"I've Royally Screwed Up My GPA"

By Tasha

We're excited to introduce a new member of the College Advisor team: Tasha, who works as an Admissions Officer at the University of Kentucky. In her first post, she answers a question from a high school senior who's wondering if community college is a good option—and if her family can afford college at all. —SparkNotes editors

So I'm kind of freaking out because it's my senior year of high school and I've royally screwed up my GPA with D's during my sophomore and junior year in AP classes... I know how much I've messed up and I've accepted it. I'm working hard this year (senior year) and plan on going to a community college and then hopefully switching (transferring) to a UC (University of California) or private college. The thing is, I'm not sure how realistic this is. I love colleges such as Bryn Mawr, Smith, Wellesley, Mt. Holyoke, Reed, Lewis & Clark, Whitman, etc.

However,  how much of a chance would I have of transferring into them with my bad grades from high school? I plan on working my butt off during community college, but I just wanted to make sure whether or not this was a realistic goal for me, especially since I'll need scholarships to attend. My mom is a single mother and my dad died while being an active in military service. We definitely can't afford college-- we're on social security!

I'm sure there are some veteran family scholarships I can be eligible for, but I'm not sure if I'm the type of student who would appeal to these colleges in three years.

Thanks for everything (:

Thanks for your question! I think your idea of enrolling in a community college is a great one. It's certainly realistic to plan to transfer to a four-year school after a strong performance at a two-year school. At the community college you enroll in, make sure to keep your GPA up (above a 3.0, if possible), and find out ahead of time how your courses will transfer to the university you plan on enrolling in. Oftentimes you'll get credit for exactly the same course at the state public university, but it’s always good to think ahead—you don’t want to waste your time and money on a College Algebra class that doesn’t fulfill a degree requirement later on. Note that technical courses rarely transfer to the large state schools, because the state schools don’t have degree programs such as cosmetology, autobody repair, food service, and so on.

What really caught my eye was the fact that you're the child of a veteran. You are most definitely the type of student who will appeal to colleges. In fact, many universities have Veterans Resource Centers that meet with students just like you to help make college possible—and affordable. Because of your connection to the military, you may get significant assistance with tuition and fees. Take a look at this website, where you can read about the California College Fee Waiver Program (CFW). According to the site, the Waiver Program "benefits the spouse and children of U.S. veterans. Students meeting the eligibility criteria may get their college fees waived if they attend a California community college, a California State University, or University of California campus." Sounds like it could be perfect for you!

We wish you the best of luck as you enter this new chapter.

Do you have a question about college admissions? Email advice@sparknotes.com!

Topics: college applications, grades, GPA, community college

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