Do community college grades REALLY matter?

There are lots of unknown about community colleges. In high school, most of my teachers didn’t advocate for community colleges. For high school and universities, grades are a major factor that determines students’ opportunities. Community colleges are no different when it comes to grades.

Grades do matter in community college. What grades a student gets will be a factor for universities when transferring. Students who have higher grades will have higher GPA. A high GPA can grant students more opportunities like scholarships and awards. Students cannot have a successful college experience without having good grades.

What grades are help determine

  • Selective Academic Programs-
    • Almost all college academic programs will have a minimum 2.0 GPA requirement. While this is easy to attain, a few other programs are more competitive. And although 2.0 is minimum, programs expect all who apply to have a much higher GPA.
    • Any competitive field will have a selective admissions program.If you have any plans to enter a competitive field, good grades isn’t an option, it’s a requirement.

Selective Admission Programs in Community college-

There are dozens of great associate degree programs at community colleges. Degrees that are in high demand. Some include:

  • Nursing
  • HVAC/ heating and cooling
  • Dental Hygiene
  • Paralegal
  • Fire Science

All these and many more other programs are highly competitive. Don’t think it will be easy to get in because it is a community college, it’s not. I know someone who had a 3.9 GPA but still didn’t get in a competitive program at a community college. 

  • Programs in Universities- 
    • If you plan on transferring and taking all required classes at community college, you might not need to go through a selective process. But if you plan on going into graduate school, almost all programs will have selective admission.
    • These are just as or more competitive than programs in community colleges. So whichever you choose, the least you can do is have the best grades. 

Some are:

  • Any Health Programs
  • Engineering
  • Architecture
  • Business

  • Scholarships
    • The higher grades you have, the higher GPA you will have. Every university wants students that excel in their classes. These students will make the university look good.
    • The higher GPA, the more scholarships you will be considered for. Easy as that. If your GPA is at least 3.5 or higher at community college, you can apply for honors or Phi Theta kappa.
    • Every university will award extra scholarships to students who are in these programs. 

I am in Phi Theta Kappa and get scholarships for just being in it. Here is the minimum some colleges award for just being a part of Phi Theta Kappa.

University Award
Avila University$250 annually
Baker University$1,000
Park University $500 annually
Ottawa University Half Tuition
Bethel College$2,000 renewable

  • Study Abroad options-
    • Study Abroad is one of the best advantages of any college. A chance to explore the world and get a new perspective that would have been impossible otherwise. Unfortunately, Studying Abroad is a bit costly. And while it is worth every penny, it’s always better if you can save. 
    • Your grades can help with that. You could be able to earn scholarships to study abroad if your GPA is high. Believe it or not, some students study abroad for free due to the scholarships they earn.

  • Internships
    • Main reason people go to college is to get a job. These days, it is extremely hard to get a job in your field without some sort of internship. There are so many people who pay so much for their degree but don’t even use it.
    • Good thing is your college should have a career/internship office. A place where students can get internship assistance in the field they are pursuing.
    • Although they can find places for you to intern. Getting an internship is never guaranteed, it is a selective process. Companies will require you to send a transcript. Huge factor is grades.
    • High GPA is an indicator that a student not only cares about the field, but is educated on it. It is an indicator that a student is able to apply what they learned to the job.

Grades aren’t everything in community college

While grades are important, they are not the only important aspect when attending a community college. For selective programs, programs want to see you have a life. They want to see some sort of challenge you have other than school. These include:

  • Working a Job
  • Managing a business
  • Volunteering
  • Having a leadership role

Don’t think even a 4.0 GPA will admit you into any selective program. Programs will most likely pick someone who can balance around the challenges in their life. In fact, it is better to be involved with a 3.5 GPA than no involvement with a 4.0 GPA.

A friend of mine had a 4.0 GPA and was still rejected from a selective program at my community college.

So the point is…….. Get involved in something other than college work. One of the best ways is to get involved at your college.

How to get into clubs at college

I hope I’ve convinced you now extracurricular activities are just as important as grades. One of the best ways to get involved is joining a club. Here are some tips about clubs in college.


One of the best ways students recruit is by word of mouth. Students join by hearing it from their friend. So just talk to some students in your class or wherever on campus. You might get an idea to start a club with someone else. Someone who might have the same interest as you.

Go to clubs center-

This is the easiest way to join a club. It might seem overwhelming at first. How are you going to find all clubs on campus? All clubs are registered and in one place at your college. Find your college clubs office and check it out. They should have information about each club and what times they meet.

Create your own club-

One of the most powerful things students can do is hold a leadership position. Being a leader is hard and so it will stand out in an application. I’m vice president of a club and it takes a lot of work. So if you can successfully create and manage a club WHILE keeping good grads, you are in real good shape.

Focus on one/ Quality over quantity

It is easy to write about all the clubs you were in. It is hard to talk about your club being successful week and week out. When you find a club you like. Focus on it 100%. Don’t try to join so many clubs. Make your name known in the club. Help with events, manage meetings, recruit others, make the club grow. That is what real leaders have the ability to do. Some could even argue being a leader is more important than grades. 

