|By Minormajor (Minormajor) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 08:58 am: Edit|
My son is extremely smart and scores well on tests SAT 1550(usually A's on his tests and the highest score for the class) But....he is stubborn about homework and if he feels it is busywork, in the past, he has not done it. Of course his teachers resent this and his grades reflect it. He has managed to reduce his GPA to a 3.55. He is in all accelerated classes at a private school that thinks homework is sacred. He is now in his senior year and realizes what he has done to himself. He is working like a maniac to raise his grades, all AP classes and hopefully, improve his GPA. Is it too late or will colleges recognize that he has woken up and will continue?
|By Voronwe (Voronwe) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 09:11 am: Edit|
Senior year is *awfully* late to "wake up" since a student really only has first semester to make a difference - and that can easily be overweighed by the previous 6 semesters. And colleges look MUCH more favorably on slightly lower board scores with high grades than at high board scores with low grades, since it makes the kid look like a slacker.
The saving grace is that he didn't drop to a 2.55! If that 3.55 is unweighted, there's still a chance at some good schools though probably not elite ones. If it is weighted, it's not very good, as the colleges often unweight, then add back by their own systems for AP etc.
He should obviously keep working hard, though - you never know!
|By Marite (Marite) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 09:14 am: Edit|
This is very tricky. I've overheard adcoms describing a student with perfect SATs but so-so GPA as an underachiever. "We don't want that kind of student here." The interpretation of the gap was that the student was lazy; in college, the student would have a hard time dealing with the amount of work to be doled out.
Underachieving by bright students is not unusual; sometimes, they don't need to expand much effort to do well, and therefore don't. They thus acquire bad study habits as things come too easily to them. But sometimes, they resent the busywork. Mine did, but we were lucky in that he was able to take advanced classes that were challenging to him. But once of twice, his teachers gave him somewhat lower grades as wake-up calls. I don't think they held him in disfavor; they were in fact a bit apologetic about giving him a lower grade. He is actually going to ask one of them to write a rec for him. She nominated him for a national competition and for the school prize at the same time as she gave him the B+.
In your S's case, it will be important to construct a convincing case for his abilities. Did he have AP classes in junior year? How did he score on the exams? Is it possible for your S to find out whether the teachers that gave him lower grades would be comfortable writing an enthusiastic letter, explaining that the grades did not reflect his abilities but that he is now doing much better on the homework front because he is challenged in a way he was not before?
|By Dadx (Dadx) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 09:15 am: Edit|
Assuming he is a senior, it is quite late. In selecting your span of schools to target, be certain to look at how students with your son's AVERAGE did the last two years in admissions. Apply to some of those schools.....at least three or four....where those kids WITH THE SAME AVERAGE were admitted. Ignore that they had much lower SAT scores.
At the same time, feel free to aim higher with more applications. You need more applications and a broader range of schools because of the imbalance that you have in your stats. If you focus solely on the schools were those with the same scores were admitted, you run a risk of being very disappointed.
We had a similar issue last year, and ended up applying to about 12 schools and were admitted at about half. You may be able to elevate your chances if there is no "stumble" in the senior grades.
|By Minormajor (Minormajor) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 09:32 am: Edit|
Wow...thanks for your help and it was so fast coming. My son has always taken honors classes at his school. They are considered an honor because the competition for them is very difficult. He took 3 APs his junior year. Got 5s. He has 5 APs this year. I have looked at a book his school has with all the stats for students and college accept. and reject. The MITs are not looking good by the students have certainly gotten into some great places with similar stats as my son. Carnegie Mellon, Cornell, Bucknell, UVA, William and Mary. But you never know. It is not that he has consistently not done homework. He is selective. Just the assignments that are super boring to him. It just takes one a semester...HW is 20% of the grade one zero can really bring the grade down. I realize that this is not a good trait but with his newfound maturity, he has realized being responsible means doing things you do not like.That was a great suggestion about having a teacher that he has had before address this. His Physics teacher is now his BC Cal. teacher. Thanks so much!
