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Late Diagnosis=low GPA

Throughout middle school and my first two years of high school, I have had a slow test-taking pace. Unfortunately this only grew worse as I encountered a personal tragedy in my freshman year. For the most part my freshman year teachers were accommodating due to the nature of the situation and the fact that everyone was still transitioning from middle school. However, in my sophomore year, it was almost as if teachers had forgotten what happened and that my slow reaction time mixed with the circumstances slowed down my testing time dramatically. I had always studied diligently and mastered the content of each exam, but I often had trouble getting through entire tests before the end of class.

After counseling, I was recommended to be categorized as someone with a 504. This would have fixed the issue if it had not been for the the slow course of action taken by my school's counseling department and the pace at which the paperwork was processed. It took about a year for my paperwork to go through and to be given the appropriate time accommodations.

I got straight A's in my freshman year(mostly honors classes) and in my junior year(all honors and AP) with the help of my necessary time accommodations. However the lack of accommodations in my sophomore year significantly decreased my GPA (Mainly honors classes with grades ranging from B- to B+ to A). My senior year course load is filled with AP classes and I have even taken AP classes online to boost my GPA, but it still remains below my ideal range.

How can I communicate to Ivy League admissions officers (notorious for their focus on GPA and test scores only) that these circumstances were beyond my control and do not represent my potential. I do not want to write my Common App essay about this topic because 1) my identity is complex and there's so much more to my character and story than my handicaps 2) I am afraid that the 504 label will make the admissions officers label me as stupid or incapable of learning at the Ivy League level (which I'm not, I've taken an undergrad class at my closest Ivy League school this summer and received an A-).

What is the best way to compensate for my lower GPA.

Replies to: Late Diagnosis=low GPA

  • 123Mom456123Mom456 Registered User Posts: 676 Member
    Your guidance counselor can talk about it in their recommendation. That will probably be the best route and agree that you can write your essay about something that you want to.
  • brutishhyenabrutishhyena Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
    I was thinking about asking him to, but do you think that it would be unrealistic if I go to a school where there are 400 students/ grade?
  • 123Mom456123Mom456 Registered User Posts: 676 Member
    I don't think it unrealistic and I would think he would want to help you. Just ask him early. It might also be best to do in person. Sit down and talk with him about it. This is not something you want to bring to him at the last minute. At our school which is large, the GCs will still go out of their way to help when they can. He really is the best person to talk about it.
  • brutishhyenabrutishhyena Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
    Thank you!!
  • 123Mom456123Mom456 Registered User Posts: 676 Member
    Good luck! I think you will do well and have many good schools to chose from.
  • zannahzannah Registered User Posts: 544 Member
    All applicants must meet all the academic requirements for the school. You are using a but for argument and hoping the school can extrapolate your real GPA if you had not experienced the challenges you faced. I am not sure that your advisor could write a letter that would compensate for what you consider a poor GPA. What could be very helpful to you is earning reallly good scores on the ACT and or SAT. Good scores provide data indicating you are academically capable.I think the dip in high school without specifics suggest you entered a left high school strong and something was a weight in the middle.

    I would check out good state colleges in your area, look at their admissions statistics and app!y where you fit in. Do not try to explain with your essay because that is more but firing. If you want to talk about your difficulties, phrase it positively. So, rather than, I would have made the GPA requirement, but for not getting extra time until, my dog had bad fleas and the cat was monitored for hair balls.. Instead, I am pleased with the grades,I earned because I almost made the entrance GPA. I worked very hard the last semester to maintain high grades despite. This past semester, I faced and mastered demonstrated mastery of content despite slow implementation of extended time and the time and effort to ensure the dog was successfully treated for fleas and the cat now eats her food.

    Good luck. Adversity doesn't end dreams or lives.
  • MACmiracleMACmiracle Registered User Posts: 877 Member
    Is the slowness related to an actual diagnosis? That's something you will need to get documented if it is and it's something that a GC can put in a letter.

    Have you been evaluated for developmental coordination disorder? Dyslexia? Toxic exposure? These are reasons for slow speed that will be accommodated.

    You said you got the 504 after counseling but you might need to provide more explanation to a college. I remember reading that slow processing by itself is not a basis for accommodation.

    You are thinking of admission but you also need to get appropriate accommodations for when you get in college to be successful. Sometimes what they put in a 504 is sufficient but not always. You might need documentation of medical tests not just a letter from a doctor counselor for example.

    By knowing the specific problem you might be able to get a notetaker, extra time on tests, etc.
  • zannahzannah Registered User Posts: 544 Member
    You are not obliged to disclose disability when applying. Information is very often separated from regular application materials to prevent the admission committee using disability in their deliberations. Schools are very sensitive to getting sued for prejudice on the basis of disability in admissions decisions. If the counselor,s letter clearly talks about your disability, it may be separated from your file. If you want your disability to be a factor in the admissions decision, the school may not ad it you and you have lost your opportunity for appeal.

    After you are admitted, go to the campus disability to register for accommodations. You will need to submit documentation that verifies you have a disability that directly results in limitation to learning, testing, attending class...Good sources about documentation inc!use ahead.org and disability that information on the ACT and SAT websites.
  • CenterCenter Registered User Posts: 1,446 Senior Member
    You may be very intelligent but not ideally suited for an Ivy League school. Your grades are your grades.
  • annamomannamom Registered User Posts: 911 Member
    @Center I am not sure why you can say the OP is not ideally suited for an Ivy League School...(I am not saying whether the OP is or is not suited for an Ivy League School.)
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