I messed up Junior year, are my chances of getting into a good college gone?

Before junior year, I was a really high-achieving student academically. My GPA was around 3.7-4.0 weighted and was doing well in a lot of my classes. Then, the pandemic hit right during junior year and all of us were forced into distance learning. Distance learning never worked out for me (and still doesn’t) and I suffered a lot mentally from exhaustion and burn out. The lack of motivation for me to do well in school kind of crashed and as a result, my grades and GPA took a huge beating. As of right now, I’m failing half of my classes and am going to go into summer school for credit recovery and try and fix up my GPA, and I’m barely UC eligible. I f**** up my most important year of my high school and I don’t know what to do anymore. Right now, I’m sitting at around a 2.5 weighted GPA (10-12) and 3.28 weighted GPA (9-12).

Before junior year, I wanted to apply to many UCs around me (I live in the Bay Area, California), being UC Berkeley, UC Irvine, and UCLA along with CSU San Jose among others. But now, it looks like community college is the most likely route for me. I know it isn’t the end of the world to go to a community college as I can still transfer to like a UC/CSU but at the same time I really want to live on campus and most community colleges don’t offer dorms. The main reason I wanted to go to a UC/CSU was to get away from my family (which has been emotionally abusive to me) among other things, and I just want to get away from them.

My question is it still possible to get into a UC/CSU with my current grades? I have around two extracurriculars, some volunteering hours, and potentially a summer internship (PilotCity) with it hoping to make up for my GPA as SAT/ACT scores aren’t accepted/considered in applications anymore.

Sorry to hear about your difficult family situation. You do have some options if you want to get away from your family but they also need to be willing to help you by filing financial aid forms to help pay for college.

UC’s minimum weighted GPA for eligibility is 3.0 capped weighted (10-11th grades only) so a 2.5 GPA will not make the threshold and even if you did meet the 3.0 GPA threshold, there may be only UC Merced which may not be possible either.


For the CSU’s, there are several CSU campuses that are not impacted and will accept you with a minimum 2.5 CSU GPA as long as you meet the a-g course requirements by end of Senior year.

Here is the CSU impacted matrix showing majors and campuses so you can find some target schools: https://www2.calstate.edu/attend/impaction-at-the-csu/Documents/ImpactedProgramsMatrix.pdf

Also your local CSU will give you priority but depending upon major, it is not guaranteed.

I would say apply to some of the CSU’s of interest and if you are not happy with your options for Fall 2022, community college is a great backup and a well proven path to transfer to some of the UC’s via TAG or the Cal states via ADT.


Best of luck.


I have seen so many posts from both students and parents about grades crashing, depression and anxiety and so on due to COVID and virtual learning, as well as isolation. I really think admissions departments need to take this trauma into account.

You are a good student and hard worker and got impacted by the worst pandemic in 100 years, a once in a century occurrence. I hope those around you can understand the amount of trauma young people like yourself have experienced.


Thank you, I’ll definitely look at some CSU options around me and I am also wondering if it is common to transfer from a CSU to a UC? Like say, Cal State East Bay To UC Irvine or something, but as far as I’m aware, I think TAG is only for community colleges, correct?

Thank you, this pandemic really has been hard on students around the world and yeah I really wish college admissions would consider this more seriously. I know a lot of people both in real life and online that are struggling even worse than me and just in general, everyone suffering (not just students). I understand that this isn’t normal and that I shouldn’t be too hard on myself during a pandemic, but my worry is that college admission offices won’t understand nor care to sympathize for the millions of students applying to colleges next year.

I’m sorry you’ve had such a rough year. If living at home has been a big part of what’s gone badly, then I agree it doesn’t make sense to remain at home for community college in hopes of transferring.

What do you want to study? What is your EFC and your budget for college? If the discounted reciprocity rate for OOS schools in the WUE system would be affordable, then some of those schools could be worth considering. If you can get your unweighted cumulative GPA back above a 3.0, that will open up your options a lot.

There are a few CCC’s with dorms. I haven’t verified the info here on Wikipedia, but you can follow the links and check out the options List of community colleges in the United States with campus housing - Wikipedia There are also more informal possibilities that are close to possible transfer schools - for example, some students secure housing in the private dorms in Isla Vista, attend Santa Barbara City College, take UCSB classes in the summer, and ultimately transfer to UCSB. There are community colleges in Irvine and Merced. So, there are CCC options other than living at home. If you really want to end up at a UC, the transfer path is easier from a CCC than from a CSU.

