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I got nothing higher than a D. Can I return to college?

QUESTION: After I graduated from high school, I joined the Navy for three years. When I got out two years ago, I attended college in my hometown for one year hoping to transfer to Ohio State. However, everything that could possibly go wrong did. I got an A in one class; nothing else was higher than a D. I have no idea what I did wrong. To make an absolutely tragic and long story short, I've recently been playing with the thought of returning to college, but I doubt even a community college would accept me! Do I have a chance applying to a school with such a dismal academic record? - Hopefully Back to School

Dear Hopefully Back to School: Even though you haven’t been in school recently, it sounds like you’ve learned a lot about maturity and commitment to academics. We encourage you to apply to community college. The only requirement for many community colleges is a high school diploma, which you have. If you encounter a college that takes into account the grades you received, write a letter briefly explaining a couple of the reasons for your less than perfect grades and describing what you have learned since from your experience in the Navy and during the past two years. Outline reasons why you are now more equipped for the rigors of college and what you hope to accomplish with your degree. This time around, develop a plan for studying, and don’t be afraid to seek help from advisors, professors, or other students. Good luck!

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Gen & Kelly Tanabe

Gen and Kelly Tanabe are the founders of SuperCollege and the award-winning authors of 11 books on college admission, financial aid and scholarships. Together they were accepted to all of the Ivy League colleges and won more than $100,000 in merit-based scholarships to graduate from Harvard debt-free.