2
5 months ago
Admissions Advice

Does messing up junior year grades means I lost all chances of getting in a top school?
Answered

I had 93% in freshman, 96% in sophomore and have 97% in senior year. I got 1580 on the SAT. But I got 70% in junior year. Did I lose all chances of getting in a top college? (I am an international student)

11th
2026
admissionsofficer
2
6
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4 answers

3
Accepted Answer
5 months ago

Not at all. You can use this in your essay to show that you had a hard time but ultimately got out of it. It shows that you can overcome hard times. Although grades are important in top schools, they are not the only thing that colleges look at. In most college applications, they also allow you to explain why you had this decrease in your grade in junior year. Good luck and you've got this!!

3
2
5 months ago

Great question, and so sorry you had such a tough junior year. While getting that 70 won't mean you've lost all your chances at getting into a "top school," it will definitely make things a lot trickier.

First of all, your chances depend on what exactly you consider a top school. The most selective schools in the country (Harvard, Stanford, MIT, etc.) rarely take students with unweighted GPAs below 3.8, and 3.9 or above is far preferred. However, there are plenty of other very good schools (for example, UT Austin, Boston University, and NYU) with lower average accepted GPAs. Your chances also depend on your actual unweighted GPA. If I just average together your four grades, I get 89% (3.3). But, of course, the reality may be somewhat different depending on how many courses you took each year.

As people mentioned below, admissions officers are generally at least somewhat understanding of specific situations that made it hard for you to excel during a given time period. They are typically most understanding if you performed poorly during your first year of high school and then showed positive upward growth during subsequent years. However, a good explanation (IE. you struggled with a serious illness that caused you to miss many classes), that adds meaningful context to your profile and helps assure admissions officers that this was just a fluke and you'll continue to excel in college, will definitely still help you regardless of the relevant year.

The fact that you are international complicates things as well. Schools in other countries often don't operate similarly to US schools. Sometimes lower GPAs are much more common. If this is the case, things may be all right so long as your school counselor explains this clearly when they submit your transcript and other supplementary materials.

How the 70% was constructed also matters. At some elite schools, a single C can effectively disqualify you. At many selective schools, failing a class means you don't have a chance.

Finally, whether or not you can get into top schools also depends on the rest of your application. Your near-perfect SAT score will definitely help you everywhere except test-blind schools. Great extracurriculars, impressive awards, and good essays will help you as well.

Ultimately, it's not possible to say where you will and won't get in on this information alone. If you want a more refined estimate of your chances, I'd recommend using our chancing engine! You can input all of your information in your profile and then navigate over to "Find schools" under the "Schools" tab to check your chances at hundreds of different schools.

Best of luck!

2
1
5 months ago

No, you definitely didn't lose all chances of getting into a top school. Like @luisav said, grades are important but they are not the only thing that matter to schools. Most schools practice what is called holistic admissions so grades + test scores play a factor but they also care about your background, interests, and extracurricular activities you participated in. While a 70% is not ideal the fact that you had 93%+ the previous two years and were able to bounce back and get a 97% your senior year demonstrates that the 70% was more of a fluke and not the norm for you.

1
1
5 months ago

Nope! You can in fact use this opportunity to explain why your score went down and how you managed to bring yourself back up.

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