Question: I got three high C's in my first semester of high school. Right now, my GPA is 3.2. But if I get all A's for the rest of high school, would the University of Florida even look at me?
It's tough to be a Gator these days! As you probably know, the University of Florida has gotten extremely competitive. According to The College Board, 97 percent of admitted students have a high school GPA of 3.75 or above on a 4.0 scale. Phew! That's daunting, isn't it? However, if you have a 3.2 GPA in ninth grade but earn all A's from now on, your cumulative GPA would come out somewhere around 3.8 (depending on how many classes you take and how your school computes the GPA). This would put you in the running at U of F (if your test scores, recommendations and extracurriculars also stack up).
BUT ... going from three C's in one semester to only A's thereafter is a huge challenge ... a worthwhile aim for sure, but perhaps not a realistic one. It reminds me of those folks who vow to rise off the couch to run ten miles a day or who swear to avoid all sweets forever (that's “The Dean!") -- lofty goals that are probably impossible to reach. And setting such unreasonable goals makes it too easy to get furious at oneself (and sometimes even depressed) for not meeting the near-perfection required.
Keep in mind that I'm not saying that you can't get straight A's from now on, only that you shouldn't beat yourself up if you don't. Do your best but also try to take classes you enjoy. If you do well enough to aim for U of F, that's great. But if you don't make it, there are lots of other colleges out there that welcome students whose grades aren't tip-top ... places that might actually end up being a better fit for you as you get older and discover where your interests lie.
On the other hand, if you continue to have your heart set on the University of Florida but don't pull your grades up to where you want them to be while you're still in high school, you can consider attending a two-year community college and then transferring. If you live in Florida, you will find that public two-year schools typically offer “articulation agreements" that guarantee transfer into select four-year colleges for students who have met certain sensible requirements, and U of F is one of the four-year schools that participates in this program. So if you're not admitted in twelfth grade, you can get another shot at it two years later.
So do continue to set high goals for yourself but also don't be too tough on yourself if you don't reach them. There are lots of roads to happiness and success, and many of them don't go through Gainesville!
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