How can I earn scholarships and get accepted to college after academic struggles?

I’m Savannah and I'm a junior in high school. It is now towards the end of the year, and I've been thinking about applying for scholarships and looking into colleges. I’m extremely worried about my 3.4 GPA.

Throughout my high school years, I've been dealing with dysthymia, (now called persistent depressive disorder). I’ve heard of people getting a “pass” because their parents got a divorce and they were upset about it, but i didn’t have any particular event that upset me- i was just persistently depressed and sometimes it interfered with my motivation to accomplish my work; however, it did not interfere to a point where i let others notice (also heard in order to get a “pass” on an extremely low GPA like mine you must have your letters of recommendation mention your circumstance).

By the time i graduate this time next year i will have taken 6 AP courses. I am very bad at math, but i have attempted some “advanced” math classes, failing each time. I tried to take Alg II/ Trig this year, and by mid-year struggling to get by with a C I dropped it and am now taking plain Algebra II. Also took Technical Drawing in freshman year, without knowing how to use a ruler, and also barely got by with a C.

I am, however, president of Key Club and have over 150 hours of community service. I also scored a 1170 on the new SAT that i took this past march, which converts into a 1760 on the old scale. I’m not sure where I want to go yet, but i need to get scholarships. What can i do in order to improve my chances for a good college and good scholarships? (Please don't just tell me not to worry, that doesn't seem to help unless reasons are stated why i shouldn't worry!)

You'll undoubtedly be accepted to a number of schools based on your statistics. Both your GPA and your SAT score are well above average! However, I understand your worries about your struggles with math and academic motivation in general. If you're planning on applying to selective colleges, you may have to compete with other students with more impressive academic achievements.

To address your concerns about your GPA, I'd recommend reading this article on how to apply to college with a low GPA. Your GPA is by no means low according to universal standards, but the advice applies to anyone who has a GPA that's below average for the schools where they plan on applying. There are a few helpful tips on what you can do to improve your chances even if you don't have time to raise your GPA any higher. These include emphasizing extracurricular achievements, improving test scores (you still have time to retake the SAT if you want!), and writing an awesome essay.

If you've been officially diagnosed with depression, and it has affected your performance, ask your guidance counselor to mention this in his or her recommendation letter. You could also write about it in the additional information section of your application. Depression is a real illness, and part of what makes it so sinister is that it can affect you whether or not there is anything outwardly traumatic going on in your personal life. There doesn't need to be a reason (i.e. divorcing parents) behind it to make it valid.

From what you've written here, it seems like you might want to apply for some community service-based scholarships. You have more community service experience than most students, and that's something you can use to make yourself stand out. Here's a complete list of community service scholarships that are available for high schoolers including info on how to find and apply for them. Since you're president of Key Club, you might look into some of the scholarships under the "leadership" category. You should also check out this list of the top scholarships for high school seniors.