Low GPA: Can you sneak past the requirements?

college campusA low GPA could be reason to worry. For example, if a school requires a 3.0 GPA to be considered for admission, they may throw out your application if you have anything lower than that.

What colleges see. Colleges will see your cumulative GPA up to the point you send your transcript, which generally won't include your senior year. Don't slack off senior year, though, because they will require a transcript at the end of the year to make sure your grades are still on track!


Colleges have different policies for looking at grades. Some will look at your freshman year grades, but not factor them into your GPA. If you have weighted grades, some will recalculate them to be on a 4.0 scale and others won't. So the bottom line is you just have to do your best.


You can always contact the school directly to see what their policy is for applicants with a low GPA. If still choose to apply, keep in mind that it’s a reach school and you should definitely apply to some safety and match schools.


Size of school matters: Large universities have many applicants, and they may be more likely to throw out an application just by looking at GPA or standardized test scores. Private schools and smaller colleges may still take a closer look at your application. However, if 3.0 is an average or suggested GPA, you have more flexibility. This means you may still have a good chance!


Special circumstances: If you had a special circumstance for getting low grades, you can submit supplemental materials or petition for admission. Special circumstances can include a medical condition or diagnosis, a sudden family death, or an undiagnosed learning disability. If you have low grades because you were too lazy or too involved to pay attention to your studies, you'll have to focus even more on the other parts of your application.


Work on the rest of your application. Remember that while grades are very important, you still have other parts of your application you can work on. Study hard for the standardized tests, get the best recommendations you can, and write a top-notch essay.


>>Petitioning for admission: Getting in when you don't qualify


>>The Common Application: Your ticket to college, or is it?