Reformed Student with Tricky Past Wondering Transfer Chances

Hi everyone! This is going to be a bit long winded, but any help is greatly appreciated. To begin, I first attended a four-year university straight out of high school in 2016. I was pretty unmotivated and directionless and ended up dropping out after my first year with pretty bad grades. I moved back home and ended up going to community college, but i was still directionless and now pretty depressed. I stopped going to class about halfway through the semester and subsequently ended up with awful grades (F’s/W’s). I THEN signed up at another CC (only two courses) and forgot to withdraw and ended up getting an F and W in those courses as well. Trust me, I’m aware of how careless I was being looking back :-(. Anyways, I took around two years off from school entirely after those hiccups, and began working. It was in those two years of life experience that I discovered what it is I am truly passionate about, so I returned back to a different community college in the fall of 2019 with intense focus and drive. I just finished my first year with a 4.0, and am finishing up 3 additional summer courses with a 4.0. I am confident I can keep this GPA for the rest of my CC experience but I’m afraid my past will come back to haunt me.

I am applying for transfer to a four-year institution this fall. My two top prospects are UC Davis and Cal Poly Slo. It would be completely life changing to make it to either school. My concern is even though I am doing great now will those previous community college experiences hurt my chances?

I have been looking into steps I can take to get me on the best possible track, one being academic renewal. I was going to apply for academic renewal for the two community colleges I attended, but unfortunately the four-year institution I attended was out of state, and I’m not too sure that is a possibility for me. I am assuming I have to send in every single transcript, as universities really value honesty, but if this is not the case that would be a relief!

I guess my main question comes down to, does admissions recognize a student that has clearly made a drastic change in their work ethic and grades?

Thanks for taking the time to read this, community college counselors can be hard to reach, especially during this pandemic. I appreciate any assistance and advice and I hope you all are staying safe and sane!

People can grow a lot, especially after 4 years. They will understand. Just explain things in your essay – much the same way you explained to us.

Make sure you send every single one of your transcripts. There is a college clearinghouse, and they will know if you omit one.

The short answer is, yes, absolutely you can transfer into good college…I always marvel at how colleges expect people to totally have their act together at 17. Crazy.

One question: What’s your financial situation? would you be looking for aid? And would you be transferring in as a junior?

Thank you for the reply! Yes, I’ll be transferring as a junior. As for financial aid, I’m not too sure yet, I guess it’s not much of a priority at the moment as I’ll be glad just to get in!

Thank you so much for your encouragement and advice! Also thank you for letting me know about the college clearinghouse. I’ll be sure to submit every transcript.

Hi Sarah:
Yes. There are plenty of 4-year schools who will look at you seriously because of your demonstrated performance at a community college.

I say that from experience. I got C’s, D’s, and F’s in high school, then goofed off for several years, then returned to a community college, where I too got all 4.0 grades.

When I applied to transfer, some schools looked very highly on my demonstrated community college performance. I ended up getting accepted to a top engineering school.

All the best. Doors will definitely open for you.

@SarahPeach You are getting excellent advice so I won’t repeat any of it here, except to say that those two good years and your recognition of “the errors of your youth” go a long way to opening many academic opportunities for you.

Good luck!

The advice you have already received is spot-on. Let me add a few things.

You should contact the OOS school and ask if they have a form of academic renewal. Another thing to ask them about if they don’t have academic renewal is whether it is possible to do a retroactive withdrawal from your 2nd semester. There was someone who posted here two years back who was able to do this ( ) It is a long-shot, sure, but you’ll never know if you don’t ask.

Another option is to consider repeating the classes you took at the OOS school for which you received a C- or lower.

See the link for the details and limitations.

It took a couple of semesters, but it looks like you got your s*** together and you’re coming back with a vengeance. All you can do is apply and see what happens. a 4.0 gives you a lot of options.

I know someone who started off as a terrible student, then suddenly got their act together and ran a streak of straight A semesters. This extended all the way to their PhD. They ended up as a professor at a university that they never would have gotten accepted to straight out of high school.

I think that universities understand that different students mature at different points. Keep getting great grades and I think that you will end up doing very well.