How To Improve Your High School GPA

good grades

Many students don’t realize that you only have three years to build your GPA for college.
Because you apply to college early in your Senior year, you don’t have Senior grades yet, so you apply with your end-of-Junior-year GPA. This gives you three years to work hard for the GPA you want, to get into the colleges you hope to go to. But if things go wrong, as they sometimes will, there are some fixes for a troubled GPA.

Do well freshman and sophomore years
This is the number one way to end up with a great high school GPA. By starting strong, you actually set your GPA nice and high, while classes are the easiest. Then during Junior year, when classes are the hardest, your GPA can handle a B or two (or even maybe 3).

Pull up Middle School A’s
If you got A’s in any high school level course that you took during middle school, then talk to your school counselor about possibly pulling these up onto your high school transcript. ONLY do this if you got A’s. B’s pull your GPA down. You should not do this if you have a really high class rank because, while not all high schools do class rank, colleges love it when they can actually claim to have students who were in the top 10%, so if you are in or near the top 10%, then don’t do anything that would drop your class rank. Adding unweighted A’s, at some high schools, can drop your rank!

Go to Summer School
If you did poorly in a class, then definitely consider retaking it in summer school! Be sure to talk with your counselor first, to make sure the summer school course is approved. The ones offered by your school are usually the easiest and best way to go. Sign up early because they fill up. Summer school is miserable, so try to do well in the class the first time around–during the school year–when it’s free and not summer!

Retake classes during the school year
Most high schools will allow you to retake a class during the next school year, even just one semester of it. Before signing up, talk to your counselor to be sure that this new grade will replace your bad grade.

Know if your school weights AP/IB classes in your GPA
If your school does weight advanced classes when calculating your GPA (that is to say they give them more weight) then if you take lots of art and band and unweighted classes, those can bring down your GPA. This same concept applies to class rank.

Work independently with a teacher to repair a grade
Sometimes a teacher will be willing to work with you to allow you to do some independent study work to repair a grade, if you had some tough circumstances in your life and the teacher knows about it. This varies from teacher to teacher and school to school, but it’s always worth asking about. DO NOT ask the teacher if they can help you fix your grade. (Teachers hate talking about points and grades.) DO ask the teacher if you might be able to retake/redo some of the work so that you can master the material for next year because you know you need to understand it.

Retake a class somewhere locally
Your city may have a local business that offers classes which your school MAY (or may not) accept as replacements for classes on your transcript. These places are like special one-to-one schools where you are forced to master the material because you are the only student. These places are often a little spendy and you MUST make sure your counselor will accept the class before you take it, because your school may not!

Study more
The best way to repair your GPA is to spend 20, 30 or 60 minutes more on your homework each night. You will be amazed at the difference this makes! Even reviewing material is very powerful.

Get a tutor, right away
This can be a peer tutor, extra help after school from your teacher, or a tutor who comes to your house. Libraries also have tutoring services that are often free! As soon as you feel that you have a problem, get extra help! Don’t delay at all. Stay on top of your comprehension in a class because the class just keeps moving and it doesn’t just “get better” without you finding a solution.

Go after school for extra help
Your teachers are happy to help you after school. Go regularly and take your questions. Be prepared. Don’t just sit there and expect the teacher to think for you and tell you what to do. Go and do your homework in their classroom and then when you get stuck ask a question. This is VERY helpful because they see you trying, and they are the best person to help you get past confusing parts. You won’t always *love* every teacher; this is normal human nature. But it is your responsibility to hide your lack of love and be respectful. That is polite. Go get the help!

