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Articles / Applying to College / Can 2.0 GPA improve in college? How will this affect transfer chances?

Can 2.0 GPA improve in college? How will this affect transfer chances?

Sally Rubenstone
Written by Sally Rubenstone | Sept. 9, 2010

Question: I have a high school GPA of 2.0 and I was wondering if I go to a two-year college and get really good grades will my GPA go up? And would I be able to get into a good four-year college?


Once you begin college, your GPA will start all over again. In other words, the 2.0 you earned in high school will NOT be factored into your college grade point average. When you apply to transfer to a four-year school, admission officials will see your high school record, but they will put most of their emphasis on your college grades. So if you earn good grades at your two-year college, you should have many fine transfer options. If you also participate in some significant activities and take leadership roles on campus (or in your community) this will help your transfer odds, too.

If you do extremely well, you might even be selected for Phi Theta Kappa (see http://www.ptk.org/ ), which is an honor society for the top students at two-year schools. More than 700 four-year colleges have scholarships that are specifically for PTK members, and others may give PTK members additional consideration when making merit-aid determinations. So, if your two-year college participates in PTK and you do well there, you will position yourself not only for a transfer but also for a scholarship.

Many two-year colleges also have "articulation agreements" with several four-year colleges. These agreements either guarantee or facilitate a transfer for students who meet certain GPA and course-selection criteria. If you have just started at your two-year college (or are about to), I recommend that you check with your school's transfer advisor to find out about current articulation agreements ... i.e., the names of the colleges they are with and what the requirements are. (Most typically, two-year colleges have such agreements with nearby public universities, but sometimes there can also be articulation agreements with private colleges that are not nearby at all.)

Good luck to you as you turn over your new leaf!

Written by

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

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