Success stories or good chance of getting accepted into UC's (UCI, UCR, UCLA, UCSB, UCSD)?
I'm currently a junior and getting a head start on researching universities to apply to in the fall of my senior year. I live in California and I really want to be able to attend these UC schools (my dream school being UCI and UCLA). However, I recently found out that they only account for sophomore grades and junior grades for the application process. I slipped up my sophomore year really badly mainly because of when the pandemic started because classes were not availiable during the 2nd semester therefore there was no opportunity to raise my grade and teachers didn't really teach. and although I took a bunch of honors and AP classes, I ended up getting mostly B's with the exception of a few A's and 1 C in 1 of my 2 semesters. Also so far, my junior year is alright but not the best either, and I'm currently taking 3 AP classes 1 honors class with French 3 & orchestra as my required elective. My grades so far are 3 A+'s, 1 A, 1 B+, and 1 C ( AP Chem is so difficult!). I'm really worried about my chances of getting accepted into these UC schools because they are getting more selective each year. I do a lot of volunteer work involving helping my community and especially kids and plan to volunteer at CHOC to show that I want to pursue a major and career in childcare in hospitals and health professions. So will I be able to redeem myself if I can write about that in my college application essays and will I be able to stand a good chance to be accepted into these schools. Some success stories would be nice too if there is any because my self esteem is really low :(
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Many colleges are going to consider and maybe lower the academic requirements for the classes heavily impacted by the pandemic (such as the Seniors from last year/ this year). Many colleges going test-optional are a sign of this happening.
There are some options beyond hoping, however.
1.) You can explain it. I'm far more acquainted with the common application, where you have a space to give extra information. For example, I am planning to put down the fact that I should have been on an ILP but the school was unwilling to help me as well as some more personal things going on. You can explain the circumstances behind the drop in your grades, letting AOs and anyone else handling your application have a glimpse further into your life.
2.) Community College! This is not glamourous by any means at all but should be seriously considered. Ivy Leagues (and T20 schools in general) are known for their competitiveness when it comes to Freshmen admissions, but you can get into a very good school by attending a community college and keeping a good GPA (think 3.8). Community Colleges are also super cheap and practical. You also aren't making a bet on whether you get in or not since if you take a required set of classes, you get accepted.
3.) Gap Year. I only recommend this if you seriously know you could do something great in that extra few months (or year). It can be a great way to improve your extra-circulars or take an extra year of high school (known as a victory lap) and further improve GPA/ test scores. I'd double-check with your school on this and find out if there any qualifications needed.
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