Do Colleges Look At Middle School Grades in 2023?

do colleges look at middle school grades

Typically, middle school grades don’t matter to colleges; hence they don’t look at these records. Colleges instead concentrate on your high school grades and extracurricular activities. Therefore, your middle school grades will not be considered during your university application.

However, this doesn’t imply you should be unserious with your middle school academic performance. Remember, your middle school classes are the basics of your high school classes. So, getting good records in middle school will boost your performance in high school and help you ace your university applications.

If you’re a curious middle school student, parent, or high school student wondering if colleges look at middle school grades, this blog will answer your query and provide insight on what to do in middle school to prepare you for the university. So, keep reading to explore more!

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How Important Are Middle School Grades?

Middle school grades are critical. This is because your middle school years are your foundational and formative years, academically and personally. So, striving for good grades in middle school helps you to develop habits that boost your chances of doing better in high school and college.

Furthermore, you will build fundamental academic abilities in middle school. Hence, taking your studies seriously is paramount to your future success. At the same time, middle school is where you start learning to think critically and independently. And these are important to your academic future.

Additionally, constantly working on and enhancing your skills is easier when you begin middle school than starting from scratch when you get to high school or college. Thus, middle school grades are essential!

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Do Middle School Grades Matter During College Admissions?

Although middle school grades won’t influence your chances of admission into college, middle school is essential for your academic future. Your middle school years are when to prepare for a more intense curriculum.

At the same time, your first year doesn’t matter as much as the other years. However, your junior and senior years are the most critical for university admissions. And your ninth grade’s grades will impact your overall GPA. 

Meanwhile, ensure you lay a solid foundation in your middle school for a successful high school journey to help you start well in your first year. In addition, some high schools will determine placement according to your middle school performance.

So, middle school grades do not directly impact your chances of admission into the university. But it’s essential for preparing yourself for high school and university.


Do Colleges Look at Middle School Grades?

No, colleges/universities do not look at middle school grades. However, most selective schools holistically assess your high school performance, including your GPA, essay, extracurriculars, and the intense classes you took, alongside other information.

People change a lot between middle school and high school, so it’s hard to foretell your performance as a college student based on the grades you obtained when you were 11 years old. However, your high school records will determine better, but they don’t typically determine how you’ll perform in the university.

If you enroll in high school classes while still in middle school, the institution may add them to your high school transcript but not count them toward your GPA. In other words, universities could notice them but are unlikely to consider them when deciding whether to admit you.

If you genuinely earned high school credit while you were in middle school instead of just taking a higher-level course, that would be an exception, but even then, your middle school scores won’t be as important as your high school grades.

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What Do Colleges Look at Instead of Middle School Grades?

Since universities/colleges do not look at your middle school grades, there are other things they consider during the admission process. However, some grades count more than others. 

Colleges primarily look at high school grades instead of middle school when assessing college applications. The table below displays the factors that colleges consider during the admission/application process.

High School GPAFirst YearFoundational
Sophomore YearEssential
Junior YearMost important
Senior YearEssential (ensure consistent performance)
Standardized Test ScoresSAT or ACTStill relevant despite some test-optional and test-blind policies
The Rigor of High School CoursesAdvanced Placement (AP) courses
International Baccalaureate (IB) program
Still relevant despite some test-optional and test-blind policies
Honors classes
Personal EssaysDual enrollment courses
Personal Statement
Supplemental Essays
Extracurricular ActivitiesAthletics
Volunteer service
Community involvement
Letters of RecommendationTeachers

Students must regularly have good scores throughout high school, with a focus on junior-year year grades, as they represent their most recent academic prowess. Essays, extracurricular activities, and letters of reference are essential components in showing a competitive applicant in addition to GPA, test scores, and coursework.

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How Do Middle School Grades Affect College Application?

Middle school grades do not directly impact college admissions because universities and colleges look at other factors like high school test scores, grades, GPA, and other achievements.

