GPA-Improvement and College-Choice Advice for Junior

Question: Hello, I have a 3.07 GPA, I am a junior and I got 1280 on my SAT. What should I do to make my GPA better? I am taking 2 AP classes this semester and 3 next semester. What colleges can I get into?

Here are some tips on GPA improvement from an old "Ask the Dean" column: Although it was intended for an 8th grader who was just about to start high school, the advice will pertain to you as well.

But your other question (about which colleges to consider) is way too broad for the "Ask the Dean" column. There are hundreds of colleges that would welcome a student with your GPA, rigorous course load, and current test scores, but it's impossible to recommend any of them without knowing a lot more about your background and your goals.

If you're interested in a smaller school where you're likely to get lots of individual attention, you might want to read about “The Colleges That Change Lives." This concept, which began as a book two decades ago, has now been expanded into a network of more than 40 liberal arts colleges from coast-to-coast that all claim to take a “student centered" approach to education. Typically, the admission standards at CTCL member schools are not dauntingly high, but these institutions tend to attract bright and motivated applicants who are not going to college for only the football games or keg parties. ;-) See

You might also want to invest $150 and order a “Stats Evaluation" from College Karma. I assure you that it will be the best $150 you spend as you navigate the college selection and application maze. Once you place your order, you will get a form via email to complete and return. Within a week of returning that form, you will receive an assessment of your admission chances at any colleges you are already considering (which you listed on the form) along with specific tips on how to improve your chances, where possible. You will also receive a list of other colleges to consider that fit your profile and preferences.

SHAMELESS PLUG ALERT: College Karma is a consulting firm that I founded with my College Confidential partner, Dave Berry, in 2008. However, I am no longer involved with the Stats Evaluations. Instead, yours will be done by Ann Playe—former associate director of admission and financial aid at Smith College. Ann is an expert at evaluating admission chances and at recommending colleges to students like you who aren't sure where to apply.

To order the Eval, go to: Then scroll down until you see “Stats Eval" near the top of the page and click on “Order."

Ordinarily when I receive an “Ask the Dean" query, I don't respond by recommending a paid service but, in your case, I really think that this is the smart route to take. Because you're just a junior, it's a great time to start researching colleges before the application heat is on.

Good luck!