2 years ago
Admissions Advice

My averages dropped this mid term

My average dropped this mid term because I had to take up the most tasking courses and drop the easy ones. What effect does it have on my chances in getting into my dream school.

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2 answers

2 years ago

Hi @zikora,

Thanks for your question. 99% of students in the US do not have perfect test scores, grades or ECs, or other attributes. Nevertheless, they still apply and get into great schools, and some of them still get into their dream school.

My best advice is the one your parents and guardians and teachers would probably share as well. Try your best and let the cards fall and see what happens. Why? College admissions is not a meritocratic process like it is in China, Japan, S.Korea, or even Europe for that matter.

In America, there are 4300 colleges that offer 4-year degrees and they are run like circuses. Each year a team of 20-50 college admissions officers reads through 1000s of applications against what they think they need for that college on that particular year. So last year maybe 75% of the dance team graduated, so they are looking for talented dancers. And perhaps they are trying to build up their neuroscience department so they need more neuro majors this year because they want their new science building to be filled up. Or maybe 3 French horn seniors left, and they need 3 French horn players. So unless you are an admissions officer at your dream college, you do not know what the 2023 shopping list looks like.

Second, each college has its own policies when it comes to diversity, equity, inclusion, and access. So if colleges think that affirmative action is going to collapse next year, maybe they want to be more aggressive about giving away seats to Black, Brown, LGBTQIA, and marginalized folk like indigenous applicants. You don't know> is what I'm saying.

Colleges put out a very loose description of what they are looking for because they want as much control over who gets in and who doesn't get in. While grades, course rigor, and test scores really matter for most people, if you are applying to top Ivy like Harvard, there might be other equal determining factors like what Elite Boarding school you attended, whether your parents were legacies, whether you are recruitable as a viable varsity athlete, whether you are a child of a faculty member and lastly if you are just plain rich and have committed to donating heavily to Harvard. These sorts are called ALDCs. and make up about 33.3% of Harvard's undergraduate population. And within this pool are plenty of students with 88%-92% GPAs, and low ACT and SAT scores (28-30, 1300-1350) and many of them never took an AP or IB course in their life. I'm sharing this with you and others now because while Harvard is one of the hardest schools to get into, it's a rather rigged system that favors talented and entitled applicants. The second major problem with Harvard is that if you are not an ALDC but from an over-represented minority like being Asian ( and even White), you are at a huge disadvantage in getting accepted compared to Black, Hispanic/Latino, or Indigenous applicants. BIPOC applicants have something like 10 X -20 X advantages for top 2 deciles applicants.

So all you can really do is try your best to do well in what you can control because there is not guarantee for even perfect students to get into these schools. Do not take it personally, but make sure you visit as many colleges as you can and pick more schools versus focusing on a dream school. In this environment, you will be disappointed in yourself if your dream school doesn't pick you so hedge your bets and pick 10, 15 20 schools that you can see yourself happy with.

Good luck.

2 years ago

If you are able to improve your academic performance after this drop, it will not have a great effect on your chances. Here are some steps you can take to minimize its impact:

- Get straight As in rigorous classes for the rest of high school

- Earn a high score on the SAT or ACT

- Do all you can to make sure that your teachers write you stellar recommendations. To accomplish this, spend time after school or during study hall building relationships with your teachers, and participate frequently in their classes.

- Work hard to make your essays and extracurriculars stellar - they can compensate for your academic performance.

Hope this helps!

What are your chances of acceptance?
Your chance of acceptance
Duke University
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Your chancing factors
Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

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