4 months ago
Admissions Advice

How do colleges/high schools judge personal stories and quarantine grades? Also, how can I improve their judgment?

I’m a high school sophomore from Georgia, and before I started high school, I was a pretty standout student in middle school, performing very high academically. However, during my first semester in freshman year, I went through several illnesses and ankle injuries which put me out of school for many days. This had caused me to have a steep decrease in my grades, having a roughly 3.3 GPA unweighted in that first semester.

The second semester would soon start, and for the first two months I turned back to middle school form, but the quarantine suddenly happen and with that, e-learning, which I saw the greatest decline of my GPA to 2.4 that semester. With all that, quarantine itself, personal issues, and the wonders of being a teenager, I was left genuinely depressed, but I was still determined to turn it all around in 10th grade!

I had bombed, my GPA dropped even further, I had failed a class for the first time in my life. That first semester was genuinely the worst time of my life. It was then that I was finally put into therapy in late November where my therapist quickly deduced that I was being affected by untreated ADHD. In hindsight, it was obvious because much of my family has it, and I always was noted by my teachers to be difficult at staying quiet or sitting still.

Soon after this diagnosis, I was given medicine to treat it, which also coincided with the beginning of my second semester. To my utter delight, so far this semester I have acquired a perfect GPA, and I feel normal for once in my life!

That being said, the daunting task of applying for college is right around the corner, and I’m still genuinely worried about how much my past grades will affect me getting into a good school. I have zero intention of getting anything lower than an A for the rest of high school, and I plan to work towards getting high ACT/SAT scores to counter-act some of my poor overall GPA. Still, that nagging worry remains, and I would for someone to explain what that judgment process is like and what can I do to further improve my chances?

Thanks in advance!

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1 answer

4 months ago

I would first like to congratulate you on your GPA for this semester! This is a good sign because as of now, many schools are still in quarantine, so when colleges see your transcript, they will see that you have learned to adapt (I honestly don't know how they are looking at quarantine grades so I apologize that I can't really answer that question). In addition, colleges also want to see an upward trend in your grades, so getting worse grades in your earlier portions of your high school career is not a total deal-breaker. You will have to maintain a perfect GPA to continue to make a good impression on admissions officers though. However, remember that grades are not everything in the admissions process. If you are truly worried that your grades are going to significantly affect your application, you can try putting less emphasis on your academics and instead try to invest more into your extracurriculars. I said this answer for another question, but basically, colleges want to see a student that can make an impact and also has more of a life than just academics, because nowadays, perfect GPAs are becoming more and more common, thereby making those students less and less of a stand-out. Some potential ideas for extracurriculars are to start a club, participate in (and hopefully lead later on) a volunteer opportunity that represents your passions, or anything else that can positively impact your community. Colleges are looking for people that have potential and a spirit which is why grades matter less in today's application process, at least according to some things that I have heard, read, and seen. Hope that helps!


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