High SAT score, not so high GPA?

Hi everyone, so when I was younger I didn’t have the resources and guidance to really push me as a freshman, sophomore, and even beginning of junior year for me to recognize how important my gpa was regarding to college. Now that my junior year is over and 10-11th grade gpa is incorrigible, I feel as if I have let down everyone around me because my goal was to get into UCSD but I don’t know why I never truly realized how critical grades were. I have literally been living every single day since the end of my junior year 1st semester in regret. Every day I tell myself I messed up and now I cannot get into a college I know I can get into. The thing is, I have a 3.4 something gpa (unweighted) because I didn’t try in school, I slacked off so hard until it was too late to make changes. I have so much regret because I know full well 100% that if I tried, I could have gotten straight A’s. So my question is, if I really gave it my all this upcoming senior year, (I’m taking 4 AP’s and self studying a 5th one) and got straight A’s both semesters, will colleges even care? Even take a glance? Will that help me in any way because I know people always say colleges brush over senior year grades, they don’t matter, it’s all about 10-11th. I know that full well, but this is my last year to push and I just want to know if it can make any difference whatsoever. I’m also involved in many extracurriculars, sports, and leadership roles and have scored above 2000 on my SAT. I feel so dejected and hopeless and the regret washes over me so often because I know I didn’t try hard enough.

While I can’t speak specifically about UCSD, a 3.4 is NOT a horrible GPA! Even if you know you could have done better, you should still be able to get into many solid schools, especially if your SAT score is in the top percentile for them. Find some matches and safeties that make you feel as excited as UCSD, and you should be in a great place this time next year. Don’t become dejected by what you could have done; focus on searching for schools that fit what you did and what you plan to do.

As for if colleges care about senior year, yes. The schools you apply to will all see your first semester grades. Your second semester grades will be viewed by whatever school you choose to attend (and anywhere you’re waitlisted, I believe).

UCSD does not consider Senior year grades in admission decisions. Your UC GPA will be based on 10-11th grades in the a-g course requirements. Here is the UC GPA calculator: http://rogerhub.com/gpa-calculator-uc/
Average UC GPA last year was 4.13 and avg SAT was 2018. Your GPA will hurt your chances at any top tier UC since according to you “I slacked off” in school. You might want to address how your turned things around in one of your essays, but I believe it probably is too late for UCSD. If you are a California resident, there are so many more schools that you would gain an acceptance. Look at UCSC/UCR/SDSU/CSUF/CSULB/SJSU. Another option would to go to community college for 2 years and transfer into one of the UC’s. There are different paths you can take to get into the school (s) you want. Good Luck and keep up the good work.

Many privates will consider Mid-year Senior grades such as Santa Clara, LMU, Concordia, University of San Diego, so if privates are financially viable options, you might have a better chance at these schools.

Schools like to see an upward trend in grades, but it’s true that it will weaken your application. If your grades are better for junior year (like all A’s) then you shouldn’t worry about it as much

Thank you so much for your response!