5 Things the College Admissions Office Won’t Tell You…

This time of year, high-school Seniors are on pins and needles waiting for those acceptance letters and financial aid awards from their dream colleges! Unfortunately, it’s not always good news…. But when you take the time to plan properly, and apply to the right schools, hopefully fortune will shine on you. In the meantime, it’s important to do your research and prepare well, even though this may require some digging. As discussed in this helpful article, there are some things the college admissions office won’t just come right out and tell you. We thought we’d re-cap them here for our readers.

1. All Grades Are Not Considered Equal

According to the NACAC (National Association of College Admissions Counselors), grades often account for about 75% of most admissions decisions. However, where the grade was awarded makes a difference. A high letter grade at a less rigorous high school may count for less than the same grade from a school with a tougher curriculum. The more exclusive universities tend to look at these differences even more closely, so be aware of this when applying to schools – and make sure to keep those grades up!

2. We Don’t Trust Your Essay

Attribution: By Shimer College [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
(Image Source: By Shimer College [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons.)
While for some time, essays were often considered a make-or-break factor in college admissions, times have changed. Colleges may be suspicious that your essay was not written by you; if they suspect this, your application is likely on the short list – to the trash can! Some colleges are now requiring the essay be accompanied by a graded piece of writing from your high school, to make sure that the writing style matches and your essay isn’t plagiarized or written by a parent or other adult. Bottom line: write your own essay! Don’t worry if it’s not perfect; the college wants to know about YOU – how you think, and who you are.

3. The SAT May Not Count For As Much As You Think

While standardized test scores have long been an important part of the college admissions puzzle, and probably aren’t going away anytime soon, they may now carry less weight than in years past. In fact, some schools are now making the SAT optional, and a new version of the SAT will be launched in 2016. Some admissions officers are now looking more at AP test results, rather than SATs, when determining a student’s fit for their school.

4. We Don’t Care (Much) About Class Rank

20 years ago, where you ranked in your class was kind of a big deal when it came to getting into college; now, not so much. In fact, by 2006, the NACAC reported only 20% of college admissions officers considered class rank an important factor. However, at larger, less selective schools, class rank may still be used to some extent in admissions decisions.

5. Teacher Recommendations Count For A Lot

With growing skepticism about inflated GPAs and test scores, recommendations from high school teachers and counselors are more important than ever. Teachers who know the student well can be the best judge of how a student will perform in college, and the colleges realize this. Developing good relationships with your teachers can definitely pay off when it comes time for college applications.

Keeping these 5 items in mind can help when you’re preparing to apply to college, but there are also some more facts you need to know. Be sure to check back soon for 5 more things the colleges won’t tell you!



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