• Support PF! Buy your school textbooks, materials and every day products Here!

Is it too late to turn around my grades (High School)?

  • #1
57
4

Main Question or Discussion Point

Let me preface this by saying I am in the ninth grade: I ended my grade 9 math course with a 60%. Why, one might ask? Because I was lazy and not thinking about my future. It's my own fault. I am going to retake the course online by correspondence and do my best.
I think I have potential and that if I focus on the course and study hard I might get a good grade. But there's the problem: Might.
I have never gotten high grades in Math or most subjects. All I have ever had is hope and aspirations. My highest Math average ever is about 85% from grade 8 and my science average this year is a mere 75% compared to my 91% last year. I was lazy and didn't pay attention this year and now I'm here. It may sound ridiculous, but I have hopes of going to M.I.T. Contrary to how it may sound, I adore Math and Science(especially physics and biology) and I really want to be an experimental physicist someday! Is it possible for me to do well in grade 10 and improve to a point where M.I.T might accept me? I have the determination, but I don't actually know if it's possible. I feel really nervous about my future at this point. All the people around me are getting 94 and 98s in math and science, so I feel dwarfed.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
8
1
Let me preface this by saying I am in the ninth grade: I ended my grade 9 math course with a 60%. Why, one might ask? Because I was lazy and not thinking about my future. It's my own fault. I am going to retake the course online by correspondence and do my best.
I think I have potential and that if I focus on the course and study hard I might get a good grade. But there's the problem: Might.
I have never gotten high grades in Math or most subjects. All I have ever had is hope and aspirations. My highest Math average ever is about 85% from grade 8 and my science average this year is a mere 75% compared to my 91% last year. I was lazy and didn't pay attention this year and now I'm here. It may sound ridiculous, but I have hopes of going to M.I.T. Contrary to how it may sound, I adore Math and Science(especially physics and biology) and I really want to be an experimental physicist someday! Is it possible for me to do well in grade 10 and improve to a point where M.I.T might accept me? I have the determination, but I don't actually know if it's possible. I feel really nervous about my future at this point. All the people around me are getting 94 and 98s in math and science, so I feel dwarfed.
Don't worry too much, I had a horrid freshman year (2.5 GPA), simply because of the fact that I was lazy/going through some bad family stuff. All it took was a bit of determination and 2 years later my GPA is now sitting around a 3.7, somehow. If you do want to attend MIT, grades and standardized scores will obviously be very important. A friend of mine applied to MIT last year (first in his class out of 431 students, with a 2100~ SAT score) and did not get accepted for EECS (not exactly sure why). All it takes is plenty of determination, but community service, extracurriculars (NHS, BSA, student council), and good recommendation letters are almost critical, also. I wish you the best!
 
  • #3
radium
Science Advisor
Education Advisor
750
228
Getting into MIT for undergrad is not likely for anyone, regardless of their grades. There are many very intelligent people who don't get in. Some of them may have had the potential to be one of the top students there based on their subsequeny performance at another institution. You should also consider if MIT would be the right environment for you. I have several friends who went there for undergrad or grad school and the impression I get is that the undergrad environment is very high pressure and can be demoralizing for some people if they are not suited to this environment (they may have the intelligence but not thrive in high stress situations).
 
  • #4
22,097
3,279
You should stop thinking of MIT. First because it is very unlikely for anybody, certainly if you don't have stellar grades. Second, you should think more about learning as much as you can instead of thinking about the reputation of you or your future institution. There are plenty good other universities than MIT.
 
  • #5
57
4
Don't worry too much, I had a horrid freshman year (2.5 GPA), simply because of the fact that I was lazy/going through some bad family stuff. All it took was a bit of determination and 2 years later my GPA is now sitting around a 3.7, somehow. If you do want to attend MIT, grades and standardized scores will obviously be very important. A friend of mine applied to MIT last year (first in his class out of 431 students, with a 2100~ SAT score) and did not get accepted for EECS (not exactly sure why). All it takes is plenty of determination, but community service, extracurriculars (NHS, BSA, student council), and good recommendation letters are almost critical, also. I wish you the best!
Thanks. That's really crazy that he didn't get accepted if he was that good. but hearing your story is quite motivating! I will need to involve myself in more extra curricular activities I guess. Even if I don't got to M.I.T I there are still many amazing universities to go to.
 
