Myth: Middle School Doesn’t “Count” For College Admissions

A lot of students believe that only what they did in high school matters to their college application, and that’s not necessarily the case. A lot of what you did in middle school may actually have an effect on your life, high school grades, and overall application. The college isn’t going to look at the grades from those middle school years, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t reflect on your time from sixth to eighth grade. Here’s a few reasons why.

You Developed Habits

Most likely, your good study habits started while you were in middle school. You began creating your study schedules, using a planner, learned to manage your time properly, or get your homework done at certain times. You may have also pursued an interest in sports or another hobby through your school that taught things like determination, will power, responsibly, and more.

These habits and interests would have followed you to high school and absolutely had an impact on your grades and education during these years! Don’t count out how much middle school formed you as a teenager and as a student. If you continued with the sport or hobby, you can definitely acknowledge how that early introduction helped your passion for the extracurricular.

You May Have Taken Important Courses

Was there a course you took that shaped what classes you took in high school? Or maybe even had a role in you choosing a major for your college applications? This is important to your development. And if a college asks you about your choice in major, you can reflect back on this time in your life and talk about why it had such an impact on you.

On the same note, you may have even taken high school courses during eight grade. This could have set you up for taking more advanced classes in the last four years of school. For example, some middle schools allow you to take 9th grade biology in 8th grade. This option can put you ahead of the game in the science department.

Did You Volunteer?

Many students also start volunteering or working for charities around this time in their life. You don’t have to keep that off your application, especially if your volunteer work started during middle school and continued through high school or if the experience shaped you in some way today.

Consider what you did during those years and during the summer. Did you help others learn to swim? Did you tutor anyone? Were you a junior camp counselor for your local town? Think back to what may have set you up for success during high school or had an effect on course choices, desired career path, or personality.

Even though colleges and universities aren’t going to delve into your middle school background, it doesn’t mean it wasn’t important. Those three years helped form the person you are today, educationally and mentally. Take that into account. What had major impacts on you? Did it affect your choice of study? Your high school courses? Did you take advantage of volunteer opportunities early on? Don’t just write it off because it isn’t “high school!”

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Hilary Cairns

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