You’ve probably gotten this sad question from many students before, hahaha, but anyway, I pretty much bombed first year, due to my own stupid, stupid, procrastination. I probably won’t fail any courses, but my estimate of my GPA this year is 2.8 (and that’s being optimistic). Well, now I’ve learned my lesson. Even if I were to get a 4.0 in every single course for the next three years, which is nearly impossible, I’d end up with a 3.7, which isn’t high enough for my ridiculously ambitious goals. So, before I kiss those crazy dreams goodbye, is there any way I can just… completely redo first year and have this attempt forgotten? Even measures as drastic as changing to a different school in another country. Or do I just have to suck it up and take as many extra courses as possible to average it out?
Transferring to a different school will, in some cases (not all!!), reset your GPA. What this means is that they may accept transfer credits from your old University, but they won’t use the marks you received in their calculation of your GPA. So while it’s a drastic idea, it might not be so terrible (in theory). But you’ll have to deal with a whole slew of issues again: adjusting to a new environment, making new friends, having to take new courses to make up for the credits you’ve lost, and so on. Also, if you’re a Canadian student, you’d have to pay fees for international students in other countries and international tuition is EXPENSIVE. And what if you don’t do well in your first year at the new University? Are you going to transfer to yet another University?
Moreover, your academic past isn’t really something you can escape. Even if you transfer, your new University will still have access to your old transcript, and you might have to submit both transcripts when you apply for grad school or med school or whatever. Unfortunately, there’s no way to redo first year, though transferring might in some ways allow you to turn over a new leaf. I think the question of what to do really depends what you mean by ‘ridiculously ambitious goals?.’ For instance, if you’re planning to go to grad school, transferring may not be worth your time and energy because many grad schools only look at your 3rd and 4th year marks. Other programs, like Medicine at UofT, drop your lowest first-year, second-year mark, third-year, and fourth-year marks in their GPA calculations.
Furthermore, there’s still a lot of time for you to fix things. One of my closest friends did really poorly on his first year (he had a GPA lower than yours), but he’s picked himself up and is now getting A’s and B’s. Another one of my friends failed two of her classes in chemistry, but switched to biology and is now attaining excellent marks. And it’s not like my two friends don’t have ambitious goals of their own. If by ‘ridiculously ambitious goals’ you mean places like law school, Harvard, Yale *ahem* the places where boring and pretentious people go *ahem* I’ve heard a lot of people who went to grad school and got a good GPA, and ended up going into law after that. So you don’t necessarily have to kiss your dream goodbye. However, that’s a long way down the road, and there’s a lot of time for you to see the light and reject the idea that Harvard is WHERE EVERY STUDENT SHOULD GO, or that you MUST MUST MUST MUST, UNDER ANY AND ALL CIRCUMSTANCES become a doctor.
Whether transferring is worth it or not – that’s something you’ll have to decide yourself. But personally, I’d rather see students attending a school they like and studying something they’re passionate about than taking drastic measures to get a higher GPA. It’s great that you have ambitious goals, but sometimes you also have to take a step back and think about how realistic they will be. The bottom line is: do your best, and be happy with what you can attain.