During the college admissions process, your current transcripts are sent to each school.

This begs the question- do the grades students earn after they’ve already applied hold significance? As it turns out, yes! These grades do matter, and it’s important to be aware of how they can impact your chances of acceptance. It can be common for students to take their foot off the gas after submitting their applications, but there are several reasons seniors should strive to earn good grades.

After high school seniors submit their college applications, it’s important to not let grades slip. For those applying via Early Decision or Early Action pathways, these grades can be an absolute deal-breaker for some colleges. With competitive universities especially, schools are always looking for ways to find the best applicants. First-quarter high school grades can set you apart from others in the application pool. When colleges receive large amounts of students applying, these grades can be used to filter out applicants. All schools have different requirements, so be sure to check if you must submit these grades (1).

If you are applying via ED or EA and the schools you’ve applied to don’t require your first-quarter senior year grades, they still may be worth sending in.

Since schools across the country are receiving higher volumes of applications than ever, not all colleges will follow up and request your current grades to help with the filtering process. Don’t leave any of your cards on the table! If your first quarter grades are strong, sending them in voluntarily can help you stand out from the crowd. If a student has earned all A’s, they should absolutely submit their grades to the colleges they have applied to. Submitting these grades, even merely by emailing your admissions officer at each college and letting them know what your grades are, also shows colleges you are confident in your academic abilities (1).

For students applying with Regular Decision, first-quarter grades as well as semester grades are extremely important.

These grades are commonly requested when applying via Regular Decision and are submitted as a part of the mid-year report, which updates the college on your current GPA. Also included in this report are your course selections, so be sure to select classes that further your academic path and show universities you are open to challenging yourself. An end-of-the-year report is also commonly requested, which allows colleges to check that you can keep your grades consistent throughout the entire year. These grades may affect your place on waitlists or impact scholarship eligibility. Most scholarships require maintaining a minimum GPA, so senior-year grades must be prioritized (2).

After submitting your grades and applications, it’s also important to monitor your application progress and ensure that the school you’ve applied to has received all of your information.

Typically, schools will email a confirmation, but if you haven’t received notice within two to three weeks, follow up with the school to ensure they have everything that they need from you. Some schools require an interview and scheduling is often tied to these confirmation emails, so staying on top of your application’s progress is very important (3).



2. https://www.princetonreview.com/college-advice/college-admissions-guide
3. https://www.amherst.edu/admission/applicants/monitor_application