BY GERALD M. BRADSHAW
Bradshaw College Consulting
Dear Mr. Bradshaw,
I am currently a junior in high school and want to attend a top-tier college. The only problem is my GPA, which I believe will be 3.25 out of 4.0 scale when I graduate. I don’t think that my GPA is an accurate indicator of my potential. On the SAT, I scored 1320/1600. I have been told that 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 says that he will give me an outstanding recommendation. I have also participated in several 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 am planning to apply to 20 elite colleges, with Butler and Indiana University as my safety-net schools. Is this a good strategy?
High School Junior
Improving your SAT score,
taking online college courses
can bolster college application
Dear High School Junior,
This is a question that I am often asked. As a rule of thumb, you will need at least a 3.85 GPA and 1550/1600 SAT score to be taken seriously by elite college admissions offices.
Improving your SAT score is the single biggest effort you can make to improve your college application profile. A majority of elite schools require a standardized test in order to have a common denominator to consider when evaluating applicants. A top score could tip the scales in your favor if you have a good reason for not earning higher grades.
Your safety net schools tend to be a bit less sensitive to GPA and test scores and your employer’s recommendation will strengthen your application but 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 never before. Consider getting a tutor. Should you be looking for financial assistance your score will play an important role in obtaining a merit-based scholarship as well as admission to even test optional schools. Search for the baseline scores at your target schools and set your SAT goals accordingly.
While you may have already taken classes in statistics, finance and financial accounting, you may want to consider taking an advanced class in an online course from one of the top universities. Getting an “A” in your online class will impress colleges, although most high schools will not give you credit for taking these classes. However, your participation will show colleges that you have what it takes to do well in college level classes.
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. Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business is an excellent school and highly recruited for summer internships which can help to jump-start your career when you graduate.
Best of luck and get serious about retaking the SAT and improving your score!
Gerald Bradshaw is a top US college admissions consultant with Bradshaw College Consulting.
Tags: Colleges SAT Preparation
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