It may be that credit recovery will help your GPA a lot, and put options back in reach that don’t look possible right now. Have you been talking with your guidance counselor at school? It’s important for them to know what’s going on with you, sooner rather than later, so that they can vouch for you in the application process - not to mention that they may be able to connect you with sources of support in the meantime, since you’ve got another year to go at home before you finish high school.

You might also want to look at formal gap year programs - City Year would be one example. That would give you a breather, away from your home environment, before starting college, and it would allow you to apply with your senior grades on the books, which would be helpful if next year goes better!

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CSU to UC is possible but it requires diligence on your part to make sure the classes at a CSU articulate to the UC’s for transfer. TAG is only for CC to UC transfer so if any of the UC’s are your targets, then TAG is the way to go.

Assist.org will help CC to UC or CSU transfers but there is no articulation for the CSU to UC transfer classes on assist.org but it has been done before.

You are far from alone - lots of people struggled in lots of ways this year. If you got a D or F in an a-g class, you probably have time to re-take it this summer. Replacing just one grade can have big impact on your CSU/UC GPA. If that’s not possible, with a 3.3ish CSU GPA, you are still likely to get into most majors at most of the CSUs.

Sounds like you want/need to get out of the bay area. Chico and Sonoma offer good 4 year experience for students like you. Most majors would he happy to have you. Fullerton, Sac and Nortridge are also likely to admit you.

Good luck

I mainly want to study Computer Science and Engineering which I know is a very hard and competitive subject/major (and with my current grades, it isn’t helping much for my pathway) and potentially Business or Political Science as a backup option.

As for my budget for college, I’m not too sure as of right now. Though if it comes to it, I could apply for student loans (not sure if it’s too great of an idea). I’m not too sure what my EFC is, my family isn’t necessarily poor nor rich either. We’re somewhat middle-class (as to living in California), but at the same time I’m not sure if my family is going to pay for my college depending on where I go.

And yeah, I’ve been in somewhat contact with my school counselor, she’s trying to get me to become UC-eligible again by bringing up my GPA and also retaking classes where I didn’t get a C or higher (to become UC-eligible). I also have a question regarding summer classes that would be UC-eligible. I took summer classes at UC Berkeley’s ATDP program a couple years ago and recieved an A in both of those classes with both of those classes satisfying my G requirement and one of those classes being UC Honors designated (10 units + 5 units). Would that be calculated into my GPA when I’m applying to a UC or would I just list them as an extracurricular?

I’ll also look into City Year and check, thanks for informing me.

Yeah, I was thinking probably more of a mid-tier CSU, though ideally I would like to go to CSU San Jose, but the major I want to go into (Computer Science) is super competitive over there so not too sure yet. I guess my main goal is to just make myself CSU/UC eligible, but at the same time is it even worth applying if I barely hit the requirements?

Ah alright, thank you. I think most likely if I become UC/CSU eligible, I’ll either go to directly to a CSU or UC (if I can get into one) or to CC and then transfer to a UC, but at the same time it’s kind of a last resort for me.

SJSU makes it pretty easy to gauge your chances at any of the majors since they use an impaction index. Below is the calculation and they also list the index thresholds from this year for each major. Below a 3.0 CSU GPA makes all but the non-impacted CSU’s a possibility for CS. East Bay has a good ROI (return on investment) for the CS program due to location promixity to Silicon Valley.

Below a 3.5 UC capped weighted GPA makes all the UC’s out of Reach for CS.



2020 UC capped weighted GPA averages along with 25th-75th percentile range (Not major specific) so CS would require a higher than average GPA:

UCB: 4.22 (4.13-4.30)

UCLA: 4.25 (4.18-4.31)

UCSD: 4.16 (4.04-4.28)

UCSB: 4.15 (4.03-4.27)

UCI: 4.11 (3.96-4.26)

UCD: 4.11 (3.97-4.25)

UCSC: 3.94 (3.71-4.16)

UCR: 3.88 (3.65-4.11)

UCM: 3.68 (3.40-3.96)

if you barely hit the UC requirements of 3.0, it is really in unlikely you’ll get into any of them. To have a real chance you need to be pretty well into the GPA range captured above. I am not saying don’t apply, just understand the odds are pretty long and be sure you have other options open.

