PTSD from severe physical and emotional abuse messed up my junior year

DISCLAIMER: I’m not looking for sympathy, I’m in a dilemma here and I’m asking for advice. People on CC are quite mean. Please don’t be mean.

Before I talk about my junior year grades… let’s take a look at my freshman and sophomore year grades

Freshman year
Math: 94/100
Science: 98/100
Social studies: 98/100
English: 92/100
( Arabic: 82/100… Arabic is not included in the final percentage)

Sophomore year:
Science: 97/100
Social studies:97/100
English:86/100…( ironically my favourite subject… I deserve more …but in my country having an extensive vocabulary and writing skills better than your teacher is not appreciated)

This is where my PTSD comes into the picture. I started showing psychosomatic signs from age 12… brain zaps, unexplainable body pains, constant questioning of self-worth and zero self-confidence which rapidly progressed towards the end of my sophomore year. I started experiencing palpitations, my resting heart rate shot to 120, I was rushed to the ER blah blah blah. My mother concluded that it was exam stress. My mother was the abuser(NOTE: physical and emotional.)…it took me six months to work up the courage to ask them to see a doctor but my parents (ESPECIALLY my mother) don’t believe in psychiatric help…she slapped me and asked me to shut up and stop pretending because…WHAT WILL PEOPLE SAY?

My junior year GPA on 4.0 scale: 1.3… this drastic dip in my GPA opened their eyes and they took me to a psychiatrist
Now I’m in my senior year… Ik that if I work hard I can get a 4 unweighted…then I’ll take a gap year and get 1540+ in SAT and 780+in sat subjects and 4/5’s on APs.I have great great EC’s. I will touch on the subject of mental illness along with a doctor’s note.

Now tell me how much does my junior year GPA affect my college application?
I’ve always wanted to go to an IVY LEAGUE.

Please don’t be mean.

You have to understand that the schools you are interested in are a reach for even perfect scoring students. My suggestion is to focus on match schools and devote your energy there, you can still apply to the Ivy League schools but just keep in mind that they will be a high reach.

“I’ve always wanted to go to an IVY LEAGUE.” That does sound a bit shallow, no offense.

I can sympathize with you regarding your low GPA and abuse. I’m sorry to hear that. I know it has to be very debilitating.

However, it is still definitely possible to attend an Ivy League institution if that is what you want. But it is going to take a long time.

Almost anything is possible with hard work.

First - I am sorry that you went through these terrible experiences, and your primary focus is to take care of yourself. College is secondary to that.

Second - as I write for all students: “attending an Ivy” is a poor dream to have.

Your dreams should be so much bigger than that. Your dreams should not be dependent on being accepted to a colleges which is known simply because it is part of a specific athletic conference.

Moreover, “an Ivy” doesn’t really mean anything, when you think about what college you would like to attend. Each are different, and a person who is a great fit for Cornell could easily be a very bad fit for Dartmouth or Brown.

When thinking about college, think about what you want and need in college, and what characteristics a college would need to have for it to be a good fit for you.

And that is where your thoughts about college are truly wrong.

You should not be thinking about colleges in terms of “what do I need to do so that these colleges will be willing to accept me?”

Instead, you should be thinking “what does a college need to have so I would succeed and thrive there?”

For the majority of graduating high school students, Ivy league colleges do not provide what they need any better than a couple dozen other colleges, or, more often than not, the Ivies are unable to provide what students need at all.

So think to yourself what you want your college years to look like, and make a list which has everything that you would want to have in your fantasy college. Then list them in order of importance, with the “must haves” on top, and the “would be nice to have” on the bottom.

Use that list to select colleges, instead of using a list which just has colleges ordered by prestige.

That is really the best way to choose the college which is right for you.

Finally - affordability. It doesn’t really matter whether you can be accepted to an Ivy or to any other college, if you cannot afford tuition, room and board. For the Ivies, these run to about $70,000 a year, or a total of some $280,000. That is a lot of money.

