I recently had a phone call from a parent whose student had a 2,300 SAT score but a 3.2 GPA from a competitive high school. The student had taken a number of AP classes but was no where near the top 10% of the class. The parent was wondering about the student’s ability to get admitted into a BS/MD program.
Strong scores like this are great. But, without the high grades to back it up the student will not be competitive for a selective college or BS/MD program. This student would have been better off taking fewer honors and AP classes but focusing more on grades.
This is different from the bright slacker who gets good test scores but doesn’t get good grades because he isn’t challenging himself. This student had taken challenging courses and done his best on them.
Taking challenging and difficult classes is great, and necessary, for admissions to a selective college, But just because you take these courses doesn’t mean that grades don’t matter. The most important factor in admissions at most colleges are the grades received and the classes taken to get those grades. You can’t ignore either.