What should I do?

I am a current high school senior looking for advice. Throughout my life I have struggled with ADHD. For the first two years of high school, I went to a highly rated public school and got mediocre grades(~3.1 UW GPA). But this was due to me not being engaged due to large class sizes and just generally being bored of school. So for junior year I transferred to a private school. It did not go at all as I had planned and a got atrocious grades. So bad that I wasn’t invited back this year. But last year was a wake up call, and this year I am putting in maximum effort to get straight A’s. But I know that even if I do exceptionally well this year, my college options will be quite limited. I did alright on the SAT, getting a 1380, without studying though so I think next time I will get at least a 1500. I also have very good ECs. Some ideas that I have to increase my options is to take a postgrad year at a boarding school(if I can get in), maybe work for my father’s company in real estate for a year and apply for college a year late, or I could go to a local school, like Towson or UMD, then transfer after a year to a target school for my intended career of investment banking. Additionally, I will list my ECs below:

  • Founder and president, High School Investing Club
  • President and numerous other leadership roles of a religious youth group
  • Varsity Lacrosse
  • Probably some other stuff that I can’t think of off the top of my head.

Thank you for reading. Any help will be greatly appreciated!

If you earned a 1380 on the SAT, you should not have any difficulty in being admitted for a PG year at an elite boarding school.

If you work for a year in your father’s real estate company, you should enhance your application to university business schools. If appropriate, obtaining a real estate agent’s license would be a great learning opportunity.

Why were your grades much lower at the private school than at the highly rated public school ?

So, you have a 3.1 in the first 2 years, and something (much?) lower in year 3. I think that you first have to show some results. I don’t see what a PG year gets you over a year or two at community college. I don’t think that UMD is your next year plan if last year you were asked to not return because of grades.

With all due respect, I have no interest in community college.

Thank you for the response! My grades were much lower primarily due to anxiety, struggling to adjust to a new environment , and virtual learning. But it was also due to me thinking I didn’t need to work hard because I am smart, which I learned my lesson from. Also, do you think that if I am going for PG, I should retake SAT?

Why not find a college where you can fit? I assume, as bad as you say you did Junior year, that you’re still on pace to graduate? I agree, unless you’re not going to graduate, that a post-grad year isn’t going to add much and I do agree community college might be the answer. As you said, you’re not desiring that.

Do you have cost or geographic restrictions? If not, there are public and private colleges out there for you to get into.

Towson is a 3.68 average GPA - so I don’t think you’re a shoe in.

How about Frostburg or a school like Radford in Virginia. Or for a private like Hood College.

But here’s the question - what has changed that you can do well this year and do well in college? Is a large school like Towson going to work for you? Or would you be better with tiny schools.

Are you ok away from home or does that add to the stress?

You say you were bored due to large class sizes - so why pursue large schools?

Do you have medication or counseling to help you get through these challenges?

I think you have to think long and hard about where you go to. It does seem based on what you wrote that a large school and large classes will ultimately put you in a difficult position going forward.

But you definitely need to look at appropriate schools - Towson is not a safety and it seems it would be off anyway.

Maybe something like Washington College…somewhere tiny.

Good luck.

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I forgot to add that a postgrad year might help me get an offer for lacrosse. Cost and location are also not constraints. I would also rather be away from home as my demanding and critical mother is something that adds a lot of stress. Additionally, all my life I have been a protege. I have always been the smartest in my class and I was always expected a lot from. Going to community college or a school like Radford would be a massive shot to my self esteem that I don’t think I could recover from. Sorry if that sounded egotistical or anything but that is how I feel. I need anything that could get me into a prestigious school. Hopefully, getting into an elite school for PG will do that.

The issue is that your GPA doesn’t square with this.

Going for a PG year maybe worth a try, especially if you can achieve a 4.0 that year and pursue lacrosse recruitment. Be aware that although athletes can often gain acceptance with a slightly lower GPA, it’s by no means guaranteed. Have you engaged in any lacrosse recruitment to date? Spoken with coaches?

I second the suggestion that you consider smaller to mid-sized schools instead of large universities given your struggles in your larger HS classes.

Good luck with your decision!

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My response to this is - you’re not elite. Sorry. You’re not going to be elite. Sorry. You’re not even average student wise - it is what it is. If school bores you, do you really want to go to a post grad year? Now if you think lacrosse is a ticket for you, why wouldn’t it already be? Meaning why haven’t you been recruited to this point?

Also - elite is elite because you drank the Kool Aid, falling for marketing There are kids who can get into the top schools at the Radfords and Frostburgs. They go for money, location - whatever it is. Yes, on average, they’re not Harvard kids, but they have super smart kids.

I got news for you - you will make your success. If you work hard, you will be successful in life.

There will be millionaires from the Radfords of the world and failures from Harvard.

I mentioned Radford - but you’d be better at a Washington College or similar because you need small. If the name Radford doesn’t work for you, how bout Ole Miss…you might get in with a 2.5 and it’s a great name. Or there’s others.

You are looking at the wrong thing.

If you want an education, get an education and be glad for the opportunity. It’s what you make of it, not where you attend.

