Will Holistic Admission Process Help Student With Subpar GPA, Test Scores?


I am applying to NYU and it's my first choice. My grades and SATs are lower than the average there (for example, I have a 3.2 GPA) but when I went to an information session, they said they do holistic admissions. I have a really strong resume with a lot of extracurriculars and I have a few unique talents (I have performed magic to over 3,000 people, for example). Will the fact that they do holistic admissions give me a better chance? My parents think it won't allow me to overcome my low stats but I think that's exactly what holistic admissions means, isn't it?

“Holistic Admissions" does indeed mean that admission officials look at the entire candidate and not just at grades and test scores. But even so, those grades and test scores (where required) do play a starring role, and it can take a lot to overcome numbers that fall below a school's medians. Typically, admission folks are quickest to overlook subpar GPAs and SATs when the applicant offers something specific that they they're seeking. Most often this means that the student is a recruited athlete or a member of an underrepresented minority group. Sometimes, too, the offspring of VIPs will get special treatment under the “holistic" rubric. And yes, students with unique talents beyond athletics will get a closer look as well, but those talents usually have to be significant in order to surmount so-so statistics.

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