  • #6
57
4
You should stop thinking of MIT. First because it is very unlikely for anybody, certainly if you don't have stellar grades. Second, you should think more about learning as much as you can instead of thinking about the reputation of you or your future institution. There are plenty good other universities than MIT.
I don't think I'll completely stop thinking about M.I.T as some possibility, because I do recognize how unlikely it is to get in. However, I wouldn't really be disappointed if I was unable to get in, as there are many good physics universities. Also, as you said, learning is the most important thing, not your reputation. Thanks.
 
  • #7
57
4
Getting into MIT for undergrad is not likely for anyone, regardless of their grades. There are many very intelligent people who don't get in. Some of them may have had the potential to be one of the top students there based on their subsequeny performance at another institution. You should also consider if MIT would be the right environment for you. I have several friends who went there for undergrad or grad school and the impression I get is that the undergrad environment is very high pressure and can be demoralizing for some people if they are not suited to this environment (they may have the intelligence but not thrive in high stress situations).
That's good to know. I suppose going to one of the most prestigious schools in the world would be stressful, especially for an undergrad.
 
  • #8
radium
Science Advisor
Education Advisor
750
228
While it is true that a lot of top schools (Ivy league, Stanford, Chicago, etc.) are stressful environments, I do think that MIT is a school that is meant for a very particular type of student. For example, the grading is much harsher than most (if not all) of the Ivys (I think Chicago is similarly harsh though and also Caltech) and you don't have people majoring in English or History etc. to diversify the environment.
If you are struggling to get good grades now, that is a huge warning sign that MIT is not a good place for you. It's a place where even really brilliant people need to work hard, so if you don't have the work ethic and study skills you will run into trouble if you attended.

Note what I am telling you is technically secondhand, but comes from direct sources (i.e. several friends who did their undergrad at MIT and current grad students, some of whom have taught MIT undergrads).
 
  • #9
8
1
Either way, it would look nice to employers that you graduated from MIT, but I can almost guarantee that after graduation from any school with a decent amount of internships/research/other jobs in your field, it really won't matter where you went to school as long as you know what you're doing. Realistically, employers are looking for people good at their jobs, not just specifically MIT graduates only, from what I know at least.
 
  • #10
Vanadium 50
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Education Advisor
2019 Award
24,032
6,607
you don't have people majoring in English or History
The guy who lived down the hall from me was a Classics major.
 
  • #11
radium
Science Advisor
Education Advisor
750
228
I actually don't know anything about the humanities/non STEM disciplines at MIT so that is quite interesting. Were those all secondary majors? I guess the point I was trying to make is that the concentration of people interested in the sciences is way higher than at other peer schools.
 
  • #12
donpacino
Gold Member
1,439
282
Let me preface this by saying I am in the ninth grade: I ended my grade 9 math course with a 60%. Why, one might ask? Because I was lazy and not thinking about my future. It's my own fault. I am going to retake the course online by correspondence and do my best.
I think I have potential and that if I focus on the course and study hard I might get a good grade. But there's the problem: Might.
I have never gotten high grades in Math or most subjects. All I have ever had is hope and aspirations. My highest Math average ever is about 85% from grade 8 and my science average this year is a mere 75% compared to my 91% last year. I was lazy and didn't pay attention this year and now I'm here. It may sound ridiculous, but I have hopes of going to M.I.T. Contrary to how it may sound, I adore Math and Science(especially physics and biology) and I really want to be an experimental physicist someday! Is it possible for me to do well in grade 10 and improve to a point where M.I.T might accept me? I have the determination, but I don't actually know if it's possible. I feel really nervous about my future at this point. All the people around me are getting 94 and 98s in math and science, so I feel dwarfed.
I slacked off my first few years of high school (and my first year of undergrad).
I have a masters degree from an IVY. I got numerous job offers. I make good money working in engineering at a good company and enjoy my job.