Or work for your dad - if school bores you, you can see - does work excite you. You know Bill Gates, Michael Dell - no degree.

Good luck.

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A PG year at an elite prep boarding school could benefit you & your immediate future in a very significant manner academically,athletically,and with respect to personal self esteem.

I do understand the need to get out of one’s current home environment. I suspect that such a change will have a very positive effect in your life & with respect to your self esteem.

Yes, I think that you should retake the SAT after preparing for the exam in an effort to improve your score. Nevertheless, there are plenty of colleges for which your current score of 1380 is more than adequate. Your current SAT score should be sufficient for almost all prep boarding schools.

You might get motivation from researching boarding prep schools which offer a PG year and have a solid lacrosse program. See if Mercersburg Academy in Pennsylvania or the Lawrenceville School in New Jersey are of interest to you. The Peddie School in New Jersey is also worth investigating. New England based prep schools should also be considered for a PG year and lacrosse.

I do not know much about lacrosse other than it is very popular in the New England states. The Kent School in Connecticut should be considered. Maybe the Hill School in Pennsylvania, although Kent, Lawrenceville, Peddie, & Mercersburg Academy are more attractive, in my opinion.

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You cannot get into an elite university with a 2.4-2.6 HS GPA, even with a good PG year and lacrosse.
Universities will want proof that you’re as smart as you think you are AND that you’ve acquired the study skills and time management skills necessary not to fail out.
A trap of ADHD is that you know you’re smart but you dont take into account the years of skill building you’re missing. ADHD kids honestly think they can get straight As if they put their mind to it and “work hard” and get totally discouraged because that doesn’t pan out (due to the aforementioned missing years of skill-building).
You need to face the fact you’ll likely graduate with a sub-3.0 GPA.
The PG year will help to a certain extent as will lacrosse but neither is a magic bullet: unless you’re currently recruited for D1 lacrosse you’re aiming for D3 and grades will matter. If you get into a decent BS for PG and get 3 As and 3 Bs (what is reasonably hopeful, not wishful thinking like “straight As”) you can include colleges like Hobart&William Smith, Transylvania, perhaps Centre as a reach, on your list.
Other colleges for you to consider (assuming a successful PG year and continued Lacrosse performance) would include Ohio Wesleyan, John Carroll, Ithaca, Suny Geneseo, Suny Cortland, CNU, Albion.
If PG Lacrosse is stellar you might have a shot at Loyola MD, but you’d already know if you’re at that athletic skill level.
Get onto the Mailing list/request info for these – do not dismiss them off the bat but do look into them carefully.
Your PG counseling team will then add a couple reaches (such as Centre, Rhodes, Dickinson, or UDenver) depending on your academic and athletic results there.

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While I think that you have given a very helpful response, I cannot find where OP wrote about attending an “elite” college.

My understanding is that OP wants better options for college than his current situation would indicate.

I think that OP has a realistic understanding of his situation & of his potential. OP wants an opportunity to improve both athletically & academically to enhance his options for college. This is precisely what PG years are designed to do. OP realizes that he needs a change of environment & that he is not yet ready for college.

Your SAT score is very good but will likely not be enough to balance out your lower GPA. I was going to suggest some schools that lacrosse players in my area attend with lower SAT scores and slightly higher grades (Seton Hill in PA and Hartwick in NY). However, when you add in the competitive nature of IB, they probably lack the reputation to help you break in.

You are in a tough spot because you likely are more capable than your grades show but they are still going to limit your possibilities. I understand your resistance to community college but sometimes reality dictates the path. Perhaps a PG year helps so here’s to hoping you are successful at turning things around this year.

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I agree that OP has accurately evaluated his need for one extra year and where to best achieve that.
I based “elite college” on the stated

Blockquote
I could go to a local school, like Towson or UMD, then transfer after a year to a target school for my intended career of investment banking.

IB targets are all elite.
In addition, OP is getting 2 things wrong: that he’ll be able to transfer to “targets” after a year (his HS record will make that impossible but even in the best of cases transfering to universities considered “targets” is very unlikely due to the excellent retention numbers creating few transfer spots) and that he’ll get into UMD (out of reach) or Towson (high match to low reach depending on major, honors college highly unlikely which is what OP would need).
@publisher: I figure you know the above but OP probably doesn’t realize it yet. The realization may be difficult or feel violent. I’m trying to balance gentleness and efficiency (The BS guidance office will help but the faster OP understands his actual options the better he can make his choice of BS.)

A good strategy (assuming a good PG year) would be to target a small, supportive college, from Ohio Wesleyan to Roanoke to Hobart&WS and Centre in range, making sure they have good support for ADHD, then sophomore year trying to transfer to Vanderbilt which, provided good grades (probably harder to get at schools like Centre), a legitimate reason (easier to find when attending a small college), and being full pay, is at least a possible path, with the alternate path of transferring to Baruch (honors), Pace, or Fordham Lincoln after 2 years in a more supportive environment, or staying at current college (Hobart, Centre, Ohio Wesleyan, Roanoke, etc) and aiming for an MBA that’ll be a target.

