Reader Question: Will One Bad Semester Kill Me?
Reader and high school senior Gigi has submitted a college admissions question likely shared by many students in her position:
during my senior year in high school (last year), my parents decided that they wanna move to bakersfield, [California]... and that decision pretty much just ruined my senior year in high school... my grades dropped... my GPA was, i think, about 2.0... or even lower... not sure...
i was a complete stranger in a new school, with no friends whatsoever... it really affected my life and grades...
i'm wondering if i'm even eligible for college...
Terrific question, Gigi.
Remember that college admissions committees are not full of robots. They are real people who genuinely want to work with you to help you succeed. Since you had a tough senior year in high school, that is something you will want to address in your personal statement. Talk about the difficulties associated with moving to a new place, and then explain that you feel that you are ready to return to your academics and excel again. If you discuss your situation exactly as you have in your letter, the admissions officers will understand.
Remember that it's not about making excuses or casting blame, but rather persuading the admissions officers to believe that one semester or one year of grades does not accurately reflect your abilities as a student. Then, tell your story and why you believe you're ready to overcome the difficulties you had.
If you are not able to get accepted by any of your preferred California state colleges, remember that community college is always a viable option. If you finish two years, and do reasonably well, you could transfer to a California State University without having to take the SAT or ACT. You could also look into some of the admissions programs offered by the Universities of California (UCs) including the Transfer Admissions Guarantees of UCs Davis, Irvine, Riverside, San Diego, Santa Barbara, and Santa Cruz, or the similar Transfer Alliance Program of UCLA. Each offer either guaranteed admission or priority consideration if you transfer from a participating community college. Many other states have similar transfer programs as well.
Best of all, you'll save money (community colleges are way cheaper than universities) and in the end, it won't be any different than if you had gotten into your college of choice in the first place. Your diploma will say only the school you transferred to.
The most important thing is to stay calm and keep perspective. Just because you had one less-than-stellar year does not mean your opportunities are lost forever. I would recommend calling a few local community colleges to ask about their transfer programs. They will be able to make some recommendations for what you should look into initially.
Good luck!Have any insight on this topic? Want to ask a question or make a suggestion? Click here to leave a comment.
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