|By Songman (Songman) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 09:50 am: Edit|
I agree with what was said above. You have described my son exactly. It did hurt him with admission to the top LAC's. The so called "2nd tier LAC's were happy to offer admission. We are discovering ,now that he is in his freshman year at a large university ,that his attitude so far is the same. He is capable of outstanding work, but takes the path of least resistance. I am no psychologist but my friends claim that their son's were the same and they woke up in junior year of college and their extremely efficient daughters (that were with the program all through high school and college) adopt this attitude later in life. A generalization I realize,but apparently true in some cases. For us our son is in the "what is life all about?" stage- Schoolwork is rote and boring and he sees no point to it.
|By Dadx (Dadx) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 10:08 am: Edit|
I'd think of adding UMich and Vanderbilt to your list. Possibly Rice. UVa had a comment somewhere that they rejected 300 students last year with over 1500 on their boards. None of those is certaain, obviously, but if you get the numbers up, you'll be OK. The schools you need to focus on are roughly ranked 18-30th or so in USnews.
USC might be an interesting possibility. Also, especially if you happen to be a full payer I think the UCs, UVa, UNC, and UMich are good places to apply from out of state. None of them is need blind, and they also like the high scores.
|By Minormajor (Minormajor) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 10:21 am: Edit|
Does it matter at all in this senario that my son has a very well rounded list of ECs? Music, Drama, Yearbook Editor, Sports, Community Service?
|By Sybbie719 (Sybbie719) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 10:38 am: Edit|
What you must to remember, in the admissions process the most weight is placed on grades, rigerous curriculum and ranking (for schools that rank) as the best predictor of future behavior is relevant past behavior.
While the EC's are great they cannot make up for grades that not reflect your best work. As a matter of fact it, may come back and bite him because the Adcoms may wonder that maybe the EC's were taking up too much of his time which could have been better spent on his school work.
|By Jamimom (Jamimom) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 10:54 am: Edit|
The transcript is indeed the strongest piece of the picture to adcoms. The lower GPA will most likely hurt your son, depending on the schools where he is applying. If you take a peek at the gpas at top schools, you will see that the range is extremely narrow. It is not unusual to see that 90% of the kids are in the top 10 % of their class and many kids have an unweighted 4.0 in the selective schools.
But a 3.55 is not a low GPA, depending on the school and courses taken. The top colleges like to translate the gpa into a class rank of sorts, and it is impossible to predict what that will do for your son. Also an improving trend is something that adcoms like to see. I recommend kids who can really shine senior year to send a letter to the adcom with that mid term result highlighting those grades. There will be kids who are starting to burn out and dropping hard courses and getting lower grades at that time, and if your son can shine and excell, it can help the situation.
|By Minormajor (Minormajor) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 11:13 am: Edit|
I have to disagree with the statement that all the ecs might be seen as time used to neglect studies. There has to be more to life than just books. Someone who demonstrates talent in other areas should be considered over a student who only studies. I have heard that admissions rather have a well rounded student than a student whose only interest is getting the highest GPA. Yes my son has devoted a great deal of his free time to studying an instument and participating in orchestras. Shouldn't this be viewed as a positive?
|By Soozievt (Soozievt) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 11:32 am: Edit|
Minormajor, I do agree with the others that the GPA and grades and courseload are the biggest factor and that schools would rather lower SATs coupled with high GPA than vice versa. However, your son's GPA UNweighted (that IS unweighted 3.55, right?) is not a low GPA by any means. It does not spell slacker particularly as it appears that he has taken a rigorous curriculum. What it means, however, is that at the very most selective colleges such as Ivy League, MIT, top LACs, that GPA will hurt when a majority of applicants have higher ones than that. It is just so competitive. I happen to agree with you that his strong ECs create a stronger package than merely a kid with straight As who has not accomplished outside the classroom. However, at elite colleges, applicants will have high GPAs, rank, test scores AND strong ECs too. It is a jungle out there, lol.
