If you’re asking yourself how to get into college with a low GPA, don’t despair. It’s not impossible to get into college with below average grades, but it does take significant work. What you can do is focus on crafting the best possible college application you can, and if you’re applying to colleges which use the common app, even better. There are also things you can do to improve your GPA right now, before you apply. In this blog, we’ll look at what your chances are of being accepted into college with a low GPA, what you can do to improve your chances and how admissions officials look at your college application.
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Can you still get into college with a low GPA?
The short answer is: yes. Plenty of students worry that their low grades in high school will prevent them from getting into university or college, and this stress is compounded by countless pressures. Not every student will have a stellar academic performance in high school, and there can be many reasons why a student might struggle to keep their GPA high.
Students all over the world struggle with the stress of success, and not everyone has a strong academic inclination. All the same, it is possible to get into a four-year program with a low GPA, but it takes some work.
Want to know the best study tactics to get the highest marks in your undergrad? Watch this:
How low is too low for my GPA?
A low GPA will certainly make it more difficult to get into college, but not impossible. There are more than 5,000 colleges in the US alone, and of these schools, the least selective among them have and do accept students with a C average, or a 2.0 GPA. Applying with a 2.0 GPA is still risky, though, so it’s best to do everything possible to either improve your GPA while you’re still in school or focus on building up other parts of your college application. If you’re applying using the common app system, this is good as you can save time by submitting one superb application to multiple colleges.
If your GPA is lower than 2.0, there is still a hope for you to get into a college program. If you’re still in school, work hard on raising your grades and consider getting some professional help to explore your options and help you over any academic hurdles. Professional aid can also help you improve the other sections of your application to increase your chances of acceptance.
If you’re not sure what your GPA is at currently, it’s a good idea to calculate your current score and see how much you need to raise it. Your GPA may be higher than you think, and it may be possible to raise it sufficiently before you graduate and begin applying to colleges.
6 Strategies to Get Into Top Colleges With A Low GPA
Why you should address a low GPA in your college application
Something to consider when you’re preparing your application is that it’s advisable to address a low GPA. It won’t go unnoticed, and providing some background information allows you to control the narrative, rather than letting admissions boards draw their own conclusions about you and your work ethic based on low grades.
You can address your GPA in your common app essay or a personal statement in your application, and talk about any difficulties which led to your academic struggles. Questions about your GPA might also come up a college admission interview, so be ready to address it then, too. It’s a way of providing some context for your academic performance and taking responsibility for any shortcomings you may have. It shows you have the maturity and self-awareness to address your mistakes and learn from them, but that you are also willing to work hard to improve yourself. These are admirable qualities to have, and demonstrating them can actually make more of an impression on a college admissions board than a low GPA.
Ways to raise your GPA
For students who are still in high school, it’s possible to raise your GPA before you graduate and give yourself an improved chance of getting into college. If you’re struggling with your grades, and you know the college you have your eye on isn’t likely to accept you, consider getting some outside help to bump up your grades. It’s also advisable to work on rounding out your application with extracurriculars, work experience and writing skill. Here are just a few things you can do to raise your GPA before you graduate.
How professional help can boost your GPA
There are many specialized services which help students get into college, and seeking them out can be the best idea for an applicant with a low GPA. Having professional advice from a service like college admissions consulting or a college advisor can make all the difference in the world.
An advisor can relieve some of the stress of the situation by going through your options with you, helping you decide which schools you have the best chance of getting in and work with you to craft the best application possible. Every student’s case is different, so personalized help and a personalized plan of action will move your forward. Whether you’re still in high school, recently graduated or looking at going to university as a mature student, a college advisor can walk through your options for improving your GPA and building the rest of your application.
Talking to a professional guidance counsellor may also be advisable, particularly if you’re still a high school student. Guidance counsellors can help to identify the root causes of your academic struggles, whether this is due to personal troubles, an unidentified learning disability or attention disorder, a lack of interest in school or ineffective study methods. Knowing what’s causing you to struggle in school will show you how to fix the cause, and this may be enough to turn a corner grades-wise.
Focus on other application components
If you’re already graduated or are applying as a mature student, improving your GPA may not be an option for you. That being said, there are still ways to successfully get into a degree program with an unsatisfactory GPA.
When considering applications, college admissions weigh different sections of the applications by their importance. For highly selective schools, like Ivy League schools, grades and high test scores are considered very important. But on average your GPA only accounts for 20% of your overall application score at a majority of schools. The difficulty of your coursework in high school is also taken into account, as well as any reasons you provide for your low grades. Your extracurricular profile and your college essay submission account for roughly 30% and 25% of your application score, respectively. Your standardized test scores will make up about 15% of your overall score, and the remaining 10% will be based on the strength of your recommendation letters. This means that a stellar application overall can overshadow a low GPA. So, even if your GPA is below a 2.0, you can still achieve the remaining 80% by preparing a strong overall application.
Below we’ll look at other components of your application you can improve to outshine a low GPA.
Other options to consider
There are other options you can consider as a recent graduate or high school student approaching graduation. When you’re short on time to bump up a low GPA, you might think there’s not much you can do. But there’s still hope to get you into college, even sooner than you think.
A few options you can consider would be to delay your college application, enter an alternative admissions program, or apply to a community college.
Whether you’re a current high school student, just graduated or returning to college education after a break, it is still possible to be successful with a low GPA. It takes a significant amount of work and a dedication to improving yourself, but there are options for you. Its up to you to make the decision to try and commit to doing the work needed.
1. Can I still get into college with a low GPA?
Yes. Even students with a low GPA are accepted to college, although some more selective schools may not consider you with a below average GPA.
2. What’s the lowest GPA a college will accept?
Typically, colleges will not accept a GPA below 2.0 to a four-year program, but there are options for students with a GPA lower than this to succeed in being accepted.
3. Can I still improve my GPA?
Yes. There are plenty of ways to improve your GPA now, including hiring a tutor, talking to a guidance counselor about your academic struggles, developing better study strategies and more.
4. Do the other sections of my college application offset a low GPA?
Typically, your GPA only accounts for 20% of your overall application. Your college essay and extracurriculars section are both more heavily weighted in admissions evaluations than your GPA and coursework.
5. Can my college essay overshadow my low GPA?
A strong college essay will certainly increase your chances of being accepted to college, and may overshadow a low GPA. However, some highly competitive schools may still reject your application if your GPA is too low, even with a strong essay.
6. What are my options for getting into college with a low GPA?
If your GPA is too low for most colleges to consider you, there are some options for you. You can wait to apply and improve your GPA, or you can consider entering an alternative admissions program or community college to make the jump into a four-year program.
7. Do standardized test scores count for more than my GPA?
Usually, no. Some colleges consider ACT and SAT scores and others don’t, but these scores typically account for less than your coursework grades and GPA.
8. How do I get into college with a low GPA?
The best thing you can do is try to improve your GPA before you apply. If you can’t, focus on strengthening your overall application, especially your college essay and extracurricular activities.
9. Should I address my low GPA in my application or college interview?
Yes. Addressing your shortcomings and providing an explanation shows you can take responsibility for yourself. You should also highlight how you’ve worked to improve yourself despite a low GPA and why you’re committed to going to college despite any academic shortcomings.
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