A rigorous high school curriculum shows that you are intellectually curious, willing to challenge yourself and are comfortable working hard.
Your high school record – the courses you’ve taken and how well you’ve done — is generally considered the most important factor in college admissions. Many colleges consider a challenging course load more important than top grades. Strong grades in honors, AP and IB courses are typically more impressive than perfect grades in regular classes.
Along with the transcript, high schools provide colleges with a school profile. The profile contains information about the school, the courses offered, the number of students in the senior class, the percentage of them that go to four-year colleges, etc. Admissions officers review the profile of your high school to gain perspective of your academic achievements vis-à-vis other applicants from different high schools.
Your guidance counselor should make recommendations regarding specific core and elective courses. Depending on what’s offered at your school, your counselor may even suggest dual-enrollment classes at a community college or local university.
High school course selections usually match up with what most colleges expect from you. Of course, each college and university may have different requirements, so check out the web sites of the colleges you’re interested in to see what they recommend or require.
- English – 4 or more years
- Mathematics – 3 or more years
- Science – 3 or more years
- Social Sciences – 3 or more years
- Foreign Language – 2 or more years of the same language (ideally 3 or 4)
Lynn Radlauer Lubell, Publisher of InLikeMe.com and Founder of Admission By Design, an Educational Consultancy based in Boca Raton, Florida.