2 months ago
Admissions Advice

Do I have a shot at UPenn?

UPenn is my top choice right now as it has the best business program and I am planning to apply there ED. My current stats (as of the end of junior year) are: 3.8 UW, 4.6 W GPA 33 ACT and lots of extracurriculars centered on business and community outreach/volunteering. I feel like my essays are pretty strong. CV calculator says I have a 10%-20% chance. Should I refrain from sending in my ACT score, as it is one point below the average score at UPenn? Let me know if I should place my hopes there, I don't want to waste ED on a school I have virtually no shot at.

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3 answers

Accepted Answer
2 months ago

Hi ananyak! I think the best way to help you make your decision should start by addressing what UPenn has said about their own admissions:

"Performance in high school is the single most important factor in the student selection process at Penn. However, because grading and ranking policies are different around the country and the globe, it is difficult to pinpoint one metric for a student's success in the classroom. The most competitive applicants have pursued a rigorous program of study and achieved top grades in the context of their school."


I want you to ask yourself "is my transcript rigorous?" Ignore your unweighted GPA, because most colleges ignore UW GPAs because of how little it actually tells. Look at your transcript. Did you take difficult classes that you're interested in? The most difficult classes available? Some students search for rigor in AP courses, local colleges, or external institutions. Do you possess a transcript that tells the admissions officers that you made efforts to find challenging courses like these? And to what extent? The discretion is still yours, but, keep these questions in mind.

So no, falling behind the average GPA by 0.1 isn't the end of the world, because a 4.0 isn't impressive on its own. The expression of academic success is through the combination of your GPA and your course rigor. If you sought out harder classes than the average UPenn student, then your GPA is more than enough for a reasonable chance. As for your test scores, although they are above the 25th percentile, they are below the average. Now, lucky for you, test-optional extends to the 2021-2022 admissions cycle. Try and score above the 75th percentile for a test before application deadlines, but regardless of whether you do, you won't need to worry as much.


My respect goes to @CameronBameron for trying to give advice, but I, respectfully, have to disagree with their suggestion. If UPenn is your top choice in terms of interest, and you possess characteristics of academic rigor, then I don't see why you wouldn't ED. It's not a waste if you have a reasonable chance. Hopefully, this information can help you make your decision. Best of luck!

2 months ago[edited]

Your prospects for getting into the Wharton Class of 2026 with your grades and stats are challenging at best (10%-20%) and I'm writing to clarify why I think CollegeVine's probabilities are correct.

First of all, you made some wrong assumptions by using old stats. For the Class of 2025 RD, the ACT 50% middle range was 34-36 and the average UWGPA was 3.91. For UPenn ED the average ACT reported was 34/35, essentially the same.

I think the CV range of 10%-20% is correct because one thing you and many UPenn prospects don't recognize is that Wharton is one of the hardest colleges at UPenn to get into. A couple of cycles ago when the UPenn overall admission rate was 9.2%, the Wharton admit rate was 7.1%, or 2.1% lower. Now that the overall admission rate is 5.68%, the Wharton Class of 2025 admission rate is most likely 4.38%.

Even if you were thinking of applying to Arts & Sciences, you might be wasting your shot by applying ED to UPenn. You have a good chance of getting rejected or being deferred.

If you are planning on applying ED/EA to an undergraduate business school with your stats, I think you might have a better chance at these Top 25 Business schools which are all excellent: Northeastern, Boston University, UNC-Chapel Hill, U of Michigan, UT Austin, Fordham, U of Washington, WakeForest, Villanova, William, and Mary (UVA, NYU, Notre-Dame, BC, Cornell, UPenn, Georgetown, WashU, and Carnegie Mellon would still be reach schools so perhaps apply to them RD).

I have 2 alternative suggestions.

1.) One thing you should also think about is perhaps not applying directly to a business school. Try to get into the best college you can and not study business but go in as an Economics or Stats major. Try to keep your grades up like 3.7-3.9, get a high GMAT score of 750+, and apply to a Top 10 MBA program like Harvard, MIT, Yale, Stanford, etc. That may be worth a lot more in the long run.

2.) I feel if your future goals are to work on Wall Street or some kind of consulting firm like Bain, or McKinsey I would recommend that you research which colleges companies like Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and JP Morgan/Chase recruit from. You will be surprised that these firms heavily recruit from Rutgers, Baruch College, University of Maryland, Fordham, Ohio State, and the University of Delaware, not just Columbia, NYU, Harvard, LSE, and MIT.

Good luck

2 months ago

Both these stats are below avg for UPenn. Unless you have really great EC’s and essay or a spike in specific area, it is a still a reach. But if it is your dream school it is worth a shot. Just apply to lot of other schools as well. I am not sure how ED works if you are still allowed to apply at other places.


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