Have you ever heard of the school profile? Did you know it should be included in your child’s college admission packet?
It’s something many parents and students aren’t aware of.
An often-overlooked component of the application process, an updated school profile gives in-depth contextual information about your child’s high school to college admissions officers.
School profiles are most often written by the school and uploaded by a college counselor when they send your child’s application to colleges and universities.
It’s worth understanding this document and reading the profile with your child to understand more about how admissions officers will view your child’s high school.
Perhaps now more than ever, with COVID-19 impacting every aspect of school attendance, a thorough picture of how your child’s school dealt with classes, grading, and scheduling is absolutely necessary.
What Is a School Profile?
Each high school composes a school profile (usually annually) to convey general information about the school.
This includes every piece of pertinent information that a high school community, administration, school board, stakeholders, and college admission counselors might need to know about the school and its students.
It is typically a two- to four-page document that can help others quickly and easily get an overview of the school.
It also provides students with information about the rigor of the curriculum offered, and how they compare to the rest of the student body.
The Important Information to Include on a School Profile
The following information should be up-to-date and included in a school profile:
- Contact Details such as the school mailing address, email, phone and fax number, and the College Entrance Examination Board (CEEB) code
- Community Details such as the school location (including distance to a city)
- Demographics such as the race and socioeconomic background of the student body, the percentage of students who are first-generation college students, and the percentage of students who participate in low-income programs
- College Attendance/Post-Secondary Plans of students such as the graduation rate, percentage of students going into two- and four-year colleges, and a list of colleges attended by recent graduates
- Extracurricular Activities such as clubs, organizations, and sports offered at the high school
- Curriculum Information such as the sequencing of classes, various tracks, the specific AP or honor courses available and their entrance requirements, all courses that are available, and graduation requirements
- Grading/Ranking/GPA details including procedures like weighting system used in calculating GPA and what each grade letter equates to as a percentage range
- Test Score Details including SAT, ACT, and AP scores or ranges for the previous graduating class
- Any pertinent information that distinguishes the school from others
- Any changes or updates that were made
What Do Colleges Look for in a School Profile?
All of the aforementioned information is important, but in particular, the school profile contact information, demographics, grading, curriculum, and college attendance stats are necessary for colleges to put your child’s high school education in context.
Contrary to the myth that colleges predominantly seek out well-rounded students, they actually search for unique students with grit, determination, perseverance, and independent thinking to contribute to a diverse and unique incoming class.
They want students who stand out. A school profile is important in providing information that can highlight how rigorous a curriculum your child completed and the challenges your student’s school or district faces.
A key component of a school profile that is losing importance is standardized test score information.
An increasing number of colleges and universities are going test-optional as more scrutiny is given regarding how much these tests really measure attained knowledge and college readiness.
Making an Appealing School Profile
An exemplary school profile should be clear and concise and should contain pertinent information. It is also important that it is updated regularly, and it should clearly convey any changes that were made.
You can request to see your school’s profile from your child’s college counselor. Many high schools also post their school profile on their website.
It should go without saying that the school profile must be error-free. A mistake or a forgotten bit of important information can change how an admissions counselor views a student.
If you or your child find an error, politely bring it up to your child’s college counselor so the profile can be edited.
How to Fill Out and Submit a School Profile
When a counselor sends a transcript to a college, it should be accompanied by a school profile—and this is usually the case.
Alternatively, the high school counselor can upload it when submitting the Secondary School Report.
You can also upload the school profile yourself from the Academic Page of your application. Ensuring busy college admissions officers don’t have to scramble to search for this will put your child in a better light.
There is no need to worry about adding more paperwork to the college application process as the School Profile is easy to include.
It’s just a matter of knowing that it exists and how important it is.
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