Do Colleges Look at Freshman Grades? | Are you DENIED before you even apply?
Every year, we get questions from students and parents regarding colleges and what they actually look at when evaluating an applicant. One of those questions is “Do Colleges Look At Freshman Grades?”. And while there isn’t a definitive answer to that, we’re going to attempt to clarify what colleges look at the best we can.
So, what are colleges looking at when you apply?
All colleges are different in their admissions and the method in which they accept and deny students. That’s just the way it is. The reason for this is that every college has it’s own set of rules and procedures that they follow when looking at a potential student’s transcript. A top college such as Stanford will take a much closer look at a students high school record than a state school like Northern Iowa.
A good rule to follow is this: The more prestigious the school you are applying to, the more comprehensive they will be when evaluating you for admission into their institution. Stanford and Northern Iowa are two completely different schools when it comes to admission, and obviously Stanford is a much more prestigious making them harder on their applicants.
So, it makes sense that Stanford is going to look over your application and transcript with a magnifying glass to see if there’s anything that raises a red flag for them, like a “D” in Freshman Biology!
What Are Colleges Looking At On Your Transcript?
When you apply to the college(s) of your choice, you will have to submit your official high school transcript. All of your semester grades will be posted to that transcript, including your cumulative Grade Point Average, Class Rank and standardized test scores such as the ACT. Depending on what school you are sending this too, they may look as far back as freshman year.
Keep in mind that one of the very first things they will be looking at is your overall GPA and Class Rank. If you make the cut by their specific admission standards, then they will continue on to other parts of your transcript, such as your ACT and/or SAT score(s). Additionally, top colleges will want to see what type of courses you took in high school to see if you challenged your self with upper level, Advanced Placement and Honors courses. From there, they will take a look at your grades in specific courses and this could realistically include Freshman grades!
Do Colleges Look At Freshman Grades?
The simple answer to that is: it depends on the college. You can bet your bank account that the elite and highly selective colleges are going to look at every detail of your high school transcript which includes freshman grades!
On the flipside, if you are just trying to gain admission to a state school, chances are relatively good that they will not look all the way back to freshman year for your grades. Provided that you have a good overall GPA and Class rank, most state and traditional colleges will admit you based on the “Big Three”…GPA, Class Rank and ACT score.
So if you didn’t do as well as you wanted to during your freshman year and are wondering “Do colleges look at freshman grades?”…the answer is yes. The good news for you is that you have 3 more years to bring your GPA up to a level that may not get your freshman grades noticed by many colleges!
We explain the difference between “elite/highly selective, traditional, state colleges and The Big Three” in greater detail in our book Plan, Prepare, Succeed: Getting Accepted To College.
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