Anonymous asked in Education & ReferenceHigher Education (University +) · 1 decade ago

Does going to a magnet school or a top school in the state really help in college admission?

Like lets say you go to the top ranked high school in your state, it is ranked number 1 and you apply for college. You are ranked in the top half of your class (like 37 out of 82), your GPA is a 3.2 and you have taken TONS of honors courses and AP Courses. Your SAT score is an 1840 overall. You have over 20 volunteer hours and you have won some essay writing competitions in your country.

Can you get into any of these schools (out of state, I live in GA):

University of Wisconsin at Madison

University of Vermont

Fordham University

University of Delaware

James Madison University

and Boston University.


Also your high school has tough acceptance standards, it started out with 110 students and now has 82 (class of 2010) in your 4 years

Update 2:

okay TYPO: Not country but COUNTY.

Also, I made an 1840 the first time around, I retook the SAT on October 10th and I am waiting for my results. Hoping to get a 2000 or above. My grades are at an upward trend.

9 Answers

  • Tom
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    First - it most certainly DOES matter what kind of HS you're going to. HS counselors will send out a profile of your school along with your transcript, their recommendations, etc. That will give admissions officers who aren't familiar with the school some idea what it's about and how rigorous it is. Trust me on this - both of my kids went to a nationally ranked HS and literally everyone in their graduating classes who wanted to go to college could get in, most of them with multiple options.

    Second - Your biggest problem MAY be your class rank, but it may not be as big a problem as it looks. Many (maybe most) schools don't look at raw rankings - they will prefer (and ask your HS for) weighted rankings. The fact that you have many honors and AP classes will push your weighted GPA much higher than 3.2 and consequently should push your rank up as well. If you can get into the top 25% (or very close) that way, this factor will likely not be as big a drag on your chances as it first appears.

    Now, on to what you really asked for - what we all think of your chances at these schools. I'll stick with your list, although I could quickly and easily suggest 15-20 other schools that would leave you well-prepared for medical school (if that's your interest) that are not in the deep South (if that's a non-starter). My ranking:

    University of Vermont

    - You're in. They admit 65% of applicants and the most important factor in their decision is "Rigor of secondary school record", which you have covered. Even if we split the difference between your actual 1840 on the SAT and your hoped-for 2000, you would be in the upper 25% of their most recent freshman class on that factor. Keep in mind, as another responder said, that it is a VERY white campus - 91% Caucasian at last report.

    University of Delaware

    - Very high probability on this one. They admit 56% of applicants, but their student body is over 70% OUT-of-state, which suggests to me that they would be anxious to get an Asian-American student from a top GA HS. Your writing skills and awards will help you here, as they consider the application essay and "talent/ability" as "important" admission factors (as opposed to "very important" or "considered" factors as reported to the College Board). Your higher SAT score, if it materializes, would again put you in the top 25% of freshmen.

    Fordham University

    - I would also put this one "very high". They're more selective (47% admit rate) but the GPA range of their admitted students goes deeper than most of the other schools on your list. They do consider class rank "very important", but give similar weight to the "rigor" of your HS coursework and your standardized test scores, where you would again at least approach top 25%. They also weight the essay and talent/ability as "important". FWIW, this is the most diverse student body on your list - 53% of freshmen reported as Caucasian.

    James Madison University

    - Things start to get a little tougher here. Their admit rate (65%) is higher than Fordham's, but they are predominantly in-state (67%). (It must be all the good students who can't get into UVA and don't want to live in a tourist town while they're at William & Mary!) Rigor is a top factor, but so is GPA and their latest freshman class had only 7% of students with a HS GPA in your current range. On the other hand, SAT scores are "important" and you will very likely get into that magic top 25% after your retake. I wouldn't call JMU a reach for you, but it's somewhat less likely than the first 3 I've listed.

    Boston University

    - Things in your favor here: 20% of the latest freshmen had GPAs between 3.0 and 3.24; 80% of their students are out-of-state (but then it's a private school); their "very important" factors are the rigor of HS coursework and talent/ability and the essay is an "important" factor. Things that make this one more challenging: Other "important" factors are class rank, GPA, and standardized test scores (and even with a 2000 you would not be top 25% here). This one feels like a "reach" school.

    University of Wisconsin-Madison

    - Who knew? This is a VERY difficult school to get into (much like Penn State-University Park, which routinely diverts many good applicants to satellite campuses). 53% admit rate, 36% out-of-state freshman class, only 6% of freshmen had a GPA in your range, and it takes a 2080 on the SAT to crack the top 25%. You would benefit from their consideration of HS rigor as a "very important" factor. This is also a "reach" school for you right now.

