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The Effects High School Grades Have on College Success

by Stacy Alleyne, studioD

The grades a student receives in high school are often an indicator of how how he will perform in college. While high school grades aren’t the only determinant of future college success, they do provide a good frame of reference for college admission officers. These offices evaluate high school transcripts and can often determine scholarships and acceptance. According to a study done by the Center for Studies in Higher Education at Berkley, high school GPA “is the best single predictor of cumulative fourth-year college GPA,” and high school GPA “stands out as the strongest predictor of cumulative college grades in all major academic fields.”


Achieving good grades in high school often shows that a student has self-discipline. The typical high school student is usually involved in a myriad of extracurricular activities, clubs and sports, not to mention social activities and friendships. Maintaining a positive grade point average can be a challenge. Colleges often seek out students who can juggle all the varying activities and get high grades at the same time, believing that these students will be successful at their institutions.


Students who get good grades in high school are often highly motivated to achieve. These students care about their grades and understand that sacrificing time and fun in the present will pay off in the future. These students are typically more mature and will utilize the same motivation while in college.


The type of coursework that students take in high school also plays a role in future college success. Students who take more rigorous and challenging courses in high school often will find themselves more successful in college. Alternately, students who take the bare minimum in order to graduate will find that college is more challenging if they even get into a competitive college, according to educational consultant, Ellen Shapira.

Time Management

In addition to discipline and motivation, students who do well academically in high school often learn important time management skills that are necessary to succeed in college. College requires self-discipline and effective time management skills in order to be successful. Organized students who use agendas in high school often get better grades than unorganized students do. Learning time management skills in high school prepares students for success in college and beyond.

About the Author

Stacy Alleyne is a certified English teacher with a BA in English and graduate work in English, education, journalism and law. She has written numerous articles and her own dining column for the "Gazette."

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