What If Your High School Transcript Has a Few Bad Grades

November 23, 2013
November 23, 2013 ACS

Not every high school senior has a great grade point average or excellent ACT or SAT scores. Some students have some “dings” or bad grades on their high school transcripts. If you are one of these students, you shouldn’t be discouraged and apprehensive about applying to college.

According to a recent article by Briana Boyington, if fall into this category, there are some things to consider.

First, take responsibility of your grades and offer an explanation. There are numerous reasons why you may have not done well in a specific class. These may include an extended illness, a family issue, a possible switch in teachers during the year, or even your lack of maturity at the time you earned that bad grade. You need to realize that admissions officials know that grades aren’t always the main indicator of your capability. According to Boyington, experts say that students need to take the time to write an honest explanation about their grades.

Kat Cohen, CEO of IvyWise, an educational consulting company says, “Everybody makes mistakes; there’s not one perfect person out there. But how do you learn from those mistakes–if you can explain it thoughtfully and in a mature way, often times a college is going to understand that.”

Students are able to discuss their poor grade or grades in a personal statement or in the additional information field on the Common Application.

It is also important to remember that early admission is extremely competitive, so, according to Boyington’s article, experts suggest students with poor grades on their transcripts apply during the regular admission and use the extra time to take challenging courses and try to improve their GPA.

Jeff Fuller, director of student recruitment at the University of Houston says, “The ‘F’ will always be on their transcript. But like everything in the college admissions process, students that show that they can overcome either adversity, academic preparation, whatever it may be–those are great telling signs for a student’s perseverance and persistence towards graduation.”

It is also important to remember that admissions officials want to make sure applicants will be able to thrive in college so if you have a bad grade, you need to prove your poor performance isn’t indicative of who you really are.

If you have any questions, please give us a call and we can set up an appointment and discuss your plans.


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