How to Overcome a Low GPA Obstacle
Your high school grades matter and your grade point average is one consideration colleges use when weighing your application. A low GPA can present an obstacle, but given that it isn’t the only criteria that colleges use, there are other areas of your schooling that just might tip things in your favor.
1. College entrance exams. Many colleges and universities require students to take an SAT or ACT test, which can provide a good indicator on how students will perform academically in college. Take a college test prep course to help you get ready. If your scores come in lower than you like, then study again and retake the test. Your GPA may be low, but your SAT or ACT scores could advance your case for application.
2. Beef up your extracurricular activities. It should be no secret to you that colleges are looking for a well-rounded student. Your GPA may be low, but if you’ve involved yourself in activities other than your classwork, your participation can make a difference too. Marching band, athletics and clubs are some of the school activities that can help you out. Volunteer work at your church is another plus as is working part-time to help raise money for college.
3. Finish your senior year with a bang. Much weight is put on junior year academic performance and for good reason — that is the last full year colleges look at when deciding when to admit students or not. But, it isn’t the only criteria. Many colleges will look at your senior year, especially the first half. Your second half matters too, but that information is typically supplied well after a decision has been made. Work hard to avoid the senior slump and try to get good grades all year.
4. Take community college classes. A low GPA may be an indication that you are not ready for college, at least not a four-year college. Taking classes at a community college can benefit you tremendously, allowing your to raise your college GPA and show better academic performance than in high school. Spend one or two years on the community or technical college level, and then apply to the desired four-year college. Transferring in as a junior may prove much easier to do than entering as a freshman.
If low grades are a problem, you can address this issue in your application as part of your college essay. Focus on your strengths and offer a compelling reason why the college should accept your candidacy. If you have a learning disability, you can explain how this effects you, while demonstrating what you have done to make your way through high school despite this obstacle.