When Your Grades Take a Nosedive

Here’s a good read from our friends over at Accepted.com. Let us know what you think in the comments. 🙂

Your high school path suddenly takes a detour. Your grades, which had been steady and consistent, take a nosedive. Perhaps it’s due to illness, personal or family issues, or a learning disability that eventually made itself clear. As you move forward into the summer before your senior year, it is time to consider whether or not this impacts the colleges you plan on applying to.

For most students, the answer is yes. Sometimes, the circumstances change your mind about how far you would like to be from home. In other cases, illness or other family issues have a financial impact that necessitates finding financial safety schools, or looking first to a nearby community college for a period of time. If your challenges impacted your GPA or course selection, then that also may impact the schools you choose to apply to.

Yes, you will have opportunities to explain your circumstances, and many times, you will be met with a sympathetic reader on the other side of your application. Sympathy, however, does not guarantee admission. Be prepared to discuss your situation. You can do this through your essay, an additional statement, your guidance counselor recommendation, or, in some cases, a personal interview on campus with an admission counselor.

In most situations, the admissions staff will be evaluating your response to the challenge. Did you overcome adversity? What did you learn from the situation? Is the college going to be able to meet any future needs you might have? In most cases, it is to your benefit to discuss any aberrations or weaknesses in your academic performance. The keys are incorporating your challenges into your college search and then finding the appropriate avenue to explain your record.

By Whitney Bruce, Accepted.com editor and author of numerous college articles, and special reports.

This article was originally published on the Accepted Admissions Blog. 

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  • Linda Abraham

    Linda Abraham is the founder and CEO of Accepted, the top-tier admissions consultancy that helps you unlock your competitive advantage. Linda has written or co-authored 13 ebooks on the college admissions process. In 2007, she co-founded the Association of International Graduate Admissions Consultants (AIGAC) and became its first president. For the last 20 years Linda and her highly credentialed, experienced team have helped thousands of applicants get accepted to top colleges and graduate schools worldwide, including but not limited to Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Columbia, Kellogg, and MIT. She has been featured in The Wall St. Journal, The New York Times, US News, The Sunday Times of London, Businessweek, Poets & Quants and MBA Podcaster.

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