My daughter did not do well 10th and 11th grade, which hurt her GPA. She did stellar in the 12th grade. Unfortunately, college applications had to be filed by December, and her GPA, although improved, was only at 2.65. She scored 26 on her ACT. She was not accepted into the colleges of her choice. Her ultimate goal is medical school She really had her heart set on a 4-year college. Would it be advantageous to her to go for 1 semester to community college and try to apply as a spring student; or should she attend an entire year of community college and apply as a fall/sophomore student?
If your daughter decides to attend community college, I would urge her to stay for a full year, definitely not a semester. If she were to only remain for one semester, she would have to apply to four-year colleges before she even had a semester of college grades ... not enough time to prove to admission committees that she's permanently reversed her downward spiral in grades 10 and 11. Even if she applies to four-year colleges for September 2010, the admission folks will only see one semester of grades from college before most of her applications are due. So, from my perspective, that's minimal, and thus she should shoot for September 2010.
BUT ... since you say that your daughter has her heart set on a four-year school, she ought to consider applying for one right now. Granted, the pickings are pretty slim at this time of year, but, even though it's July, there are still colleges that are accepting freshmen for this coming September. Check out the National Association for College Admission Counseling "Space Availability Survey" for a list of member colleges that have places in the first-year class. See: http://www.nacacnet.org/PublicationsResources/Research/SpaceAvailabiltySurvey/Pages/SpaceSurveyResults.aspx Note that many of these colleges still have financial aid available, too.
There are some very good schools on this list, including some of my personal favorites (e.g., Drexel, Eckerd, Randolph) so your daughter should not give up her dream just yet.