Friday, November 21, 2008

GPA, Application Help, and Cornell: Answers to YOUR Questions

Dear Sohan,
Hi! I am a Grade 12 student in China. Since here we are in the different education system, I wonder what does GPA(unweighted) 4.0 means. Does that mean an applicant should have almost full mark in every exam? or 95 out of 100 is 4.0?

Well, now for me is sort of struggling for deadlines...
My essays are not well prepared yet, and I wonder how I can stand out in those competitive pools...Perhaps my biggest problem is I had done a lot of work at school but don't know how to write down them well appropriately. Seeing your blog really helps me and gives me more confidence!
I planned to apply for enrollment of Cornell, could you say something about it? The spirit of Cornell and its symbol animal?
btw, what does "Advisor to the Superintendent"(I saw that in your blog) mean?

Dear Reader,

I am glad that you've taken interest in my blog! A unweighted GPA (grade point average) of 4.0 varies in meaning from school to school. Generally, this is considered an "A" average, which could even entail a 93 / 100. Therefore, the number itself is somewhat meaningless in college applications. Along with the application, you need to send colleges your transcript (which your school might take care of). The transcript is where "GPA," or basically your grades, matter. This is where colleges will see how well you performed in classes. Colleges also take into account how difficult your classes are. So if you have a llower GPA (or grades) in harder classes, it won't be a big deal. In short, a 4.0 GPA means that you have at least 93 out of 100, but this is just a term we use to compare peoples' relative grades.

I know exactly how you feel. It's difficult to represent how hard you've worked in the past 4 years by just a few words on an application. I would suggest just brainstorming everything you've done - no matter how significant or small - on a piece of paper and go from there. Think about all your extracurricular activities, any special clubs or teams you've joined, and special achievements you've earned. Then rank them in order of importance to you. This is the best way to start when trying to summarize all that you've accomplished so far.

Do you know which school at Cornell you'd like to apply to (Engineering, Hotel Administration, Arts & Sciences, Human Ecology, etc.)? Do you know what your intended major is? Don't worry; it's perfectly fine if you don't.

People say that Cornell is one of the easiest Ivy League colleges to get into, but one of the hardest to graduate. I think this statement defines Cornell. Here, we work together to make it through difficult exams and problem sets, and this sense of community carries over all over campus. We have a lot of pride in Cornell and each of our fellow students, and we always try to help each other out. The symbol animal is a bear.

About "Advisor to the Superintendent": My friend down the hall wrote this blog. It means that he served as an assistant to the Superintendent of Schools, or a high authority figure within the school district. He didn't perform very well on the SAT, but was still admitted into top tier schools (he choose Cornell because of financial aid) because he was heavily involved in the community and showed leadership in his extracurricular activities.

I'd love to answer any more questions you have. Also, would you mind if I posted your questions and my response in my blog? I feel this information would help a lot of other students as well. I will keep your identity anonymous.


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