College Plan Timeline:


Your high school teachers don’t want you to fail. If you show an interest in raising your grades, most likely they will help you accomplish that goal.

Colleges look at your grades during junior year to understand your academic abilities.

Grades are important. Everyone knows that, but junior year grades are even more important. If your high school transcript is your school building, your junior grades are the foundation.

Why? What makes junior year so much more important than others?

1. Most likely, you’ll be putting your college applications in the mail (err…internet) your senior year. Since you won’t be finished with your last final by then, your senior grades won’t be listed on your applications. This means your junior year grades will be your last full year of grades for admissions boards to look at in determining your college fate. It’s your last year to impress.

2. Your junior year teachers are the ones you’ll be asking for letters of recommendations your senior year. It’s going to be tough for Mrs. Parker to write anything positive if you napped your way to a C- in her biology class.

3. A drop in grades can send up a proverbial red flag. Even if everyone knows your junior classes are more difficult than your freshman ones, a declining grade trend is bad news. On the flipside, an increased GPA or a consistently high average shows you’re ready for the big time.

Cool. We know junior grades are important. But what should we do about?

Junior Grades: Tips and Tactics

  • Check in with your counselor and have a little talk about your GPA and class rank. Even if your counselor gives you that, “I don’t want to talk about your grades because they are bad” look, it’s not too late. Remember, colleges like an upward trend.
  • It’s not too late (yet!) to schedule honors or AP classes. These kinds of classes will show you’re ready for the challenge of a college schedule. Plus they can help you skip some college general ed courses, which college graduates will tell you, is never a bad thing.
  • Study, work hard, go to class, and study. If you need help, get a tutor, stop by after school to get help from your teachers, or just ask your peers or parents for help. You’d be surprised how much you can improve if you get serious about your studies.

Did we mention study?

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Related Tools and Checklists

High School Junior Timeline and Checklist
High School Senior Timeline and Checklist

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