    If you're willing to put in the effort to complete all of these applications, I don't think there's an obvious reason not to try all 6. (My daughter applied to 10!!!!) Because I think UWM and BU are still longshots, you might want to choose one of those two and add one or two other schools, at least to do some homework on. Based on having spent countless hours on this process over the last 6 years (my son graduated HS in 2003 and m

  • 1 decade ago

    when i interviewed with harvard, they said colleges do look at the difficulty of your school. that's why you don't see people who got A's at the country's worst school going to Harvard. sometimes a C in an AP class at a really hard school is still considered better than an A at a school where the students aren't strictly required to know how to spell their own name.

    i would suggest either doing more volunteer work, or finding things that you can pass off as community service (ex. study groups can become mutual tutoring). if your 20 hours is split up into different segment and one or two have small numbers (3, 4, 5) just say several instead. being a little bit vague makes you look better.

    i don't know much about any of those schools, but a good idea would be to just e-mail someone in charge of admissions and ask what they're lookiing for in a student. Then you can at least tailor your essays and such to fit that. plus they'll notice that you demostrated interest which will increase the probability of you getting in.

  • neniaf
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    Retaking the SAT was a good move, because with a 3.2 and an 1840, you just aren't at a level which would be considered by most of these schools, regardless of what school you came from (the SAT would confirm that you were an OK, but not a great student).

    The toughness of your high school matters more than its quality in these things. If you went to a great high school, which consistently outscored other schools on standardized tests, but gave everyone A's, your GPA would look pathetic. If you went to a school which NEVER gave A's, it might look pretty good. That's why they use class rank as well as GPA; it gives a sense of what the grading at your school is like. Your rank says that you are in the 55th percentile of all students there, which isn't horrible, but neither is it great.

    I would guess that you don't have much of a shot at UW-Madison or BU, both of which are pretty competitive. You have somewhat more of a chance at some of the others, although you are on the low end for GPA for all of them, so you really do need to either have a much higher SAT score to get in.

    I notice from some of your other questions that you might be Asian-American. In a few cases (I can speak for Vermont, since I work at a smaller college right next to the University of Vermont), that may help you. There may be some advantages to you here, for example, to having both the geographic diversity of being from the South and the racial and ethnic diversity of being Asian, since Vermont ties with Maine for having the least diversity in the country. It wouldn't help you in Boston or NYC, but it might here.

  • DrIG
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    Going to a top school does help since you have the benefits of the school which includes good teaching, high level of class work, varied high caliber subjects, learning more, being better prepared to do well on standardized tests such as the SAT and the respect that some colleges may have for the grades that you have received.

    In short you are better prepared to do college level work and that is an advantage.

    You can to a certain extent ascertain your chances of admission to the colleges indicated above by comparing your profile with that of the freshman class by using the sites below./

    The only other advise is to increase your volunteer hours and to try to obtain some leaderships positions.

    Good luck.

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  • xo379
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    It does help if you go to a competitive school, but it doesn't make up for a low SAT/ACT (since that really has no bearing on what school you go to), though it does make up a LITTLE bit for your GPA (they might think "Oh, well, this person has a 3.2 at this really tough school, they would probably have a 3.5 at a less difficult school)--but not that much. If 3.2 is an unweighted GPA, that's not too bad, actually.

    Fordham, UVM, U Delaware, and JM shouldn't be too tough for you, though UVM would probably be the most difficult out of those for you. BU and U Wisconsin (especially Wisconsin) will be tougher.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    It does matter how competitive your schools is, but your SAT and class rank will not help you much. I think you stand a good chance at James Madison, Vermont, and Delaware. University of Wisconsin, BU, and Fordham will be a bit tougher, but if you get above a 2000 on the SAT you will probably have a chance. Good luck!

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    UW- Madison = reach but a 1900 on the SAT can help you out. I am sure that schools in Wisconsin prefer the ACT though.

    Vermont = match but do you really want to go there, it is not as diverse and it does not have a football program, Vermont is probably the Whitest state in America, you sure you want to stay there for your 4 years? I mean you will get in but if you think racism in Georgia is bad, you have another thing coming.

    Fordham = match but it is located in the Bronx so be careful, someone coming from small town GA will have difficulties blending into this environment, life can get rough and you can easily get mugged there.

    University of Delaware = Not hard to get into for out of state, being from a magnet school makes you competitive.

