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Old 2007-06-08, 22:56   Link #1
Yakult
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Low GPA Miracle Stories (College Acceptances)

So as another year comes to a close... specifically my junior year, I've been thinking about colleges to a certain point where it's the only thing I care about. I've been running around Google looking for blogs, acceptance posts, and other things so that I could compare my current high school achievements to others and make myself feel better even though I'm sure I have no chances for schools such as Stanford.

So anyways, I'm going to describe what I've "achieved" in high school so far and I was hoping you guys could tell me what kind of colleges would be available to me? I mean I'm still going to apply for my dream schools although I'm sure I'll be flat out rejected. (and please don't laugh at my grades :P I'm sure theres people way smarter than me on this forum (: )

Spoiler for High School Profile:


My main worries are that my GPA is too low.. although my transcript shows immense improvement since my Sophomore year. Another thing that bothers me is that apparently colleges look for dedicated in one's extracurricular activities (Especially schools like Stanford!). Lastly, I hear of other students who get awarded grip loads of awards, yet I only have one -real- award... Do I even stand a chance to be accepted to a school such as Stanford? or should I stick to universities such as USC/UCLA?

End of whine fest =|

Last edited by xris; 2007-06-28 at 16:10.
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Old 2007-06-08, 23:46   Link #2
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i'm not going to say dont try for ivy league stuff, if that's your dream, go for it.

state colleges can be a wonderful experience. it might be more important for you to decide what you want to major in first so u can see what type of schools might meet any special needs. here in texas not every college has japanese courses and they all didnt have good engineering programs which is what i was first interested in.

but u also might look at current job markets and what city you plan to work in too.
unless ur whole family lives in CA and your admant about staying there, UCLA? no...
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Old 2007-06-08, 23:53   Link #3
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From my point of view you are pretty solid for college right now

2310 for SAT I??? man I want your score (I got a 2220 and retaking it -__-"", my goal is 2300)

well seems like your academic record is pretty solid and so is your extracurricular (better than mine at least, I'm screwed haha)

As a fellow Junior too I envy your successes lol, so what I would say is that dont worry about it too much, your record is solid and just believe in yourself (3.7 GPA isn't that bad at all, I knew somebody who had a 3.4 GPA and got into UC Berkely )

Well that's all I have to say, good luck =)
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Old 2007-06-08, 23:59   Link #4
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Are you attempting to show off with false humility?

Are there people with better records? Yes.
Nonetheless, you would be competitive in attempting to enter ANY school.

I give you one piece of concrete advice: Pick your school based on its relevance to your future career. If you don't need the social networking of an ivy league school, it would be wasted money. If you're not seeking the technical skills available at a school like MIT, it would be wasted money. College prestige will mean NOTHING once you're established in your career, unless you like telling people where you went to college in order to impress them. If those ARE things you are seeking at college, then you are WELL prepared to gain entrance to practically any school you like.

Just keep in mind that college won't determine your future. YOU will. Bill Gates never finished college. There are Ivy League graduates who are penniless and without respect. College is just one tool along the way of making your self.

And if you know that one particular college is the one you need to go to, don't be afraid to start some where else for a year and apply again later.
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Old 2007-06-09, 00:32   Link #5
aahhsin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kyuusai View Post
Are you attempting to show off with false humility?

Are there people with better records? Yes.
Nonetheless, you would be competitive in attempting to enter ANY school.

I give you one piece of concrete advice: Pick your school based on its relevance to your future career. If you don't need the social networking of an ivy league school, it would be wasted money. If you're not seeking the technical skills available at a school like MIT, it would be wasted money. College prestige will mean NOTHING once you're established in your career, unless you like telling people where you went to college in order to impress them. If those ARE things you are seeking at college, then you are WELL prepared to gain entrance to practically any school you like.

Just keep in mind that college won't determine your future. YOU will. Bill Gates never finished college. There are Ivy League graduates who are penniless and without respect. College is just one tool along the way of making your self.

And if you know that one particular college is the one you need to go to, don't be afraid to start some where else for a year and apply again later.
He's right... I learned that the hard way...

