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Recovering from early failures in high school

  1. Sep 25, 2011 #1
    What can you do after an actual failure in one's freshman year (or almost all of them)? My younger brother had some trouble adjusting to high school and while this isn't the place to get into why, the long story short is that he really butchered his freshman year academically. He's not slow by any means and he's completed a year of his online coursework already since he's homeschooling, and this might be a problem. He's cover material quickly and will be done with almost all of it in a year or two instead of four. Since most online curricula are weak academically, (though he's preparing for the relevant AP exams) he's completely unchallenged. I talked with him about it last night and he wants to do something with his life, academically, but he's not sure what he can do.

    My advice was for him to finish the rest of his online schooling and then apply for the local university; this is not a community college but a sort of step in-between a big state school and a community college. The university is tied in with the state university system and the credits would transfer to much more significant schools (UGA and GT) with no problem. My reasoning is that he can get a degree from one of the more significant schools in whatever he wants to learn and then if he wants to apply to graduate school, he'll be much better off.

    Does anyone have an alternative advice for what he should do? I'm fairly sure the local university will take him, their minimum GPA is like a 2.7 and his GPA is recovering. The online schooling *is* regionally and nationally accredited and was provided by the school district, so he'll meet the coursework requirements to enroll at the university.

    Since he has shown some interest in Biology and Programming and I'm considering getting him some books and showing him the USABO and USACO competitions in the hope that maybe an amazing performance on one of these (or perhaps doing an independent research project) might help to make up for his weaker online/home schooled curriculum. He will be taking AP Biology and AP World at the end of this year, as far as I know.

    Thank you for any and all advice; both he and I are unsure what he should be doing and if anyone has any stories of recovery it would be great to hear them!

    **In case you were wondering, he doesn't want to return to our local high school for personal reasons and I'm not sure that the district will allow him to change schools.
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2011
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 25, 2011 #2
    OK, so your brother sounds A LOT like me. I mean A LOT. I totally sucked in high school. I mean really bad. There was not a semester that went by which did not have me doing last-minute make-up work to get a D in the course. OK so what did I do? My HS GPA was much less than 2.7. What college are you speaking about? I went two years to Georgia Perimeter College and now I am an undergrad at Tech. So, my advice is to go to the college you have in mind and then transfer to Tech (NOT U[sic]GA!!!!), especially if he wants to do programming. He'll get in with no problems. During his time, he will need to maintain a 3.7 GPA (or whatever it is to get the full HOPE) so college is pretty much paid for. Of course, keeping the GPA at Tech is difficult; but I have done it and I work a full-time job and I have only taken math and science classes. In short, your brother is in a much better position than I was and I have done just fine (albeit not with out some difficulties.)

    What's the good word?!?!
  4. Sep 25, 2011 #3
    Well basically, he failed some classes he shouldn't have failed, like actual fail and hence he just flat out restarted. Unless things go exceptionally well, he'll probably apply to like, KSU for a semester or two before transferring to Tech.

    What are you majoring in at Tech?
  5. Sep 25, 2011 #4
    I went to high school in NYC. Brooklyn Technical High School, if anyone has ever heard of it. Supposed to be one of the top schools in the nation or something like that. Was similar to almost every other school I saw though...

    Anyways, I cut every single day. Never went to class. By the time I matured enough to realize that I was wasting my life, I was already a senior. I had the credits of a sophomore. Thing is, it took me a year longer than all of my friends to graduate and even getting A's in all my classes that last year only pushed my GPA up to about a 1.4 or so.

    I am a sophomore in college now. I ended up going to one of the lesser known colleges in the CUNY system (City University of New York) but at the moment I have a 3.9 GPA. Not exactly proud of that because I have only been taking courses I'm interested in like math and physics which is really easy to me so it'll probably be lower when I start taking the general education courses like English and foreign language (my only A- was from English 101)...

    I will be transferring to Ohio State in the winter so hopefully I will have more fun and be more intellectually challenged with the courses there but that's besides the point. All in all, messing up in high school does a lot of damage but isn't impossible to come back from. By the time I graduate from undergrad I will be 2 years behind my peers but if you ask me, I learned from my mistakes in high school and learned to take my coursework seriously. My friends who are juniors in college now on the other hand who are complaining about how they partied too much freshman and sophomore year of their college careers and about their low 2.5 GPAs are only just starting to realize this isn't high school anymore.

