2 years ago
Admissions Advice

How can I impress admissions?

I am currently a junior in highschool with fairly good ACT scores (29 composite) and SAT scores on the way, however my GPA is lacking... Covid threw me for a loop so my first two years were A's and B's however this year I have all A's. I am hoping admission counselors will see my commitment and recognize I really turned things around but I am curious if this is a flawed way of thinking. Ultimately, although I am very active and do a lot in my community and extracurriculars, a lot of them are not solid (i.e. helping with my sisters for my parents) and I am not sure how to integrate this into applications. How can I use examples such as part time job, powerlifting, helping with family, and being a good member of my community to impress admissions? Also how do I word it to not seem self centered and come off as self aware in the sense that my contributions matter but they are not the end all be all.

(Note) Sorry for any grammatical errors or any informalities. This is my first time posting and am not sure how formal these questions are.

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Accepted Answer
2 years ago

It all depends on how competitive the schools you're applying to are. Competitive schools are unlikely to be lenient about grades because there are thousands of other students who are more qualified. That being said, students with lower grades can still get into competitive universities if they have exceptional extracurriculars or unique essays that make them stand out from other applicants. Universities that are less competitive (with admission rates greater than 40%) are more lenient with grades, especially if you turned things around. However, don't assume that counselors will recognize your commitment from your grades; you have to explicitly explain to them the commitment you have to school and the circumstances that may have influenced bad grades in your essays or additional information section on the CommonApp.

As for your extracurriculars that may not be as strong as other activities, incorporate these into your personal or supplemental essays instead of in the activities section of the CommonApp - that way, you have a chance to explain how they're meaningful and how they shape your character. For example, your essay could talk about how you find satisfaction in helping out your family and supporting them through your part time job. Maybe talk about the sacrifices you made for your family/community and how that shapes who you are today. Don't worry about sounding self-centered! Your purpose is to market yourself to universities and convince them to accept you. Don't be afraid to brag, as long as you don't put others down in the process (don't make yourself seem superior to everyone else).

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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