Good luck, and take care of yourself.

@LZHope Please don’t sympathize. I’m sorry If I come across as shallow but I’ve always dreamt of going to an Ivy League and I know there are a lot of other amazing colleges but I’m not ready to give up on my dream. I’ll try but I won’t be disappointed if I don’t get through.

First, has the abusive parent been pressuring you for years about Ivy League? Hope not. Is your schools atmosphere focused on getting into top colleges? Again, hope not.

I promise you I am not being mean, but as a person with some experience with both Ivy League and non-Ivy League schools, there is really no reason for an Ivy to be a dream other than prestige, honestly. At least I can’t think of one.

And all Ivies are quite different…

And if you have PTSD you might want to avoid the stress of an Ivy League school. This is meant as protective, not limiting. It’s up to you. But Ivy and other top schools have both obvious and hidden stresses.

How much do you know about other colleges? For instance, go to the Colleges that Change Lives website and look.

By all means apply but don’t “dream” if you can possibly change that attitude and feeling :slight_smile:

Please be aware that if you have a health or psych. crisis at high school or at college, you deserve accommodations. You should never have had that dip in grades with proper accommodations. In high school, tell the principal you need a 504 plan and provide documentation of a diagnosis. In college, register with the Office of Disabilities, again with documentation.

Your parents may not be allowing you to see a doctor or therapist, so you will have to advocate for yourself.

Also, if you are still having physical symptoms please try to see a doctor who will listen and make sure that there are no medical issues going on that need to be addressed.

I am sorry you had to experience what you did.

Please understand we are not being unkind when posters say it is highly unlikely you will be accepted to an ivy (or any T20) college right out of high school. We have kids on here every year who fail to apply to sufficient safety and match schools and then find themselves shut out, rejected everywhere. CC still helps those students get into good, respectable schools, but, having overshot in the regular application season, the colleges where they end up are always ranked well below the schools they were shooting for to begin with - and often that college’s aid budget is long spent. You must understand that, while colleges have appreciation for kids with grit who overcame adversity, the tippy top colleges have their choice of applicants who have perfect grades and test scores in ADDITION to having overcome challenges that the vast majority of teens never experience. So to lie to you by giving you false hope would be doing you a greater disservice. It might hold you back from achieving your full potential, albeit elsewhere.

All hope is not lost, however. You can attend another college, do very well there and transfer later. Colleges won’t care about your high school record after two strong years on your transcript at another college. Plus there is always the chance to attend an ivy for grad school.

Are you applying as international student?

The schools that you have set your heart on have a 5-10% admissions rate for US citizens and Green Card holders. About 8-12% of that 5-10% are international students.

People actually do have the power to change their dreams. Sometimes it helps if we figure out what it is about the dream that matters. For example, does part of you see getting accepted to a famous name school as a way to show people how good/smart you are? I love @MWolf’s post:

Where do you want to go in life? what parts of your college experience will help you get there? As others have said, college is not the goal or the end point- it is a tool to help you launch into your adult life.

You’re applying to the Ivies as an international student. As noted in your other thread, a lot of students from India apply but very few are accepted. The acceptance rate for domestic students is very low too. Apply, but have a well thought out backup plan.

Are there schools in India that you could attend? We encourage all students to have a couple of academic and financial safety schools on their list. Try to find some schools you’re sure you can get accepted to, that are affordable, and that you’d be happy to attend.

Selective schools are selective because they don’t take most of their applicants. There are many with perfect or near perfect applications who are not accepted. So, yes, a bad year is a strike against you. You also have an issue that may crop up again under stress. Going away to school is a big stress factor. It’s really not a good idea to take such a chance away from home and family, in a whole new environment.

