When it comes to your child getting into middle school, you probably have started wondering about the importance of everything that they do. After all, they’re not in elementary school anymore, and things are now feeling a little bit more real, right? It’s feeling like they’re getting so much closer to high school and then to college.
That might leave you wondering when do grades start to matter? Or about the importance of middle school. You might be wondering if your child should be working their hardest right now or if poor grades in middle school aren’t going to be a big deal. Well, we’re going to talk about everything you need to know about the grades your child is getting (or not getting) in middle school.
How Important are Middle School Grades?
The short answer is that middle school grades aren’t going to be overly critical in the grand scheme of things. At least, they won’t be if you’re planning for your child to leave a public middle school and go on to a public high school. If you’re planning for your child to transfer to a private school, they may need to have better grades during middle school.
Students who are planning to attend a private high school will need to demonstrate excellent grades in order to get in. At least, depending on the school. For example, many high schools in New York require excellent grades and test scores in order to get into the most prestigious schools, which have excellent programs and opportunities for students.
Other states have similar programs or offerings for students, so if this is something that you or your student are interested in, make sure you know what the requirements are for admission. While most private schools will require testing in order to get in, they may also have specific requirements or minimums in order to be considered for admission.
If your student will be attending a public high school, however, they will not need any specific grades in order to get in. Instead, they will be accepted as long as they live in the right district for their chosen school. This means that they don’t need to get any specific grades, but it doesn’t mean that they should ignore their grades entirely.
Instead, make sure that your student is developing some habits that will help them throughout their life. Also, getting better grades in middle school may make your child eligible for special academic programs in high school or for advanced placement courses. These can give your child a little bit of an edge when they apply for colleges later, help them move through their required classes more quickly, or even provide them with the opportunity for dual enrollment later on.
Some advanced placement courses offer exams that will allow the student to get college credit to help them with whatever they choose to pursue later. By getting good grades in middle school, your student may be eligible to start advanced placement courses in their freshman year rather than having to wait and prove themselves in the first year before they can get into these classes in their sophomore year.
Do Grades Really Matter in Middle School?
Grades matter in middle school if you’re looking to help your child set up good habits and really excel as they get into high school and beyond. If that’s the case, you’ll want to work with your student to understand what it is about their grades that matters.
Many middle school students may believe that their grades don’t matter and, therefore, they don’t need to try as hard. After all, colleges are concerned about high school grades, and that’s what’s going to count toward their final GPA. But that doesn’t mean they should just ignore everything about middle school and assume it doesn’t matter at all.
Middle school students need to understand that setting up good habits (like caring about their grades and studying) should be established as early as possible. For students who don’t pay attention to their grades in middle school, it can be harder to buckle down when they get into high school because they don’t have the right habits.
If they already have the habits that they need, however, it becomes second nature, which means they don’t even need to think about it when they get into high school. They’ll simply study and do the things that they should be doing as a matter of habit. That makes it a whole lot easier on them as well.
Starting new habits is difficult for anyone. But the younger you begin those habits, the easier it’s going to be for you. The same is true for your children and studying. Even if some of their classes in middle school come easy to them, it’s a good idea to get them used to studying right from the start so that it becomes instinctive. That way, when it comes time to start high school, they’ll study as a matter of course rather than having to learn the habit.
When Do Grades Start to Matter?
Officially, grades start to matter in high school. From your very first marking period/semester/trimester of your freshman or 9th-grade year, the grades that you get matter. And they matter a lot. That’s why it’s a good idea to work with your student while they’re in middle school to start focusing on their grades.
Because grades start to matter so quickly, it can throw a lot of students off because they are just getting the hang of things in middle school, and suddenly their grades are going to impact the rest of their future (or at least it feels that way). The classes are generally a lot harder than what they had in middle school, and they’re dealing with a whole lot of new experiences that they’re still trying to understand.
A lot of students struggle in that first year of high school but especially in that first semester. Schools know this, and generally, they will have extra study periods or assistance available for students, but they can’t help the fact that colleges are going to start looking at those first grades. Your child needs to be ready for that.
By starting out while they’re in middle school, you can give them the foundation that they need to treat their grades like they’re essential right from the start. That way, they’ll be able to jump into high school without such a big learning curve on their study habits. The other things they’ll have to get the hang of are going to be enough.
Encourage them to start studying right away in 6th grade rather than waiting until later, but remember that late is better than never. If your child starts buckling down and studying in the 8th grade, it’s still better than waiting until they get into 9th grade or later. So, encourage it whenever you can or wherever you happen to be right now.
Do Colleges Look at Middle School Grades?
The good news is that colleges are not going to look at the grades that your child got in middle school. Elementary and middle school are considered too early. Students are still learning, and they’re not expected to excel just yet. At these grade levels, they still have a little time to work things out and learn the good habits they’ll need later on.
This is important because a lot of students just don’t pay attention to these things in middle school. After all, high school seems so far away, let alone college. And it’s hard to explain to them that those years are going to go by so fast. Colleges understand this, and they know that it takes time for your child (any child) to really get the hang of school and all the things that they are learning.
On top of that, the things that your child is learning in middle school are the foundational elements they’ll need when they get into high school. The classes they take in high school are the ones that are really going to prepare them for their future. This is another reason that colleges aren’t as concerned about what your child may be doing in middle school.
Colleges start looking at grades as soon as students enter high school, however, which is an essential thing for students to understand. As soon as they begin high school, their grades are going to matter, and that means they need to be prepared. That first semester of freshman year can be difficult for a lot of students, but it’s the first semester that will count toward your final transcripts.
If your child is just getting started in middle school, or if they’re getting to the end of middle school and haven’t been doing so great, you don’t need to be too concerned (and neither do they). They still have time to turn their habits around and get better prepared for entering high school and the importance of their grades once they get there.
Does Harvard Look at Middle School Grades?
Luckily, as with other colleges and universities, Harvard does not even look at your middle school grades. That means not only is there no weight given to these grades, but the school won’t even see them to potentially provide them with any significance. They only see your child’s high school transcripts.
What this means is that your child doesn’t need to have the most amazing habits in elementary and middle school. They need to start showcasing their habits and their knowledge in high school, however. And they will need to start showing this right at the beginning of their time in high school.
Students who aren’t doing as well in middle school or who started ‘getting their act together’ later on in middle school will have the same chance of getting into Harvard as any of their high achieving peers, as long as they start working hard and putting in the effort as soon as they begin high school.
Also, keep in mind that freshman year is when grades really start to count, though sophomore and junior year grades are generally given a little more weight. Also, grades from senior year will only partially be counted on your college applications. That’s because colleges will only be able to see the first semester of your senior year transcripts when you apply.
Wrapping Things Up: Do Middle School Grades Matter?
When it comes to helping your child develop the right habits for their future, it’s essential to let them know that their middle school grades do matter. Now, these grades aren’t going to matter for them getting into the college that they want, but that doesn’t mean you or they should ignore them. Instead, you should be encouraging the right habits from the start, and that means when they’re still young.