Admissions

Will Admission Officials Note Upward Trend in 9th Grade?

Question: Hi. I’m a freshman in high school. I was wondering if colleges look at your freshman year grades? If they do, would they like to see an upward trend? For example, for first marking period, my lowest grade was a B- in Honors Biology. I also had a B, B+, A-, A-, A-, A, and A. For second marking period, my lowest grade was a B+ in Honors Biology. I also had a B+, A-, A-, A-, A-, A-, A+. I have improved in some ways but was wondering if this will hurt my chances for the Ivy Leagues.

Admission officials usually consider freshman grades, but they don’t emphasize them nearly as heavily as they do the later ones. And most high school transcripts that go to colleges include only final grades for each class. Sometimes they also show semester grades and exam marks, but they typically don’t include every marking period. So admission officials are unlikely to see all of the grades that you have shown to “The Dean.” (A good thing, too, because The Dean’s head is already spinning from reading the line-up you’ve sent so far! ) 😉

As the admission-committee members review your four years in high school, they will notice upward trends. So if your freshman year is your weakest year, and you do your best in 11th and 12th grades, this should work in your favor.


However,  the Ivy League institutions are extremely competitive. Students are rarely admitted on the basis of grades and test scores alone. The Ivy admission folks assume that grades, course selection, and test results will be strong. So then they ask, “What else is special?”

Thus, as a freshman, you have time to develop unique interests that will stand out in a hyper-competitive crowd. And you also have time to research other colleges and universities that may great matches for you, even if they’re not Ivies. When it’s time to submit your applications, it’s critical that you have a list of “Reach,” “Realistic,” and “Safe” schools and that you can get excited about all of them.