The good news is that just as you mentioned, kids with his "stats" from your school got into very fine colleges such as Bucknell, Carnegie Mellon, UVA, William and Mary. And that is the point...your son is a very good candidate for some very good colleges in this range. Others mentioned some other very good schools for your son to consider. I think he is competitive for schools like those schools, but his GPA lessons his chances quite a bit at the very elite schools such as ones I mentioned earlier. He could apply to those as far reaches and anything is possible but when the odds are already difficult to get into those uber elites even with being a valedictorian with a 1600 and a 4.0, they will be even lesser for a kid with a 3.55.
So, your son has a very good GPA but not competitive with the pool of applicants to the very top schools but he sure looks like an appropriate candidate to schools just one notch below those (still excellent schools), when you add in his test scores and ECs.
PS, if his GPA is weighted and 3.55, I qualify what I said above and feel that he needs to lower his sights.
|By Jamimom (Jamimom) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 11:36 am: Edit|
I don't think the ECs are going to raise a flag or an adcom eyebrow one way or the other. They are typical for those applying to competitive schools. Now if your son is the next Yoyo Ma or an Olympian, the time taken from studies would be more than forgiven. But unless the kid is in the stratospheres of accomplishment, it is pretty much looked upon as normal for a very broad range, one that your son is well in.
I think that with this GPA situation, your son should apply to a broader range of colleges than he might have. The very top schools are crapshoots anyways, but for the match schools, he needs to pick a slightly lower level because of lower grades. Sometimes schools will give out the percent of kids accepted at various gpa and SAT score levels and you can find that info on the college's web site. That'll give you some guidance. Also, state schools tend to be formula driven, and many double the class rank or the unweighted gpa or some other stat that rates the transcript and add it to the SAT to come up with an academic index for accept or reject. The very high SAT and the not so low gpa will help in such formulas.
BTW, my son falls in the same category--he did well last semester, last year because he was grounded and forced to focus on studies. If he does well this term, he would have pretty good prospects, the school counselor says. His freshman, sophomore years did not even hit a 3.0. And he is thinking of pulling a lotto ticket along with the audition schools where he is applying as a theatre major. There are many kids in that category, I believe, and they do tend to be male.
|By Emptynester (Emptynester) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 11:38 am: Edit|
Minormajor, you are of course correct in all you say and your son sounds amazing. I dislike the emphasis on grades in hs very much and think rejecting busy-work homework is very sensible. However the harsh reality is that there are probably many more 1500+ valedictorians with exceptional and award winning musical talents than will fit into all the freshman classes of next year's most selective colleges. Maybe I am wrong. Others opinions? If you haven't already looked at the archives for last year's acceptances/rejections you may want to do so. It seems to me (absolutely not a professional just a mom who has been looking at the process a few years now) that the best you can do is create an application that highlights your son's postives, creates an interesting profile, de-emphasizes the negatives and apply to many many schools. Best of luck!
|By Rhonda63 (Rhonda63) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 11:39 am: Edit|
Minor -- I agree with Soozie, 3.55 by itself is not THAT low. But you haven't really put it into context -- do you have an idea of where that places him re class rank? If it's not the top 10%, then it is going to hurt at the most elite schools.
As for ECs, I think the problem is that you have to first pass the "threshold" of high class rank, again I'm talking about the most elite colleges. While his ECs are certainly a positive aspect, ECs aren't going to make up for grades.
|By Minormajor (Minormajor) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 11:49 am: Edit|
Thanks Susan....I forgot to mention that my son had 4 years of French and learned to hate it and thinking about it....it could be the most important reason for his lower GPA. His GC strongly recommended he continue with it even though it was a struggle since colleges really want to see 4 years of a language and they prefer it be the same one all four years. I really appreciate all the advice given here. It has all been excellent and thoughtful. My son's college list will include reach, possibles, and likely. We might get a number of rejections, which knowing from my older son's experience, just one can be very painful, but I think my younger son will do OK.
|By Mstee (Mstee) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 12:01 pm: Edit|
Minormajor--your son's stats sound very similar to my S's last year. He applied to a range of colleges and garnered two rejections, three waitlists, and six acceptances. It looked like he was headed to Grinnell, but he got off the waitlist for UChicago, and is there now. Grinnell gave him some merit aid, which made it not that much more expensive than a UC (University of California). He also got a little bit of aid from Chicago, need based, I guess. We have two in college, and have three more at home! I mentioned the aid, because I noticed on another thread that cost is a concern for you, as it is for most of us!
|By Aparent4 (Aparent4) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 12:04 pm: Edit|
There is a thread on the fact that 4 years of a language are not necessary. I know quite a few kids, including my two, who were admitted to extremely competitive schools with 3 years of a language, one of which had been taken in middle school. I don't know if it's too late at this point to liberate your son from French during senior year...
