Clearing Some Myths: Do Middle School Grades Matter?

“Once in a while, we high school athletes would hang out with eighth-grade athletes after school. One of them was really stressed out by his grades and the classes he was taking. He worried it might affect his college admissions, so I decided to talk to him and his buddies about it when we were waiting for the bus. 

I told them that middle school grades were pointless, and as long as they didn’t care about being whooped or yelled at by their parents, they shouldn’t give a damn. Just avoid committing felonies and make sure they pull themselves together once they get into high school. 

Bad timing, it seemed, because at that time there was a teacher standing right behind me. She told the eighth graders that I was wrong and all the typical nonsense parents and instructors would tell their children. I apologized, but the teacher pushed things further by reporting to my counselor. She said I was encouraging bad behaviors and not a single adult had taken my side.

I didn’t think I said anything wrong tho.
Do middle school grades matter that much? Am I the *sshole?” 

Posted in subreddit r/AmIThe*sshole (a place to find out if you were right or wrong in an argument) by user “Cornodude”, this thread was blown up by 1.2k replies and 3.4k votes. It even triggered a friendly controversy in the comment section because, apparently, Redditors had a hard time deciding whether this dude was right or wrong. 

There is no surprise, though: The post addressed a major concern of both parents and students. Do middle school grades matter at all, and do they count toward your college admissions? If these questions have ever crossed your mind, JobandEdu team is here to clear up your confusion! 

Myth: Middle School Grades Don’t “Count” For College Admissions

Do middle school grades affect college application
Do middle school grades matter for college? – Source: Unsplash 

Well, this fella here is not the only one who thinks middle school grades don’t affect college applications. It’s a common belief among students out there, and to lift some pressure off your shoulders, I’d say it’s somewhat true. 

In fact, middle school results are not a part of college applications. Even if you apply to a highly competitive university, they won’t look at the grades you received in middle school. There are several reasons for this: 

Grades From Middle School Are No Longer Relevant

So are you saying you got some D’s in physics when you were 13? It doesn’t say anything about the type of student you are at 18. You had years to develop better study habits and master new material, so it wouldn’t be fair to penalize you for some bad grades you received many years ago. 

Simply put, grades from middle school happened too long ago to be relevant. They can’t give the admission department an accurate idea of who you are now. 

Middle School Grades Tend To Be More Subjective 

Another reason is that each middle school has its own grading scale. It’s not uncommon to see a school giving all its students straight A’s while another is much stricter. 

Each school has different grading scale
It’s hard to compare the grades of students from various middle schools – Source: Unsplash

You can see things like this in high schools as well, but it’s much more prevalent in middle schools. Hence, if colleges took middle school grades into account, it would be challenging for them to evaluate the applications of students from different schools. 

Colleges Have Better Information At Hand

Lastly, don’t forget that college applications require a large number of materials. From high school grades and transcripts to certifications of extracurriculars you took part in, personal statements, and recommendation letters, they have a lot of information at hand to determine what type of student you are. Middle school grades are simply not necessary in this case.

Does That Mean I Can Slack Off In Middle School Now? 

“But still, middle school grades does matter”, in the same thread, user “CrazyCanary14” noted, “Aside from building good study habits, your middle school grades impact how you get placed in high school. They are not pointless at all.” 

And he has a point: Just because middle school grades don’t count toward the GPA that colleges look at doesn’t mean you shouldn’t reflect on your time from grade six to eight. Let me show you why. 

It’s More About Creating Positive Habits

Your high school years will be much less pressured if you develop good study habits in middle school. By figuring out the study skills that work (and don’t work) for you early on, you will be more prepared to handle the rigors of high school and college. 

Good study habits should be developed early on
Highly effective middle schoolers tend to do better at high school – Source: Unsplash

Therefore, as you enter middle school, starting a study schedule and learning to manage your time more effectively are important. It might take some time to balance your studies and extracurriculars with hobbies that keep you well-rounded and happy. However, once you manage to do it, you will mature, learn more about yourselves, and grow up a lot. 

These positive habits will follow you to high school and impact your academic performance during these years. Don’t count how much middle school can form you as a teenager and student.

You Might Have Taken Important Courses

Many students wouldn’t pay attention, but during middle school, they might have taken a course that shaped what classes they took in high school. Perhaps one of the classes you attend can have a role in your college major. 

This is crucial to your development and should not be ignored. If a college asks you about your choice (especially if you choose a hard major), you can reflect on this time and explain why it influenced you. 

Better Middle School Grades = Higher Chances Join AP Classes

And that’s what the colleges will see. The Advanced Placement (AP) classes are college-level courses, but they are taught in high school. By attending these classes, students can familiarize themselves with colleges’ strict academic standards, get the best preparation possible, and challenge themselves beyond regular courses.

Better Middle School Grades = Higher Chances Join AP Classes
The better you do in middle school, the higher chance you have to be accepted into AP classes – Source: Unsplash

Colleges want to see students challenge themselves, so more of them expect to see AP classes on applicants’ transcripts. If you are eligible to take high school courses during the eighth grade, this will set you up for more AP classes in high school. This option can put you ahead of the game, especially in the science department.

When Do Grades Start To Matter For College Applications?

If you ever find yourself asking, “Do middle school grades matter?”, you’ve got the answer now. Colleges might not look at middle school grades, but the things you learn during these years will follow you through your academic career. 

Now we got another question here: What grade do colleges look at the most? Well, in general, they will pay close attention to all the grades you got in high school. 

As an indispensable part of the application, you must submit a transcript showing the high school you attended, the courses you took, and your grades. Colleges will look at every grade you got in high school and determine if you satisfy admissions and eligibility requirements, so ideally, you might want to maintain a high GPA overall. 

what grades are most crucial in college application
What grade do colleges look at the most? – Source: Unsplash

But, here is a fun fact for you: Some grades are more significant than others! Usually, colleges would care most about the grades you received in your junior year. 

Why is that, you might ask? If you apply to a bachelor’s program in the fall of your senior year, that will be the most recent information they have about your academic performance. Some colleges might even give admissions before your senior grades are out, so junior year’s grades give them a complete picture of your current abilities. 

In case you didn’t do well during the freshman year but eventually achieved better results during your junior years, colleges will acknowledge your improvement. That assures them you are well on your way to becoming a successful college student. On the other hand, if you got a strong start but gradually went downhill, especially in the junior year, colleges might be more concerned about your motivation or your ability to keep up with the increasing difficulty of classes. 

Senior year grades are the second most important. While some don’t, many colleges out there will ask you to submit your senior year’s grades as soon as you get them. My advice? Make sure you don’t succumb to senioritis and start coasting your last year at high school! 

It’s All About Building A Strong Foundation! 

So, do middle school grades matter at all? Of course, they do. While academic challenges shouldn’t stress students out by the end of their patience, working hard during middle school to establish an early foundation will benefit their character, confidence, and development in the long run, making their college applications stand out above the rest. 

Iris Vida

Well, Iris Vida is very into reading books from different eras, cultures, and anything that has been going viral lately, etc. Her passions can't be put in a few words only. Whether it's the "Jazz Age," a Neil Gaiman notable novel, the pitter-patter melodies of Taylor Swift's music, or anything else, she always sends the best materials to her top-notch writings, engaging all readers everywhere. Moreover, like Nick Carraway, who captured global attention with his rich and glamorous look, she leaves readers with a satisfying sense of wonder and an urge to learn more with her compelling writing style.