2 years ago
Admissions Advice

Can I get into an Ivy/Stanford with one B even thought GPA is 3.96?

Hey all!

I'm struggling in my math class as a result of math text anxiety (only math - not sure why) and am currently coming out with a very high B+.

I get As and A+ in all my other classes including APs, not even an A-, so my GPA is at 3.96/4 Unweighted.

My question is, even though I have a 3.96, will the fact that I have one B+ affect my chances at these top schools?


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3 answers

Accepted Answer
2 years ago

Your B+ will only harm your chances at top schools a tiny bit. Your overall GPA is still among the most competitive out of all applicants. Plenty of students get accepted to top schools with several Bs or even one C - this is because college admissions is holistic, and you will be evaluated based on far more than your grades. ECs, essays, letters of recommendation, your identity, and more factors are all considered by admissions officers. Hope this helps!

2 years ago

Yes, your 3.96 qualifies you to apply to any college you wish. There is no magic unweighted GPA like 3.90 or 3.95 and that is a wives tale.

In my opinion, the hardest schools to get into just for grades would be the STEM ones like MIT, Caltech, JHU, RICE, UCBerkeley for EE/CS because such applicants are super focused on a specific major which is ultra competitive. Such students do not apply to Caltech for Political Science or Russian.

When you apply to Ivys / Stanford ( UChicago/Duke) or top Liberal arts colleges like Amherst/Swarthmore/Williams/Pomona/Bowdoin/CMC, the admissions process is 2 way holistic one. You are evaluated against many many criteria in the context of how well you fit with what they are looking for that particular year. And their shopping list changes from year to year. Stanford might be looking for 6-8 DI Water Polo players and 2 bassoonists, and 3 cheerleaders/dancers one year and then the next, 5 X-C runners, a tuba player and 3 trombonists and an Olympian skier. So GPA is just one of many data points, albeit a major one.

For these types of schools, your academic narrative is 5 parts:

1. UWGPA and at Stanford they throw out 9th grade so it's mostly 10th and 11th and whatever 12th you submit

2. Course rigor as reflected by your APs, IBs, Honors courses, college courses, DE courses etc.

3. Test scores - SAT/ACT and to lesser extent your APs/IBs

4. Intellectual vitality/curiosity as evidenced by your learning outside of school such as add'l coursework, supervised research, internships, ECs you've created to support your academic narrative.

5. Academic awards/honors such US Presidential Scholar etc. not EC awards.

Hope this makes sense.

2 years ago

B lowers your GPA but does not necessarily disqualify you for being admitted.

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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