The current top ranked item is “grades in college preparatory courses.” It makes sense: the leading predictor of grades in college is grades the student earned in high school. 84% of colleges when polled by NACAC indicated that student grades were of “considerable importance.”
Ranked next is strength of overall curriculum: How difficult are the courses a student is taking and has taken? Part of this equation is the overall rigor of a specific high school. Admission officers have ongoing knowledge of the schools which send them students, percentage of college bound, number of AP/Honors classes, overall preparation of students and the track record of those students once they enter college. It’s their job to know those things.
Third on the list of leading factors in admission are scores on the SAT or ACT. What is the student’s aptitude for future learning? Students often put the SAT/ACT scores in their mind as the “top priority,” forgetting or not knowing that the track record they are composing every day is actually # 1 and 2 on the list.
A student with great grades in tough courses but with average to weak SAT or ACT scores is almost always more attractive to a college admission staff than a student with great scores and average to weak grades.
Sarah C. Reese, Executive Director, Informed Educational Solutions, firstname.lastname@example.org
- State of College Admission – Summary of NACAC Study (myiesolutions.wordpress.com)
- Early Decision Trends Change (myiesolutions.wordpress.com)