Do Colleges Look at Middle School Grades?

Do middle school grades matter to colleges?
April 26, 2024
3 min read
Expert Reviewed


Reviewed by:

Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University

Reviewed: 4/26/24

Do colleges look at middle school grades? Continue reading as we answer your questions about middle school grades and college admissions!

Getting admitted into college is a big step for students, but with the excitement comes a lot of questions about preparation. One big question you may ask yourself is, “do middle school grades matter?” 

Keep reading as we discuss whether colleges look at middle school marks and how you can start preparing for college while in middle school. 

How Important Are Middle School Grades?

Middle school grades are very important. A student’s middle school years are formative, both personally and academically. Working hard and getting good grades in middle school builds habits that increase your chances of performing in high school and college. 

You will begin to develop foundational academic skills in middle school, so paying attention and taking your studies seriously can be key to future success. Middle school is where students begin learning to think independently and critically, all of which will be essential to one’s academic future. 

It is much easier to continuously work on and improve skills than to start from scratch as you reach high school and beyond. So yes, middle school grades are important! And, the best part is even if your middle school grade point average falters, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to work on your academics before your grades start to matter! 

Do Middle School Grades Matter to Colleges?

Technically, middle school grades don’t matter that much to colleges. Colleges mostly focus on your high school GPA, ACT/SAT scores, and extracurricular activities. Your middle school grades will not even be a part of your college application. 

As such, if you’re wondering if there’s an average middle school GPA you should strive for, there isn’t really! However, just because you shouldn’t be too concerned with your middle school grade point average doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take your middle school marks seriously. 

The classes you take in middle school are foundational to your high school classes. Getting good grades in middle school will help your performance in high school, allowing you to stand out during college applications. As such, instead of focusing on what a strong GPA is in middle school, you should focus on 

What Can You Do In Middle School to Prepare for College?

While your grades in middle school may not be a part of your college applications, you can still start planning and preparing early on. Here are some things that any middle schooler can start doing to prepare themselves for high school and college.  

Start Saving 

College can be expensive, so it’s never too early to save up. While financial aid and scholarships are available, many students still need to take on a lot of debt to pay for their education. Putting away a few dollars here and there can add up and make a difference in the long run. 

Once you get a part-time job in high school, you can start putting even more money away. Your future self will thank you for starting to save and practicing good saving habits. 

Practice Good Study Habits 

What grade holds the most significance in middle school? It’s a question worth pondering. Luckily, none of your grades hold too much significance. Rather than focusing on just your grades, it’s important to start practicing and developing good study habits sooner than later. 

Learning what study style works best for you will improve your grades on assignments and tests. High schools have rigorous course loads and so do colleges. Look at your middle school grades to get a better picture of what your study strengths are and where you have to improve. 

Middle school is a great time to explore study habits and styles to find out which method works best for you and your learning. Taking time to do this early will make those difficult high school and college courses more manageable! 

Self-study is a great method for learning independently and can be used throughout your life from college and beyond. Ultimately, make sure to learn what works for you. 

Get Involved in Extracurricular Activities 

While college applications don’t ask for your middle school grades, they look at extracurricular activities you participate in. 

Joining a sports team or a club in middle school and staying involved throughout high school demonstrates dedication and reliability. These are qualities that college admissions committees look for in applicants. 

Start Thinking of Potential Colleges 

The best way to prepare for college is to know the expectations and statistics. To do this, you can begin looking into what colleges you would like to attend. 

Picking a select few schools means you can familiarize yourself with their faculty, programs, admissions statistics, and tuition. Doing this will also give you a headstart when you begin building your college list!

FAQs: Do Colleges Look At Middle School Grades?

If you’re still wondering if colleges look at middle school grades, keep reading as we answer some frequently asked questions below. 

1. Does Harvard Look at Middle School Grades?

No, Harvard does not look at middle school grades. However, developing good study habits and work ethic during middle school can build the foundations for your high school marks and academic achievements that Harvard will look at. 

2. Do Grades in 8th Grade Matter?

While colleges don’t look at middle school marks, these marks do still matter. 

Your grade eight marks can dictate whether you are eligible to enroll in IB or AP classes, which colleges do take into consideration when looking at applicants. 

3. Do Ivy Leagues Look at Middle School Grades?

No, Ivy League schools do not look at middle school grades. 

While these schools may not look at your middle school marks, there are still many ways you can prepare for Ivy schools. Ivy schools look for well-rounded students, so consider participating in extracurricular activities that admissions teams love to see on applications! 

Final Thoughts

While colleges may not look at middle school grades, that does not mean these years are not key to your future academic success. Middle school grades are important to get into advanced high school classes, which help your college application stand out. 

Middle school lays the groundwork for essential skills like independent and critical thinking, which you will need to use in high school, college, and beyond. 

It’s never too early to start preparing. Best of luck!

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