I will admit it. When I graduated from high school, I had a less than stellar overall GPA. So when the rejection letters from colleges started rolling in, I was not too surprised, but I definitely panicked anyway. Here’s what you can do to battle back from GPA disaster.
1. Research the schools you want to apply to
Learn as much about their admissions policies as possible. Do they love students that have overcome adversity? Do they seem to place emphasis on wanting a diverse student body in all aspects? Perfect. These schools are going to be more open to overlooking that French class you bombed and more interested in who you are as a human being.
2. Reach out to the big guys
Find the names and emails of the directors of the programs you want to concentrate in. If you’re unsure of your major, find the names and emails for the dean and assistant dean. Now compose your friendliest email outlining your intentions to attend their school and why you are an awesome candidate despite your low GPA. You are now an actual name in a sea of applications.
Start a dialogue with those who reply and request to meet with them in person. Some will agree and some won’t, but it never hurts to ask. I found most were impressed with my willingness to go, quite literally, the extra mile by driving to meet them.
3. Prep for entrance exams
If you can’t blow them away with your grades, now is the chance to impress and show them what you can do. There are SAT and ACT prep courses you can take online or in person and endless books you can purchase with test taking software.
4. Write an awesome essay
I know this is easier said than done, but here is your chance to truly shine. Write about things you’ve been through that impacted your grades, volunteer work, employment, and extracurricular activities. Explain your GPA, but don’t dwell, and how it is not indicative of your overall intelligence. Do you have classes and subjects you excelled in? Point that out. If those happen to be the areas you want to focus on in college, even better.
5. Get organized and bounce back
Now is the time to focus on your priorities and schoolwork. If there are classes you’ve fallen behind in, it is not too late to bounce back. In my case, it was how I finished out my senior year that was the swaying factor in the ‘yes’ decision I received. So finish strong and show them that you mean business.
6. Don’t give up hope
There is a college that will respond to your efforts and look beyond your GPA at the bigger, brighter picture that is you. Believe it and keep trying. I did all of the above and a few schools decided to take a chance on me. I now have a degree framed on my wall and, with a little perseverance, you will too.