So, you’re filling out your college application and the grades on your transcript are lower than you’d like. Wondering how you’ll get into college with a low GPA? Don’t fret! Coming from somebody who was accepted to their first choice with less than stellar high school grades, getting into college with a low GPA is very possible. It’s all about knowing what college admissions officers are looking for, and improving your odds in those areas. Here are four non-grade related ways to boost your college chances:
1. Boost Your Standardized Test Scores. Many colleges and universities, especially state schools, operate their admissions on a sliding scale. The lower the GPA, the higher the standardized test score must be to gain acceptance. This is good news if you are figuring out how to get into college with a low GPA. There are affordable SAT and ACT prep courses you can take, and there is no limit on how many times you take the test. One good standardized test score can counteract a low GPA!
2. Get involved in extracurriculars. It’s one thing to have high marks and test scores, but colleges and universities accept people, not numbers. You can offset your low GPA by proving you’re a well-rounded individual, bringing a unique personality and set of experiences to campus. It’s never too late, even as a high school junior or senior, to join a service organization, a sports team, student council or the school newspaper. Each additional experience adds to your credentials and helps admissions counselors look beyond your GPA.
3. Craft a great essay. A well-written college essay, in which your personality shines brightly, is a crucial step in getting into college with a low GPA. Again, you’re not just a GPA or test score, you’re a unique individual with something to add on a college campus. Use the essay to explain your situation, state your goals and tell admissions how you plan to make the most of your experience at their school. The essay is an excellent chance for you to stand out amongst the crowd.
4. Interview Well. Your essay allows you to show personality, but nailing the college interview definitely increases your chance of getting into college with a low GPA – maybe even your first choice. Admissions officers want to know “who” an applicant is beyond the GPA, standardized test score and list of activities. At many schools you can schedule an interview without having to be granted one. Take the opportunity to sell yourself in person and tell the school why they should accept you on campus.
Your GPA is just one part of your application. In building each of these areas you will be seen as a well-rounded applicant, worthy of being accepted. The main thing is to focus on your strengths and to sell them to admission officers. Good luck!