Bad Grades? You Can Get Into College.
Overcoming your high school slump to pursue a college education.
If you’re considering college, but your high school grades are in the low-C or D-range, don’t despair — you can still get into college. This is possible because there is a college for just about anyone including the student whose GPA barely allowed him to move from grade to grade.
Applying For College
You alone may know the reasons why your grades in high school have been so low. Perhaps you’ve lacked motivation. Or maybe you have poor study habits. Some students have learning challenges and need to work through these before enrolling in college. Regardless of your reasons, you can move on to college if you keep the following in mind:
Apply to open enrollment colleges — Some colleges have lower or minimal admissions requirements. For example, most public community and technical colleges have open enrollments and will accept any student with a high school diploma or a GED. At Columbus State Community College your high school GPA is not considered. Also, some ACT and SAT test scores are not weighed.
Retake your entrance exams — Many schools require students to submit SAT or ACT scores, which are considered important indicators how you will perform in college. If your scores are low, then you’ll have difficulty getting into most schools because of your low grades. Seek out coaching and study guides to improve your testing. Score well enough and your entrance exams may help offset your bad grades.
Carefully consider your college application — One reason why some students do so poorly in high school is that they must work to support their families. Work can take away from studying, but it can also be considered as valuable experience when applying for college. Be honest on your application — if you put down “worked full-time at Joe’s Repair Shop to support my family” — you’ll demonstrate to the school your unique experience. Take care to avoid the top college application mistakes as you fill out your application too.
Speak to your guidance counselor — Your high school guidance counselor can offer valuable assistance and insight to help you get into college. There may be a special program you can enter to increase the chances of acceptance. For example, at Hillside High School in Durham, N.C., a special “Saturday College Preparatory Academy” helps African-American males who are in their junior year of high school. This program helps students prepare for college and gain acceptance in a four-year school.
Start college as an unmatriculated student — Colleges typically matriculate or enroll accepted students who will declare a major by their second or third year. Some schools accept unmatriculated students, people who want to take classes, but without expectation of graduating college with a formal degree. This allows students to take a variety of classes to prepare for the rigors of college. Students who successfully pass their courses may be able to matriculate and have their classes count toward a degree. Talk with a college dean about this option, if offered.
Take classes online — Some students with learning disabilities need to learn at their own pace. Distance learning at an accredited college or university may help the student with bad grades in high school succeed in college. Online schools have admissions requirements, but may be more willing to work with you as you seek entrance in their school.
Bad grades cannot be expunged, but they can be explained. Some students simply dislike high school and need the freedom to make their own choices while in college. If you’re motivated to study while in college, you’ll succeed. If not, then don’t apply until you’re ready.