Late Bloomer? Get Into the College of Your Choice Anyway

Barry Lenson

Late Bloomer? Learn How to Get Into the College of Your Choice Anyway

Are you a late bloomer? Well, join the club. I know a student who got only C’s and D’s through his first two years of high school. His athletic career consisted of one track meet. His class rank was 111 out of a class of 444. Yet he managed to get degrees from McGill University and Yale. That student was me.

Times have changed since then. Mostly, online learning has arrived on the scene. Yet the fact remains, you can still get into a very good college, even if you are a late starter. Here are some strategies you can apply:

  • If you have dollars to spend on tuition, get a copy of the book Colleges that Change Lives. This book, which really should be called Colleges for Late Bloomers, is a directory of alternative colleges that go looking for intelligent high school students who whiffed a bit in high school or who didn’t perform well on standardized tests.
  • Claim some leadership positions in clubs and organizations. Fortunately, the powers that be in high schools don’t have policies that say, “You can only be the president of the Drama Club if you have a GPA of 3.4 or higher.” So even if you are not an A student, politic your way to being head of a club or organization. Colleges like to see that on your record, so be persistent and show your leadership potential. Remember that Woody Allen said, “I failed to make the chess team because of my height.” And he went on to make great films and have a wonderful career.
  •  Start out at a community college and transfer to another university. Lots of high-end colleges and universities that turn up their noses at high school underachievers really like to accept students who do good work at community colleges. One particularly effective way to use this strategy is to start out at a community college near you that has strong ties to your state university system, and then transfer up. If you visit the websites of community colleges, you’ll see that they often post success stories of students who have done just that.
  •  Jumpstart your college career with online college courses. Many students take college courses online and transfer the credits they’ve earned to other colleges. Or they do well in online college courses and matriculate at one of StraighterLine’s Partner Colleges – it’s a zero-hassle gateway to college that bypasses standardized tests and all the other rigmarole of applying to college.

So if you’re a bit of a late starter, don’t beat yourself up. As Yogi Berra said, “The future lies ahead.” And because the future starts now, now’s the time to get going.

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