Im worried that my GPA (3.5UW, 4.2W) might be too low to be competitive at top universities
And my SAT (1340) is fine, but lower than what's expected at some of the more competitive schools Im applying to (NYU, UMD + USC)
Do you think my ECs give me a chance?:
Nationally Recognized Student Journalist
State Recognized Student Journalist
CoPresident of school newspaper that has been recognized on state level
CoPresident of Black Student Union (largest student group on campus + has been recognized by 2 senators for our community work)
Competitive FTC Robotics (Former state record holders + State semifinalists + League champions)
Theatre for 3 years (not freshman year)
Nhs, French Nhs and Spanish Nhs
If you want to know how much your ECs can compensate for your lower grades, search "[school name] common data set" , then use "ctrl +F" to search for "extracurricular" , the first thing you'll see is a table where all colleges rate the relative importance of each of the following academic and nonacademic factors in your first-time, first-year, degree-seeking general (not including programs with specific criteria) admissions decisions.
so if the college regards 'academic GPA" as 'very important', and "extracurricular activities" as "considered", then it is unlikely that your EC can make up for it. Vice versa.
try an example: "Stanford common data set" , click on the link, follow the steps above, then you'll see that ECs and academic GPA are rated as "Very important". In this case, they hold equal value.
Hope this helps. good luck!
In my opinion, there is no way to truly tell if your ECs make up for your grades. The college admissions process in the US is truly very subjective to each college and even each admissions officer. Some schools review people holistically, taking into account every aspect of one's application while others use grades as a baseline qualification to make their applicant pool smaller. It's impossible to know what they are going to think about your application or do with it.
That being said, do you have any circumstances that can explain your bad grades? Make sure these are not excuses but rather genuine reasons as to why you got the grades you got. Taking care of a sick family member, lack of access to resources, etc? Make sure to mention stuff like that on your application. Admissions understand that not everyone went through high school with the most ideal circumstances and will take that into account when reviewing your application. Just make sure you aren't listing off excuses (and do not mention COVID unless it affected you in a drastic way- they know it happened and will have it on their mind)
Additionally, your ECs are truly impressive and will give you a chance at amazing schools. Just shoot your shot. Even if you don't feel hopeful, apply. The worst they can say is no. And who knows, maybe one school will say yes and at the end of the day, thats all you need.
I hope this wasn't too harsh. I'm just trying to share my opinion. Do not get discouraged!
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