Apply to places that drop freshman year grades from your GPA
If Freshman year grades are dragging you down, some colleges, like San Diego State, Cal Poly, and Chapman, actually drop your freshman year grades from the GPA they calculate for your admission file.
There are lots of ways that you can fix a GPA. Remember the very best way–do your best the first time around and get help as soon as you are confused. You can do this! :),

Comments

  1. when they saw that middle class grades counts does it counts from 6th grade or is it from 8th. if you had a b in 6th grades does that counts in the middle school area too

    1. Author

      Hi Ali!
      Colleges will evaluate you based only on your high school transcript. If your high school lists any high school level courses on your transcript *that you took during middle school* then that could be an issue because B’s don’t help your GPA and you don’t want unnecessary B’s on your transcript if you can help it! 🙂 If you have more questions, please post them in our Forum. Yay, college!
      Susanna

  2. what do you need to get a good gpa. IS it ok to have an A- or A instead of A+. what if you get an B+ or B- I languages classes and you A+ and A’s in Math would the English classes grade affect gpa.

    1. Author

      These grades all sound fine to me! Do your best and follow your heart, and you’ll end up where you’re meant to be. Please post any future questions in the Forum and I’m happy to answer them Yay, college! Susanna

    1. Author

      Hi Samantha! Good for you for working on your GPA. Can you post your exact question in the CollegeMapper Forum? I’m happy to advise you. 🙂
      Yay, college!
      Susanna

  3. If you retake a course over the summer while in high school, will colleges be able to see your original grade or see that you re-took the course?

    1. Author

      Hi! Could you post this great question in the CollegeMapper Forum? I’m happy to answer them there, so other kids can search for answers. Best, Susanna

    1. Author

      Hi! Could you post your question in the CollegeMapper Forum? I’m happy to answer them there, so other kids can search for answers. Best, Susanna

    1. Author

      Hi! Could you post your question in the CollegeMapper Forum? I’m happy to answer them there, so other kids can search for answers. Best, Susanna

    1. Author

      Hi! Could you post your question in the CollegeMapper Forum? I’m happy to answer them there, so other kids can search for answers. Best, Susanna

  4. So, if I get a bad grade in one of my classes that lowers my GPA, then retake the class over the summer in summer school, that will increase my GPA? Also, I’m considering dropping this class, and if I do, it will be as if I never took it…like it won’t show up on my transcript. Would it be wise to drop it instead of it potentially lowering my GPA in the future? Thanks! I’m a freshman BTW, and have a C in my Java elective.

    1. Author

      Hi! Could you post this great question in the CollegeMapper Forum? I’m happy to answer them there, so other kids can search for answers. Best, Susanna

  5. During my first semester in sophomore year I got an F on chemisrty so I went to summer school and a C in spanish. The rest of my transcript is all A’s and 2 B’s (I am a junior) What can I do to make the transcript look better.

    1. Author

      Hi! Could you post this great question in the CollegeMapper Forum? I’m happy to answer them there, so other kids can search for answers. Best, Susanna

  6. Do you think that it’s possible drastically change your class ranking in 2 years? Freshman ans Sophmore year i slacked off and i’m now a junior making most a’s and b’s. Do you think that i could change my class ranking drastically with all A/B’s for junior and senior year while Fresman and Sophmore i was mostly B/C?

    1. Author

      Hi! Could you post this great question in the CollegeMapper Forum? I’m happy to answer them there, so other kids can search for answers. Best, Susanna

  7. I’m a junior in high school, and my GPA’s already dropped .2 points this year due to a single C+. My AP classes are fine (A in APUSH and B in AP Bio), but do you think I’ll be able to pull my GPA up by the end of my senior year? I’m aiming for Premed school at GVSU, and I’m really freaking out now. Thanks in advance!

    1. Author

      Hi! Could you post this great question in the CollegeMapper Forum? I’m happy to answer them there, so other kids can search for answers. Best, Susanna

    1. Author

      Hi Brian! You can post questions in the CollegeMapper Forum and I answer them there, so they are searchable. 🙂 Best, Susanna

    1. Author

      Hi! Could you post this great question in the CollegeMapper Forum? I’m happy to answer them there, so other kids can search for answers. Best, Susanna

  8. I’m a senior, can I retake some classes that I did horribly in to improve my grade in those classes? Or is it too late?

