a year ago

Can good ECs make up for lower grades?

hi ! i’m really stressing about applying to colleges this fall because i wanna go to a top school but my gpa is on the lower side (3.7 W). i have a lot of Cs and Bs on my report cards and unless i get hundreds for my last two semesters, im most likely going to end with a C in ap bio and potentially ap psych. the rest of my grades are decent however, and i have good ECs. i’m captain of my schools debate team, vice president of language club, a first chair violinist + music honor society, volunteer at a blood center, apart of HOSA, do research programs over the summer related to my major of interest, and i’m on the track to start an honor society at my school. i’m also in all honors/ap and i’m a first gen black student so idk if that helps. should i be worried about my gpa ruining my chances of admission to good schools?

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a year ago

Extracurricular activities (ECs) can certainly enhance a college or university application and provide evidence of a student's leadership abilities, community involvement, and unique talents. However, they typically cannot fully compensate for lower grades or academic performance.

Good grades are still generally considered the most important factor in college admissions, as they demonstrate a student's ability to succeed academically and handle the rigors of college coursework. This is particularly true for highly selective universities, where admissions officers often receive far more applications from qualified candidates than they have available spots.

While impressive ECs can certainly catch the attention of admissions officers and help a student stand out from the crowd, they are generally viewed as complementary to strong academic performance, rather than a substitute for it.

That being said, if a student has a valid reason for their lower grades (such as a family or medical issue), they may want to address this in their application and provide context to help admissions officers understand their situation. In these cases, impressive ECs could certainly help to bolster the student's application and demonstrate their potential for success in college.

Hope this helps!


a year ago[edited]

Hi hi! I'm also a Junior and not exactly a pro on this, but to me, it seems like you have a lot of great ECs going for you. You show a LOT of leadership skills and showcase impressive abilities in many different fields. I also think that your ability to overcome the struggles you have faced as a first gen student will definitely help. Definitely a thing to mention/talk a bit about, but it can be an overused topic so make it unique to ensure your essays and stuff stand out. I'm not sure if you'll be able to get into a top school - those are very prestigious and do focus a lot on grades, but I know that ECs, initiative, struggles/extenuating circumstances, and more also have a significant weight. That being said, I am confident you'll be able to get into a very good college. I suggest looking into colleges with specifically great programs in your subject of interest - those will be easier to get into/get scholarships for while still providing an amazing education that is tailored to your interests/goals specifically. Hope this helped!


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


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

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