However, middle school experiences can indirectly affect college applications by molding habits, future interests, and opportunities in high school. Let’s look at other ways middle school grades affect college application:

Explore potential future careers: Middle school students can start thinking about their interests and skills while setting career objectives. Clear goals improve high school experiences’ importance and purpose, eventually strengthening college applications.

Follow your interests and passions: Middle school can expose students to subjects, pursuits, and hobbies that become lifelong passions. An unwavering commitment to a specific field can strengthen college applications.

Volunteer and participate in community service: Middle school is a great time to start accumulating a record of community activity that can continue throughout high school and possibly enhance college applications.

Build good study habits: Middle school is a critical period to develop time management, communication, and study skills to help students succeed in high school and college and improve their performance on college applications.

Check out: How To Take College Classes In High School

What Can You Do in Middle School To Prepare For College

While colleges/universities do not look at your middle school grades during applications, you can start preparing for college early. Below, we’ll discuss what middle schoolers can do to prepare for high school and college.

1. Start Saving 

Saving money for college from middle school is a good idea because it can be costly. Even though financial aid and scholarships are accessible, many students still have to incur significant debt to fund their education. So, gradually saving some money can accumulate and become tangible in the long run.

Additionally, you can save more money if you start working a part-time job in high school. You’ll be grateful you started saving and developed wise financial practices in the future.

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2. Develop and Practice Good Study Habits

Practice and create effective study habits as soon as possible. Your marks on assignments and examinations will improve if you discover the study method that works best for you. 

Middle school is a terrific time to experiment with your study habits and preferences to determine which approach suits you and your learning best. Self-study is also a fantastic learning strategy you can use from college onward. 

In the end, ensure you figure out what works for you.

3. Take Courses That Will Prepare You to Succeed

Regarding their curriculum, many middle school students are limited in their choices. However, if you have extra time, use it to your advantage to be ready for later. For instance, if you choose to pursue coursework appropriate for high school, take it!

Remember to give your available options careful consideration. For instance, you can enroll in a language course or learn many languages. Before rushing to choose Portuguese because that’s what everyone is doing, consider if you will need it in the future. Overall, research before you choose a path that resonates with your interests and goals.

See also: Best Online Schooling For High School Students.

4. Get Involved in Extracurricular Activities 

Although college applications don’t request your middle school grades, they consider the extracurricular activities you engage in. 

Joining a sports club or team in middle school and involving throughout high school shows dependability and commitment. Admissions committees for colleges search for applicants who possess these qualities.

5. Start Thinking of Potential Colleges

The best approach to getting ready for college is knowing the statistics and expectations. You can start by researching the colleges you want to attend.

By evaluating a handful of institutions, you can learn about their programs, faculty, admittance rates, and tuition. Additionally, doing this will give you an edge when making your college list!

Read this article: Can a High School Dropout Go to College: Easy Guide to Start Afresh.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Harvard look at your middle school grades?

No, Harvard doesn’t look at your middle school grades. However, building good study habits and work ethic in middle school can develop the foundations for your high school grades and academic achievements that Harvard will consider.

What grade does college look at most?

Junior year. Your first and sophomore years impact your CGPA, which is essential to most colleges. But a solid academic record in your junior year will likely be more relevant to the admissions committee.

What is the lowest grade accepted to Harvard?

Harvard accepts a 4.18 GPA or higher. You must compensate with a higher SAT/ACT score if your GPA is below this. Furthermore, you’ll also need to impress a school as picky as Harvard with the rest of your application.

What year of high school is the hardest?

Junior year. Although the junior year is usually the most brutal year of high school, transitioning from middle school to ninth grade can be challenging.


Although colleges/universities may not look at your middle school grades, this does not negate the importance of these years for your future academic performance. Your middle school scores are crucial to qualify for advanced high school programs, which enhance your college application. 

Essential abilities like independence and critical thinking, which you will need in high school, college, and beyond, are laid out in the middle school years. That’s how important it is!

Meanwhile, you can start preparing for high school and college; it’s not too early.

References – Do Colleges Look at Middle School Grades? – Do Colleges Look at Middle School Grades? – Do colleges look at middle school grades? Do middle school grades matter for your college application?


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