At some point in your teen’s life, it’s likely that he will need to request a letter of recommendation. Many top-tier colleges and universities require or strongly encourage applicants to submit such letters.
So, what does it take to gain acceptance into one of these colleges? High grades, class rank and outstanding standardized test (SAT and ACT) scores top the list of requirements. A rigorous high school curriculum and an impressive resume of extracurricular activities are also essential. But beyond those things, there are the intangible elements that make certain students stand apart from others.
There’s nothing wrong with teens going to college without a set-in-stone career game plan, but one thing is certain: students who put thought into possible majors are more likely to minimize wasted time and make a smart decision.
For the most selective colleges, the SAT and ACT support the overall story of how academically prepared a candidate is for college. For example, consider Dartmouth College, which has an acceptance rate of just 8.7%. Dartmouth’s required application components include SAT or ACT scores, but the admissions website states that while testing is required, it isn’t the ultimate factor in evaluating an application. Test scores are considered in conjunction with students’ academic record/transcripts and recommendations.
The process of researching, applying to and deciding on a college can be overwhelming for teens. But if there’s one aspect of the process that’s much easier than it was years ago, it is filling out the application—or more specifically, the Common Application.
We all want our children to graduate high school ready to take on the world and succeed in college and beyond. But success in the 21st century demands much more than mastery of the fundamental academic skills like math, reading and writing. The world today is highly complex and fast moving. Teens need to be prepared.
The last year and a half of high school is pivotal when it comes to the college application process. If you have a high school junior, it’s halfway through the school year—is she staying on top of the important college tasks and deadlines?
When teens get to junior year and start getting their college applications together, it becomes especially clear that grades are at the top of the list of factors that just about every college and university considers when evaluating applicants. Colleges want to know that the students they accept into their school are well-prepared to succeed. Yes, those SAT and ACT scores are important to colleges, but when evaluated alongside the GPA. Still, on its own, the GPA speaks loud and clear about your teen as a student.
Summer is around the corner, and if you’ve got a high school student, it’s the perfect time to visit colleges. Whether your teen will be headed into junior year—a pivotal time in the college research journey—or is earlier or later in high school, college tours are eye-opening, insightful and very worthwhile.