Do Colleges Look at Your Freshman Year Grades?

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Do colleges look at freshman grades? Did you do badly in your first year of high school, and you’re now wondering if it will affect your college admission? If these sound-like questions you’re looking for the answers to, you have come to the right place.

Your grades are one of the most important factors in your college application; therefore, it is only natural that you wonder about the weight each year’s grades will hold. We’ll help you understand what to do if you didn’t do the best in your freshman year and give you the most important factors in college admission.

You may have heard people refer to your freshman year as the easiest. With the information we provide, we work to help you understand if that is true or not, all you have to do is keep reading.

How Do Colleges View Freshman Grades?How Do Colleges View Freshman Grades?

Your freshman year is an introduction to high school life. Everything is new, including the transition from middle school to high school curriculum. Your freshman year is not the most significant year colleges will look at within your transcript. It is one of the least significant in terms of GPA. However, it is used for other purposes.

Importance of Freshman Grades in College

Importance of Freshman Grades in College

Your freshman year is important because it gives colleges an idea of your foundation. Some private schools will look at your freshman-year grades from an academic perspective. This means the grades you get during your freshman year will set the tone for the courses you can take during your sophomore year. These colleges are interested in how you set yourself up for success in the long run and, if you didn’t, how you bounced back.

What to Do If You Have Bad Grades in Freshman Year High School?

What to Do If You Have Bad Grades in Freshman Year High School?

Having bad grades your freshman year does not doom you for the rest of your high school career. However, you will need to do some work to get back on track. This work will involve not only reframing your mindset when it comes to certain aspects of school but also putting in the needed work to get ahead. This may mean missing outings with friends or even school events. If you are ready to do what it takes, use the tips below.

Find the Root Cause and Address It

You won’t do better if you don’t understand why you are doing badly. Are you trying to fit in? Do you need help? Have an honest conversation with yourself or even potentially with a teacher you trust to help get to the root cause. Once you can identify and fix this, you can begin on a new path.

Don’t Suffer in Silence

If you are someone who waits for someone else to ask a question in class, you will have to find alternatives to getting help. This may mean staying after class or finding a tutor for the areas you are struggling in.

Talk to a Counselor

Talk to a guidance counselor to help you better understand your options for improving your grades. If you have done poorly enough, summer school may be a topic of discussion.

Identify Useful Study Methods

Another great thing to do when evaluating and rectifying your performance is to identify study methods that work for you. Though you may be being pushed to study or receive information in one that, that method may not be working. Try other options.

Take Classes that Will Advance Your GPA

If you want to increase your weighted GPA, taking courses with a greater weight will help you. In addition, If your school offers classes that will provide you with an additional GPA quality point, it would be smart to research and take one or multiple of these courses.

What Colleges Do Not Look at Freshman Grades?

Like San Diego State University, California Polytechnic State University, and Chapman University, exclude those grades from your overall GPA.

5 Tips to Improve Your Grades After Freshman Year

5 Tips to Improve Your Grades After Freshman Year

Get a Tutor

After your freshman year, things will begin to get increasingly harder. Getting a tutor in subjects you will likely struggle with may help you stay ahead in your courses. If you aren’t comfortable getting a tutor, try to create or join a study group.

Get a Planner

A planner is a helpful tool that can keep you organized and on track throughout the school year. Often, schools will provide or sell planners to students with all school-centric dates included. Making this a mandatory part of your routine may ensure that you stay up to date with homework, exams, or any projects.

Explore Different Note-Taking Techniques

Note-taking techniques will help you compile information in an organized and efficient manner. There are several different methods you can use. These options include the Cornell method, mapping method, outline method, or even charting method. All of these different methods offer something unique to the note-taking process.

Use Your School’s Facilities

If your environment is a factor in your poor performance, use the school to your advantage. Take advantage of your school’s facilities, like the library or any computer labs, to do homework, study for assignments, or get a change of environment when needed.

Reward Yourself for a Job Well Done

Your hard work should not go unnoticed, even if you are the only one noticing it. Give yourself small rewards for a job well done. These rewards can be things like a new video game, a piece of makeup, or even something as small as a Cinnabon. The gift doesn’t have to be expensive; it just needs to be something you feel makes you happy and is a suitable prize for your achievements.

Bonus tip: Take Honors Classes – Honors courses are a great way to challenge yourself and give a much-needed boost to your GPA because they will add more GPA points. Traditionally, adding an honors course adds .5 points, and adding an AP course adds 1 point.

What are the Most Important Factors in College Admission?

What are the Most Important Factors in College Admission?

Your freshman-year grades are only one aspect of college admission. There are so many more things that colleges will use to evaluate if you are ready for admission. The list below will provide a high-level look at what criteria you are being evaluated against.

  • Your overall high school transcript/grades are one of the most important factors in your college admission. Colleges want to see your progression; they want to see how you challenged yourself, and finally, they want to see your actual letter grades.
  • Test Scores are another important factor. In most cases, this will be either the SAT or the ACT.
  • Extracurriculars allow colleges to see what you are passionate about and how you go about making time for things you not only enjoy but that will aid in your development. Colleges understand that sports are a major commitment and getting great grades while juggling practice, events, and games can be challenging. This will let a school know how disciplined an individual is. Extracurriculars also let a school know how committed you are. Did you change activities every year, or did you join and deepen your involvement?
  • Personal Statements or essays are another evaluation method. They give the admissions committee a personal look at who you are. If you have struggled or there are things you may need to explain on your transcript, this is a great place to do it. Your essay could turn around a potentially negative situation.
  • Letters of recommendation help admissions teams to see how others view you. It gives them a holistic view of your application if you have provided them with letters from individuals who know you well. Recommendations allow schools to see not only the student in you but who you are as a person.

These are a few important areas that colleges look at when determining if you are right for admission. Several other things can be added to this list. These stipulations, of course, will vary based on the program and the level of selection at the school you are applying to. Things like interviews or campus visits may also have some importance in the admission process as well.

Wrapping Things Up: Do Colleges Look at Freshman Grades?

Do colleges look at your freshman-year grades? The short answer is yes, but not for what you may be thinking. Some colleges look at your grades to determine what may have been available to you during the years to follow. Others may look at your grades as foundational and are more interested in how you bounced back or kept your grades consistent. Regardless, there is not much emphasis placed on your freshman year grades.

If you didn’t do as well as you expected, do not worry; it is not the end of the world. However, you may need to do some damage control. This can mean taking honors classes for the extra GPA points or even taking summer or night school to make up for things you didn’t do well in.

Remember that your grades are not the only thing being evaluated when you apply for college. They will also look at things like your letters of recommendation, personal statements or essays, and extracurricular activities.

Picture of Professor Conquer
Professor Conquer

Professor Conquer started Conquer Your Exam in 2018 to help students feel more confident and better prepared for their tough tests. Prof excelled in high school, graduating top of his class and receiving admissions into several Ivy League and top 15 schools. He has helped many students through the years tutoring and mentoring K-12, consulting seniors through the college admissions process, and writing extensive how-to guides for school.

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