8 Things to Do If You Have a Low GPA

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What to Do If You Have a Low GPA but High SAT Score

College applications include a lot of components. You typically need to include the application itself, your essay and your rest result scores. You also need to provide your GPA. Some students have a low GPA but high SAT scores. Here is what you need to know about low GPA high SAT scores. 

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Many colleges have admissions requirements. They often have a GPA threshold. They may also require students to earn a minimum score on standardized tests. For some students, having a low GPA but high SAT score may be limiting. They may not perfectly fit into the admissions criteria. 

However, hope is not lost. Students with a low GPA but high SAT score still may be admitted. It is important to carefully fill out the application. Students should highlight their accomplishments whenever possible. They may want to add extra elements to their application. They also may want to work with their counselor to complete the application. A counselor could help a student portray the best version of themselves on paper. 

What do Colleges Think of Your Low GPA High SAT? 

Colleges consider every student to be an individual. They may see a low GPA as a disadvantage. However, they may view a high SAT score as an indication that means that the student is capable. 

When reviewing an application with a low GPA but high SAT score, colleges may look at trends. They will want to see that the student continuously improved. Colleges want to accept driven, motivated students. It is important to show that your grades continued to improve over time. Continuous decline in GPA may prevent a college from admitting you. Different colleges will have different admissions standards. You should consider this when selecting schools to apply to. 

Does GPA or SAT Score Matter More? 

Every college will look at a combination of factors. They will review a students GPA. They also will compare the students’ test scores. A low GPA combined with a high SAT may seem contradictory. However, colleges weigh these factors differently. Many college admissions officers may rely on GPA to make their decision. They may feel that GPA shows a better overall picture of academic strength. This is because a GPA is formed over the course of time. It shows how well a student performed consistently. 

This may be disappointing to someone with a low GPA but high SAT score. However, there is still hope. A high SAT score could show that the ability is there. The GPA trend may be compared with the SAT score to show the whole picture. 

Why is Your GPA Low? 

A low GPA alone may not prevent you from getting into college. Students with a low GPA could simply have to explain their circumstances. There are a variety of factors that could contribute to a low GPA. Students who have to work to help support their family may not be able to study as often. Those who are involved in extracurricular activities may see their GPA suffer. And, students who struggled early in high school may find their GPA always lags behind. A GPA may be low for a variety of reasons. 

What is a Good GPA? 

A student’s grade point average, or GPA, is typically calculated on a 4.0 scale. According to U.S. News and World Report, many colleges require a minimum GPA of 2.0 for acceptance. A good GPA is usually considered to be anything between 3.0 and 3.5. A 4.0 GPA is excellent.

A student who has a good GPA in high school has most likely developed solid study habits. This indicates they have a good chance of succeeding in the college environment. A student with a low GPA may have to prove that they can succeed. They could do this by adding other elements to their college application. Every college has its own admissions requirements. Students should compare their GPA with the requirements of the colleges where they plan to apply.

Can You Prove Your Academic Preparation in a Different Way? 

Students with a low GPA but high SAT score could still show that they are prepared. There are other ways to highlight academic accomplishment on a college application. One way you could do this is to include a copy of your school records. College admissions officers might review these records, and learn more about your strengths. They may find that your GPA suffered because you struggled in science courses. On your application, you could talk about your strengths in reading comprehension and writing. If you are applying to a communications program, the college may see that you are prepared for that degree program.

If you took summer training to improve your knowledge in a subject, you might want to add that to your application. You could show the college admissions officers that you are willing to work hard to accomplish your goals.

How Can You Compensate with the Rest of Your Application? 

It is possible to be creative when applying to college. Your low GPA but high SAT score is not the only component. You could use your personal statement, the courses you enrolled in, and your extracurricular activities as part of your application. The point is to show you are well-rounded individual. You should show that you can contribute to the college community in many ways. You need to prove that you are up for the challenge. Use your application to show that you are willing to work hard to succeed.

