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Articles / Applying to College / Will “B” in Summer Class Hurt Admission Chances?

Aug. 11, 2018

Will “B” in Summer Class Hurt Admission Chances?

Will “B” in Summer Class Hurt Admission Chances?
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Question: I will be a junior in high school this fall, and I am currently taking a summer Intro to Business course at a community college. I currently have an 85 in the class, and I don't think I will be able to bring it up to an "A." Will getting a B in this class hurt my admission chances a lot if I choose to apply with a major in the finance field?

“The Dean" remembers her own high school days long ago when a “B" could be a cause for celebration, not for worry. But in today's hyper-competitive, everybody-gets-a-trophy world, students are often stressed over any grade that isn't perfect.


So will this B hurt your college admission odds a lot? No, of course not. But will there be any fallout at all? Well, that depends on where you're applying and what else is on your application. At most colleges across the country, a "B" (and even the occasional "C") will have no negative impact whatsoever. But at the small handful of institutions with acceptance rates in the single digits, you will be up against other candidates with only A's on their records. Thus it's important for even outstanding students to recognize just how daunting the competition can be. If, however, the rest of your profile is strong (top grades and test scores; interesting, atypical extracurricular activities or talents; maybe an uncommon background) then the less-than-perfect grade won't affect you, even at the pickiest places.

Because you are clearly concerned about just one "B," it sounds to “The Dean" that you are accustomed to getting all A's. So before you make your college plans down the road, you might want to ask yourself why you didn't do quite as well this time. Was it because it was summer and you had other distractions that kept you out of study mode? Was the teacher confusing or poorly prepared? Was the material especially difficult? Did you find it boring? If you answered “yes" to either of the last two questions, give some thought to your future major in finance. It would be wise for you to take another course or two in business, accounting, economics etc. before you're ready to apply to college. This could help you to decide if you truly like the subject matter or if, perhaps, your true interests lie elsewhere. Just one class is certainly not enough proof that this field isn't a good fit for you. So if you can squeeze in a couple more, you'll get a stronger sense of whether that "B" was just an aberration ... or a warning. But, in either case, don't fret about it!

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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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