As for ECs, getting recs from the teacher advisors may offer an opportunity to show your son as enthusiastic and driven.
If he's willing, the GC may be able to write a letter depicting your s's unevenness as a sign of his hunger for more meaningful work. My own s did A- work freshman year, when required to be in slow-moving heterogeneously grouped classes; he did A+ work as soon as he had the opportunity to take AP courses. The GC pointed out how unusual this was and, in his rec, attributed this to s's giftedness. Fwiw.
|By Mstee (Mstee) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 12:07 pm: Edit|
Also, if you can find it in the archives, TheDad created a thread last spring in which people contributed stats (if they felt like it), the schools applied to, and the results. There was also a thread about which schools came through with generous merit awards.
|By Carolyn (Carolyn) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 12:08 pm: Edit|
What's his weighted GPA? Class rank?
|By Minormajor (Minormajor) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 12:32 pm: Edit|
Mstee: Yes, cost is important and I am willing to make any sacrafice. I just think it is unfair that aid is so limited. As for GPA and the competition out there....I know that there are many with resumes that will exceed my child's. Especially those applying to the Ivy's. The trouble is that I know that he is just as bright and very capable of doing the work. All his AP courses, with their huge workload, come easily to him. I have mentioned his homework problem but it is just certain assignments not most. His school pours on the hw and he spends 3-4 hours a night going at it. So if I portrayed him as a slacker, I did not mean it. He is just stubborn and gets insulted by certain assignments that he feels wastes his precious time. If he doesn't get something signed by me, they take points off grade as well. As I said he is really involved in school and outside activities and the day only has so many hours in it. There is no grade inflation at his school(although they do weight grades but not as much as some other schools). They really make the kids earn what they get especially in the honors and APs. I know he is ultimately responsible for all his grades and assignments and I am not blaming anyone else for it. It is just frustrating that if he had taken an easier course load or gone to a less demanding school, his grades might have been higher. I am just not convinced that colleges can compare apples to oranges. SAT I and IIs level the playing field but GPA is most important but does not always reflect a students potential against other students at other schools. As for rank....the school he attends has a great many very bright students with 4.plus so I don't have the heart to even ask his rank. They say they don't rank the students but I am sure it is easy to determine looking at all the stats.
|By Monydad (Monydad) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 12:36 pm: Edit|
My kid was the same. She was rejected at a few schools that accept fewer than 25% of their applicants, and accepted at the others.
No way to be certain, but I feel the grades are likely to have been the key reason for the rejections. I also wonder how strong her school recommendation was; there were a few teachers who were obviously upset that she did not work hard in their classes, and were likely to pass on these thoughts to the counselors.
Might have been due to applying at the deadline and asking for financial aid, too. Or extracurriculars. Or who knows.
|By Rhonda63 (Rhonda63) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 12:49 pm: Edit|
Minor -- I completely sympathize w/your son. I think schools give a LOT of useless homework. 3-4 hours a night is not unusual, and after ECs etc (not to mention eating dinner!) there aren't enough hours in the day. I recall coming home from HS every day and sitting down to watch General Hospital!! And I was a good student and got into a top private university!
My D had very much the same attitude as your son, probably worse, until 9th grade. She would routinely blow off HW, generally got As on tests, but as you know, you can't get an A in the class even w/an A test average if you've got zeros on numerous HW assignments. It was the same thing -- if she liked the class, she'd do the work, if she didn't, she wouldn't bother. I would get calls from teachers saying she basically sits in the class and reads books the whole time! And again, her grades on tests were always high!
