There may be a lot of factors working in your favor besides your high school GPA. The college application brings together many different elements of your achievements and experience. It’s common for students to dwell on the negative factors and to become pessimistic about their chances of being accepted to their top-choice colleges. Keep in mind that this is not the same perspective the admissions officers will take.
2. Applications let you emphasize your strengths.
In your essay and interview, you get a clean slate. Take advantage of this chance to play up the best parts of your application. Highlight some experiences outside the classroom that have been especially important to you. Write about things you’ve accomplished, decisions you’ve had to make, and values that guide your life. Convince the admissions committee that you have what it takes to be a leader on campus and an asset to the school.
3. You can show an upward trend.
If you still have a few semesters left of high school, make them your best. Admissions officers love to see signs of improvement on a student’s transcript. Show that you take your work seriously and that you’ve learned how to be a great student. Some schools don’t even include your marks from 9th grade in their own calculation of your GPA. If you can do well in your challenging junior and senior year classes, you’ll be prepared for college-level work. Seek extra help from your teachers to master the course content, and show them that you’re doing everything you can to perform at your best. If your parents are willing to invest in tutoring, this is the time when it can benefit you the most.
4. If personal or family factors affected your grades, you can point this out.
College life is not easy. If you’ve faced challenges and worked to overcome them, this is a valuable strength that will help you to make the most of your college experience. It’s okay if your grades went down around the time of a death in the family, a divorce, an illness or injury, or other personal circumstance. Even if you simply had trouble adjusting to high school and it took you a year or two to get settled, that may be worth writing about. Tell the admissions committee about these events in your life and how they’ve affected you. Not only does this explain your low grades, it personalizes your application and gives the admissions officers some insight into your life.
5. Many schools offer a conditional acceptance.
If you’re an outstanding applicant except for some lower-than-ideal grades, you may be offered a conditional acceptance. You go to your dream school and, as long as you maintain a certain GPA during your first year (or two years), you’re there to stay. This gives you a chance to prove that you can be successful in the new and exciting campus environment. Once you’re in just do your best, seek help when you need it, and everything should work out just fine.