Say you have done the near-impossible, and gotten an amazing SAT score of 2200 or higher or an ACT score of 32 or higher. Many high school students across the country are probably jealous of you!
But what if your GPA is much lower – a 3.0, or even a 2.0? Do you still have a shot at top colleges? What will admissions officers think about you?
If you have a high SAT/ACT score but low GPA, admissions officers will assume your academic potential is high – your SAT/ACT scores show that – but that your motivation is low, hence your low GPA.
A “smart slacker” could be the first thing that comes to mind when an admissions officer reads your file.
So what you have to do is prove that assumption wrong. Whether you have personal circumstances leading to a low GPA, a demanding extracurricular, or other academic preparation outside of high school classes, your goal is to show that not only are you smart – but you can also work hard and do well in college.
We will go through a series of scenarios, guided by the main questions admissions officers will be asking, about why your GPA is low and what it means. For each scenario, we have some specific advice but read through all of them as your situation is likely unique and combines multiple scenarios.