I sent her to a new school in 9th grade, a small private school w/small classes (as small as 5, generally no more than 12), figuring that she would HAVE to pay attention with such small classes. It turned out to be an excellent school for her, it was very progressive and they called their teachers by their first names. The classes WERE small, and the teachers were almost uniformly excellent -- by the end of 9th grade, she was doing all her work and had actually become much more interested in her grades (although not interested enough to avoid hard-grading teachers -- I remember in 11th grade she switched out of an easy teacher's class into a notorious tough grader's class because the latter was much more interesting). I give credit to the school and the teachers -- I don't think my nagging made any diff.
Your son sounds like a bright kid who wants to focus his intelligence and time on the things that matter to him and that he finds interesting. It's hard to criticize that, except that the colleges will look at all his grades, unfortunately. I'm sure he is capable of performing well at any school in the country. Good luck to him -- he deserves a school where he can be challenged and inspired to do well.
|By Minormajor (Minormajor) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 01:06 pm: Edit|
Rhonda: I think you are right....smaller classes and more demanding subject matter can make a big difference. My son's school is private with very small classes and very enthusiastic dedicated teachers. I think I made the right choice but with all the emphasis on grades...you begin to second guess yourself.
|By Mini (Mini) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 01:12 pm: Edit|
So throw out the "top" 20 schools in the National University section of USNWR and the "top 20" LACs, and there are dozens, even hundreds of schools that will challenge your son's intelligence, provide huge numbers of opportunities, as good or even better access to graduate and professional schools, places where he will have fun, learn, and grow. The faculty will come from exactly the same graduate schools and programs as those who teach at the snootier places. Many of the schools will be very generous in aid - merit as well as needbased.
Go to www.studentsreview.com and see what current and former students are saying about Harvard. (Of course it is an unscientific sample.) Then go read the comments about St. Olaf, Beloit, DePauw, Earlham, Kenyon, Vassar, (all right, it is top 20). See where you think your son really fits - you might be pleasantly surprised
|By Alwaysamom (Alwaysamom) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 01:38 pm: Edit|
Rhonda, your comment about General Hospital made me smile and recall a nice memory. I used to do the same! I grew up in South Jersey where hoagies are king and I'd stop on the way home from school once a week to get one for my mom and one for me and we'd sit and eat them while watching the trials and tribulations of Steve and Audrey. Thanks for reminding me of that.
|By Blossom (Blossom) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 01:50 pm: Edit|
MinorMajor.... one more thought.... perhaps your GC will share with you the part of the book that tracks rejections (more important in my opinion for your son than the acceptances). I think some parents overestimate their kids chances when they see kids "just like mine" who were accepted to places they were interested in... but the rejections tell the rest of the story. If the kids who were rejected have profiles similar to your son's you may need to go down a notch in selectivity just to make sure that you've got the safety/matches covered.
The acceptances give you SAT's and GPA but don't tell you Intel Finalist (our school had one) Presidential Scholar, played with the NY Philharmonic, had a patent approved, etc. It is easy to misinterpret the acceptances without the rejections as perspective....
IMHO, the essays are the make or break for a kid like yours. They can either focus on something he cares about and illuminate his application, or they can be flip and shallow, and just make him look like a really smart kid who didn't work up to his potential. He may need to spend some time with the teachers writing his recc's to make sure they address his passion for learning and not just "smart kid, pleasure to have in class" type of stuff.
|By Emptynester (Emptynester) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 01:50 pm: Edit|
LOL came home from hs to lunch and watch Y&R with stay-at-home mom & a dad who arranged his private practice to be home at that time with us every day. Continued with Y&R at college sorority house where almost every schedule was arranged around it but finally gave it up when my pre-schoolers started insisting I give detailed explanations of each and every character and plot development from the show's beginning.
|By Songman (Songman) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 01:57 pm: Edit|
also is your son's private school a high ranking school? If so the GPA may be considered excellent by the adcom's.....
|By Rhonda63 (Rhonda63) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 02:33 pm: Edit|
Alwaysamom -- It's a shame our kids won't have that kind of memory ... my mother didn't watch GH but my sister and I used to watch together. Definitely fun times!
