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Hi guys. I came across this website and it seemed like a place I could get some advice.
I apologize if this post runs its length a little too long but I don't really know what to do. I'm a senior and I want to go to college I'm sure but I'm almost positive that my gpa is so low that I won't even stand a chance of getting in ANYWHERE, I really don't know where to look or if I should look at all. Please read, I know it's long but I'd appreciate any feedback from anyone because I'm lost right now.
To start off I'm an African American/Native American male. I go to an inner city public in Cleveland, Ohio (I'm sure with only that info there you can guess the quality of the schools, arguably the worst district in the state). The quality of the textbooks, the building itself, the computers, teachers grade on participation points (how many questions you answer in class) or how well you suck up because they think most of us are stupid, mostly everything is a mess.
High school has been a rougher time in my life. I'm not trying to give a sob story or anything but I'm just trying to give an idea on my background if it helps so please read and don't judge me. My mom and Dad separated right before high school and in the beginning of freshman year my mom developed severe schizophrenia, she was unable to care for me so she went to a rehab place and I was taken in by my grandmother. My grandmother who was working then had to retire soon after because her health became critical. She has chronic heart failure, asthma, diabetes, and now she's on an oxygen and dialysis machine. So since the later half of 9th, I've been working a job to help our income a little more, and in 10th I started working two jobs and even with that we still make under 18k a year. In 10th my father was killed in a car crash and ever since my family has been on very bad relations with each other, no one helps my grandmother so it's just me caring for her. She's stubborn and refuses all she can to go to the hospital so many days I've missed a lot of school to help care for her when she was sick. We used to have a home health aide who would help in the morning so I could to go to school but we couldn't afford to keep them.
Family relation is the worst. Absolutely no one is on good terms or helps each other. No one in my family has ever gone to college, and they don't support me going at all not even my grandmother. Classic example is my uncle (grandmother's son)who physically abused me sometimes (strangled me once because I didn't cut my hair) came to my house while I was at school one morning and shredded my midterm project due the next day. He owns a key to the house. He's adamant that I need to forget about school and take care of my grandmother. I do all the housework, shopping, cooking, etc. Occasionally my grandmother would have to be hospitalized or institutionalized for long periods of time (longest was 3 months) so I stayed home alone and took up even more odd jobs to take care of the house during those times. I don't live in the safest neighborhood either, I was robbed at gunpoint right outside of my own house coming home from work when I was 15 and the gunman even fired at me before he ran off. Obviously I'm not comfortable at all at home.
And last but not least, my health has been declining steadily too. All last year I've had on and off illnesses. I've had a intestinal infection, returning oral thrush, I started collapsing way too often, etc. My guidance counselor is positive I've been suffering with some stress and anxiety issues, I don't average more then 4 hours of sleep a night and I barely have an appetite and don't eat much. I don't have a car, several times last year my teachers had to drive me to the ER or they called paramedics to the school when I fainted. I'm 17 and I weigh 106 and honestly it's depressing. None of this is fabricated or exaggerated, I have two excellent teachers and my guidance counselor who know me better than my own family, they've had confrontations with my family before in some of these situations, these teachers really care for me and they've attested to these circumstances in several letters of recommendation they've already written for me to use for college applications.
I've taken only the SAT once and I scored a 2090, (CR700, M680, W710) it was the highest score of my class. I didn't prep for it and I haven't even thought about taking it again, since I can't afford classes or study guides or anything like that.
My school hardly supports extracurriculars so I founded a few clubs outside of school grounds, nothing special. An anime club, a race relations club and a poetry group. They're more than extracurriculars to me, these are passions of mine and things I love to do, and they've given me a close group of the best people in my life as my support system so these groups are what help to keep my spirits up at times. I love film and photography, drawing, writing and reading. I even like reading Shakespeare and other classic literature.
I've won a couple awards, again nothing special. I was one of 10 finalists in a regionwide Stop the Hate essay contest scholarship that had 3,200 entries, the only one from a Cleveland public school. I won a yearbook excellence award from the school district for my work on our yearbook last year. The Cleveland PlayHouse which is the oldest regional theatre in the country selected my play for their FusionFest which produces plays written by high school students from the region. My play was one of 9 selected. I've done a lot of volunteer work at United Way of Greater Cleveland and every year for the past three years I've been volunteering with the Cleveland International Film Festival on free time because I love movies.
I'm aware that community college would be the most reasonable option but my grandmother's health is getting worse and I can't keep caring for her, I'm trying to make arrangements to have her in assisted living. I don't make enough money to live on my own, I was just laid off from one of my jobs last week and I'm currently looking for another one, my family life is still in chaos, I don't think I could fully concentrate on school and classes by staying here. I really feel the best way for me to be in a productive environment is on a real college campus, but the chances of that look really slim.
My teachers have written great recommendations for me, and I'm afraid they will be of no use for getting in anywhere. My writing teacher talks about how my work is some of the best she's ever read from a student, my english teacher talks about how she's personally seen me handle medical emergencies with the "competance one would expect from a much older person".
I don't know where to look, if I should look anywhere at all to find somewhere of taking me with my stats. It's still proving a long cycle to break but I've been conditioned by a lot of people around me to think that I should not aim for college. Can anyone give me a list of my options right now? If there's anywhere worth looking for me?
I don't know if it helps but I speak two other languages. My father was full blooded Ojibwe Indian from Michigan so he taught me enough Ojibwa to speak conversationally while he was still alive. I've been teaching myself Japanese since I was little out of self interest and a native Japanese artist at the Film Festival this year asked if I had ever lived in Japan because I spoke like a native speaker with a naturalized accent.
Again, I'm sorry for the length, I was just trying to set myself up for the most advice I could get. Thanks again.