Did you know that your student's transcripts also contain information about student disciplinary records? A college transcript is a highly detailed report, detailing everything about your student, from class rank to grade trends, to SAT/ACT scores to GPA.
In short, colleges have access to far more than your child's GPA when evaluating them as a candidate for their school. The better the college, the more scrutiny they will put on evaluating your child's transcripts.
How do you best prepare your student and ensure their transcript will impress college admissions officers? Let’s take a look.
What's The First Thing a College Notices?
Usually, before your student's transcript makes it to a real person, it's scanned digitally for GPA and class rank. Many college admissions officers, especially at highly selective schools, don't give a second look to applications that fall below their university benchmarks.
Colleges will look at your GPA, but it cannot be used by college admissions officers as a common data point when comparing student’s academic prowess due to different high schools having varying GPA scales.
Standardized Exam Scores
Another thing that your student's transcripts show is standardized test scores. There are multiple different standardized exams that your student could be required to take, and there are some exams that are optional depending on the state you live in. These scores allow colleges to compare students academically, as students get the same questions regardless of which school they attended.
Since students are getting the same questions, your student needs to score highly on these standardized exams to be compared competitively against other students. To thrive in the admissions pool, students need to ensure that they prepare for and perform well on standardized tests.
One thing many overlook is the concept of grade patterns. A student who started very strong in high school with all A's and B's and finished with quite a few poor marks will be evaluated differently than a student who struggled at the beginning of high school and finished out with nearly straight A's.
These patterns matter and colleges notice. Suppose your student has a significant reason to have seen a grade drop, such as going through a medical condition that affected coursework. In that case, that should be noted somewhere on the student's application, so that's factored in along with grade patterns.
Which Classes Your Student Took
As a general rule, if your student takes (and does well in) more advanced classes, college admissions officers will be more interested. AP and IB courses will be seen as a bit more desirable to a college than general student body courses.
However, it's hard for admissions officers to use this as a solid rule. Not all high schools offer AP or IB courses, which means many don't take course difficulty into as high an account as a family may think. While enrollment in these courses is sure to make your student stand out, it isn't the only way to ensure admission.
Admissions officers will also only expect your student to excel within their school's offerings. They understand not all schools have AP or IB, and that's okay. Colleges don't penalize students for being unable to take advanced courses when they aren't offered. If your student's school offered advanced courses and your student didn't take them, that's another story and may be considered in admissions processes.
They will, however, compare what your student took against course requirements and offerings. If your student took two years of a foreign language because that's all that was required, it would be seen differently than a student who took four years of a foreign language as a challenge.
Where Your Student Excels
Admissions officers will see what subjects your student does the best in. If your student is applying for an engineering program and has aced all of their science and math courses but struggled in English, they may not consider the less-than-stellar English marks heavily.
On the other hand, if you have a student applying for a history program who has routinely failed history courses, admissions officers will take that into account when considering admitting the student. Officers don't want to set students up to fail and may deny admission if they believe a student isn't going to thrive at their university.
How To Set Your Student Up For Success
We know how hard it is for families to prepare for their students for the college application process. Trying to help your student with their academics all the while reading up on and preparing for college applications can be a challenge.
We're here to help make sure you can focus on the admissions while we focus on academics.
At Mighty B Learning, we can help your student prepare for their admissions journey through our comprehensive tutoring services. Not only are our services highly personalized, but we offer real solutions for individual students’ academic success.
Contact us today, and let’s talk about how we can set your student up to live out their dreams at their dream school.
My name is Bethany, and I am professional tutor backed by over 10 years of teaching and tutoring experience. I have worked for some of the top names in the tutoring industry, and now I am ready to pass my experience on to you.