if you were my kid Id encourage you to focus on CSUs. Honestly, even the mid tier CSUs do a great job with CS. Again, if your CSU GPA is in the 3.3 range. I’d make you apply to Chico, Sac, and any 2-3 others that interest you - maybe even throw in UNR (which offers CA students a big tuition discount.) See where you get in and take it from there. Not all of the the CSUs are likely to accept you but, getting a couple rejections from reach schools is fine as long as you have your safety bases covered. If after careful consideration, a CC is the right route, that will certainly be open to you.

Good luck.

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ah yeah, I think CS probably won’t be attainable for me if the GPA requirements are that high and considering my current GPA barely meets UC reqs.

Yeah, in all honesty I think CC is the most likely route for me and then I’d transfer to Davis or Irvine using TAG. But I guess I’ll apply and see. Thank you.

UCI no longer offers TAG for CS. Also starting Fall 2022, UCD no longer offers TAG for CS in the College of Letters and Sciences. You can still TAG for Computer Science and Engineering at UCD.

When my daughter took college-credit classes in the summer as a high school student, she provided a transcript to her high school and those classes went on her HS record and became part of the GPA reported by her school. In her case, we were motivated to do this because she was meeting a HS graduation requirement (foreign language) with a college class, but there’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to do it even if they weren’t classes you needed for HS requirements. It would be helpful for your transcript to show the best possible GPA, vs. your reporting something on the application that doesn’t match what your transcript says (even though that would technically be accurate).

Not being sure what your family is willing to pay makes it a bit tricky. You’ll have to process this with your parents in stages. First, see if you can get them to complete Net Price Calculators for several representative colleges, so that you can get a sense of what your financial aid eligibility and net costs would look like. See what the bottom line would look like at a UC, at a CSU or two, and at a few WUE schools with good CS programs (like U of Nevada Reno, U of Utah, and Portland State). How do the out-of-pocket costs compare, and which of these categories of schools would be affordable? It’s really important to know where you stand in this regard. If your family would be full-paying for a UC, that same budget would more than cover WUE schools too; but if you qualify for CalGrant funding, then staying in state makes more sense.

As far a loans, you’ll only be able to borrow the amount of the guaranteed loans, in your own name. (I believe this comes out to $27K total over 4 years, so, nowhere near enough to fund your entire education, even at a CSU.) For loans beyond that, you’d need a parent (or grandparent, etc.) to cosign.

I’m sorry you’re in a tough situation with your family; hope things are manageable such that you can get through your summer class(es) and your senior year, and solifidy your GPA so that you’ll have as many options as possible.

If you want to really get away, you might consider adding Cal Maritime to your CSU app. They don’t have a CS major, but they have a Business major that includes co-op and study abroad opportunities, and the year-round program includes international training cruises in the summer on the school’s own training vessel. Maritime is often overlooked, but it’s a hidden gem with a beautiful campus in Vallejo, small classes and a close-knit program, and solid employment opportunities at graduation.

OP you are not alone and this is a really important post. The pandemic has been horrific in so many ways, many of which seem unnecessary but I won’t get into a political rant. Suffice to say as horrible as the actual virus is/was, the mental (which will manifest into physical via outcomes) effects could last for many many yrs.

Countless kids in all phases of education have been derailed because of distance learning (they just don’t learn that way or teachers don’t teach well that way or their tech stinks or…) Know so many who’s grades have suffered and that will effect college admissions, job recruiting (which will effect initial income trajectory), grad school admissions, etc. Look at all the kids who couldn’t get internships and or jobs because the companies simply cut back.

Hard to know how admissions will adjust to this reality. Unfair hand you’ve been dealt. BUT, you still must play your cards. No other option. Going forward, make the most of every opportunity in front of you.

Best of luck!


I dropped out of high school years back. Needless to say, my parents weren’t thrilled about it. They made me get a job. I got it together, got my GED, went to college and got a masters degree. I’ve been in a good career for several years now. It’s something we laugh about. When you graduate from college and start looking for a job, you’ll be worlds ahead of where you are now and no one will care about that bad year in high school.

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Oh gotcha, I’ll probably transfer through normal admission then and see how it goes.