|By Minormajor (Minormajor) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 02:38 pm: Edit|
How would I find out if colleges regard my son's high school as "high ranking"?
|By Bluealien01 (Bluealien01) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 03:04 pm: Edit|
Useless would be right I guess depending on how you define that. I think schools need to quit with the worksheet after worksheet crap and teach students how to write essays, research papers, etc. That is meaningful stuff. Doing crossword puzzles to learn science terms or filling in the blank for social studies definitions is stupid...and of course there are other stupid wasteful things that they have kids do. I had to collect leaves over a period of a few months in the 6th grade and stick them in a photobook with the common names on them. And that was it. No other info was needed or learned about the trees that the leaves came from. What the heck that had to do with anything I don't know. And might I just say once again (I've said it before on these boards) that in an AP class I took the final exam given by the teacher was.....*drum roll*....a crossword puzzle.......
|By Jamimom (Jamimom) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 04:39 pm: Edit|
Blossom's advice sounds pretty good to me. Although it could be perceived as viewing the glass as half empty, it gives valuable info as to how many kids with your son's stats are not accepted at various schools. Many times I hear about this kid or that accepted at HPY with some glitch in the resume but often a piece of crucial info is left out such as he is a developement kid, or nationally ranked in squash or is half Hispanic despite the Anglo name. If your school has one of the college stats notebooks, you can peruse the schools and see who applied and was accepted and rejected with various gpas and test scores.
I saw on one ivy web site that 60% of the kids with SATs over 1500 or so, are accepted which looks great for such kids as the accept rate for the school barely a quarter of that. However, you wonder about the 40%, nearly half who were not accepted. Many probably did have gpas lower than the usual range or some other blemish on the profile.
|By Rhonda63 (Rhonda63) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 04:43 pm: Edit|
Janimom- that 60% is pretty high for the elite schools. I recall seeing Brown's numbers for class of 2006, and it looked like they turned down 2/3 of the 1500+ scorers.
|By Fresca (Fresca) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 05:42 pm: Edit|
If a top college is important, why not consider letting your son do a post graduate year somewhere? I've seen kids do well senior year and in a PG year get into top colleges, especially those with such high SATs.
|By Ohio_Mom (Ohio_Mom) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 05:42 pm: Edit|
There is also the question of how the schools report ranking. On some websites, they list the class rank as well as the percentage that submitted ranking (kind of like schools that don't require the SAT). The Tufts and Brown websites lists admits by various factors - SAT, Class Rank, etc. The statistic you need to be aware of is the limiting factor - class rank, in your (and my) son's case. Sure, admissions happen - but they are statistically less likely than if his GPA was in line with his score.
In my son's case, he is looked at a broader range of competitiveness in his schools that he would otherwise. The tippy-top ones are off the list, but it still contains several reachs. I would encourage you to delve into the question of rank at his school even if it unpleasant. Its better to know what you are dealing with.
|By Marite (Marite) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 06:03 pm: Edit|
I talked to a member of the staff in the MIT Admission Office about class rank. She mentioned that her own child goes to a school that does not rank either 1,2 3 or by percentiles. Nada. It happens to be one of the best public schools in the Greater Boston area (also in the country).
|By Ohio_Mom (Ohio_Mom) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 06:34 pm: Edit|
Yes, that's the point - the kids that are not top 5% or 10% aren't hurt - the school is well-known, the GC reports trusted - so the kids at the top probably aren't hurt either. Marite, you were fortunate to get the MIT Dean. We got an MIT junior that couldn't answer the stickier questions, and the audience got a tad rowdy.
|By Dadx (Dadx) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 07:13 pm: Edit|
Getting back in late on this thread. The EC question which came up was in my own post and I dropped it to stay on topic. Now that it's out there, I told my son last year that the admission results he got would be a referendum on how much the colleges were willing to offset a slightly lowere GPA from an pretty bright kid by taking into consideration a very broad and accomplished EC schedule. (Seven varsity letters, major part in the play, member of a select music ensemble, attended a national level audition music program, etc.) The answer was, when it was all considered that his grades disqualified him at the most competitive schools.