    James Madison = match, you will get in, KEEP this university ON your list.

    Boston University = match but it is expensive as hell, 50k PER YEAR just for your undergrad, you may want to save that money up for grad school.

    In my opinion, this may sound really mean and rude, you will get into all of those colleges except for Madison. I say, why not go to a college like UGA or some other college in Georgia for your undergrad? With a 3.2 you have HOPE which covers tuition, room and board. ALSO, maybe the area you live in Georgia is racist but I am sure a college near Atlanta or a college in Savannah or Athens would be full of diversity. You won't run into much racism in those cities.

    You told me that you wanted to be a doctor right? By going to a magnet school in Georgia, you will have tons of renown with the colleges. A high SAT score can get you a lot of scholarships for your state universities.

    Now with HOPE and with some other scholarships, you are in great shoes for your undergrad. You will walk out of your college in undergrad without any debt. Being from a magnet school you will EXCEL at undergrad and for grad school, forget Boston University or some other small name universities, you will be in the running for colleges like Yale and Harvard. Save up your money for grad school, that is the problem with all of the kids these days. A lot of kids want to go to a college they cannot afford and they walk out with tons of debt.

    Your other alternatives are some small liberal arts and private universities:

    John Carroll University for example.

    If you truly want to pick colleges which you have a chance not only for admission but for scholarships. Here is your list

    Basically, just apply to 3 of the universities on that list and apply to one reach. Maybe a college you know you won't get into unless a miracle happens. I suggest Cornell or some other top university, you never know what can happen. An 1840 is a great score and with a 1900 or above, you can expect A LOT of scholarships.

    Source(s): I currently go to Cornell because I was given scholarships and I could afford it. I had a choice for Harvard and Yale but they were expensive and I plan on becoming a lawyer, engineer or doctor. It really does not matter where you go for your undergrad, if it is regionally accredited and you do good there, you can get into some good grad schools. By picking a college in GA, you are close to your parents so if things go wrong you can easily call them. You have the financial stability and would rarely have to worry about not having enough money to pay for tuition or anything like that. You are more familiar with the state and everything so you will be able to excel in college since you went to a tough high school. Look I know you are thinking GA is full of inbred redneck hicks. Fact is, yes it is but a lot of cities like Savannah and Atlanta have high minority populations so hicks won't bother you. Plus, come on, it is just for 4 more years. I know you want to just get out of that state, I know that GA is not a good state to live in. I lived in GA for a bit and yes it was a boring state. Think of it like this, the state has motivated you to do good and everything, after you finish your undergrad, you don't HAVE to worry about coming back to Georgia EVER again. Search for some schools in GA which have football. I am sure that if you stay in GA, you will enjoy your experience. Afterwards, you can leave and never come back again. Why apply to mediocre colleges who will accept you but not even look at you that highly now while you can apply to colleges like Yale and Harvard for grad school. If you really want to get out of GA though, the list I gave you is your best bet because you will get some scholarships to attend.
  • 4 years ago

    each college weights in a distinctive way, yet often... - Grades - SAT scores - Rank at college - popularity of school - different aspects What you may undergo in recommendations nonetheless is that that's unlike there's a magic equation that they plug your data into and out pops a score. each college scores in a distinctive way and a good style of of them use extremely subjective standards. the learning you indexed is purely one area of what they use to attempt to entice up an entire photograph of you as a student. each college or college in the college additionally will seem at you in a distinctive way. in the dept I paintings for, we are waiting for each BFA student to come again with a portfolio of paintings that they have achieved. That portfolio certainly trumps the different educational concerns (supplied the student meets the bare minimum standards for admission to the college). Over in Engineering, they could no longer supply a rip approximately extracurriculars, or rank at college, or lots of something previous your uncooked SAT scores, your GPA, and despite if or no longer you have taken Pre-Calc or AP Calc. the ingredient to do is to speak to somebody from the college you're fascinated in and, ideally, somebody linked with the particularly application you're observing. in the event that they want you there, they're going to have the skill to tell you what you may do to place your applicable foot forward.

  • Cute
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    No no no.

    Well Canadian education system is there, so from my experience it doesn't.

    You can go to any high school and they'll all be looked at equally. The only thing that matters is your grades.

    If you have good grades, they'll accpet you no matter WHAT high school you went to.

    So don't make your life hard by going to a really competitive high school. Go to a place where you can actually get good grades.

    Best Wishes =)

    Source(s): I went to a really competitive school and it made things way harder than they needed to be. Don't work hard, work smart =)
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