Colleges in the US take many factors into account when reviewing a student’s application. The most significant pieces of any application are:
- Your grades, which are often calculated into a grade point average (GPA)
- Your course selection
- Your test scores, at schools that require them
Other factors that a school may consider include:
- Extracurricular activities
- Teacher recommendations
- Counselor recommendation
- Supplemental materials
- Demonstrated interest
- Ability to pay
- The school’s institutional priorities
Grade Point Averages (GPAs)
A GPA is a shortcut that converts letter grades into a number. Colleges rarely look at GPA alone—they will also review your transcript to look at your courses and the grades you earned in each one. If you are curious about how a GPA is calculated, this document can explain how an SAS GPA is calculated.
Colleges look for students who are challenging themselves appropriately in high school. They want students who have taken rigorous courses in which they can succeed. They also want to see students who are following their passions in areas of interest—so if you love political history, take Social Studies courses, and if you love languages, take World Languages courses.
The SAS college counselors and your teachers are here to help you determine which classes might be most appropriate for you. In general, if you can be successful (earning Bs or better) in advanced courses, it may well be worth taking them. But remember, each student is different, and courses of study can and should vary from student to student. There is no magical number of AP or honor level courses that will result in a college acceptance.