So as a junior, so far I have taken 2 honors classes and by the end of my junior year I will have a total of 3 honors classes and 2 AP classes done in high school. In my senior year, I am thinking about taking 3 AP, 1 Dual Enrollment, 2 Honors, and Clinical Internship. I have a GPA of 3.88. I am currently in Beta Club, Hosa, and National Honors Society and done Marching/Concert Band for 2 years. Have I done enough to get into a top school since if I do early decision in November? I am not sure since I haven't done enough up to now in my junior year.
College admissions is funny like that—there are so many more factors than just GPA and the classes you take and clubs you’re in, etc.. By “top school” if you mean Ivy League, you can look up the average GPA and number of APs. If memory serves, the average number of APs at Harvard is ~10. But if your school only offers 5 APs, then you’re basically doing all you can, and that’s taken into consideration by the admissions office.
If you have a 1280 SAT score, but write an amazing essay, you can still get into top schools. I believe the personal essay makes up about ~15-25% of consideration. So if you write a killer essay, it won’t matter as much if your GPA or SAT scores are below the school’s average.
The demographics at the school will also play a huge role in admissions. If you want to be a Computer Science major, but so does everyone else that’s applying, then your chances of going to that school are worse. If they are missing a flautist in the marching band and you’re first chair at your school, then they will be more likely to admit you because you fit their needs.
And, while you probably already know this, socioeconomic status and legacy are large factors, too. For example, you may objectively have a more competitive application academically than another girl at your school, but that girl is very wealthy and has family ties to those schools. If she didn’t have those ties, you would probably have the better application. Another nuance.
In terms of early decision, it can definitely be helpful when applying to top schools. For example, 6.7% of applicants were accepted to Northeastern’s Class of 2026; but 1/3 of those who applied ED were accepted. Theoretically, your admissions chances jump from 6.7% to 33%! If you are absolutely in love with a certain school, I’d definitely apply ED.
I hope this helps!
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