One Bad Semester: Are chances gone?

<p>My son is a junior in high school and, until today, has maintained a 3.8 unweighted GPA. He had a horrible semester and received a 2.8, along with the first two C's of his life (one in APUSH). He has scored very high on PSAT and ACT prep tests (99th percentile). He hasn't taken the SAT or ACT yet, but we anticipate high scores.</p>

<p>Will this one bad semester keep him from getting accepted to a prestigious university if he gets his grades back up next semester and first semester of his senior year?</p>

<p>We are freaking out and need a reality check before he starts looking at schools. Thank you!</p>

<p>First, don't let him see your distress or he'll believe the only worthwhile college is a top one.</p>

<p>Lots of kids have a tough time junior year. Things get much tougher. In all honesty, this will certainly make very top colleges unlikely. But you had no guarantee he was headed for one anyway. Most kids with a 3.8 and 99% scores do not get accepted to an ivy.</p>

<p>If he recovers second term he will have his choice of 97% of colleges. If he doesn't he'll have his choice of 88%. either way, he's an achiever and will undoubtedly accomplish a lot in life.</p>

<p>Thank you, Waverly, for your reply. You're right in that I need to make sure he doesn't feel like a failure if he doesn't choose/get accepted to an elite school. </p>

<p>It's just so hard when academics are his ticket - he's not an athlete and we don't qualify for financial aid. It's all we have to rely on...</p>

<p>I just pray he can get back on track - he's a great kid!</p>

<p>Not qualifying for aid is an advantage at most colleges!</p>

<p>Figure out why he fell so hard. Is it time management? Are AP classes too much?</p>

<p>Junior year is also the time when LDs become more recognizable in bright kids. They were able to slide through before classes took a leap in rigor.</p>

<p>College shouldn't be the main concern right now, understanding where he is and why needs to be.</p>

<p>The C in APUSH only matters depending on what he majors in.
If he does engineering, it won't matter as much. It also depends on schools; some are very numbers based, while others focus more on ECs, interviews, and leadership qualities.
My junior year took a crash too. It's normal if there are a lot of hard APs... AP English, Chem, and APUSH killed me too, while AP Music Theory was a bit of a joke.
Good luck! Stressing will only do more harm than good at this stage. Help him relax, tension will only make his grades drop more. It'll be even worse if he fell sick (i was hospitalized right before 1st semester junior year finals... had no idea what to do when it was time to take exams).
If he has some extraordinary circumstances right now, remember to EXPLAIN IT IN HIS COLLEGE APPLICATIONS! That way the admissions officers will look at the grade drop differently and hopefully understand the dip.</p>