NCEA Grades


If I’m taking Level 3 NCEA this year, and want to apply to some universities in the USA, does it matter if I have gotten a few Merits? Overall, I have an Excellence endorsement in Level 2, however for my course endorsements, I have 3 M’s and 3 E’s. Does that decrease my chances of getting in?


Three Merit Endorsements and three Excellence Endorsements is below average for an academic applicant applying to top tier schools. It really depends where you want to apply though. Where are you looking to apply?

Furthermore, you can somewhat rectify below average grades with a solid SAT and extracurriculars - but it depends on what schools you want to apply to, and how many merits you had.


What if I improve my Level 3 grades and try and get all E course endorsements would that help? And also try and get a high score on the ACT’s?

Also, I had 9 Merits, and 21 Excellences in both internals and externals.


It would definitely help! What kind of schools are you looking at applying to? Also, how many scholarship subjects are you looking at doing?


I did want to try and apply for the ivy leagues, but it looks like I’ll have to improve my grades quite a bit.

Also, this year, I’m in my school’s Chemistry, Calculus, Physics and English Scholarship classes, so I’ll be taking those papers.


Those scholarships look solid. I’d also recommend having a look at Statistics - it’s relatively straightforward and no prior Statistics knowledge is easy. Myself and a few friends self taught it in a few weeks, so that could be a great addition.


Okay, thank you!

I was mainly worried about the grades, because usually it was only one paper off, which dropped the course endorsment as a whole.

But will definitely look into Statistics!


Yeah, I definitely understand. The majority of realistic students applying from NZ (as internationals, we typically have to be stronger candidates than the average domestic admit for the US) will have 40+ IB scores, somewhere between A and A* average in CIE, or 5/6 E endorsed NCEA Subjects w/ Scholarships.

Don’t let it discourage you however! There’s plenty of time to make your Level 3 grades stand out and get those endorsements, and doing well in scholarships + SAT/ACT will definitely help you out. Plus, critically for Ivies, make sure your extracurricular’s stand out. Your Y13 mock exam grades are definitely the single most important, as these are the final grades that Universities will see before reaching a decision.

Feel free to reach out if you want some more personalised advice off the forum :slight_smile:


Okay, thank you!

Also, I’m guessing that they would be E endorsed for all three years in at least 5-6 subjects?


That would be the standard, yes!