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Articles / Applying to College / Is Community College + Transfer a Good Plan For Low GPA?

Is Community College + Transfer a Good Plan For Low GPA?

Sally Rubenstone
Written by Sally Rubenstone | Sept. 16, 2016

Question: I didn't do great during my Freshman year and did decent Sophomore year. My GPA is too low however, and I was wondering if I were to go to a Community College after high school, (my GPA would obviously reset) would colleges/universities look into that GPA I got in High School or the community college? If I were to do well in a community college, would I have a better chance in getting into a better college than the results if I go with a poor GPA in high school?

If you were to go to community college after high school … or even to a four-year college … and then apply to transfer, your prospective transfer colleges would most likely expect you to submit a high school transcript in addition to your college record, but they would put 99% of the emphasis on the latter. The high school transcript would allow the admission folks to see the “Big Picture" and perhaps to even ooh and ah over how far you've come if your college grades are top-notch, but it won't hold you back in your transfer quest. It's actually common for students to spend two years in a community college or less-selective four-year school and then transfer to another college or university that probably wouldn't have considered them for even a nanosecond based on their high school credentials. College admission officials recognize that some “late bloomers" who struggled in high school can be among their most focused and able students later on.


However, if you're just starting your junior year now, you have plenty of time to boost you GPA. You may not be on Harvard or Stanford turf by the time you're a senior, but you should certainly have good options beyond community college, if you're eager to go right to a four-year school after high school. Check out this recent “Ask the Dean" for more thoughts on that: http://www.collegeconfidential.com/dean/excellent-college-terrible-9th-10th/

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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