What Kind of Student Are You?
Make your mark on the chart where you think you fit based on your grades and standout factor. Your standout factor could be a number of things, and it may help you get into college. Standout students have something that separates them from the pack. Many high school students play soccer and are on the yearbook staff. Fewer high school students have a non-teenager activity like starting and running a business or charity. Your standout factor may be who you are. For example, there are fewer male nursing students and female engineering students than their counterparts.
Box 1: Many college doors will be open to you based solely on your grades and test scores. Smaller schools and state schools may have college scholarships designed for students like you. However, if you want to attend a competitive college you will need to find a way to stand out. There are thousands of high schools in this country, and each one has a top-ranked student. Many more thousands of students take AP classes and make mostly A’s. What makes you different?
Box 2: You’ve got the grades and the X-factor that may make you attractive to the most competitive colleges. However, the competition can be fierce. Re-examine your interests and activities and see if they really separate you from the pack. You will also be an attractive student to state colleges and less competitive institutions. Competitive schools might accept you, but state schools might pay your way.
Box 3: Many colleges, even small state schools, have minimum GPA and test score requirements. If your grades trend upward toward the end of high school you might convince a school that your GPA is permanently on the rise. Taking a test-prep class or retaking the sat and ACT may improve your scores. You may also consider attending a two-year community college before attending a four-year school. Community colleges will allow you to save money, earn credit and re-start your academic history. When you apply as a transfer student, colleges will be more interested in your recent grades rather than your high school GPA. If your grades and test scores remain low, try to increase your standout factor. If your scores are high enough you might catch a college’s attention.
Box 4: There is good news and bad news here. The good news is you’ve got something that will make you attractive or stand out to colleges. The cold hard reality, though, is many colleges have minimum GPA and test score requirements. So even if you have a unique activity and bring diversity to campus you might not be able to get in. If you show that you finished high school with an upward-trending GPA, a college might bend their requirements. Other colleges might not. Seek extra help from teachers. Take a test prep class. If you increase your GPA enough, you could be in line for competitive schools or scholarship. Some colleges may be willing to bend entrance requirements for the right student.