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Chances of getting into a top school with mediocre stats?

emmajuliet3684emmajuliet3684 0 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
edited September 8 in What Are My Chances?
Hi I'm new so I'm not sure if this is in the correct forum but I'm looking for some advice. I'm currently a senior in high school about to apply to colleges and I'm worried about my chances. My top choices for colleges are UPenn, Brown, and Berkeley, with my second ideal choices being Boston University or USC. Currently I have a 3.95 unweighted GPA, 4.2 weighted, a 1330 SAT with a 7/6/7 essay, all AP, advanced, and college classes, and a 4 on the APUSH test and a 5 on the AP Lang & comp test. I'm also in National Honors Society, the president of our school's student council, the president of my International Thespian Society Troupe, a member of the Société Honoraire de Français, and an active member in my school's theatre and music programs. I have sufficient volunteer hours but nothing too substantial. Do my extracurriculars make up for my low SAT score enough to make it possible for me to get accepted into an Ivy League or should I aim lower? Any advice would be super helpful!
edited September 8
10 replies
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Replies to: Chances of getting into a top school with mediocre stats?

  • gardenstategalgardenstategal 5571 replies10 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I think the odds are against you with those 3. My guess is that most of the kids who get into those schools with those stats will either have hooks or some really exceptional trait/EC. You look like a good "all-rounder". By all means, apply to those 3 if you like them. None of us can say for sure what will happen. But you would be well served to find schools that are less of a reach. Take a look at the CDS for the schools where you are applying to see where each of your sub scores falls. That will matter (more than the total score). You might also think about some of the test optional schools.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 77683 replies678 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Looks like your SAT score is the weaker part of your stats. UCB may be a bit more forgiving on that than Penn, Brown, or USC (since UCB more heavily emphasizes GPA relative to test scores). However, such things as essays and other things that are not easily comparable by the applicant to other applicants are highly important when there are so many applicants with high end stats.

    Note that UCB does not offer need-based financial aid to non-California residents.

    Be sure that you have affordable safeties.
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  • LindagafLindagaf 9131 replies492 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Agree with others. You are an “average” excellent student, IMO, and you will have lots of good choices if you have a well-thought out list. Those schools are reaches for all. Most applicants will have profiles like yours, but they will have higher test scores. You do have a reasonable test score, but it isn’t going to help you at any of those schools. Unless you are hooked, I can’t see it happening. No harm in applying to one, of course, but if you are out of state for Cal, it’s a very, very high reach. Brown and Penn are too. USC is also highly unlikely. It had a 10% acceptance rate this past cycle, I believe. I’d say BU is a high match and by no means a sure thing. It’s acceptance rate has gotten very low too.

    You need more realistic choices based on your grades AND test scores. Given that you have such high grades, you really should be considering test-optional colleges that will prioritize your grades and will review your app holistically. Have you considered any LACs? There are many that are easily as rigorous and prestigious as the schools you’ve listed here. Look at some of the NESCAC schools, or schools like Oberlin and Macalester. I suggest you post in the College Search and Selection forum, giving all your stats and other relevant info, such as financial needs, location concerns, majors desired, and whatever else you feel is important. You will get more targeted suggestions.
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  • HamurtleHamurtle 2441 replies32 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    George Washington might be a reasonable target based on the numbers.

    Test optional schools that are highly ranked (Chicago, Wake Forest, Brandeis) should be considered as well.
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  • IamReallyScaredIamReallyScared 5 replies0 threadsRegistered User New Member
    To be short, your SAT sucks. You have no major awards. The chance of them accepting you is pretty slim. Just aim to get your SAT up or try the ACT. Of course, the schools you are applying to are easier to get into than HYPSM, it by no means says they are easy to get into. Good luck! I hope you get in!
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  • Groundwork2022Groundwork2022 2080 replies30 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited September 8
    While I agree with other posters that your SAT could be stronger, according to Brown's Common Data Set, you're only about 100 or so points from falling in the 25th-75th percentile for Brown. Any possibility of a retake?*

    *Edited to say that there are no guarantees, but that would help remove a weak point in your application.
    edited September 8
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  • ProfessorPlum168ProfessorPlum168 3977 replies86 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    If you're insistent on an "elite" school, for a school like Berkeley or UCLA, there's always the back-door, and that is going to a CC and getting say a 4.0 GPA, which gives you a decent chance at getting in 2 years later. There are so many "Berkeley or bust" students in Northern California who (attempt to) do this route with similar GPAs that didn't get in in the first place. Other pretty elite schools such as USC and Cornell also bring in quite a few CC transfers.
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 6962 replies49 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Unless you are a recruited athlete, ECs are not going to compensate for low test scores.
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  • HamurtleHamurtle 2441 replies32 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited September 9
    To be short, your SAT sucks...

    Pretty harsh and rude quote.

    1330 is fairly decent, but not at the level expected by top level schools, although the AP scores are good.

    If there is time, take another SAT. Otherwise consider test-optional schools at this point.
    edited September 9
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  • DadTwoGirlsDadTwoGirls 5396 replies1 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    One thing that I see missing from this thread is a discussion of your budget. Someone I know with stats similar to yours but a significantly higher SAT score was accepted to BU, but with no aid at all. Being full pay at BU did not seem to be worth the price (and in retrospect it would have been a bad fit due to a later change in major).

    You need to come up with at least two affordable safeties that you know you will be accepted to, you know you can afford, that have a decent program in your likely major(s), and that you would be willing to attend. Anything related to reaches and even matches is way less important.
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