B+/A- Students: What You Need to Know about Top Tier Admissions

The Ivy Leagues schools are the way they are for a reason. That is, they are extremely exclusive. There are a number of really strong students across the country, but only a handful are Ivy league applicant material. Colleges advertise to B+ and A- students. We advise that students who fall into that range be skeptical. You’re clearly smart and successful, but at the end of the day, the Ivies aren’t probably aren’t going to accept you.  

The Ivy League Racket

As we mentioned, Ivy League schools often advertise to students who just fall short of making a GPA high enough to contend in the Ivy leagues. It’s almost like how cigarette companies (or Juul) advertise to children. They want to get into your heads. That might seem like a radical accusation, but consider that colleges aren’t altruistic educational organizations. At the end of the day, they are businesses and the kind of businesses that profit from having the highest possible number of applicants. They know that kids with C+ averages are under no illusions about having a chance at the nation’s top schools. But A- students, kids who worked hard, play sports, and do community service, are the exact kids they need to boost their numbers. 

The Tiny Glimmer of Sort of Hope 

But alas, there is a chance. A very slight chance! They have room for one A- student with perfect test scores, but there are criteria that one student must meet. You are most likely not that student. We are telling you this not to be mean, but because the college process is grueling. We really encourage our kids to go that extra mile for a school that is viable for them instead of wasting energy and opportunities on ones that aren’t. If you have a 93 average, a 1580 on the SAT and are dead-set on applying to Yale, you’re probably not getting in. But if you NEED to apply, you better make sure your essays are solid gold. Our kids have been the exception to the rule.

A Slightly Larger Glimmer of Definite Hope for the Truly (and We Mean Truly) Exceptional

The reality is, 9.9 times out of 10, we do know: you’re not getting in with those grades. Unless you are that one really amazing kid. We don’t mean that one amazing kid who plays soccer and is student body president. Amazing means you have done something that, objectively speaking, impresses adults. It means you’re on par with Emma Gonzalez or Malala Yousafzai. Odds are, you are not, at this point in your life, Emma Gonzalez or Malala and you need to be real with yourself about that.

You also need to be real with your parents. We had a student who comes from a very hardworking family. The parents always pushed the kids to do their best and achieve in academically. One day, we were talking to the mother (who was typically strict) and she mentioned how impressed she was that her daughter turned a written paper assignment into a short documentary. Yes, that is impressive and sophomores, if you over-achieve on your homework from now until senior year, you might just develop a GPA high enough to make you competitive for the Ivies. But on the whole, rocking a homework assignment does not equal Ivy League admission. Sometimes, even the strictest of parents have a really hard time distinguishing their emotional investments from objective reality. The take home is: try to evaluate the college process objectively. Parents knowing and believing in their kids does not make Ivy League schools accept kids.  


Need some help with your college essays? Reach out to us. We’re experts in helping kids develop standout applications.