How to get into a good university with low acads?
A question that many students often worry about is how to get into a good university with an average academic record? One cannot deny the importance of good grades, strong GPA and a stellar academic record as the essential criterion to get into a good institution, but even if your grades are average, you still stand a good chance to get into a reputed college. What you need to do is to make the rest of your college application sparkle and demonstrate a compelling evidence of your skills, talents, abilities and achievements to make sure that the admission committee notices you.
The following tips will help you in securing admission to a good university despite an average academic record:
1. Work hard for your standardized test:
If your grades are average, then you must do everything you can to do well in your GRE and TOEFL. Prepare to the best of your abilities and take the test more than once if you don’t score well the first time.
2. Write an extraordinary Essay:
The college application essay can make or break your chance of securing admission in a reputed college. Practice and work hard to write an impressive Statement of Purpose. Be substantive, direct, genuine and honest. Clearly state your interest in the field you wish to specialise in, along with the reasons for selecting a particular university while putting your best foot forward. Write from your heart and make it as unique as possible.
3. Get strong recommendation letters from teachers and counsellors:
A gleaming LOR goes a long way in establishing your candidacy for a particular program. Recommendations not only validate your technical and academic competence but can also convince the committee of your overall preparedness for the program in terms of your aptitude, attitude, adaptability, flexibility, open-mindedness and interpersonal skills. Indeed, a well-drafted letter of recommendation is a chance for professors/counsellors/employers to help the applicant put his or her best foot forward. Admission committees are not just interested in your academic achievements but also are looking for well-rounded individuals who can add value to the university through their versatility. Therefore, try getting, at least, one recommendation from someone who has known you outside the classroom setting and can speak convincingly about your strengths and involvement in extracurricular activities, thus making you sound like a cut above the rest.
4. Consider schools with conditional acceptance programs:
There are plenty of schools that give students an opportunity to attend school on a conditional basis. This is ideal for you if you have lower grades but have a great application otherwise. Many schools will offer conditional admission, however; you must keep your GPA at a certain point to remain enrolled in the school. If you have an average academic record, then you can consider this option. Some of them are- the University of Wisconsin, University of Idaho, University of Iowa, California State University- Fullerton, Colorado State University, Virginia Tech and Arizona State University.
5. Avoid early admission:
If you have an average academic record, then it is advisable to apply for regular admissions since early admissions are extremely competitive. Your chances of being accepted for regular admission are far better than the selective process of an early admission. You must use the extra time to take challenging courses and improve your GPA.
6. Take responsibility and offer an explanation:
If your academic performance was negatively affected due to circumstances that were out of your control such as, family issues, illness or any other reason, then you must take responsibility for it and explain it in a thoughtful and mature way. You can discuss your poor grades in the additional information field on the Common Application. However, Admission officials are aware that grades are not the only indicator of a student’s capability and therefore, if you can convince the admission committee that you are a sincere, diligent and persevering student for them to see your application in a positive light.
7. Showcase your strengths:
Grades are not the only deciding factor that universities consider during admissions. They do look at your participation outside the classroom to see what kind of person you are. They want to ensure that you will add value to the academic and cultural fabric of the University. If you have participated in extracurricular activities, won competitions, engaged in volunteer work and social activities then you must mention the same in your application. These are your strengths, and you must play up your strengths as it will distinguish you from other applicants.
An average academic record is in no way a roadblock to gaining entry into the college of your dreams. Keep these pointers in mind and remember to stay positive and never give up!