Grades still matter, even after applications are submitted!
While colleges initially only see a combination of 9th-11th
grade grades, plus a mid-year check on senior year grades, it’s a fact that most every
college will require students to submit a final grade report.
It’s not unheard of for colleges to rescind acceptances when students exhibit a drop in
grades during their senior year. Beyond the admissions impact of grades, they also serve as
an indicator of continued motivation for academic achievement and reflect continued development
as a learner.
There’s no single best path for seniors as they transition out of high school.
For some students, a direct transition to a four-year college or university fits their
academic profile best. Other students with less competitive grades and test scores
may actually benefit from attending a 2-year junior college and then transferring to a
four-year institution to complete their undergraduate study, though they should be
encouraged to develop the right study habits and motivation for that path.
Another option that is gaining traction is the “gap year”, where students
can travel, volunteer, or complete an internship. If this is a path that interests
students, they should be considering why they’d take the year off – and ideally, the
reason would be to answer questions about themselves and their direction in life.
Opportunities for Growth
Senioritis is real, so it is necessary for high achieving students in 12th grade to
continue the habits that have allowed for success to this point. This is important as
an erosion of good academic habits now can continue to manifest itself once students make
the transition to college. Now is not the time to reduce academic effort.
Continue to develop a growth mindset. One way to keep high achieving students
motivated during this time is to solidify a mindset that allows them to gain pleasure in
the challenge of finishing with the highest possible Grade Point Average or achieving as
greatly as possible in their extracurricular activities. This mindset development will serve
them well in college and in their later careers.
Exploring talents and interests is essential. As students will soon be entering college
and having the opportunity to decide on a career path, exploring as many options as possible
is essential. Students before and during senior year should also be researching and visiting
colleges to learn how offered programs might align with their interests.
Keep developing foundational skills and content knowledge that will translate to college.
While students receiving B grades while in high school may not finish at the top
of their class in regards to Grade Point Average, they are still demonstrating knowledge
of many of the curricular skills that will help them succeed once they enter college.
It is important to thus not reduce academic effort during this time, as any remediation that
students must do upon entering college will make the transition more difficult.
Develop study habits and time management skills that will translate to college. Once a
student enters college, they have the opportunity to start from scratch in the area of
academics, and particularly in Grade Point Average. Thus, increasing the quality of study
time now will allow for students to hit the ground running, which is essential considering
the number of potential commitments on their time once they matriculate.
Continue to explore passions. For students, one of the most exciting aspects of college
attendance is the number of opportunities that are made available to them. Students can use
the time while still in high school to consider what avenues they may want to explore the
C or Below Students
Spend time developing fundamental academic skills. Student that have received lower grades
to this point in high school are not constrained to their identity as a “C Student” or a “D
Student.” Many times, these students have not been exposed to the type of tailored,
individualized attention that can build confidence and curricular knowledge. Students
that matriculate to a college that may not be their “dream school” still have the opportunity
to achieve strong grades at the outset of college and transfer to a college more of their
Dedicate time to developing study habits that will pay dividends in college and beyond.
For students that have struggled academically in high school, college provides a
unique opportunity to start fresh in regards to their academic transcript. It is thus
essential to make use this final year of high school to explore ways to increase the
quality of study time, especially considering the fact that the conclusion of high school
will bring more, not less, potential distractions for students.
Use this time to discover passions that students can continue to explore upon graduation.
One of the reasons that students have not engaged academically to this point in their
studies is that they have not discovered their interests and passions or they have not
connected their interests to the work they have done in the classroom. It is thus essential
that before these students leave high school, they are exposed to as many options as
possible to provide a post-high school pathway to success.