5 months ago
Admissions Advice

Pretend you’re an admissions counselor. Please someone give me a brutally honest answer 😂

Up until the last few weeks of my junior year I had no idea what I wanted to do and I didn’t try in school so my grades aren’t so good but this next year (my senior year in high school) I plan on doing everything I can to get my GPA up it’s at a unweighted 2.7 rn :( I plan on getting at the LEAST a 3.0 by the end of my senior year. My ACT score is not good at all because like I said earlier I didn’t even try but I plan on taking it at least 2 more times and I’ve been studying with an ACT book my goal is at least a 26. Any tips ?

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4 answers

Accepted Answer
5 months ago[edited]

Just study harder. Actually try. Pay attention in class. Extracurriculars. APs. You want to be able to show colleges that you've changed and that you're really trying to do well now. You will probably want to write your essays on that, but you need good grades your senior year to back that up. You are far from hopeless. Many colleges will be glad to accept you if you get your grades up this last year. The ACT is definitely a good way to do this as well. It is hard to change your GPA in one year. Test scores though? That's way easier. You just have to seriously spend a lot of time intentionally studying. Like hours every week until the test date.

You can still go to a good college. Not a super prestigious one, but still a good one. I got accepted to several "respected" universities, and in the end, I ended up committing to a smaller, less respected college, just because of the financial aspect.

Also, someone else mentioned this, but I want to emphasize this: Community college and then transfer could be a REALLY good option for you. It will give you a chance to really improve your grades, and then apply as a transfer student to a college you really like. I think when you do this, most colleges don't even see your high school grades, just your college transcript.

I hope this helps, and good luck!

5 months ago

I'll try to be brutally honest as you requested... 😅

Your GPA:

I'm going to give it to you straight. If you want to get into top 20 schools or schools such as the Ivy League, there is a very low chance they would accept you. Even though colleges claim their admissions are holistic (which they are in some ways), GPA will always be an important factor as it reflects your high school years academically as a whole.

What Can You Do?

Take AP classes! While your unweighted GPA may not be amazing, you could possibly get your weighted GPA up to around a 3.3 or so if you take a lot of rigorous classes. This is really the only option if you want a shot (in the GPA category) at mid-range acceptance rates schools. If you have already chosen your classes and cannot change them, try to ask if you can OR self study for some AP classes outside of high school and maybe take dual enrolment classes. I can't really think of anything else you can do.

Your ACT Score:

Lucky for you, since you are currently a junior, lots of universities will be test optional for your graduating class. Unless you can get a very good ACT score, I would apply test optional. If you really want to try and get a good score, maybe attempt the SAT as well, just to see which one you prefer (if you have not already done so).

My Questions For You...

- Do you have any impressive extracurriculars? These are really going to be the thing that saves you. It's rare, but occasionally people can get accepted into top 20 schools with an average GPA as long as their extracurriculars are incredible. These levels of extracurriculars include: starting a business, being president of a club, creating a game, having an internship at a well-known company, etc. So yeah, they are pretty high-tier activities. 😓

- Have you started drafting for your essays? A really good time to start is this summer, the summer before your senior year. Picture this: you are an admission officer and have spent your whole day reading essays all about the same "live-changing" topic. It gets a little repetitive. But then, you come across a beautifully written essay that makes you smile, laugh, or cry. Sure, extracurriculars and grades are important, but essays will be the factor of your application to really show your personality. PLEASE PUT LOTS OF EFFORT INTO THESE!

- Letters of recommendation? Do you have teachers who you can ask that like you a lot? These will be super important.

This is just my point of view. My brutally honest answer to sum it up is that, unless your extracurriculars are unrealistically incredible, schools such as Harvard may be a high reach and not super realistic. However, I want you to know that whatever college you end up going to will not determine your future. I know, I know, this is said a lot but it is the honest truth. Really, college cannot hold you back, it can only give you that extra boost to your end goal. The only thing that can hold you back is yourself. As long as you treat others with kindness, are honest, and dedicated to what you want to do, you will achieve what you want to achieve.

I'd be happy to answer any other questions you may have regarding this. :D

Good luck!

5 months ago

It also depends on the schools you wish to try for admission. You may be able to get into a State school with a mandated lower GPA requirement, for instance (Cal State schools require a 3.0).

Another consideration would be to go to a community college and then transfer into a school after you have established a successful track record. In California there are established paths from CCs to the UCs). You may just have to think outside the box a wee bit in terms of your trajectory!

Best of luck, and kudos for realizing that you are willing and able to apply yourself!

5 months ago

Hello, most schools minimum GPA is a 3.0 (unweighted), so you should definitely try to bring it up higher than that. You can do this by taking AP, dual enrollment, and/or honor classes. If you do well in these classes, it should bring your GPA up. The problem is that colleges will look at your junior year grades first so you should have to explain about your grades in your college application. With the ACT, I recommend doing practice test like you are actually doing the exam to get a better sense of the time. Using your previous score, try to focus on the areas you did not do so well on. For example, in the math section, if you did worse on the geometry questions try to focus on that! Also, learn strategies or tips that would help you with the timing of the test. Remember that academic and scores are not the only factor colleges look at. You did not mention any extracurricular activities you are doing but I recommend trying to be productive over your junior year. Try to find activities, programs, volunteering, and/or internships that you think you would enjoy! Overall, you have a lot to do over this summer but I know you can do it! Good luck!! :)


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