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7 months ago
Harvard prospective students

Some low marks in my Freshman year
Answered

Hi! Well, I was studying at an American school in the country I reside in, but at my 8th grade my parents decided to transfer me to an Arabic school with mostly an Arabic curriculum so that I can study in the country we reside in. However, in my freshman year, I've told them about my dream to study in the US, specifically Harvard. They accepted this idea and then enrolled me again at an American school. Unfortunately, this transformation between curriculums was so hard for me and I was trying to readapt with my colleagues' levels as I've lost many lessons in my 8th grade that were crucial for my understanding of lessons in my freshman year. As a result, I've lost 1/8 a mark in English, 1 mark in Biology, and 1/2 a mark in Chemistry (but all are graded with A+) Fortunately in my sophomore year, I've readapted again and got high marks. But will this lost of marks during my 9th grade hurt me during my application at Harvard, especially the science ones, as I want to major in Biology?

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Accepted Answer
7 months ago

@sosi I'm a little confused about your 'mark' terminology! You mentioned losing some marks in 9th grade, but also maybe said that you got A+s in your classes. Sorry I'm not familiar with this grading system - feel free to comment below so that I can understand it a little better.

In general, admissions officers are relatively forgiving of lowish freshman year grades provided that the student does extremely well in subsequent years. AOs are especially understanding of this situation when a student has a legitimate excuse for low grades at the start of high school. I'm not sure exactly what your grades were, but provided that they're not very low, that you get high grades for the rest of high school, and that you do a good job explaining the difficulty of transitioning between curricula and the impact it had on your freshman year grades in your CommonApp "additional information" section, I think you would still have a chance at an acceptance at elite schools like Harvard.

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