Then again, I'm a counselor so it doesn't really matter what school I go to. Yes I get to hear kids whine all day long. Fun job.

And 3.7 is low? Curse me and my 2.4... That is a very good GPA score, and as for colleges go, it's actually better to go to a school that you're more comfortable in.

There's also financial situations. If you're poor, it's actually better to go to a community college and save thousands of dollars before heading off to a 4 year university. But if you feel financially and mentally ready, I suggest you go straight to college.

And many colleges are very high on what exactly do your extra curricular activities do for you and your intended future.

for example, What's the point of taking Drums if you have no intention of being a drummer? You can say it's a hobby, but admittance members could care less.

Write your letter of intent, which should take at least a few drafts, and give it to a teacher you really trust, or have respect for. He'll help revise it some more.
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Old 2007-06-09, 00:34   Link #6
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If you're saying that 3.7 is a low GPA, then good for you - you have high standards. Keep at them.

I have one semester left at USC. Back when I was applying to schools, I'd basically chosen the sort of major that I wanted to be, and looked at schools based on what majors they offered that best fit what I thought I wanted. I applied to six, and was accepted to four. Of the four I was accepted to, my SATs were below their average for the incoming class (those were the days when it was out of 1600). I don't know what my GPA was, but my school didn't weight AP class grades either way.

Not much of a booster, but there you go. I will add one thing to what Kyuusai said about choosing a school based on relevance to future career: include the fact that things can change drastically when you're in college. USC was the ONLY school that I applied to that was not an all-engineering school. After three years of engineering, I changed majors. I could have done the same at an engineering school, but the options would have been much more limited. I had a lot more versatility at a much broader school such as USC.

And that aside, don't you want to make friends with people pursuing different paths of life? You'll be around people who are like you when you're a professional (or even at higher levels of schooling). Why specialize so early? I found comparing notes and getting a glimpse into what the life of a different career might be like to be very insightful and enjoyable.
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Old 2007-06-09, 00:56   Link #7
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Originally Posted by Ledgem View Post
If you're saying that 3.7 is a low GPA, then good for you - you have high standards. Keep at them.
I'm actually iffy about students with extreme expectations. I seen many that were completely decimated just for receiving a low score on a test. Depression is really a downer, and nobody honestly likes being around mentally challenged people. Really don't worry too much about these things. You're just going to set yourself up to fail even more.

If you gave it your best shot, then that should be enough. Remember you can always ask the professor on what you did wrong and improve on your next paper. Never think your life is over just because you received a bad grade.
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Old 2007-06-09, 01:04   Link #8
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Originally Posted by aahhsin View Post
I'm actually iffy about students with extreme expectations. I seen many that were completely decimated just for receiving a low score on a test. Depression is really a downer, and nobody honestly likes being around mentally challenged people. Really don't worry too much about these things. You're just going to set yourself up to fail even more.

If you gave it your best shot, then that should be enough. Remember you can always ask the professor on what you did wrong and improve on your next paper. Never think your life is over just because you received a bad grade.
Agreed, but to an extent. True, one test grade wont just you, but I feel the "do your best" is kinda too lenient, because you can totally not study for the test and still say "I did my best." I think you DO have to study hard for any tests, and then if it is just not your day I think "I did my best" is acceptable in that occasion.

I'm not trying to argue here, and I value your opinion. It's just that I think the "I did my best" is becoming more and more like an excuse nowadays.
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Old 2007-06-09, 01:13   Link #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aahhsin View Post
And 3.7 is low? Curse me and my 2.4...

Yea that was my GPA in high school. 2.4. Awesome.

Now I'm out of college and no one gives a rats ass what my GPA was.
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Old 2007-06-09, 01:13   Link #10
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Just to let you know, I got into Carnegie Mellon University's School of Computer Science with a 3.67 GPA and 2110 SAT I. You'll be fine. Very fine. I do like people with high standards.
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Old 2007-06-09, 01:47   Link #11
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Often a good interview and essays can over-ride less than angelic GPAs. The SAT is pretty important and there's no reason not to take it a few times these days. Often a good overall package smooths out minor bumps.

