Preparing for College

Making a Fresh (and Stronger) Start After High School

Question: I took a couple years off from school to get my life in order and now I'm ready to commit to a four-year college. My problem is that while I was in high school, various personal problems hurt my ability to focus on school, resulting in a low GPA. Are there any ways around this problem? Also do you know how I can convince admission officers at good colleges to accept me?

Your eagerness to get back on track with your education is impressive, but you will have to prove yourself academically before you can be admitted to the type of institution you seem to wish to attend. One way to do that is to enroll in a local community college for two years. If you earn good grades there, your high school record will be almost entirely ignored, or at least forgiven. Many community colleges even have “articulation” agreements with four-year colleges. What this means is that, if you maintain a certain GPA and include certain courses in your program of study, then you will automatically be accepted as a transfer student by participating colleges or universities after you finish your two community college years. Often these agreements are made between a community college and the local state university, but many community colleges also have ties to private institutions (sometimes, even elite ones) that help facilitate a transfer to the four-year school.

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