Archive for the “Grades” Category


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Q: “My first two years of high school were not so good, I got B’s and C’s but my junior year I got all A’s and I plan to do the same next year. Will my first two years of high school drastically affect my going to a really good college?”

–Genesis, 17, Houson, TX

A: First off, you deserve some props for working so hard junior year, and if you keep up that trend it’s definitely going to make a difference in your college applications come senior year. So just how big of a difference will it make? Well, it’s true that colleges take into account grades from all four years of high school, but junior and senior year tend to carry the most weight since more often than not the toughest classes are taken during this time. Plus they reflect your most recent work ethic which, let’s be honest, may have gotten a little more serious since 9th grade health.

As far as getting into a really good college goes, it all depends on your definition of really good. If you’re talking Harvard, well, your earlier grades may make admission a bit of stretch, but there are plenty of great schools that admit students with less than perfect GPAs. You just want to have realistic expectations, so when you’re making a college list check out the stats for the previous year’s admitted class at every school where you’re thinking of applying. You can typically find these on a school’s admission website, and it’ll have loads of info like the average SAT scores and GPAs of admitted students. Once you’re armed with that information you’ll know if a particular school is a reach, a good match, or a safety, and that can help you make a decision about whether or not to apply. Sounds like you’re on the right path, so keep up the good work!

As first seen on Seventeen’s College Q&A.

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Q: I just finished my freshman year of high school and it didn’t go well. I got bad grades and even failed a class. I took summer school and I’m back on track, but I’m scared I won’t be able to get into a good college. People keep giving me mixed answers. Can I get into a good college, and if so, how?
–Sam, 15, Maplewood, MN

A: First of all, it’s great that you recognized your downward trend and worked hard to get yourself back on track. Be encouraged that colleges do recognize improvement in grades over the course of your high school career, and since there are over 3,500 schools in the country rest assured that you will find several good schools to meet your educational needs. Over the next three years, you will need to make sure that you continue to work hard and do well in your classes. Sit down with your high school guidance counselor during your junior year and let them know you are serious about going to college. At that point, he or she can review your transcript, discuss your interests, and suggest a list of schools that you should research further. Also, take time to reflect on what contributed to your lower grades. Were your classes too challenging? Did you over-commit yourself to activities? Were you just plain lazy? Being honest about the factors that played a role in your academic performance will help you make the necessary lifestyle changes to keep you on track for the remainder of high school.

First published on Seventeen’s College Q&A.

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