Anonymous asked in Education & ReferenceHigher Education (University +) · 6 months ago

Can I get into NYU with a 3.4 unweighted GPA but with better test scores? What other schools should I be looking at?

Hi! I'm a rising senior and I'm pretty sure that NYU is the school I'd like to spend the next 4 years at.

I have a 3.39UW/3.89W GPA which is largely due to my freshman year grades. I do have a upward trajectory which shows in my transcript. I have a 33 ACT and a 1450 SAT which I hope can compensate for my low GPA. I also have strong EC's (lots of volunteer hours, competitive pianist, Model UN, etc).

I somewhat blame my GPA on me spending most of time my time caring for my grandparents (who cannot speak English and are sick). I also had a lot of health issues my freshman and sophomore year, which I plan on going in depth with in the Additional Info section.

I'm confident I can polish up my essays and I think that application is pretty strong holistically, but I'm still scared that my bad grades will drag me down. I plan on applying Early Decision as well. In your opinion, what do you think my chances are at getting admitted? Is there any other advice that you can give?

Thank you so much!


I also know a few other girls at my school that are applying ED at NYU. Their grades are better than mine, but I think that I have better clubs and activities. I've heard that you're immediately pitted against the people from your own school during the admissions process. Is this true?

3 Answers

  • 6 months ago

    Many private universities tend to admit students from a broad range of schools -- from private prep schools and public schools, from large suburban schools and smaller rural schools, from different states and cities. So, yes, they may compare you to your classmates (and computers make that easier to do) so they don't have too many students from one school. But your chances of acceptance are better when you apply early decision (27% acceptance vs. 16% regular decision) because the school knows you will accept admittance. However, you should make sure your application will go into the regular decision pile if you aren't accepted early decision. As for your chances, you are very much the kind of student that NYU accepts (your grades and test scores are average for last year's freshman class), but that doesn't mean you be accepted. It really helps for your grades and test scores to be higher than the average. If you can retake the SAT and get higher scores, it would help your application.

  • 6 months ago

    A 1450 SAT score is really kind of average for an admitted NYU applicant: the "middle 50" range is 1350-1530. You can't balance out a low GPA with a good SAT unless you score higher than average (i.e. over 1530).

    I think your best bet would be to describe your care of your grandparents (make it a good story), and also point out the great improvements you've made in your grades since freshman year (such as unweighted As in AP classes). 

    What high school students often fail to understand is that colleges use extracurricular activities to distinguish between top students, since so many of their applicants have near-perfect grades and SAT scores. Colleges do not use extracurricular activities to increase the competitiveness of a lackluster scholar (well, maybe if you cured cancer or got an olympic gold medal or starred in a major motion picture, but joining Model UN just isn't that special).

    So while NYU can be your "dream" school, I think your chances of admission are pretty slim.

  • ?
    Lv 7
    6 months ago

    You need to find at least 5 other schools that you can afford to attend and where your current GPA and test scores put you above the average for admitted students.  You can find this information on website like BigFuture and Niche.  Some you might look at include Fordham, Vassar, Colgate, Hamilton, Syracuse, a couple of SUNY campuses, Wesleyan, UCONN, Trinity, Swarthmore, Lehigh, Villanova, Penn State, Tufts, Boston College, Babson, and Brandeis.

    It is unlikely that NYU or any other university takes the time to figure out which applicants are from which schools and "pits them against" the other student.  The problem for you is that there are going to be plenty of kids with equally impressive SAT/ACT scores and better GPAs.  Not all of them will be selected ED.

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