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How much of my transcript do top schools look at?

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So by my senior I'm guessing that I'll have over a 3.9 uw GPA which seems pretty good, however I am still concerned that my grades wont get me into a top college. I have gotten multiple B's and a lot of the people who get in to top schools only have one or maybe two B's. My school doesnt do class rank, but I know that I am far from being number 1.


2 answers

answered on

Your GPA is really strong which will definitely help you. If you are interested in how much different colleges care about test scores, GPA's, demonstrated interest, etc, google "[Insert college name] Common Data Sheet" For example, Harvard Common Data Sheet. If you go to section C7, it will tell you how much this university relies on certain things for admission! Best of luck!

answered on

If by "top schools" you mean Ivies or similar schools (something like the Top 30 on US News), then we usually consider their unweighted GPA range to be a 3.7-4.0. Not sure if your 3.9 would be weighted or unweighted, but if it's unweighted, you'd be well into that range and should be fine from an academic standpoint, assuming that your test scores were also at the high end. (The rough benchmark is a 1500+ SAT for most Top 30 schools, 1550+ for Harvard/Yale/Princeton/Stanford/MIT.) In the end, multiple Bs are fine—plenty of people get into these schools with a few lower grades as long as their GPA is still over the threshold and the rest of their application is strong.

hey... question. Is a score between 1500 and 1550 too low for HYPSM?
Depends somewhat on demographics and your background. For Asian-American students, especially in competitive states (you can see average SATs by state here:, it's not *too* low but it's not optimal, and a score above a 1540 is ideal. For all other students, it's more or less fine.
I should mention though that that's in a normal year—it's worth saying that I have no idea what their thresholds will look like *this* year, if you're applying in the fall. These schools might very well go test optional and if they do, I'd recommend sending any score that's average or above average for their applicants (which a 1500-1540 should be).