplenickeltriplenickel Registered User Posts: 246 Junior Member
    I appreciate your input. :)
  • triplenickeltriplenickel Registered User Posts: 246 Junior Member
    Anyone else?
  • SnowflakeVTSnowflakeVT Registered User Posts: 2,473 Senior Member
    First, don't beg for people to pull you up, you have to do that yourself. Second, if in your spare time you are doing science, expand on that for your community service. Offer to tutor for free or come up with a way to share your interest in science with other kids. Try to get a job at a summer science camp. You don't have to worry about sports, but you do have to show leadership in some way. You can stop working on your SATs and instead, really finish off your junior 2nd semester very strong and colleges may look at your GPA differently. Your GPA isn't bad of course, but for how smart you are I would have expected more A's. Also, I agree with the other poster ... you are a math/science guy, so look at other amazing schools that love the math/science nerd part of you. UPenn is great school, but you're being nostalgic about it instead of scientific.
  • fullofwonderfullofwonder Registered User Posts: 250 Junior Member
    Your lower grades are in the same subject(s) in which you focus all your ECs on, and you've received gold medals in science competitions yet you get Bs in classes. Admissions could either assume
    a) that you slacked, or give you some benefit of the doubt and assume b) that your schools science curriculum is really hard

    Honestly, my advice to you is to not figure out HOW to solve this 'bad mark in my favourite subject problem' but figure out WHAT is causing these marks, WHY did you get those marks? Do you slack? I'm not familiar with american schooling but Calc AB seems like a course for junior year? IF that's the case, maybe write your essays on how you love a good challenge, thus taking advanced courses.

  • WaverlyWaverly Registered User Posts: 2,669 Senior Member
    Penn cares more about GPA/rank than any other school I know. A lot of Bs, especially with high scores and related ECs, will hurt a great deal. It's unfortunately unlikely. The good news is there are lots of great schools there's still time to fall in love with.
  • triplenickeltriplenickel Registered User Posts: 246 Junior Member

    Okay.... :( Can you please name a few? Oh, and I understand this will sound kind of desperate, but will ED give me a boost?
  • GuyAtCCGuyAtCC Registered User Posts: 81 Junior Member
    When was the last time you visited UPenn? Philadelphia isn't the nicest place in the world... Maybe you can fall in love somewhere else?
  • triplenickeltriplenickel Registered User Posts: 246 Junior Member
    Like where?
  • GuyAtCCGuyAtCC Registered User Posts: 81 Junior Member
    Where do you live? I didn't intend for my post to insinuate that you cannot get accepted to Penn by the way. After re reading it it may have come across like that.

    I just wanted to say that Philadelphia is not a nice place for the most part, although Penn's campus is very nice. If you haven't been there in years your perspective of the place may change completely upon re examination.
  • triplenickeltriplenickel Registered User Posts: 246 Junior Member
    I apologize for my vagueness (my identity has been compromised more than once) but I live about two hours away from Penn by car.
  • DrGoogleDrGoogle Registered User Posts: 11,047 Senior Member
    Your GPA will be a problem. I think Penn's Common data set states that 96% of incoming freshmen are in top 10%.
  • GuyAtCCGuyAtCC Registered User Posts: 81 Junior Member
    Well depending on your intended major the North East is not short on highly acclaimed science schools. Philadelphia alone has plenty, I'm just going to throw out some schools that are in the mid-Atlantic or northeast where you may fit. A couple may be reach schools although I would say that a lot of these colleges are "fits".

    Gettysburg :)
    Franklin and Marshall :)!
    Washington and Jefferson
    Penn State
    U Maryland
    U Delaware
    George Washington :)
    Trinity (CT)

    And I personally like Franklin and Marshall very much.
  • triplenickeltriplenickel Registered User Posts: 246 Junior Member
    Hmmm okay.. I'll take a look at these....
  • triplenickeltriplenickel Registered User Posts: 246 Junior Member
    So guys, is it worth it to apply to Penn ED or is that a waste of an early application?
This discussion has been closed.