I spoke with John, the parent of a junior, the other day about his son and the college admissions process. One of John’s concerns was that his son had a 2.9 GPA but a 2320 SAT score. John wanted to know what colleges would think about this high SAT score and relatively low GPA.
I told John that a student with high test scores and low grades is generally viewed as a bright slacker. These types of students are a risk for colleges to admit because colleges don’t want students to fail. Although students like John’s son are bright enough to do college level work, even at very competitive colleges, colleges are concerned that the student is smart but lazy and won’t bother to do their college level work. And without doing the work, even the brightest student is going to fail.
Some very bright high school students are not challenged by their high school and as a result don’t try in their classes. Colleges understand that. But colleges also know that they have hundreds of other very bright students who DID work hard in high school who are applying for a limited number of open spaces.
If a bright student has slacked off as a freshman but starts to turn it around after that, the competitive colleges will be much more willing to consider taking a chance on the student. But if the slacking off has continued into senior year, the student is unlikely to be admitted to any college that would otherwise be an academic match for that student.
Students, keep those grades up all through high school.Don’t make me have a conversation with your parent about what to do about their slacker student.
One final note. I have been getting a lot of emails lately with students giving me their stats and asking me to “chance” them for a particular college. I do not do this because there is no way to do this accurately without really getting to know the student. Unfortunately, I don’t have time to do that with each of you.