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Last updated March 6, 2024

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What if I Have Low Grades on My Mid-Year Report?

Key Takeaway

If your mid-year grades are not as good as expected, it is important to take action and address the issue. Identify the problem, seek help, be proactive with colleges, and follow through with your plan. Show admissions officers your ability to adapt and learn from challenging situations.

Picture this: you've devoted countless hours to studying, joined lots of extracurricular activities, and put together a robust college application.

It's your senior year, and you're set to enjoy some well-earned downtime.

But too much downtime can lead your senior year grades to drop.

And that becomes a problem for your college application when you have to submit your mid-year report, which is the grade update you send to admissions officers around February.

So what happens if your grades aren't as good as you expected? How does it affect your college admissions chances?

Let’s talk about it.

What happens if my mid-year grades are bad?

Colleges and universities look at your entire high school performance, not just your grades at the time you apply. This includes your senior year grades when they’re available.

If these grades dip significantly compared to previous years, colleges have the authority to revoke offers of admission. Admission decisions are contingent on your maintaining a consistent academic performance throughout your senior year.

A minor dip in grades won't automatically tank your chances. But a notable drop could cause concerns for the admissions officers who admitted you.

Colleges realize that senior year is a really stressful time, but they still expect students to stay on top of their academics until graduation.

What to do if your mid-year grades dropped

If you find yourself dealing with low mid-year grades, stay calm and quickly take action.

Here's what you can do:

1. Identify the Problem: Figuring out why your grades slipped is the first step. Did you take on more than you could handle? Are you struggling with a particular subject or topic? Recognizing the root cause can help you plan your next steps.

2. Take Action: Once you identify the problem, you need to address it. Ask your teachers for extra help, get a tutor, or form study groups with classmates. The goal is not just to bump up your grades, but to genuinely understand and excel at the material.

3. Be Proactive with Colleges: If your grades have dropped and this information is on its way to the admissions offices, honesty is the best policy. Reach out to your admissions officer directly, explain what happened, and tell them what actions you're taking to fix the situation. Do not skip this last step. The transparency shows you're taking responsibility and doing what you can to improve.

Whatever you do, avoid making excuses. Be truthful, accept the situation, and emphasize your action plan. Think of the situation as an opportunity to show admissions officers your ability to adapt and learn from challenging situations.

4. Follow Through: After communicating with the colleges, it's time to make good on your promises. Work diligently, stick to your plan, and show an upward trend in your grades.

You've put in a ton of effort for three years to get to where you are today. A hiccup during your senior year is not the end of the road. With a solid strategy and commitment to see it through, you can get back on the right path.


Colleges consider your full high school academic journey, including senior year grades. A substantial drop can lead to a rescinded offer of admission. If you notice your grades have slipped, identify the problem, take steps to address it, and engage proactively with colleges about your situation and your plan to bounce back. Above all, stick to your plan and demonstrate to colleges your commitment to academic success.

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