3 years ago
Admissions Advice

Can one D in freshman year prevent me for gaining admission into Ivy League universities?

I am aiming for Ivy League and top tier universities like Stanford. I received a 66% or a D in a second language course because my teacher neglected all grades in online school and only chose the "ungraded" quiz we had on the first day to put on our transcript. All my other grades in freshman year were good, 2 Bs (85-89%) and 5 As (90%-95%) range. In the start of sophomore year, I have started working really hard and all 4 of my complete subjects have been 95+. Will this one D prevent me from getting into Ivy League and top tier universities?

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@CameronBameron3 years ago

So you are saying your teacher gave you the wrong grade and didn't do their job? And if this is the absolute truth why haven't your parents lodged a formal inquiry with your school to investigate your allegation? If you are telling the truth & have every graded assignment/quiz/test score to back your story up, then instead of writing on here, you should be hiring an attorney to rectify this. As the respondent wrote, this D will most likely keep you out of the Top 20 schools.

[🎤 AUTHOR]@WhoAmI3 years ago [edited]

Like my teacher did not use grades we did online as she believed that there would probably be a lack of academic honesty but used the one quiz she said was not graded as our final mark. Do you think it is possible to rectify this through an attorney?

@CameronBameron3 years ago

If you and your parents feel that she did the wrong thing and gave you the wrong grade then you have to decide as a family what to do. I'm not suggesting that if you get re-marked to a C, that will get you into Top 20 College but it's certainly 100X better than applying with a D. Good Luck.

@CameronBameron3 years ago

Whatever you do, don't make threats to the teacher or try to have anyone in your family attempt to fix this unless they are highly qualified to impartially represent your body of work. If you have the facts on your side and can prove you deserve a higher grade, then have someone represent you properly. They will talk to the Principal first most likely.

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1 answer

3 years ago

In short—No. ...but certainly not good.

Though a “D” is definitely not something you want, it won’t immediately eliminate you from admissions. Ivy League schools look for leadership personality and this can only be somewhat surmised through GPA and standardized testing (I assume the rest of your grades are A’s w/ competitive classes and a 99th percentile SAT and ACT). What could offset that “D” is with extraordinary extracurriculars such as “research alongside a postdoc” and/or “publishing papers or books” and/or other HIGH tier EC’s—this will add to the holistic approach to who you are. In other words, Ivy League schools view you as more than a letter grade.

In the case if Stanford, the average GPA accepted is a 4.18 on a 4.0 scale: “ Stanford University is a holistic institution with no GPA or standardized course requirements. But the estimated average high-school required GPA is around 4.18. The chances are 3.75, plus, good; 3.5-3.75, average plus; 3.25-3.5 average minus; 3-3.24, possible; and below 3, low.” (https://www.mbacrystalball.com/universities/stanford-university/) Keep in mind that “ Over 44,000 people apply for undergraduate seats at Stanford, but only about 2,200 are accepted, and over 1,700 are enrolled.” This amounts to their absurdity of an acceptance rate at 4.4%. Similar Ivy’s and Ivy+ schools see similar trends.

The case of 2020 (does not pertain to you solely but here for anyone): Something new to consider (but probably won’t be published till after this admissions cycle)—the affect of COVID-19 in all of this. Though not to be highly optimistic, but some native and international students may be deterred to apply for the traveling during this time is not viable for familial circumstances. It would seem appropriate to predict that the acceptance rate may increase for this admissions cycle because less people may be applying due to the circumstances in every part of the world, not to mention, the United States.

The explanation: So you got a “D” in a language class. This is definitely not good, for language classes are a requirement for any four-year undergraduate institution. But not to be discouraged, you have an opportunity with the amount of essays available on the common app as well as supplemental essays. Here are some helpful sites: (https://www.collegetransitions.com/blog/7-ways-to-address-a-bad-grade-on-your-college-application/), (https://www.shemmassianconsulting.com/blog/common-app-additional-information-section), And (https://www.collegeessayguy.com/blog/common-app-additional-info-guide-examples). Also, this site “CollegeVine” specifically says: “Don't use your personal essay to explain a bad grade unless there is another reason for doing so. For example, if you experienced a traumatic car accident during your junior year and your grades suffered...” (https://blog.collegevine.com/should-you-explain-a-bad-grade-when-applying-to-college/)

I’m guessing you’re a sophomore? You have many great years ahead of you. Remember, doing great things outside of the classroom will add to your personal outlook for college. But NEVER load up on EC’s just to impress admissions, they may note this—and sometimes it can have a negative impact. Rather, all-in-all, do the the extracurriculars that are important to you and will give you the best experience—this is what colleges want to see, that you’ve taken initiative in your studies to prepare to set off and soar in this world.

Hope this helps!!

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Duke University
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Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


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