4 years ago
Admissions Advice

Will a C in an elective ruin your transcript?

I’ve had a rough finish in the finale of the 2019-20 academic year and ended with four B’s and a C in health! Did this ultimately ruin me? I’ve taken all Honors and AP last year and this year I’ve taken all AP (currently all is an A), should I be panicked?

I believe I am capable but suffered mentally and emotionally from maintaining the pursuance of my previously coveted academic excellence. I wanted to apply to Duke, UChicago, Vanderbilt, Boston U., U. of Southern California, and more but have been deterred the decision to do so.


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2 answers

4 years ago[edited]

My best advice is to be positive and honest with your essays. Use the add'l information essay/space to best explain your dip in grades occurred and how you are bouncing back from the setback with all As in your AP coursework. At this point, I feel it's more important to maintain your As and show an upwardly sloping transcript rather than cramming for the SAT. If you can do both great, but grades, essays, recommendations are more valuable than a test score right now.

(Is it fair to assume that you didn't get 4s and 5s on your APs, you didn't mention that. If you did, I would report those as well).

I think more than a fair share of seniors had a difficult Spring term in the 11th grade. Some didn't receive any grades at all even though they were grinding and their GPAs got stuck when they should have been going up a bit if they took weighted classes. And others like yourself had to distance learning which is not for everyone.

Put your best foot forward and do what you can to pick up the pieces. Adversity like the pandemic challenges all of us, but the challenges are different for each individual. I believe colleges want to know you can survive adversity and learn to thrive in it as well. It look like you are on your way and dusting the debris from the worst of it.

Stay safe and healthy and good luck with your college admissions process.

4 years ago

If I’m understanding your post correctly, you received four B’s and one C in your second semester of junior year, which noticeably differs from your normal performance.

Generally speaking, it is appropriate to address grades that we don’t think reflect our capabilities if we have an honest, compelling explanation (for example, if you went through personal changes like illness, a family emergency, or moving) and the grades are an isolated event. This can be done in the “Additional Information” section of the common app. I believe many schools are also aware that students are learning and applying to college amid a pandemic.

Do also note that your comprehensive GPA will carry more weight than an unprecedented grade or academic semester and that schools with a holistic admissions process significantly consider the other elements of your application like extracurriculars, essays, and recommendations.

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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