Hi! I'm two months into sophomore year, in a different country, and I just came to know that US universities require grades for all 4 yrs of high school.
The country I study in has a UK based education system, meaning the A-level score is the only ones that really matter.
So, I practically fooled around last year and it showed in my grades. Here are my grades,
English : 68%, B+, 3.2
Higher (honors) Tamil: 71%, A, 3.6
Math 1: 75%, A, 3.6
Math 2 : 45%, D, 1.6 (Fail)
InA : 64%, B, 2.8
History: 68%, B+, 3.2
Biology: 62%, B, 2.8
Chemistry: 80%, A+, 4.0
Physics: 80%, A+, 4.0
Overall gpa: 3.6
My school only uses unweighted gpa, and uses English, Tamil, your better math, your best science, your best humanity, and your best subject (that is not one of the subjects already taken into gpa), to calculate gpa.
The good news is I'm confident I'm able to get a 4.0 gpa for the next three years, and raise my average to a 3.9 gpa by the end of high school. My ECs are also kinda bad, but I'm also gonna try my best to improve them too.
I'm wondering if it's worth it to apply to Ivy League schools or if there's still any chance, especially since my freshman grades are really bad or if its foolish hope.
Thank you :).
Grades and test scores are only used as threshold criteria for admission to Ivy League colleges. So the general rule of thumb is that you want as close to a 4.0 as possible but 3.9 is acceptable. These days applicants strive to get a 99% percentile score on the SAT or ACT which works out to be a 1530+ or a 35+. As an Int'l student, I highly recommend that you submit an SAT or ACT test score since the competition is fierce for Int'l.
Other key factors to admission to an Ivy are the following in no particular order:
-Excellent writing ability evidenced in your common app essay and supplemental essays which are all different for each of the 8 Ivys.
-Impressive and impactful extracurriculars.
-Evidence of intellectual vitality or curiosity which can be things like internships, supervised research, published papers or articles, unique individual scholarship in a subject area, sponsored summer programs, college coursework outside of high school, and any kind of dissemination of your knowledge for teaching or sharing on social media.
-Very supportive recommendations from teachers and your high school counselor
-Ability to advocate for yourself in your own voice, especially during the interview process and if you submit optional short videos
-Course rigor which for Ivys typically includes 4 years of English, 4 years of Maths, 4 Years of Science (including 2 labs), 3 years of History including American and European history and 3 years minimum of a foreign language. These are min. levels many Ivy admits have 5-6 years worth of each subject area because they have doubled up on classes during their 10th, 11th, and senior year.
-And it doesn't hurt if you have some artistic, athletic, or musical talent. All Ivys have a vast variety of Division I Athletics from Football (American), Soccer, Lacrosse, Tennis, Track & Field, XC, Swimming, Diving, Golf, Hockey, Basketball, Water Polo, Rowing, Rugby, Squash, Sailing, Skiing, Volleyball, Wrestling and Fencing.
So your grades are important but there are around 99 criteria for admission at Harvard for instance and that certain parts of the academic score has more to do than passing a threshold level. So if you submit a 1530 SAT, Harvard doesn't treat someone with a 1550 or 1590 any differently. If you have a 3.9 GPA, then Harvard doesn't treat someone with a 4.0 differently. And if you have taken 8 APs or have graduated with a full IB diploma, Harvard doesn't give bonus points to someone that had 10 APs or scored 44/45 vs 42/45 on their IB exams.
The admit rates for Oxford and Cambridge are about 3-4 times easier than Ivies so you should think about the real benefit an Ivy education will give because arguably attending Oxbridge will be way more affordable as well. Tuition at Oxford is $11000 USD (9250 GBP) vs $65,000 at Ivys. The projected cost for Ivys in 3 years will be $100,000 USD for year 1 and about $110,000 for year 4. So the $425,000 is a steep price not including air travel and other costs of attendance for Int'l students like health insurance. I only bring this up because most people in Europe and UK do not fully understand the amazing deal they have by getting their undergraduate degrees within the EU.
The decision to apply to Ivy League schools ultimately depends on your personal goals, academic interests, and resources. The Ivy League universities are highly selective and competitive, but they also offer exceptional educational opportunities, resources, and networks that can be beneficial for your career and personal growth.
Here are some factors to consider when deciding whether to apply to Ivy League schools:
Your academic qualifications: Ivy League universities have high academic standards, and they typically require top grades, test scores, and extracurricular activities from their applicants. If you have a strong academic record and believe you can meet these standards, then applying to Ivy League schools may be worth it.
Your career goals: Ivy League schools have excellent reputations and connections in various fields, including finance, law, medicine, technology, and academia. If you're interested in pursuing a career in one of these areas, attending an Ivy League school may provide valuable networking opportunities and career advancement prospects.
Your financial situation: Ivy League schools are also known for their high tuition fees, and attending these schools can be expensive. If you have the financial resources to pay for an Ivy League education or are eligible for financial aid, then applying to Ivy League schools may be worth it.
Your personal preferences: Ivy League schools have their unique cultures, traditions, and environments. If you prefer smaller, more intimate college communities or have other personal preferences that don't align with the Ivy League culture, then applying to Ivy League schools may not be the best fit for you.
Ultimately, whether or not it's worth it to apply to Ivy League schools depends on your specific goals, interests, and circumstances. It's essential to research each school, consider your options, and make an informed decision.
Hope this helps
If you think you can get in then apply. With your situation it's very doable with a 3.9 and good EC's, etc. Good luck!
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