A friend of mine has a daughter now in her 40s who was accepted to an Ivy League school more than 20 years ago. Despite her psychological problems, she had a near perfect application. Straight As, most difficult classes, great ECs and leadership, excellent recs, and near perfect test score. But she had a number of problems, and one of them was life threatening. It hurt terribly, but my friend decided that her daughter needed to stay home and be under careful monitoring—her last relapse had been within a year. Yes, it was a painful decision, but the young woman is now doing very well. She graduated summa cum lauded with a double major, Phi beta Kappa, and went on to an Ivy grad program.

I think it’s too soon after your trauma to be thinking about diving into a whole other environment and being off on your own. More important than getting an ivy education is learning to cope with your symptoms and managing your condition.

An Ivy acceptance is unlikely for you. Many will agree that junior year grades are very important for college admissions. Your traumatic experience explains your poor grades but I don’t think admissions will be able to overlook—even with an explanation.

With so many qualified applicants, I don’t see admissions taking the risk to admit. Universities are also concerned about their student’s mental health and would be concerned about a relapse.

@Groundwork2022 I know that I won’t get accepted right out of high school. But does taking a gap year and achieving more academic and extracurricular-wise help my case?

Why would you want to take a gap year if your home life is abusive? I agree that an Ivy League school could be a good goal for graduate school.

A gap year probably won’t help. Your high school record would still be the basis for consideration.
Remember, a solid transcript and high test scores are just a baseline for Harvard. If you don’t have that, it’s difficult to imagine what you could achieve in a gap year that could overcome it.

Your odds would be slightly better as a transfer applicant after two strong years at another college. Graduate school offers you the best chance, but understand you are still talking about a highly competitive, internationally renowned university here, so while that yields your best odds, it isn’t a sure thing.

Are you going to be full pay? For international students, that is a big factor at most schools.

I would speculate that there is pressure in your environment to get into an Ivy League school. People in your home or school or environment also need to be educated about the educational system here. Many people in India and some other countries/cultures (and some in the US too!) have some misguided ideas that success in life is guaranteed by going to an Ivy, and that failure results from going somewhere else.

Please don’t make your life stressful over this. You do not need an Ivy League college for success. If someone is pressuring you on this, please talk to someone who can help you.

The Ivies are all different When someone writes about getting into a (generic) Ivy League college, it is usually about prestige or a lack of knowledge of quality offered in other schools. Good luck.

@Groundwork2022 Grading in India is a little different than that in America, our final year school exams are the most important, it contributes to 80% of our final GPA, the rest 20% is internal tests and lab, and I’m pretty sure I can get a 480+/500. Which is a huge jump from a 1.3 GPA. Ik that junior year grades are imp because the junior year GPA is the only complete, recent GPA that admissions officers get to see. So what if I ace my senior year, take a gap year coz SATs and ACTs are mostly cancelled because of the pandemic. (my extracurriculars are strong.)

@CheddarcheeseMN I don’t have a choice, It’s not like I can run away from home. I’ve become more assertive. I told my mother clear and plain that she’s not allowed to hit me …so did my psychiatrist. Plus my father’s always on my side

I don’t understand why you would rearrange your life in order to get into an Ivy, and furthermore risk another year at home. Despite advice from many, you remain somewhat fixated on this plan. I hope you can learn more about other schools and apply and attend immediately after finishing high school.

If you have a psychiatrist, again, make sure to get documentation from him or her so that you can register with the Office for Disabilities at college.

You are applying from an ‘over-represented’ group, for universities that are vastly over-subscribed. Your application will be reviewed relative to the best, brightest and most academically ambitious students from your school / town / region / country. The math is simple: statistically you are 98%+ likely to be rejected.

But: you are in a much better place than anybody here to know how your application will compare. So, ace your exams and apply with your ‘great great’ ECs. Have your GC note your medical issues. And, as pretty much every poster has said, develop strong plans B, C & D.

The difference between daydreaming and achieving your dreams is the work you put into making them happen, which includes hard thinking about what it is you are looking for from this dream, and from your larger dream(s) for your life.

So, if the obvious route is blocked, what is another approach? what is the most important part of the dream? what is the underlying goal of the dream?