Do middle school grades matter?

If you’re struggling with your middle school classes, you might be wondering “Do middle school grades matter?

Middle school is a time for figuring out who you are and what kind of student you’d like to be. Your grades from those years don’t significantly impact the rest of your academic career, but they can affect some things—and it’s essential to know how they’ll shape your future path.

Do colleges actually look at middle school grades?

Colleges don’t look at middle school grades. The only exception is if you took a class in middle school to earn high school credits. If that is the case, your transcript that is sent to colleges will reflect the grade you earned. Ask your counselors if they will include the high school classes you took in middle school in your GPA. However, in general, colleges are more concerned about how you have performed during your junior and senior year of high school because they want to see you having an upward trajectory and maintaining great grades. This is why it is better to get a grade of a B during your freshman year than during your junior or senior year.

An example of this exception where middle school grades can be sent to colleges is if your high school has a program where they also allow 7th and 8th graders to take classes at that high school. My high school had this middle school program where they have 7th and 8th graders complete their 7th and 8th grade at my high school instead of at an elementary school. In this case, my high school factored their 7th and 8th grade middle school GPA into their unweighted GPA that was sent to colleges, because these 7th and 8th graders were taking some high school classes during 7th and 8th grade. If you’re wondering, the high school I attended was called Lane Tech College Prep, and it in Chicago its 7th and 8th grade program is called their academic center program. A couple other Illinois high schools also have a 7th and 8th grade program such as Whitney Young, Taft, and Kenwood Academy.

do middle school grades matter

Your middle school grades can affect your high school classes

Doing well in middle school grades can help students take advanced level classes for their grade in high school. For example, if you took an honors math class as a seventh grader and did well in that class, you might be invited to take algebra your eighth-grade year. Then when you get to high school you won’t have to take algebra your freshman year and you can instead start taking geometry your freshman year. By eliminating these class requirements, you will be ahead of your peers and you will also look good to colleges because colleges like students who take challenging classes.

Grades in middle school aren't as important as high school grades, but they still matter.

Middle school grades are not as important as high school grades; that said, they still matter. You’ll want to aim for Bs or As in middle school because getting a low grade might make you get you dropped from middle school sports teams or other extracurriculars you are a part of that you might want to continue in high school. If you get dropped from a sports team in middle school, it might make you less likely to get into that sport team in high school because you haven’t been practicing that sport. An excellent middle school strategy is to do well on challenging assignments and tests by studying hard before them so that when it comes time for the test, you’ll have no problem with it.

Colleges also evaluate students’ foundational academic abilities, which usually start in middle school. Middle school students, for example, learn to be independent and critical thinkers.

What else do colleges look at besides potentially middle school grades?

In addition, most colleges look at students’ entire high school records instead of just their college entrance exam results alone (like the SAT or ACT). The number of Advanced Placement (AP) courses taken during those years can also play a role in determining whether or not someone gets accepted into their dream schools. Students who take AP classes and do well on the AP exam can be eligable to earn college credit for that respective class at colleges. Top colleges like to see students who challenge themselves and can handle the riger of top college academics. Some examples of AP classes are English Literature/Composition, Calculus AB; Macroeconomics; Microeconomics; Biology.

You can read about how many credits are AP classes here.

You can read about if AP Lang is hard here.

You can learn about Studio AP Art here.

You can read about AP Environmental Science here.

Starting good study habits can help set you up for success later on.

If you’re applying to a four-year university, your high school grades will be the most important factor in determining whether or not you get in.  So what should parents do? To start with, they should talk with their child about the importance of doing well in middle school and how doing so leads to good habits in high school. Just because middle school grades don’t necessarily matter for college applications doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to do poorly in middle school.

Then parents can help their child develop study habits and a great work ethic that will help them perform well academically throughout middle school and high school. As well as later on in life—whether they want to pursue higher education right away or not.


Middle school grades don’t necessarily matter for college applications, but don’t let that make kids slack off in middle school. It’s important to remember that middle school is a time when kids are figuring out who they are and what they want out of life. Poor habits early in middle school can lead to poor habits in high school and beyond.

Middle school teachers will be watching how you handle yourself around others, so it’s also important that your grades don’t affect your standing with friends or teachers. If you’re struggling with middle school schoolwork, try talking to an adult who can help you find a solution!