3 years ago
Admissions Advice

What if my school doesn't do grades? Will it lower my chances of getting in?

I am in a very peculiar situation, I go to a public school that does not do grades. I'm currently a senior at a small school. It is not a charter school and not private, we have a regents waiver. Instead of standardized tests and report cards, we have long evaluations written about our strengths, goals, etc. We don't have AP or Honors courses either, although I have taken all the concurrent enrollment classes available and I take a bus to another school to take AP Calc. Will all of this hurt my chances of getting into a good school?

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2 answers

3 years ago[edited]

Yes, your High Schools lack of grades, honors, APs, IBs, and ranking means that it will be extremely difficult for any admission officer looking at between 500 and 750 applications each to compare and contrast you to 99.9% of other applicants who have the most of those markers.

The more prestigious and higher-ranked college you apply to will have many applicants with perfect grades, test scores for both SAT/ACT or APs, and high-class ranks amongst their peers.

I'm assuming you go to school in NY State because I don't know any other state with Regents Waivers.

Therefore, I think your best bet is to research and apply to colleges within NY State that are familiar with your school and regents waivers. Also, to have a sit down 1 on 1 with your HS counselor and ask for a list of colleges outside of your state where students from your HS successfully were admitted using their evaluation system.

I would recommend that you submit either high score ACT or SAT when you apply because that will act as a PROXY for some of the missing components of your college application. The higher score the better. Also, I don't know if you are only taking 1 AP class or not. I would highly encourage you to take as many APs as you can either through the dual-enrollment program you are in or through online MOOCS like eDx.org where you can find dozens of AP courses. You have to pay for them.

Lastly, I would research colleges that do not have traditional grading systems because perhaps they will be more accustomed to your narrative and lack of grades, test scores, etc. Here is a short list: I know Reed College in Oregon and Sarah Lawrence in Bronxville, NY do not have grades.


Good luck.

3 years ago

Quite frankly, no, your situation will not affect your chances at getting into a good school.

Why? These institutions are aware that not everyone attends a traditional high school. In the sense that the course and grading systems are not the same asa that in a "regular" high school and AP and Honours courses may not be available. What they do in these cases is look at how good you are relative to the system used by your school.

Meaning as long as you're good student with good evaluations and the sorts, you're not at a disadvantage. Also the fact that you go to another school to do AP calculus gives the impression that you're ready to go the extra mile which is something a lot of schools are looking for

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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