Half of the academic marking period is over, but it's not too late to turn over a new leaf. Whether you are considering applying to boarding school next year or have already submitted your application, it’s important to realize that it is never too late to start fresh in the new year and pick up your GPA.
You may have put your best foot forward in September - and most of October - but then let your academic track record slip around the holidays. Should you panic? Yes and no. While many students believe that scholastic resolutions are best set at the beginning of the school calendar year, January midterms are certainly another opportunity to get back on track - and stay there.
If you throw in the towel and consider your GPA to be doomed mid-year, then you simply aren’t looking at your grades (or the trajectory of the school) year like a trained admission counselor does. GPA is important, sure - and the occasional slump in your school work can certainly drag that down; but showing overall growth throughout the year (or years) is equally as important in the eyes of admissions.
When an admission counselor sits down to review a student application, they are not just looking for numbers, but also patterns and stories. At The Winchendon School, we strive to learn the type of person you are, what your life experiences may have been, and what motivates you personally and intellectually. We are looking for how we may help you to grow academically, as well as how you might contribute to our student life. Many admissions offices don’t expect a perfect transcript; but they do expect effort and growth, even if incremental.
For this reason, the interview is an important component of your application: your life deserves an explanation. Academic slumps in your transcript are to be expected. High School is hard, and adolescence is turbulent. But are you curious? Do you want to succeed? Have you had to overcome obstacles? Do you try harder in certain classes more than others? Chances are, if you have the ability to turn your grades around mid-year - especially when things get tough – you’ll be ready to hit the ground running by the time you enter boarding school, and you’ll strive for the same success while you’re there.
Entering a “new” calendar year, don’t start over. Just keep trying. Forgive yourself for hitting a slump, dust yourself off, and make progress. Make some time to meet with your current teachers to find out where you are struggling and make a plan for your improvement. Ask for extra projects or assignments to dig yourself out of a hole. Keep a list of your academic goals and the steps it might take to get there. Think about the distractions in your daily life and how to minimize them. Don’t look back, just try to understand what went wrong and move on. Your effort will be noticed.