2 years ago
Admissions Advice

What are the chances of getting into a top 20 school with reduced academic rigor? Pt 2

So this is a follow-up question to my previous question : (I am a black, Muslim (upper middle class) student that lives just out of Houston and go to a charter school. In my school, I wasn't able to take more APs (took 2 instead of 3) in junior year because of schedule conflicts and my academic rigor reduced from 10th grade to 11th grade even though I still had all As. I am taking 4 APs in senior year, but I wanted to know what are the chances of me getting into a top 20 school (Vanderbilt/UPenn/Duke/Emory/Rice/Brown) when I have this and only an SAT score of 1480, but created a newspaper club in my school, in leadership for 2 clubs, and very involved in my community?); I do have an AP Scholar Award (with no distinction though); my school does offer more than 15 APs, but their very STEM-focused and not a lot of humanities/social science APs; I am the creator and Editor-In-Chief of my school newspaper, vice president of HOSA, and board member of our school's ambassador committee; I also was involved in an interfaith community and made an impact in the outof school organization; and I did research in MD Anderson and volunteered in a hospital. I also published poetry on TeenInk; are my chances still on the low end for UPenn or Duke or Brown, or do I have a chance?


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2 answers

Accepted Answer
2 years ago[edited]

Your reduced academic rigor will not harm your chances because it was not your fault. Colleges will receive a school report from your guidance counselor that will give them an idea about the class options available to you. What they care about most is that you maximized your rigor given your circumstances - they are not expecting students from a school that only offers standard classes to take 4 APs their junior year. Since you are taking the most rigorous course load you can and maintaining a high unweighted GPA, this part of your academics will be competitive for T20 schools.

Your SAT score is decent as well, but you would receive a great benefit in the admissions process if you brought it up to at least 1500 and ideally +1550. Your ECs are the only area that needs improvement. While you have solid ECs that demonstrate that you are well-rounded, you should add a few activities that show a spike. You will also need a few activities that are Tier 1 or 2.

As your profile currently stands, you certainly have a chance of getting accepted to T20 schools. You will receive an affirmative action boost because of your racial and religious identity, and this will make up for some of the weaker points of your profile. If you can improve your SAT score and ECs though, and you write stellar essays as well, you may very well get into every school you apply to. Hope this helps!

2 years ago

Good start, but what exactly are you focused on? You seem averse to taking STEM APs, and yet your most impressive EC is doing research at a hospital. I write this in hopes of helping you, but colleges like to see a consistent story. You can have seemingly opposing interests, but find a way to tie them together. To be honest, if you had perfect grades, coupled with the fact you are an underrepresented minority, then you’ll have sufficient coursework(not great, but not something you can change now). Your ECs are decent, but you still have time to make them bigger. See if you can do something impressive at least at the state level.

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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