You should try to get an internship or jobwork close to whatever area you'd like to study in. And yes, those are really tough to find.

The problem with schools like Stanford, MIT, Rice, etc. is that they have a very limited number of slots --- and they get thousands of applicants so a little detail might make the difference.

Always have a plan B college. Also consider trying again at that "special" college as a transfer student after pulling good grades at Plan B college if you really think it means that much. The bar is often less since you've already "proven" yourself.

In 5-10 years, no employer will care what college you got your BS at or what your GPA was there either. It might impress people at parties....
I got a BSEE at Rice University <shrug> ... 26 years later, its a meh.
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Old 2007-06-09, 02:38   Link #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aahhsin View Post
He's right... I learned that the hard way...

Then again, I'm a counselor so it doesn't really matter what school I go to. Yes I get to hear kids whine all day long. Fun job.

And 3.7 is low? Curse me and my 2.4... That is a very good GPA score, and as for colleges go, it's actually better to go to a school that you're more comfortable in.

There's also financial situations. If you're poor, it's actually better to go to a community college and save thousands of dollars before heading off to a 4 year university. But if you feel financially and mentally ready, I suggest you go straight to college.

And many colleges are very high on what exactly do your extra curricular activities do for you and your intended future.

for example, What's the point of taking Drums if you have no intention of being a drummer? You can say it's a hobby, but admittance members could care less.

Write your letter of intent, which should take at least a few drafts, and give it to a teacher you really trust, or have respect for. He'll help revise it some more.
My GPA still haunts me because theres so many kids at my school who have over a 4.0 GPA >_< actually some even have over 4.2-ish! It was just recently that I found out how easy it is to succeed in high school... Even though my test scores may be high, I've been told constantly that GPA rules over it because apparently everyone goes to days of prep classes and receive high scores.

And yeah! You expressed my worries in a good way. I'm not part of our school's leadership or anything. I just play the drums as a hobby but it seems that it doesn't complement what I wish to be in the future so it also kind of worries my that the college I apply to will think I'm just doing these activities so that I can write it on my application :| My intended major is probably anything related to biology since I wish to research diseases when I'm old. I've heard that anything biology related could lead me into that direction.

Arg maybe the reason I'm going crazy about this is because I've been pressured all my life by my parents to go to a prestigious college or because I want to follow my friends into college since I'm not that great at making fresh relationships.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vexx View Post
Often a good interview and essays can over-ride less than angelic GPAs. The SAT is pretty important and there's no reason not to take it a few times these days. Often a good overall package smooths out minor bumps.

You should try to get an internship or jobwork close to whatever area you'd like to study in. And yes, those are really tough to find.

The problem with schools like Stanford, MIT, Rice, etc. is that they have a very limited number of slots --- and they get thousands of applicants so a little detail might make the difference.

Always have a plan B college. Also consider trying again at that "special" college as a transfer student after pulling good grades at Plan B college if you really think it means that much. The bar is often less since you've already "proven" yourself.

In 5-10 years, no employer will care what college you got your BS at or what your GPA was there either. It might impress people at parties....
I got a BSEE at Rice University <shrug> ... 26 years later, its a meh.
Yeah I'm hoping I can write my essays real early over summer so that I can refine them to perfection. Sadly essay writing and interviews or live conversations are my extreme weak points... I always freeze up.

And of course, I'm planning to apply to a lot of colleges >_< I guess that is a sign of my insecurities... and it is making me worry a bit more that I'll have to end up writing a lot of essays on topics that I'd probably never relate to. My life is pretty mundane. Some of the topics I've heard about seem impossible to write about.
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Old 2007-06-09, 02:52   Link #13
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Originally Posted by Yakult View Post
Arg maybe the reason I'm going crazy about this is because I've been pressured all my life by my parents to go to a prestigious college or because I want to follow my friends into college since I'm not that great at making fresh relationships.
Well, what better time to start? This may be the one chance you have in your life to reinvent yourself. Have you ever thought of it that way? Admittedly, when I entered college, I was an incredibly introverted individual. Nobody from my school went there, or even remotely near there. I was all the way on the opposite coast from my home. In my first year, I spent a lot of time talking to my old friends through IM. It was a lot of lost time, in retrospect, but change doesn't come easy. However, given where I am now, the struggle was definitely worth it.

