Admissions officials say that both the rigor of your coursework and GPA are critical factors in determining whether you are admitted to their college or university.
Here is a list of letter grades and their respective point and number values:
Some high schools offer an additional point for Honors, AP and IB classes; e.g., an A or A+ in a regular course is 4.0, but an A or A+ in an Honors/AP/IB class is 5.0.
• Academic preparation is defined as all coursework and other scholastic experiences you are
involved with during high school.
• Very selective colleges such as Ivy League schools want something more that separates you from the crowd: evidence of "intellectual vitality," the way you pursue knowledge about subjects that interest you, have an active, curious mind and show a true love of learning.
• Students can act on their intellectual interests on their own, as well as through exciting out-of-
school offerings, including
√ Academic competitions and talent search programs
√ Pre-college enrichment programs for under-represented students
√ Study abroad programs (Be sure to also check out the "Travel Abroad and Exchange programs" on the "Cool Websites" page)
√ Attendance at local colleges Check with your college counselor for a list of community and other colleges in your area
√ Pre-college summer programs
√ Online educational opportunities
• Colleges require or recommend as many as 20 academic college preparatory classes during high school, including:
||3 years required, 4 years recommended
||2 years required (including lab), 3-4 years recommended
||2 years required, 3-4 years recommended in same language
||1 year required
|College prep elective
||1 year required
On their respective websites, check the academic requirements of each school to which you plan to apply. Go to google.com, enter the name of a college, and once the college comes up, click the Admissions link.
• You should take the most demanding courses available, and get as many A's as you can.
• The courses you choose as a freshman set the stage for course selection for the rest of high school.
• Don't fall into the trap of thinking that you have to take every tough course, be in a ton of activities, and get four hours of sleep to accomplish it all. That's neither healthy nor smart.
• In general, it is better to take an advanced course and get a B than take a regular course and get an A because this shows colleges that you are challenging yourself.
• Don't procrastinate or be shy:
√ First, talk with you teacher to see what to do
√ Check in with your college counselor to explain the situation and see what he/she says
√ If that doesn't help, on your own find a tutor, a study buddy or someone else who can help
• Good athletes use sports coaches. Good students often use academic coaches (aka, tutors) to help them face challenges, do better or excel in a class.
Freshman courses often set the stage for what you take during the rest of high school. Discuss with your high school counselor what classes to enroll in the 9th grade, and how that affects what you will take in the 10th, 11th and 12th grades. Also, freshman year is the time to establish yourself as a good student, especially if you think you might want to apply to very competitive colleges.
10th grade is when students usually start taking advanced courses, such as a first AP course and/or a couple of Honors courses. Sophomore year is when grades become increasingly important. Look for courses and activities that turn you on intellectually.
Colleges are particularly interested what you do academically in the 11th grade. Take the most rigorous courses and get the best grades you can, while keeping a proper balance in your life. Continue demonstrating your love of learning.
Admissions offices expect you to continue taking rigorous courses and get good grades during your senior year. Don't even think about slacking off in the 12th grade, because that could hurt your chances of getting into colleges. However, if you are an athlete with a very demanding practice and game schedule or someone with learning issues, carefully choose the courses you take.
There is a lot you can do to support your child's academic and intellectual interests. The most important thing is not to "bug" them about it. Whenever you can–especially at the dinner table in the evening–get involved in discussions with your teen about current events, what's happening in the world, and other topical issues. Encourage your child to express him or herself and to have opinions different from your own. Support any interests in reading books, whatever they might be. Colleges say that there is no better preparation for college than reading.
If you notice that your child seems to be struggling with a class, consult with his/her teacher and find out what's going on. If needed, identify tutors or educational coaches to help. If problems persist, have your child tested by an educational psychologist to see if learning issues might be blocking him or her from doing well.
Be especially supportive and understanding during senior year, when all students struggle with the college admissions process.