    Fight on! Where there's a will there's a way! is the best advice I can give you. Haha.
  6. Sep 25, 2011 #5
    I'd recommend not doing the university thing, and instead doing the community college thing. It's what I did, and I must say that the environment of the community college is the perfect nurturing ground for someone who's been outside of school for a lengthy period of time (I actually dropped out in 6th grade). I did community colleges for two years, and now I'm at UT Austin - and loving every minute of it.

    I'm mostly advising against the local university because the things are so damned expensive. Go to a community college and pay a tenth the price of a university.
  7. Sep 25, 2011 #6
    Math. Are you at Tech?
  8. Sep 25, 2011 #7
    I second that! I didn't pay much attention to high school, barely did any homework. Luckily though I went to a community college, which tends to ease the transition. There would be little problem in transferring from the community college and attending a different university for his bachelors. If he keeps his GPA high in a community college then I don't see why he not.
  9. Sep 25, 2011 #8
    That's a great idea, especially in terms of finances. Elwin or his brother just needs to make sure the credits transfer to the university his brother plans to attend.
  10. Sep 25, 2011 #9
    What does your brother want to do with his life?

    This is an important question. I graduated with a 2.01 GPA, and had plans to do aero engineering at GT. I ended up going to Southern, and some time before I went I decided to do theoretical physics instead. Eventually I decided I wanted to do research and go on to do my Ph.D. That was last year, and this year I've won a grant to continue my research and I'm gonna be on two papers, plus going to two conferences. This is largely because I knew what I wanted to do and really hit it hard with everything I had, and I think this sort of thing can be done much more easily if you have some direction. Also, I decided to stay at GSU because I'm publishing papers, and because classes are easy so I can spend more time on research and self-study (which wouldn't be as easy at GT). I also don't have to worry about my GPA at all, and I'll keep HOPE and it'll look nice for grad school.

    So it depends on what he wants to do really.
  11. Sep 25, 2011 #10
    It'll be practically free due to state scholarship standards being rather low and I'm familiar with the professors there, though it will be up to him what he chooses. I suppose I should let him know that community colleges are there for him though ^^ thanks for the advice, I'll pass it along.

    I'm applying to transfer to UT Austin myself, though :) They told me my application should be fairly strong, so it's one of my safer transfer options x.x' it feels like senior year all over again
  12. Sep 25, 2011 #11
    He's not sure, but I'm hoping his goal is grad school. I can't know though since he doesn't and it will probably take a taste of college before he knows.

    I'm glad what you're doing is working out for you, I kind of wish I'd gone to GSU for the summer myself, but I'm doing an independent study with one of the professors where I'm at, so I'm actually getting an opportunity I wouldn't have had otherwise.

    I will pass on your advice as well, if he decides he wants to do grad school then what you did does sound reasonable. Presently, he's hoping to maybe get an interesting industry job but who knows what will happen by the time he gets there. I'm just trying to help show him that he has options.

    Thanks for your response.
  13. Sep 25, 2011 #12
    I've been checking the OSCAR database (Tech) and most of the places he'd be looking at *would* transfer the freshman curriculum so he will have options if he chooses that route. How much *do* typically CC's cost?
  14. Sep 25, 2011 #13
    Mathematics (KSU). *All* my friends are at Tech but I'm not.

    I messed up my application pretty badly...entirely my fault that I didn't get in. I'm transferring this summer or fall (most likely) and Tech is my fall back, I'm willing to work in school and take on some debt to go out of state so I'm applying to some other schools, but that doesn't matter much.
  15. Sep 26, 2011 #14
    The summer right after I graduated H.S. I took some classes at Georgia Perimeter College. The tuition was around 1200 dollars, and I stayed at home with my parents and just drove. I did this because I wanted to get on the HOPE scholarship as soon as I possibly could (you can get on after 30 hours if you meet GPA requirements). If I had HOPE, it would've all been free. I'd imagine during a normal semester it shouldn't be more than 1500, but you can check it out here:

    http://www.gpc.edu/~finaid/tuitionandfees.htm [Broken]

    As you can see, it depends really on how many hours you're taking. Anyway, it's a fantastic way to get rid of all the stupid classes like Gen. Eds, calculus sequences, intro physics, stuff like that. Once you need to hit up stuff like Modern Physics and Classical Mechanics, that's when you should transfer to a university. If you're competent, at this point you'd have something around a 4.0, and you will have received HOPE, which means your payment for university will be even less. Don't underestimate the difficulty of keeping HOPE at university though, I hear tons of students at GT lose HOPE every semester. This is something to consider....
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
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