Do colleges care about extenutating circumstances when it comes to low(er) grades?

I have 3 B’s on my transcript, and 2 are from freshman year (frankly I shouldn’t have them, but that’s a different story) as a result of extenuating circumstances, so my GPA is only a 3.86 UW. I took the most rigorous courseload possible.

If I include the extenuating circumstances that tanked my GPA, will they consider it? Or will they just view it as me making excuses and will it actually hurt instead of help?

Generally speaking, it’s better to have your GC explain extenuating circumstances in their LOR than the student.

@momofsenior1 would it be good if I did it in tandem with my GC? Or should I just not touch it at all? Would doing the former hurt my application and make it seem like I’m making excuses?

If there were significant extenuating circumstances let the guidance counselor explain so there is no chance it sounds like you are making excuses.

But extenuating circumstances are things like you spent 3 months in the hospital.

@Eeyore123 can I PM you about them so you can judge for yourself?

On many applications, there is just not space for you to explain particular grades. You will have a form, electronic or paper, to list your grades, test scores, ECs, and have your essays, which would be according to the prompts given. Letters of Recommendation and/or your school counselor report are usually where extenuating circumstances are described, and that’s done by those parties…not you.

Your first stop should perhaps be your school college counselor, he/she would know whether your situation warrants explanation or not, and if yes, how it should be done. Side note…I don’t think an explanation of a B is likely to be warranted. Like someone mentions above, extenuating circumstances are things like a serious illness, loss of a parent, etc…something that often results in a grade vastly different from your norm. Your GPA is not tanked! Put your efforts into what you can control, which at this point is your essays, your current grades, and a well balanced application list.

@TS0104 My grades first quarter resulted in a 3.86 GPA instead of a 3.95 GPA without those 2 B’s. That’s definitely a tanking of a GPA.

This wasn’t my fault. I was incredibly sick as a result of years of child neglect, if that qualifies as “extenuating circumstances” for you.

We’ll see if my GPA is good enough come March. If I get no reaches, then it isn’t, I will have failed, and my high school career will have been a failure.

You are being melodramatic. There are many outstanding colleges out there where you can have 4 great years, get a fantastic education and end up where you want to be in life.
Most people do not get into their reaches.

@happy1 Being damned to a life of mediocrity? That’s failure. Everyone goes to a “meh” school. I worked hard to get something, there was a point to all of that studying. It was for results.

If I get nothing out of app season, I’ve failed. I define my threshold for success as an affordable education at a high tier school or a scholarship at my in-states.

I think that you are worrying about something that is not really a problem.

I know quite a few people who have been very successful. As far as I know NONE of them took the quickest path from where they started to success. We all falter a bit here and there.

A couple of B’s in your freshman year of high school will not stop you from attending a very good university, or from being very successful in your life.

As others have said your guidance counselor can explain any extenuating circumstances. However, your freshman year grades will be much less important than more recent grades, and there are lots of very good universities that you can get into with a few B’s. Also, there are a lot of opportunities, a lot of strong students, and a lot of great professors at a wide range of colleges and universities.

First off your GPA is fine for just about any school out there. Work on your essay but with your tone… Make sure someone else reads it. You are not the only one applying to college. Whether you meet your goals can be out or your hands. Don’t put limits or you will be very disappointed come the acceptance season. Since it will have rejections also. Let only your counsler explain your situation

You’re not working with enough info about what your targets want. So your head is spinning. If you want CS, you do need to learn to seek and weigh relevant details, rationally assess goals. And accept limitations.

For admits to the most competitive colleges, yes. B grades can hurt. But what was the later B in? That matters. You’re wrong to focus this on the GPA, adcoms at elites look at the actual transcript.

No, you cannot explain it away. T20/Ivies are tough once there, peers are highly prepared. Your GC is the better person to explain-- but more importantly, to describe subsequent triumphs and your strengths. Same with LoRs.

Fwiw, this forum focuses more on the easy phrase, “upward trend,” without examining what that means. It’s not just improving gpa.

You’ve asked this a number of times already in various ways. The answers don’t change.

https://talk.collegeconfidential.com/college-admissions/2188852-do-extenuating-circumstances-as-an-explanation-for-sub-par-grades-hurt-your-application.html#latest

https://talk.collegeconfidential.com/what-my-chances/2188814-will-3-bs-even-with-an-upward-trend-ruin-me-for-the-most-elite-schools.html#latest

https://talk.collegeconfidential.com/college-admissions/2194217-how-will-aos-view-upward-trends-given-remote-learning-for-the-class-of-2021.html#latest