This didn't surprise me, really, Kids like these buy into the myth that they are competing with unidimensional geeks who can't hold a conversation and are otherwise socially undesireable, and therefor their great personalities will surely carry the day as they usually have. Wrong.
It is very important for you to use your guidance book well. Take notes from for all the schools you think you'd like to apply to (say the all of the top 40-50) and go home and put it into an excel spreadsheet and resort it by average and it will show you class rank and how many places each kid got into and also which ones they didn't get into. I did this and I felt afterwards that my sons application list was as intelligently chosen as it could have been.
|By Vbtwins (Vbtwins) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 08:05 pm: Edit|
The Ivies and Elite schools take the "total package" with respect to their applicants, "because they can". Of course ec's matter somewhat but ultimately the goal of a college is to graduate it's freshman. In other words, first and foremost, they have to make sure that those they admit can above all, "hack the curriculum". Most of the extremely competitive schools have quite an impressive pool to choose from. It's my opinion that the students admitted to those schools are the "total package".....high SAT's, 4.0 GPA's, and top 5 to 10% of their graduating class. Of course they also have a list of good ec's. I have twin seniors at a very competitive VA high school. Both will graduate with 7 AP's and both have an impressive list of ec's. One is the "total package",the other, while maybe more "social and well-rounded", has less of a GPA and lower SAT's. The very real fact is that they don't have the same options. All I can say is this should prove to be very interesting. They are identical boys by the way.
|By Dadofsam (Dadofsam) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 08:42 pm: Edit|
Minormajor: this thread has wandered a bit, as many of those on this board tend to do.
Getting back to the original question, in case you haven't internalized (a terrible word, to be sure) some of this yet, let me add my comments to those of Soozie and Mini.
1. Your son's grades are PDG!! (pretty darn good) unless that's a weighted average.
2. Like it or not, schools looking for reasons to put his application into the "out" box will decide that there is too great a discrepancy between his SAT and his GPA. The easy explanation will be that he's a fine test taker but doesn't have the necessary good study habits to do well in "our elite school" (fill in the name).
3. So your S likely will join the majority of applicants to the most elite schools (many of whom will have better GPAs and SATs than him) in not being accepted.
4. So what?
5. There are a lot of PDG schools that will be happy to have a student with his GPA and SATs, especially the latter, and some are likely to offer some merit aid to have him attend their school. Look at some threads on that very topic right here on the parents' board. Consider what geographical location, whether urban or rural, what size, what possible majors.
6. Some of us (not me so much) are very good in giving specific recommendations if they have such information.
Keep in touch as the year progresses
|By Emptynester (Emptynester) on Wednesday, September 29, 2004 - 09:16 pm: Edit|
vbtwins-- do they want to be at the same or different colleges or do they care?
|By Vbtwins (Vbtwins) on Thursday, September 30, 2004 - 07:17 am: Edit|
Emptynester, they really get along well,and have the same group of friends, etc.,and having looked at most of the VA public schools, they would love to attend a school like UVA together, but they know this is not possible. As a Mom, I would like to see them together in college, but I'm sure it's in their best interest to separate and learn to be apart. Kind of sad for them in a way.................We really tried to keep them on the same tract in school. They took the exact same subjects, both in a very challenging and rigorous curriculum. As I mentioned, one of the boys is a bit shyer, so he focused almost exclusively on his grades, while the other blossomed more athletically and socially. Now I see the one that focused more on studies, being "the total package". It's so hard not to compare them. I will say that I see the other twin as being more well rounded, more confident than his 4.0 brother. But UVA and W&M would not be in his realm of possibilites, and to be honest, maybe wouldn't be a match anyway. At times I think we were all sold a bill of goods with all the ec's. The bottom line in most colleges is: GPA, standardized test scores, and class ranking-----then they'll look at you to see what you will add to their school. I think twin B may even have his work cut out for him with James Madison and Virginia Tech................as I said, this should really be eye opening and interesting....by the way, I have another son who is a freshman in high school. Hopefully we will have gained some experience!
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