What’s holding you back?

216,845 students have the same concern.

These college students were also worried about grades—find out how they got in.

I’ve never met anybody who’s judged me.
Andrew’s learned to cope with severe ADHD.

Andrew

"I’ve never met anybody who’s judged me."
I’ve never met anybody who’s judged me.

I’ve never met anybody who’s judged me.

Student: Andrew
Year in college
Senior
Major
Anthropology
Family income
Over $80,000
When I was a junior, I was expelled.

When I was a junior, I was expelled.

Student: Cesar
Year in college
Junior
Major
Finance
Current job
Owns a construction business
I was more into hanging out with my friends.

I was more into hanging out with my friends.

Student: Giovanni
Year in college
Freshman
Intended major
Psychology
Income
$10,000–$20,000
I wasn’t tired but I’d sleep in class.

I wasn’t tired but I’d sleep in class.

Student: Stephanie
Year in college
Junior
Major
Nutrition
Family income
$20,000–$40,000
They thought I wasn't trying hard enough.

They thought I wasn't trying hard enough.

Student: Imani
Year in college
Senior
Majors
African-American Studies and English
Family income
$20,000–$40,000

Think You Can’t Get In? Think Again

Graduate or get your GED and you can go—whatever grades you’ve earned. A few hundred four-year colleges and most two-year colleges are open to all high school grads.

Four-year colleges accept more students than you might think
Most four-year colleges admit at least half of all applicants—with almost 500 accepting more than 75 percent of applicants.

Hard work pays off
Graduating from college is the real challenge—one that pays off in more career choices and higher salaries. Get ready for college-level classes by working hard in tough high school courses. Remember: A lower grade in a tougher class can impress colleges more than an easy A.

Challenge yourself now and enjoy these benefits later:

  • More colleges and careers to choose from
  • A smaller chance of needing catch-up classes in college (they don’t usually count toward a degree but still add to college costs)
  • Increased brainpower

Colleges look at more than grades and test scores
Use your application to show who you really are:

  • Identify your strengths so that you can show colleges why you’re a good match. Ask your counselor, teachers, friends and others for help.
  • Share your story. Talk about the obstacles you’ve dealt with to become the person you are today.
  • Shine a spotlight on your jobs and other extracurriculars.

Two-year colleges can take you where you want to go
Many people with bachelor’s degrees—and higher—started out at a two-year college. If you do the same, you can sign up for a transfer program, which will guide you along this path.

Transfer tips: Keep your options open     
Talk to your school counselor as well as advisers at the two-year college where you’ll start and the four-year college where you want to earn your bachelor’s degree. Ask questions like:

  • How can I plan my education in a way that maximizes my transfer opportunities?
  • Which courses will best prepare me for a bachelor’s-degree program?
  • Does the two-year college have a transfer relationship with any four-year colleges? These partnerships help make the transfer experience smoother.

Show colleges the real you

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Hundreds of four-year colleges ranked at least one of the following factors as important or very important:

Extracurricular Activities and Work

Remember: Commitment and passion matter more than quantity.

Personal Qualities

Valued qualities include creativity, determination and curiosity.

Essays and Interviews

Your essays and interviews are great opportunities to showcase your personal qualities.

Recommendations

Get your counselor’s advice about who to ask – and ask as early as possible to get the most thoughtful recommendations.

Your Interest in Them

Contacting the admission office and making an extra effort on your application are two ways to show you’re truly interested.

Take a next step

Get started with these ideas.

Tell people why you're going

Answer a few questions and share on Facebook or by email.

Reason for going to college
When will you start college?