Bad grades at the beginning, good grades now.
Hi, I did my first two years of high school outside of America. Moving from America to Ghana had a toll on me because changing school systems were very difficult so my grades were mostly B's and some C's in 9th and 10th grade. Not that I'm in 11th grade and have moved back to America, I have straight A's in all my classes so far including previous semesters. Do you still think I have a chance of getting into Harvard ?
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Hi @abbbena! In general, admissions officers are relatively understanding of low grades due to specific difficult situations. This is especially true when a student has a tough time adjusting to high school but then performs extremely better during subsequent years. That said, a single C is often enough to remove a student from the running at Ivy League universities regardless of the reasoning, unless other grades and test scores are perfect and the student has an extremely impressive extracurricular portfolio. According to our research, the 25th percentile accepted unweighted GPA at Harvard is 3.80. If your GPA is much lower than this, you mostly likely don't have much a of a chance of admission regardless of the rest of your portfolio or the reasons behind the lower grades. As usual, I do recommend checking out our chancing engine (you can fill out the information in your profile and then navigate over to the 'schools' tab to get an estimate of your chance of acceptance at Harvard and hundreds of other schools in the country).
Of course, you do have a very special situation. You'll want to use your essays and possibly also your CommonApp "additional information" to explain your lower grades in Ghana. And when you describe your experience, you'll want to make sure not just to complain about how difficult the transition was for you, but also to focus on all the positive things that came out of the two years you spent there.
Also, do remember that not getting into Harvard is not the end of the world! If you aren't accepted, there are plenty of other great schools you'll most likely have a chance to attend regardless of some lower grades during your freshman and sophomore years. I wish you the best of luck!
Even if you look at Harvard's own site, even those with a 4.0 GPA can be eliminated. There is no minimum required GPA, but try to make it 3.6 (no weight). Don't worry so much about this issue, which has a factor of 20%. My advice to you is to spend more time on your articles and choose schools just for the name. You will be matched with the school that suits you. I wish you continued success.
I agree with @Simran! Make sure that your admissions officers are aware of the changes that have happened to you. I actually think I reviewed one of your essays, haha - this story sounds familiar to an essay I recently viewed this week.
While your grades are all Straight As (congrats btw), Harvard also looks at SAT/ACT test scores, along with your extracurriculars. Making sure to have a well rounded application complete with extracurriculars that emphasize your focuses is important.
I believe that you most definitely have a chance of getting into Harvard. But, to double-check, make sure you specify this massive change that happened to you. I'm sure the admissions officer will understand. Good luck!
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