by Ashley McCarrick

It’s that time of the year — high school seniors are working on college applications and are looking ahead to college. If you are wondering what matters most to colleges, check out these top 4 academic college admission factors:

1. SAT ® test scores, ACT ® test scores, and SAT Subject Test ™ scores

Do your SAT ® and ACT ® test scores fall within the range that the college typically looks for? Be sure to apply to some “safety schools,” not just “reach” schools. Generally, if your SAT ® and ACT ® test scores don’t come close to the school’s usual criteria, your college admissions officer will cut you even before reviewing the rest of your college application. Also, check with your prospective colleges to see if they require SAT Subject Test ™ scores.

2. High school grade point average (GPA)

How does your 9th-11th grade cumulative GPA look? Since you will apply for college beginning in the fall semester of your senior year, your college admissions officer won’t take into account your grades for 12th grade. However, many colleges require an updated high school transcript, so keep up the good grades through your senior year.

3. Difficulty of High School Curriculum

How have you challenged yourself through your high school courses? Colleges determine academic index by counting how many regular, honors, and AP ® or IB ® courses you took during high school. Challenging yourself in high school proves that you are ready for the rigorous curriculum you’ll see in college.

4. High school class rank

Does your high school use a ranking system? Some high schools don’t rank, but if yours does, colleges will use that as a factor when they’re considering your admittance. If your high school does not rank, ask the college for information on how you will be evaluated.

Remember, colleges look at everything you do academically starting your freshman year of high school! Make good choices and build good study habits early and you will set yourself up for future success. Stay tuned for our next blog on 6 non-academic factors that matter to colleges.

Ashley McCarrick is an Executive Director at KD College Prep. She has been serving KD students since 2007 and enjoys helping teenagers discover their dreams. In her free time, Ashley delights in spending time with her daughter, Lilley, and volunteering with various local organizations. You may contact her at a.mccarrick@kdcollegeprep.com.