5 Tips for Getting Into College with a Mediocre GPA

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Staff Writers
Updated March 24, 2021

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Mediocre GPA College Tips

  • Work on Improving Your Grades Now
  • Sign Up for Standardized Testing
  • Focus on Extracurricular Activities
  • Write an Excellent Essay
  • Contact the Schools

You have probably always heard that it's important to strive for a high GPA if you want to get into a good college. It's certainly true that a higher GPA will improve your chances of getting accepted into your dream school, but you shouldn't let a mediocre GPA get in the way of you furthering your education.

In 2009, male high school students had an average GPA of 2.9, so you should know that you aren't alone if you don't have a 4.0 GPA. Instead of beating yourself up about it, consider these tips for getting into college with a mediocre GPA.

1. Work on Improving Your Grades Now

If you're still in school, it's not too late to do something about your GPA. Even if it's your last semester, you can still work to improve your grades. One good semester can help pull your overall average up significantly, particularly if you have had a few bad semesters in the past. Plus, an admissions counselor will be able to see your improvement when looking at your grades.

Be careful when scheduling your classes, such as for your senior year. Don't schedule too many hard classes for one semester when you can spread them out. Also, consider finding a tutor, looking for online resources that you can use for studying or carving out a time in your busy schedule to focus on studying each day. You might be surprised by the improvement that you'll see in your grades if you do.

2. Sign Up for Standardized Testing

Many students opt to take only the SAT or only the ACT. However, if your GPA is low, taking both tests can give you an extra opportunity to prove yourself. You can even take each test more than once, so if you aren't happy with your initial score, don't be afraid to sign up for a second testing date.

There are online resources to help you study for both of these major tests. You can also enroll in a local preparation class to help you prepare, and there are books that are designed for the same purpose.

3. Focus on Extracurricular Activities

Participating in extracurricular activities can help you boost your college application. Join a club that you're interested in, or consider playing sports. You can also participate in other extracurricular activities, such as by volunteering in your community. Just be careful not to let your extracurricular activities get in the way of improving your grades and studying for your standardized tests since many activities can require a pretty big time commitment.

4. Write an Excellent Essay

You will be asked to write an essay when you fill out your college application. Take your time to come up with a great topic, and make sure that you get started on your essay well in advance so that you won't be rushed. Once you have written your college application essay, have someone else read it to give you pointers; even your English teacher or high school counselor may be willing to help. Make sure you proofread carefully for any spelling or grammar issues.

5. Contact the Schools

Contact the schools that you are most interested in to find out more about your options. Some colleges have special programs to help people with lower GPAs to get into college. For example, you might be required to take a special test before being considered for admission.

As you can see, there are still options that can help you get into college with a mediocre GPA. Give these tips a try, and you might find that you're college-bound after all.

Related: Can College Be Affordable?

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