My school grades harshly resulting in lower GPAs. My unweighted GPA will be around 3.7 although I will have taken 14 Honors courses and 7-8 AP classes. How can I be competitive in a top 20 school when their acceptance GPA seems to be 3.85+? I will be close to top 10% of my class with my GPA.
How harshly your high school grades is a very minimal factor in college admissions. When your school sends your transcript, I think it includes a basic school profile, which includes average grades and test scores. So if your school grades hardly, colleges may be able to see that if the average grades are B’s. However, this likely won’t impact your chances that much. More info on that here: https://blog.prepscholar.com/hard-high-school-college-admissions
As for how to be competitive, grades are probably the most important. That being said, it’s true that many applicants to top colleges have good grades. To stand out, I would recommend choosing one or two interests to focus on. Take classes that spark your interest. Get involved with school clubs. If your school doesn’t have many clubs that interest you, start your own. Reach out to local professors to see if you can help with research. If you love volunteering, maybe try starting a non-profit instead of just volunteering with your school club. These are just some ideas. Colleges love students who are passionate, but they also love students who take initiative and know what they want (or are actively figuring out what they want).
Most importantly, make sure you do something you are truly passionate about. Don’t do a bunch of science extracurriculars if you really hate science. When you’re doing things you love, it shows. Also, it would be a little awkward if you were asked in a college interview why you did a certain activity, and you can’t answer because you had no interest in it.
Hope this (kinda long) answer helps!
Colleges will evaluate your course rigor and GPA in the context of what was offered to you (in terms of honors/AP classes) and the academics of other students from your school. Many high schools send a weighted GPA to the college (and some colleges calculate their own weighted GPA) to give a better representation of your GPA relative to your course rigor. The fact that you are in the top 10% of your class would show colleges that you are a competitive applicant, especially since it seems you have taken quite a few rigor classes.
Hello! Colleges look at your grades in context using something called a School Report. This is a form that your counselor fills out, and it provides information about class rank and how many people have a GPA like yours. Your counselor also ranks your course selection compared to other students. Take a look at the school report here: https://commonapp.my.salesforce.com/sfc/p/#d0000000eEna/a/0V000001Avzq/PBXzR0UOtu4hSdgTXHDH9Sk6bTeQ6w8l2NQblq_KoZ0
Hope this helps!
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