Preparing for College

Do Midterm and Exam Grades Go on High School Transcripts?

Question: I will be applying to college next year and was wondering if midterms and final test marks appear on high school transcripts or is it only the final grades?

This depends entirely on where you go to high school. Some schools put only final grades on transcripts. Most put all the quarterly and semester grades, too. Many also include exam results and even standardized test scores. (So if you're applying to test-optional colleges, beware!)

College admission officials are most interested in the final grade in each class, but they also look at patterns (e.g., Did lousy midterm scores torpedo a semester grade? Did the applicant go down in all your classes in the third marking period? Was there an illness or family problem than may have contributed? )

So ask your guidance counselor how this information will be presented to colleges. Also take a look at the “School Profile” (often available online, on your high school’s Web site.) All of your “target colleges” will receive a copy when you apply. The School Profile reports such information as school size, percentage of college-bound students, and, often, socioeconomic demographics. It usually lists all the AP and honors classes that are offered, along with other data about course options, requirements, etc. Sometimes School Profiles can be confusing or misleading, so you might want to take a look at yours to make sure it’s clear. If not, you can ask your school counselor to clarify it in his or her recommendation. (For instance, if the senior Humanities class is an honors class but not listed as such, the counselor can explain.)

As you apply to colleges next year, it can be worthwhile to know exactly what the admission committees will be seeing ... before they actually see it. ;-)

(posted 6/21/2011)