Bradshaw College Consulting

Saturday, March 10, 2018


Dear Mr. Bradshaw

My application has been rejected by several top colleges, and I am upset. I have a 4.250 GPA, a 2,100 on the SAT, and I rank fifth in my class. I have yet to hear from any schools in the Ivy League, which I know have tough admission standards, so it looks as though I will end up going to the University of Michigan , which is my safety school. My question is, where did I go wrong?


An Upset Student

Don't fret if shut out of top schools



Dear Upset Student,

College acceptance letters are beginning to come in for high school seniors and along with the joy of acceptance come the tears with rejection. I receive a number of emails each year asking the same question: Why was I rejected?

I understand why you are confused and wondering what more you could have done.

First of all, do not despair because the University of Michigan is a top school. Ranking among the elite colleges in the world, they have a 29 percent admissions rate. The university offers outstanding programs in business administration and management, economics, biology, computer and information sciences and psychology.

More importantly the U of M has a four-year graduation rate of 77 percent, which is something to think about if financial considerations are important. While you did well in school on the basis of your grades and test scores, this represents only a small fraction of accomplishment compared to students from around the world who are competing for the few slots at premiere colleges and universities.

I will assume that your high school uses weighted GPA, which takes into account the difficulty of your classes when calculating your average. And, your GPA performance was measured against the smaller, insular world of your high school classmates. Remember that college admission departments also take into consideration the quality of your application essays and your extracurricular activities when vetting you for acceptance.

When you apply to college, you are competing against a wide spectrum of students — a global composite with resumes of achievement approaching near perfection. There are students with firsts in everything.

You do not mention what extracurricular activities you have participated in, but — along with test scores — admissions officers are interested in how you spend your time outside the classroom. Quality of participation rather than the quantity of activity scores well because it is a measure of the character of an applicant.

I am often asked what qualities distinguish the freshmen at Harvard from the freshmen at other top schools. Compared to other students they seem to have a deeper dimension in the quality of their personal accomplishments. They exude a profound level of maturity, competence and confidence that separates them from other students.

If you do not get your top college choice, there are alternatives. Many state schools have honors programs that have smaller classes and more access to top professors. Many of these programs offer scholarships, which will help you financially. Since a career is your eventual goal, make sure that you are taking advantage of everything that the University of Michigan has to offer.

All is not lost — your college experience is always what you make it, and opportunities abound if you keep your eyes open.

Gerald Bradshaw is an international college admissions consultant with Bradshaw College Consulting.

Tags: Colleges SAT Preparation

Gerald Bradshaw is an international college admissions consultant with Bradshaw College Consulting in Crown Point.
SKYPE: geraldbradshaw
Colleges, College Consulting, International Students


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