How would schools view a previous drop-out?

<p>Hello.</p>

<p>I am currently at a California community college carrying a 4.0 in math and science classes (I'm an EE major). The thing is that I flunked out of a top school (Penn, Duke, Chicago, Columbia, etc.) due to various reasons, but mostly because I was depressed, lacked motivation, and hated the school. I chose the school based on prestige and not on fit.</p>

<p>I decided to start all over at a community college. I switched my major from Polisci to EE and became very involved on campus. I feel I can get a 35 on the ACT again (the score I got in high school) and 800's on two SAT subject tests. All in all, I'd feel I have a solid application if it weren't for my time at the previous school.</p>

<p>So what do you guys think? How will the admissions officers view my time at my previous school? Will they assume that I cannot handle the work of a four-year university? I'm a much different person and student now.</p>

<p>Thanks.</p>

<p>They would count it against you. But you could still go to a good school, just probably not a top school unless a significant time as passed since now and then.</p>

<p>Well it's been and a year and a couple of months, though it'll be two years and some months by the time I apply to schools.</p>

<p>The very top layer will probably pass, but the next layer will see you got your act together. Stanford unlikely, Santa Clara a strong possibility. That kind of thing. Forget retaking SATs, most colleges won't want it now that you have more than a year of credits. </p>

<p>Write a compelling essay of who you are and how you overcame your bad start in college--and where your passions are headed now. The admins need to see who you are beyond merely the gpa. Good luck.</p>

<p>Yeah, the essays are gonna be very important. And as far as the SAT's go, I'm willing to do anything to increase my chances, even if it's just a bit. If it means taking the SAT's all over, then so be it. :/</p>