How much do personal qualities really count?

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Discus: What Are My Chances?: September 2003 Archive: How much do personal qualities really count?
By Writer (Writer) on Monday, September 29, 2003 - 07:17 pm: Edit

All right, here is the deal. I have about a 3.5 unweighted GPA, 3.75 or so weighted. Class rank is like top 28 percent or so. SAT 1 I got a 1350 (710 Verbal 640 Math), SAT 2's are an 800 Writing, 710 Literature, and 580 Math IC (I know, ouch, I'm taking math again October 11th). I know these numbers and scores do not compare with a lot of other people's, but I do have some unique personal things going on. I've been honored in my state for my involvement in civil rights programs, and among many other things I have had a relatively large amount of involvement with my state government. I also spent last summer at Harvard and I loved it. Do you think that my personal qualities make up for my numerical shortcomings in terms of getting into a good school, or do my numbers omit me from the pool? Thanks for your help.

By Antigone (Antigone) on Monday, September 29, 2003 - 07:58 pm: Edit

I think you have great chances of getting into a good school. And I'm glad not everyone is getting 1500 sats and 4.3 gpas. I'm getting sickened by all of it. Basically, you're right where I am and I'm applying to schools like Kenyon, Vassar, Conn. Coll, Skidmore. I don't know if I'll get in but for some of them, I don't think it's impossible.

By Writer (Writer) on Monday, September 29, 2003 - 09:36 pm: Edit


By Pacman (Pacman) on Monday, September 29, 2003 - 10:06 pm: Edit

The math killed you. But your verbal is good. Give your personal accomplishments, you will not major in math and science but rather something like politics. have a shot at Harvard.

By Writer (Writer) on Tuesday, September 30, 2003 - 12:38 am: Edit

Wow, you really think I might have a shot at Harvard? I keep on reading posts here where kids with like perfect everything get ripped to shreds when they even mention the H word. That would be absolutely incredible if I got into Harvard.

By Quakerboy2 (Quakerboy2) on Tuesday, September 30, 2003 - 02:41 am: Edit

OK, honestly, at the elite ridiculously top schools, yes, your numbers will probably just immediately kick you out of their pools. Stanford, Harvard, Princeton, and Yale are probably out of your reach, but if your personal qualities are really that fantastic, you will be the person who pulls down the average scores of a certain college because they accepted you.

Once you have the numbers in their range, if they aren't either fantastic or abysmal, your personal qualities are the only thing you have. They will not try to differentiate between two people with the same scores on everything except one SATII. They will use the personal qualities to determine who gets in. For example, I am one of the 2% at MIT that didn't graduate in the top 10% of his/her class, and I got in because of my ECs (loads of Boy Scout stuff / Decent amounts of theater).

Basically, find a few colleges where the range fits, you like the place, and you'll have a very good shot. Numbers aren't everything.

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