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Do I really have a chance if I'm a B student?

QUESTION: I'm a B student and I wonder if there's any hope for me. I know that the really selective colleges are not in my future, but can I still get a good education? Signed, Hoping

Dear Hoping: Colleges love B students. You know the ones I mean: the ones who worked hard in school but had an overall GPA of 3.1 or 3.3. These are the students who might have made straight A’s in one area (English/History) and struggled to make a C in others (math/science—or vice versa.) These are the students who went to school every day—as well as to work or to help out at home. These are the students who did well in class, but bombed most of the big tests—or the other way around. These are frequently the students who care enough about education to go the extra mile to get into college. In other words, these are often the students who are determined, responsible and mature. Sounds just like the perfect college student, doesn’t it?

While most colleges and universities admittedly have no problem admitting straight A students who aced the standardized tests, they don’t want to fill their schools with them. They want diversity on their campuses. They want students who are willing to work hard for what they want and have the curiosity and enthusiasm to do so.

If your educational numbers are not where you wish they were, don’t give in to the myth that college is not an option. It is utterly false—and what a wasted opportunity for you and the colleges out there! Instead, you simply need to put some extra effort in finding who is out there and what they have to offer. Be willing to look outside the educational box and consider:

  • Very small colleges

  • Community colleges

  • All men/all women’s colleges

  • Career-oriented colleges

  • Colleges that do not use national testing scores in admissions

All of these tend to be much more open to students who may not have the highest scores but do have a true interest and desire for a college education. Many colleges also offer the incoming B student a number of ways to raise scores quickly, including tutoring services, support groups, one-on-one counseling, small class sizes and first year “College 101” orientation classes.


Tamra B. Orr
Tamra B. Orr is the author of Ace the SAT Writing Even If You Hate to Write and America’s Best Colleges for B Students.

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