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What’s the best angle to approach colleges if you don’t have the best GPA? SAT, Extracurriculars, or something else?


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Aaron’s Answer

You can certainly try to apply, a really good essay explaining your life and possibly justifying your reasons for not achieving may help a lot. You wouldn't want to be seen as making excuses, but honesty can go a long way. Another route would be to go to a Community College work hard, get your grades up, and then apply, not only will you be able to get credits and transfer you saving money, but once you are taking college level courses, and do well, you will have a much better opportunity to get acceptance. Good luck to you, wish you well!

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Maureen’s Answer

A higher test score will balance out a lower GPA. Admissions officers want to see you be successful in college, so they are looking for evidence of academic success in High School. They also look for social skills and a good fit. If you have a college you want to go to, try to make contact with admissions officers directly and ask them for advice. The more people you can meet from the school of your choice, the better. It not only helps them get to know you, but also helps you to see if it's a good fit for you.

Also, make sure to have someone who knows you and your goals proofread your college essays. The schools are trying to get to know you through essays and it's helpful to be honest and show your personality.

I hope this helps!

Good luck to you.

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Haley’s Answer

Hi Joe!

Your GPA isn't the only thing that college admissions folks look at in your application. I would prioritize studying for your SAT, participating in extracurriculars, and taking the time to write an exceptional essay.

Most of the time a college is looking at you as a whole (otherwise known as a holistic review), so your GPA won't make or break your application.

You got this!

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Brianna’s Answer

Another option is going to a lower-tier or community college first, doing well there, then transferring to the higher-tier college. Your degree will still have the name of the higher-tier institution on it, and you'll save money to boot.

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Richard’s Answer

Try to maintain the best standardized test scores and GPA possible. Outside of this, it is very important to have great extracurricular activities that you can write essays about. If you are concerned your academics are not super high, you can make up for this with these extracurriculars. Try to participate in something about which you're very passionate.

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Katherine’s Answer

Be honest about your life. Let them see the person you are. Tell them what makes you special.

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John’s Answer

You should make clear to that school why you want to attend THAT SCHOOL in particular. Describe how what it offers will make you the person and professional you want to be. Remember: flattery is general, compliments are specific.

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Rachel’s Answer

I would consider going to community college for a year, achieving a 4.0 GPA and then transferring into a more competitive university.

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Robert’s Answer

Explain why your grades were poor. Any extenuating circumstances? Is there anything else that is a better indication of your potential and ability? Maybe you performed great in extracurriculars which took up most of your time or you immaturely only cared about 1 subject. Don't run from your weaknesses. Explain them honestly. Then, highlight your strengths if you can. Don't just list things you signed up for. Include any leadership roles or impact you made. This will show how you can help improve the culture and campus community at a future school/ Get great letters of recommendation. Maybe try to place or win an academic competition.

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Vlad’s Answer

I did not have the best GPA 2.7 and back than I took the ACT 19. Plus I did not know what I wanted to do when I was 18. On top of that I started in an in-state community college. However, I discovered Computer Information Systems there, and I changed my major to CIS. This was back in the mid 90s, and since then my career has flourished. Businesses demanded my skill set. They did not care what was my GPA, ACT, SAT, or where I went to college. They needed things automated. The thing that I would have done differently back than, is I would have double majored, and become a specialist in an industry like finance. Also I would have avoided smaller companies, and went after bigger companies who were doing best in the economy.

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Syed’s Answer

Hi Joe,

If your GPA isn't as strong, you need to grow in other areas of your application as much as possible. Get the highest possible SAT score and take tutoring classes if you need to. Take on leadership positions in extracurriculars where you're in charge of major initiatives. Get strong recommendations. Attend admissions information sessions for these colleges in your local city if possible. Take remedial courses to improve your GPA.

Best,
Syed

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Isela’s Answer

If your GPA is not so high, DON'T WORRY! There are many factors colleges look into while reviewing an application. They look at the application and the applicant as a whole. If your GPA is low, then there are still other areas where you can shine to stand out. Extracurriculars are great areas to stand out, colleges love seeing leadership and involvement from their applicants. Other great areas to focus on are SAT scores and personal essays. There are many parts of the application process, so don't freak out if one section is not where you think it should be. Colleges look at the overall person, their contribution, and the progress made throughout their academic and personal high school career.

Best of luck!

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Robert’s Answer

Explain why your grades were poor. Any extenuating circumstances? Is there anything else that is a better indication of your potential and ability? Maybe you performed great in extracurriculars which took up most of your time or you immaturely only cared about 1 subject. Don't run from your weaknesses. Explain them honestly. Then, highlight your strengths if you can. Don't just list things you signed up for. Include any leadership roles or impact you made. This will show how you can help improve the culture and campus community at a future school/ Get great letters of recommendation. Maybe try to place or win an academic competition.

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