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Real advice from real students.

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Do Grade 10 Marks Actually Matter?

Hello everyone! I am a Grade 10 student who is currently residing in Canada. I am in the Pre-IB program, and hope to continue on this path, and finish the program in Grades 11 and 12. My dream is to get into an Ivy League school in America. My question is how much do Grade 10 marks matter when applying to these universities. Personally, I think my grades aren’t that great as I am not trying that hard and I had a slope where all my grades dropped.Surely but slowly my grades are raising (except in French as I blanked out during my presentation) :(. Anyway, currently I have a 97 in science, 93 in math, a 90ish in history (it raised but idk by how much) and and 86 in French (It most likely went down). Extracurricular wise I think I am doing decent-ish, Im trying to still find my WOW factor, but I am very worried about my grades. Thank you so much in advance.

4 Answers

  1. American schools will look at all your marks for grade 9-12. They will want to see an upward trend in your marks and that you took a rigorous course load (which should be covered by the IB program). Once you pass a certain threshold for marks it is going to be very much determined by your EC’s. Contrary to popular belief Ivy League schools are not necessarily looking for the brightest of the bright. Admissions decisions are made relative to other applicants as they are attempting to construct a class that meets their institutional goals. For more information you can try posting here –

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  2. American admissions is a lot different than the system in Canada…but even if you get a bunch of high 90’s from grade 9-12, getting into an Ivy is going to be ridiculously difficult unless you’re like the son of a PM or won a Nobel prize or something.

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  3. Canadian universities typically only look at your grade 11 and 12 grades but American schools look at all four years. This is going to sound harsh (sorry) but those grades probably won’t get into an ivy league school UNLESS you really excel in other categories. Don’t get me wrong, your grades are really good (and they probably won’t care as much about your sophomore marks if you improve them in subsequent years) but kids with 99% averages get rejected from ivy leagues all the time. They only accept the best of the best and grades will never be enough to get you there.
    These are the things you’ll want to consider:
    SATs – You want to do really well on this, and you can take it as many times as you want (I would start prepping now if you want to do well enough to get into an ivy league). Schools have different levels of difficulties (some are way easier than others) but SATs are the same so if you do better than everyone else on that one it will show you’re smarter.
    Admissions essay – You want to kill this essay , showcasing that you’re really intelligent but also showing that you some sort of “wow factor” that’s unique to you and makes you stand out (almost everyone applying to ivy leagues has a 4.0 and a seemingly perfect resume/portfolio, and great writing skills). What makes you stand out and deserving of a spot more than them? You want your essay to reflect what makes you worthy of it more than every other kid who has the same or better average than you.
    Volunteering and extracurricular – You’ll need a lot of this, and it’s good to have a range of things you do (habitat for humanity, soups kitchens ect are really good to have but something most people applying have)
    References – normally high school teachers are good, but with ivy league schools you want to get it from someone who is high up and highly respected. You also want them to be glowing and specific rather than a generalized one.
    Ace your interview: I don’t think the interview process is that highly regarded compared to everything else but you still want to excel at it. Talk to different academic advisers and if you can get help from someone who goes to one of the schools or someone with connections that would be helpful. Just prep for this and practice answering interview questions.
    Connections – As sad as it is, often getting into ivy league schools has more to do with status and your connections. You can’t really control this but if you get the opportunity to meet alumni from one of the school’s you’re applying to or highly respected professors ect then make sure to connect with them. Making connections can get you in and will boost your chances by a lot.

    All and all, your grades are really good. Even if you don’t get into an ivy league school, you’ll still get into a really good one. and if you keep up with your drive and ambition you will do well and get a good job. Just do your best and work hard and you’ll be okay Make sure you take care of your mental health and try not to put too much pressure on yourself. Good luck with everything. I hope you get into an ivy league!
    sorry for the length of my answer. I know most of what I said was pretty basic but I hope some of it helped

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  4. The University needs to fill its International quota so they let so many international students in and you will be in that category if you are a Canadian citizen. You may find that works in your favour admissions-wise as you are not lumped in with all the american students applying.

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