What do colleges consider more, test scores or grades?


The college process is something that every high school student goes through and it is just not a fun time.  Stressing out over picking colleges, picking a major, taking standardized tests, and taking classes to boost your rank is already stressful enough.

Recent conversation has sparked up in the senior class if grades even matter right now.  We already all took the ACT and some SAT and have settled for scores we have earned.

So do grades matter?  I know many seniors and juniors have their own ideas about what some colleges do and what some don’t do.

Senior Eric Bley is convinced that the ACT is considered more than grades.

“Honestly I don’t really care much about my grades.  I mostly put all my work towards getting good ACT and SAT scores,” said Bley.

He also added that everyone should worry about ACT more and spend less time on their grades.

On the other hand, another senior, Cole Yuellig, has a different opinion about this issue.

“I didn’t really get that good of an ACT score,” said Cole, “So I’m working on getting my grades the best they can so hopefully colleges see that and think that I’m intelligent enough by getting good grades.”

So it goes both ways and everyone has their own opinion, but how about we ask a master in this field to get their opinion on it.

In a recent interview with Mrs. Graham, I asked if a good ACT score, about 27 or higher, trumps having decent grades, as in an average of lower than an 85.

“Colleges are more inclined to look at your ACT score more just because it is a standardized test,” said Mrs. Graham, “But grades still play a part in what they look at for different reasons.”

She continued to add that it all depends on the situation happening to what they would look at more or less.

Now obviously these colleges are going to look at the levels that are taken by each student to make sure they aren’t just trying to breeze through high school with really easy classes.

Colleges look at both ACT and grades about the same.

— Mrs. Graham

Mrs. Graham told me a story about a student who graduated last year, name is to be anonymous.  He was applying to the University of Cincinnati and earned a 26 on his ACT.  Mrs. Graham added that they would normally accept that every time and there would be no problem, but he had failed two classes his senior year and because of that, they did not accept him.

That story will just put in perspective how colleges look at grades and ACT scores.

So my advice to you when you get to this stage in life and are ready to pull out your hair with all these college decisions going on is to not focus on one or the other.

Whatever you are best at, whether that be in the classroom or taking standardized tests, spend the most time at the one topic you are bad at and spend less time on the topic you are good at so that you can have a consistent grade all across the board.

Being consistent is a big part in what colleges look at.  Getting a 32 on the ACT, but having an 80 average makes colleges scared to accept you into whatever program because they don’t know how to think about you.

Be consistent and try your best at everything and you will be fine.