What do colleges look at when accepting applicants

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What do colleges look at when accepting applicants

You know, ultimately for colleges, and almost every college is this way, the first thing that they look at is GPA. And it always pains me to say this to parents, because usually when they're asking is the GPA important, it's because the GPA isn't maybe quite as strong as they would like. But GPA is probably the number one thing. Closely behind that, and it depends on the college or university, are things like the schedule of courses that a student has taken. How rigorous is it? Has he or she tried to take higher level classes when they're available? and then also the profile of the high school. So colleges take a look at what is the average SAT coming out of the high school, or what courses are offered there compared with what courses does the student actually sign up for and take. then colleges are also looking at SAT scores and ACT scores. So that is also an important factor. And colleges use those as a shorthand way of standardizing what a GPA from a high school might mean when they're comparing it to high schools all across the nation. So if you have a fantastic GPA but do very poorly on standardized tests, colleges will take that into account and maybe think maybe your high school preparation isn't quite as strong as your GPA might indicate. So those are really the key components. The first things. And then following behind those things, following behind GPA, courses taken, the standardized tests, are the other things. And those can be essays written, teacher recommendations, extracurricular activities, kind of everything else that rounds out a student.
TEEN, Education, Applying to College

Learn about: What do colleges look at when accepting applicants from Robert K. Cooke, MEd,...


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Robert K. Cooke, MEd

Upper School Director

Robert has been in K-12 education for thirty years; for sixteen years he was a high school history and social studies teacher, teaching subjects such as AP US History, Western Civilization, World History, Economics, and Anthropology. His school administrative career has been equally varied, serving as Director of Activities at a large public high school, and a Middle School Director and Upper School Director at independent (private) schools in the Midwest and California. Robert earned his Bachelor's Degree in History from Carleton College, and his Master's in Education from Claremont Graduate University. He is a member of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), the California Association of Independent Schools (CAIS), and the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD). Robert has served on school accreditation teams in the Midwest and California. He has two children, one of whom is an acting and English Literature double major at a large urban university on the East Coast, while the other is a high school junior in Los Angeles.


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