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The Road to College

Students can create a clear path to the college or university of their choice by planning, making good choices, and working hard. Here are six essential measures that college and university admissions officers use to decide who will receive the coveted admissions letter.

College Preparatory Curriculum

  • Admissions Officers check transcripts for a class schedule that matches a curriculum that will prepare students for the demands of college courses. A College Prep Curriculum focuses on four areas: Math, English, Lab Science and History. Core classes should be complemented with rigorous electives.
  • Students will be compared to students at other schools to see if they are taking the most challenging courses available including Honors and AP and International Baccalaureate Program
  • An Honors Program includes high school courses that challenge students to work at a higher level.
  • The AP (Advanced Placement) program allows students to take college level courses during high school. AP Tests are given in the spring of each year. They’re scored on a scale of 1 to 5. “3” is a passing score; students can earn college credit with scores of 3 and above.

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Transcripts

  •  Student records kept by schools that include information about classes, credits and grades received in high school.
  • GPA (Grade Point Average) is a measure of student achievement used in high school and college. Each grade is assigned a value (A=4, B=3, C=2, D=1, F=0), and course grades are averaged to determine GPA.

 

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Solid GPA

  • Colleges and universities use a student’s GPA along with other information about a student to decide whether or not to offer admission to students.
  • Many scholarships and some grants from states are also dependent on solid GPAs.
  • Students should keep their GPAs between 3.0 (B) and 4.0 (A+) average.
  • Tutorials are often available through the school or local community groups.
  • Keep track of your student’s progress throughout the quarter/semester to ensure there are no surprises.

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Standardized Tests

  • Tests that are used to assess progress and achievement. Standard is used to show that these tests are given under the same circumstances to students all over the country. They are usually multiple-choice and timed. Some examples are SAT and ACT. *These tests are not given by the school. Students must register to take them.

 

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Strong Tests Scores

  • The SAT and ACT are standardized tests that help admissions officers to see how students measure up to their peers around the country. Most colleges and universities require one of these tests.
  • Preparing for standardized tests with prep courses, practice tests and online tools is highly recommended. Each of these tests has a “practice” test that students can use to gauge the preparation they need for the real thing. It is best for students to take these tests more than once.

More specific information about college admissions tests can be found at Tests.

 

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Letters of Recommendation

  • Getting great letters of recommendation in the first few months of senior year requires more than hard work in classes.
  • Teachers and guidance counselors can’t write effective letters of recommendation, if they don’t know enough about the student.
  • Students need to keep an updated resume they can hand to their recommender that lists their accomplishments, including activities and off-campus jobs.

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