2
a year ago
Admissions Advice

How will schools consider a singular bad semester that drops your overall GPA? How do you compensate for that?

Good evening again,

I am a rising senior applying so far with an unweighted gpa of a 3.5 and a weighted of a 4.0 and taking several AP/IB/CC courses. I have one bad semester of junior year that has plummeted my GPA and without that semester added in, both my unweighted and weighted gpa would be higher by .3 points. Since that semester I have improved by a significant amount. I wanted to know how universities, particularly California ones actually consider cases like this and ways to compensate for things like this. Thank you.

applications
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3 answers

5
a year ago[edited]

If your semester with a lower GPA was caused by unusual circumstances (like illness, family concerns, etc.), colleges tend to be understanding about this. You'll just need to explain this in the Additional Information section of your application, and you might also ask your counselor to note it in their recommendation.

Between now and college applications, you won't be able to raise your GPA, but you should just try to do your best in the most challenging courses you can handle (just be sure to balance the time you'll need to spend on college apps). Colleges will get a mid-year report of your first semester senior year grades before most decisions come out, so that is a way to "compensate" for a lower GPA. Otherwise, working to write the best essays and get strong test scores will also improve your chances (good test scores are always helpful, even if a school is test-optional; they're also the quickest way to improve your academic profile).

If you're improved significantly since that one semester, that will also work in your favor. Colleges like to see positive trends, as that shows tenacity and a willingness to tackle challenges.

Hope this helps, and let me know if you have more questions!

5
3
a year ago

Hi! (Rising senior gang!) If that one "bad" semester that you had was during your school's period of online learning, they'll realize the connection immediately. Even without that, the improvement that you mention after that semester shows an incredible amount of growth and intellectual grit--exactly what colleges are looking for. I would guess that Cali schools are going to look at this in the same way... but I'm not 100% sure. The rest is definite.

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2
a year ago

I had the same problem but in my sophomore year before online learning started. You see, I'm an immigrant and my family had a period where we thought we were going to have to return to my home country. This took a significant toll on my mental health and I wasn't able to perform as well as I would. Therefore, instead of getting one B (as I usually do, there's always that one class), I got 4. But during the online learning semester, I performed very well and ended up getting one B as usual (I hate you, chemistry). I think colleges would look at this as a case of tremendous growth AND as tenacity during a global pandemic. So in the end, it all works out.

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