4 years ago
Admissions Advice

High ACT/Low GPA/Few AP Courses

Rising high school senior with the following: GPA is 3.28 weighted/3.12 unweighted; only 1 AP course; and 33 composite ACT. Looking for a school with a top business program...do you have a list of top schools that may put more of an emphasis on ACT/SAT score instead of GPA and "extreme" course rigor?

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3 answers

Accepted Answer
4 years ago

Your best bet is to research T50 colleges that have great business school but say average arts & sciences.

Then you should apply as an A&S student and get excellent grades for a full year. Then transfer into the business school.

That way the B School knows you are serious about grades and GPA and they are taking a very little risk since you stepped up and proved yourself.

Very few business courses are taught Freshman year anyway.

During your Freshman year, I would take Micro and Macro Economics, Intro to Statistics, and a higher Math class like Calculus. These are going to be hard but if you get As you will be well suited for some of the more quantitative finance classes you will face in business school.

For example, you might be able to get into Syracuse or Fordham or U Conn and then transfer to the Business School.

4 years ago

Hello! My answer will certainly not be as good as the other one, but I hope I can help in some way.

My brother had an excellent ACT and SAT score, but made two or three Bs in high school. He did absolutely nothing inside or outside of school besides a law internship one summer.He did duel enrollment his last two years of high school. Overall, he had a pretty mediocre application besides his good test scores and his duel enrollment classes for two years. He was wait-listed for the University of Georgia, but then got in for second semester freshman year. You may not get into the colleges you would like immediately, but you might get in second semester or even transfer in from another college.

I know another girl who hasn't taken very rigorous courses but has pretty good grades. She is planning on transferring in to the University of Georgia her sophomore or junior year. My teacher has also talked to us many times about the two plus two program where you go to a community college or a less prestigious university for two years, and then transfer in for junior and senior years. This way is often much cheaper than going straight into a big university.

Overall, I think you should not give up hope on going to your dream competitive colleges. Adapt to your situation, and see if you can get into those colleges by submitting a compelling application.

4 years ago[edited]

To be fully frank with you, there aren't many "top" schools (assuming that, when you say "top," you mean something like the top 50 on USNWR) that will weight your ACT highly enough to offset a low GPA. Most are going to admit students with averages between 3.5 and 4.0 unweighted, and those that get in below those numbers usually have some kind of hook—they went to an extremely competitive high school, took a super rigorous schedule, were an athlete or legacy, etc. I've worked with students with a similar kind of discrepancy before and the results are sometimes unpredictable. I've seen students with that kind of profile get into a reasonable set of choices and I've also seen students receive rejections from everywhere except their safeties.

Most schools also do not separate test scores and coursework that heavily—they look at them together, and when one is particularly low, they'll tend to read that into the overall application. For example, when schools see a high test score but low GPA, they're going to have questions about why an apparently very intelligent student wasn't able to reach the same level of achievement with their courses. Same with schedule rigor—they'll look at your schedule in context with what your school offers, so if there aren't many APs at your school, you shouldn't have much of an issue. But if your school does offer a bunch of APs and you haven't taken them, there's not really anywhere you can apply that won't take that into account.

Now, if there are concrete reasons for either of those cases—like medical issues that forced you to miss time or issues with your school—you'd have to explain that kind of thing in your essays, or in other parts of your application. But otherwise, they might assume that you just didn't put in as much effort as you could have into your classes, and that will sink your application at most highly competitive colleges, including all the ones with top business programs. So the best chance you have is to have a compelling reason why your profile looks the way it does, and to use the more humanizing parts of your apps—like your essays—to explain those reasons.

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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