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HELP! What should I do? 2.3 GPA, I really need advice.

BenizakuraBenizakura Registered User Posts: 13 New Member
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.
Post edited by Benizakura on

Replies to: HELP! What should I do? 2.3 GPA, I really need advice.

  • Malik1992Malik1992 Registered User Posts: 64 Junior Member
    you might not be able to get into yale, but there are TONS of schools youll get accepted at. My stats werent great out of high school and i got accepted to 3 of the 4 schools i apllied at. My gpa was around 2.4, act was 27, a couple ec and thats it. Theres a lot of schools who will accept you, especially if you kill the essays, which it sounds like youre more than capable of doing. just keep your head up and keep persevering.
  • jym626jym626 Registered User Posts: 52,141 Senior Member
    Severe schizophrenia doesn't "just develop" in the mother of a highschooler. Sorry-- this is sounding quite suspect.
  • BenizakuraBenizakura Registered User Posts: 13 New Member
    I didn't mean to say develop as in popped up overnight. I think I used the wrong words. The schizophrenia is inherited, my grandfather had it too. She has had it for a long time, but it was at that point that it reached a limit we couldn't deal with, she refused to take her medication, she couldn't think straight and she imagined things that weren't there almost constantly, the voices, etc. I should probably be more specific she has paranoid schizophrenia. I've heard she's been doing better but I haven't seen her much at all.
  • BenizakuraBenizakura Registered User Posts: 13 New Member
    Malik1992, thanks for the encouragement. Which schools did you apply to? Do you think I'd have any chance at any of them? I'll really try for anything, in Ohio, out of state, I don't have any standards right now.
  • proudwismomproudwismom Registered User Posts: 467 Member
    If everything you say is true you certainly have been through a lot. There are schools that will accept you. I believe many of the branch campuses in Ohio have open enrollment for state residents.

    Money will be more of a problem. I assume you will have an EFC of 0 which should qualify you for the full Pell grant ($5500) and federal student loans (5500). Even with your instate options at branch campuses it will run more than the $11,000. However, you may receive some additional grants or work study.

    It sounds like your guidance counselor and a couple of teachers are willing to help. Have them help you get some applications in to schools they think would work for you. They will have attended college and should know the ins and outs of applying. Start looking at websites of schools in Ohio and checking their deadlines for enrollement. Do keep community college as an option in case you don't receive enough aid to attend a residential school. Also, if you are registered with your father's tribe you might want to see if they offer any assistance to members.

    Good Luck
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Registered User Posts: 82,545 Senior Member
    Are you a girl?

    If so, consider applying to Mt Holyoke.

    Do you need to live with/near your grandmother while going to college?
  • proudwismomproudwismom Registered User Posts: 467 Member
    M2CK the OP is male. It appears his grandmother will be going into an assisted living faciltiy as her care is becoming too much.
  • twomulestwomules - Posts: 1,207 Senior Member
    First comment: Are you enrolled yet with your father's tribe? If not, do you have any extended family there that can make that happen?

    Next contact College of Wooster and Earlham College. Skip the admissions advisor for your area and talk with the mulitcultural recruiter. Your SATs are really good and you may be able to get some decent merit aid and financial aid.

    College of Wooster: Home - College of Wooster
    Jimmy Williams - College of Wooster

    Apply for this scholarship- Clarence Beecher Allen Scholarship
    Half to two-thirds tuition per year
    Awards are made to African-American students on the basis of overall academic achievement, Allen essay competition, and participation in an on-campus scholarship event.
    Requirements: Completed application for admission and Allen essay must be submitted by January 15. Participation in the Allen Weekend in February.
    Clarence Beecher Allen Scholarship - College of Wooster

    Other merit is given to Ohio first generation students. Additionally take a look at this-http://www.wooster.edu/Admissions-and-Financial-Aid/Merit-Scholarships/Performing-Arts-Scholarship/theatre

    Earlham College - Earlham College — Richmond, Indiana
    Shenita Piper Associate Dean of Admissions, Director of Multicultural Recruitment
    Earlham Admissions | Admissions Staff

