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Articles / Applying to College / Do Midterm and Exam Grades Go on High School Transcripts?

June 21, 2011

Do Midterm and Exam Grades Go on High School Transcripts?

Question: I will be applying to college next year and was wondering if midterms and final test marks appear on high school transcripts or is it only the final grades?

This depends entirely on where you go to high school. Some schools put only final grades on transcripts. Most put all the quarterly and semester grades, too. Many also include exam results and even standardized test scores. (So if you're applying to test-optional colleges, beware!)


College admission officials are most interested in the final grade in each class, but they also look at patterns (e.g., Did lousy midterm scores torpedo a semester grade? Did the applicant go down in all your classes in the third marking period? Was there an illness or family problem than may have contributed? )

So ask your guidance counselor how this information will be presented to colleges. Also take a look at the “School Profile” (often available online, on your high school’s Web site.) All of your “target colleges” will receive a copy when you apply. The School Profile reports such information as school size, percentage of college-bound students, and, often, socioeconomic demographics. It usually lists all the AP and honors classes that are offered, along with other data about course options, requirements, etc. Sometimes School Profiles can be confusing or misleading, so you might want to take a look at yours to make sure it’s clear. If not, you can ask your school counselor to clarify it in his or her recommendation. (For instance, if the senior Humanities class is an honors class but not listed as such, the counselor can explain.)

As you apply to colleges next year, it can be worthwhile to know exactly what the admission committees will be seeing ... before they actually see it. ;-)

(posted 6/21/2011)

Written by

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

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