You don't need to put yourself into a high-stress situation, but don't necessarily shy away from it, either. Ultimately, whether you're with your old friends or not, you'll be the one to influence what your experiences are and how they affect you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aaahsin
I'm actually iffy about students with extreme expectations. I seen many that were completely decimated just for receiving a low score on a test. Depression is really a downer, and nobody honestly likes being around mentally challenged people. Really don't worry too much about these things. You're just going to set yourself up to fail even more.
Wow aaahsin, I'm impressed. That's a really insightful thing to say, and I totally agree. What happened to the days when you used to troll this forum?

In my case, high school didn't prepare me for college, grade-wise. High grades were easy to get in high school. At my level now, they're not necessarily difficult, but it's completely different. I struggled a lot when I was new to the university setting, and had to deal with the realities of the fact that, even when I started spending the majority of my time in the library, my grades were basically half of what I was used to in high school. "Think smarter, not harder" defines what my experience was, really, but that's not a very helpful description. However, aaahsin's advice about not getting discouraged is a big one. I see so many students change the course of their lives because they receive a bad grade or two, and it's really an over-reaction.

Note also that the freshman year, especially that first semester, is stereotypically the time when your grades will be their lowest. Not always true, but it is for many people.

Vexx, you went to Rice?! A frend of mine just graduated from there! And an EE to boot... no wonder we have kinship! (I'm an ex-ENE [environmental engineering, since electrical stole EE])
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Old 2007-06-09, 04:38   Link #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yakult View Post
So as another year comes to a close... specifically my junior year, I've been thinking about colleges to a certain point where it's the only thing I care about. I've been running around Google looking for blogs, acceptance posts, and other things so that I could compare my current high school achievements to others and make myself feel better even though I'm sure I have no chances for schools such as Stanford.

So anyways, I'm going to describe what I've "achieved" in high school so far and I was hoping you guys could tell me what kind of colleges would be available to me? I mean I'm still going to apply for my dream schools although I'm sure I'll be flat out rejected. (and please don't laugh at my grades :P I'm sure theres people way smarter than me on this forum (: )

Spoiler for High School Profile:


My main worries are that my GPA is too low.. although my transcript shows immense improvement since my Sophomore year. Another thing that bothers me is that apparently colleges look for dedicated in one's extracurricular activities (Especially schools like Stanford!). Lastly, I hear of other students who get awarded grip loads of awards, yet I only have one -real- award... Do I even stand a chance to be accepted to a school such as Stanford? or should I stick to universities such as USC/UCLA?

End of whine fest =|
You're good. I got accepted into my dream school, but I decided not to go because i'm a Techcy guy and the other school was pretty much everything else I didn't need.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ice Climbers View Post
From my point of view you are pretty solid for college right now

2310 for SAT I??? man I want your score (I got a 2220 and retaking it -__-"", my goal is 2300)

well seems like your academic record is pretty solid and so is your extracurricular (better than mine at least, I'm screwed haha)

As a fellow Junior too I envy your successes lol, so what I would say is that dont worry about it too much, your record is solid and just believe in yourself (3.7 GPA isn't that bad at all, I knew somebody who had a 3.4 GPA and got into UC Berkely )

Well that's all I have to say, good luck =)
I got very lucky. You remember back when the new SAT was coming out? Well... I just happen to be able to take the very first one. It had no analogies or what ever , i've just heard there were analogies, but the one I took had absolutely none ^_^. And the score didn't reach the 2200 mark yet. I made like 1250.
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Old 2007-06-09, 13:27   Link #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yakult View Post
Arg maybe the reason I'm going crazy about this is because I've been pressured all my life by my parents to go to a prestigious college or because I want to follow my friends into college since I'm not that great at making fresh relationships.
I have a friend who grew up similarly. His parents immigrated from South Korea, then raised their two sons here in the US with very high expectations. They worked constantly, and expected their kids not to work so much as to excel--but the pressure was on high if they didn't.