    1. Author

      Hi there! I’m happy to answer this question! Would you do me a favor and post it in the CM Forum so that other kids can search for your answer? GREAT question! 🙂 Susanna

  9. I screwed around my freshman year and just did enough to get by my sophmore year it is now junior year and i currently have a 1.5 gpa can i fix this by senior year with making up classes

    1. Author

      Hi there! Would you post your question in the CM Forum for me so that kids can search it? Happy to help! Susanna

  10. I have two C’s, three A’s, and a D(Which I’m working on) but my GPA hasn’t changed at all, and these are probably the best grades I’ve had in some of these classes. Is there anything else I can do? I don’t remember what grade I got on the high school class I took in eighth grade, but how much will I be able to raise it if I bring the C’s to B’s and the D back up to a B?

    1. Author

      Hi there! Would you post your question in the CM Forum for me so that kids can search it? Happy to help!! Susanna

  11. Throughout my freshman and sophomore year I have 4 c’s, 3 in math and 1 in english. I have several b’s, in english geometry science foreign language arts social studies and gym. And i have 9 A’s in english social studies arts and phys ed. I retook my gym class since I got a 55 in freshman. I have one honors class in sophomore year and no honors in junior year. Does my 55, 70, 75, 75,75 affect my gpa badly? And does not having honors class for Junior really bad? I’m going to junior year next week can I improve my math class as well get more A’s? Will I be able to get over 3.0 gpa?

    1. Author

      Hi Tiffany! The best thing for you to do is to make an appointment with your counselor at school and go over everything to set grade goals for this year and see if you can redo any classes, in order to strengthen your GPA. You can also ask your counselor to help you see what your GPA for college applications will be if you get all As or half As this year, etc. Please let me know how that meeting goes!

      Best,
      Susanna

    1. Author

      Hi Jasmine, can you make an appointment to talk with the guidance counselor at your school? Please let me know. Retaking some classes next semester would raise your GPA. My thinking is that you will want to get enrolled in a support program at your local community college this summer and work closely with an advisor and tutors there to get started on your college path. This is 100% possible and you will just need to work hard and never give up. Please let me know how your meeting goes. You can do this! Xoxo, Susanna

  12. Did you ever have an answer for ‘If you retake a class and earn a higher grade, will colleges still see the original?’ I also have this question.

    1. Author

      Hi Anni! You need to ask your counselor because each school district handles this differently, so they might remove, add, or replace the grade, depending on their policy. Just go in and ask them in the counseling office and they will know right away! Yay, college! Susanna

    1. Author

      Hi Chloe! This depends on what grade you are in?
      Cheers, Susanna

  13. Can I retake classes even if I didn’t fail them because I got a B once and it drives me insane.

    1. Author

      Dear Emma, Hello! Perhaps you can retake classes for a B, but having a B shows character, that you are strong and human, and not a perfectionist, (as perfection doesn’t exist anyway). You would need to ask your counselor about retaking the class, but please do not worry if you cannot. It really is ok! Best, Susanna

  14. i failed my geomentry class should i go to summer school or take it next year by switching out one of my elective classes.

    1. Author

      Hello! I would talk with your school counselor and see what he/she suggests because in truth, both of these options are good. I tend to suggest summer school because the school year schedules are so packed, but there is a charge for that, so talk with your counselor. Yay, college! Susanna

  15. I’m going to be a junior in August and my cumulative gpa is a 3.13. My freshman year I averaged A’s and B’s, but I ended my sophomore year with 1 A, 2 B’s, 1 C, 1 D, and an F. I’m retaking second semester Algebra II, but how do I raise my gpa, and is it possible for it to be at least a 3.5?

