August 8, 2023

What if I get a bad grade?

We hear this question a lot from students and their parents and our answer to this is, “That’s it! You’re done for and you’ll never get into college.”

Just kidding.

Getting a bad grade is more common than students realize and it’s important not to let one grade bring down your confidence or future trajectory of the rest of your high school transcript. College admission officers have seen many bad grades before and students have been accepted despite those grades. Whenever we work with a student who received a bad grade, we coach them to take a few steps toward addressing and sometimes replacing the grade.

How to change a bad grade 

The good news is that it is possible to replace a bad grade! Retaking a course and earning a better grade is a great demonstration that a student is capable of learning the subject and motivated to earn a better grade. We recommend that students retake courses in Plato (online) or a similar program over the summer.

Showing growth after getting a bad grade 

In addition to retaking a course for a better grade, students can demonstrate growth in their commitment to academic achievement by showing a new, improved trend in grades. This takes hard work from the student, but an increase in a semester GPA after a bad grade (or grades) is what an admissions team likes to see. This lets a college know that a student can earn good grades and is also

motivated to do just that. The proof is in the pudding so to speak. That’s the kind of motivation and determination they seek in students who may run into academic hiccups on their campus.

Write an essay 

Finally, we recommend writing an essay to explain your academic blip and reference your improved trend. Rather than letting an admissions officer wonder what happened on your academic record, you can help them understand it proactively while drawing attention to the efforts made to improve your grades and what inspired you to continue on a course of improvement on your academic journey.

Have more questions? 

We’re here to help and would love to hear from you.

Class 101 has helped thousands of students navigate their high school experience and college planning journey. Our experts make college planning simple and help families pay less for college. Reach out to us at one of our locations:

Class 101 Brandon, FL | Class 101 Carmel, IN | Class 101 Bloomington, IN

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