Will Repeating 8th Grade Have a Negative Impact on College Admissions?

Question: Can holding my son back hurt him going into college. He is an 'A' student but I need to hold him back for maturity reasons. He is currently in the 8th grade and I was told this was the last year I could hold him back.

Having your son repeat 8th grade should have no negative effect on his college process later on and … if your judgment is on target about what it will do for his maturity … it should have a positive one. This opinion, however, is based on the assumption that your son is willing to do the extra time in grade 8 and doesn't spend the next four years rebelling against a decision that kept him from his friends.

Note also that some students take “gap years" in the middle of high school. For instance, they go on a study abroad program for two semesters and earn no credit because they are taking all of their classes in a foreign language. So, when they return to their high school, they don't rejoin their original class but the one behind it. If your son is not eager to repeat 8th grade, this might be another option for him. Given that he's a strong student, he might find it more stimulating to study abroad for a year rather than enduring a second stint in 8th grade.

Similarly, admission officials tend to be big fans of “gap" years after graduation. They often feel that a break between 12th grade and college means that the freshman who arrives on campus is more focused and mature than he or she might have been straight out of high school. So if spending an extra year in 8th grade doesn't fully do the trick for your son, you might also consider a gap year later on, too.

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