Friday, September 2, 2016
Bradshaw: Is GPA an accurate gage of student's potential?
Dear Mr. Bradshaw,
I want to attend a top-tier college. My problem is my GPA, which I believe will be 3.0 when I graduate.
I don't think that my GPA is an accurate indicator of my potential. On the old SAT, I scored 1850/2400. My communication skills are excellent and I work part time as an assistant to an investment representative at a local bank. I want to major in business and my supervisor will give me an outstanding recommendation. I have also participated in a variety of extracurricular activities during my high school years.
What are my chances of getting into a top school based upon my GPA and test scores? I plan to apply to 20 elite colleges, with Butler and Indiana University as my backups. Is this a good strategy?
You will need at least a 3.85 GPA and 2250 SAT score to be taken seriously by elite colleges. I have written dozens of articles about getting into top schools and suggest you Google my columns for an eye-opener.
Even if you take the SAT again and improve your scores, the competition is strong enough that your GPA will hold you back as it will be of significant concern to admissions officers at any college you may choose.
I would recommend staying with your safety net schools, which tend to be a bit less sensitive to GPA and test scores. Unfortunately, your employer recommendation will not offset your academic record.
Here is a battle plan that may work if you are dead-set on applying to more competitive colleges. In order to offset your GPA, I would suggest that you retake the SAT after studying for it like you have never studied for any test before. Consider getting a tutor. The goal should be to score close to 1400/1600 on the new SAT. You should take the SAT Subject Test in Math II as well as in another subject area. If you do well it will increase your selection chances by showing strong analytical skills.
While you may have already taken classes in statistics, finance and financial accounting, you may wish to consider taking them again online. Getting an A will help offset your GPA.
As I have said many times before, improving your SAT or ACT scores is the single biggest effort you can make to improve your college application profile. The majority of schools require a standardized test in order to have a common denominator to consider when evaluating applicants. A 1400 SAT could tip the scales in your favor if you have a good reason for not earning higher grades.
There are plenty of resources online to help you select colleges where your GPA and SAT scores may not hinder your admissions chances. Be realistic. I would recommend that you apply to Indiana University's Kelly School of Business after completing your freshman year at IU. Many important companies recruit Kelly's graduates for internships and this would be an excellent school to help you jump-start your career. The average starting salary of $65,000 for Kelly grads is a plus as well.
There are any number of excellent business schools with successful job placement stats that should not be overlooked in your search. Do not concentrate on the prestige factor. What you are looking for is a solid business education from a college or university that has a demonstrated record of success in placing graduates.
Gerald Bradshaw is an international college admission consultant with Bradshaw College Consulting in Crown Point.<
Bradshaw College Consulting
International College Consultant
866-687-8129 (toll free)
+ 219-781-2372 (cell)