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8 Things to do if You Have a Low GPA 

1. Provide recommendation letters

Ask your teachers and counselors to send recommendation letters. Your teachers may go into detail about your work ethic. They could explain where you struggled, and how you dealt with challenges. You should ask several teachers to write letters. Have letters from teachers whose classes you succeeded in. You should also have letters from teachers whose classes you struggled through. Your counselor could provide additional information about your academic standing. This may add more insight into who you are as an individual. Letters of recommendation may provide more context to your low GPA and high SAT scores. Some colleges only ask for one or two letters. However, if you have a low GPA and high SAT score, you may want to include three or four letters.

2. Talk about your classes

Provide details about the classes you took. A college is going to want to know where you excelled and where you struggled. Some students with an excellent GPA apply to elite schools, only to show that they did very well in very easy courses. The college admissions officer also will usually evaluate which classes lowered your GPA. For example, if math was difficult for you, they may notice that you had a higher GPA in other areas while you struggled in math classes. The types of classes that you took throughout high school help provide more insight into your overall GPA.

3. Talk about extenuating circumstances

Add information about extenuating circumstances. There are a variety of extenuating circumstances that could impact your GPA. For example, you might have had a family crisis during your sophomore year. If you were struggling mentally or physically during that time, your GPA might have dipped lower than normal. Even with hard work during the next two years, your GPA may not have recovered. Providing colleges with information about extenuating circumstances could help them understand your GPA better. They may be less likely to weigh it as heavily as other parts of your application. Deaths in the family, illness, relocation or divorce are all circumstances that could impact your GPA. If your low GPA is the result of a personal challenge, you should share your story.

4. Wait to apply

Apply later when your GPA has improved. Early admissions is not for everyone. While some students may submit applications in June, July or August, others may need more time. If your GPA is low, you may want to consider applying later in the school year. This gives you time to improve your grades. This allows you to show that you are moving in the right direction. Even though you aren’t applying as early, you may be improving your chances of being accepted. Giving yourself time to grow and succeed may be the best step. There is nothing wrong with applying later in the school year. You may consider waiting until January, February or March of your senior year. 

5. Apply to community colleges

Focus on applying to community colleges. Depending on your GPA, you might want to start your college career at a community college. Community colleges often have a lower GPA requirement for admission. They may also offer courses that help students prepare better in the subjects that were difficult for them. You may find that you earn a much higher GPA at community college. After one or two years, you may be able to transfer to another college or university. It is important to remember that you don’t have to limit your applications to four-year colleges or universities. You should explore your options. Community college may be the perfect fit for many students who have a low GPA but high SAT score.

6. Highlight extracurricular activities

Highlight your extracurricular activities. It is important that you show who you are as a person. Your college application is about more than your scores. With a low GPA and high SAT score, you should show other sides of yourself. Your extracurricular activities could prove that you are committed to community. If you spent long hours helping with the theater productions, then it’s likely your GPA may have suffered. If you spent your time working on the school newspaper, then you might have developed skills that will be more beneficial to you than academic success. You should provide details about all activities you were involved in. Sports and clubs are common extracurricular activities in high school. You also should document any part-time jobs that you had. All of these commitments might impact your GPA. The college should have a better understanding of who you are.

7. Talk about your interests

Talk about your academic interests outside of the classroom. Sometimes, structured classroom work is too difficult for some students. This does not mean that they are not smart or capable. A student who did not earn good grades in algebra class may also spend all of their free time reading classic literature. Perhaps you enjoy stargazing and meteorology, but your science grades are still low. You should use your application to show that you are interested in academic topics. This could help prove that you are motivated to work hard. It shows that you have a desire to learn. It may help the college feel more confident in your ability to succeed.

8. Write a personal statement

Write a compelling personal statement. Many college applications require an essay. When you write your essay, use it as a chance to be accountable. You should admit that your GPA is lower than you would like. Take the time to highlight your SAT score. You should explain the circumstances surrounding your data. Through writing, you could add personality and flair to your application. Use your words to prove how much you want to be admitted. Make promises about how you intend to spend your time at college. Talk about your career goals. List your dreams for your college experience. Explain why you want to attend that school. A compelling personal statement could help your admission chances significantly.

If you have a low GPA but high SAT score, you may still have options. You will want to carefully craft your college application. Showcase your strengths and talents across the board. It is important to highlight your best accomplishments. Sometimes, these accomplishments extend beyond your grades and scores.

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Sources for school statistics is the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics.

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