(And course selection, the “right” high school, and more!)
Do Grades in High School Really Matter?
The decisions 9th or 10th grader makes this year could have a major impact on whether or not they get into the college they want when they apply in 12th grade.
It’s important to understand, as early as possible, the crucial role GPA plays in college admissions, especially with the rise of test optional admissions policies. In many ways, to a college admission officer, your son or daughter is their transcript.
It shows colleges your student’s courses and grades — it’s one of the top factors in most college admissions … and it could go a long way to determining whether an acceptance letter or a rejection arrives in mail
When your child applies to a college, the admission officers look for two things first: grades and challenging courses, also known as course rigor.
To have a shot at a selective college, your student needs great grades in the most challenging courses.
An “A” in woodworking isn’t going to impress a top college, nor is a “C” in AP Calculus.
What Admissions Officers Look For
• Coursework’s degree of difficulty – within the context of your school.
• Grade patterns – a direct comparison between first and second semester, and year to year.
• Grade trends – did your grades improve as you advanced each year or did they go down?
• Additional academic experiences – community college, summer programs, independent study?
The Importance of Course Choice
Choose your courses carefully! When college admissions calculate GPA, they’ll often focus solely on core subjects (math, science, English, social studies, and foreign language).
Grades for phys-ed, music, and other non-core courses aren’t given the same weight.
Of course, colleges realize that not all high schools have the same academic standards, and they take that into consideration.
In fact, colleges receive an academic profile from every high school in America, known as a school profile.
Your school’s profile shows all the classes offered, including college prep courses, Advanced Placement (AP), or honors/accelerated classes.
So, basically, you’ve got to make sure your child has the whole package – good grades, the right courses, and the right school experiences.
*Source: NACAC Admission Trends Survey 2017
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