I'm Smart But My GPA Kind of Sucks

Question: I'm not stupid. I'm not good at taking tests, and I often don't bother to do my schoolwork simply because it does not apply to my life. But I am not stupid. Will any college realize this, or am I but a mediocre SAT score and GPA? If I am just a number, should I even bother applying anywhere?

Not everyone who is smart, happy, or successful in life (by whatever definition of “success" you wish to apply) liked school or did well in school. But college is school … and so you have to expect that a so-so high school career is going to affect future academic options. Admission officials at many colleges and universities—especially at the most sought-after and selective ones–are looking for applicants who are willing to buckle down and work hard, even when a class isn't relevant or inspiring.

That's the bad news. But the good news is that there are lots of colleges and universities that welcome applicants who weren't stars in high school … and sometimes even those who barely squeaked by. And the ever better news is that some of these places offer programs that are well suited to students who arrive with “a mediocre SAT score and GPA" like yours.

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