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Is it game over if I score less marks in my high school final year? Will I be able to join any college to pursue a bachelors in computer science? What other qualifications matter except my grades?

I'm currently writing my high school cbse class 12 board exams and I am worried whether I will have a bright future if i fail to secure a good grade in my exams.

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Jerome’s Answer

Some of that depends on where you are, both physically and in terms of the general job market, but the answer to your first question is "No." The canonical story here is that of one Bill Gates, who was less than a stellar student in terms of everything but math, yet went on to become quite successful. He dropped out of college. In fact, although it makes your path considerably easier, a college degree isn't completely necessary to succeed in the computer field. Put in the work, teach yourself, and you can make it.

Colleges and employers value not only grades but experience. Have you done any projects in the field to which you can point as examples of your ability? Volunteer work? Perhaps a part-time job? Writing a technical blog based on your learning? Any or all of these can help promote you in the case your grades aren't perfect. You're a human, not a test score.

Don't over-stress on your exams. Study, put in the best effort you can, breathe, and read the questions before answering them. Your enemies here are fear and anxiety. There will be life after test day.

Wishing you the best!
Thank you comment icon Thanks for your encouragement! Ashwini
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Michelle’s Answer

Hello, Ashwini !

I can see how low grades in your last year of high school may be a concern to you, but it's not too much to worry about. Although the final decision for your admission will be decided upon by the actual colleges you apply to, you can still go to college for computer science and realize a rewarding career for your future. There are multi-thousands of colleges and universities in your country so you're bound to be accepted at many, some or any.

What may be important will be why your grades were poor and you can provide a written explanation if you've had a family disruption, had to relocate, changed schools, something that was not anything in your control. Another thing you could do is to read some colleges admissions requirements in your country and see what they are expecting. Also, you may be underestimating your grades. You didn't mention what they were so I am not sure if they are at a level that would matter.

Ask the school if you can be admitted on a conditional basis. This is sometimes done in some countries, so check with the schools of your choice to see if they offer this. It will mean that you get admitted to the college but will have to keep your grade point average at a certain level while enrolled.

Importantly, figure out why you received the low grades and make improvements for it to not be something that happens moving forward. There are other things that do matter besides grades, too, like a portfolio of your computer connected projects, volunteer work, extracurriculars and putting forth any number of your talents on your resume and in your portfolio. Study hard for your college entrance exams and strive for good grades.

Visit your current academic counselor to discuss the situation and to see if there are ways in your country that are preferable to handle it. Your academic counselor may even be able to refer you to some colleges that would be suited to your specific needs. Having low grades in your 12th grade year will bring your grade point average down, yes, but it is not a reason why you can't go to college. There are 150 community colleges in your country, so you can even see if attending a community college for two years would be something for you and than transfer to a four year college. Most importantly, know that there is a way to successfully do this and pursue your goals.

I have left some article links for you below to read about how you can improve your grades going forward. It may be helpful and hopefully inspiring to make some small, doable goals to turn your grades around. Good study habits and performance will be a must in college. I hope that this is helpful and I wish you all the best ! Never give up !

Michelle recommends the following next steps:

HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR GRADES https://www.oxford-royale.com/articles/improve-underperforming-grades/
IMPROVING YOUR GRADES https://www.crimsoneducation.org/nz/blog/how-to-get-good-grades/
BOUNCING BACK FROM BAD GRADES https://www.princetonreview.com/college-advice/how-to-improve-bad-grades
TIPS ON HOW TO IMPROVE GRADES https://studybreaks.com/college/expert-tips-improve-grades/
HOW TO IMPROVE GRADES AT THE LAST MINUTE https://thescholarshipsystem.com/blog-for-students-families/the-final-stretch-how-to-improve-grades-last-minute/
Thank you comment icon Thank you, this is really helpful. Ashwini
Thank you comment icon You are very welcome, Ashwini ! Michelle M.
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Junied’s Answer

Scoring lower marks in your high school final year doesn't necessarily mean it's game over for your academic pursuits. While good grades are important for college admissions, they're not the sole determining factor. There are several other qualifications and aspects that colleges consider:

Standardized Test Scores: Many colleges require standardized test scores like the SAT or ACT. While these scores are important, they're not the only consideration.

Extracurricular Activities: Colleges look for well-rounded students who have been involved in extracurricular activities such as sports, clubs, volunteering, or leadership roles. Highlighting your involvement and achievements in these areas can strengthen your college application.

Personal Statement/Essays: Your personal statement or essay is an opportunity to showcase your personality, interests, and motivations. A compelling essay can sometimes compensate for lower grades.

Letters of Recommendation: Strong letters of recommendation from teachers, counselors, or mentors who can speak to your academic abilities, character, and potential can positively impact your application.

Relevant Experience or Projects: If you have relevant experience or have worked on projects related to computer science, showcasing these can demonstrate your passion and commitment to the field.

Interviews: Some colleges conduct interviews as part of the admissions process. Use this opportunity to convey your enthusiasm for computer science and your potential to succeed in the program.

While grades are important, admissions committees typically consider the overall profile of applicants. If you didn't perform as well as you'd hoped in your final year, focus on highlighting your strengths in other areas of your application. Additionally, consider options such as attending a community college and transferring to a four-year institution after completing some coursework, or exploring alternative pathways into the field such as coding bootcamps or online courses. There are many paths to achieving your academic and career goals.
Thank you comment icon I will use this advice as I prepare for my career. Ashwini
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Karin’s Answer

,Hi Ashwini,

No, it's not game over! Don't make yourself crazy over things that have not even happened yet.

I am not sure if you are planning to study in India or in the US (or anywhere else)?

In the US, a lot of things go into the admission process. Sure, high marks are desirable and important, so is a high SAT or ACT score. But they'll also have all your school transcripts and can see that you still have the potential, even if the grades from the last year are not the best.

They'll also look at your enthusiasm and commitment, extracurricular activities, experience in computer stuff, service to the community etc. You need some letters of recommendation from your teachers. You'll also have to write a personal statement that shows who you are, what drives you and where you want to go.

And if you really don't get into the school of your dreams - there are thousands of colleges in the US. You'll just go somewhere else. Or maybe you'll go to Australia. Or Singapore. Or Europe. You are young, smart and educated. Your future will be bright.

So, keep going. You got this!

KP
Thank you comment icon Thanks for your encouragement! Ashwini
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Priscilla’s Answer

Hello Aswini, Grades are definetly a stressor. But Universities look at much more. What internships or volunteer work have you done? One option is to attend a community college to see how you do there. Plus it is cheaper. Look for someone in the field you are most interested in and talk to them or even shadow them for a day. Realize that many people change their majors when in college. Also today most people will change proffesions several times during their lives. Wishing you all the best!
Thank you comment icon Your advice was so helpful! Ashwini
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Sheanel’s Answer

Hello Aswini,

I would not say that game is over! You have completed the most important years of high school. Colleges typically look at your GPA, an accumulation of your grades throughout your freshman to senior year. Continue to strive and work hard towards your end goal of getting into college. Letters of recommendation from your teachers will also make an impact on the college admission process.

Best of luck on your future endeavors!
Thank you comment icon This was super helpful, thank you! Ashwini
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Sujeet’s Answer

See, numbers don't matter or in today's generation, numbers don't matter at all, you just have to focus on your skills, everyone has to pass degree but no one can crack the interview.I am a computer science engineer. I got many jobs. I had not good marks in high school but I got the job with my skills and my personality.
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