2 years ago
Admissions Advice

3.55 GPA But I came back junior year w/ Extracurriculars + Awards

I am a rising senior in the class of 2023. Dream schools that I am interested in applying ED are Emory and Tulane (or NYU, I'm currently undecided between the 3). Back when COVID hit, I was a rising sophomore, and I basically zoned out the entire year and got an 83 average, which really tanked my grades. However, in my junior year, I decided to man up finally and I got a 94% Cumulative GPA and I'm on the Principal's Honor Roll for this year. I have several "standout" extracurriculars such as Varsity Debate team with a bunch of awards and editor on my school newspaper. Over the summer, I'm aiming for a 1450+ SAT Score. I'm also attending a summer internship at a law firm. I feel really bad about my cumulative GPA and I'm stressed that my GPA might bring my chances of admission down to get in to my dream schools. My GPA is 3.55 (89.8%) . What should I do?

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2 answers

Accepted Answer
2 years ago

This isn't an uncommon situation, but it's still a tough one. All you can do is try to ace your fall semester academically, keep up your great extracurricular work, prep for the SATs, and write some excellent essays. With a 3.6 or higher, I don't think schools like Emory, Tulane, and NYU will throw out your application automatically. They should still consider the rest of your application, and given your strengths you may have a chance! ED will improve these chances significantly. Of these three schools, I imagine you have the best shot at Tulane, so I assume you'd get the best bang for your buck applying ED there. However, I'd need to see your actual chancing at each school to know for certain whether this is the case.

There's always a second ED round if you don't get in the first one. I'd focus also on identifying great target and safety schools as well (in addition to another reach or two, if you'd like) in case early applications don't work out. Best of luck!

2 years ago

Is your Unweighted GPA 3.55 currently or is that your Weighted GPA. Thank you for clarifying that in advance.

If you get all As 1st semester of 12th grade, you will have a 3.61. I think that is still on the low side for the 3 schools in your question since the are all 3.7-3.9 schools including NYU. I'm not saying you shouldn't apply but as you stated earlier try to apply with at least a 1450+ SAT score.

Since you need more academic runway to show colleges you can do the work and end up with an upward trend, I think applying RD with 1 additional semester of grades trumps applying ED with a 3.55. I don't think a 3.55 is compelling to any of these schools as a ED candidate unless you are a legacy, recruited athlete, child of a faculty member or very rich (someone who has already donated $$$$$$$$ to the school). Again, I don't think apply ED helps you at all. Plus you don't know if you can get a 1450+ SAT test score. You many need to take the SAT an additional time during Oct/Nov test dates if you are short 50-100 points of your goal composite score. I think additional runway only helps your ECs and leadership roles because it better establishes you in these roles.

So that's what I would do. Apply RD and grind on that SAT this summer and I hope you get your target score by August. Since you are in a hail Mary pass situation, I recommend that if you are not already scoring 1450-1500 on your practice tests, that you fully exploit Kahn academy, the College Panda series books and workbooks, Erica Meltzers reading book. And if you are still not there next month, opt in for an online course like SuperTutorTV's best SAT test prep course. $250 is not cheap but it is an awesome score booster.

Next thing I would do is pick some schools that are reliable targets that you would be happy to attend and if you have time to visit them I encourage you to do so. Off the top of my head, I would look at these schools as well.

Boston College, Wake Forest University, University of Richmond, University of Virginia, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, University of Miami, University of Washington, UT Austin, UC Santa Barbara, UC San Diego, U Michigan.

Good luck.

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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