When to Worry about Grades

books with graduation cap and diploma on topSo, you’ve had a bad semester and you got bad grades.  Maybe grades-wise you’ve had a bad school year in general.  When do you need to start worrying if your report card doesn’t show stellar grades?  First of all, you should begin to be concerned about your grades if your GPA isn’t high enough for you to meet the graduation requirements for your high school!  Check with your school counselor to find out what the graduation requirements are for your school.  For many high schools, the GPA requirement for graduation is 2.0.  If your grades are starting to drop down into that range, you might need to start worrying!  Talk to your school counselor to see what you need to do to make sure that you graduate!
In addition to meeting graduation requirements, you should look and see what the average GPA requirements are for the colleges that you are interested in going to.  GPA requirements are different for every college, so you’ll need to check with each school to see what they are.  If you really want to go to a specific college and your grades aren’t quite what they are looking for – then it’s time to start worrying!
Another thing which you should also keep in mind is that you need to maintain passing grades for all of your college required classes.  For example, some colleges will not accept “D” grades for important courses such as English and Math.  Make sure that you are always maintaining high grades in the core classes that are required for college, starting as early as your freshman year.  You wouldn’t want to be held back from going to college because of one “D” grade that you got as a freshman.
As harsh as this sounds, if you are a college-bound student that’s in high school, you should always be concerned with your grades and how well that you are doing in school.  Colleges are really interested to see how well that their applicants did during their high school years.  Most colleges begin to look at your transcript as early as your freshman year in high school, but some can look as early as eighth grade (especially if you took honors or high school courses early)!  So really, you want to be concerned about grades as early as possible.  Remember, your cumulative GPA scores also usually begin during your freshman year, so you want to make sure that you can get the best grades as possible right-off-the-bat when you start high school.
Even if you aren’t sure if you want to go to college, you should still worry about your grades.  Many employers like to see a record of the GPA which you maintained in high school, especially if you don’t go on to get a college degree.  Sometimes you will be asked to even include specific grades on your resume, particularly if you work in a specific field which requires a certain amount of education or previous knowledge.  Hiring employers also look at GPAs to try and get an idea of the work ethic and personality of their future employees.
So, basically, worrying about your grades is always an important thing to do.  With that said though, remember that grades aren’t everything.  They are not a reflection of the success that you’ve had as a person, and sometimes don’t even reflect what you have learned in your classes.  Don’t let grades get you down, but remember that they also are important to help you in your future.  They can always change and be improved!  So don’t spend all of your time worrying about grades – instead get out there and start working to get them better!

Fun and Effective College Prep

girl in a hallwayGetting ready to go to college can be a lot of fun, especially if you plan ahead!  The earlier you start to plan for college, the more effective you’ll be and fun you’ll have.  Then, when the college apps are due, you’ll be able to be stress-free!  There are a lot of fun things that you can do to stand out on a college application and get ready for college.  Here are a couple examples:

Clubs and Activities: Get involved in a lot of clubs and activities at your high school and in your community!  Not only are these fun for socializing and meeting peeps, but you can also strengthen you college app this way.  These activities and interests will show college application reviewers your passions and interests!  If you’re not sure what you’re interested in yet, try out a couple different activities and see what you like best.  There are lots of fun activities that can help you get involved.  After you find what’s most interesting to you, stick with it as long as possible!  Colleges really like to look for applicants that have several years of involvement with clubs and groups.  Plus, if you have a chance for some type of leadership in your club – go for it!  Colleges are always looking for people with leadership skills.

Start Saving Money: Managing and saving your money effectively can actually allow you to have more fun in the future!  Start saving your money as soon as you can by creating a savings account that you won’t touch until after you graduate.  Look into getting a summer, weekend, or after-school job.  If you start early and put at least 10-20% of your paycheck into savings, you’ll still have enough money for shopping fun while you’re still in high school!  Remember though, that the more money you save, the less you’ll be stressed about money when you actually start college.

Start Looking at Different Colleges: Sometimes looking at different colleges is like dating – you have to look around a lot before you can really decide works best for you.  Just like dating, looking at different colleges can be fun!  One effective way to start finding out about colleges is by visiting their websites or visiting their campus.  Start looking early at different colleges to find out what is most interesting to you.  Be sure to look at the admission requirements for colleges too, so that you can get a heads-up on the requirements for applying.

Challenge and Push Yourself: Sometimes challenging yourself can be the most fun and rewarding experience while you prepare for college.  In order to be a competitive applicant, check out what college prep classes are available your school, and take a couple of the courses offered!  The earlier you start, the more effective and prepared you’ll be!  Most colleges require two years of natural science classes, two years of history/social science, three years of math courses, and four years of English.  Look into taking one or two years of foreign language classes too – many colleges also will look for this in your application!  Doing well in these kinds of courses are often very fun and rewarding to the serious college applicant.  Always try to do your very best and study hard to get good grades, but don’t stress too much if your GPA is a little less-than-perfect.  Colleges are looking for applicants that are ready to challenge themselves!

Getting ready for college can be a lot of work, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t have fun along the way!  Remember, the earlier you start, the more fun you’ll be able to have as you get ready to start college!