Happy New Year!

Well, it’s January 1, 2016.  And that means that it’s almost time for high school seniors to send in their college applications.

And it also means that most high school seniors are trying hard to get admitted to the college of their choice.  So it helps to know what admissions officers are looking for.  Here’s a short list (all emphasis added by me):

What College Admissions Officers Won’t Tell You

1. They know about grade inflation.

But not all good grades are created equal. In the eyes of the admissions officers at the nation’s more than 2,800 four-year colleges, an “A” earned at one high school may only be worth a “B” at a more rigorous one. And in recent years, colleges have given more weight to grades from designated college-prep courses—and the more exclusive the college, the more weight those grades get.

One reason colleges are getting choosier: Grade inflation. Research by the College Board, the organization that administers the SAT, shows that the average GPA for high school seniors rose from 2.64 in 1996 to 2.90 in 2006—even as SAT scores remained essentially flat.

The researchers saw this as evidence that some teachers were “using grades…to reward good efforts rather than achievement.” (The College Board also noted that, based on their test scores, less than half of SAT takers—just 43% in the graduating class of 2013—were academically prepared for college work.)

All that said, admissions officers generally believe that if you have a good GPA in high school, you’ll probably have a good GPA in college.

“The clear message (is that) hard work and good grades in high school matter, and they matter a lot,” said William Hiss, a retired dean of admissions at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine who co-wrote a February 2014 study on standardized testing.

Here are some more “secrets”:

2.  Your essay doesn’t count as much as you think.

3.  The SAT isn’t as important as it used to be.

4.  Don’t obsess over class rank.

5.  Teacher recommendations can be important.  (As a teacher myself, I’ve often wondered if I’m not wasting my time writing recommendation letters.  This note gives me hope that I’m not–at least, not always.)

6.  Exclusivity isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

7.  Politics, both internal and external, may determine whether or not you’re admitted.

8.  They like students who pay full price (e.g., out-of-staters).

9.  Colleges are scrambling to fill their freshman classes, contrary to popular belief.

10.  Your admission can be recalled; popular reasons include bad “senioritis” grades, disciplinary issues, and falsified application information.

 

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Categories: College, Education, Student loans, Tuition

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