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9 months ago
Admissions Advice

Are school rankings included in the admission process?
Answered

Hi, I’m an international student, where GPA works quite differently. I go to one of the best high schools in Poland (top 10), where getting straight A+ might be more difficult than getting excellent grades in schools lower in the ranking. Is this somehow valid? Or maybe it’s better to go to a worse school, where it’s easier to get good grades? Thank you in advance:)

Lena, class of ‘26

2026
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2
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Accepted Answer
9 months ago

Where you go to High School matters. If your school is actually a top 10 Polish school then the admissions officers assigned with your country from the university will acknowledge that and have a good understanding of how competitive your high school is versus other Polish high schools.

So it's always important for international applicants to attend the best possible high schools in their country and get the best grades and test scores possible.

In the US we have a serious problem called "grade inflation". Both unweighted and weighted GPAs have been going up tremendously over the past 30-40 years.

A 3.5 GPA might have been considered competitive for a school like Cornell, UPenn, USC, and UCLA in the 1990s but now what is considered competitive is a 3.9 because many of the high schools in the US grade their students far too easily. The previous norm was to grade on a bell curve where maybe 20% of the class received and A and 20% received a B. These days, it's not uncommon for 80% of AP Calculus B/C to receive As and the rest divided between Bs and Cs.

So in the US, it's always best to go to the best high school possible with the least amount of grade inflation. These tend to be top Boarding schools like Phillips Exeter, Phillips Andover, and Deerfield Academy. Other top private schools like Harvard-Westlake, Taft, Choate, Middlesex, and Loomis tend to grade inflate.

Hope this answers your question.

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Unweighted GPA: 3.7
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SAT: 720 math
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