    Try to find out about these scholarships: Bonner Scholarship — These scholarships are awarded to students who are committed to volunteer service and who demonstrate significant financial need. A separate application is required. The scholarship is renewable for four years based on recipient’s fulfilling service requirements.
    Cunningham Cultural Scholarship — These achievement-based awards are renewable for four years at Earlham.
  • Malik1992Malik1992 Registered User Posts: 64 Junior Member
    Op, i got into Howard University, fisk university, & lincoln university. i got waitlisted and denied at clark atlanta because i didnt have 2.5 gpa. i went to howard and got 2 pell grants, work study and some stafford loans. Also, if i could, i would suggest leaving cleveland and ohio as a whole, because you dont want to have your personal problems negatively affect your schoolwork.
  • BenizakuraBenizakura Registered User Posts: 13 New Member
    Proudwismom I'm not registered with my father's tribe but I think I know how to go about doing it but I'm not sure. Would I need any of his personal documents like a birth certificate or something? I'm not against community college itself at all, what worries me is finding a place of residence on my own by next year since it's most likely I won't be living with my grandmother anymore. The in-state schools I really like are Ohio State (as expected..) and University of Cincinnati and I'm pretty sure Ohio State has the land grant branch thing going on...would I have a chance at either of these two?

    Oh my guidance counselor said I would most likely have the financial aid and the stats to go to Shawnee State for sure. I don't know much about it and I can't find many students who do either.

    twomules I looked at College of Wooster and it looks really nice! I had never heard of it before this post and it looks really elite and selective but what you said about the multicultural recruitment sounded promising. Thanks.

    Malik1992 I don't know too much about the other two but I've hear about Howard all the time. I'll definitely consider it if you suggest it.

    The schools I've looked into so far are Ohio State, Cincinnati, Wooster and Howard. I fear I'm aiming too high at most of these. Can anyone give me any chances on these schools or any other suggestions? My school doesn't spread information about nationwide colleges like it should and my guidance counselor is impressed I'm trying to form such a diverse list so I really appreciate the help you guys!
  • KajonKajon Registered User Posts: 4,369 Senior Member
    Quite a few applications will ask for your Tribe number, so you should start the process of obtaining one.
  • Erin's DadErin's Dad Super Moderator Posts: 34,348 Super Moderator
    Ohio State and UC would both be reaches. I'm not sure if your native american would influence that (it would not according to the common data sets). Shawnee State would be the least expensive in-state four year college at about $14K. You might be best off looking at a CC to get your grades up and pay less money.
  • pointoforderpointoforder Registered User Posts: 546 Member
    Central State University
    Wilberforce University
    Shaw University
    Delaware State University
    Fisk University

    Ohio Wesleyan University
    Beloit College
    Allegheny College
    Goucher College
    Wabash College
  • proudwismomproudwismom Registered User Posts: 467 Member
    OP: You would have guaranteed admittance to the Ohio State branch campuses as they have open enrollment. I think though that only Newark and Mansfield have on campus housing available. I'm not an expert on Ohio schools, however, I believe you can then transfer to the main campus after finishing a certain number of credits in good academic standing.

    Other schools to consider in Ohio would be Central State and Wilberforce.

    I believe you would also be admitted to U of South Dakota and U of North Dakota. Of the two U of South Dakota would be the least expensive. However, the farther you are from Ohio the more you will need to budget for travel costs to go to and from school.

    There is nothing wrong with applying to several schools and waiting to compare financial aid offers before making a decision. Check with your guidance counselor to see if you can have some application fees waived. If you like U of Cinncinnati or Wooster etc pick one and apply to it along with others that are more likely.

    I really think you need to apply soon as I'm not sure if there are any scholarship deadlines. You may not qualify for academic scholarships due to your low gpa but there could be other types of scholarships you could qualify for.

    I'm not sure what you will need to register with your father's tribe. Try contacting a relative or the tribe directly. Again, I think it would be best to do this as soon as possible too.

    Good luck
  • Malik1992Malik1992 Registered User Posts: 64 Junior Member
    I would say if you want to meet a lot of people from different backgrounds and have an experience that is solely unique (whether good or bad) to those who attend the Mecca, then go for it. Just know that HBCU's are critically underfunded and the few available funds at Howard are misused. This results in run-down dorms, broken down buildings with no AC, and a lack of administrative clarity. But it's a good school nonetheless because the student body is second to none in terms of determination.
This discussion has been closed.