High School Grades
One of the key criteria most colleges use for admissions decisions is the applicant’s performance in high school — measured by the grades you’ve earned.
Grades do matter — and they matter a lot. And grades in harder — more rigorous — classes count more than standard classes. In fact, most colleges look at a weighted grade point average (GPA) that takes into account grades earned in honors, advanced placement, and International Baccalaureate classes.
Read more about course type and load later in this tutorial.
Your Goal? You certainly want to have the highest grades possible in high school — and especially in your sophomore and junior years — and especially in any advanced courses. Senior year, of course, counts — but most admissions decisions are made long before you have your senior grades. Most colleges admissions information provides a range where most incoming students fall — and your goal should certainly be in that range — or higher. You can sometimes compensate for lower GPA with higher entrance exam scores, class ranking, essay, and amazing recommendations.
Need help with any of the terms described on this page? If so, find the answers in our High School College-Bound and College Planning Glossary.
Return to the main page of the College Planning Tutorial.
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