Will colleges see my entire transcript or just sophomore and junior years?

by St.Martin's College Counseling

Wouldn’t it be great if colleges only looked at the A’s on our transcripts and gave us a free pass to get rid of that one class or that one subject that kept us from a perfect 4.0?

Or maybe  even that one year during high school when we were still adjusting/going through family problems/distracted by social obligations/moving to a new city/transferring to a new school?

Unfortunately, your grades are here to stay. And what happens freshman year doesn’t stay in freshman year. It shows up on your transcript, and is one of the main components of your application that college admissions reps have to look at while making a decision.

transcript example3a

This transcript above is a sample of what your admissions committee will see for an early action or early decision application – that is, before you have any final senior grades. So you tell me – would you judge this student off of sophomore through senior grades or would you use all the information available? For regular decision, add in one semester of senior year.

Using standard A+=4.33, A=4.0, A-=3.66, B+ = 3.33 and so on, what would it take to achieve a 4.0 or higher on your final transcript? Here’s a hint – unless you have bumps with APs and Honors, you can’t afford to get any grade lower than an A. Even that A- (3.66) will set you back.

But don’t get discouraged, this doesn’t mean you need a 4.0 to get into a good and selective school, and it doesn’t mean that not having straight A’s or even any A’s on your transcript will ruin your life or keep you from being a successful adult. It means that your options will be different, but you may even end up with more options or better opportunities depending on how you play your cards (or your transcript).

This also doesn’t mean senior grades don’t matter, because colleges do request a final transcript before you enroll and WILL revoke acceptances if you don’t maintain your grades through senior year. Looking at these admissions statistics you can see that not many schools are suffering for potential enrollees.

Moral of the story – Freshman year matters. Sophomore year matters. Junior year matters. Senior year matters. In a place where we pride ourselves on lifelong learning, every year matters. It matters because we want you to make the most of your life, and we hope you do too.