a month ago

Dropping Grades

I was diagnosed with major depressive disorder in January and my grades have taken a hit. I also recently got diagnosed with ADHD. I just got a 504 plan to help with these things, but honestly it's a bit too late now. I had a perfect 4.0 unweighted GPA for the first 2 years of high school (cumulative weighted 4.4), but I got a B in Algebra last semester and things have only gotten worse this semester. I have a few Fs now and I'm worried I won't be able to fix them with so little time left in the school year.

Most of my teachers have been very understanding and are allowing me to turn in late work, but my history class is an online dual credit class, and the teacher is unsure if it would be possible for me to turn in late work. Because that class is taken directly from a college, it would be impossible to get that F off my transcript and every college I apply for would see it.

I don't have any close friends and it's been really difficult to find a therapist that could help me work through this. It has been really hard to get the motivation to do anything and I have been skipping a lot of school to sleep in. At one point I was sleeping upwards of 14 hours every day. I place a lot of my self-worth in my high grades and academic skills, so my dropping grades have put me in a downward spiral of depression and hopelessness.

If my history teacher finds that it's against policy to accept late work despite my circumstances, or if I can't manage to get all my work done and I end up with a few Ds or Fs, would I be able to explain this to the colleges I apply for? I'm trying to set my bar lower and accept that I won't get into my dream schools if my grades stay like this, but maybe I could still make it into something with around a 50% acceptance rate since other than this semester, my grades are practically perfect. What do you think? Do you know of any decent colleges that might still accept me? Any support or advice is appreciated!

You can earn an 🚀 Above and Beyond award if the original poster thinks your reply takes the conversation to the next level!
a month ago[edited]

Hey there,

You absolutely can explain this to colleges you apply for (assuming you'll be applying through Common Application--I'm not too familiar with the UCs or Coalition)! There's a section at the end of the application where you can make any comments you wish to appear when admissions officers review your application. This is an awesome chance to explain any struggles and defend things on your application that aren't self-explanatory or are not as they seem. I've read a book from an ex admissions officer at Dartmouth and her outlook on this is quite positive.

Also, if it means anything, please know that you're not alone and that you are SO strong. Grades don't reflect who a person is, nor do they say anything about how much that person is worth.

With that said, colleges look at much more than just grades. Lots of schools take holistic approaches to their admissions, meaning that they take into account the entire profile of an applicant, including things like extracurriculars, challenging courses, character, work experience, etc. CollegeVine can help ballpark an acceptance rate, but then again, sometimes there are intangible qualities of an applicant that a calculator can't factor in.

I hope this helps! Feel free to ask more questions.


a month ago

Hi, sorry to hear you've been struggling. That's really hard. I would like to say there are always options no matter what happens. I would definitely include this on your Common App/other applications, since it has impacted your life so much and has affected your academics.

If you have a strong profile outside of grades, you can still have a great chance of being accepted to good colleges. @Umaasa explained this really well.

Even if you don't get into a "decent" college right out of high school, there are ways to start off your freshman year at a community college and transfer to a public university as a sophomore or with your AA depending on how many credits you already have. You can also go to a different college if you are trying to earn a master's degree. Please don't be discouraged! There is so much hope.


What are your chances of acceptance?
Your chance of acceptance
Duke University
+ add school
Your chancing factors
Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

Community Guidelines

To keep this community safe and supportive:

  1. Be kind and respectful!
  2. Keep posts relevant to college admissions and high school.
  3. Don’t ask “chance-me” questions. Use CollegeVine’s chancing instead!

How karma works