Tuesday, December 30, 2014
Dear Mr. Bradshaw:
I want to attend a top-tier college. The only problem is my GPA, which I believe will be 2.750 when I graduate.
I don’t think that my GPA is an accurate indicator of my potential. On the 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 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 plan to apply to 20 elite colleges, with Butler and Indiana University as my backups. Is this a good strategy?
Signed: a junior
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 and will be a 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 never before. Consider getting a tutor. The goal should be to score close to 2100.
While you may have already taken classes in statistics, finance and financial accounting, you may want to consider taking them again online. Getting an A will help offset your GPA.
As I have said many times before, improving your SAT scores is the single biggest effort you can make to improve your college application profile. Schools require a standardized test in order to have a common denominator to consider when evaluating applicants. A 2100 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. Many important companies recruit Kelly’s graduates for internships and this would be an excellent school to help you jump-start your career.
Good luck and get serious about retaking the SAT and improving your score!
Gerald Bradshaw is a resident of Crown Point and is the CEO of Bradshaw College Consulting.
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