Improving acceptance chances after high school

<p>My high school career was filled with drugs and tomfoolery. I just barely managed to scrape a GPA somewhere in the range of 2.0 to 2.5 and for silly reasons I decided to move to Canada to go to university. I'm almost done with the first semester of my second year and my grades here are comparable to the ones from high school. I miss my home state and I plan on moving back at the end of this year.</p>

<p>I would like to go to NC State and study Computer Science with a concentration in game development, but from what I can tell from CollegeBoard, that's not going to happen without a drastic improvement on my part.</p>

<p>I see all of the advice for high school students about preparing early, but where is all the wisdom for those who (like me) goofed off and now regret it? Surely I haven't ruined my life at the age of 19?</p>

<p>What can I do to improve my chances of getting accepted into a good school? My high school grades were dismal and my university grades are lacking. In my two years I will have gained only 32 credit hours, some of which probably won't transfer. This means that I might have to apply to some schools as a Freshman student. This wouldn't be a problem except that all public universities in North Carolina require 4 units of math in high school, whereas I only took 3. (I think it's worth mentioning that I plan on having Calculus I, II, and a course on Linear Algebra completed by the end of this year.)</p>

<p>Another concern is tuition. My mom moved to Florida a few months ago and by the time classes start next Fall I won't be able to claim in-state status for tuition purposes. This means a $13,000/yr raise in tuition and I am already $30,000 in debt because of school. In addition to improving my chances of getting in, I need to improve my chances of getting some stellar financial aid -- preferably in the form of scholarships and grants, as opposed to loans.</p>

<p>All non-"you're screwed" advice is welcome!</p>

<p>Would you be considered instate for Florida? That has to be more affordable than a Canadian college.</p>


<p>If you already are $30,000 in debt, you already owe more than you should for the full four years of your education. You need to figure out how to pay for your studies without owing much more. Most likely, that involves choosing a public institution in a state where you can claim in-state residence. If you won't have it in time for the semester when you want to begin your studies, well then take an extra semester or two off.</p>

<p>The best path to grade recovery on a budget often leads through the doors of a community college that is commuting distance from your family home. Talk with your mom about the possibility of living with her while you work and study. In some states, students can enroll at community colleges for in-state rates sooner than they can at 4-year institutions. Find out if that is true for the community colleges near where your mom lives.</p>

<p>Wishing you all the best.</p>

<p>@siliconvalleymom -- Yes, I will be able to claim in-state tuition rates in Florida. However, I'm not terribly impressed by any of the Computer Science programs I saw there and NC State is located in Raleigh which has a decent gaming industry.</p>

<p>@happymomof1 -- I'm currently talking to someone knowledgeable in the requirements for legal residency in North Carolina. I completely agree that I can't afford to pay out-of-state tuition rates and this is a prime factor in my decision of where I will go to school.</p>

<p>I'm waiting on her reply to find out whether I can take a year off and claim in-state tuition for the 2013-2014 school year. I hope to be able to prove that I'm not solely in North Carolina for school (it's more so that I'm returning to my home state) and that I am financially independent from my mother.</p>

<p>I'll look into community colleges located around Raleigh and see what their requirements are. Unfortunately I believe that all requirements for legal residency in North Carolina are set out by state law such that all institutions of higher learning (including community colleges) have the same requirements.</p>

<p>I should qualify for a Pell grant when I return to the states and that would cover a large portion of the $6,600 (I believe?) in-state tuition at NC State. Hopefully I can manage to scrape a few thousand in scholarships to pay for the remaining tuition, fees, books, etc.</p>

<p>What can I do in the mean time to increase my chances? I plan on developing video games for a living, would having a portfolio sent in with my application help my chances? Perhaps some community volunteer projects during will help too?</p>

<p>Bump Bump.</p>