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- I think that the perception sometimes is that there are quotas, or there are equations or formulas or thresholds and if a student doesn't exceed the GPA threshold or the SAT threshold then they would not be considered or perhaps not even read and that's not true at all. - But knowing they were in academic institution, knowing that your preparation for that academic space is key to you being able to graduate. We do pay a lot of attention to the courses that you take and the grades that you received in those courses. - We will ask the guidance counselor "What's the highest GPA in this graduating class?" and when they give us that highest GPA in that particular graduating class, that helps us to set the bar in terms of how we evaluate your grades. - So your high school may have minimum requirements. You have to take four years of English, two years of History, maybe two years of a lab science and so forth. That's great, but the more selective college you wanna look at, the more they want you to push beyond the minimum and really push yourself and take challenging courses. So taking four years of English, great probably everybody has to do that but maybe four years of a language, four years of Science, four years of History, and so forth. So you know, going beyond the minimum for those more selective schools that's what's really gonna show them you're preparing yourself and it's gonna help you be really prepared to handle the work at a competitive college. - So for example at Virginia, students would need to take four years of English, four years of Math, three years of Science, two years of foreign language and on and on. Yet when we review applications often they have three if not four of everything. Now I will say that it's not necessarily an individual discipline or course that we're fixated on. If a student is going into engineering then yes we're looking closely at Physics, we're looking closely at Calculus, these sorts of things. But if a student is a linguist I'm not necessarily as concerned that he or she did not have Calculus. Likewise if a student is a hardcore engineer the fact that he or she has two years of Latin, that's it for foreign language, isn't as concerning to us. So it's all relative and dependent upon the school or program that they're entering at the university. - I really wanna reassure students that if your high school doesn't offer a certain set of courses we would never expect that you have taken them. So if your high school doesn't offer AP Calculus, obviously you're not gonna be disadvantaged if we don't see that on your transcript. - The question we're asking ourselves is "Have you taken advantage of the best "that your high school can offer?" And if you have done that, then you're competitive in the process. - Now we're not saying take every advanced course available at your high school, you need to find that balance for yourself. But we do wanna make sure that you are comfortable with challenging yourself every step of the way, so beyond just GPA, beyond just rank in class. What we really are more concerned with is your journey overtime, how you got there. So when we look at that transcript what we really do is take it apart year by year and course by course. We focus on the academic core primarily, Math, Science, English, History, world languages and really try and get a sense of how well you preformed in those classes. The level of rigor that you took among those classes, and again trends over time. Upward trends are really great! If you were even keel, given that you were possibly strong to begin with is usually a pretty good starting period as well. So we really again, looking for that academic trajectory, over a period of time. And that's where we tend to focus most of our energy.