Do Colleges Look at Middle School Grades?

February 9, 2024

do colleges look at middle school grades

When preparing your college applications, you might consider how much information to include. For example, it might concern you how much colleges need to know about your past academic history. Do colleges look at middle school grades, and do middle school grades matter on your college applications?

In this article, we will determine how important your middle school grades are in the college application process. Additionally, we will discuss how middle school students can start preparing for college and the good habits they can develop early on to help ensure future academic success.

Do middle school grades affect college applications?

Furthermore, you might also wonder, why do colleges look at middle school grades? Do they even look at them at all?

In short, colleges do not consider your middle school grades during the admissions process.

Between middle school and high school, students change a lot—both personally and academically. It is also true that a student’s work ethic can change as they mature, as well. If a college were to look at your grades from middle school, it probably wouldn’t offer a reliable indicator of your current academic aptitude.

Sometimes, the transition into middle school can take some adjusting. Therefore, the grades you earn in middle school are probably not a reliable metric anymore. Too much time has passed between your first year of middle school to your senior year of high school for these grades to feel significant on a college application.

So, do colleges look at middle school grades? No, they do not consider these grades in your admissions process.

How important are middle school grades?

However, that is not to say your middle school grades are unimportant. In fact, students can start to develop a lot of good habits in middle school that can follow them through their high school careers.

These good habits can eventually come to improve a student’s later academic performance and set them up for future success. So, how do middle school grades matter in your later academic career?

In fact, they can matter quite a bit! Establishing a foundation of academic excellence can begin in middle school. For example, students can learn how to use good time management strategies to organize their workload. Middle school is the time when students may encounter more challenging assignments. These organizational strategies will prove to be helpful in high school when a student may take more challenging classes.

Additionally, middle school students are able to take a wider variety of classes. These classes might expose students to subjects that will come to interest them later in high school. Plus, students might start to realize their academic strengths at this stage and consider what is important to them. Sometimes, the experiences you have in middle school affect the path you take in high school.

Do Colleges Look at Middle School Grades? (Continued)

But, you might wonder, do colleges look at middle school grades as an indicator of high school success? The answer is no. The grades that you earn in high school stand alone as a representation of your academic capabilities.

As well, middle school is the time when students have more opportunities to explore their interests through school clubs. Social development in middle school cannot be understated. Joining a student organization in middle school can encourage you to branch out in high school and explore even more of your interests. Plus, students usually start to develop their own personal hobbies in middle school that can shape them both academically and socially.

So, while you might consider do middle school grades matter as you transition to high school, you can be assured that universities do not consider middle school GPA. Even though colleges do not consider middle school grades, it is important not to discredit your middle school academics. Overall, they do contribute to your high school experience.

How can students prepare for college applications in middle school?

It might be early in your educational career to consider preparing for college in middle school. However, as we have established, middle school is the time when students start to better understand their academic aptitude and personal interests.

So, what can students do in middle school to help themselves be better prepared for their future academic careers?

1) Practice Good Study Habits

Throughout middle school, students are required to take many exams and quizzes. These tests will require students to be thoroughly prepared. To develop good study habits, students should learn how and where to study with minimal distractions. Additionally, students should learn their own limits at this time and make sure to schedule necessary breaks. Students can also learn if studying with a group or by themselves works better for their needs.

So, while you wonder do colleges look at middle school grades on your college applications, these grades ultimately will not influence the decision. However, the study habits students develop at this stage can later influence their high school GPA.

2) Learn to Identify Interests

Middle school offers a large selection of organizations for students. For example, students can work on creating the yearbook, join a sport, or learn to play an instrument. Some of these clubs and organizations may be new offerings for students. And, students should have fun trying out new things!

By joining a variety of extracurriculars, students can figure out what most interests them. Learning to identify your interests is important because these interests may eventually influence a college major or career path.

Through extracurriculars, students can also begin to understand how to demonstrate responsibility and reliability. Practices and after-school meetings require consistent dedication. These are good qualities to carry over to high school and beyond.

3) Aim for Good Grades

While we have answered the question, do colleges look at middle school grades, it is still important for students to do their best in middle school. Why do middle school grades matter so much in this case?

How a student performs in middle school can dictate if their counselors believe they will make a good fit for an AP class in high school. Colleges will look at a student’s courseload in high school and consider the level of difficulty of their classes.

So, if you are aiming for AP and honors classes in high school, middle school grades could influence your eligibility for these courses.

If you are wondering how do middle school grades matter in your college applications, then you should be aware that they do not impact a college’s decision.

4) Research Colleges

If a student has particular schools in mind they would like to aim for, it’s not a bad idea to research these institutions. Learning more about a target school can help students better understand what those schools expect of them. Then, students will know what kind of test scores and “good” GPA they should ultimately try for in high school. Plus, prospective students will know what an admissions board looks for.

As well, you might be aiming for a highly-selective college. In this case, you can be better prepared for these challenging requirements when the time comes to finally apply.

5) Consider the Benefits of Private v. Public High School

Ultimately, every student’s strengths are different. While private high schools may stand out on college applications because of their rigorous academic requirements, it may not be the right fit for every student. If you are considering a private high school, in this case, the question do middle school grades matter may become more relevant.

Private high schools often are associated with more prestige and a rigorous courseload. The name recognition of a private institution could ultimately bolster a college application. However, there are other factors to consider, such as cost of tuition.

Even if you do not ultimately attend a private high school, you should not have to worry about whether colleges look at middle school grades. Whether you attend a public or private high school, a college will not look at your middle school transcript.

When do middle school grades matter?

Middle school grades are still significant, despite not being recorded on a high school transcript. Overall, how a student performs in middle school can be an indicator of how well they do in high school. As we have established, high school classes will be accounted for in your college applications. Showcasing your ability to maintain a satisfactory GPA in AP classes will be a big boost to your college application.

However, now we know that do colleges look at middle school grades should not be a question that stresses you out too much. Colleges will not look at your middle school records when requiting and admitting students.

If you’re wondering what an admissions committee will look for, you should consider the following:

  • High School GPA
  • Difficulty of Classes
  • Variety and Number of Extracurriculars
  • Volunteering Experience
  • Letters of Recommendation
  • Common App and Supplemental Essays
  • Test Scores (ACT or SAT)

The above factors will ultimately be more important than your middle school grades. These materials are more up-to-date and better reflect your current academic capabilities.

Overall, your middle school grades are most important during those years in junior high, as they can affect your high school course schedule. As well, your middle school grades can potentially be an indicator for future high school success.

Ultimately, middle school establishes the foundation for a student’s academic career. Using these years to prepare for college will help students become high-achieving and hopefully enroll in their dream institutions.

Do Middle School Grades Matter? – Additional Resources

You may also find these blogs to be of interest: