High school grades are a huge part of the college application process because they show academic consistency (or lack thereof). The majority of colleges look at grades from sophomore to senior year of high school because they know students are still transitioning as freshmen. However, some highly competitive schools will consider grades from all four years.
So, yes, it’s true that grades are very important in the college admission process—but that doesn’t mean you need a perfect GPA to get into college. Admission criteria vary considerably from school to school (that’s where the notion of “reach, match, and safety schools” comes from). In any case, your best strategy is to work hard and do your best in your high school classes.
If you’re worried that a low GPA will hinder your college search, you will probably find it more fruitful to spend your time and energy determining what’s stopping you from earning high grades and looking for potential solutions. Many students lose points if they hand an assignment in late or don’t understand the assignment in the first place. Procrastination is also a big issue. I recommend asking yourself the following questions to start: Are you as organized as you could be? Do you tend to leave things to the last minute and cram for tests? Are you taking more than one AP class? Are extracurricular activities such as after-school sports, volunteer activities, or a part-time job taking up a lot of your time? Most colleges do tend to look at applications holistically (meaning they consider everything, trying to get a sense of who you are as a person, not just a set of statistics), but your GPA should be just as impressive as your résumé.
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