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What to do if Your Child’s High School GPA is Too Low for College

teenager with low gpaSome high school students are simply late bloomers.  Some lack the maturity to tailor daily work habits to align with long-term goals, others may have struggled socially, struggled with a subject or had a difficult time transitioning into the new high school environment.  As confidence builds these timid under-class men become more confident, better performing upper-class men who actually want to attend college.

Unfortunately, late bloomers may have a low accumulative GPA which could make it difficult to gain admission.

High school guidance counselors support possibly hundreds of students so likely cannot provide the attention and creative thinking your late blooming child may need to reconcile his or her college ambition against a low GPA.  You can step in and help your child.  Here are a few ideas on where to start.


Colleges and You Should Acknowledge an Upward Grade Trend

Preventing your child from feeling discouraged may be the most important support you provide.  High school students feel pressure for grade perfection and our society touts academic success.  Make sure you emphasize what your child has done and help set the stage for what they will do moving forward.  Help them celebrate small successes and emphasize that just as students are unique individuals, so too is every student’s path to and through the learning process.


Help Your Child Select a List of Target Colleges

Work with your child to set-up a realistic goal.  Help your child build a list of potential colleges and the admission requirements for each school.  Internet tools abound to help research colleges.  This is also an area where your child’s high school counselling office could likely direct you toward resources.  Look at the average GPA for the students admitted to schools.  Google for a list of schools that will accept students with low GPA.  The key here is to find an option that is within reach as well as selecting a few “dream” type schools.


Use Summer School to Replace Low Grades to Help Improve Their GPA

Request a transcript or pull your child’s transcript from their high school portal.  Review with your child classes that hurt their GPA.  Could your child retake the class at summer school for credit?  Both grades would show on a transcript, but if you have worked with your child’s counselor to ensure they will honor the credits, the higher grade may replace the lower grade when calculating accumulative GPA.


Encourage Them to Take an ACT or SAT Test Preparation Course

High standardized test scores may help off-set your child’s low high school GPA.  Confirm with your child’s target schools, but many colleges will take only the highest score so this becomes an area for potential damage control.  There are numerous test courses, private tutoring and online resources to prepare for these exams.  Help your child select a test preparation method that suits their learning style and test taking profile.


Encourage Them to Develop Extra-Curricular Activities They Enjoy

Colleges will look at extra-curricular activities, but for the late blooming student, exploring interests should be the focus of any extra-curricular activities they undertake.  Hesitant students may also hesitate to join clubs, play sports or do volunteer work and that makes it harder for them to test what they may or may not like.  Pull up a list of possible activities and have them mark things they may find interesting or even fun.  Who knows, volunteer work or a school club might just awaken a passion.  And students with a clear and passionate vision make great college candidates no matter their high school GPA.

  1. “Preventing your child from feeling discouraged may be the most important support you provide.” Definitely agree with you on this.
    Thanks for encouraging us and our children.

  2. Since COVID I’ve seen my daughters academics plummet. It so sad she has no motivation and I’m not sure on how to get her out of the funk she is in. I’ve reached out to her Counselor and she has been no help whatsoever…

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