Admissions

Setting College Expections for 9th Grader

Question:

My daughter has set her sights on some fairly selective colleges in urban areas, specifically, NYU, UCLA, USC, and Boston University (my alma mater). We live in a suburb of Seattle in a school district known to have great schools. She is only in her freshman year but we want her to keep her goals in mind as she develops her academic and extracurricular schedule. Her grades are good (over 3.5 GPA) and she is taking a rigorous schedule of all honors classes, but she is not a 3.8+ kid. In addition to good grades, test scores, “most demanding" classes, and interesting extracurricular activities, will her “geographic diversity" give her much of an advantage? Will it help her chances that she is from the opposite coast in the case of NYU and BU? Do UCLA and USC give any weight to the fact that she is from Washington and not California? I want to set realistic expectations for her. Thank you!

GPA and rigor of course load are the most important factors in the college admissions process, unless there are “significant hooks." Being a recruited athlete, a disadvantaged underrepresented minority student or, better yet, Malia Obama 😉 would count as “significant hooks." Hailing from Seattle might give a student a tiny plus at East Coast (or Midwest) schools but doesn't help in nearby CA. Yet this plus alone won't be enough to surmount a GPA deficiency.

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