Okay, so colleges do take into account why one suffered lower grades.
So what's a legit reason for insufficient GPA?
The one I see the most often, I think, is language problem. One comes to US like, say, in 6th grade, spends the next three years learning english and then going into high school with a very weak middle school backgaround. Even then, he only has 3 years while competing with others who were here their whole life.
And then there are family problems.
Some kind of disease or syndrome or mental illness.
How do admissions officers look at these? I mean, if his GPA isn't good enough then regardless of his grades they won't take him would they, because it would hurt their record?
But then I guess those are the minority so they don't mind. They like "overcame challenge" applicants right?