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How to Get into a Good College with a Low GPA

July 13, 2011 By: Category: Application tips, Get into College

The world is full of smart people who weren’t high school stars. When the race to get into college starts, they find themselves behind other smart people who had higher GPAs. But the good news is, lots of colleges understand this and are willing to admit smart, motivated people with less-than-stellar grade point averages.

Here are a few ways to put that ho-hum GPA behind you . . .

  • Get your hands on a copy of Colleges that Change Lives by Loren Pope. This book really should be called, “The Late Bloomer’s Guide to Getting into College.” All of the colleges profiled in the book are looking for smart, unusual students who weren’t high-school standouts. One of these schools could be looking for you.
  • Take college courses online – and do very well in them. Online courses are not necessarily easier than the courses you took in high school, but it is often easier to earn a higher grade in them. Why? Because some online courses, such as those offered by, are open-ended, meaning that you can spend extra time on individual lessons before moving ahead. Strategic use of online learning options can help you build a stronger profile to present to colleges.
  • Ladder your way up to the school(s) you want to attend by taking courses at community colleges or other local institutions. This is a well-proven strategy that works especially well if you are angling to get into a state university.
  • Find other ways to put your best foot forward. Maybe you played first violin in your state’s youth orchestra, or are a ranked practitioner of archery, or assisted a local ornithologist on a project that tagged birds in your state last summer. Hey, you have an unusual story to tell! Don’t hide it. Chances are, there is a very good college itching to admit somebody just like you!

Happy Hunting!