How to get the best grades you can in college

Since grades do matter, what are some things you can do to get the best grades you can.

  • Develop a studying strategy- 

There are about a hundred study tips out there. Understand everyone studies differently. Find the best way for you. For me:

  • it included group activity
  • little bit of reading text
  •  explaining it to myself
  •  And lots of practice questions 

After you develop your strategy, stick to it. Don’t look at what works for others because it probably won’t work for you. Don’t be discouraged by some who have to study less.

It might take more time for some students to get a subject. Chemistry II tools me hours everyday to understand, while it took less time for this other smart guy. But that’s ok because I focused on myself and passed the class with a B.

  • Be consistent-

After you get yourself a studying strategy, be consistent. If you study at a specific time, try to always study at that specific time. The more routine you make it, the easier it becomes. It doesn’t only become easier but you will also start being more efficient in your studies. Your strategy doesn’t have to be similar to anybody else’s, it’s yours. Own it.

  • Avoid distractions- Study hard/ Play hard

When it’s time to study….. study. When it comes to play….. play. The way to best do this is by studying effectively. Nobody wants to study more than they need to. So focus 100% when its time to focus by avoiding distractions. There has been a study saying once you been distracted, it takes about 20 minutes to focus again. Some things you should make sure:

  • Your phone is on silent
  • You have no food when you study
  • You are not watching any movies
  • Your friends aren’t talking to you 
  • All you are focused on is the subject

If you study efficiently, you can enjoy a balanced life. Use your time wisely and you won’t need to study all the time. You will have a lot of time to enjoy and activities that interest you. It is like the old saying goes, Study Hard/Play Hard. 

While although internet is amazing for learning new information, it can also be real distracting. Don’t rely on yourself, get help. A great app that blocks distracts on the web is Making you more productive in the time you have.

  • Get involved-

You might be thinking getting involved might limit your time to study. And it will. But you do not need to study all the time. Infact, you shouldn’t study all the time. Since you will have less time to study, getting involved will force you to use your study time more efficiently. 

  • Don’t do it yourself- 

Studying efficiently is critical to get the most out of college. One of the ways to study effectively is by studying with others.

  • Classmates-

Do not study with friends just because you are friends. Make sure both of you are actually studying. Try to create small conversations with your classmates about study groups. You are both in the same class. Why not help each other out?

Don’t make the group so big. Try to have a maximum 5 number of people. Study groups are great because instead of spending hours on what you don’t understand, someone else can help explain it to you in simple english. Vise versa. It is a lot better than reading a textbook.

  • Professor

Students rarely talk to professors outside of class, but they should. The reason I like talking to professors is because they make up the test. They are the one who know exactly what I need to study.

The best way to utilize professors is do the reading or lecture on your own and come with specific questions you have. Look, you can spend hours trying to understand what you don’t understand, or it could all be answered in a few minutes by your professor.

  • Relax-

Like I said, grades are not everything. Make sure you are not overwhelming yourself with all your school work. After all, you have to be fine to do the work. So make sure you get a good amount of sleep, nutrition, exercise and all those things that make life enjoyable. You will definitely have to balance between relaxing and studying. Infact, you might have to sacrifice lots of fun activities, but just make sure you have some fun activities. 

My fun activity was playing soccer on Fridays for 3 hours. Everyone has their own thing, enjoy yours.

How much your grade matters really depend on your career field

Another important factor when it comes to grades is your career field. There are some career fields that grades are just not a big factor. Some fields just care if you are able to do the task provided. 

What matters more than grades

  • Internships/Experience

Not everyone with good grades will have great jobs. Most people will but a job or internships is never guaranteed. You must work for it. Few career fields will almost require a certain level of experience.

For example, most business jobs can’t be learned in a classroom. In other words, a person with experience is more likely to be picked than someone with perfect grades. 

Main point: Get experience or some sort of internship in the field you are studying in.

Related questions

Can you transfer to community college with bad grades?

You can transfer to community college with whatever grades you have. Community colleges accept everyone. The only requirement is you are an adult.

Grades can be used to determine what classes you can take. If you passed basic english classes in high school, you might not have to repeat them in community college. 

Placement test- 

Regardless of your highschool GPA, if you feel as if you are ready for a class you can’t be in, you can try to test yourself into the class. 

For example, if you want to take calculus but need to take Trigonometry first based on your previous grades. You can take a math placement test, and if you score high enough, you will be moved to Calculus I.

Does high school gpa matter for community college?

High school grades matter to a certain degree for community college.  Don’t think all the high school classes will transfer to community college. There are specific ways to earn college credit in high school. Make sure you communicate with the college’s advisor.

What if you have bad grades?

Community college can be a second chance. When you enter community college, your GPA starts all over again. So use community college as an avenue to bounce back. If you do extremely well, you can be awarded with scholarships when you transfer.

Main takeaway

Grades do matter at community college, but they are not everything. Infact, without the following, grades might be useless.

  • Internships/Experience
  • Job
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Having a life outside of college.


Yo! I really hoped you got exactly what you were looking for! If not, feel free to reach out to me and I'll do whatever I can to answer the question! Take care!

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