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Articles / Applying to College / Will Poor High School Grades Hurt Community College Transfer Candidate?

Sept. 4, 2008

Will Poor High School Grades Hurt Community College Transfer Candidate?

Question: My high school grades were awful. I am now 25 and am currently a sophomore at a community college with a GPA of 3.71. I plan on earning an Associate's Degree by May of next year and would like to know how important my high school GPA will be when transferring to a four-year university.

I have some good (but maybe surprising) news for you: Your lousy high school grades won't hurt you when you apply to transfer. In fact, in a roundabout way, they may even help you (!) You see, when admissions committees compare your poor high school performance with your community college success, the results will clearly proclaim that you're now focused and mature and ready to tackle a four-year school. When it comes time to write your application essays, you will probably be wise to mention this obvious growth and explain how it came about.


So, don't sweat the high school grades, just keep up the good work you're doing now.

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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