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Articles / Applying to College / Will Colleges Look at Second-Trimester Grades in March?

Will Colleges Look at Second-Trimester Grades in March?

Sally Rubenstone
Written by Sally Rubenstone | Jan. 15, 2015

Question: I am a high school senior who already sent my RD apps (mostly ivies). I have a question about senior grades. My first trimester grades has been sent with the school report. According to my GC, they will resend the first trimester grades (not second semester grades because they won’t be ready ’till mid-march) as the mid year report during February. So, my question is how likely is it for colleges will call my school looking for second semester grades which will be ready in mid-march? Will they be too busy or not?

Colleges will probably NOT contact your high school for grades in mid-March unless you are a borderline applicant. If you are, admission folks will want to see if your senior grades are as strong as—or stronger than–your past ones. Likewise, they may ask for grades if there’s some specific concern that the March grades might resolve. For instance, if you had a light junior course load and are taking more rigorous classes in grade 12, the admission committee may want to find out how you’re handling the challenge.

If this question you’ve sent to “The Dean” is code for, “I had a good first trimester but already I’m starting to slack off, and I worry that my second trimester grades may screw me,” rest assured that you could get lucky and your admissions verdict might be issued without the March report card … or you may get unlucky and the downturn could hurt you. Keep in mind, too, that colleges will rescind acceptances if final grades aren’t up to snuff, but they usually give students some wiggle room to falter in the spring, as long as it’s a small slip and not a crash-and-burn!


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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