Bad Grades? How College Can Still be Attainable

You're down to the home stretch: Senior year! Your excitement becomes intertwined with fear and doubt when it comes time to think about applying to colleges: your grades aren't quite the best.

Maybe you are not the best test taker. Maybe that game of Flappy Bird on your phone was more important than studying. Whatever the case may be there's still hope for you after graduation! It will take some work, but it's possible.

The first step is by and far the most important: Don't give up! Without this step, there's no use in going any further.

Firstly, it's an important life lesson. When you look back at all the things you could have done differently, it's easy to say, "Why bother trying now? It's too late." Truth is, it's not. End strong: look into tutors, do your best on the SAT/ACT exam, form a study group, whatever you have to do to show that you're committed to working just as hard in college as you are right now.

Secondly, it could actually help you in the application process. Not everyone enters high school with a strong work ethic. Admissions will see the poor grades in the beginning. But if they see a strong improvement in the end, they will see that you're serious, and it could push you into the accepted category.

Your next step is to make that application essay shine, including an explanation about the grades. Everyone makes mistakes, and everyone handles them differently. Be honest and mature in your explanation, and it may work in your favor.

Don't start writing with the goal of getting their sympathy; a sob story will not work in your favor. Gain their respect by showing how you overcame or learned from those obstacles. It won't erase that F. But it will help a great deal if they understand why it's there.

Another great step is to get a good recommendation. Have a teacher, counselor, or manager you're close to? See if they can write a letter to vouch for your work ethic. If you don't, form those bonds now. Developing relationships is an important part of college, and the working world. Polishing that skill in high school will put you a step ahead of a lot of people your age. It might not be fair at times, but sometimes who you know is more important than what you know.

If none of these are viable, a very common option is applying to community college. Click here to learn how to get the most out of this site. Once accepted, your high school grades and SAT scores don't matter. If you can buckle down and get your grades up in some of your core classes, you have a much better chance of going where you want. Not only that, but you will save money; lots of students opt for community colleges their first two years because the tuition is so much cheaper than four-year schools.

You can't change what you did during freshman, sophomore, or junior year. But the hard work now will show how much progress you've made since then. If not for college, for yourself. You're worth the hard work.

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