If you apply normally to colleges (no EA or ED) do they get your senior grades?
Simple answer is YES. All colleges eventually get your Semester 1 senior grades.
The caveat is the timing of the grades.
1. If you apply ED/EA/SCREA, then your final semester grades will not be available to review so many schools will determine your acceptance, deferral, or rejection based on your 9-11th grade transcript. Some schools have mid-semester reporting so, that mid-semester grade goes through.
2. If you are accepted ED/EA/SCREA, you still have to submit all of your senior grades according to the college's schedule. Most mid-year reports are due in February, and then after your graduate your HS counselor submits the final 12 grade report.
3. Therefore, it's paramount that your senior grades do not deviate too far south of your normal grades. If you are an A student, and end up with a C+ senior GPA, that will not bode well and you might get your acceptance rescinded. If you end up with a few Bs, that's okay. You want your senior grades to be above a 3.0 GPA no matter what.
The grades colleges see when you're applying are your junior year grades. However, your final transcript with your senior year grades is the final piece of the admissions process (they could revoke your admission or reverse their decision if your grades are bad). Many colleges will request final transcripts containing your senior year after you graduate. Some (like Stanford) request for a mid-year transcript (this includes your semester 1 grades).
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