For his brother, that was easy. His brother was more motivated and had the passion for goals that made his parents proud. My friend, though, didn't have the same motivated personality as his brother and wanted to do something that didn't come with guarantees of financial success, which did NOT make his parents happy.

He went back and forth with his parents about it until he finally made some steps toward his desired path, and his parents rethought their decision and decided that even if he wouldn't be rich, they could be happy that their son was doing something noble.

That went well until my friend suffered a setback, and they changed their mind again. He had to choose between his desires and his parents support. He picked a career path simply for the financial success while offering work he figured he could stand. Without the motivation of his own passion, or at least providing for a family, he did not handle it well.

Picking a college just because your friends are going generally isn't wise... but neither is picking a college just because your parents approve of it. Do something that YOU are passionate about. In all likelyhood, you can pursue that passion in a way that won't mean giving up your parents approval and support. It's not wise to toss away your parents support, nor is it wise to be socially isolated, but... choosing a path simply to please your parents or so you can stay with the same people who, themselves, may choose to go elsewhere shortly after, is generally a path to disaster.
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Old 2007-06-09, 17:39   Link #16
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Your stats are high enough where a 3.7 GPA won't hurt you. I had a very similar level of resume in high school and was worried about not having the 4.0 Trust me, the AP classes you've taken are more important than a 4.0 and your SAT scores are ideal (ivy likes to reject perfect scores for the sake of being able to reject perfect scores) If your Math SAT I isn't at 800 I'd keep taking it till it is (took me 3 tries). Your at the level where the numbers don't matter as much as the "other stuff". Interviews/essays are going to be more important than your GPA. Well written letters of recommendation will also be useful. Your resume isn't the best balanced, there are many students with mastery of high school academics, what sets them apart are leadership positions and athletics (you already have community service covered). You do have kendo which is good but I'd also join a school sport, cross country is a fall sport and might work well (try to find something you think you can letter in but do something anyway even if you can't letter). Try to find a club (or clubs, you can never have too many clubs) where you can have an officer position (vice pres was my favorite since it had almost no work). Doesn't matter how big the club is as long as you can put down the officer position in your resume. If you keep that in mind I don't see why any collage should be out of reach.
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Old 2007-06-10, 00:55   Link #17
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Wow aaahsin, I'm impressed. That's a really insightful thing to say, and I totally agree. What happened to the days when you used to troll this forum?])
When have I done this? I have never done such villianous deeds. You sir, have insulted my honor, and I now challenge you to a duel.
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Old 2007-06-10, 05:46   Link #18
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Unless your ivy league school only accept superb acceptance scores, then from my experience, you should be fine with most colleges.
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Old 2007-06-10, 09:37   Link #19
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Actually, your current GPA doesn't really matter. Nowadays, GPA inflation is so high that people keep coming out of high school with insane numbers. Colleges now take only your transcript and they calculate your GPA in their own formulas. If that number on your report card is unweighted and the college is a prestigious one, then rest assured that it will be raised as the admissions department recalculates.

At least that's what happened to my GPA.
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Old 2007-06-21, 00:59   Link #20
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um yea, this thread is pretty old i guess. but since i joined today. haha

oh wow. i envy your SAT score. and i'm korean too so i understand the pressure that you feel. my mom is forcing me to study under a tutor again in preparation for SAT's (2nd time im taking it. in oct). i was really happy with my writingskill score. critical reading was ok. math - omg haha my worst subject? not bad bad but still pretty bad considering my standards.

my GPA is a 4.0 something but that's weighted i think. well, at least you have an excuse for a lower GPA. i'm just lazy -_- and i procrastinate which drives my parents crazy. i cant and refuse to go to an IVY league school haha which is why i'm sticking with universities like NYU, University of Virginia, possibly Boston College (if i can make it ;_; with my horrible math SAT score).

i think a great deal accounts for the essay. do the best on that. my sister doesn't exactly have an academic achiever record, but she got accepted into a pretty good college (for its science program). we all really think it's because of her essay. colleges dont know you and cant tell what type of person you are just by your scores. let them know through your writing (:
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