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4 days ago
Admissions Advice

I got 2 C's in 2 my freshman year at high school, can I still get into an ivy league more specifically Harvard?
Answered

My Grandfather was my biggest motivator and unfortunately passed away from old age. But after my first semester with not-so-great grades, I picked myself up again. And now I have a 3.5 unweighted GPA.

10th-grade
2
6
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6 answers

4
Accepted Answer
4 days ago[edited]

The best answer I can offer you to continue to improve your grades, your course rigor, your test scores and intellectual vitality to the best of your ability. Your grandfather will/would be more impressed and happy if you did this and focused on being the very best version of yourself rather than focusing on getting in Harvard College.

What 99% of high school students and parents forget too often is that higher education should be life long process and not something that begins with the college admissions process and ends with the college acceptance letter.

So you need to stop worrying about where you get into college and focus on being a better smarter, kinder, compassion human. Because in the end, that will define you and your work and legacy you leave behind, not where you went for undergraduate college.

Going to to Harvard doesn't mean you are better human being. There are at least 10 people I can name on both hands that went to Harvard that I think are terrible humans. And Harvard would agree that it can't be responsible for the actions of those it admits nor those that drop out or graduate from Harvard. Harvard is only a great school if you are great human being to start with.

We as a society have to be more intelligent about why we think one school is better than another school and it should NOT be because of clout, prestige or political influence. While it's true that many Supreme Court justices have gone to either Harvard or Yale, it doesn't mean that they are very smartest or best humans that current or future Presidents can pick from. It just means the system is sort of rotten from the core and antiquated and needs serious reform so we can have the very best humans defending, and augmenting the living document called the Constitution, versus those that were appointed by partisan Presidents pushing an agenda.

Therefore, I think your grandfather who was mentoring you would agree with my point of view that all that really matters is what kind of person you grow up to be, not where you go to undergraduate college.

So do your best, and if your best is State College or small competitive liberal arts college, that's certainly good enough for anyone. And if you have higher aspirations to be a Supreme Court justice or Medical Doctor or CEO, you can always apply to Harvard Law or Harvard Business School or Harvard School of Design, or Harvard Medical School. It matters where you end up, not where you start.

But whatever you do, don't spend the next 3 years of HS thinking that if you don't get into Harvard, you will be a disappointment to yourself or your grandfather. 97% of applicants do not get into Harvard, and 95% of Ivy applicants do not get into Ivys. Are these students all losers? I would never think so. When you understand how un-meritocratic the private colleges admission system really is, you can not think this way whatsoever. If someone gets into Harvard because they are a recruited athlete, a legacy, a faculty brat, or just super rich because their parents had $10MM to donate, are these people better than you? If someone gets into Harvard because they are a hooked applicant who is Black, LatinA, Indigenous, Low income, marginalized, or first gen, are they better than you? If Harvard only used Merit criteria like test scores, intellectual vitality, grades, course rigor and ignored all the other 100 data points, I think it would be better for the world. Still 1/2 the applicants would call foul somehow, but at least it would be fairer than the current benchmark of fairness.

Good luck.

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4 days ago

I'm sorry to hear that. While it may be a little more challenging, it is definitely possible to get into an Ivy League school, especially if the C's were in non-major related courses. Thankfully, from what I've heard from people with experience working in admissions, schools tend to have less emphasis on freshman year, so if you're able to do well in the upcoming years, especially if you take higher level courses, you're chances will definitely improve. Try not to overwhelm yourself with too many hard classes though. Keeping your selection of AP and/or honors classes just to topics that you're interested in, or are related to your major, can be good to maintain a balance in classes.

Also, keep in mind that academics aren't the only thing that Ivy Leagues are looking at. Because they are so competitive, there are a lot of people who are high achieving in grades, so things like activity and leadership in clubs, sports, or other extracurriculars are also important, and if you're a little lacking in GPA, you can make up for it in other areas.

Make sure to also research the schools that you're interested in to see what they're looking for in application. This can be very helpful to see what areas you need to focus on in order to be accepted.

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4 days ago

sorry to hear that! Unfortunately, I also had the same experience as you, my grandfather also passed away during my freshman year. I think it is possible if you explain your situation to admissions, but you have to increase your grades to have a higher chance at ivy league schools.

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3 days ago

To add to the other answers, you can explain how your grandfather's passing affected you in the Additional Information section. The inspirational story of how you picked yourself up again could potentially make for a good Common App essay topic too.

Getting into Harvard could be a possibility if you wrote exceptional essays and participated in Tier 1 extracurriculars. There are people who have been accepted with C's on their transcripts and lower GPAs. You could certainly give Harvard a shot, but since its a tough school for almost anyone to get into, make sure to prioritize your applications to safety and target schools. Hope this helps!

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3 days ago

sorry to hear that :(. A 3.5 unweighted is really good though! Definitely keep working at bringing your GPA up (taking AP, honors, IB, and DE classes for sure help because they give you a GPA boost), and you still have a lot of time left in high school to do this. BUT don't focus/worry solely on your GPA because it's not the only thing colleges look at. Make sure you're well rounded with extracurriculars like clubs, volunteering, governor's schools if your state has them, and overall being active in helping any cause you're passionate about (quality over quantity though - don't join so many that you can't keep up with, or are just a member for each. try to get some leadership positions in the ones more meaningful to you!). Another thing to keep in mind is joining any honor societies (again, don't stress that too much, even just one or two looks good) and getting a good SAT or ACT score (don't stress! just study in small and consistent chunks). Finally, when applying for colleges spend a good amount of time on your essays, and get them done early so you have time to revisit and revise them. They're a big part of your application because it's where you can tell the admissions counselors about yourself through YOUR voice, and not just your stats. As a junior applying to colleges right now, the best advice I have is to not feel overwhelmed and to start small and be consistent, then build from there. You got this!

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-1
4 days ago

Something that will keep you in the game so to speak even though your GPA isn't perfect is to score very, very highly on the ACT or SAT. Another thing I would suggest is to take AP classes because they are scored on a 5 point scale. So although they are more challenging you have the chance to bring up your GPA.

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