If you turn it around you'll be fine. Your life isn't crushed because you got a 60%. If you got a 60 freshmen year, and 90% all the other years, it will be like you got 90% the entire time. For the most part if you show serious improvement and change, people will not care. It can get better if you make it that way. Please note though it can be an uphill battle. You need to prove to people that there is a change, and that you do understand the material that you got a poor grade in. One thing I did was interview with college professors when applying for schools. After my interview at one school, one of the professor went to talk to admissions to make sure my low grades freshmen sophmore year would not automatically disqualify me.
 
  • #13
57
4
I slacked off my first few years of high school (and my first year of undergrad).
I have a masters degree from an IVY. I got numerous job offers. I make good money working in engineering at a good company and enjoy my job.

If you turn it around you'll be fine. Your life isn't crushed because you got a 60%. If you got a 60 freshmen year, and 90% all the other years, it will be like you got 90% the entire time. For the most part if you show serious improvement and change, people will not care. It can get better if you make it that way. Please note though it can be an uphill battle. You need to prove to people that there is a change, and that you do understand the material that you got a poor grade in. One thing I did was interview with college professors when applying for schools. After my interview at one school, one of the professor went to talk to admissions to make sure my low grades freshmen sophmore year would not automatically disqualify me.
That's actually really inspiring, thank you so much for the reply. I think now that I know it's possible, that I can make it happen :)
 
  • #14
Khashishi
Science Advisor
2,815
493
It should be possible to get into MIT without a 4.0 if you have some newsworthy extracurricular activities. If you built a neutron gun out of spare parts in your garage, that could be something.
 
  • #15
57
4
It should be possible to get into MIT without a 4.0 if you have some newsworthy extracurricular activities. If you built a neutron gun out of spare parts in your garage, that could be something.
Lol. Is that something that would just take a lot of hard work, or do you need to be a genius?
 
  • #16
Student100
Education Advisor
Gold Member
1,649
416
For example, the grading is much harsher than most...
I thought MIT was one of the schools that had some serious grade inflation going on? Don't freshmen now get to take all first year courses as P/NP or something ridiculous?

I'm sure it's rigorous, but from what I've heard the grading at ivy's isn't all that harsh.
 
  • #17
FactChecker
Science Advisor
Gold Member
5,384
1,953
It certainly is not too late. But you should understand and fix the causes of the low grades. And you may have some catching up to do.
 
  • #18
Vanadium 50
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Education Advisor
2019 Award
24,032
6,607
I don't see where pass/fail is the same as grade inflation. There are reasons not to like P/F, but I don't think this is one of them.

First term MIT freshman get grades like everyone else. Grades of A, B and C are recorded as P on their transcripts. Grades of D or F are not reported. Second semester, Grades of A, B and C are recorded as such on their transcripts. Grades of D or F are not reported. Upperclassmen have D's and F's recorded. Unlike freshmen,upperclassmen get credits for D's.
 
  • #19
radium
Science Advisor
Education Advisor
750
228
I thought MIT was one of the schools that had some serious grade inflation going on? Don't freshmen now get to take all first year courses as P/NP or something ridiculous?

I'm sure it's rigorous, but from what I've heard the grading at ivy's isn't all that harsh.
While the classes are Ivy's are rigorous, it's true the grading is definitely not as harsh as places like MIT or Chicago and a lot of public schools (I hear public schools do not have as much grade inflation if at all). There is major grade inflation at Brown, Harvard, and I think Yale. Princeton, Penn, and Cornell are a bit less inflated. I'm not sure about Columbia and Dartmouth.
 
  • #20
atyy
Science Advisor
13,731
1,870
While it is true that a lot of top schools (Ivy league, Stanford, Chicago, etc.) are stressful environments, I do think that MIT is a school that is meant for a very particular type of student. For example, the grading is much harsher than most (if not all) of the Ivys (I think Chicago is similarly harsh though and also Caltech) and you don't have people majoring in English or History etc. to diversify the environment.
If you are struggling to get good grades now, that is a huge warning sign that MIT is not a good place for you. It's a place where even really brilliant people need to work hard, so if you don't have the work ethic and study skills you will run into trouble if you attended.

Note what I am telling you is technically secondhand, but comes from direct sources (i.e. several friends who did their undergrad at MIT and current grad students, some of whom have taught MIT undergrads).
But if the classes are harder, and everyone is doing badly (eg. all the people who get 98% now get 75%), then a 75% could be an A. So getting 75% is not necessarily a problem.
 
