a year ago
Admissions Advice

How would high school averages be looked at by elite colleges(eg. ivies)? If you take more courses than diploma requires

Hi, I'm a rising sophomore in Canada and I'm planning on applying to the ivies. In my province, you are required to have 30 credits in order to graduate, 18 compulsory and 12 electives. Generally, you take 8 courses per year at your day school and each course is worth 1 credit. However, you are able to take more courses if you take them at night school, summer school or Saturday school. Since I am planning on fast-tracking and graduating early, I took 1 course at night school and will be taking 3 at summer school, which would leave me more space to take some grade 11 courses. I am also planning on taking another credit next summer, which means that I will likely graduate with 35 credits instead of 30. Another part of the reason that I am doing this is so that I can get more opportunities to explore other courses and find my interest and potentially a subject that I want to major in. So I am just wondering if when looking at your GPA, the universities would look at all the credits and take the average or would they just take your top 30 credits (in my case) and calculate the average? I'm also wondering if ivy league universities have any specific requirements in terms of the course you take, like do you have to have say 4 math credits, or 3 international credit, or 1 non-math, non-science, non-tech credit, in order to apply? These limitations exist for some universities in Canada but I'm not sure about the US. Also, would I be at a disadvantage if I take courses outside of school?


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Accepted Answer
a year ago

It is very common that most US Ivy applicants submit a transcript with more credits than the graduating requirements. Where I live the minimum is 24 credits to graduate and our HS requires 25. I will submit a transcript with 32 credits and 24 credits of dual enrollment college credit. Anyone reading the application from the Ivys will look at all the grades. They will either use the unweighted GPA from my 9th,10th, 11th, and 1st-semester 12th grade or recalculate it themselves. Some elite colleges only recalculate the 10th and 11th-grade coursework.

Ivy League colleges typically require the following:

English - 4 years; Math - at least 3 years, preferably 4 years; Science - at least 3 years, including 2 years of lab science; Social Studies - at least 2 years of history, including American history; and Foreign Language - at least 3 years, preferably 4 years of a single language. Each Ivy has its own min. requirements so look at their websites to compare and contrast. Some Ivy's like to see some visual or performing arts as well (eg Princeton) Harvard write the following: An ideal four-year preparatory program includes four years of English, with extensive practice in writing; four years of math; four years of science: biology, chemistry, physics, and an advanced course in one of these subjects; three years of history, including American and European history; and four years of one foreign language.

Remember that this is only one component of the holistic review process. In non-COVID-19 cycles, you will also submit standardized test scores (ACT/SAT/SAT II, APs), ECs, recommendations and essays.


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