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You might look at UNC-Charlotte. I think they have a pretty good business/finance dept and Charlotte is a banking/financial city. No Wall Street, of course, but you could definitely make connections and get good placement opportunities.

What is your current overall GPA? Sorry if I missed it up thread.

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If you want a better high school record and want to be recruited for lax, a PG year could be a great option for you. It sounds like you want a year to re-set. You could also work on “how to learn”. You’re not alone as a smart kid who hit a wall.

I think it’d be smart to find a school where you can really thrive. There are lots of PG programs at BS. Canterbury might be worth a look. Great for athletes.

Realistically, unless you are a top lax player now and a coach is asking you to do a PG year so you’ll be academically admissible or a bit bigger and stronger, the PG year is unlikely to transform you into an Ivy recruit, but it sounds like you understand that.

Do work hard this year and plan to do the recruiting thing this spring.

And congratulations on taking the wheel on your turnaround!

Do you really think that another private school would be willing to take a chance on the OP after being asked by a different school to not return for academic reasons? I get it if it was truly for athletic reasons (the IMG’s of the world). Then there is the issue of cost. The OP’s parents would have to be willing/able to pay for the PG year. Do boarding schools offer FA for PG years?

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OP indicated cost is of no concern to his family (extremely lucky kid).
Some Boarding school may be willing to take a chance on OP, because he’ll be full pay and has the excuse of covid (online learning really has been a nightmare for AHDH students, even more so than for regular students). After all, PG years mostly are for kids in OP’s situation - academic potential+underachievement at the secondary school level (with or without athletic potential). Bridgton, Avon Old Farms, specialize in such profiles. I bet Calverton, in MD, would gladly admit him, too.
(I personally like Gould, in Maine, because it manages academic challenge with support well and they have a very competitive lacrosse team for recruitable players, but I don’t know how they’d evaluate his 11th grade results.)
The “dismissal level” achievement at the 11th grade school will limit his choices but with a careful list OP is likely to find a PG year that matches his needs.

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@tsbna44 you can sound very harsh! I think it’s important to remember we are talking to teenagers on this forum.

OP, as the parent of 2 ADHD kids, I would urge you to get tutoring that focuses on giving you the tools to use in dealing with your adhd and academics. A common profile is the very bright kid with adhd.

If you take a PG year, you would have a year and a half of grades, which could give you more options. Many boarding schools have good tutoring, but I’ve also found an adhd coaching group I am really impressed with (they work virtually). I’m happy to share their info via PM if anyone’s interested.

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It was not my intent - and I did re-read before I hit send. I also try to be realistic.

I understand these are teenagers. There’s two things with that. 1) Teenagers have dreams and that’s awesome. We all should. But 2) Teenagers are also not realistic - and as we see on the CC, many are striving for places that just aren’t possible.

All I’m trying to say is:

  1. If school hasn’t worked out - then why? Perhaps a smaller college (and one that has the support services to help the OP).

  2. The OP has continually stated many colleges are beneath him - so he’s not going to be interested in what he doesn’t feel is a great brand name - which are the schools myself and others have listed (Radford, Hartwick, etc.) I actually believe and I don’t know which they are but there are colleges to work with this type student.

  3. I questioned whether a year of work (he mentioned his dad but today you can work anywhere as jobs are plentiful) - I questioned whether this would help rather than school where he’s bored. This happened to my nephew. He did not even get his HS diploma - passed his classes but not his state mandated tests. He was at an alternative HS. He worked for four or five years, bouncing around. A few years in, took some online classes at community college - he had anxiety. It took years but he finally started taking recommended meds - and starting going in person. With his maturity, he was able to take classes. Graduated with an accounting degree from UNLV at 27. And accounting isn’t easy. Sometimes it just takes maturity. UNLV might not be a great name yet UNLV accounting grads get jobs - so again - getting the degree means something regardless of where.

  4. I questioned lacrosse which the OP brought up - we all have seen many athletes (basketball) do stints at places like the Oak Hill Academy. They were recruits that academically weren’t good enough. If the OP is a known commodity, coaches would be directing his future.

I applaud the OP for asking the question but I also stated that he’s not “elite” school material as others have. But I also tried to make the case that “elite” is a, in many ways, manufactured mindset. He can go to name your school and be extremely successful in life just like he could go to Harvard and Yale and not be.

I certainly wasn’t trying to demean - but the OP needs to look at his situation with realism. If a post grad year helps and he can afford it - i.e. his parents are willing to help - then it’s great. I don’t think it will get him into the level of college he wants and if he doesn’t like school, etc.

I think the first step honestly is working with counselors/doctors to figure out - how to get past this anxiety. He had a 3.1 his first two years and wasn’t a good fit his 3rd year. He’s putting in max effort now. However, from a learning/interest/focus/boredom point of view, what will change - or rather how can he change it?

Not meant to be harsh - it’s great he’s thinking about his future.

Just trying to put that future into realistic perspective. I think one has to address the core issues that caused the situation rather than simply step forward - if the future path is more schooling.

Thanks

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