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How important are a student's grades in private school applications?

Last updated: 
October 24, 2023

Student grades are a key aspect of admission applications as they provide a history of the student’s academic performance that helps admissions teams predict how the student will do in their school’s programs. 

It’s vital to emphasize that admission teams review applications holistically, looking at grades and transcripts alongside standardized assessment results, teacher recommendations, enrichment and extracurricular activities, the student’s interview and essay, and parent statements to understand the student’s complete story.  

How heavily the school weighs grades amongst the other aspects of a student’s application varies and can depend on whether the school collects standardized testing results. Moreover, grades aren’t purely reviewed for yes-no admission decisions but to understand where each student excels academically (Does it match up with the school’s programs?) and where they may need support if admitted. 

Therefore, if you are wondering: How to get into a private school with “bad” grades? The good news is there is a path to enrollment. The key in this situation is to assess the reason for grades that may seem insufficient and have an honest conversation with your admission representative. 

For example, admission teams recognize that their applicants are children and adolescents, and they understand that situations outside of the student’s control, such as the pandemic, divorce, or a family moving, can impact a student’s academic performance. 

Similarly, transparency in the admission process is vital for students with diverse learning profiles to ensure the school has the necessary resources to support the student. Some independent and private schools specialize in educating students with ADD/ADHD or other learning differences.

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