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Chance low gpa, high test scores. Will chance back!

poseidon007poseidon007 Registered User Posts: 54 Junior Member
edited July 2012 in What Are My Chances?
I am going to be a senior in a semi-competitive high school.

UW GPA: 3.55 (with most rigorous courseload, took 5 AP's as a sophomore, and 2 as a frosh)

SAT: 2360 single sitting (800 M, 770 CR, 790 W 11 E); 2370 super scored ( same except 800W)

SAT Subject Tests: 800 MathIIC. will take lit, chem, and phys in october.

Advanced Coursework: AP Calculus BC, AP Statistics, AP Chemistry, AP Biology, AP World History, AP Art History, AP Human Geography, Multivariable Calculus, Probability Theory


Rocket City Math League, 3rd place
AIME Qualifier 2x
Numerous Chess awards at the state and national level
...not much else


Top ranked chess player (been playing since 4th grade)
2 years of volunteering at a local hospital
Research in engineering disease resistance in plants (hopefully doing Siemens next year...see how that goes)
Previous research in applications of partial differential equations to fluid mechanics

About 200 hrs of volunteer hours

president of few clubs here and there, nothing too big.

Colleges I'm looking at:

Columbia (ED)
University of Chicago
NYU (Stern)
University of Southern California
UT Austin (in-state to McCombs)
University of Miami

I don't think I have any hooks unless something big happens for me at siemens this year.

I would appreciate any and all opinions! Thank you in advance.
Post edited by poseidon007 on

Replies to: Chance low gpa, high test scores. Will chance back!

  • pikakeipikakei Registered User Posts: 12 New Member
    You're course load will definitely show through, but the unweighted number may be some trouble. Your extracurriculars are good, it really shows you have an interest in scientifically and intellectually, and a lot of service hours look good. So I'd say you have a decent chance. From here I'd say your essay and recs will be super important. You should be fine at Miami, UCSB, UT Austin, and NYU. With UCLA, USC, Pomona, and Duke, you have a pretty good chance, especially with those test scores, and Yale and UChicago seem like a reach, but anythings possible. So yeah, you should work on your essays and get good recks! I'm sure you'll do fine! good luck!
  • poseidon007poseidon007 Registered User Posts: 54 Junior Member
    wow that seems pretty optimistic. I forgot to put it on there, but I am also applying to Northwestern and, just to clarify, I am applying to the Marshall School of Business at USC, if that changes anything. any other opinions?
  • RandomHSerRandomHSer Registered User Posts: 268 Junior Member
    This is kind of random, but out of curiosity, what is your chess rating? I ask because I am a chess player too, and it seems to be working out for you!
    Anyways, your application is VERY impressive, aside from a low-ish GPA (2x AIME, 2360, rigorous course load, etc. are all excellent).
  • SikorskySikorsky Registered User Posts: 5,851 Senior Member
    Why is there such a discrepancy between your test scores and your GPA? I mean, I'm not the grade police, and you don't actually have to tell me, but that gap could be a major problem for you at highly selective universities and colleges. Without some kind of extenuating circumstances, that discrepancy may make admissions committees think you're a slacker.

    And there's also the problem that many of these institutions get tens of thousands of applications--many of them from highly qualified applicants--and they fill their entering classes long before they're taking applicants with 3.55 GPA. (Or, at least, before they get to the 3.55s who can't dunk a basketball with both hands.)

    Does a GPA of 3.55 put you near the top of your graduating class? If it doesn't, I think your list is very ambitious, and not at all safe.
  • poseidon007poseidon007 Registered User Posts: 54 Junior Member
    @RandomHSer Right now, I'm hovering around a rating of 1900. Haha, I feel like describing myself as a "top-ranked chess player" may have been putting a bit too strongly.

    @Sikorsky Hmm, that does make a lot of sense. I guess the reason my list appears to be so elite despite my mediocre qualifications is because I am virtually guaranteed admission to UT which has a great business school, and I doubt I would turn it down unless I got into Columbia/Yale/UChicago etc.
  • RandomHSerRandomHSer Registered User Posts: 268 Junior Member
    1900 is a good rating! I'm trying to become a master before college apps, but I know that won't happen (hovering at just above 2000 atm).
    I think that the other posters are over-emphasizing your GPA. 3.55 UW is by no means bad, especially when one takes a look at what you have taken. What is your class rank? That might make the situations clearer.
  • SikorskySikorsky Registered User Posts: 5,851 Senior Member
    Poseidon, if you're confident in UT, and you'd like it reasonably well, then you're right: you can be as reach as you like.

    Sent from my DROIDX using CC
  • poseidon007poseidon007 Registered User Posts: 54 Junior Member
    @RandomHSer its difficult to say because my school doesn't rank. If I had to guess I would say top 25%, but to be fair, admissions into my school by itself are pretty selective (~2000 avg SAT for admits), and thus nearly all of the people here are highly motivated and talented.
  • poseidon007poseidon007 Registered User Posts: 54 Junior Member
    any other opinions/advice/suggestions?
  • smardiesmardie Registered User Posts: 42 Junior Member
    Your SATs are really good, though your UW GPA might bring you down a little bit.
    Otherwise, I think you have a pretty good shot at most of the schools that you listed, though UChicago, Yale, and Columbia will be a reach (like everyone else!)
    I think you have a pretty good shot of getting into some of those schools. I wish you a lot of luck! Make sure your essays are fantastic, so as to make up for the lower UW GPA.

    Would you be so kind as to chance me back, please? :)

This discussion has been closed.