It’s common knowledge that GPA and test scores are the two most apparent ways that admissions officers assess academic potential. But what if your GPA is on the lower end of the scale? Will a mediocre academic record keep you from getting accepted into a good school or program? Should you be stressing out that your GPA represents the end of your education?
Our answer is a resounding “no.” While poor grades might decrease your chances of getting into an ultra-competitive school, it doesn’t close the door on continuing with your education. In this post, we outline reasons why you shouldn’t worry too much about your GPA!
1. Your application is meant to highlight strengths
Your application materials should all make a case for what makes you a great candidate. Your GPA might not be as impressive as you want it to be, but your personal statement and letters of recommendation can speak to your positive attributes. You could be a champion cookie baker, a published researcher, or a winning furniture designer. Identify your strengths and make sure the admissions officers know about them!
2. Many schools out there practice “holistic admissions”
Schools know that one admissions data point (such as GPA) isn’t the only indicator of success there is. Those that practice “holistic admissions” want to know the “real you,” outside of just your academic record and test scores.
3. Some schools offer conditional acceptances
Some undergraduate, graduate, and professional schools offer conditional acceptances to students whose academic records aren’t strong enough for full acceptance from the get-go. Your GPA could tell a school that you’re not fully prepared for that school’s academics. But if other parts of your application show you have the potential to make up ground quickly, a school may allow you to enroll with the understanding that you’ll need to maintain a certain GPA or take a certain number of credits per semester. You may also need to take remedial classes either the summer before school starts or during your first year.
The school can then remove the conditions when it deems you’ve satisfactorily fulfilled them.
4. Transferring is always an option
There’s no reason that a low GPA should keep you out of the running for admissions at a school where GPA is not as highly emphasized. You can always first attend a school with lower admission standards, pull out all the stops to show academic improvement, and then transfer in the following year. You can view the first school you attend as a “stepping stone” to the better school.
About the Author:
Catherine supports Magoosh’s future grad school students by unlocking tricks of the test prep and application trade. Catherine spends her free time checking out local farmer’s markets, reading food and lifestyle blogs, and watching Bravo. She is forever in search of the best Mexican and Italian food in any given city.
1 – Photo of television remote courtesy of Flickr user Nottingham Trent University under Creative Commons License 2.0.