    1. Author

      Hi Mariah! It’s great to hear from you. Yes, it is very possible to repair a GPA. Follow the tips I listed in that blog post and do all of them as soon as you can. Do not delay. Talk to your school counselor about redoing the D and the F classes during summer, online, and even during the school year. You have twelve months now until you start applying to colleges, so you have twelve or so months to fix your GPA. You can do this! And I really think it is worth it!! Let me know if you have any other questions. Yay, college! Susanna

  16. I am going to start my Junior year in August and right now my GPA is 2.8, can I improve my GPA and hit 3.4 ? Please help me out

    1. Author

      Hello! Follow the tips in this video and also make an appointment to meet with your school counselor. Your counselor can tell you what ways you can still use to improve your GPA and don’t worry because as long as you go to college, your GPA starts over there–even at community college. Take your college GPA VERY seriously because it follows you and is the most important factor that determines where you could transfer into or go to grad school after you go to college/undergrad. Hope this helps! Susanna

  17. I’m a junior going to be a senior when school starts back in August and my gpa is low but I have been in summer school the past years and just recently was in summer school last month and idk if I’m going to make it

    1. Author

      Hello! Follow the tips in this video and also make an appointment to meet with your school counselor. Your counselor can tell you what ways you can still use to improve your GPA and don’t worry because as long as you go to college, your GPA starts over there–even at community college. Take your college GPA VERY seriously because it follows you and is the most important factor that determines where you could transfer into or go to grad school after you go to college/undergrad. Hope this helps! Susanna

    1. Author

      Hello, with straight As and repairing past low grades, possible! Cheers, Susanna

    1. Author

      Any college or community college classes and lots of summer camps. 🙂 Susanna

  18. I had a bad car wreck and am disabled, i had my last daughter late in life at 45! I was totally out of it for 1 1/2 years when she started high school. she had no one but me and i wasn’t their for her i was so drugged up and had like 3 surgeries! Her freshman year grades were so bad so so bad like 1.67 gpa, I feel so guilty I didn’t know! She goes to a private school and I am shocked they did not talk to me or have her retake the classes! She wants to go to 4 year college her advisor at school told her no way she will get into any 4 year college. I’m broken watching her cry and feel left behind. She is so embarrassed. I didn’t go to college I’m 62 and so broken for her.

    Her grades this year are all A’s i don’t know how much that will pull her grade up. I don’t know if the electives are pullin her grades down. I don’t know what to do…………… do i take a chance and apply her for college in Jan after these grades post or go ahead and apply she wants to attend ECU she has relatives their.

    I have a friend that runs a private school just 40 kids someone told me to take her their it is accreated, and let her retake some classes but i don’t want to overwhelm her. can you help this old lady that don’t understand any of this!

    1. Author

      Hi Kathy, I’m very sorry to hear about all of this and I am quite surprised that the high school did not tell your daughter she needed to go to summer school, as she needs to have a certain amount of credits to graduate from high school. I suggest the two of you go immediately to meet (POLITELY) with the (very overwhelmed) school counselor. Be very cheerful and grateful and just try to get help. That counselor needs to review her transcript and make sure she has everything she needs to graduate. Then, after that meeting, make an appointment with an admissions counselor at ECU and take her transcript there. Go together, both of you, to both of these meetings and be very kind. Ask the ECU counselor what she recommends about applying. Keep me posted and good luck! This can all work out. Where there is a will there is a way. My brother went to college at age 38! Best, Susanna

  19. i’m a sophomore and my gpa is 1.8 i know that is very bad but i have all 90s and one 78 plz help

    1. Author

      Hi McKinzy! Make an appointment to meet with your counselor at school *right away*, this week, and ask:

      1. which classes you can redo in the summer
      2. which you can redo online
      AND
      3. which you can ALSO redo during the school year in your free/elective spots.

      By retaking several classes during freshman or sophomore year (when the GPA is the most powerful) in which you got Cs or Ds or Fs, you will dramatically raise your GPA.

      Before you register to do this anywhere, your school counselor MUST approve the course. So you will need to develop a good working relationship with your school counselor. Be very sweet and kind, because you are asking for extra help. When your counselor sees that you really want to go to college, he/she will do all they can to help you. You can do this! DO NOT give up, kiddo! College is one of the best life decisions you will ever make.

      Keep me posted!
      Susanna

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