Today, the college admissions process is more competitive than ever before. Because of this, you may wonder – will your middle school grades count when you apply to college? Will the “C” you made in seventh-grade science keep you from getting into the school you want to attend?

Keep reading to know the answer to this question and find out what grades colleges are most interested in. It’s also a good idea to work hard throughout your formative years, which will help ensure you are prepared for your time in college

Related: Do High School Grades Matter? Your GPA and Other Metrics

Do Colleges Look at Your Grades from Middle School?

young middle school student holding a notepad

The short answer to this question is a simple “no.”

The longer answer is that no college, no matter how prestigious or competitive, will look back to see your grades from middle school

There are a few reasons colleges don’t look at grades from middle school. When you get ready to apply to college, your middle school years are several years in the past. Because of this, the grades you made four to five years ago have no bearing on the type of student you are now

While a college could look at these grades and see the D you received when you were 13, it doesn’t tell them how you perform now that you are 17 or 18. Your high school years provide you with time to improve and make better grades, which colleges are interested in. Colleges don’t see the point in penalizing you for grades you earned when you were a pre-teen. They happened too long ago to be useful. 

Another reason colleges don’t consider middle school grades is that many grades are more subjective than what you earn in high school at this point in life. For example, the grading scale used by one middle school may be extremely different than the one used by another. Also, some teachers will give everyone an “A” for trying in middle school, while other teachers are stricter. This subjective grading doesn’t provide tangible information colleges can use to determine how you will perform when enrolled in their higher education courses

Additionally, colleges have access to other, better information to determine the type of student you are. Because of this, they don’t need information from middle school

Some of the information colleges will use to determine if you are admitted or not includes your:

This information provides enough for the college admissions board to see the type of student you are. Looking at your middle school grades would not provide any type of useful information

Related: The Best Extracurricular Activities for Middle School Kids

Are you ready to propel your life and school success? If so, contact us to learn more about our entrepreneurship opportunities for teens. 

When do Do Grades start to Count?

Colleges will start looking at grades from your first year of high school. When you apply to a college, you will submit your high school transcript, including your grades and GPA from your initial three years in high school. Usually, colleges will request your fourth year, too, but you can use grades from your initial three years to determine if you will be admitted. The most important grades are the ones you make in year three (when you are a junior) because these are the most recent and give a good picture of your type of student. 

Because of this, you must develop good study habits and learn how to master your time management skills while you are still in middle school. This will prepare you to handle the more challenging high school classes and make sure you get good grades. 

How Can You Start Preparing for College in Middle School?

While colleges aren’t going to look at or consider your grades from middle school, there are several things you can do during this part of your education to prepare for college. You don’t have to think about college this early; however, if you are motivated, you can take steps to ensure you are ready to apply for college when the time comes. 

  • Put in the effort to get the best grades possible
  • Think about the subjects that you enjoy 
  • Take part in different extracurricular activities

Starting an activity in middle school and sticking with it lets colleges see that you are committed to it. Also, when you participate during middle school, you may earn a leadership position when you get into high school

What Exactly Are Colleges Looking For?

two students sitting down and reading on a college campus

While colleges aren’t going to look at your grades from middle school, they will evaluate your academic skills, which you start developing at this time. For example, in middle school, you learn how to be an independent, critical thinker

Most middle-school courses involve tests, long-term projects, and other activities that require you to manage your time. When you plan and prioritize at this point in life, it will teach you the skills needed to do this in high school and college. Another skill you develop in middle school is organization. Combined, these are skills that will help you get better grades when you go into high school and ensure you are prepared for the challenge of college

Colleges will also look for individuals who are passionate about their academic careers and excited about school and college. The earlier you can identify your passion and strengths in school, the more time you have to build and develop them. When you get to college, you will know what career path you want to pursue

Final Thoughts 

For most students, middle school is a challenging time with changes, self-awareness, and maturity. It’s also a time when peer pressure is high, and a focus for many is fitting in. However, for students who are serious and focus on doing well, their time in middle school can help prepare them for high school and college

Related: Why High School Students Need a Growth Mindset 

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