3 years ago

Do colleges look at transcript or GPA?

Hi all!

I was wondering if colleges focus more on your GPA or your transcript. For reference, my GPA is little over 3.8 unweighted (not sure about weighted atm), but my transcript isn't as good. During COVID remote learning, I slipped up, and my grades definitely fell. I managed to keep As in most of my classes, but I had to drop two AP classes. On my transcript, they appear as "withdrawn".

According to CollegeVine, I have a decent chance of getting into most of my preferred colleges; however, CV only asks for your GPA and not your transcript. I have a pretty good SAT score (1560) and my extracurriculars are decent, not great. I am planning on building them this summer (I'm a junior). I have 5 AP courses lined up for next semester (senior year), and I'm fairly confident in my abilities to maintain As in those classes.

I'm afraid of my transcript hurting me during admissions. I'm not looking to apply to any Ivies or very elite colleges; the most selective in my list is probably NYU. I'm planning on applying to all my colleges as a Journalism major. Any advice or help would be greatly appreciated.


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3 years ago

They look at both. A GPA by itself isn't really helpful for admissions officers because they have no sense of the types of classes you got those grades in. And a transcript without grades wouldn't be helpful either since it would only tell the admissions officer the classes you took and not the grades you received.

Here's two examples to explain what I mean. Let's say we have two students with 4.0 GPAs. One took all regular classes and one had a mixture of honors and AP classes. If an officer only looked at GPA the students would look identical but in reality the student who took all Honors and AP classes is likely the stronger candidate since they took more challenging classes and were able to do just as well.

Conversely, lets say you have just the transcripts of two students in a similar situation as above. One student took only regular classes while the other took all Honors and AP classes. The admissions officer doesn't know their grades but since one took all Honors and APs they must be the better student right? Except the AP/Honors student consistently got Ds and Cs while the regular student got all As. See why GPA is also important?

Overall it sounds like you basically maintained your grades which is good. What is the policy at your school regarding Withdrawals? Is there a way to get those removed from your transcript, maybe by taking the classes over the summer or something? Unless there is a way for you to get those withdrawals removed wherever you apply will see them.


What are your chances of acceptance?
Your chance of acceptance
Duke University
+ add school
Your chancing factors
Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

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