Cornell University

Yui’s 3.6 GPA Didn’t Stop Her From Reaching For the Stars and Getting Accepted at Cornell University

Cornell University
Yui sought us out when she realized her high school GPA might be a barrier to the Ivy League education she’d dreamt of since childhood. Moving consistently through her high school career due to her mother’s demanding career meant she was forced to play catch-up every time she enrolled at a new school.
After being told by a guidance counselor that Cornell Engineering may be out of her grasp, she came to Quad Education for a second opinion. With our expertise and start-to-finish application support for our 10-school inclusive package, we helped Yui share her unique story and get accepted at her dream school.

Applicant Persona


East Asian










Many motivated, intellectual, and curious students may earn a lower GPA than they hope for, especially factoring in reasons beyond their control. Examining class profile data of admitted students can make prospective applicants nervous; they get caught up in wondering how they compare. Many high school counselors have much on their plates, depending on the size of the school. Yui knew she wouldn’t receive the one-on-one, in-depth application support she craved to get the strategic guidance she needed.

How Did Quad Education Help?

We started by letting Yui know her GPA didn’t count her out just yet. We cited examples of past students we’ve helped get into their first-choice schools with GPAs just like hers. We got to know Yui’s dreams, goals, background, and interests on a personal level while instilling her with newfound confidence to try.

Focusing Attention on Qualitative Elements

Although Yui earned a stellar ACT score of 35 thanks to her diligence and perseverance, we took time to get to know her story and passions; these would be the stars of the show. While top colleges seek students who demonstrate academic excellence, we understand the value of highlighting personal qualities and experiences.

We learned that throughout Yui’s semi-nomadic high school career, she focused on joining and making a change in the community around her, whether through tutoring elementary students in math or setting up a fundraiser to revitalize the local community center.

Her desire to make positive, substantive change in the world around her became the center of her application narrative (qualities that Cornell Engineering seeks in applicants). Along with her lifelong interests in math and science, we were able to strategically position Yui’s narrative to showcase the qualities and perspectives she would contribute to the Cornell class.


Yui applied to 10 colleges and was admitted to 6: Carnegie Mellon, Emory, Brown, UWashington, Rutgers, and Cornell. She ultimately chose to attend Cornell Engineering.

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