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You already know about the elitist behavior of Ivy League schools with their super selective admission processes that leave a lot of students feeling snubbed. With the stereotype that has been built by many of the sort of students admitted into the Ivy League, it's very likely that you have a sort of notion that there probably is a threshold GPA that you must attain in order to gain entry into these top schools. But brother, are you ever so far from the truth! We have already mentioned ceaselessly that your grades, either in your SAT/ACT or in your GPA are not enough to get you an admission; even if they are both perfect.

There isn’t one Ivy League school that has stated a particular benchmark GPA for admissions. In fact, someone with a lower GPA can get picked over someone with perfect grades and a perfect score and that happens all the time. It isn’t at all strange in the circles of the admissions board. The reason for this is that the admissions committee checks all the aspects of your application in relation to one another in order to make a decision. We will explain further in a bit.

They Check Every Detail of Your Application

Now, know for a fact that the admissions committee of these schools are not at all lazy and will carefully and painstakingly examine every detail of your application down to the roots to ascertain the facts of your claim or otherwise. This committee does as much as research your school and not just that, they also compare with other schools around your district and region. They do this in order to make sure that they aren’t comparing you with students who had their education under different circumstances. As you know, schooling under different circumstances will impact differently on results. They want to be sure that they are giving everybody an equal chance, hence, they try to make sure that comparison is among students with similar educational backgrounds. So, if, for instance, your school does not grade on a scale of 4.0, or perhaps they don’t give letter grades, you don’t have to panic. You’ll be fairly evaluated.

Because students who apply to these top schools are usually from a wide range of schools with different modes of operation, student population, availability of resources, and teacher-to-student ratio, colleges and universities take this fact into consideration and ensure that students are not compared unfairly such that if your school is known to give poor grades, that fact will not be overlooked. And, on the other hand, if your school is known to dole out “4.0’s” like Santa at a Christmas party, then you can be sure that the admissions committee will, in due diligence, drill other areas to ensure that your coursework was demanding enough. The school has to be certain that you’re prepared to face the tough academic requirements of the Ivy League.

Nonetheless, You Must Excel Academically to be Admitted

Now, while we have made it clear that GPA’s are not all that there is to an Ivy League admission, now might be a good time to say that the Ivy League will not accept those who do not excel academically. So, no, there’s no threshold GPA, and your GPA is not sufficient on its own to earn you a spot in the Ivy League; but it might be too much to say that your GPA does not matter. It does, as much as other aspects of your application, and you must do well in it. Like we said there’s no threshold GPA, but that doesn’t mean that you can afford to trivialize your schoolwork. Generally, most Ivy League schools give a better consideration to those with a GPA above 3.5. If you’re falling below the 50% range of admitted students at your proposed school, then you better have a super explanation for that, either it’s a really concrete surrounding negative situation or a really super impressive extracurricular activity that you engaged in that caused a dip in your academic performance. There has to be an explanation. An explanation we said, not an excuse.

Here’s what we mean:

There are two possible situations that can explain away a slightly less-than-excellent GPA and those are: negative circumstances or impressive record of extracurricular activity.

Negative Circumstances: Sometimes, some students may find themselves in negative, unforeseen circumstances beyond their control. It might be the loss of a friend or a loved one, a serious mental illness, a psychological trauma, family trouble like a divorce or something, or any other situation with a capacity to impact on learning strongly and negatively. When such things happen, the admissions committees of these schools do not penalize the student for such happenstances. They are well taken into consideration instead. The only thing is that you will need to inform the appropriate quarters and beforehand, and ensure that your report contains a detailed account of the specific circumstance in question.

Extracurricular activities: When applying for the Ivy League and other elite schools, students with records of incredible achievements in their extracurricular activity are usually understood and considered, if their GPA’s fall a bit on the lower end of the spectrum. For instance, those who engage in sports that demand a really hefty chunk of time in practice daily, or those who committed a really large amount of time to a scientific research with significant results to show for it, or those who probably ran a cause that demanded their time something fierce, will definitely be considered if their GPA’s do not end up becoming stellar. Now, if this is your case, it will help to submit your tests with the higher scores which will help balance up your lower GPA and prove your academic prowess.

This balancing does not, however, say that high test scores will always cover up for a low GPA.  The admissions board might just think you aren’t disciplined enough to commit to getting good grades. If any of the two scenarios above apply to you though, then you might be able to apply this method as we have suggested.

While an imperfect GPA shouldn’t be reason enough to keep from applying for the Ivy League, especially if you have an exceptionally strong aspect of your application (an extracurricular activity for example), it’s still pretty important to aim for a high GPA to increase your chances of an admission substantially. A high GPA is important because it proves to the admissions committee that you’ll be able to handle the academic demands of the Ivy League.

Average GPA for Ivy League Schools

Just before we go, here are the admission stats for Ivy League schools. These stats also include the average GPA of students admitted into each of these schools. While they might not be 100% accurate as they are mainly self-reported, the data as outlined below, could give you an idea of what you should be working towards. Also, bear in mind that these GPA’s are on a scale of 4.0.

School

Overall Acceptance Rate

Average GPA

Brown

8.5%

3.885

Columbia

6%

3.840

Cornell

14.9%

3.866

Dartmouth

10.3%

3.880

Harvard

5.2%

3.830

UPenn

9.9%

3.894

Princeton

7%

3.890

Yale

6.5%

3.866

Source: https://www.business2community.com

From the table above, you should be able to deduce that GPA’s are not directly linked to the rate of acceptance at the Ivy League. This is what we have been trying to explain to you: a lot off factors play out in determining who gets admitted. At the end of the day, though, ensure that you’re working on every aspect of your application, especially your hook as we explained in our last post (How to Get into an Ivy League School). If your hook is perfect, or at least near it, then simply ensure that your GPA is good enough to prove to the board that you’re not a dummy; and you shouldn’t have a problem getting admitted.