How can I apply to college without a GPA?

I’m a 17-year-old international high school dropped-out student in China, I only have a ninth-grade GPA. I dropped out in march of this year.
Is there any college that doesn’t need a GPA? Can I take the SAT and TOEFL or IELTS instead of GPA?
I want to major in biology. I know I’m not qualified to ask because I’m a dropout, but I want to give it a shot.

So, you dropped out of 9th grade this spring and want to apply to U.S. colleges instead of completing high school?

I will assume this is a genuine post and answer in good faith…

Colleges require applicants to have completed high school or its equivalent and you do have to submit your academic record (GPA or marks). The standardized tests you’ve mentioned are not an acceptable substitute.


I would suggest you get yourself back in high school. You need certain recommended coursework to apply to four year colleges here (if that is your plan).

Community colleges are open enrollment and anyone can apply to take courses. But how would you pay for this?

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You should finish HS, or get an equivalent certification. In the US, students who drop out of HS can take a GED test which many colleges will accept in lieu of graduating HS. Does China have something like that?

Some US community colleges also require the student to have completed HS/or have passed the GED, you would have to do some research on that. Are you thinking of coming to the US for college? If so, will you be able to afford that?

More context for why you dropped out would allow us to give you better answers. My immediate response is that you need to go back to school.

No college in the US (except maybe a community college, where you can take courses that will enable you to complete basic requirements) will accept you without at least a GED or a homeschooling transcript that shows you have completed the minimum core curriculum.


This is important.

The odds of getting into a US college without a high school diploma are very small. The odds of getting someone else to pay for it are very, very, very small.

Not sure a Community College can sponsor a student visa.

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Colleges don’t “sponsor” visas but need to provide appropriate documentation for visa purposes and yes, you can get a student visa for study at a community college. I would note that community college fees for internationals are still usually far from cheap especially compared to college costs in home countries.


I believe they can. The community colleges near me actively recruit international students. (Example: International Student Programs )

I’m confused about the history here, though. OP, you’re saying you dropped out earlier this year, not finishing your sophomore year (since 9th grade is the only completed year), yet you are already 17…? That’s old for a student who should be starting 11th grade…

Nonetheless, the answer to this question hinges (as so many do, unfortunately) on finances. If you can afford to live in the US and enroll in community college, this is probably a possibility. But, if you have the budget for this, you likely also have the budget for other options as well.

What do you intend to do with a biology degree? By itself, an undergrad degree is bio is not super helpful with regard to employment. Do you hope to go to grad school? Med school? Why did you drop out? Have you considered looking at online high school programs?

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Agree we need to understand why you dropped out of high school to properly answer. Wanting to study biology at a college without high school science courses seems a track to failure. Rather than spending what will be a relatively large amount of money as an international student hoping to find a CC accepts you and then that you will do enough to transfer to a 4-year college, it makes sense to go back to high school. Depending on the reason you dropped out, you may want to look into completing high school online.

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This is a “win-win” for those involved as the colleges get much higher fees that help subsidize their local students and (from what I have seen on immigration boards) the internationals they target have an easy-visa option which they usually hope to turn into something else. Does not seem OP’s situation or motivation though.

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There is something that I am wondering about.

University biology classes will contain quite a few premed students. Many biology classes are also requirements to apply to medical school. These classes are often academically very difficult, and at least here in the US will often contain quite a few very strong students.

This leads me to a question: Why did you drop out of high school?

I am specifically wondering whether you will be able to handle difficult university courses after dropping out of high school.

I do know people who had trouble in high school, and who then went to university and did very well. However, this can be a difficult path to take. It is common for this to slow down your education by a year or two or three – which really is not a big deal. However, it can take some amount of time, effort, and rigorous studying to make up for whatever caused you to drop out of high school.

If you want to do this in the US, then your budget will also matter.

How are they simultaneously in 9th grade and 17 years old though? I am a high school senior and I’m 17. I hope they can clarify their situation.