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Is it okay to have a few C's in my grades?

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Thank you comment icon Hi Junhua! I rephrased your question a little bit to make it clearer to Professionals, but please add some more details in the description about your concerns so that you can get the best advice. Thanks! Alexandra Carpenter, Admin

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Ray’s Answer

It depends upon your goals. If you want to go to UC Berkeley, no. You will be competing with students with all A’s plus extra curricular activities. However if you want to go to college and eventually get to Berkeley, sure. I was a terrible student out of high school. My road was a long one. After four years in the Air Force, attendance at eight community colleges (including CCSF) I entered UC Berkeley and eventually graduated with honors in engineering. It was very tough, but I worked hard. It’s all up to you. Of course way back when, we seemed to have more time. Still, it’s up to you. Liz is right. You probably work hard to figure some things out. That might mean you have more character than someone who cruises through everything. Character is good.
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Michelle’s Answer

Hello,

In short it depends on the program you are applying to. Please make sure you understand the program requirements!

When applying to a competitive program it can matter that you have C’s because that weighs your GPA down. That said, once you find out program requirements allow that to guide your next steps. Sometimes it’s advisable to retake a C if you are able. If it’s not a college level course like a pre college math course for example, those don’t count towards your GPA.

Hopefully this addresses your concerns if not please ask another question and hopefully we can get the answers!

Sincerely,

Michelle
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Madisyn’s Answer

Hi Junhua,

It is generally ok to have some C-grades. While it is no secret that maintaining high grades is the goal, sometimes we don't end up doing as well as we want to. As long as you have tried your absolute best, you shouldn't feel too bad about the C-grade. Additionally, if you are applying to colleges or scholarships, having some C-grades will not completely remove your eligibility. However, you should try to counter those C-grades with better scores in other topics so that you can bring your overall GPA up.
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Liz’s Answer

Hi there-

The answer is 100% YES. I find from personal experiences, that those students how get C’s are overall better in the specialty.

It is not about the Grades so much, but the drive of the individual, and how well they can do hands on at their position.

Good Luck, and reach for the stars!!!!

LA (Liz Anderson)
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Brian’s Answer

Hi Junhua,

I understand where you're coming from and can offer my perspective, as someone who did have 2 C's on my transcript in HS yet still gained admission to UCB/UCLA/UCSD (and got a few C's in college and still went to a top-20 business school). Granted things may be more competitive now, but:

1). Grades are important as they show capability and ability to handle academic rigor. In reality, your grades are evaluated in totality with your application AND over the entire 4 years. Thus, a single (or double) C in a particular course surrounded by A's on everything else won't destroy your chances.
2). Sometimes there are reasons for a poor grade, such as health emergency (Covid), family tragedy (death/loss), financial stress (you had to work to support your family) or even "I didn't like the subject" (which was my reason). Admissions officers aren't dumb and can see the nuance/read between the lines
3). Admissions are a huge black box now, which is good and bad. It is good in that you can have 1 or 2 blemishes on your transcript but show potential in your activities, essays, etc. Focus on what you can control, which is the future, and don't get discouraged.

caveat: This is based on my experience with the UC system. I can say confidently that Ivy Leagues/Stanford/MIT, etc. approach evaluating students differently and C's will be difficult to overcome barring significant reasons why. Luckily, there are many great universities out there that are not in the Ivy League so you will be fine.
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