Tagged: high school transcript

Self Reported Academic Records: New and Time Consuming

Some seniors will find that college applications are asking the student to fill in a form with details of all of the courses they have taken and will take over 4 years of high school, including the final grade.  According to one admissions office, this is because while high school transcripts have pretty much the same information the format is different on each one.  Figuring out the location of the material the admission officer is hunting is time consuming. Students are asked to use the form so information is presented in a standardized  manner making comparisons among applications much easier.

Now is the time to take a look at the applications you will be using to see if any prefer SRAR.  Another avenue to get this information is to email your admissions rep at each college and ask about self reporting grades and scores.

If  at least one college uses this form, check online to see if your entire high school transcript is available to you.  Should only the last year’s curriculum and grades appear, contact guidance for an unofficial copy of your entire history.  Perhaps in 8th grade you took Algebra I or a year of foreign language that counts toward fulfilling a foreign language requirement; you may need to access your 8th grade record, too.

Once you have the transcript in front of you, make notes.  Start with 9th grade and write down your courses, final grade and a description of what the course covered.  If your high school has an electronic course book from which you choose your classes, consult this tool to help with course descriptions.  Avoid guessing.

Why should you do this now?  The SRAR is a convenience for the admissions office and a nuisance for students.  Filling out the form is time consuming.  Do it now as the school year winds down and you have fewer pressing assignments so that when you are ready to apply you won’t need to invest a couple of hours tracking down the information.

Be assured that if you are accepted you will be required to submit official test scores and an official transcript from each high school you have attended.

If you’re ready for a consult on your list or to begin writing essays, filling out your apps, lets make an appointment! stephanie@accessguidance.com or 610-212-6679

Inside Your Admissions Portfolio

Ever wonder what a college admissions office puts in the folder with your name on it?

In order of importance,  first is your high school transcript.  This document shows the difficulty of the courses you’ve chosen.   This is the Number One predictor of success at any college.  So, if  like me, you didn’t take much math because you really have no number sense, are you penalized?  Not at all if you’ve chosen AP, IB or challenging courses in  other subjects.

Taking upper level course work hints at your attraction or aversion to taking risks.  Are you willing to risk a B or C because you want to learn about something?   Even stronger is the suggestion that you can be motivated by curiosity – a very good sign!

Second, is your reported test scores.  The numbers on the score sheet indicate that you can read proficiently enough (speed and comprehension) to evaluate the material and answer questions about it.  Your math score measures how much math you have taken and understood.  Reading on the SAT and the three other subject sections of the ACT present passages based on concepts from typical high school courses.  Your scores indicate your ability to think critically.   Not all students test well making scores an imperfect benchmark.  However, aggregated scores from a high school offer some indication of possible grade inflation when they don’t support applicants’ grades.

Third, is your application and the materials that support it.   Most valuable are your principle and supplementary essays from which the reader gleans insight into who you are other than a brilliant student.  Your choices on your activities list, a portfolio or additional materials show what you value and why.  Adding a resume provides additional space to highlight leadership and accomplishments.

Fourth, the admissions rep who conducts your interview will add notes.  Not all colleges offer interviews on campus but most will arrange for applicants to  meet with alumni who live near the student’s home.

Fifth, are recommendations from the guidance counselor and teachers.  The admissions officers read the recommendations carefully.   Your guidance counselor can use this space to explain that a difficult situation caused your grades to drop for a semester or that an injury kept you out of school for a month.  From the teacher recommendations, admissions readers are looking for specific qualities that will help you in college such as persistence, curiosity, creativity, and independence.

The last piece is the High School Profile.  Each school sends this document along with the transcript and recommendations.  The profile contains a description of the demographics of the school district, a list of AP courses offered, per cent of graduates continuing to 2- and 4-year colleges, and other information that gives the admissions office a picture of your school.

When all the pieces are in place, the admissions officer who evaluates your application gets to know  you and how you have used the opportunities afforded by your high school.  With this picture in mind, a decision is made welcoming you or sending regrets.

As you can see, each section of your application reveals new information.  Let me help you showcase your unique personality in a winning application. 610-212-6679 or stephnaie@accessguidance.com


College-Eye View of Your Transcript

Every part of your college application should be a chapter in The Story of You.  The transcript that is sent by your high school guidance office shows your academic achievement.

The person who reads your application will usually start with your transcript.  In most cases the only courses that are considered are English, Social Studies, Math and Science.  If you have taken more than one per year in any subject, those extra grades count, too.  Some colleges also look at your foreign language.

Some high schools give extra weight to AP, Honors or IB courses when calculating a GPA.  Colleges level the field by re-scoring. An A is 4 points, B is 3 points regardless of the level of the course.  The average is the GPA they work with.

After GPA, the rigor of the course work is evaluated.  Not all high schools have AP, Honors or IB courses.  What the reader is looking for is how far the student has stretched to take the most challenging courses offered by that school.  The more a student  stretched the more valuable they become.  College is much more than 4 more years of high school  Each semester covers as much work as an entire high school year, September to June.  The greater the rigor of high school course work, the more likely a student is to be able to handle the intensity of college courses.

For admission, a B in a higher level course is more advantageous than an A in a regular level course.

Along with your individual academic record, the guidance office sends a school profile with the demographics of the school district, education outcomes (% of grads attending 4 year colleges) and specific information about  course offerings.  They include a description of their policy regarding reporting class rank.  Your report card might tell you that you are number 92 out of 600 students in your class but they might tell colleges only that you are in the top 25% of your class.

Here’s my advice:

DO good work; take on academic challenges.

DON’T agonize over every point and every grade.

I’m happy to help students find colleges where their academic profile is welcome and where they can thrive socially as well as academically.  610-212-6679 or stephanie@accessguidance.com