  • #21
57
4
While it is true that a lot of top schools (Ivy league, Stanford, Chicago, etc.) are stressful environments, I do think that MIT is a school that is meant for a very particular type of student. For example, the grading is much harsher than most (if not all) of the Ivys (I think Chicago is similarly harsh though and also Caltech) and you don't have people majoring in English or History etc. to diversify the environment.
If you are struggling to get good grades now, that is a huge warning sign that MIT is not a good place for you. It's a place where even really brilliant people need to work hard, so if you don't have the work ethic and study skills you will run into trouble if you attended.

Note what I am telling you is technically secondhand, but comes from direct sources (i.e. several friends who did their undergrad at MIT and current grad students, some of whom have taught MIT undergrads).
Yeah, it makes sense to think that if I'm struggling now I'd probably not fit well into MIT, but I think I am not really struggling in the way you make it sound. The reason my grades are low is for a lack of trying, not a lack of ability, I think. But, if my grades are still on the low end after putting in maximum effort in grade ten, then and only then will I stop considering MIT so much. Thanks for the advice, all of these replies have been super useful and I'm learning a lot from this thread :)
 
  • #22
radium
Science Advisor
Education Advisor
750
228
Percentage wise the averages on many tests will be much lower than in high school, but that makes it easier to get a more informative grade distribution. So if you get a 75%, that may be good if the average is in the 60s (this is not uncommon. You can't really relate grades with percentages in college (at least the ones I know of) because the professor may design a test so that what would be a C is in high school is actually an A or a B.

If you are struggling because of lack of effort that may actually be even worse when it comes to college admissions. It's hard to immediately go from being lazy to having the work ethic required to succeed at MIT. College admissions really does not favor the lazy smart kid

A lot of people (I'm not saying you) go into college with the attitude that if someone has to try, they aren't actually intelligent (I observed this a lot). However, soon enough these students will start to struggle and possibly become demoralized because they haven't developed a good work ethic and this can do a lot of damage to their GPAs.
 
  • #23
57
4
Percentage wise the averages on many tests will be much lower than in high school, but that makes it easier to get a more informative grade distribution. So if you get a 75%, that may be good if the average is in the 60s (this is not uncommon. You can't really relate grades with percentages in college (at least the ones I know of) because the professor may design a test so that what would be a C is in high school is actually an A or a B.

If you are struggling because of lack of effort that may actually be even worse when it comes to college admissions. It's hard to immediately go from being lazy to having the work ethic required to succeed at MIT. College admissions really does not favor the lazy smart kid

A lot of people (I'm not saying you) go into college with the attitude that if someone has to try, they aren't actually intelligent (I observed this a lot). However, soon enough these students will start to struggle and possibly become demoralized because they haven't developed a good work ethic and this can do a lot of damage to their GPAs.
That last part is especially interesting to me. I know lots of people getting nineties in my school that say they don't study. I somewhat doubt that, but if it's true and that habit persists, then I think I can outlast them.
Yeah, I definitely understand your point about how struggling from a lack of effort can actually be worse. However, over the past two weeks I have spent almost all of my nights studying, studying, studying which is something I've never done before. It's even stranger that I'm actually enjoying studying. I think it's because I have this voice in the back of my mind, chanting:
High marks, MIT, Science! High marks, MIT, Science!
And, for the first time in my life, I am seeing that the benefits of hard work might be huge. I think my final test of the year (this Tuesday in science) has the potential to be a huge turning point in my life because it will be the first test I've had since I've started taking school seriously. If I don't get at least above an 80%, I will probably feel extremely demotivated, even if I try not to feel that way. But, if I succeed and do as well as I am hoping, then I think I will have all the proof I need to show myself that hard work pays off.
Sorry, I went on a bit of a tangent. Thanks again for all the participation in this thread
 

Related Threads on Is it too late to turn around my grades (High School)?

Replies
29
Views
16K
Replies
15
Views
6K
Replies
6
Views
5K
Replies
5
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
8
Views
3K
Replies
20
Views
4K
Top