Starting Over (In The Eyes Of College Admissions)

getting better grades

Half of the academic marking period is over. You put your best foot forward (at least in September…and maybe a few days in October?) and now you are starting to wonder if perhaps you’ve crashed and burned with five more months of grades to go.

Your midterm grades weren’t spectacular, but you were pretty antsy and excited for the looming holiday season…pumpkin spice lattes… eggnog lattes…and now you’re just jazzed to reunite with your basic vanilla lattes again. Who can blame you with all of the legit distractions?

At the start of a new calendar year, amid a flurry of superficial new year resolutions (i.e. this is the year I WILL ACHIEVE ZENDAYA’S SKIN BY CLEANSING DAILY!), it’s easy to dismiss the one promise to yourself that could actually make a difference: Achieving academic success. You may figure that September is the time to set scholastic resolutions and if you’ve already dropped the ball by December, there is no ‘digging out.’ But if you think that way, then you simply aren’t looking at your grades – or the trajectory of your school year – like a college admission counselor does. And getting into college counts every step of the way.

GPA is important, and the occasional slump in your school work can certainly drag that down; but showing overall growth throughout the year (or years) is perhaps equally as vital in the eyes of the admission officer.

When the admission team of your dream college sits down to review your application, they are not just looking for numbers. They are trying to paint a picture of the type of person you are, what your life experiences may have been, and what motivates you personally and intellectually. This is why the college interview is vital to your application; your life deserves an explanation. Academic slumps in your transcript are to be expected: High School is hard, and adolescence is turbulent. But are you curious? Do you want to succeed? Have you overcome obstacles? Do you try? Chances are, if you have the ability to turn your grades around and expect more for yourself during your high school career – especially when things get tough and its all too easy to give up or descend into that downward spiral – you’ll be ready to hit the ground running by the time you enter college, and you’ll strive for success while you’re there, too.

So, entering this “new” year, don’t even bother starting over. Just simply forgive yourself for hitting that slump, dust yourself off, and try again. Your effort will be noticed when it counts, even if it feels imperceptible right now.

Happy New Year.

For more concrete tips on achieving academic success this year, such as improving memory retention or utilizing the best academic apps, scroll through some of our previous posts located in Academics.

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