Can you go to college even though you might have a low GPA? The short answer is ‘yes.’ Unfortunately, it is instilled in the minds of most students (and parents) that grades are the ultimate barometer of potential.
Indeed, Ivy League schools will consider your grades. Now, you can use a high school GPA calculator online to see where you stand. If you see that scored poorly, you will most likely miss out on being shortlisted by these elite schools.
This is understandable of course, as these types of schools are the cream of the crop. They receive thousands of applications from all over the globe each year. Yet, their acceptance rate is not even in double figures.
For instance, Stanford and Harvard had acceptance rates of 4.3% and 4.59% in 2018, respectively.
How to Get to College With Low Grades
Although your choices are not limited, you can still turn around your fortune. Here are some tips on how to do it:
1. Score well on your ACT or SAT
Even if you have some failing marks on your high school transcript, scoring well on your SAT will show examiners your potential. If you excel in your aptitude tests, the school will second-guess your poor GPA. You can even boost your stock when you score high on the written examinations given by the college to applicants.
2. Write a kick-ass essay
Most college schools will require applicants to write a short college paper which is essentially an introduction about themselves, along with their short-term and long-term goals. You can take this opportunity to showcase your aptitude for clear thinking and for clearly relaying your message across to the readers.
3. Treat is as a marathon, not a sprint
If you had bad grades in your freshman or sophomore year, you could still take control of the situation by studying hard. If the college shows that you improved your grades during your junior and senior years, the admission personnel will give you the benefit of the doubt. What does that show? It proves to them that you are consistently showing improvement. There might be reasons why your grades were poor at the start.
4. View the glass as half-full
Do not make some lame excuses about your low high school grades. And never deflect blame. Admissions officers can spot them a mile away. You will not be doing yourself any favors by doing so. Instead, take responsibility for your actions. You must have a good reason that explains your bad grades. However, you can still convince the college to take you by proving to them that you learned from the experience. Show them that you have a clear plan if they accept you in their school. For instance, what are your expectations for yourself in the first year? What grades are you trying to average?
5. Bolster your extracurricular activities
Colleges know fully well that some students do not excel in a classroom setting. However, they will unleash their potential when they are in their element. For example, you can show your natural leadership skills by leading an activity that contributes to the betterment of the school and community.
So, do not give up on your dreams of going to the right college. Even if you used one of those online GPA calculators, and scored low, never get discouraged. With the help of your parents, or perhaps a college counselor, you can make a shortlist of 4 to 5 schools as a fallback plan in case your first option fails.
For more great college tips, check out the other blogs on CollegeXperience.