With so many items to juggle, including GPA, standardized tests, and extracurricular activities, many students wonder if they’re on track throughout high school. While GPA is one indicator of success in high school, there are several other factors that students should take note of.
This can be especially stressful for families who want to help guide their teens to success — whatever that means for their child. Many times this means getting into a good college and choosing a major that will bring them both happiness and financial security.
However, without knowing for sure what a specific college is looking for, students and their families feel a lot of pressure as they prepare for college admissions. So, how do you know if you need to make changes or if you’re doing just fine?
We’re here to help! We’ve taken the admissions data from the over 10,000 students we’ve personally worked with to develop an algorithm that assesses how a student is positioned at the schools they’re interested in.
GPA and grades are some of the most important elements of a strong profile. A good way to think about GPA is as a qualifying number. That is, the badge that gets your foot in the door to be considered for admissions at a college. Simply put, for many colleges, if your GPA isn’t above a certain number, the rest of your application won’t hold much weight.
SAT scores are important because they’re used as a cut-off in admissions. Admissions officers often use SAT scores to screen applications, so if your scores aren’t high enough, your extracurriculars and essays might not even be reviewed.
A great SAT score can also make up for a weak grade in a class or a less-developed extracurricular profile. While this really depends on what a school is looking for, a higher SAT score can give you a boost.
Extracurricular activities are a major component of a well-rounded high school experience. ECs give you the chance to do what you love, not just what your teachers tell you to do for homework. They allow you to discover an interest and cultivate it in depth.
Higher tiered activities show admissions officers whether you demonstrated leadership, good judgement, and initiative given the available resources. Additionally, students are evaluated on whether they earned regional, state-level, national, or even international recognition for their extracurricular involvement
College essays can be a critical component of your college applications because they allow your personality, passions, and determination to show through. Schools like students with a track record of success. Your essay can show them where you shine and what benefits you’d bring to their community.
Starting your essay early, coming up with a thoughtful idea, writing several drafts, self-editing, and soliciting feedback may help you create an essay that will give you that extra edge as an applicant.
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